Questions about Psalm 46:10

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum sbfnet at
Fri May 5 10:59:52 EDT 2000

>On Wed, 03 May 2000 18:43:27   Fernando Arias wrote:
>I have some questions about on Psalm 46:10. The original Hebrew text 
>has the word HRPW (He,Resh,Pe,Waw) which is translated as "be still" 
>in the KJV, but Strong replaces it by raphah, RPH (Resh,Pe,He). My 
>questions are:
>1) Why does Strong replace the original word (HRPW)?
>2) Do both words (HRPW and RPH) have the same meaning?
>3) Do you agree  "be still" it's  a good translation? Why yes or not?
>Thanks in advance for your answers,

Dear Fernando Arias,

I hope that what ffollows answers your questions.
I can not say anything about Strong, which I do not use.
I would analyze Psa 46:11 as follows:

"Be still and know (perhaps better: in order to know, as an 
"indirect, or logically suboridnate imperative" according to 
Joüon-Muraoka § 116a) that I (and no one else!) am God, /  exalted 
among the peoples, / exalted in the earth!"

*harpû* is Imperative Hifil from *RPH*. In the Qal the verb means to 
become weak and it is said of someone who has no energy or courage. 
In the Hifil it means to let someone become weak, disheartened, or 
inactive. Though the verb has usually negative connotations, this is 
not the case in passages in which it is connected with seeing God's 
victory. Actually *harpû* is similar to *herep me' ap* "refrain from 
anger" (Psa 37:8) -- do not react. In the latter passage the 
addressed is invited to trust in God and wait to see his revenge not 
to react against evil people, rather to let God act.
Similarly in Psa 46:11: "Be still ("let yourselves remain inactive") 
in order that you may know that I am God." In the previous verse God 
is described as "the one who makes wars cease / to the end of the 
earth; / he shall break the bow, and shall shatter the spear, / while 
he shall burn the chariots with fire." I.e., the Israelites need not 
fear their enemies, nor prepare themselves to war with arms and 
political alliances; they only need to have faith in the Lord and 
remain inactive because He will crush the power of their enemies.

I think that this is also God's message at the Red Sea: "It is the 
Lord who will fight for you, while you shall be silent (taxarî$ûn)" 
(Ex 14:14), as well as the message of prophet Isaiah: "(To Ahaz) 
"Take heed and be quiet (*ha$qe+*), / do not fear..." (Isa 7:4); "(To 
the people) For thus the Lord God said, / the Holy One of Israel: / 
It is in converting (*coming back*) and resting (wanaxat) that you 
shall be saved, / in quietness  (beha$qe+) and trust shall be your 
strength" (30:15).

Peace and all good.
Alviero Niccacci

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