[b-hebrew] sheeth in Ps 73:6

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Oct 11 21:07:18 EDT 2008


On Sat, Oct 11, 2008 at 9:13 AM, Harold Holmyard
<hholmyard3 at earthlink.net>wrote:

> Karl,
> >>
> >> HH: If a word is long-established by the lexicons and is not problematic
> >> in the contexts, two appearances is not a sufficient basis to start
> >> questioning the word's meaning. The lexicons have reasons for assigning
> >> that meaning. Now, the varying translations in the LXX and Syriac would
> >> be reasons to ask about the meaning.
> >>
> >>
> >
> > There is another issue at hand here. When a word is used several times in
> contexts where the meaning is clear, then used twice in poetry where words
> are often used in unique ways for effect, then should not we continue with
> the meaning where it is clear, and try to understand the reason for
> the effect in the poetry?
> >
> HH: Scholars agree that the word occurs only twice in the Bible. It is
> inadmissible to ignore the vowel pointing evidence when it seems
> consistent. The two places where it  like this show a probability of
> similar meaning. So they do not appear to be accidental errors.
> >
Unless I am wrong on the understanding of the Psalm 73 use (and I could be
wrong), I see these as two different uses of words from the same root: Psalm
73 a verb, and Proverbs 7 a noun. And being from the same root, both words
have similar meanings, not something so different as garment verses the
action of putting on, putting forth (an action).

As far as the pointing, I long ago gave up on it. Where it is by meaning
right, those dots are visual clutter on the page, and where they are wrong,
they're a distraction. Either way, I prefer not to have them.

> >> HH:  The LXX Psalms translator may not have known what the word meant.
> >> There is a lot that the LXX translators did not know. A word's meaning
> >> is not only determined by its usage in the one or two contexts in which
> >> we find it in the Hebrew OT. It is also determined by cognate usage, and
> >> there is a cognate word in Syriac that means "appearance." You don't
> >> clothe yourself with an "appearance," however, but with a garment
> >> (Psalms). The LXX uses a word EIDOS that means "outward appearance" in
> >> Proverbs. But a woman with the outward appearance of a harlot probably
> >> had the dress of a harlot. That gives the outward appearance.
> >>
> > Karl: But the actions also give the outward appearance. And since $YT as
> a noun
> > refers to the action, ...
> >
> HH: Do you notice the clothing words in the context: necklace and wrap
> oneself?
> >
Starting with the example in Proverbs, the context of verses 11 and 12 have
nothing to do with physical appearance, but with actions. That strengthens
the argument that $YT in verse 10 also refers to an action. Look at the

In Psalm 73, there is no mention of "wrap oneself" and even the word
"necklace" actually comes from the root to ornament, not specifically a
necklace.  So no, again, not specifically clothing related terms.

> >>> [Steve Miller] How much authority do you give to the MT vowels?
> >>>
> >> HH: I give the MT vowels a lot of authority. The reading tradition is
> >> supposed to go back to the first or second century.
> >>
> > Karl: But you also admit that they are sometimes wrong, and what's to
> prevent them
> > being wrong in this verse too?
> >
> HH: There is no real reason to assume they are wrong. Why would they be
> wrong in two places (Prov 7:10) where the texts suggest a similar word
> meaning? It is more likely that they are correct than that there are two
> random errors at texts that suggest a similar meaning.
> >
I didn't assume they were wrong, only after analyzing the verses I came to
the conclusion that they were wrong. After analyzing the verses, I came to
the conclusion that the texts suggest similar but different meanings, one as
a verb, one as a noun.

> >>>>
> >>> [Steve Miller] Mal 2:16 seems to be the only one, and obviously does
> not
> >>>
> >> use the word "shayith" to mean garment, but "leboosh". Mal 2:16 shows
> that
> >> "garment of violence" is a possible meaning of Psalm 73:6, but no more.
> Just
> >> because a verse or even verses somewhere in the Bible say something does
> not
> >> mean that another unrelated verse says the same thing when it uses
> >> different words. I think this is a common problem in Old Testament
> >> translation. They make verse A mean the same thing as verse B without
> paying
> >> enough attention to the meaning of the words in verse A.
> >>
> >> HH: It is a common, easily understandable image. Similar ideas occur
> elsewhere. There are the "garments of vengeance" in Isa 59:17, and there is
> the "garment of praise" in Isa 61:3.
> >>
> >> Karl: Steve Miller's criticism still stands, as both HH's examples use
> different words, even different from each other.
> >>
> HH: Prov 7:10 and Ps 73:6 both support the understanding of the word as
> "garment." As "garment" the word has the possibility of use that
> numerous biblical texts show, where garments are associated with some
> quality, whether positive or negative. This suits Ps 73:6 to a tee,
> since the phrase is parallel with a "necklace" of "pride," very similar
> imagery.

But it doesn't fit the context nor grammar.

And as I mentioned above, Steve Miller's criticism is still valid for your
other examples.

> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard

As usual, we are disagreeing based on how we learned Hebrew. I learned
simply from reading the text over and over and over again, you from studying
about the text, what others have said about it and getting your PhD. You
learned to trust the authorities who went before you, I merely had Gesenius,
some access to BDB, an analytical lexicon (no longer have, it fell apart)
and a concordance, beside the text itself. As I got more familiar with the
text, I kept finding more and more places where the meanings given in
Gesenius and BDB didn't fit the contexts I was reading. I also found cases
where the Masoretic points didn't fit the contexts either, and the
concordance allowed me to see where these authorities were inconsistent. As
a result, I learned to mistrust human authorities.

Have you ever read the text completely through, just cover to cover?

Now you come claiming that the authorities got it right. Again. I am looking
at the context and saying that the authorities got it wrong.

Yours, Karl W. Randolph.

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