Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who is a king of the glory?

I am not paying too much attention to the conventions of language sometimes. Should מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד [melek ha-kabod] be translated 'a king of the glory' or 'the king of glory'? There may be a convention - but the process of the last four verses seems to ask the question without necessarily knowing the answer in advance. What a concept!

And this psalm does not stand alone. Psalm 25 - the acrostic - comments on Psalm 24 through the repetitive use of the word נָשָׂא [nasa] to lift up - among its many meanings. How does one tell what a verb means? Examine the objects that a poet uses with it? Of lift up in Psalm 24 we have:
אֲשֶׁר לֹא נָשָׂא לַשָּׁוְא נַפְשִׁי who has not lifted up to emptiness his life,
and
יִשָּׂא בְרָכָה he will take away a blessing
and
שְׂאוּ שְׁעָרִים רָאשֵׁיכֶם lift up gates your heads
and
וּשְׂאוּ פִּתְחֵי עוֹלָם be lifted up doors of eternity
and in Psalm 25 to open the poem
אֵלֶיךָ יְהוָה נַפְשִׁי אֶשָּׂא I lift up my life to you
and, to close the circle, a prayer
וְשָׂא לְכָל חַטֹּאותָי lift up my sins

It is a remarkable set of differing objects.

2 comments:

Tim said...

They general rule is that when the noun in absolute is definite the whole chain is definite (the construct - I think - never takes the "article"), in this case also since this is poetry and the "article" ה is less common in poetry I think it is conclusive it is "the king of glory" or "the glorious king".

Bob MacDonald said...

Tim: thank you - Your note sounds like an ancient thought process - where the chain is introduced and the 'definite' follows in the aural sequence. This working of the mind in a different sequence is so important to grasp some of the otherness of the communication.