[b-hebrew] Psalm 80:10-12

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Sat Oct 1 07:35:54 EDT 2005

Hi Mark,

It looks to me like $ara$ being in hiphil is the key to the switch to 
third person.  An agent can do the planting and cultivating, but then 
the plant itself must $ara$ (hiphil).  For instance, in Isa 27:6, 
Ja`acob doesn't make something take root by farming.  The Lord does the 
watering, and then Ja`akob himself takes root (within the metaphor that 
compares the people to plants).

I don't think this contradicts the New Testament figure in which man 
waters, but the Lord adds the increse.  In this NT figure a man is the 
farmer (instead of the Lord as in Psa 80 or Isa 27).  The Lord adds the 
increase by having empowered the plant, literally a believer, to grow. 
We still have a farmer agent and an active plant.


Mark Eddy wrote:
> In Psalm 80:10 the first verb PiNNiYTha is 2nd person, with AeLoHiYM CBaAOTh
> from v. 8 as the subject: "You cleared [the ground] for it. Everyone seems
> to agree on this.
> But the second verb WaThTha$Re$ is translated as 2nd person by LXX, Luther,
> KJV, and older translations, so that it reads: "You made it take [deep]
> root," while most newer translations read it as 3rd person: "it took [deep]
> root."
> All translations take the third verb WaThThMaLLe( as 3rd person: "it filled
> the land", though in form it also could be 2nd person: "You filled the
> land."
> Similarly in verse 12 the verb Th$aLLaCh could be read either as 2nd person:
> "You sent out its boughs" (with Luther) or as 3rd person: "It sent out its
> boughs" (everybody else).
> Verse 13 complains with a 2nd person verb PaRaCTha, "Why did You [God] break
> down its walls." 
> Since the point of these verses seems to be the contrast between what God
> has done for Israel previously and what is happening to Israel at the time
> the psalm was written, it makes sense to me to take all these verbs as
> second person, addressed to God and describing God's actions.
> What is there in the grammar or context that leads most
> translators/commentators to choose to take these verbs as third person
> rather than second person? Or is this more art than science?
> I have looked at all three biblical instances of the hiphil of $R$ (Job 5:3;
> Ps. 80:10; Is. 27:6). And the sense "form a root system" (HALOT) or "send
> out roots" is something that people, plants, or God can do.
> Mark Eddy

B. M. Rocine
Living Word Chruch
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13026
(W): 315.437.6744

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