Grammatical stuff in Psalm 95

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at
Thu Aug 31 19:42:40 EDT 2000

Dear Dave,

You write:

>There are a couple of particles in Psalm 95 that have me wondering
>about some things.  The first is )IM in v.7.  On the surface it makes
>sense, sort of: "Today if you will listen to his voice..."  However, the
>next several clauses are a direct oracle in first person, obviously
>from YHWH, so we end up with a rather harsh anacoluthon
>between v.7 and 8ff.  So I'm thinking, could we legitimately render it
>as an emphatic, i.e. "Today you will surely hear his voice: begin
>oracle here" so to speak?  The problem is that )IM seems to be
>used in this sense later on in v.11, but there it has its "normal"
>(whatever that means) emphatic use as a negative, "no way will
>this happen."  If that is the only emphatic use it has, then I would
>have to render v.7 "Today you will not listen to his voice."  That
>doesn't make sense.  If it were the common emphatic positive use,
>I would expect )IM LO) "you will surely hear his voice."  So I have a
>bit of a dilemma here.  Anybody have thoughts on this?

The men who wrote the psalms could function as prophets, and the prophets
sometimes moderated their speech between their own voice and that of the
Lord. They could speak one sentence as their own thought about the Lord and
the next sentence as a thought directly from of the Lord. This may be what
is occurring in Psalm 95:7-8. See for example, Isaiah 10:4-5.
>The other problem word I have is the ):A$ER at the beginning of
>v.11.  On the surface it appears to mean "therefore," but I'm not
>sure this is really an attested meaning of the word.  The LXX
>apparently read KA):A$ER, something along the lines of "they did
>not know my way, when I swore in my anger etc."  I have trouble
>making sense of that, too.  Any thoughts on this word would be
>very welcome, as well.

The ):A$ER in verse 11 probably functions as a relative pronoun
construction referring back to the H"M ("they") in verse 10. As a mere
connecting link, ):A$ER may need more than one word in translation.  BDB
gives "as to which" as an example. In Psalm 95:11 the idea might be
something like "as to whom." The verse could begin: "about whom I swore in
my wrath, 'They will never enter into my rest.'"

				Harold Holmyard

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