Grammatical stuff in Psalm 95

Ben Crick ben.crick at
Fri Sep 1 16:16:08 EDT 2000

On Wed 30 Aug 2000 (09:31:40), dwashbur at wrote:
> 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.

 Dear Dave,

 What very interesting questions. I think it was Mowinckel who pointed out the
 Liturgical structure here:

 Verses 1 and 2 are the Call to Worship from the worship leader; verses 3-5 are
 the Response of the congregation, giving their strong reasons for thus singing
 joyfully unto the LORD.

 Verse 6 is a repeat call to worship; verse 7a is another shorter Response from
 the congregation.

 Verse 7b is the Prophet getting up to begin the Sermon: "Today, *if* you want
 to hear the voice of YHWH...." Here is not an anacoluthon, but an *ellipsis*.
 The apodosis is left unstated at this point. YHWH Himself then speaks through
 the mouth of his Prophet (verses 8-11). So translate 'iM in its usual meaning
 as the protasis "If...". The Sermon is an application of a pericope from the
 Wilderness Wandering story, from YHWH Himself.

> 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.

 IMHO the word 'a:$eR is a relative pronoun referring back to the twice
 repeated HeM W:HeM of verse 10, the nearest antecedent. Translate 'a:$eR here
 "To whom...". Maybe it should be 'a:$eR LaHeM, but the LaHeM has dropped out?
 This final oracle is likely the missing apodosis in the ellipsis ending verse

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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