Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Swords into plowshares and spears into psalms

Yes, Virginia, spears and psalms are homonyms in Hebrew, both from the same root stem, זמר.

I guess it wouldn't surprise you that 112 of 140 words in Isaiah 2:1-5 match Micah 4:1-5 (excluding the most common על,יהוה,אלוה,כּי,אל,אתּ).

Here are the two passages. There are a few differences that I have tried to show in my awkward English. The syllable counts and colours show them. (I may not have got them all. The table of comparisons is large and unwieldy, 40 columns.)

They won't teach war any more. Sounds dangerous. We need to learn the war that is fought without spears and pruning hooks but with beauty and gentleness. This is a war we fight everyday within ourselves. The enemy is subjective and is not to be projected onto or objectified in 'the other'. It is a further challenge to teach those who find such learning difficult. The power to teach emerges from the example of giving your life for others without taking life from others. This is the instruction that has 'gone forth from Zion'. Even Zion (all the religious of any stripe) must learn it.

Isaiah 2
הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָזָ֔ה יְשַֽׁעְיָ֖הוּ בֶּן־אָמ֑וֹץ
עַל־יְהוּדָ֖ה וִירוּשָׁלִָֽם
1 The word that Isaiah child of Amoz gazed on,
about Judah and Jerusalem.
14
8
וְהָיָ֣ה ׀ בְּאַחֲרִ֣ית הַיָּמִ֗ים נָכ֨וֹן יִֽהְיֶ֜ה הַ֤ר בֵּית־יְהוָה֙ בְּרֹ֣אשׁ הֶהָרִ֔ים וְנִשָּׂ֖א מִגְּבָע֑וֹת
וְנָהֲר֥וּ אֵלָ֖יו כָּל־הַגּוֹיִֽם
2 And it will be, in the latter days, the hill of the house of Yahweh will be established as the first of the hills and it will be lifted up among the hillocks,
and all the nations will crowd to it.
29
10
וְֽהָלְכ֞וּ עַמִּ֣ים רַבִּ֗ים וְאָמְרוּ֙ לְכ֣וּ ׀ וְנַעֲלֶ֣ה אֶל־הַר־יְהוָ֗ה אֶל־בֵּית֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֔ב וְיֹרֵ֙נוּ֙ מִדְּרָכָ֔יו וְנֵלְכָ֖ה בְּאֹרְחֹתָ֑יו
כִּ֤י מִצִּיּוֹן֙ תֵּצֵ֣א תוֹרָ֔ה וּדְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה מִירוּשָׁלִָֽם
3 And many peoples will go and say, Come, let us go up to the hill of Yahweh, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will instruct us from his ways, and we will walk in his paths,
for from Zion will go forth instruction and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.
42
16
וְשָׁפַט֙ בֵּ֣ין הַגּוֹיִ֔ם וְהוֹכִ֖יחַ לְעַמִּ֣ים רַבִּ֑ים
וְכִתְּת֨וּ חַרְבוֹתָ֜ם לְאִתִּ֗ים וַחֲנִיתֽוֹתֵיהֶם֙ לְמַזְמֵר֔וֹת לֹא־יִשָּׂ֨א ג֤וֹי אֶל־גּוֹי֙ חֶ֔רֶב וְלֹא־יִלְמְד֥וּ ע֖וֹד מִלְחָמָֽה
4 And he will judge between the nations and referee for many peoples.
And they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation nor will they teach war any more.
16
38
בֵּ֖ית יַעֲקֹ֑ב
לְכ֥וּ וְנֵלְכָ֖ה בְּא֥וֹר יְהוָֽה
5 House of Jacob,
Come and let us walk in the light of Yahweh.
4
9
Micah 4
וְהָיָ֣ה ׀ בְּאַחֲרִ֣ית הַיָּמִ֗ים יִ֠הְיֶה הַ֣ר בֵּית־יְהוָ֤ה נָכוֹן֙ בְּרֹ֣אשׁ הֶהָרִ֔ים וְנִשָּׂ֥א ה֖וּא מִגְּבָע֑וֹת
וְנָהֲר֥וּ עָלָ֖יו עַמִּֽים
1 And it will be, in the latter days, the hill of the house of Yahweh will be established as the first of the hills, and it will be itself lifted up among the hillocks,
and peoples will crowd upon it.
30
8
וְֽהָלְכ֞וּ גּוֹיִ֣ם רַבִּ֗ים וְאָֽמְרוּ֙ לְכ֣וּ ׀ וְנַעֲלֶ֣ה אֶל־הַר־יְהוָ֗ה וְאֶל־בֵּית֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֔ב וְיוֹרֵ֙נוּ֙ מִדְּרָכָ֔יו וְנֵלְכָ֖ה בְּאֹֽרְחֹתָ֑יו
כִּ֤י מִצִּיּוֹן֙ תֵּצֵ֣א תוֹרָ֔ה וּדְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה מִירוּשָׁלִָֽם
2 And many nations will go and say, Come, let us go up to the hill of Yahweh and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will instruct us from his ways and we will walk in his paths,
for from Zion will go forth instruction, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.
43
16
וְשָׁפַ֗ט בֵּ֚ין עַמִּ֣ים רַבִּ֔ים וְהוֹכִ֛יחַ לְגוֹיִ֥ם עֲצֻמִ֖ים עַד־רָח֑וֹק
וְכִתְּת֨וּ חַרְבֹתֵיהֶ֜ם לְאִתִּ֗ים וַחֲנִיתֹֽתֵיהֶם֙ לְמַזְמֵר֔וֹת לֹֽא־יִשְׂא֞וּ גּ֤וֹי אֶל־גּוֹי֙ חֶ֔רֶב וְלֹא־יִלְמְד֥וּן ע֖וֹד מִלְחָמָֽה
3 And he will judge between many peoples and referee the numerous nations, even remote,
and they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation nor will they teach war any more.
21
39
וְיָשְׁב֗וּ אִ֣ישׁ תַּ֧חַת גַּפְנ֛וֹ וְתַ֥חַת תְּאֵנָת֖וֹ וְאֵ֣ין מַחֲרִ֑יד
כִּי־פִ֛י יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת דִּבֵּֽר
4 And everyone will settle under their vine and under their fig tree, and no one will make you apprehensive.
for the mouth of Yahweh of hosts has spoken.
20
9
כִּ֚י כָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים יֵלְכ֕וּ אִ֖ישׁ בְּשֵׁ֣ם אֱלֹהָ֑יו
וַאֲנַ֗חְנוּ נֵלֵ֛ךְ בְּשֵׁם־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ לְעוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד פ
5 For all the peoples will walk each in the name of its God
but we ourselves will walk in the name of Yahweh our God, forever and ever.
13
20


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