Saturday, March 20, 2010

Me afar out - update your links

Please update your links and readers to's where I will be posting 95% of the time - one person one blog till I run out of room again.  I am working through the Song of Songs - No one should miss a verse or be averse to correcting me if necessary.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blog getting too large

Like Sufficiency, this blog is approaching 4 MB in size, so I will be posting on my formerly Matthew blog now Poetry of Christ blog.  Just to get more stuff on the other side of this teeter totter before I bash my nose.

Please update your links and readers to I hope I don't lose any friends with this move :(

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Psalm 119 - Part 22 Grammar

תִּקְרַב רִנָּתִי לְפָנֶיךָ יְהוָה
כִּדְבָרְךָ הֲבִינֵנִי 
To your presence let my cry come near יְהוָה
in your word give me understanding
 תָּבוֹא תְּחִנָּתִי לְפָנֶיךָ
כְּאִמְרָתְךָ הַצִּילֵנִי
To your presence let my supplication come
in your promise deliver me
תַּבַּעְנָה שְׂפָתַי תְּהִלָּה
כִּי תְלַמְּדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ
Tumble will my lips with praise
for you teach me your statutes
תַּעַן לְשׁוֹנִי אִמְרָתֶךָ
כִּי כָל מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ צֶּדֶק
Testify will my tongue of your promise
for all your commandments are righteous
תְּהִי יָדְךָ לְעָזְרֵנִי
כִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָ בָחָרְתִּי
There your hand will be to help me
for I have chosen your precepts
תָּאַבְתִּי לִישׁוּעָתְךָ יְהוָה
וְתוֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי
To your salvation I have longed to come יְהוָה
and your teaching is my delight
תְּחִי נַפְשִׁי וּתְהַלְלֶךָּ
וּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ יַעְזְרֻנִי
To live let my being and it will praise you
and you will help me from your judgments
תָּעִיתִי כְּשֶׂה אֹבֵד
בַּקֵּשׁ עַבְדֶּךָ
כִּי מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי
Time and again I am straying like a sheep that has perished
seek your servant
for your commandments I do not forget

The 22nd part. And notice how that lost sheep knows what it says. Baaahhh ! And I managed to avoid saying the opposite of what I meant most of the time.

BTW, the blogger editor is full of bugs in the Firefox browser. I have no idea where to report them, but the keyboard and mouse in the WSIWIG component will not allow typing in a null table cell, but it will allow paste and then typing. They changed it a few weeks ago much for the worse. I wonder who's using this besides me. Certainly they have let loose a programmer on it who does not have adequate testers (I know the feeling).

Details - I am sure we could predict taf as the prefix to the verb in this poem - and sure enough, we get it. Taf occurs as the first letter of the second and third person singular and plural of the imperfect - right across the board.
tiqràbתִּקְרַבlet come nearthird person singular qal imperfect - read as jussive - must be feminine
rinatyרִנָּתִיmy crysingular noun with first person singular possessive pronoun
lpaneykaלְפָנֶיךָto your presencepreposition+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
yyיְהוָהO LORDDivine name
kidbarkaכִּדְבָרְךָin your wordpreposition+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun (in could be according to if you prefer)
habynényהֲבִינֵנִיgive me understandingImperative hiphil with first person pronoun as object
tabvo)תָּבוֹאlet come jussive - third person imperative (=imperfect form)
txinatyתְּחִנָּתִיmy supplicationsingular noun with first person singular possessive pronoun
lpaneykaלְפָנֶיךָto your presencepreposition+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
k)imratkaכְּאִמְרָתְךָin your promisepreposition+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
hàcylényהַצִּילֵנִיdeliver meImperative hiphil with first person pronoun as object
tàbà`nahתַּבַּעְנָהtumble willthird person plural feminine qal imperfect
spatàyשְׂפָתַיmy lips withplural noun subject
thilahתְּהִלָּהpraisesingular noun, object of verb
tlàmdényתְלַמְּדֵנִיyou have taught meimperfect second person singular with singular first person object
xuqeykaחֻקֶּיךָyour statutesplural noun with first person singular possessive pronoun
tà`ànתַּעַןtestify willthird person singular qal imperfect
lshvonyלְשׁוֹנִיmy tonguesingular noun with first person singular possessive pronoun
)imratekaאִמְרָתֶךָof your promisesingular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
ky kal micvoteykaכִּי כָל מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָfor all your commandmentspreposition + adjective + plural noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
cedeqצֶּדֶקare righteousadjective predicate, implied copula
thy yadkaתְּהִי יָדְךָthere will be your handimperfect third person singular of 'to be' i.e. an explicit use of this verb + singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
l`azrényלְעָזְרֵנִיto help mepreposition+infinitive+first person singular pronoun
piqvudeykaפִקּוּדֶיךָyour preceptsplural noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
baxartyבָחָרְתִּיI have chosenfirst person singular qal perfect
ta)àbtyתָּאַבְתִּיI have longed to comefirst person singular qal perfect
lyshvu`atkaלִישׁוּעָתְךָto your salvationpreposition+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
yyיְהוָהO LORDDivine name
vtvoratkaוְתוֹרָתְךָand your instructionconjunction+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
shà`ashu`ayשַׁעֲשֻׁעָיis my delightsingular noun with first person singular possessive pronoun - predicate, implied copula
txy nàpshyתְּחִי נַפְשִׁיTo live let my beingjussive - third person imperative + singular noun with first person singular possessive pronoun
vuthàllekaוּתְהַלְלֶךָּand it will praise youconnector+third person imperfect qal+second person pornoun as object
vumishpa+ekaוּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָand from your judgmentsconjunction+plural noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
yà`zrunyיַעְזְרֻנִיyou will help mesecond person imperfect qal with singular first person object
ta`ytyתָּעִיתִיTime and again straying II needed the T+ qal perfect first person
ksehכְּשֶׂהam like a sheeppreposition + singular noun
)obédאֹבֵדthat has perishedparticiple
`àbdekaעַבְדֶּךָyour servantsingular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
ky micvoteykaכִּי מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָfor your commandmentspreposition+plural noun with second person singular possessive pronoun
lo)לֹאnotnegative particle
shakaxtyשָׁכָחְתִּיdo I forgetqal perfect first person

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Psalm 119 - Part 21 Grammar

שָׂרִים רְדָפוּנִי חִנָּם
וּמִדְּבָרְךָ פָּחַד לִבִּי
Sultans persecute me for nothing
but from your word my heart stands in awe
שָׂשׂ אָנֹכִי עַל אִמְרָתֶךָ
כְּמוֹצֵא שָׁלָל רָב
Singing I sing for your promise
as finding great booty
שֶׁקֶר שָׂנֵאתִי וַאֲתַעֵבָה
תּוֹרָתְךָ אָהָבְתִּי
Scandal I hate and abhor
I love your teaching
שֶׁבַע בַּיּוֹם הִלַּלְתִּיךָ
עַל מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶךָ
Seven times a day do I praise you
for the judgments of your righteousness
שָׁלוֹם רָב לְאֹהֲבֵי תוֹרָתֶךָ
וְאֵין לָמוֹ מִכְשׁוֹל
Such great peace to those loving your teaching
and there is no stumbling for them
שִׂבַּרְתִּי לִישׁוּעָתְךָ יְהוָה
וּמִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ עָשִׂיתִי
Steadfast is my hope in your salvation יְהוָה
and I have done your commandments
שָׁמְרָה נַפְשִׁי עֵדֹתֶיךָ
וָאֹהֲבֵם מְאֹד
Savors my being your testimonies
and I love them greatly
שָׁמַרְתִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָ וְעֵדֹתֶיךָ
כִּי כָל דְּרָכַי נֶגְדֶּךָ
So I keep your precepts and your testimonies
for all my ways are near you

How is our poet feeling after 21 parts of the poem? Happy to be nearing its end? Still has trouble from external sources and internal sources will be evident in part 22. Likes the superlative in this section.

sarymשָׂרִיםsultansplural noun
rdapvunyרְדָפוּנִיpersecute methird person plural qal+object first person pronoun
xinamחִנָּםfor nothingadverb - derived from grace חֵן
vumidbarkaוּמִדְּבָרְךָbut from your wordprefix conjunction+singular noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
paxàdפָּחַדstands in awethird person (root) form qal perfect
libyלִבִּיmy heartsingular noun with first person singular pronoun
sasשָׂשׂsingingits even a participle!
)anoky `àl )imratekaאָנֹכִי עַל אִמְרָתֶךָI for your promisestand-alone pronoun+preposition+singular noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
kmvocé)כְּמוֹצֵאas findingpreposition+participle
shalal rabשָׁלָל רָבgreat bootynoun+modifier
sané)tyשָׂנֵאתִיI hatefirst person singular qal perfect
và)atà`ébahוַאֲתַעֵבָהand abhorconnector+first person singular qal imperfect
tvoratkaתּוֹרָתְךָyour instructionsingular noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
)ahabtyאָהָבְתִּיI lovefirst person singular qal perfect
shebà`שֶׁבַעseven timesnumber
bàyvomבַּיּוֹםa daypreposition+noun
hilàltykaהִלַּלְתִּיךָdo I praise youfirst person singular must be piel perfect + object second person singular pronoun
mishp+éyמִשְׁפְּטֵיthe judgments ofplural noun in construct (loses its ending)
cidqkaצִדְקֶךָyour righteousnesssingular noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
rabרָבsuch greatmodifier
l)ohabéyלְאֹהֲבֵיto those lovingpreposition+participle in construct
tvoratekaתוֹרָתֶךָyour instructionsingular noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
v)éyn lamvoוְאֵין לָמוֹand there is for them noconjunction+particle of not being+ preposition+archaic third person possessive pronoun
mikshvolמִכְשׁוֹלstumblingnoun (derived from verb)
sibàrtyשִׂבַּרְתִּיsteadfast my hopeqal perfect first person phrased for the S
lyshvu`atkaלִישׁוּעָתְךָin your salvationpreposition+singular noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
yyיְהוָהO LORDdivine name
vumicvoteykaוּמִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָand your commandmentsprefix conjunction+plural noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
`asytyעָשִׂיתִיI have doneqal perfect first person
shamrahשָׁמְרָהsavoursthird person qal perfect feminine
nàpshyנַפְשִׁיmy beingsingular noun+possessive first person pronoun
`édoteykaעֵדֹתֶיךָyour testimoniesplural noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
va)ohabémוָאֹהֲבֵםand I love themconnector+first person imperfect+object pronoun
shamàrtyשָׁמַרְתִּיso I keepqal first person perfect (extra s)
piqvudeykaפִקּוּדֶיךָyour preceptsplural noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
v`édoteykaוְעֵדֹתֶיךָand your testimoniesprefix conjunction+plural noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
ky kal drakàyכִּי כָל דְּרָכַיfor all my waysconjunction+modifier+plural noun - truncated ending from possessive first person pronoun
negdekaנֶגְדֶּךָare before youpreposition+second person possessive pronoun

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Psalms used in Hebrews

The psalms are getting some mixed press in the bloggosphere stimulated by this post from David Ker on vengeance in the Old Testament - so I write what has been brewing these last four years on the use of the psalms in the NT - particularly Hebrews. (This search ht JK Gayle will find several of the recent essays on the vengeance texts of the Psalms. They are not absent from the context of Hebrews - but you will find my spin encouraging I hope.)
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews takes the substance of the dialogue between the Father and the Son almost exclusively from the Psalms. This fact alone should make us rethink our reading of the Old Testament. If we read the Psalter as the writer to that letter did, there is a conversation going on between God the Father and God the Son and we who read are somehow in it.

Here are the uses of the Psalms in Hebrews sorted in the order of their occurrence in the text. I realize, by the way, that several of the psalms are cited from the Greek version, but I don't do Greek and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews was not ignorant of some Hebrew, at least as far as glossing Melchizedek and Salem. (And the author took that word apart into its pieces to explain its meaning too -tsk tsk - a translation trap!) If I notice a significant difference between the Hebrew and the Greek which I reference from 'A Comparative Psalter' Ed John R. Kohlenberger III, it will emerge...
Above the Angels
יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי
בְּנִי אַתָּה
אֲנִי הַיֹּום יְלִדְתִּיךָ
יְהוָה said to me
My son you are,
I today have birthed you

Psalm 2:7
Hebrews 1:5
(also Acts 13:33)
It is the Son speaking and declaring the decree concerning himself (see also 2 Samuel 7:14). Today is the one day of creation and redemption. There is but one and that one ever. (Geo. Herbert) i.e. this is not 'adoptionism' unless you want to limit your perception in time.
(The grammar is hithpael imperative of שחה. reflexive / reciprocal? See Lambdin p 249 - incomprehensible!)
Worship him all gods
Psalm 97:7
[or Deut 32:43 LXX
HT Brian Small]
Hebrews 1:6
The context of these few words of verse 7 is idolatry. This psalm is one of the royal sequence in the middle of Book 3. It is about the worship of  יְהוָה as king. Hebrews implies that the Son is to be worshiped as יְהוָה himself. The king of Psalm 2 is identified implicitly then with יְהוָה.We are not distant, however, and should consider ourselves represented in the person of the Son - not by our presumption but by his choice. (Otherwise, how could we be a part of this conversation?)
עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחֹות 
מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט
making his angels spirits, his ministers,  fire flaming
Psalm 104:4
Hebrews 1:7
This is the first of the last three psalms of Book 3 - It is downplaying angels.
 כִּסְאֲךָ אֱלֹהִים עֹולָם וָעֶד שֵׁבֶט מִישֹׁר שֵׁבֶט מַלְכוּתֶֽךָ
אָהַבְתָּ צֶּדֶק וַתִּשְׂנָא רֶשַׁע עַל־כֵּן מְשָׁחֲךָ אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן שָׂשֹׂון מֵחֲבֵרֶיךָ
Your throne O God is now and for ever
a sceptre of equity the sceptre of your kingdom
You have loved righteousness and hate wickedness
therefore God your God has anointed you with oil of rejoicing with your companions

Psalm 45:6-7
Hebrews 1:8-9
Like Psalm 2, Psalm 45, (My heart is inditing...) of the royal wedding, is addressed to the king of Israel. So the writer to the Hebrews is interpreting the address to the king as an address to the Son of whom he speaks.
לְפָנִים הָאָרֶץ יָסַדְתָּ וּֽמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ שָׁמָיִם
הֵמָּה יֹאבֵדוּ וְאַתָּה תַעֲמֹד וְכֻלָּם כַּבֶּגֶד יִבְלוּ כַּלְּבוּשׁ תַּחֲלִיפֵם וְיַחֲלֹֽפוּ
in the face of the earth you established
and the work of your hands, the heavens.
These will perish but you - you will stand
and they all like clothing will decay
as a garment you will change them and they will be changed
but you are the same - and your years will not end

Psalm 102:25-26
Hebrews 1:10-12
Psalm 102 is about faces- A prayer of the poor when disabled, before the face of יְהוָה he pours out his talk. The Greek misses the sounds of the Hebrew as any translation almost inevitably does. But the Lord of psalm 102 is not the complainant (the poor) - for the days of the complainant vanish like smoke (v3) in contrast to unending years. So in this case is the writer to the Hebrews allowing the end of the psalm to be a promise addressed to the poor who complains? This becomes a Messianic psalm under such a reading.
נְאֻם יְהוָה לַאדֹנִי
שֵׁב לִימִינִי עַד־אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָ
a proclamation of יְהוָה to my Lord
Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool

Psalm 110:1
Hebrews 1:13
(also Matthew 22:44, Acts 2:34-35, 1 Peter 3:22)
Another royal psalm of a king is applied to the Son. At an earlier time I wrote: let the one who was wounded for us and whose head is lifted up judge those who rule and lead them to drink from the torrent of life-giving water that flowed from his side. May the king live these words into us so that we can understand.
כִּי מַלְאָכָיו יְצַוֶּה־לָּךְ לִשְׁמָרְךָ בְּכָל־דְּרָכֶיךָfor he will instruct his messengers about you to keep you in all your ways
Psalm 91:11-12
Hebrews 1:14
(also Matthew 4:6, Luke 4:10-11)
This is barely an allusion but puts the place of angels clearly in service to humanity.
Humanity and its role in creation from suffering to praise
 מָה־אֱנֹושׁ כִּי־תִזְכְּרֶנּוּ וּבֶן־אָדָם כִּי תִפְקְדֶנּוּ
וַתְּחַסְּרֵהוּ מְּעַט מֵאֱלֹהִים וְכָבֹוד וְהָדָר תְּעַטְּרֵהוּ
תַּמְשִׁילֵהוּ בְּמַעֲשֵׂי יָדֶיךָ כֹּל שַׁתָּה תַחַת־רַגְלָיו
What is humanity, that you remember it? and the child of the dust that you visit? Yet you filled it less just a little less than God
and with glory and adorning crown it. You give it reign over the works of your hands, all you put under its feet

Psalm 8:4-6 (5-7 MT)
Hebrews 2:6-9
(also 1 Corinthians 15:27, Ephesians 1:22)
The service note leads the writer directly to Psalm 8 (somewhere there is a passage!) And the identification of Jesus with the אֱנֹושׁ of Psalm 8 lets us consider his role in tasting death for all.
אֲסַפְּרָה שִׁמְךָ לְאֶחָי בְּתֹוךְ קָהָל אֲהַלְלֶֽךָּI will declare your name to my kin
In the midst of the congregation I will praise you

Psalm 22:22 (23 MT)
Hebrews 2:12
The tasting of death leads immediately to Psalm 22 where the motif of death and resurrection is clear. (see also Psalm 35:18, 40:9, 149:1)
Entering the Rest - re-framing Torah through a reading of the Psalms
הַיֹּום אִם־בְּקֹלֹו תִשְׁמָעוּ
אַל־תַּקְשׁוּ לְבַבְכֶם כִּמְרִיבָה כְּיֹום מַסָּה בַּמִּדְבָּר
אֲשֶׁר נִסּוּנִי אֲבֹותֵיכֶם בְּחָנוּנִי גַּם־רָאוּ פָעֳלִי
אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה אָקוּט בְּדֹור וָאֹמַר עַם תֹּעֵי לֵבָב הֵם וְהֵם לֹא־יָדְעוּ דְרָכָי
אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי בְאַפִּי אִם־יְבֹאוּן אֶל־מְנוּחָתִי
if you hear his voice
do not harden your heart in rebellion
as if it was the day of testing in the wilderness when your fathers tested me examined me and saw my work
forty years I put up with a generation
and I said these people wander in their hearts and they do not know my ways so I swore in my anger they will not come to my rest

Psalm 95:7-11
Hebrews 3:7-11, 15, 4:7, 4:3-5
Having laid out for us the exaltation of this man, Jesus, the Son as noted in Hebrews 1:2, we are then invited to consider our situation as 'his house'. Using Psalm 95, the Venite of traditional Mattins, the writer redefines the meaning of 'today' again. There must be a rest to be reached. (Note the anticipation of rest in the story of Ruth.
בִּתִּי הֲלֹא אֲבַקֶּשׁ-לָךְ מָנוֹחַ
my daughter do I not seek for you rest)
There is work for us, and it is easy to get discouraged. But there also is fruitfulness, rest, and the oil of gladness. Is Psalm 95 one of the 'nice' psalms? Note how it redefines a false literal 7 day creation (as if it was necessary for the centuries to come). This redefinition is confirmed by the NT writers - particularly the writer of this letter and the writer of the Gospel of John.
אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ שִׁבְתִּי וְקוּמִי בַּנְתָּה לְרֵעִי מֵרָחֹֽוק
אָרְחִי וְרִבְעִי זֵרִיתָ וְֽכָל־דְּרָכַי הִסְכַּֽנְתָּה
You - you know my sitting and my rising; you understand my thought from afar; my path and my lying down you sift; and all my ways you know intimately
Psalm 139:2-3
Hebrews 4:13
The allusion is indirect to Psalm 139 and perhaps more fearful than the psalm, but it illustrates that we are known if indeed we allow such openness as is demonstrated continuously in the human psalmist. Let it never be said "I did not know you" for such knowledge is too precious. Not of the flesh, it is nonetheless truly and fully known in this earthen vessel.
The High Priest as taught in the Psalms
אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיֹּום יְלִדְתִּיךָI will declare the decree: יְהוָה said to me: My son you are, I today have birthed you
Psalm 2:7
Hebrews 5:5
The sonship and priesthood are both declared by God
נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה וְלֹא יִנָּחֵם אַתָּֽה־כֹהֵן לְעֹולָם עַל־דִּבְרָתִי מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶקיְהוָה has sworn and will not repent
you are a priest for ever of the order of Melchizedek

Psalm 110:4
Hebrews 5:6, 7:17, 21
This little psalm is very important to the NT writers.
זֶבַח וּמִנְחָה לֹֽא־חָפַצְתָּ אָזְנַיִם כָּרִיתָ לִּי עֹולָה וַחֲטָאָה לֹא שָׁאָֽלְתָּ
אָז אָמַרְתִּי הִנֵּה־בָאתִי 
בִּמְגִלַּת־סֵפֶר כָּתוּב עָלָי לַֽעֲשֹֽׂות־רְצֹונְךָ אֱלֹהַי חָפָצְתִּי וְתֹורָתְךָ בְּתֹוךְ מֵעָי
sacrifice and offering you did not delight in, ears you have dug for me,
burnt offering and sin offering you did not require, then I said Here I come,
in the roll of the writing is inscribed of me, to do your will my God I delighted

Psalm 40:6-8
Hebrews 10:5-7
Ears you have dug - or a body you have prepared. Ears reminds me of the servant song in Isaiah 50. Body is good too - the whole body is taught through the ear opened. Psalm 40 is delightful. This human is like the one who created Psalm 119. It is not piety but joy that moves a person so.
נְאֻם יְהוָה לַאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִימִינִי עַד־אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָa proclamation of יְהוָה to my Lord
Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool

Psalm 110:1
Hebrews 10:12-13
This psalm carries the thought of the author through 5 chapters.
כִּי־יָדִין יְהוָה עַמֹּו וְעַל־עֲבָדָיו יִתְנֶחָםfor יְהוָה will judge his people
and all his servants he will console

Psalm 135:14
Hebrews 10:30
In the end, it should be noted that the judgment of יְהוָה is wholly positive.
Confidence and Praise also learned from the Psalms
בֵּֽאלֹהִים בָּטַחְתִּי לֹא אִירָא מַה־יַּעֲשֶׂה אָדָם לִיIn God I will trust
I will not fear
What will humus do to me?

Psalm 56:11
Hebrews 13:6
on the disabled, mute, bound dove in the distance, of David, a miktam - the Psalms are the biggest and best book of the Bible. Read them all.
יְהוָה לִי לֹא אִירָא מַה־יַּעֲשֶׂה לִי אָדָםיְהוָה for me - I will not fear What can a human do to me?
Psalm 118:6
Hebrews 13:6
Read a little further in Psalm 118 and you find destruction by circumcision. How does the Created order overcome its self-centered self-destructive actions? It chooses the sign of circumcision and in such prefigures the death of Jesus (Colossians 2:11).The gospel then invites self-destruction in Christ Jesus establishing our death and passage through judgment. The new life that follows confirms the rightness of the choice. Our choice - our being chosen. This is the narrow door of election and the means of digging our ears.
זְבַח לֵאלֹהִים תֹּודָה וְשַׁלֵּם לְעֶלְיֹון נְדָרֶיךָSacrifice thanksgiving to God
and pay your vows to the Most High

Psalm 50:14
Hebrews 13:15
A Sacrifice of thanksgiving is all that is left to do. Today was not an easy day - again I made lots of mistakes and had to undo them. My logic needs the cutting edge of others' criticism. I know it is no easier for anyone else. I will find thanksgiving in the blooms of the garden and in a restful weekend.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Psalm 119 - Part 20 Grammar

רְאֵה עָנְיִי וְחַלְּצֵנִי
כִּי תוֹרָתְךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי
Regard my affliction and deliver me
for your teaching I do not forget
רִיבָה רִיבִי וּגְאָלֵנִ
לְאִמְרָתְךָ חַיֵּנִי
Reason my reason and redeem me
in your promise give me life
רָחוֹק מֵרְשָׁעִים יְשׁוּעָה
כִּי חֻקֶּיךָ לֹא דָרָשׁוּ
Remote is salvation from the wicked
for your statutes they do not seek
רַחֲמֶיךָ רַבִּים יְהוָה
כְּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ חַיֵּנִי
Rich are your mercies יְהוָה
by your judgments give me life
רַבִּים רֹדְפַי וְצָרָי
מֵעֵדְו‍ֹתֶיךָ לֹא נָטִיתִי
Running after me are my many troublers
from your testimonies I do not waver
רָאִיתִי בֹגְדִים וָאֶתְקוֹטָטָה
אֲשֶׁר אִמְרָתְךָ לֹא שָׁמָרוּ
Regarded I transgressors and I was distressed
that your promise they disregard
רְאֵה כִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָ אָהָבְתִּי יְהוָה
כְּחַסְדְּךָ חַיֵּנִי
Regard how I love your precepts יְהוָה
in your loving kindness give me life
רֹאשׁ דְּבָרְךָ אֱמֶת
וּלְעוֹלָם כָּל מִשְׁפַּט צִדְקֶךָ
Right away your word is truth
and for ever is every judgment of your righteousness

R has at least the benefit of many words in English.There are three pleas for life in part 20. They are all at the end of a colon - why should English poetry change their place? (In my prior versions I smoothed out the English. There was in these cases no need to do this. There was no need to do this in these cases. In these cases to do this there was no need. No need was there in these cases this to do. Seven cola end with action in the Hebrew. Since we all share the same linear time, seven English cola should with action also end. The ending actions follow a pattern: I - give me life - then - give me life - I - they - give me life - you.

r)éh `anyyרְאֵה עָנְיִיRegard my afflictionqal imperative+singular noun with first person singular possessive pronoun affix
vxàlcényוְחַלְּצֵנִיand deliver meconnecting conjunction+qal imperative+object pronoun
ky tvoratkaכִּי תוֹרָתְךָfor your instructionconjunction+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun affix
lo)לֹאnotnegative particle
shakaxtyשָׁכָחְתִּיdo I forgetqal perfect first person
rybahרִיבָהreasonqal imperative
rybyרִיבִיmy reasonsingular noun with first person singular possessive pronoun affix
vug)alényוּגְאָלֵנִיand redeem meconnector+qal imperative+object pronoun
l)imratkaלְאִמְרָתְךָin your promisepreposition+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun affix
xàyényחַיֵּנִיgive me lifepiel imperative+object pronoun
mérsha`ymמֵרְשָׁעִיםfrom the wickedpreposition+plural noun
yshvu`ahיְשׁוּעָהis salvationnoun
xuqeykaחֻקֶּיךָyour statutesplural noun with second person possessive pronoun
lo) darashvuלֹא דָרָשׁוּthey do not seeknegative particle+third person qal perfect
ràxameykaרַחֲמֶיךָyour merciesplural noun with second person possessive pronoun
ràbymרַבִּיםare rich (great /...)plural adjective
yyיְהוָהO LORDdivine name
kmishpa+eykaכְּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָby your judgmentspreposition+plural noun with second person possessive pronoun
xàyényחַיֵּנִיgive me lifepiel imperative+object pronoun
ràbymרַבִּיםare manyplural adjective
rodpàyרֹדְפַיrunners after me (my persecutors)participle with first person possessive pronoun
vcarayוְצָרָיand my troublersconjunction+plural noun with first person possessive pronoun
mé`édvoteykaמֵעֵדְו‍ֹתֶיךָfrom your testimoniespreposition+plural noun with second person possessive pronoun
lo)לֹאnotnegative particle
na+ytyנָטִיתִיdo I waverqal perfect first person
ra)ytyרָאִיתִיregarded Iqal perfect first person
bogdymבֹגְדִיםtransgressorsplural noun
va)etqvo+a+ahוָאֶתְקוֹטָטָהand I was distressedhithpolel imperfect note the double tet! And the extra taf in the prefix
)asherאֲשֶׁרthatrelative pronoun
)imratkaאִמְרָתְךָyour promisesingular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun affix
lo) shamarvuלֹא שָׁמָרוּthey disregardnegative particle+third person qal perfect
ky piqvudeykaכִּי פִקּוּדֶיךָfor your preceptsconjunction + plural noun with second person possessive pronoun
)ahabtyאָהָבְתִּיI lovefirst person qal perfect - note how many of these I have rendered as continuing present
yyיְהוָהO LORDdivine name
kxàsdkaכְּחַסְדְּךָby your loving kindnesspreposition+singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun affix
xàyényחַיֵּנִיgive me lifethird time this request - pronoun affixed as object
ro)sh dbarkaרֹאשׁ דְּבָרְךָright away your wordnoun in construct + singular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun affix
)emetאֱמֶתis truthnoun predicate - implied copula
vul`volamוּלְעוֹלָםand for everconnector + preposition+noun - why move it in the sentence?
kal mishpà+כָּל מִשְׁפַּטevery judgment ofadjective+noun
cidqkaצִדְקֶךָyour righteousnesssingular noun with second person singular possessive pronoun affix

Monday, March 08, 2010

On Finishing the Psalter

I have asked questions about the translation of a curious piece of Hebrew here. I really should have posted the text on this blog since it pertains specifically to the psalter. Two respondents (Rachel Barenblat of the Velveteen Rabbi and Joel Hoffman of God Didn't Say That so far have contributed to a partial solution to the questions asked.

After 40 of 44 grammar exercises, (see the links on letter by letter at the side) I am beginning to understand grammar better. I am also working my way slowly though a book on The Verbless Clause in Biblical Hebrew. I loved essays number 1 and 3 - wonderful exercises in presenting the raw data: Pivotal Issues in Analyzing the Verbless Clause by Cynthia Miller. And Are Nominal Clauses a Distinct Clausal Type? by Cameron Sinclair. Sinclair was a relief after Walter Gross Is there Really a Compound Nominal Clause in Biblical Hebrew?  I think he concluded yes - but I was somewhat mystified.

Gross, like Buth, whom I am reading now, introduce a number of new terms that I find of limited usefulness. They don't stick in my memory. Sinclair, in contrast, offers example after example where 'to be' was in a clause with exactly the same pattern of subject and predicate as clauses without 'to be'. He concluded "that nominal or verbless sentences exhibit the same range of complement types as sentences that appear with the verb 'to be' when it functions as a copula."

Buth is going over generative-functional grammar concepts. I can spell these and I have read some of my son-in-law's work on the subject, but the terminology is not exactly reader-friendly. He does consider some aspects of tone that I think are very important - not for semantics but for impact. I don't think I will ever be able to communicate Hebrew to English readers purely by the reading of a book as if I were reading Winnie-the-Pooh to someone. But I assure you, I don't read WtP monotonically - a non-English speaking person would get much of the story from tone and presence in the aural performance. My model for this reading was Maurice Evans - who did these stories on vinyl years ago. They are available here and are wonderful. I would like to hear the Bible read this way in English with a good literal translation - retaining as much word-order as possible because of the dramatic effects (fronting is what Buth would say). But we need to hear - not explain with big words.

We have a long way to go.

Psalm 119 - Part 19 Grammar

קָרָאתִי בְכָל לֵב עֲנֵנִי יְהוָה
חֻקֶּיךָ אֶצֹּרָה
Queried I with a whole heart, hear me יְהוָה
I will observe your statutes
קְרָאתִיךָ הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי
וְאֶשְׁמְרָה עֵדֹתֶיךָ
Queried I you, save me
and I will keep your testimonies
קִדַּמְתִּי בַנֶּשֶׁף וָאֲשַׁוֵּעָה
 לִדְבָרְךָ יִחָלְתִּי
Quested I in a twilight hour and I cried out
on your word I wait
קִדְּמוּ עֵינַי אַשְׁמֻרוֹת
לָשִׂיחַ בְּאִמְרָתֶךָ
Quested my eyes in the night watches
to meditate on your promise
קוֹלִי שִׁמְעָה כְחַסְדֶּךָ יְהוָה
כְּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָ חַיֵּנִי
Quest of mine, hear by your loving kindness יְהוָה
give me life by your judgments
קָרְבוּ רֹדְפֵי זִמָּה
מִתּוֹרָתְךָ רָחָקוּ
Quite near are those following mischief
they are far from your teaching
קָרוֹב אַתָּה יְהוָה
וְכָל מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ אֱמֶת
Quite near are you יְהוָה
and all your commandments are truth
קֶדֶם יָדַעְתִּי מֵעֵדֹתֶיךָ
כִּי לְעוֹלָם יְסַדְתָּם
Quite from of old I knew from your testimonies
for you established them from everlasting

Details - two queries, three quests and three quites - no wonder Q is worth 10 points as a first letter!
I have done some oddball glosses for some of these prepositions - I don't want explanations to get in the way of the poem - for instance, does the poet quiet a little during this segment? What could be known 'from' testimonies? Is it that they in their presence in us speak even before we have knowledge?

What can I say below word by word that is not now obvious grammatically?  Oh well - what I have to do is go through the motions as if this were a final exam and something pops out that I wasn't expecting when I began - like correcting a few errors.
qara)tyקָרָאתִיQueried IFirst person qal perfect
bkal lébבְכָל לֵבwith all heartpreposition + qualifier + noun
`anényעֲנֵנִיhear meimperative with object pronoun
yyיְהוָהLORDdivine name
xuqeykaחֻקֶּיךָyour statutesplural noun with second person possessive pronoun
)ecorahאֶצֹּרָהI will observefirst person qal imperfect
qra)tykaקְרָאתִיךָQueried I youFirst person qal perfect+object pronoun
hvoshy`ényהוֹשִׁיעֵנִיsave mehiphil imperative+object pronoun
v)eshmrahוְאֶשְׁמְרָהand I will keepconnector+first person qal imperfect
`édoteykaעֵדֹתֶיךָyour testimoniesplural noun with second person possessive pronoun
qidàmtyקִדַּמְתִּיquested Ifirst person piel perfect
bàneshephבַנֶּשֶׁףin a twilight hourpreposition+noun indefinite
va)ashàvué`ahוָאֲשַׁוֵּעָהand I cried outconnector+first person qal imperfect
lidbarkaלִדְבָרְךָon your wordpreposition+singular noun with second person possessive pronoun
yixaltyיִחָלְתִּיI waitfirst person piel perfect
qidmvuקִדְּמוּquestedthird person plural piel perfect (piel is invisible without the dot in these cases)
`éynàyעֵינַיmy eyesplural noun with first person singular possessive pronoun as subject
)àshmurvotאַשְׁמֻרוֹתin the night watchesno preposition but required in English + plural noun
lasyàxלָשִׂיחַto meditatepreposition+qal infinitive
b)imratekaבְּאִמְרָתֶךָon your promisepreposition+singular noun with second person possessive pronoun
qvolyקוֹלִיQuest of minesingular noun with first person singular possessive pronoun as object of 
shim`ahשִׁמְעָהhearimperative (qal)
kxàsdekaכְחַסְדֶּךָby your loving kindnesspreposition+singular noun with second person possessive pronoun
yyיְהוָהLORDdivine name
kmishpa+ekaכְּמִשְׁפָּטֶךָby your judgmentspreposition+plural noun with second person possessive pronoun - my gloss for as/ /according to is short and unexpected
xàyényחַיֵּנִיgive me lifeimperative (piel note dot in yod) with object pronoun
qarbvuקָרְבוּquite nearthird person plural (they come near)
rodpéyרֹדְפֵיare those followingparticiple in construct
mitvoratkaמִתּוֹרָתְךָfrom your instructionpreposition+singular noun with second person possessive pronoun
raxaqvuרָחָקוּthey are farthird person plural
qarvobקָרוֹבquite nearadjective as predicate
)àtahאַתָּהare youpronoun as subject
yyיְהוָהLORDdivine name
vkal micvoteykaוְכָל מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָand all your commandmentsconnector+qualifier+plural noun with second person possessive pronoun
)emetאֱמֶתare truthnoun - implied copula
qdemקֶדֶםquite from of oldtemporal reference
yadà`tyיָדַעְתִּיI knewfirst person qal perfect
mé`édoteykaמֵעֵדֹתֶיךָfrom your testimoniespreposition+plural noun with second person possessive pronoun
kyכִּיforconjunction indicating cause
l`volamלְעוֹלָםto everlastingpreposition+noun
ysàdtamיְסַדְתָּםyou established themsecond person qal perfect+object pronoun

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Psalm 119 - Part 18 Grammar

צַדִּיק אַתָּה יְהוָה
וְיָשָׁר מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ
So just you are יְהוָה
and your judgments are straightforward
צִוִּיתָ צֶדֶק עֵדֹתֶיךָ
וֶאֱמוּנָה מְאֹד
Set you have the righteousness of your testimonies
and great faithfulness
צִמְּתַתְנִי קִנְאָתִי
כִּי שָׁכְחוּ דְבָרֶיךָ צָרָי
Struck me out did my zeal
for my troublers forgot your words
צְרוּפָה אִמְרָתְךָ מְאֹד
וְעַבְדְּךָ אֲהֵבָהּ
Smeltered greatly is your promise
and your servant loves it
צָעִיר אָנֹכִי וְנִבְזֶה
פִּקֻּדֶיךָ לֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי
Small am I and of no account
I have not forgotten your precepts
צִדְקָתְךָ צֶדֶק לְעוֹלָם
וְתוֹרָתְךָ אֱמֶת
Saving righteousness - yours - is righteousness for ever
and your teaching is truth
צַר וּמָצוֹק מְצָאוּנִי
מִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי
Strain and struggle stress me
your commandments are my delight
צֶדֶק עֵדְו‍ֹתֶיךָ
לְעוֹלָם הֲבִינֵנִי וְאֶחְיֶה
Such righteousness of your testimonies is everlasting
let me understand and I will live
Alas, English has no corresponding initial sound to Tsade so I am reduced to an S. Look for my compensating repetition of s's and t's. Above is my usual grammar colour and a few keywords in this segment of the poem. Below I will try and indicate subject and predicate.

càdyqצַדִּיקso justpredicate
)àtahאַתָּהyou subject
yyיְהוָהO LORDsubject, apposition
vyasharוְיָשָׁרand straightforwardconjunction+predicate
mishpa+eykaמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָyour judgmentssubject
civuytaצִוִּיתָset (commanded, constituted, appointed) you haveverb second person singular
cedeqצֶדֶקthe righteousness ofCan righteousness modify testimonies as an adjective when it is not in agreement in number? I don't think so - so I am taking this as construct
`édoteykaעֵדֹתֶיךָyour testimoniescompleting the construct predicate - usual plural noun with second person possessive pronoun
ve)emvunahוֶאֱמוּנָהand faithfulnessnow what does this phrase modify?
m)odמְאֹדgreatdoes it apply to the testimonies or does it stand alone as a second predicate? Adjective modifying faithfulness I think.
cimtàtnyצִמְּתַתְנִיstruck me outThis is a very amusing gloss - but it does mean what it says if you allow the baseball idiom!
qin)atyקִנְאָתִיmy zealsingular pronoun subject of the prior verb
ky shakxvuכִּי שָׁכְחוּfor they forgotthe reason for the strikeout
dbareykaדְבָרֶיךָyour wordsplural noun with second person possessive pronoun
carayצָרָיmy troublersplural noun with first person possessive pronoun
crvupahצְרוּפָהsmeltered ispure - so smeltered as refined
)imratkaאִמְרָתְךָyour promisesingular noun with second person possessive pronoun
m)odמְאֹדgreatlymodifying the verb
v`àbdkaוְעַבְדְּךָand your servantsingular noun with second person possessive pronoun
)ahébahאֲהֵבָהּloves itThird person singular qal perfect with feminine object pronoun. I sometimes miss these. Of course you have to read the entire Lambdin before you can start on anything. It's not the way I live. I learn by doing and my sieve has holes in it so I miss things.
)anokyאָנֹכִיam Isubject - stand-alone pronoun
vnibzehוְנִבְזֶהand of no accountconnector+niphal participle
piqudeykaפִּקֻּדֶיךָyour preceptsplural noun with second person possessive pronoun object of the verb to come
lo)לֹאnotnegative particle
shakaxtyשָׁכָחְתִּיhave I forgottenfirst person qal perfect
cidqatkaצִדְקָתְךָsaving righteousness yourssingular noun with second person possessive pronoun
cedeqצֶדֶקis righteousnessimplied copula
l`volamלְעוֹלָםfor everto the age, preposition+noun
vtvoratkaוְתוֹרָתְךָand your instructionconnector+singular noun with second person possessive pronoun
)emetאֱמֶתis truthimplied copula+noun
càr vumacvoqצַר וּמָצוֹקstrain and strugglethe poet is showing off assonance
mca)vunyמְצָאוּנִיstress meread the st backwards and you have ts! This is of course a third person plural with an object pronoun
micvoteykaמִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָyour commandmentsplural noun with second person possessive pronoun - subject
shà`ashu`ayשַׁעֲשֻׁעָיare my delightpredicate implied copula singular noun with first person possessive pronoun
cedeqצֶדֶקsuch righteousness ofNeed the s but 'such' isn't there
`édvoteykaעֵדְו‍ֹתֶיךָyour testimoniesplural noun with second person possessive pronoun - subject
l`volamלְעוֹלָםis everlastingpreposition+noun predicate with implied copula
habynényהֲבִינֵנִיhave me understandmust he a hiphil imperative+pronoun object
v)exyehוְאֶחְיֶהand I will liveconnector+first person imperfect

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Psalm 119 - Part 17 Grammar

פְּלָאוֹת עֵדְו‍ֹתֶיךָ
עַל כֵּן נְצָרָתַם נַפְשִׁי
Plenty of wonders are your testimonies
therefore my being will observe them
פֵּתַח דְּבָרֶיךָ יָאִיר
מֵבִין פְּתָיִים
Penetration of your words gives light
making wise the peon
פִּי פָעַרְתִּי וָאֶשְׁאָפָה
כִּי לְמִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָ יָאָבְתִּי
Part I my mouth and sigh heavily
for to your commandments is my desire
פְּנֵה אֵלַי וְחָנֵּנִי
כְּמִשְׁפָּט לְאֹהֲבֵי שְׁמֶךָ
Put your face to me and have mercy on me
according to the judgment of those loving your name
פְּעָמַי הָכֵן בְּאִמְרָתֶךָ
וְאַל תַּשְׁלֶט בִּי כָל אָוֶן
Place my steps in your promise
and do not let any mischief have grasp over me
פְּדֵנִי מֵעֹשֶׁק אָדָם
וְאֶשְׁמְרָה פִּקּוּדֶיךָ
Preserve me from the oppression of a human
and I will keep your precepts
פָּנֶיךָ הָאֵר בְּעַבְדֶּךָ
וְלַמְּדֵנִי אֶת חֻקֶּיךָ
Pyre your face on your servant
and teach me Oh! your statutes
פַּלְגֵי מַיִם יָרְדוּ עֵינָי
עַל לֹא שָׁמְרוּ תוֹרָתֶךָ
Pouring streams run down from my eyes
that they do not keep your teaching

Details - in line with my reading of the Verbless Cause in Biblical Hebrew book, I am going to begin to identify the subject / predicate in each of the cola. Some results that I see in narrative verses from the subject book I find quite unexpected - like places where the adjective is postponed till the end of the sentence. E.g. Numbers 32:1 - where's the subject? Where's the predicate? I think there is a mistranslation when the translator collects all the bits of the subject together and makes it sound like 'natural' English. If you are translating a story, then don't mess up the original story-teller's drama. How would you phrase this opening of the chapter?
and livestock many there were to the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad - substantial - lots
וּמִקְנֶה רַב הָיָה לִבְנֵי רְאוּבֵן וְלִבְנֵי־גָד עָצוּם מְאֹד
Here's my suggestion
And there were many livestock belonging to the children of Reuben and the children of Gad,
a substantial amount.

pla)votפְּלָאוֹתPlenty of wondersplural adjective feminine form - predicate
`édvoteykaעֵדְו‍ֹתֶיךָare your testimoniesplural noun with second person personal possessive pronoun - subject
`àl kénעַל כֵּןthereforeconjunction
ncaratàmנְצָרָתַםwill observe themthird person singular with pronoun object - predicate
nàpshyנַפְשִׁיmy beingsoul, life, me, singular noun with possessive first person pronoun - subject
pétàxפֵּתַחPenetration ofOpening construct subject
dbareykaדְּבָרֶיךָyour wordscompleting the construct plural possessive - subject
ya)yrיָאִירgives lightpredicate (hiphil?) singular third person imperfect
mébynמֵבִיןmaking wisehiphil participle
ptayymפְּתָיִיםthe simplepeon and penetrate match the sound game in the Hebrew - the phrase is consequential, the word is plural masculine form
py pa`àrtyפִּי פָעַרְתִּיPart I my mouthobject-verb (perfect)
va)esh)apahוָאֶשְׁאָפָהand sigh heavilyconnector + preterite both verbs first person
lmicvoteykaלְמִצְו‍ֹתֶיךָin your commandmentspredicate plural feminine possessive singular second person - this needs some longing for an effective translation
ya)abtyיָאָבְתִּיI have longedperfect first person
pnéh )élàyפְּנֵה אֵלַיPut your face to meqal imperative with preposition and first person pronoun as object
vxanényוְחָנֵּנִיand have mercy on meqal imperative with first person object
kmishpa+כְּמִשְׁפָּטfor judgmentthe kaf preposition makes me want to get across the 'like' aspect rather than a 'causative' aspect - that forces me into construct thinking
l)ohabéyלְאֹהֲבֵיto those lovingthe lamed preposition makes me wonder if I have missed the point - what kind of vindication does the poet have in mind?
shmekaשְׁמֶךָyour namepredicate noun with possessive second person singular pronoun
p`amàyפְּעָמַיmy stepsThis is a tall order - plural noun object with first person possessive pronoun thus truncating the usual plural ending
b)imratekaבְּאִמְרָתֶךָin your promisewhat a secure place
v)àl tàshle+וְאַל תַּשְׁלֶטand let not have graspconjunction + negative particle + imperfect jussive
byבִּיover mepreposition + pronoun
kal )avenכָל אָוֶןany mischiefsubject of the prior verb
pdényפְּדֵנִיpreserve meimperative
mé`osheqמֵעֹשֶׁקfrom the oppressionpreposition + construct as object
)adamאָדָםof a humanrest of the construct
v)eshmrahוְאֶשְׁמְרָהand I will keepqal imperfect first person
piqvudeykaפִּקּוּדֶיךָyour preceptsplural possessed noun
paneykaפָּנֶיךָyour facesingular possessed noun
ha)érהָאֵרpyrehiphil - from the fire of creation - let there be light
b`àbdekaבְּעַבְדֶּךָon your servantyou can do this one
vlàmdényוְלַמְּדֵנִיand teach meand this one
)et xuqeykaאֶת חֻקֶּיךָOh your statutesthe 'Oh' is not needed!
pàlgéy màyimפַּלְגֵי מַיִםpouring streamsthese flowing waters remind us of Psalms 1, 42, 46
yardvuיָרְדוּdescend fromdescending - flowing - running down like the dew of Hermon in Psalm 133
`éynayעֵינָיmy eyesclear grammar, right?
`àl lo) shamrvuעַל לֹא שָׁמְרוּthat they do not keepthere is no because here - the preposition is simpler
tvoratekaתוֹרָתֶךָyour instructionteaching or instruction is preferable to law

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Psalm 27 - a reflection

I recently updated my translation of Psalm 27, our lectionary psalm on Sunday. I am still in favour of terse poetry when translating Hebrew. But that doesn't stop the elaboration of the prayer. I have coloured what may be keywords in the psalm. These are words that bind the thought of the psalm together. They are often repeated in patterns - so stop. look. and listen. as you 'read'. (Also see the link below to Neale's commentary now fully online and rich in detail of the reception history of the psalms within Christendom.)

of David
This is a song of the beloved for the gifts known in a complex and troubled world
my light and my deliverance
whom will I fear?
the strength of my life
whom will I dread?
Do we need the copula - an endless progression of forms of the verb 'to be'?  Does the translator have to force one reading of the text? (It is common for the translator to spell out one of many possible ways of combining nouns in Hebrew verbless clauses. This is sometimes more a paraphrase than a translation. It is always a choice.)
in drawing near to me
 to break
to eat even my flesh
my troublers and my enemies
I used 'break' to allude to psalm 2 - 'you will break them with a rod of iron'. Also reflecting on the Eucharist, break and eat show the king absorbing the evil brought against him.
they - to me
they stumbled and fell
You can make one sentence out of these 6 lines as in the traditional translation (When the wicked, [even] mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.) but why not pause and savour the construction? The pronoun 'they' is explicit and the construction 'to me' is repeated. Here is the warning not to eat the Eucharist lightly. (See the comment on this verse in the link to Neale below where this idea is also expressed in the Gallican tradition.)

If an army against me is armed
my heart will not fear
if war arises against me
in this I - even I will trust
'this' is unspecified as to its antecedent. Is it the confidence of verse 1 or does it refer to the armies armed against me? I have repeated the 'I' since the pronoun is (again unnecessarily) explicit in the Hebrew.
One thing I have desired from יְהוָה
 that thing I will seek
that I may live in the house of יְהוָה
all the days of my life
to gaze on the beauty of יְהוָה
 and to reflect in his temple
What in his temple will I reflect? Or is the gloss 'inquire' better? I chose reflect because of the visual sense of the prior word and the 'seek' is already suggesting determined inquiry.
for he will treasure me in his booth in a day of evil
he will hide me hidden in his tent
on a rock he will raise me up
Some degree of concordance is required to show the poet's use of language even in translation - so I have chosen 'hide' for those roots related to hide and treasure for the other (re treasure compare Exodus 2:2-3 and Song 7:13 - the word is also a theme in Job. See my brief and incomplete word study on cover, secret, hide, conceal, withdraw.)
and now my head will be raised up above my enemies surrounding me
and I will offer in his tent sacrifices of joy
Sacrifice and offering from the one who is raised up. I wonder if people have used this as anticipation of the intercession of the risen Jesus as described by the letter to the Hebrews. (See what you can find in J. M. Neale 4 volume commentary on the Psalms, primitive and medieval writers and from the various office books and hymns of the Roman, Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Gallican, Greek, Coptic, Armenian, and Syriac Rites. Online and open at the right page here.)
I will sing and I will give praise to יְהוָה
Hear יְהוָה
my voice
I will call
have mercy on me and answer me
The encounter is heart to heart and face to face.
You said to my heart
seek my face
even your face יְהוָה
I will seek

do not hide your face from me
do not push your servant away in anger
Notice how hide surrounds this part of the text. I always look for such repetition in prose and poetry.
There is a little motet by Farrant based on this verse.

You became my help
you will not leave me and you will not forsake me
O God of my deliverance
for my father and my mother forsake me
but יְהוָה
will gather me
I did not use salvation but deliverance here and above. I like salvation but it is so talked about that we cannot hear its impact. Deliverance followed by trouble is the outer envelope of this psalm. Evil turns up once in the middle too itself surrounded by the seek-hide paired sequence.
Teach me יְהוָה
your way
and lead me in a plain path for the sake of my watchers
do not give me to the throat of my troublers
for false witnesses are set against me breathing violence
Who are the players in this psalm: the troublers, the enemies, the watchers, the false witnesses? (The watchers as a word occurs 5 times only and all these are in the psalms. That gloss for (shurar) שורר is in BDB  page 1004 but is not noted in my Hebrew-Latin concordance. The KJV renders the word as enemies - but what sort of enemies? Plug it into Google translate and see what you get.)
...what if I had not believed I would see the goodness of יְהוָה
in the land of the living?
One could see life and living as another word pairing.
wait on יְהוָה
be resolute and he will assure your heart
so wait on יְהוָה