[b-hebrew] ELeM - Dumb, Silence, unable to speak?
Ben and Jo Crick
ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Sat Jan 25 19:16:08 EST 2003
On Sat 25 Jan 2003 (17:38:40 +0100), watts-westmaas at zonnet.nl wrote:
> ALEPH-LAMED-MEM: ELeM - I am finding it difficult to know who has
> translated the verses from PSALM 56:1 and PSALM 58:2 most accurately.
> These are the only two places where the root 'ALEPH-LAMED-MEM' is
> pronounced ELeM. In my dictionary the word: 'ELem' is defined in hebrew
> as: 'SILENCE' or 'NO ABILITY TO SPEAK'. I then wonder why we have the
> word 'ILeM' (used in about 10 places). In Psalm 56:1 e.g. there just
> as many variations from:
> The dove of silent distances, the distant dove of silence, the dove of
> distant oaks, the silent dove in the distance, just to mention a few. I
> have the same problem with Psalm 58:2.
> Concerning Psalm 58:2 - I find difficult to understand precisely what
> the psalmist was trying to convey - in hebrew of course.
Trevor Petersen has already given you an answer; I hestitate to add to what
he has written, but if I dare:
In Psalm 56:1 your word appears to be part of the name of the tune to which
the Miktam was to be sung: "set to 'The Dove on Far-off Terebinths'".
We are familiar in our hymn-books with the tunes having names.
In Psalm 58:1 the tune is "Do not Destroy" 'aL-Ta$:XeT. Your word 'eLaM in
verse 2 is often repointed 'eLiM, "gods" or "mighty lords" (see NRSV margin).
So "Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods [mighty lords]? Do you
judge people fairly?". Judges are often called 'eLiYM or 'e:LoHiYM in the
Bible: see Psalm 82 especially. Psalm 58 is a prayer for vengeance against
these unjust judges.
Revd Ben Crick BA CF, and Mrs Joanna (Goodwin) Crick
<ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
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