[b-hebrew] pelesheth hithro'a'i

Gabe Eisenstein gabe at cascadeaccess.com
Thu Jul 3 18:45:01 EDT 2008

Well I had so much fun with yorenu that I'm going to ask for help with 
another word in a Biblical quotation from Sanhedrin 105a. The word is 
hithro'a'i (hay-taf-resh-ayin-ayin-yud), found in Psalms 60:8. The 
translations go in two directions:

1) God is helping David defeat the Philistines, along with the Moabites 
and others mentioned in the verse. These translations make pelesheth 
(the word before hithro'a'i) the object of the verb, as in "Over 
Philisita I shout in triumph".

2) For some strange reason God is helping the Philistines. These 
translations make pelesheth the subject of the verb, as in "Philistia, 
triumph thou because of me".

Why God would help the Philistines is unexplained, and the reading would 
have no contextual support, except that the Talmudic text portrays David 
taking offense at the verse, citing his enmity toward Philistines. This 
only seems to make sense under the second reading. Commentators say that 
the following line, where God says "it is my duty to make them friends 
with each other", refers to David becoming friends with Doeg and 
Ahitophel. But this seems contorted to me. It seems more straightforward 
to think that it is David and the Philistines who must be made friends here.

Maybe this time we can stick to the grammar without arguing my perhaps 
idiosyncratic interpretation. Or maybe not.

Gabe Eisenstein

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list