[b-hebrew] Genesis 8:22

Rochelle Altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Sun Apr 30 07:38:55 EDT 2006


You are on track. The structure of the song (a Psalm is a song, NOT a poem) 
is of extreme importance.

If you wish verification of the relevance of structure to meaning, see 
pages 168-175 of _Absent Voices_. On pages 172-173, among other 
things,  you will find a componential analysis matrix illustrating the 
links between structure and meaning of Psalm 23.


>On 4/27/06, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:
> > > > HH: The word  MW(D ("time") clearly can refer to the seasons of
> > > >  nature.  In Jer 8:7 it refers to the migration season for birds. In Ps
> > > > 104:19 it refers to nature's seasons:
> > >
> > >I think you are mistranslating Psalm 104.  The word mw(d very often
> > >refers to the full moon holiday.
> >
> > HH: A full moon holiday is foreign to the context
> > of the natural world of Psalm 104 [...]
> >
> > HH: What do wild goats care about a full moon
> > holiday? What do beasts of the forest care about
> > it? What do lions care about it?
>I have developed an analysis method of poems that uses the structure
>of the poem as direction in understanding the context.  I think it works
>out quite successfully, as I will demonstrate here, but I guess you could
>argue it is irrelevant to the poem.  I think it lets me understand the poem
>without any preconceptions about the poem's intent, letting the structure
>speak for the poem.  It focuses on the use of triple parallelisms vs. dual
>parallelisms.  Triple parallelisms are more important, and sequences of
>triple parallelisms much more so.  In this psalm, there are 7 cases of
>triple parallelisms.  Two of them mark the beginning and end of the
>psalm.  There are also two cases of pairs of triple parallelisms.  One of
>them is vs. 24-25, which clearly praise God.  The other case is vs. 14-15,
>which praises how the creation permits the earth to bring the food to man.
>In these two cases we seem to be able to discern the main theme of the
>poem: praising god for creating the earth suitable for man.  In other words,
>this poem isn't just a praise of God for creation, but specifically highlights
>how the creation enables man to survive.  With this theme in mind, we can
>now interpret the vs 16-23.  Here, we see the birds, the mountain goats,
>and the lions, in the natural scheme of things.  But the climax would
>appear to be in the final verses of this section, vs. 22-23, which show how
>man has a way to make his bread in this natural scheme of things.  This
>is even a logical continuation to the previous section which praises the
>creation of the earth as able to give bread.  Now, it praises the creation
>of the natural order that allows man to utilize and bring that bread into
>actual reality.  In this natural scheme of things the stars would seem to
>be out of context. However, when one reads how the natural scheme
>divides the earth, one realizes their role: birds - treetops, mountain
>goats - hills and mountains. lions and forest beasts - earth in the dark
>of the night.  man - earth in the daytime.  Without the sun, man could
>not make his bread because it is too dangerous to go outside in the
>dark of the night to sow the fields and reap the harvest.  This is quite
>clearly the role of the sun in these verses.  Without the moon, man
>could not go outside in the nights at all, but thanks to the moon, man
>can go outside and celebrate in the light of the full moon.  The full moon
>is therefore directly relevant to the context.
> > HH: Here is a small piece of writing about this part of Psalm 104:
> > http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1995/PSCF6-95Schafran.html
>Thanks for this article.  Evidently, I disagree on how the structure
>of the poem is to be interpreted, and the conclusions that are to be
>derived from such structure.  A key difference is that I use pure
>structure of the psalm as a guide to understanding the psalm,
>while the structure that Dr. Philip Schafran notes is based on his
>interpretation of the meanings and how to divide the various topics.
>I will have to read this entire article more closely.
> > HH: The moon is related to the cycle of day and
> > night, to the cycle of months, to the tides. It
> > seems to do other things. Here are a few quotes
> > from people writing on this topic (note
> > especially the second quote):
>20th and 21st century physics and astronomy is not relevant to
>Biblical studies.  Arguing that the moon has a role in seasonal
>changes does not prove any point.  You need to show that this
>seasonal change is intended here.
> > >As for Jeremiah, I had considered the possibility that the terms in
> > >Jer 8:7 refer to constellations.  The main argument is the joint
> > >terms sws and (gwr, which appear jointly in places I consider to
> > >be astrological contexts.  This example is a rebuke of astrology.
> >
> > HH: The obvious meaning of the passage stands:
> >
> > Jer. 8:7 Even the stork in the sky knows her
> > appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and
> > the thrush observe the time of their migration.
> > But my people do not know the requirements of the
> > LORD.
>"Seasons" is obviously not an "obvious" meaning of the
>passage, except maybe to you.  Furthermore, "the swift
>and the thrush" probably refers to a term that denoted one
>bird.  Unlike the "swift" and "stork", there are species of
>doves that are found year round in Israel and so the dove
>seems to be an odd choice for a verse that speaks of how
>the birds properly observe their migration.  In any case,
>translating the word as "seasons" is not necessary in the
>context of the verse.  The other instances that speak of
>"moed" as a counterpart to "new moons" would seem to
>work against such a translation.  This is why "appointed
>times" is a better translation and that in this particular case
>it may be a "seasonal appointed time" is irrelevant to the
>meaning of the word.
>Yitzhak Sapir
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

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