[b-hebrew] Psalm 68

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 15 15:45:53 EST 2005

             Psalms 68Gene Gardner 
                "  Psalms 68 v 4or 5 (depending on text) has been interpreted in different ways:         4 Sing to God, sing praise to His name; lift up a song for Him who rides in the deserts, by His name Jehovah; yea, exult in His presence.         5 Sing unto God, sing praises to His name;   extol Him that rideth upon the skies, whose name is the LORD; and exult ye before Him.         4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.         The Hebrew:   syrv l`lhym zmrv smv $lv lrkb bjrbvt byh smv vjlzv lpnyv         In the three translations above, we find deserts, skies, and heavens as the meaning of the Hebrew. The DSS Bible also translates it as deserts. What is the consensus on which is more accurate, and why?  "
     Well, it is important here to remember that this is part of a a poetic text. The people who composed  and chanted it were not logicians; the people who transmitted it were not mathematicians. When paralleles occur in biblical poetry, as they often do, the different parts are meant to resemble each other, but they are not exactly mirror images, as some would hold.
    Therefore I would repond to you questions: there is no consensus as to the translation of the two verses; all three are acceptable, and one could offer  a few more.
     But a note on the famous LRKB B(RBWT ( larokhev ba'arvot  ) in v 5: In my view the origin of the phrase is unquestionably the Ugaritic "rider in clouds"; however not only was the deity shifted from Baal to Yahweh, but in this verse  the meaning too has shifted to "rider in the steppes/deserts". I say this simply because of the imperative "sollu" that prceeds it and means "pave the way " (check this with Akkadian) . There is no need to pave a way in the clouds.   
    Yet on the other hand, to return to my first point above, metaphorically this is possible, especially becuase of v 34 further in the Psalm.
    Thus I do not claim here to give a final answer, but to point out why for a concensus we shall perhaps have to wait for the return of the prophet Elijah who hopefully will solve all questions .

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