[b-hebrew] Ps 68

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman joel at exc.com
Sun Dec 18 10:49:54 EST 2005

I'm jumping in late, but when I translated this line, I noted the

``Pave the way1 for the one who rides where the sun sets2 --- his name
being Yah3 --- and rejoice before Him.''

1.  From the root s.l.l, to cast a highway.  Birnbaum's ``extol''
    reflects a common understanding of this word, an understanding
    that dates back to the Targum's translation of Ps. 68, ``lift up a
    song,'' from which this passage is taken.  But in light of the
    following ``the one who rides...,'' our translation of ``pave''
    seems much the more likely.  NRSV adds a footnote to their
    translation ``lift up a song:'' ``Or cast up a highway.''

2.  Aravot.  The idea presumably is that God rides his chariot on
    high, drawing the sun across the sky.  (We have a similar
    expression, ``rides off into the sunset,'' but the meaning is
    quite different.)  NRSV suggests, ``rides among the clouds.''

3.  A dubious translation, but one that attempts to understand the
    Hebrew: b'yah sh'mo, literally, in/with/etc. Yah his-name.  The
    Hebrew does not mean ``Yah is his name.''

The translation appears in Volume I of _My People's Prayer Book_.
"Birnbaum" is Philip Birnbaum's _HaSiddur HaShalem_.  NRSV is the New
Revised Standard Version translation.  

-Joel M. Hoffman

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