[b-hebrew] Psalm 23

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Feb 19 11:01:39 EST 2013


On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 8:35 PM, Rev. Bryant J. Williams III <
bjwvmw at com-pair.net> wrote:

> **
> 2.    Regarding the "shepherd." Besides the use of the "evil/wicked
> shepherds" in Ezek 34, I would add Jeremiah 23, Zechariah 11 - The Two
> Shepherds, Zechariah 13 - The Struck Shepherd and Scattering of the Sheep. …

I deliberately avoided mentioning the verses where the prophets mention the
bad shepherds.

I see Jesus’ use of calling himself “the good shepherd” as a way of calling
himself God in a way understandable to a first century Jewish context. This
is just one of several ways that Jesus did so. While Jesus appropriated
these verses to refer to himself, did that reflect the understanding of the
prophets when they wrote those words?

> 3.    $BB listed in HALOT and BDB as the Polel of $UB. Thus, "restore,"
> but I find it interesting that instead of "He restores my soul (life)" it
> appears  that "He returns my soul (life or life force)" seems to fit the
> idea of "repentance" as $UB is normally translated in the prophets (Ezekiel
> especially) referring to one who turns from evil and turns to God and the
> "path of righteousness." I do not know, but the jury is still out. I will
> look at the references you gave.

I listed every use I found using an electronic search. HALOT and BDB are
wrong for at least some of the uses. There are some times where $BB CANNOT
mean “restore” or “return”.  In my practice of lexicography, if some
occurrences of a word cannot have a certain meaning, then none of the times
does it have that meaning. The only exceptions are when we find homographs
in the Bible, of which there are more than a few (mostly in derived words),
of which how many were homonyms in spoken Biblical Hebrew?

One of the advantages of reading the whole Tanakh from cover to cover is
that eventually one runs into verses where one scratches his head and says
“This can’t be right” referring to the meanings given in Gesenius, BDB and
HALOT. Or one twists himself up as a pretzel trying to make sense of a
verse. As for me? I took the easy way out saying that these other
dictionaries are wrong when looking at the words in their contexts.

> 4.    That is what I was thinking. I know that the majority of exegetes
> within the Christian exegetical/theological tradition interpret it with
> Christ as the Shepherd,

I never did, but then I’m not a theologian.

I trust theologians with the Bible only little higher than I trust lawyers
with the law. Sorry.

> but I need to see how the other side, the LXX, the Jewish interpretative
> tradition, 2nd Temple, DSS, and Rabbinic would have taken it.

The problem with all of these is that they all were from a time long after
Biblical Hebrew ceased to be a natively spoken language. Secondly, as far
as I know, all of them also were theologians.

> When preparing a sermon or exegetical paper, I first want to understand
> not only the genre (in this poetry/wisdom literature), but also the
> language, grammar, historical,  cultural context, etc., before moving into
> the application. I do not want to "spiritualize" it when the context does
> NOT allow for that. Application does NOT mean interpretation. That is one
> rule of hermeneutics that is frequently violated and leads to all source of
> trouble and misapplication.

I agree with you on this. In fact, most of the times I disagree with
theologians is when they take certain practices and/or teachings as
normative, then make their understanding of the text fit their doctrines.

> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
Karl W. Randolph.
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