Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rarely used words in the Psalter - 15

I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down.

Psalm 10 and 12 share an oddball word. I eventually settled on a very simple translation that reminds me of the sniff and snort golf games I played with my brother-in-law 45 years ago. If you win the hole, you get a snort of scotch. If you lose, you only get a sniff. After several wins, you tend to lose.

What can one do with the disjointed nature of these two uses of פוח? It is a near impossibility. These are not everyone's favorite verses in the old translations either. If these psalms were written to speak to each other, then there is some hope of allusion in 12 from 10. The sounds are similar - but to hear allusion, I would need much more faculty with the idiom of the time.

What do you think? Who is snorting at whom? (Snort has the merit of linking the thought of 10:4-5 - the haughty countenance to the dismissive huff.)

Psalm 10:4-5
Criminal looks down his unseeking nose
There is no God in all his purposes
His ways are twisted in all times
High is your judgment, out of his sight
All his foes, he snorts at them (yipiah bahem)
Psalm 12:5
For the havoc of the poor
for the groaning of the needy
now I will arise says יְהוָה
I will impose in safety
he snorts at him (yipiah lo)

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