Monday, November 10, 2008

Psalm 103

Falling backwards into the individual introduction to the cluster 104-106, here is 103. One thing I note about this my second pass through the psalter, is that I am tackling all the really big psalms first. The first time through felt like a 2 year process - really only 17 months. This second pass is not much faster, 4 months for about 58 psalms. Remember to not be in a hurry. The process is different. I can now read the lexicon. The letters no longer leave my eye instantly reading the English and passing over the Hebrew. But there is sooo much ignorance in me - so take care, dear reader, and do your own due diligence. (I was going to plead age against your disciplined youth - but I will take the promise of verse 5 instead!)

Challenge me! Correct me! Fix me! But be prepared for a gentle and agreeable response. I decided not to include a graph of root recurrence but do not the repeated words - 9 times 'all' is stressed. The repetition of RXM and XSD requires slightly stilted translation - so I continued with nurture rather than 'shows compassion' but I kept what I might guess is an intensive plural (RXMYM) and coined the same in English.

And just look at all those participles with the definite article - lovely!

of David
Bless יְהוָה my being
and all my parts his holy name
Bless יְהוָה my being
and do not forget all his benefits
the forgiving of all your sin
the healing of all your diseases
the redeeming of your life from destruction
crowning you with kindness and compassions
the satisfying of your adornment with the good
your youth renewed like an eagle

יְהוָה makes righteousness and judgments for all the oppressed
he declared his ways to Moses
to the children of Israel his acts
יְהוָה of compassion and grace, slow to anger, and full of kindness
He will not always contend and he will not hold back for ever
Not as our sins has he dealt with us
and not as our iniquities has he rewarded us
for as heaven is high over the earth
so great is his kindness to those fearing him
as east is far removed from west
so far removed from us are our transgressions
as a father nurtures children so יְהוָה nurtures those fearing him
for he knows our situation
he remembers that we are dust

a human's days are as grass
as the flush of the field so he flourishes
for the wind passes over it and he is not
and his place no longer knows him

but the kindness of יְהוָה
is from age to age to those fearing him
and his righteousness to children's children
to those keeping his covenant
and those remembering his precepts to do them
יְהוָה prepared his throne in the heavens
and his kingdom rules over all

Bless יְהוָה his angels
strong of power doing his word
hearing the voice of his word
Bless יְהוָה all his hosts
his ministry
doing his pleasure
Bless יְהוָה all his works
in all places of his dominion
Bless יְהוָה my being


Kris said...

Hey Bob.

If you would like, compare your thoughts with mine on this Psalm:

Just go to the biblical languages category.


Kris said...

I like "my being" more than "my soul."

Also: "Not AS our sins has he dealt with us."

The caf preposition I think is functioning as a reference marker and should thus be translated: Not ACCORDING to our sins...

Lastly: "and he will not hold back for ever..."

The understood word that is omitted in this verb is "anger." Thus it reads: He will not hold his anger for ever (ie. He won't hold a sin grudge). I think with your translation it is counterproductive to what the poet is saying.

Your trans makes me think that the poet is saying: He's not gonna be patient for long; He's gonna get you. I know that's probably not what you're saying, but just letting you know what I think.

Thanks! for studying the Psalms and sharing your thoughts.

Bob MacDonald said...

Your criticisms are good - and I do think I have missed some sound connections in the translations. Ki and k- as preposition need some work. I love the repetition of 'all' in this psalm. You are right about the implied ellipsis with hold back - ... and 'get you eventually' was not what I meant - though it might do for some in a pinch!

Bob MacDonald said...

Kris - I don't know what to do with נטר - he will not 'hold a grudge' for ever? The 8 uses in the TNK are almost insufficient for analysis - 5 times keep [anger] and 3 times in the Song 'keep vineyard'.

I don't think we have a word in English that is sufficient. It is not only his anger that he might hold back, but also his mercy - he will not - has not - held back for ever on revealing his love to all.

In short, I think it could be left ambiguous as to which noun in the prior verse (reflecting Deuteronomy in a merism) to fill in the ellipsis with.

Which post at your blog would you point to for 103 particularly?

Kris said...

Hey Bob. I just think that due to the synonymous parallelism in this verse and in the one that follows it is very likely that it is His anger that is being kept at bay. Gesenius 117g is very helpful.

It is beautiful, all of the כלs, noun clauses (which imply established truths) that are used in this psalm—all of the polarities and extremes (i.e. east/west, heaven/earth, eternity past/eternity future) that are used to illustrate our experience of God's חסד. It seems that the poet cannot fathom this dedicated kindness and has to describe it with limitless illustrations.

As for which post to look at, all I've got up are my thoughts on vs.. 1-6. It takes some time for me to put my thoughts into coherent sentences and to cite my references. lol you can start here:

Thanks for chatting.