Friday, November 4, 2011

Working on Psalm 71

I've been busy - so busy my blog doesn't even show up on my list of most frequently used pages!

If you can take time to read the following, I think you might agree that using recurrence as a means of deciding the higher level subdivisions of a longish psalm is helpful.  Smaller tables make it very easy to see the patterns. Verses 8-15 are a surprise to me but I suspect that for the long psalms I will see more of these patterns if I persevere in using the measuring rod I have.  And I think it is likely that I am also seeing the inner workings of the poetic mind of 2500 years ago.  So scan the psalm and glance at the patterns in the tables that follow.

Ashamed and your righteousness frame the poem as a whole. The content of the poem divides into 4 groups.

Verses 1-7: the poet expresses confidence to יְהוָה - this section is framed by refuge
Verses 8-15: framed by mouth and praise
Verses 16-18: framed by come and valour
Verses 19-24: framed by righteousness

Personally, I think recurrence is more objective than either parallelism or prosody in determining larger structures. For the tools see here.

Psalm 71 - the declarations of youth and age
בְּךָ יְהוָה חָסִיתִי
אַל אֵבוֹשָׁה לְעוֹלָם
1In you יְהוָה I take refuge
I will never be ashamed
בְּצִדְקָתְךָ תַּצִּילֵנִי
וּתְפַלְּטֵנִי
הַטֵּה אֵלַי אָזְנְךָ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנִי
2In your righteousness you will deliver me
and you will secure me
Incline to me your ear and save me
הֱיֵה לִי לְצוּר
מָעוֹן לָבוֹא תָּמִיד
צִוִּיתָ לְהוֹשִׁיעֵנִי
כִּי סַלְעִי וּמְצוּדָתִי אָתָּה
3be to me a rock
a habitation to go to continually
you have commanded that I be saved
for my cliff and my fortress you are

אֱלֹהַי
פַּלְּטֵנִי מִיַּד רָשָׁע
מִכַּף
מְעַוֵּל וְחוֹמֵץ
4O my God
secure me from the hand of the wicked
from the palm
from an unjust and sour person
כִּי אַתָּה תִקְוָתִי
אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה
מִבְטַחִי
מִנְּעוּרָי
5for you I wait
O Lord יְהוָה
from my trust
from my youth

עָלֶיךָ נִסְמַכְתִּי מִבֶּטֶן
מִמְּעֵי אִמִּי אַתָּה גוֹזִי
בְּךָ תְהִלָּתִי תָמִיד
6by you I have been supported from the belly
from the inner parts of my mother you yourself severed me
in you is my praise continually
כְּמוֹפֵת הָיִיתִי לְרַבִּים
וְאַתָּה מַחֲסִי עֹז
7I have become as a portent to many
for you are my strong refuge

יִמָּלֵא פִי תְּהִלָּתֶךָ
כָּל הַיּוֹם תִּפְאַרְתֶּךָ
8let my mouth be filled with your praise
every day your adornment
אַל תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי לְעֵת זִקְנָה
כִּכְלוֹת כֹּחִי אַל תַּעַזְבֵנִי
9do not cast me off in the time of old age
when my power is consumed do not forsake me

כִּי אָמְרוּ אוֹיְבַי לִי
וְשֹׁמְרֵי נַפְשִׁי
נוֹעֲצוּ יַחְדָּו
10for my enemies say of me
and watching for my being
they conspire as one
לֵאמֹר אֱלֹהִים עֲזָבוֹ
רִדְפוּ וְתִפְשׂוּהוּ
כִּי אֵין מַצִּיל
11saying God has forsaken him
pursue him and arrest him
for there is none to deliver

אֱלֹהִים אַל תִּרְחַק מִמֶּנִּי
אֱלֹהַי לְעֶזְרָתִי חוּשָׁה
12And your righteousness O God is to the heights
Who has done great things O God?
Who is like you
יֵבֹשׁוּ יִכְלוּ שֹׂטְנֵי נַפְשִׁי
יַעֲטוּ חֶרְפָּה וּכְלִמָּה
מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתִי
13Let the accusers of my being be ashamed and consumed
let them wrap themselves with reproach and humiliation
from seeking my hurt

וַאֲנִי
תָּמִיד אֲיַחֵל
וְהוֹסַפְתִּי עַל כָּל תְּהִלָּתֶךָ
14but I
continually will hope
and I will repeatedly add to all your praises
פִּי יְסַפֵּר צִדְקָתֶךָ
כָּל הַיּוֹם תְּשׁוּעָתֶךָ
כִּי לֹא יָדַעְתִּי סְפֹרוֹת
15my mouth will recount your righteousness
every day your salvation
for I do not know the counts

אָבוֹא בִּגְבֻרוֹת
אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה
אַזְכִּיר צִדְקָתְךָ לְבַדֶּךָ
16I will go in valour
O Lord יְהוָה
I will remember your righteousness yours alone
אֱלֹהִים
לִמַּדְתַּנִי מִנְּעוּרָי
וְעַד הֵנָּה אַגִּיד נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ
17O God
you have taught me from my youth
and till now I have announced your wonderful works
וְגַם עַד זִקְנָה וְשֵׂיבָה
אֱלֹהִים אַל תַּעַזְבֵנִי
עַד אַגִּיד זְרוֹעֲךָ לְדוֹר
לְכָל יָבוֹא גְּבוּרָתֶךָ
18and even to old age and grey haired
O God do not forsake me
till I have announced your arm to a generation
to all who come, your valour

וְצִדְקָתְךָ אֱלֹהִים עַד מָרוֹם
אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ גְדֹלוֹת אֱלֹהִים
מִי כָמוֹךָ
19And your righteousness O God is to the heights
Who has done great things O God?
Who is like you
אֲשֶׁר הִרְאִיתַנִי צָרוֹת רַבּוֹת וְרָעוֹת
תָּשׁוּב תְּחַיֵּנִי
וּמִתְּהֹמוֹת הָאָרֶץ
תָּשׁוּב תַּעֲלֵנִי
20who showed me many and evil troubles
you will turn and give me life
and from the abysses of the earth!
You will turn and make me ascend
תֶּרֶב גְּדֻלָּתִי
וְתִסֹּב תְּנַחֲמֵנִי
21you will increase my greatness
and you will surround and comfort me

גַּם אֲנִי אוֹדְךָ
בִכְלִי נֶבֶל
אֲמִתְּךָ אֱלֹהָי
אֲזַמְּרָה לְךָ בְכִנּוֹר
קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל
22Also I, I will give thanks to you
in this instrument of skin
in your truth O my God
I will sing a psalm to you on a harp
the Holy One of Israel
תְּרַנֵּנָּה שְׂפָתַי
כִּי אֲזַמְּרָה לָּךְ
וְנַפְשִׁי אֲשֶׁר פָּדִיתָ
23My lips will shout for joy
for I will sing a psalm to you
and my being which you have ransomed
גַּם לְשׁוֹנִי כָּל הַיּוֹם
תֶּהְגֶּה צִדְקָתֶךָ
כִּי בֹשׁוּ
כִי חָפְרוּ
מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתִי
24even my tongue every day
will meditate on your righteousness
for they are shamed
for they are disappointed
from seeking my hurt
Notes by verse
4the repeated from (mem) in verses 4 to 6 is accurate as to sound and structure.
16I have chosen words related to valiant, valour, and prevail for all words with the root גבר
22skin נבל (nbl) as instrument,I chose lute (also could be guitar, psaltery, etc), but here it seems like a joke, meaning the foolishness of the not senseless (נבל) skin of the poet, i.e. the instrument that is the body itself.
Selected recurring words (1-7)
Word and gloss * first usage1234567VsRoot
בך in you
1בך
חסיתי I take refuge
1חסה
ותפלטני and you will secure me
2פלט
והושׁיעני and save me
2ישׁע
היה be
3היה
תמיד continually
3תמיד
להושׁיעני that I be saved
3ישׁע
אתה you are
3אתה
פלטני secure me
4פלט
אתה you are
5אתה
אתה you yourself
6אתה
בך in you
6בך
תמיד continually
6תמיד
הייתי I have become
7היה
ואתה for you
7אתה
מחסי are my refuge
7חסה
Selected recurring words (8-15)
Word and gloss * first usage123456789VsRoot
פי my mouth
8פה
תהלתך your praise
8הלל
כל every
8כל
היום day
8יום
ככלות when is consumed
9כלה
תעזבני do forsake be
9עזב
אמרו say
10אמר
נפשׁי my being
10נפשׁ
לאמר saying
11אמר
עזבו has forsaken him
11עזב
יכלו and consumed
13כלה
נפשׁי my being
13נפשׁ
כל all
14כל
תהלתך your praises
14הלל
פי my mouth
15פה
יספר will recount
15ספר
כל every
15כל
היום day
15יום
ספרות the counts
15ספר
Selected recurring words (16-18)
Word and gloss * first usage1234VsRoot
אבוא I will go
16בוא
בגברות in valour
16גבר
ועד and till
17עד
אגיד I have announced
17נגד
עד to
18עד
עד till
18עד
אגיד I have announced
18נגד
יבוא who come
18בוא
גבורתך your valour
18גבר
Selected recurring words (19-24)
Word and gloss * first usage12345678VsRoot
וצדקתך and your righteousness
19צדק
אשׁר who
19אשׁר
גדלות great things
19גדל
אשׁר who
20אשׁר
ורעות and evil
20רע
תשׁוב you will turn
20שׁוב
תשׁוב you will turn
20שׁוב
גדלתי my greatness
21גדל
גם also
22גם
אזמרה I will sing a psalm
22זמר
לך to you
22לך
אזמרה I will sing a psalm
23זמר
לך to you
23לך
אשׁר which
23אשׁר
גם even
24גם
צדקתך your righteousness
24צדק
רעתי my hurt
24רע




No comments:

Post a Comment