Friday, May 6, 2011

Side by side

How to remember and how to hear when one psalm references another. Psalm 70 has the inscription that matches psalm 38, to remember. But Psalm 70 is a short psalm and a reminder of psalm 40.
Psalm 40

יֵבֹשׁוּ וְיַחְפְּרוּ יַחַד
מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשִׁי לִסְפּוֹתָהּ
יִסֹּגוּ אָחוֹר וְיִכָּלְמוּ
חֲפֵצֵי רָעָתִי
15
let them be ashamed and disappointed together
for seeking my life to snatch it away
let them be driven back and be humiliated
that delight in my hurt
יָשֹׁמּוּ עַל עֵקֶב בָּשְׁתָּם
הָאֹמְרִים לִי הֶאָח הֶאָח
16
let them be desolate, foot firmly planted in their shame
those saying to me, hah! hah!
יָשִׂישׂוּ וְיִשְׂמְחוּ בְּךָ כָּל מְבַקְשֶׁיךָ
יֹאמְרוּ תָמִיד יִגְדַּל יְהוָה אֹהֲבֵי תְּשׁוּעָתֶךָ
17
let all those seeking you sing and let them be glad in you
let those loving your salvation say continually great is יְהוָה
וַאֲנִי עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן
אֲדֹנָי יַחֲשָׁב לִי
עֶזְרָתִי וּמְפַלְטִי
אַתָּה אֱלֹהַי אַל תְּאַחַר
18
but poor am I and needy
my Lord plans for me
my helper and the one who secures me
you my God, you will not delay

Psalm 70
It looks as if the poet has added verse 1 and 5 (both strongly related to each other)  around an existing psalm. The poet changed the name of God and added a vav and removed three words. Otherwise verses 2 to 4 are identical to verses 15-17. Perhaps it was a redactor - but I wonder are there clues here to the way in which they thought about rhythm and prosody?

לַמְנַצֵּחַ
לְדָוִד
לְהַזְכִּיר
אֱלֹהִים לְהַצִּילֵנִי
יְהוָה לְעֶזְרָתִי
חוּשָׁה
1For the leader
of David
to remember
O God to deliver me
יְהוָה to help me
hurry
יֵבֹשׁוּ וְיַחְפְּרוּ מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשִׁי
יִסֹּגוּ אָחוֹר וְיִכָּלְמוּ
 חֲפֵצֵי רָעָתִי
2let them be ashamed and disappointed for seeking my life
let them be driven back and be humiliated
 that delight in my hurt
יָשׁוּבוּ עַל עֵקֶב בָּשְׁתָּם
הָאֹמְרִים הֶאָח הֶאָח
3let them be desolate, foot firmly planted in their shame
those saying, hah! hah!
יָשִׂישׂוּ וְיִשְׂמְחוּ בְּךָ כָּל מְבַקְשֶׁיךָ
וְיֹאמְרוּ תָמִיד יִגְדַּל אֱלֹהִים אֹהֲבֵי יְשׁוּעָתֶךָ
4let all those seeking you sing and let them be glad in you
and let those who love your salvation say continually great is God
וַאֲנִי עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן אֱלֹהִים
חוּשָׁה לִּי עֶזְרִי וּמְפַלְטִי
אַתָּה יְהוָה אַל תְּאַחַר
5but poor am I and needy O God
hurry to me my help and my deliverer
you יְהוָה will not delay


The KJV does not preserve in English the very close match in the Hebrew in some of the verses.

Psalm 40
let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.
Psalm 70
let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.
Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.
This is a common request of the elect, also occurring in similar senses in Psalms 35:4, 35:26-27, 71:13, 83:17, 129:5. They are not all so similar but it is tricky to find them. The pair in psalm 35 are clearly a frame in that psalm though not exact. Several of its words in verse 4 match those above in psalm 40 and 70.
יֵבֹשׁוּ וְיִכָּלְמוּ
מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשִׁי
יִסֹּגוּ אָחוֹר
וְיַחְפְּרוּ
חֹשְׁבֵי רָעָתִי
4
let them be ashamed and humiliated
for seeking my life
let them be turned back and disappointed
planning my hurt

At present, I have been perhaps 90% concordant in my choices of words around these areas:
בושׁ is shame related, חפר disappoint, כלם humiliated or disgraced or dishonour, hmm too many and I used disgrace for קלה, this word would be comical as parched or roasted in its context - roasted with disease. Maybe I should use ignominy. (At least it is not considered a spelling error.) [I have repaired this. Clarity is greatly improved from psalm 4 to 109 on this subject. Humiliation is the word. ]

I don't know how far I will push word for word. It depends on some thoughts I cannot articulate fully.