[b-hebrew] Psalm 80:10-12
markeddy at adams.net
Fri Sep 30 14:41:21 EDT 2005
In Psalm 80:10 the first verb PiNNiYTha is 2nd person, with AeLoHiYM CBaAOTh
from v. 8 as the subject: "You cleared [the ground] for it. Everyone seems
to agree on this.
But the second verb WaThTha$Re$ is translated as 2nd person by LXX, Luther,
KJV, and older translations, so that it reads: "You made it take [deep]
root," while most newer translations read it as 3rd person: "it took [deep]
All translations take the third verb WaThThMaLLe( as 3rd person: "it filled
the land", though in form it also could be 2nd person: "You filled the
Similarly in verse 12 the verb Th$aLLaCh could be read either as 2nd person:
"You sent out its boughs" (with Luther) or as 3rd person: "It sent out its
boughs" (everybody else).
Verse 13 complains with a 2nd person verb PaRaCTha, "Why did You [God] break
down its walls."
Since the point of these verses seems to be the contrast between what God
has done for Israel previously and what is happening to Israel at the time
the psalm was written, it makes sense to me to take all these verbs as
second person, addressed to God and describing God's actions.
What is there in the grammar or context that leads most
translators/commentators to choose to take these verbs as third person
rather than second person? Or is this more art than science?
I have looked at all three biblical instances of the hiphil of $R$ (Job 5:3;
Ps. 80:10; Is. 27:6). And the sense "form a root system" (HALOT) or "send
out roots" is something that people, plants, or God can do.
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