Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rarely used words in the Psalter - 9

Still on Psalm 7 - verse 2, the verb for tearing (me) apart פרק is used only 2 times in the Psalter - here and in Psalm 136.

deliver me
or he will sieze like a wild beast my throat
tearing (me) apart and there is none rescuing

The use in Psalm 136 is right at the end and is usually translated redeemed or delivered - I suppose that's what we 'ought to hear' in a well-behaved religious framework - nothing so forceful as the real working passion of God.

our humiliation he remembered for us, for his loving-kindness is for ever
and tears us from our enemies, for his loving-kindness is for ever
giving bread to all flesh, for his loving-kindness is for ever

Another interesting word in this psalm is גמר. It is used five times and only in the Psalter. As I look at my translations, I see they are sometimes too subtle.

Psalm 7:9
Mature the fruits of wickedness
maybe I should say
Bring to an end the fruits of wickedness

Psalm 12:1 - here the parallel, vanished, פַסּוּ is unique in the whole Bible - if we understand the completing of God's work in the cross of Jesus, then each of these unique words reveals something new. This psalm tells us that even the merciful must die in that redemptive mechanism.

Save יְהוָה, for ceased are the merciful
for vanished are the faithful
among the children of dust
Psalm 57:2
I will call to God Most High
to God who fulfills all for me
He will send from heaven and will save me
he reproached the one crushing me
Psalm 77:8
in the ages to come will the Lord reject?
will he never again be favorable?
has his mercy ceased in perpetuity?
a word from generation to generation ended?
has the One forgotten grace?
as if his tender mercies were shut up in anger?
Psalm 138:8
יְהוָה will complete his work for my sake

And more rare words in Psalm 7:11 (but occurring elsewhere in the Bible), זעם, for indignation. Note that I do not fill in the blank as do some translations. It is leading and misleading to fill in blanks.

God judges right and God is indignant every day
and the sharp sword of Psalm 7:12
If he will not turn he will sharpen לטש his sword
used also in Psalm 52:2
You devise calamities with your tongue
like a honed לטש razor that acts treacherously

And one more - קדקד 'pate' or hoary scalp - used in Psalm 7:16
He will return his trouble on his head
and on his scalp his violence will descend
and Psalm 68:21
surely God will wound the head of his enemies
the hairy crown of one walking in his offense
... you will make his life an offering for sin ... the rarity of this word for sin in the psalms (once as noun, 3 times as verb) needs attention - but for another post (See Psalm 68:21)

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