Saturday, April 7, 2012

What's the best way to partition Psalm 78?

I have the Monet fully laid out end to end. I will be spending the next year throwing different colours at it or repartitioning various psalms to maximize the visibility of recurrence, and finding and changing bits and pieces. As I do this, I will be muttering through the psalms becoming more conversant with the language. The colour I am applying right now is light blue, the colour of theology. Fortunately I just found a new acquisition at the UVic library that I mentioned - Rendtorff. Rolf. It has some very nice sections.  This is a Monet - but not too much blue please.

Do let me know if you can assist with the painting.

Here's bits and pieces of Psalm 78 - just the tables. I had originally tested 9 parts - 8 verses each and compared the parts to see if there was a fully concentric structure. There are hints. The whole poem is framed by people--Jacob--Israel - an Olympic ring structure. There are some other long distant circles: Ephraim (9 and 67), Egypt, Zoan (12,43), still to sin (17, 32) on 8-verse boundaries. But the 8 verse groupings seem arbitrary. They do not need to anticipate the obvious 8-verse groups of Psalm 119.  Terrien has 1-2, Part 1, 3-8, Part 2, 9-17, Part 3, 18-28, Part 4, 29-40, Part 5, 41-51, Part 6, 52-63, Part 7, 64-72. He gives no justification. My justification for the following is that it seems to me to maximize the visibility of the recurrence.

The psalm is for continuity between the generations (v1-10 are bound by instruction - not to be thought of as 'law' in a legal sense.) Equipped and kiss are homonyms. Ephraim is equipped through love. But he is not ready. How will we learn? How will we be equipped? Is it sufficient to learn second-hand by rote?

Like the book of Job, this psalm is a parable (v2). This leaves us open to apply the history of Israel as parable to ourselves. Such an application includes slavery, escape, complaint, provocation, exile and restoration, even the unresolved tension of diaspora, a condition that is common to all peoples. The focus on Judah points to a restoration of only the southern kingdom.

Any thoughts? The following looks promising to me. I am going to write it up as a centrepiece. I would happily share my thoughts with any who care to take on this puzzle. It has to make sense as an aid both for composition and memorization.

Selected recurring words in relative order (1 to 10)

Word and gloss * first usage123456789101234VsRoot
האזינה listen to
1אזן
תורתי my instruction
1תורה
אזנכם your ears
1אזן
פי my mouth
1פה
פי my mouth
2פה
אשׁר which
3אשׁר
ונדעם and known
3ידע
ואבותינו and our ancestors
3אב
ספרו recounted
3ספר
לא not
4לא
מבניהם from their children
4בן
לדור to the generation
4דור
אחרון to follow
4אחר
מספרים recounting
4ספר
אשׁר which
4אשׁר
ויקם he raised
5קום
ותורה and instruction
5תורה
שׂם he set
5שׂום
אשׁר which
5אשׁר
* צוה he commanded
5צוה
אבותינו our ancestors
5אב
להודיעם to make known
5ידע
לבניהם to their children
5בן
ידעו will know
6ידע
דור the generation
6דור
אחרון to follow
6אחר
בנים the children
6בן
יקמו will arise
6קום
ויספרו and recount to
6ספר
לבניהם their children
6בן
וישׂימו so they might set
7שׂום
ולא and not
7לא
* ומצותיו and his commandments
7צוה
ולא and not
8לא
כאבותם like their ancestors
8אב
דור a generation
8דור
דור a generation
8דור
לא not
8לא
ולא and not
8לא
בני the children of
9בן
לא not
10לא
ובתורתו and in his instruction
10תורה

Selected recurring words in relative order (11 to 20)

Word and gloss * first usage123456VsRoot
ונפלאותיו and his wonders
11פלא
פלא a wonder
12פלא
* בקע he split
13בקע
מים waters
13מים
* יבקע he split
15בקע
צרים rocks
15צור
במדבר in the wilderness
15מדבר
מים waters
16מים
* היוכל is able
19יכל
במדבר in the wilderness
19מדבר
צור a rock
20צור
מים water
20מים
* יוכל is he able
20יכל

Selected recurring words in relative order (21 to 32)

Word and gloss * first usage1234567891012VsRoot
אף anger
21אף
עלה ascended
21עלה
בישׂראל against Israel
21ישׂראל
לא not
22לא
האמינו they did believe
22אמן
ולא and not
22לא
ממעל from above
23עלה
שׁמים heaven
23שׁמים
* וימטר and he rained
24מטר
לאכל to eat
24אכל
שׁמים heaven
24שׁמים
אכל ate
25אכל
להם among them
25להם
לשׂבע to satiation
25שׂבע
בשׁמים in the heavens
26שׁמים
* וימטר and he rained
27מטר
ויאכלו and they ate
29אכל
וישׂבעו and were sated
29שׂבע
ותאותם and their desires
29אוה
להם to them
29להם
לא not
30לא
מתאותם to their desires
30אוה
עוד while
30עוד
אכלם their food
30אכל
ואף and the anger of
31אף
עלה ascended
31עלה
ישׂראל Israel
31ישׂראל
עוד still
32עוד
ולא and not
32לא
האמינו did believe
32אמן

Selected recurring words in relative order (33 to 48)

Word and gloss * first usage123456789VsRoot
ימיהם their days
33יום
* הרגם he slew them
34הרג
ושׁבו and they turned
34שׁוב
ויזכרו and they remembered
35זכר
כי for
35כי
לא not
37לא
ולא and not
37לא
ולא and not
38לא
* ישׁחית he did destroy
38שׁחת
להשׁיב turned
38שׁוב
ולא and not
38לא
ויזכר for he remembered
39זכר
כי that
39כי
ולא and not
39לא
ישׁוב it does return
39שׁוב
וישׁובו and they turned back
41שׁוב
לא not
42לא
זכרו they did remember
42זכר
יום the day
42יום
אשׁר --
42אשׁר
אשׁר that
43אשׁר
* ותשׁחיתם and he destroyed them
45שׁחת
* יהרג he slew
47הרג
בברד with hail
47ברד
לברד to the hail
48ברד

Selected recurring words in relative order (49 to 59)

Word and gloss * first usage123456VsRoot
ישׁלח he sent
49שׁלח
אפו his anger
49אף
עברה fury
49עבר
משׁלחת by sending
49שׁלח
לאפו for his anger
50אף
לא not
50לא
באהלי in the tents of
51אהל
ולא and not
53לא
באהליהם in their tents
55אהל
ישׂראל Israel
55ישׂראל
לא not
56לא
ויתעבר and was furious
59עבר
בישׂראל in Israel
59ישׂראל

Selected recurring words in relative order (60 to end)

Word and gloss * first usage1234567891012VsRoot
משׁכן the tabernacle in
60שׁכן
אהל the tent
60אהל
שׁכן where he dwelt
60שׁכן
ויתן and he gave
61נתן
צר trouble
61צר
לחרב with the sword
62חרב
עמו his people
62עם
* ובנחלתו and with his inheritance
62נחלה
* בחוריו his young men
63בחר
לא not
63לא
בחרב by the sword
64חרב
לא not
64לא
צריו his foes
66צר
עולם ever
66עלם
נתן he gave
66נתן
באהל the tent of
67אהל
ובשׁבט and the sceptre of
67שׁבט
לא not
67לא
* בחר he did choose
67בחר
* ויבחר but he chose
68בחר
שׁבט the sceptre of
68שׁבט
לעולם forever
69עלם
* ויבחר and he chose
70בחר
לרעות to shepherd
71רעה
עמו his people
71עם
* נחלתו his inheritance
71נחלה
וירעם and he shepherded them
72רעה
Or this division
Selected recurring words in relative order (33 to 42)

Word and gloss * first usage12345VsRoot
ימיהם their days
33יום
ושׁבו and they turned
34שׁוב
ויזכרו and they remembered
35זכר
כי for
35כי
לא not
37לא
ולא and not
37לא
ולא and not
38לא
להשׁיב turned
38שׁוב
ולא and not
38לא
ויזכר for he remembered
39זכר
כי that
39כי
ולא and not
39לא
ישׁוב it does return
39שׁוב
וישׁובו and they turned back
41שׁוב
לא not
42לא
זכרו they did remember
42זכר
יום the day
42יום
Selected recurring words in relative order (43 to 56)

Word and gloss * first usage12345678VsRoot
* במצרים in Egypt
43מצרים
ישׁלח he sent
45שׁלח
בברד with hail
47ברד
* ויסגר and he imprisoned
48סגר
לברד to the hail
48ברד
* ומקניהם and their herds
48קנה
ישׁלח he sent
49שׁלח
אפו his anger
49אף
משׁלחת by sending
49שׁלח
לאפו for his anger
50אף
לא not
50לא
* הסגיר he imprisoned
50סגר
* במצרים in Egypt
51מצרים
באהלי in the tents of
51אהל
ולא and not
53לא
* קנתה purchased
54קנה
באהליהם in their tents
55אהל
לא not
56לא
Selected recurring words in relative order (57 to end)

Word and gloss * first usage1234567891012345VsRoot
ויתעבר and was furious
59עבר
* וימאס and he refused
59מאס
בישׂראל in Israel
59ישׂראל
משׁכן the tabernacle in
60שׁכן
אהל the tent
60אהל
שׁכן where he dwelt
60שׁכן
ויתן and he gave
61נתן
צר trouble
61צר
לחרב with the sword
62חרב
עמו his people
62עם
* ובנחלתו and with his inheritance
62נחלה
התעבר he was furious
62עבר
* בחוריו his young men
63בחר
לא not
63לא
בחרב by the sword
64חרב
לא not
64לא
צריו his foes
66צר
עולם ever
66עלם
נתן he gave
66נתן
* וימאס and he refused
67מאס
באהל the tent of
67אהל
ובשׁבט and the sceptre of
67שׁבט
לא not
67לא
* בחר he did choose
67בחר
* ויבחר but he chose
68בחר
שׁבט the sceptre of
68שׁבט
לעולם forever
69עלם
* ויבחר and he chose
70בחר
לרעות to shepherd
71רעה
עמו his people
71עם
ובישׂראל and in Israel
71ישׂראל
* נחלתו his inheritance
71נחלה
וירעם and he shepherded them
72רעה