Friday, October 31, 2008

Psalm 16 - the first Miktam

I have not yet been able to extend structural maps of the Psalter (assuming there is one or many to be found) any further than my last few posts some months ago. So I press on with the translations, not so much finding meaning as voice - and all the while keeping an eye out for the possibility of deliberate construction. Perhaps I will continue to learn a bit about words and grammar too - but that is still secondary.

Psalm 16 is the first of 6 Miktamim - no one is quite sure what that means - but they are a miniature structure: this lone poem and 5 adjacent psalms 56-60. The middle three of these are entitled 'do not destroy', a title not changed by the first Greek translator. Psalm 16 is the first of several psalms of pleasure.

From gold concerning atonement through inscription of David

Keep me O God for I seek refuge in you
you said to יְהוָה You are my Lord
my good pales beside you

About the holy ones that are in the ground
of them and of the mighty
all my delight is in them
Let them increase their injuries
that hasten behind
I will not offer their offerings with blood
and I will not put their names on my lips
יְהוָה is the portion of my field and my cup

You are completing my stay
Bindings have fallen to me in pleasures
Surely for me there is a beautiful inheritance

I will bless יְהוָה who advises me
Surely in the night my center instructs me
I have agreed with יְהוָה
continually in front of me
and at my right hand so I will not be moved

Therefore my heart will joy and my glory will rejoice
Surely my flesh will live in trust
for you will not abandon my life to the place of the dead
You will not allow your righteous to see a pit
You will make known to me a path of Life
satisfaction of joys in your presence
pleasures unending at your right hand
Note: center, lit. kidneys.
Adjusted after discussion with another and reframing my image of the poet now as one who is part of a history and looks to the tradition - perhaps the holy ones are buried אֲשֶׁר־בָּאָרֶץ rather than still alive in the land or in the earth. Those then who hasten behind are ones who are not in the tradition.

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