[b-hebrew] Unpointed

Jason Hare jaihare at gmail.com
Wed Jun 16 23:53:20 EDT 2010


On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 6:11 AM, Steve Miller <smille10 at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Here are a few that I consider to be mistakes in the Masoretic pointing:
> Ps 23:6b  לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים  וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית־יְהוָה
> As it is vowelled, the MT Hebrew text means "I will return", but that does not make sense with the preposition "in". Therefore no one translates it "I will return". Instead, they amend the consonantal text to say "I will dwell". The same MT consonants without modification mean "I will rest" if vowelled differently.
> I think it means "and I will rest in the house of the Lord for the length of days"

I wouldn't disagree. Instead of reading "shavti", it should surely
read "shivti" ("my dwelling" from lashevet). I've always wondered why
it says "shavti" in the first place. There can be no advantage to this

> Ps 16:2 The MT Hebrew with vowels says "You (2nd person feminine singular) said to Jehovah ...". This doesn't make sense because there is no female antecedent for "You". The Hebrew verb "said" could be 2nd person masculine if vowelled differently. I think that when the Masoretes added the vowels to this word, they made it feminine so that it could not refer back to "my God" in v1, for that would make for two "God's" in their eyes: my God in v1 talking to Jehovah in v2. They dared not alter the sacred consonants, so all they could do by adding the vowels was to make it feminine.
> KJV translates it "My soul, you said to the Lord", but there is no other place in the Bible where "my soul" is added.
> I think the meaning is "my God" in v1 is speaking to Jehovah, similar to Ps 110:1 where Jehovah speaks to "my Lord".

You're assuming that Ps 110:1 and Ps 16:2 share a similarity because
of what? In the case of 110:1, we have YHVH speaking to the king of
Israel, in quotation by those who who recite the psalm and called
David "my lord". There is no reference to YHVH calling another person
"lord" - in other words, it doesn't say "YHVH said to *his* lord" but
"to *my* lord" (which implies another speaker). Certainly Ps 16:2 does
not have the psalmist calling out to God that He called another person
"my lord"! Is that what you're suggesting?

> Ps 110:3 The last phrase, "I have begotten You" is vowelled in the MT to say, "Your childhood". I believe that the meaning here is "I have begotten You", not "Your childhood" because:
> 1. The LXX translated this word as "I have begotten You".
> 2. The consonants here are exactly the same as Psalm 2:7.
> 3. "Your childhood" does not make sense here. It is usually translated as "Your youth", but the word here is "childhood", elementary school age, not "youth".
> It is a hard verse to translate in any case. My current attempt is:
> Your people are free will offerings in the day of Your army in the splendor of consecration from the womb.
> Since the dawn, in your place is the dew. I have begotten you.
> If someone has other suggestions, I would be glad to hear them.

Occam's Razor should be applied here. Your translation creates more
problems than solutions.

The speaker is directing his praise to the king of Israel, whom the
people willingly serve and go into battle for, as willing sacrifices.
To have the speaker shift suddenly so that God is portrayed as
speaking does little to solve anything in the verse. "Yours is the dew
of your youth" would refer to the king's lasting vigor, which is
expressed in power and his strength in battle.

The traditional Jewish understanding is that this psalm was composed
(by David or for David) to be sung by the priests in honor of King
David, who is referred to as "my lord", commanded to take his seat at
the right hand of God (that is, the throne of Jerusalem) and offered
the inheritance of his enemies. The psalm speaks of the destruction of
the enemies of Israel and their complete ruin.

Jason Hare
Rehovot, Israel

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