[b-hebrew] Psalm 36:2
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Dec 22 12:21:14 EST 2006
To propose a translation of verses 2 through 5:
Declaration of the rebellious about the wicked, there is no dread of
God before his eyes, for he causes to be smooth in his eyes unto him
to those who find his perversion, to his hater. The expressions of his
mouth are hypocrisy and waylaying, he abandoned to discern to do well.
He reckons wickedness upon his bed, he sets himself up upon a way that
is not pleasing, he does not reject that which is not pleasing.
Let's not discuss his politics, just his character, namely that wicked
man Mr. William Clinton (his wife Hillary is equally wicked). But he
is very smooth. Did you notice when he was caught in his dalliance
with Monica Lewinsky, how smoothly he deflected criticism, even to
question what "is" means? He is easy to hate (which also is wrong
according to Biblical standards). His actions, and the reactions of
many of those who hate him, caused me to look more closely at
Scripture, and I learned a lot: about Scripture, about his wickedness,
and about the intellectual shallowness of much of American
Now with a concrete example before our eyes, let's look back at these verses.
Verse 2 can be understood that the rebellious is talking about the
wicked, not necessarily to the wicked. Such is one definition of the
prefixed lamed on the word "wicked", a definition that is much broader
than the English "to".
Verse 3 the Hebrew uses infinitives where in English we would use
other verbal forms. Also is "find" an infinitive verb, or a prefixed
lamed on a participle with a noun understanding? The same with "hate"?
Don't be afraid to change the dots when those dots interfere with
Poetry is always hard to read, which is why I always hated it, even in
grade school. It makes it worse when we are dealing with a language
that is no longer spoken, and has been forgotten to a large extent.
One of the reasons I hated poetry as a child was that it often uses
terms in unusual, though still correct, contexts and meanings.
Biblical Hebrew poetry is no different. That is why we need to
consider a broader set of meanings when considering Psalms than only
the most common ones.
Verses 4 and 5, when taken in context with verse 2, indicates that the
rebellious is talking about the wicked, as indicated concerning verse
Going back to the concrete example above, the loudest voices
condemning President Clinton most often were those whose actions and
words indicated that they themselves are not Christian, that they
themselves are rebellious. They were those who hated Clinton. Clinton
is a wicked man because of his actions, not because that is something
innate to his personhood. When Clinton thought he was being smooth to
those who found his perversion and who hated him, it only caused those
who hated him to hate him more. I admire the Psalmist who was able
4000 years ago to encompass in four verses much of the politics of the
Clinton years. With his wife now running for president, it is not
Sorry for bringing in American politics, it was just the quickest to
remember and most widely known example that I could think of to
illustrate these verses. Other than that illustration, I will
entertain no more discussion of politics on this list (in other words,
if anyone tries to defend that wicked man, I will not answer). Also to
those on this list who are Jewish, please do not take offense, as I am
writing from a context of a so-called "Christian" milieu generally,
and there is no intent to malign you, or anyone, personally. The
latter takes getting to know a person personally, not just in the
context of an online discussion.
Karl W. Randolph.
On 12/19/06, JBarach at aol.com <JBarach at aol.com> wrote:
> BHaverim --
> Any suggestions for the translation of Psalm 36:2 (in the Hebrew text, i.e.,
> the verse after the title)?
> The opening words ("a declaration/oracle of rebellion") are unusual, since
> it's normal to have the second word in this construction be the name of the
> person making the declaration (e.g., "an oracle of Yahweh" or "an oracle of
> David"). It's possible, I suppose, that Rebellion is here personified and is
> the one making the declaration.
> The next phrase may mean "belonging to the wicked" or "by the wicked" (on
> the lines of "by David" in the title), so that it's a declaration of the
> rebellion which belongs to or is committed by the wicked. Or it could be a
> declaration by Rebellion (personified) *to* the wicked person, as if Rebellion is
> his god (comparable to "an oracle of Yahweh").
> But then we get "within my heart." That's the MT. I realize that some
> Hebrew manuscripts have "his heart," so that it's possible to take this a
> statement within the heart of the wicked man. Maybe.
> But is it possible (with some translations) to take this as an oracle which
> is within the heart of the Psalmist? That is, an oracle ABOUT the rebellion
> of the wicked man? That would be a different use of the "oracle of..."
> construction, which normally involves a word indicating the speaker, not a word
> indicating the subject.
> Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
> John Barach (541) 531-2906
> Pastor, Reformation Covenant Church (CREC)
> 706 Beekman Avenue
> Medford, OR 97501
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