[b-hebrew] Ps 40:6

JBarach at aol.com JBarach at aol.com
Tue Oct 16 19:03:10 EDT 2007

B-Haverim --
Any suggestions on how to understand (and translate) the phrase at the end  
of the second line of Ps. 40:6?  
I've seen that line rendered "Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted  to 
you in order" (NKJV) or "reckoned up in order" (KJV), presumably taking ערך, 
 which has the root sense of laying something out or stacking something up, 
as  having to do with setting things out in order in words.  It's possible that 
 that's how the phrase is used in Job 32:14.  
Others take this phrase to refer to *comparison*: "There is no comparison  
with you!"  The context does suggest occasion for such a comment, given  that 
the previous verse speaks of those who are turning aside to "a lie" (i.e.,  a f
alse god).  But is this phrase ever used elsewhere for comparison?   The verse 
that is often cited as proof of this possibility is Isaiah 40:18, but  that 
isn't exactly this phrase!
With the addition of  אל, however, it seems that the phrase often has  to do 
with setting an army in order, arraying an army, against someone.   Even in 
Job 32:14, where it is words that are being laid out (in order), the  sense of 
opposition is still present.
Would it be correct, then, to understand the last half of this line as  
saying something like "There is no one arrayed against you" -- perhaps in the  
sense "No one can be arrayed against you (and succeed)?"  The whole line  would 
then be understood this way: "As for your thoughts toward us -- no one can  be 
arrayed against you (successfully)."  
Any help you could provide would be appreciated.  In particular, it  would 
help if any of you have the technology that allows you to list all the  passages 
where this verb is used with אל.  That's something I can't search  for on my 
computer and I'd like to be able to study those passages.

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