Friday, April 29, 2011

End, extreme, finish, complete, consume, terminate, cease, etc


In October 2007 I drew the above diagram while musing on the colour of complete. How strange! Now I am wondering again how to translate and with what variability the various words for complete, finish, end etc in the Psalter.

There are several words I am wrestling with. These decisions are subtle even if the obvious solution is chosen. It's amusing - I started with one word in psalm 67 and am now looking at 57 verses linked directly or accidentally with this one word, אפס.
וְיִירְאוּ אוֹתוֹ כָּל אַפְסֵי אָרֶץ
and all the ends of the earth will fear him

Some of what I have found is just accidental, some intentional - originally I had extremities instead of ends, but it's a different word, קצו, that I used elsewhere for extremity - and to use it here would make a link that may be acceptable but might make a false resonance.

Here is a related example: a word used only in the Psalter - and only five times. The AV, bless its heart, has five differing glosses for it: cease, fail, come to an end, perfect, perform.

Are these verses connected at all and what's the mot juste?  Or is there one? And should it differ as it does in the corpus of the Psalter from all other words in the Psalter?

Here they are - what word do I use?  I would like to avoid complete - my preferred gloss for תמם. I would also like to avoid end, too common and ambiguous in English.  I didn't throw in sock here or towel to make you laugh. What do you think of cease?  (Obviously one could chose two or even 5 different words - but what are we doing then? making the rest of the phrase mean what it must mean to fit our preconceptions of what God does?)

Well this fits mine - we pray that evil may cease and bang - within 5 psalms - the merciful one is ceased!
But then - alas I have already used ceased elsewhere - so it has to go to another synonym.

Sometimes I don't take this approach - but this one is a bone to gnaw on. (the phrase 'bring to an end' could be made to work). Hmmm Obliterate would work. And it's better than cease because it is explicitly transitive and not stative. Maybe it will also make us oblates or literate.
HebrewPsalm verseEnglish
יִגְמָר נָא רַע רְשָׁעִים
וּתְכוֹנֵן צַדִּיק
וּבֹחֵן לִבּוֹת וּכְלָיוֹת
אֱלֹהִים צַדִּיק
7.10Obliterate, please, the evil of the wicked
and steady the righteous one
and test hearts and vital centres
O God of righteousness
הוֹשִׁיעָה יְהוָה
כִּי גָמַר חָסִיד
כִּי פַסּוּ אֱמוּנִים
מִבְּנֵי אָדָם
12.2Save יְהוָה
for obliterated is the merciful
for vanished are the faithful
among the children of dust
אֶקְרָא לֵאלֹהִים עֶלְיוֹן
לָאֵל גֹּמֵר עָלָי
57.3I will call to God Most High
to God who obliterates over me
הֶאָפֵס לָנֶצַח חַסְדּוֹ
גָּמַר אֹמֶר לְדֹר וָדֹר
77.9has his loving-kindness ended in perpetuity?
a word from generation to generation obliterated?
יְהוָה יִגְמֹר בַּעֲדִי
יְהוָה חַסְדְּךָ לְעוֹלָם
מַעֲשֵׂי יָדֶיךָ אַל-תֶּרֶף
138.8יְהוָה will obliterate for my sake
יְהוָה your loving kindness is forever
do not let go the work of your hands
There and that's final! (per Google)