[b-hebrew] agent or patient in Psa. 33:12?

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed May 12 04:00:16 EDT 2004

Dear Michael:

The reason the traditional understanding is that God does the choosing is:

1) Context. The whole psalm is emphasizing God’s actions
2) Going from memory, men and nations are always God’s possessions, not the other way around.

In reading the unpointed text, there is the possibility that BXR בחר is a passive form, but that would leave the basic meaning of the verse unchanged. That would explain the lack of a B ב prefix for the object of BXR בחר .

At least this is how I read the verse.
Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: Deborah Millier <deborahmillier at yahoo.com>

> Dear B-Hebrew Listers,
> In Psa. 33:12 we read:
> WYHL)  HWHY – R$)  YWGH  YR$)
> It is usually translated something like:
> “Happy is the nation whose God is YHWH,
> The people whom He has chosen as His inheritance.”
> Now, what’s to prevent me from here understanding YHWH
> as “affected patient” (i.e. the chosen) and Ha-AM as
> “agent” (i.e. the one doing the choosing)?  This would
> produce a translation something like:
> “Happy is the nation whose God is YHWH,
> The people that has chosen Him to be its inheritance.”
> This rendition:
> 1) makes perfect (better?) sense in context.
> 2) maintains synonymous parallelism.
> 3) has attested meaning in other portions of the
> TaNaKH.
> As always, your feedback is appreciated.  Thanks in
> advance.
> Sincerely,
> -- Michael Millier
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