Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Call and answer, appeal and response, vocal engagement in the Psalms

In English, of course, we have many synonyms for appeal: call, listen, lend an ear, bend an ear, ask, supplicate, cry out, cry for help. And lots more that one could find with an online thesaurus.  Similarly in Hebrew there are several related words. In both languages, they all may have slightly different nuances. It might not be that the same word in Hebrew should be used for the same word in English. But perhaps, the nuance of Hebrew can be mapped synonym by synonym to English, or perhaps not. Who really knows since we have no native speakers of ancient Hebrew any more, certainly none who also speak English.

For some time I have been thinking of writing on the call and answer theme in the Psalms. It is so fundamental to our thinking about engagement with another. The actual response, the actual call, and their circumstances might be different in every case. How would we think about each case? How about our own situations?

One of the earliest monographs that I read on the psalms was on the word group around refuge: Creach, Jerome F. D. (1996). Yahweh as Refuge and the Editing of the Hebrew Psalter. I remember this as a very clear introduction and I would probably get much more from it now than I did when I first read it. Refuge is not call and answer - but these two areas of interest are strongly related in the Psalms. The raw data - considering call-answer and refuge, a grouping I am now calling 'engage', is listed below. It is too much to take in all at once.

Notice though a few initial points:
  • ask and give and refuge are defined in the first two psalms, themselves the introduction to the whole Psalter. The tree gives its fruit in its time; the anointed is given the inheritance of the nations; and it is in יהוה (the LORD referred to by Name) that there is refuge.
  • If you trace ask, (do a find ctrl-f in your browser to help see the occurrences of any word) you will find that ask has a certain ambivalence. It is possible to ask in rebellion or in mockery. Ask is positive in Psalms 2, 21 and 27, negative in Psalm 78 and its reflection in 105, positive in Psalm 122 (where it is usually translated pray), and negative in 137.
  • then we have those introductory individual psalms (3 to 7) where the individual learns that refuge is both holy and necessary, the holy being unapproachable at first, but a mandatory given the invitation.
  • In Psalm 9, a new word in this semantic field appears: a crying out, (צעק) a word that is not used again till Psalm 34, then not again till the two preparatory psalms (77 for the massive redemption history in 78, and 88 for great lament of 89). This cry out anticipates the opening of Book 5, Psalm 107, where it recurs for each example of trouble and rescue. It almost matches the spelling of appeal (זעק) in Psalm 142, this one spelled with a zayin and the first with a tsade. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.
  • One wants to note then, given the first appeal to refuge in Psalm 7 (from the anger of Psalm 6), where else does the psalmist claim such refuge?  Several psalms (11, 16, 18, 31 [my], 46 [our], 57, 71, 91, 144) have refuge in their first verses. Refuge may be for the individual or for the people. Notice, if you know the psalms in another translation, that refuge does not appear in the psalm of Moses (90), Lord thou has been our refuge (Coverdale). אֲדנֹּי מעוֹן אַתה היִיתָ לּנוּ. Well, I would not translate ma`on habitation, as refuge, especially when it is a word game in the psalm, a play on נעַֹּם (no`am) in verse 17, pleasure.
  • the words I want to consider are the hear-answer pair, and the vocal response of the silent God (consider the voice of Psalm 29 in response to the plea of Psalm 28). It appears that hear+answer is more common in the Davidic framework for the whole Psalter and in the Psalms with David in the inscription even in the middle books of the Psalter. In fact, it is most common in Book 1 (Psalms 1-41). The claiming of an answer is stronger in the beginning of Book 1 than at the end of Book 5. But praise is dominant in Book 5 where the appeal for an answer is also strong. Curious again...
  • Psalm 138, the beginning of the final David collection, also reflects the memory of a response In the day I called and you answered me... I reflect on the last verse of Psalm 97 as a result of this all to brief set of notes: be glad in יהוה you righteous ones and give thanks for the remembrance of his holiness.
  • Psalm 139 needs no appeal, for the poet is in the presence and knows it. 
  • Psalm 145:19 claims the promise of hearing their cry
  • In the final praises (146-150), the poet calls the reader to answer יהוה with thanksgiving, sing a psalm to our God upon a harp - and that harp may be interpreted (though not the same word in this case) as our own instrument as Donne so delightfully noted in his poem that I quoted last week.
Word usage for roots assigned to engage: call, answer, etc + refuge
Word and gloss * first usage12345678910123ChRoot
יתן gives [its fruit in its time]
1.3נתן
שׁאל ask [of me]
2.8שׁאל
ואתנה and I give [you the nations]
2.8נתן
חוסי who take refuge [in him]
2.12חסה
קולי my voice
3.5קול
אקרא I call
3.5קרא
ויענני and he answers me
3.5ענה
* בקראי when I call
4.2קרא
ענני answer me
4.2ענה
חנני be gracious
4.2חנן
* ושׁמע and hear
4.2שׁמע
* ישׁמע will hear
4.4שׁמע
* בקראי when I call
4.4קרא
נתתה you have given [gladness in my heart]
4.8נתן
האזינה give ear to
5.2אזן
* לקול to the voice of
5.3קול
שׁועי my cry
5.3שׁוע
תשׁמע you will hear
5.4שׁמע
* קולי my voice
5.4קול
חוסי who take refuge
5.12חסה
* חנני be gracious to me
6.3חנן
שׁמע has heard
6.9שׁמע
קול the voice of
6.9קול
שׁמע hears
6.10שׁמע
* תחנתי my supplication
6.10חנן
חסיתי [in you] I take refuge
7.2חסה
תונה is chanted
8.2נתן
צעקת the outcry of
9.13צעק
חננני Have mercy, be gracious to me
9.14חנן
לתת to give
10.14נתן
שׁמעת you have heard
10.17שׁמע
אזנך your ear
10.17אזן
חסיתי I take refuge
11.1חסה
ענני answer me
13.4ענה
קראו they do call
14.4קרא
מחסהו is their refuge
14.6חסה
יתן will be given
14.7נתן
נתן he does loan
15.5נתן
חסיתי I take refuge
16.1חסה
תתן you will permit
16.10נתן
שׁמעה hear
17.1שׁמע
* האזינה Give ear to
17.1אזן
קראתיך I have called you
17.6קרא
תענני you answer
17.6ענה
* אזנך your ear
17.6אזן
שׁמע hear
17.6שׁמע
חוסים those who take refuge
17.7חסה
* אחסה I will take refuge
18.3חסה
אקרא I will call
18.4קרא
אקרא I call upon
18.7קרא
* אשׁוע I cry for help
18.7שׁוע
ישׁמע he hears
18.7שׁמע
קולי my voice
18.7קול
* ושׁועתי and my cry
18.7שׁוע
באזניו into his ears
18.7אזן
* יתן gives
18.14נתן
קלו his voice
18.14קול
* החסים who take refuge
18.31חסה
* ויתן and he gives
18.33נתן
* ותתן and you gave
18.36נתן
* נתתה you have given
18.41נתן
* ישׁועו they will cry for help
18.42שׁוע
ענם he did answer them
18.42ענה
לשׁמע hearing by
18.45שׁמע
אזן ear
18.45אזן
ישׁמעו they will hear
18.45שׁמע
* הנותן gives
18.48נתן
נשׁמע is heard
19.4שׁמע
קולם their voice
19.4קול
* יענך answer you
20.2ענה
יתן may he give
20.5נתן
משׁאלותיך your requests
20.6שׁאל
* יענהו he will answer
20.7ענה
* יעננו let answer us
20.10ענה
קראנו our call
20.10קרא
נתתה you have given
21.3נתן
שׁאל he asked
21.5שׁאל
נתתה you have given
21.5נתן
* שׁאגתי my roaring
22.2שׁאג
אקרא I call
22.3קרא
תענה you do answer
22.3ענה
זעקו they appealed
22.6זעק
* ושׁאג and roaring
22.14שׁאג
עניתני you have answered me
22.22ענה
ובשׁועו but when he cried
22.25שׁוע
שׁמע he heard
22.25שׁמע
וחנני and be gracious to me
25.16חנן
חסיתי I take refuge
25.20חסה
לשׁמע to proclaim
26.7שׁמע
בקול with a voice of
26.7קול
וחנני and be gracious to me
26.11חנן
שׁאלתי I have asked
27.4שׁאל
שׁמע hear
27.7שׁמע
קולי my voice
27.7קול
אקרא I will call
27.7קרא
וחנני and be gracious to me
27.7חנן
וענני and answer me
27.7ענה
תתנני do give me
27.12נתן
אקרא will I call
28.1קרא
שׁמע hear
28.2שׁמע
קול the voice of
28.2קול
תחנוני my supplication
28.2חנן
בשׁועי when I cry
28.2שׁוע
תן give
28.4נתן
תן give
28.4נתן
שׁמע he has heard
28.6שׁמע
קול the voice of
28.6קול
תחנוני my supplication
28.6חנן
קול the voice of
29.3קול
קול the voice of
29.4קול
קול the voice of
29.4קול
קול the voice of
29.5קול
קול the voice of
29.7קול
קול the voice of
29.8קול
קול the voice of
29.9קול
יתן will give
29.11נתן
שׁועתי I cried
30.3שׁוע
אקרא I will call
30.9קרא
אתחנן I continue supplication
30.9חנן
שׁמע hear
30.11שׁמע
וחנני and be gracious
30.11חנן
חסיתי I take refuge
31.2חסה
אזנך your ear
31.3אזן
חנני be gracious to me
31.10חנן
שׁמעתי I have heard
31.14שׁמע
קראתיך for I have called you
31.18קרא
לחסים for those who take
31.20חסה
שׁמעת you heard
31.23שׁמע
קול the voice of
31.23קול
תחנוני my supplication
31.23חנן
בשׁועי when I cried
31.23שׁוע
בשׁאגתי in my roaring
32.3שׁאג
נתן giving
33.7נתן
ישׁמעו will hear
34.3שׁמע
וענני and he answered me
34.5ענה
קרא calls
34.7קרא
שׁמע hears
34.7שׁמע
יחסה that takes refuge
34.9חסה
שׁמעו hear - listen
34.12שׁמע
ואזניו and his ears
34.16אזן
שׁועתם their cry for help
34.16שׁוע
צעקו tza! they cry out
34.18צעק
שׁמע hears
34.18שׁמע
החסים who take refuge
34.23חסה
לקראת the call of
35.3קרא
ישׁאלוני they inquire of me
35.11שׁאל
יחסיון take refuge
36.8חסה
ויתן and he will give
37.4נתן
משׁאלת the requests
37.4שׁאל
חונן gracious
37.21חנן
ונותן and giving
37.21נתן
חונן he is gracious
37.26חנן
חסו they take refuge
37.40חסה
שׁאגתי I have roared
38.9שׁאג
אשׁמע will hear
38.14שׁמע
שׁמע does hear
38.15שׁמע
תענה will respond
38.16ענה
נתתה you have given as
39.6נתן
שׁמעה hear
39.13שׁמע
ושׁועתי and to my cry
39.13שׁוע
האזינה give ear
39.13אזן
וישׁמע and he heard
40.2שׁמע
שׁועתי my cry
40.2שׁוע
ויתן and he gave
40.4נתן
אזנים ears
40.7אזן
שׁאלת you did require
40.7שׁאל
תתנהו you will give him
41.3נתן
חנני be gracious to me
41.5חנן
חנני be gracious to me
41.11חנן
בקול with a voice of
42.5קול
קורא calling
42.8קרא
לקול to the voice of
42.8קול
באזנינו with our ears
44.2אזן
שׁמענו we have heard
44.2שׁמע
תתננו you have given us
44.12נתן
מקול from a voice of
44.17קול
חן graciousness
45.3חנן
שׁמעי hear
45.11שׁמע
אזנך your ear
45.11אזן
מחסה refuge
46.2חסה
נתן he gives
46.7נתן
בקולו with his voice
46.7קול
בקול with a voice of
47.2קול
בקול with the voice of
47.6קול
שׁמענו we have heard
48.9שׁמע
שׁמעו hear
49.2שׁמע
האזינו lend an ear
49.2אזן
אזני my ear
49.5אזן
יתן give
49.8נתן
קראו they call
49.12קרא
ויקרא and he called
50.1קרא
יקרא he will call
50.4קרא
שׁמעה hear
50.7שׁמע
וקראני and call on me
50.15קרא
תתן you assign
50.20נתן
נתן Nathan
51.2נתן
חנני Be gracious to me
51.3חנן
תשׁמיעני make me to hear
51.10שׁמע
ואתנה or else I would give it
51.18נתן
קראו they do call
53.5קרא
יתן will be given
53.7נתן
שׁמע hear
54.4שׁמע
האזינה and give ear
54.4אזן
האזינה give ear
55.2אזן
מתחנתי from my supplication
55.2חנן
וענני and answer me
55.3ענה
מקול from the voice of
55.4קול
יתן will give
55.7נתן
אקרא I will call
55.17קרא
וישׁמע and he will hear
55.18שׁמע
קולי my voice
55.18קול
ישׁמע will hear
55.20שׁמע
ויענם and will answer them
55.20ענה
יתן he will let
55.23נתן
חנני be gracious to me
56.2חנן
אקרא I call
56.10קרא
חנני be gracious to me
57.2חנן
חנני be gracious to me
57.2חנן
חסיה is refuge for
57.2חסה
אחסה I make my refuge
57.2חסה
אקרא I will call
57.3קרא
אזנו his ear
58.5אזן
ישׁמע will hear
58.6שׁמע
לקול the voice of
58.6קול
לקראתי to my call
59.5קרא
תחן do be gracious to
59.6חנן
שׁמע is to hear
59.8שׁמע
נתתה you give
60.6נתן
וענני and answer me
60.7ענה
שׁמעה Hear
61.2שׁמע
אקרא I will call
61.3קרא
מחסה refuge
61.4חסה
אחסה I will take refuge
61.5חסה
שׁמעת have heard
61.6שׁמע
נתת you give
61.6נתן
מחסי my refuge
62.8חסה
מחסה is a refuge
62.9חסה
במאזנים in the balance
62.10אזן
שׁמעתי I heard
62.12שׁמע
שׁמע hear
64.2שׁמע
קולי my voice
64.2קול
וחסה and will take refuge
64.11חסה
שׁמע the one who hears
65.3שׁמע
תעננו you will answer us
65.6ענה
והשׁמיעו and make heard
66.8שׁמע
קול the voice of
66.8קול
נתן does let
66.9נתן
שׁמעו and hear
66.16שׁמע
קראתי called
66.17קרא
ישׁמע will hear
66.18שׁמע
שׁמע has heard
66.19שׁמע
בקול with the voice of
66.19קול
יחננו will be gracious to us
67.2חנן
נתנה has given
67.7נתן
יתן gave
68.12נתן
יתן he gives
68.34נתן
בקולו with his voice
68.34קול
קול a voice of
68.34קול
תנו give
68.35נתן
נתן he gives
68.36נתן
בקראי in my calling
69.4קרא
ואתנה and I gave myself
69.12נתן
ענני answer me
69.14ענה
ענני answer me
69.17ענה
ענני answer me
69.18ענה
ויתנו and they give
69.22נתן
תנה give
69.28נתן
שׁמע hears
69.34שׁמע
חסיתי I take refuge
71.1חסה
אזנך your ear
71.2אזן
מחסי are my refuge
71.7חסה
תן give
72.1נתן
משׁוע when he cries
72.12שׁוע
ויתן and he will give
72.15נתן
מחסי my refuge
73.28חסה
שׁאגו roar
74.4שׁאג
תתננו you gave him
74.14נתן
תתן do give
74.19נתן
קול the voice of
74.23קול
השׁמעת you made heard
76.9שׁמע
קולי my voice
77.2קול
ואצעקה and I cried out
77.2צעק
קולי my voice
77.2קול
והאזין and he listened
77.2אזן
חנות grace
77.10חנן
קול voice
77.18קול
נתנו give
77.18נתן
קול the voice of
77.19קול
האזינה listen to
78.1אזן
אזנכם your ears
78.1אזן
שׁמענו we have heard
78.3שׁמע
לשׁאל by asking
78.18שׁאל
תת give
78.20נתן
שׁמע heard
78.21שׁמע
נתן he gave
78.24נתן
ויתן and he gave
78.46נתן
שׁמע heard
78.59שׁמע
ויתן and he gave
78.61נתן
נתן he gave
78.66נתן
נתנו they have given
79.2נתן
קראו do call
79.6קרא
האזינה give ear
80.2אזן
נקרא we will call
80.19קרא
ותנו and play
81.3נתן
אשׁמע I hear
81.6שׁמע
קראת you called
81.8קרא
אענך I answered you
81.8ענה
שׁמע hear
81.9שׁמע
תשׁמע you will hear
81.9שׁמע
שׁמע did hear
81.12שׁמע
לקולי my voice
81.12קול
שׁמע heard
81.14שׁמע
וישׁמעאלים and Ishmaelites
83.7שׁמע
שׁמעה hear
84.9שׁמע
האזינה give ear
84.9אזן
חן grace
84.12חנן
יתן will give
84.12נתן
תתן give
85.8נתן
אשׁמעה I will hear
85.9שׁמע
יתן gives
85.13נתן
תתן gives
85.13נתן
אזנך your ear
86.1אזן
ענני and answer me
86.1ענה
חנני be gracious to me
86.3חנן
אקרא I call
86.3קרא
קראיך calling on you
86.5קרא
האזינה give ear
86.6אזן
בקול with the voice of
86.6קול
תחנונותי my supplication
86.6חנן
אקראך I will call on you
86.7קרא
תענני you will answer me
86.7ענה
וחנון and gracious
86.15חנן
וחנני and be gracious to me
86.16חנן
תנה give
86.16נתן
צעקתי I cry out
88.2צעק
אזנך your ear
88.3אזן
קראתיך I call you
88.10קרא
שׁועתי I cry
88.14שׁוע
יעננו will answer him
89.23ענה
יקראני will call to me
89.27קרא
אתנהו will make him
89.28נתן
מחסי my refuge
91.2חסה
תחסה you will take refuge
91.4חסה
מחסי are my refuge
91.9חסה
יקראני he will call me
91.15קרא
ואענהו and I will answer him
91.15ענה
תשׁמענה has heard
92.12שׁמע
אזני my ear
92.12אזן
קולם their voice
93.3קול
מקלות from the voices of
93.4קול
אזן the ear
94.9אזן
ישׁמע he hear
94.9שׁמע
מחסי refuge
94.22חסה
בקלו with his voice
95.7קול
תשׁמעו you hear
95.7שׁמע
שׁמעה heard
97.8שׁמע
וקול and voice
98.5קול
וקול and the voice of
98.6קול
בקראי among those calling on
99.6קרא
קראים they called
99.6קרא
יענם answered them
99.6ענה
נתן he gave
99.7נתן
עניתם answered them
99.8ענה
שׁמעה hear
102.2שׁמע
ושׁועתי and let my cry for help
102.2שׁוע
אזנך your ear
102.3אזן
אקרא I call
102.3קרא
ענני answer me
102.3ענה
מקול from the voice of
102.6קול
לחננה to be gracious to her
102.14חנן
יחננו they grace
102.15חנן
לשׁמע to hear
102.21שׁמע
וחנון and gracious is
103.8חנן
לשׁמע hearing
103.20שׁמע
בקול with the voice of
103.20קול
קול the voice of
104.7קול
יתנו it gives
104.12נתן
קול voice
104.12קול
מחסה a refuge
104.18חסה
שׁאגים roar
104.21שׁאג
לתת to give
104.27נתן
תתן you give
104.28נתן
קראו call
105.1קרא
אתן I will give
105.11נתן
ויקרא and he called
105.16קרא
נתן he gave
105.32נתן
שׁאל asked
105.40שׁאל
ויתן and he gave
105.44נתן
ישׁמיע or make be heard
106.2שׁמע
ויתן and he gave
106.15נתן
שׁאלתם their requests
106.15שׁאל
שׁמעו they did hear
106.25שׁמע
בקול with the voice of
106.25קול
ויתנם and he gave them
106.41נתן
בשׁמעו when he heard
106.44שׁמע
ויתן and he demonstrated
106.46נתן
* ויצעקו and they cry out
107.6צעק
* ויצעקו and they cry out
107.13צעק
* ויצעקו and they cry out
107.19צעק
* ויצעקו and they cry out
107.28צעק
וענני and answer me
108.6ענה
ושׁאלו and let them beg
109.10שׁאל
חונן grace
109.12חנן
חנון how gracious
111.4חנן
נתן he gives
111.5נתן
לתת letting have
111.6נתן
חנון he is gracious
112.4חנן
חונן gracious
112.5חנן
משׁמועה messages of
112.7שׁמע
נתן he gives
112.9נתן
תן give
115.1נתן
אזנים ears
115.6אזן
ישׁמעו hear
115.6שׁמע
נתן he has given
115.16נתן
ישׁמע heard
116.1שׁמע
קולי the voice of
116.1קול
תחנוני my supplication
116.1חנן
אזנו his ear
116.2אזן
אקרא I will call
116.2קרא
אקרא I will call
116.4קרא
חנון gracious is
116.5חנן
אקרא I will call
116.13קרא
אקרא I will call
116.17קרא
קראתי I called
118.5קרא
ענני answered me
118.5ענה
לחסות it is to take refuge
118.8חסה
לחסות it is to take refuge
118.9חסה
קול a voice of
118.15קול
נתנני did he give me
118.18נתן
עניתני you have answered me
118.21ענה
ותענני and you answered me
119.26ענה
חנני and grace me with
119.29חנן
ואענה with which I will answer
119.42ענה
חנני be gracious to me
119.58חנן
נתנו netted
119.110נתן
וחנני and be gracious to me
119.132חנן
קראתי queried I
119.145קרא
ענני answer me
119.145ענה
קראתיך queried I you
119.146קרא
ואשׁועה and I cried for help
119.147שׁוע
קולי quest of mine
119.149קול
שׁמעה hear
119.149שׁמע
תחנתי my supplication
119.170חנן
תען will answer
119.172ענה
קראתי I call
120.1קרא
ויענני and he answers me
120.1ענה
יתן gives
120.3נתן
יתן he will let
121.3נתן
שׁאלו ask
122.6שׁאל
שׁיחננו he will be gracious to us
123.2חנן
חננו be gracious to us
123.3חנן
חננו be gracious to us
123.3חנן
נתננו has given us
124.6נתן
יתן he gives
127.2נתן
קראתיך I call to you
130.1קרא
שׁמעה hear
130.2שׁמע
בקולי with my voice
130.2קול
אזניך your ears
130.2אזן
לקול to the voice of
130.2קול
תחנוני my supplication
130.2חנן
אתן will I let
132.4נתן
שׁמענוה we heard of it
132.6שׁמע
ונתן and gave
135.12נתן
אזנים ears
135.17אזן
יאזינו they don't listen
135.17אזן
ונתן and gave
136.21נתן
נתן giving
136.25נתן
שׁאלונו asked us
137.3שׁאל
קראתי I called
138.3קרא
ותענני and you answered me
138.3ענה
שׁמעו they have heard
138.4שׁמע
האזינה give ear to
140.7אזן
קול the voice of
140.7קול
תחנוני my supplication
140.7חנן
תתן grant
140.9נתן
קראתיך I call to you
141.1קרא
האזינה give ear to
141.1אזן
קולי my voice
141.1קול
בקראי when I call
141.1קרא
ושׁמעו then they will hear
141.6שׁמע
חסיתי I take refuge
141.8חסה
קולי my voice
142.2קול
* אזעק I will appeal
142.2זעק
קולי my voice
142.2קול
אתחנן I will supplicate
142.2חנן
* זעקתי I appealed
142.6זעק
מחסי my refuge
142.6חסה
שׁמע hear
143.1שׁמע
האזינה give ear
143.1אזן
תחנוני my supplication
143.1חנן
ענני answer me
143.1ענה
ענני answer me
143.7ענה
השׁמיעני make me hear
143.8שׁמע
חסיתי I have taken refuge
144.2חסה
הנותן giving
144.10נתן
חנון How gracious
145.8חנן
נותן give
145.15נתן
קראיו calling him
145.18קרא
יקראהו call him
145.18קרא
שׁועתם their cry
145.19שׁוע
ישׁמע he will hear
145.19שׁמע
נתן giving
146.7נתן
יקרא he calls
147.4קרא
ענו answer
147.7ענה
נותן giving
147.9נתן
יקראו call
147.9קרא
הנתן this one who gives
147.16נתן
נתן he gave
148.6נתן
שׁמע to be heard
150.5שׁמע