Hebrew, was Historiography! - Psalm 96:4
Peter_Kirk at SIL.ORG
Peter_Kirk at SIL.ORG
Fri Feb 19 17:28:29 EST 1999
I have realised that the following actually raises an interesting
point of Hebrew in Psalm 96:4 || 1 Chr 16:25.
NOWRF) HW.) (AL-K.FL-):ELOHIYM
He (YHWH) is awesome, or to be feared, "above" all (other) gods.
Need this mean (1), as Jonathan seems to take it, that all gods are
awesome, and Yahweh most of all - henotheism?
Or can it have the meaning (2) "He, rather than any of the other gods,
is awesome", i.e. the other gods are not awesome at all? In the latter
case there is a clear explanation in the next verse: those other gods
are just ):ELIYLIYM, lumps of metal - monotheism.
Or perhaps the meaning is quite different (3): "awesome to the gods",
"causing the gods to fear him" cf. Zep. 2:11 - though I suppose that
implies gods capable of experiencing awe or fear.
I would accept that the similar phrase in Psalm 89:8 is henotheistic,
but that verse does not explain the function of (AL after NOWRF), all
three meanings are possible there also.
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Historiography and Peter]
Author: yonsaf at beitberl.beitberl.ac.il at internet
Date: 18/02/1999 15:59
Peter Kirk wrote:
> How do you justify the rendering of ):ELIYLIYM in Psalm 96:5 as
> "godlets"? Surely it is clear, at least in Isaiah 2 and Leviticus,
> that this word means idols made by hand from precious metals, rather
> than any kind of spiritual or supernatural entity. Thus this verse is
> a strong statement of monotheism. The previous verse of course looks
> like henotheism when taken out of context, but verse 5 makes clear how
> it was meant by the psalmist.
Vs. 5 reads: "For YHWH is great and very praiseworthy, and more awesome than all
gods." Vs. 6 goes on to say: "For all the Gods of the nations are but godlets,
YHWH has made the heavens"
If this were a true monotheistic statement, it would have to have more punch tha
"YHWH is great...and more awesome thane all the gods". We would expect a flat
of their divinity, as we find in Deut. 4:35 or Is. 44:6. Saying that YHWH is
awesome" than all the (other) gods simply means that there ARE other gods, but
just don't measure up to YHWH. Hence my translation "godlets" in the following
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