Monday, January 19, 2009

Rarely used words in the Psalter - 13

Psalm 9-10 has 2 occurrences of דך (dak) a word referring to 'the crushed' and also occurring in Psalm 74:21. Psalm 10:10 uses the form דכה in the confused section of the psalm, a word used only the Psalter. In the last verse of Psalm 10, another rare word ערץ is found. In this case KJV has rendered both different rare words 'oppress' in the same verse! I too have had to adjust even my attempts of careful concordance in this psalm.

and יְהוָה will be secure refuge for the crushed
secure refuge in times in trouble
He crushes
He is collapsed
and he falls pierced by his mighty ones
You will make your ears hear to judge orphan and the crushed
He will not continue to oppress humanity in the earth

A similar word דכא, also glossed as crushed, is used in Isaiah 53:5. It is most curious how even in the same 'author', the translations vary sometimes without a sufficient reason. While some aspects of concordance are impossible to achieve, there are times when I think it is desirable.

My own concordance on 'crush' is inaccurate but perhaps fitting as I merge bruising, crushing, oppression, dispossession, covering and hope into a single post. Psalm 139:11 has a real hapax שוף which I rendered 'crush' without a backward look. But perhaps when I come to it again, I will change it!

When I was younger, I thought in my vanity that I had read the Bible. I was not even close. I had scanned it (some of it). I had had some of it read to me. I am still not close to anything that could be called a complete reading - even one. When I have finished this psalms project, maybe I will have achieved one read of these poems.

How would I see anything significant in one rare word when I could scarcely remember the frequently used words and reading it in a foreign tongue (English)? It is singularly unimportant that one should have 'read the Bible'. I ask myself then - what is important? Perhaps only an honest connection with a healing spirit. This is for both the crushed and the crushers.

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