Friday, February 05, 2010

Psalm 119 - Part 12 Grammar

Here's the letter ל so each second line of the translation must begin with L. As usual letters playing a role in enclitics are in green
לְעוֹלָם יְהוָה דְּבָרְךָ
נִצָּב בַּשָּׁמָיִם
יְהוָה (LORD) for ever your word
takes its stand in the heavens
לְדֹר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתֶךָ
כּוֹנַנְתָּ אֶרֶץ וַתַּעֲמֹד
Living from generation to generation is your faithfulness
you established earth and it stands
לְמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ עָמְדוּ הַיּוֹם
כִּי הַכֹּל עֲבָדֶיךָ
Led by your judgments they stand this day
for they all are your servants
לוּלֵי תוֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי
אָז אָבַדְתִּי בְעָנְיִי
Love, unless your teaching is my delight
then I have perished in my trouble
לְעוֹלָם לֹא אֶשְׁכַּח פִּקּוּדֶיךָ
כִּי בָם חִיִּיתָנִי
Let me never forget your precepts
for in them you have made me live
לְךָ אֲנִי הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי
כִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָ דָרָשְׁתִּי
Love, to you I belong, save me
for I have sought your precepts
לִי קִוּוּ רְשָׁעִים לְאַבְּדֵנִי
עֵדֹתֶיךָ אֶתְבּוֹנָן
Lying in wait for me to destroy me are the wicked
I will be attentive to your testimonies
לְכָל תִּכְלָה רָאִיתִי קֵץ
רְחָבָה מִצְוָתְךָ מְאֹד
Lo, to all fullness I saw an end
your commandments are wide and great
I have come to look forward to rereading and repointing these psalm sections. Do I identify with the psalm or does reading it give me words for what I have known in the Beloved? Trouble I understand, especially that of my own making or of the accident of my own ignorance. But our own ignorance is not independent of the ignorance, or worse traps, of the lurking wicked who are not just in me, though all my perceptions be there. Hence the need to delight in the teaching of Hashem and the life received thereby - to whom else shall we go? you have the words of eternal life. For the sake of L I invoke the love word of the Song of Solomon. It is not out of place. There is no better place.

What end to fullness does the poet see that makes the poet praise your commandments? Is it possible that the writer's own life is made to stand even as the word persists in faithfulness and the commandment is wide? Is that perhaps related to the revelation of the end?

Details - I wonder if we made a list of all the weird conjugations in this psalm whether we would find most of the hithpalpel and polel verbs in the Biblical Hebrew corpus. (My software doesn't do this but I may do it by hand some day.)

l`volamלְעוֹלָםfor everto the age - L is for Lord of course
dbarkaדְּבָרְךָyour word
nicabנִצָּבtakes its standcompare Proverbs 8:2; niphal only - so not necessarily passive
bàshamayimבַּשָּׁמָיִםin the heavens
ldorלְדֹר[living] from generationI need an L
vadorוָדֹרto generation is
)emvunatekaאֱמוּנָתֶךָyour faithfulness
kvonàntaכּוֹנַנְתָּyou establishedPolel perfect (! who would have known). What's the role of the taf? The root is כון - so we have a doubled nun and a following taf as a final open syllable - showing a second person singular form.
vàtà`amodוַתַּעֲמֹדand it standsthird person feminine singular qal imperfect
lmishpa+eykaלְמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ[led] by your judgmentsI have added 'led' - not repeating a 'lo' as I did elsewhere
`amdvuעָמְדוּthey standthird person plural qal perfect
hàyvomהַיּוֹםthis day
ky hàkolכִּי הַכֹּלfor they all arecopula understood
`abadeykaעֲבָדֶיךָyour servantsin what sense are the 'they' servants? What is the antecedent of 'they'?
lvuléyלוּלֵי[Love] unlessI could have used the archaic Lest but it requires the equally archaic subjunctive, be!
tvoratkaתוֹרָתְךָyour instruction
shà`ashu`ayשַׁעֲשֻׁעָיis my delight
)abàdtyאָבַדְתִּיI have perishedqal perfect first person - could have been rendered modal 'I would have' etc but perfect is readable also
b`anyyבְעָנְיִיin my trouble
l`volamלְעוֹלָםlet me never
lo) )eshkàxלֹא אֶשְׁכַּחforgetthe jussive was convenient
piqvudeykaפִּקּוּדֶיךָyour precepts
ky bamכִּי בָםfor in them
xyytanyחִיִּיתָנִיyou have made me liveNote the dagesh in the yod making this piel
lka )anyלְךָ אֲנִי[love] to you I belong
hvoshy`ényהוֹשִׁיעֵנִיsave mehiphil imperative
piqvudeykaפִקּוּדֶיךָyour precepts
darashtyדָרָשְׁתִּיI have soughtqal perfect
lyלִיfor me
qivuvuקִוּוּlying in waitpiel - that must be a dagesh in the first vav
rsha`ymרְשָׁעִיםthe wicked
l)àbdényלְאַבְּדֵנִיto destroy mepiel infinitive with pronoun object
`édoteykaעֵדֹתֶיךָto your testimonies
)etbvonanאֶתְבּוֹנָןI will be attentivehitpolel - I do see it in Putnam - must be a hollow verb - a bit of vav I did not deal with
lkal tiklahלְכָל תִּכְלָהlo to all perfectionfullness - it looks like a noun formed from the verb by means of an additional consonant prefix - seems to me to be common for mem and taf - see a brief comment on this post from Joel Hoffman
ra)ytyרָאִיתִיI sawqal perfect
qécקֵץan end
micvatkaמִצְוָתְךָyour commandments
me`odמְאֹדgreatadjective or adverb - what does it modify? Wide or commandments?

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