[b-hebrew] An interesting translation of Psalms 143:2a

George F. Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Tue Aug 24 03:08:19 EDT 2004


On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 01:39:29 -0400 "George F. Somsel" <gfsomsel at juno.com>
writes:
> On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 11:01:29 +0900 moon at mail.sogang.ac.kr writes:
> > > 
> > > Hi,
> > > 
> > > Boyarin, in his book "A Radical Jew", translated Psalms 143:2a 
> as 
> > follows (p.119):
> > > 
> > >  Do not reproach your servant with statue, [for no living being 
> 
> > will be justified 
> > >                                              before you]
> > > 
> > > The usual translation is: do not enter into judgement with your 
> 
> > servant.
> > > 
> > > The original is:
> > > 
> > >   AL-TABOAH BEMISFAT ETH-YABDEQA.
> > > 
> > > 
> > > BDB says about ETH:
> > > 
> > >  
> > > ETH marks an accusative in other relations than that of
> > > direct object to a verb: (a) with verbs of motion (very rare)
> > > denoting the goal. 
> > > 
> > > So AL-TABOAH BEMISFAT ETH-YABDEQA can be taken to mean:
> > > 
> > >   Do not come unto your servant with statue.
> > > 
> > > So, Boyarin's rendering seems possible. On the other hand, verb 
> 
> > BOH seems to 
> > > go with prep. BE more  naturally. BDB says about BE:
> > > 
> > >  with verbs of motion, when the movement to a place results in 
> > rest in it,
> > >  INTO: after BAH, NATAN, SHALAQ.
> > > 
> > > Though  MISHFAT is not a place, but a process, I think entering 
> 
> > into a process
> > makes sense as much as entering into  a place. So, the traditional 
> 
> > translation 
> > clearly makes sense. 
> > 
> > I am interested in Boyarin suggested his translation because of 
> the 
> > way
> > 143:2b is quoted in Rom 3:20a:
> >  
> >  No flesh will be justified from works of Torah before him.   
> > 
> > Paul adds "from works of Torah" to the original. But if we take 
> > Psalms 143:2a
> > as Boyarin suggests, this addition makes sense. In the context, 
> > Psalms 143:2b
> > can be taken to mean "no living being will be justified before you 
> 
> > [
> > JUDGED WITH STATUE]". From this, it seems natural for Paul to 
> write
> > " No flesh will be justified from works of Torah before him."
> > 
> > Any comments?
> >  
> >  
> > > Moon Jung
> > > Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea 
> __________________
> 
> First, your tranliteration is very misleading.  Here is the text.
> 
> W:)aL_T.fBoW B:Mi$:P.f+ )eT_(aB:D.eKf C.iY Lo)_YiCD.aQ L:PfNeYKf 
> KfL_XfY
> 
> Apparently he is deriving "statue" from Mi$P.f+ which makes no sense 
> to
> me.  Mi$P.f+ signifies "judgment", "custom", "case [legal]" or even 
> the
> "pouch of judgment" which contained the Urim and Thumim.  Moreover, 
> what
> in the world would "Do not reproach your servant with statue" mean?  
> One
> of the first duties of a translator is to make the text 
> comprehensible --
> assuming that the text made sense in the first place.  I would say 
> that
> he fails miserably here.
> 
> george
> gfsomsel
> _______________________________________________

To which Moon replied,

> Such a blunder. Yes, it should have been "statute".
> So sorry for that.
_____________

Moon,

Don't be concerned since we've clarified the matter.  Just don't ask me
to communicate in Korean (at least until I've had a chance to study it). 
I'm sure whatever I wrote would be total nonsense.

This makes better sense.  We are at least in the right domain.  I still,
however, have reservations regarding his translation.  Mi$Pf+ is
generally used for cases and decisions, not statutes.  The statutes on
which judgments rest are generally MiCWfH or XoQ.

george
gfsomsel


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