Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sanctus, Isaiah 6:3

What do these verses have in common?
Genesis 37:28, Genesis 38:21, Exodus 12:46, Exodus 13:19, Exodus 15:19, Exodus 17:7, Exodus 27:11, Exodus 33:19, Exodus 34:31, Leviticus 7:29, Leviticus 23:34, Leviticus 25:33, Numbers 11:29, Numbers 26:1, Deuteronomy 11:13, Deuteronomy 26:7, Deuteronomy 28:11, Deuteronomy 28:48, Joshua 19:29, Judges 8:27, Judges 9:18, Judges 16:28, 1 Samuel 3:11, 1 Samuel 6:6, 1 Samuel 6:7, 1 Samuel 7:9, 1 Samuel 12:18, 1 Samuel 23:26, 1 Samuel 24:10, 1 Samuel 26:10, 2 Samuel 14:4, 2 Samuel 19:8, 2 Samuel 23:10, 1 Kings 9:21, 2 Kings 7:17, Isaiah 6:3, Isaiah 56:3, Jeremiah 23:7, Jeremiah 25:15, Jeremiah 40:4, Jeremiah 42:4, Jeremiah 49:29, Jeremiah 50:4, Ezekiel 10:19, Ezekiel 41:16, Haggai 2:20, Ruth 1:8, Lamentations 1:17, Esther 2:14, Daniel 1:8, Daniel 2:23, Ezra 7:28, 2 Chronicles 9:2, 2 Chronicles 12:7, 2 Chronicles 17:5, 2 Chronicles 29:31

They share this musical pattern: high C with ornaments qadma, zaqen qatan, followed by an octave leap down to low c, like the octave leap down in the bass part in the Sanctus by Bach in his B minor mass.

Notice Isaiah 6:3, the origin of the Sanctus, among these. (For new readers, the fourth column is a syllable count for the Hebrew, before and after the atnach.)

Isaiah 6
בִּשְׁנַת־מוֹת֙ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ עֻזִּיָּ֔הוּ וָאֶרְאֶ֧ה אֶת־אֲדֹנָ֛י יֹשֵׁ֥ב עַל־כִּסֵּ֖א רָ֣ם וְנִשָּׂ֑א
וְשׁוּלָ֖יו מְלֵאִ֥ים אֶת־הַהֵיכָֽל
1 In the year of the death of the king Uzziah, and I saw my Lord sitting on a throne exalted and lifted up,
and his skirts filled the temple.
26
10
שְׂרָפִ֨ים עֹמְדִ֤ים ׀ מִמַּ֙עַל֙ ל֔וֹ שֵׁ֧שׁ כְּנָפַ֛יִם שֵׁ֥שׁ כְּנָפַ֖יִם לְאֶחָ֑ד
בִּשְׁתַּ֣יִם ׀ יְכַסֶּ֣ה פָנָ֗יו וּבִשְׁתַּ֛יִם יְכַסֶּ֥ה רַגְלָ֖יו וּבִשְׁתַּ֥יִם יְעוֹפֵֽף
2 Seraphim were standing above it. Six wings, six wings for each one.
With two he covers his face and with two he covers his feet and with two he flies.
20
21
וְקָרָ֨א זֶ֤ה אֶל־זֶה֙ וְאָמַ֔ר קָד֧וֹשׁ ׀ קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת
מְלֹ֥א כָל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּבוֹדֽוֹ
3 And this one called to this one and said, Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh of hosts.
Full is all the earth of his glory.
20
9
וַיָּנֻ֙עוּ֙ אַמּ֣וֹת הַסִּפִּ֔ים מִקּ֖וֹל הַקּוֹרֵ֑א
וְהַבַּ֖יִת יִמָּלֵ֥א עָשָֽׁן
4 And the cubits of the threshold tottered from the voice of the one calling
and the house was filled with smoke.
14
9
וָאֹמַ֞ר אֽוֹי־לִ֣י כִֽי־נִדְמֵ֗יתִי כִּ֣י אִ֤ישׁ טְמֵֽא־שְׂפָתַ֙יִם֙ אָנֹ֔כִי וּבְתוֹךְ֙ עַם־טְמֵ֣א שְׂפָתַ֔יִם אָנֹכִ֖י יוֹשֵׁ֑ב
כִּ֗י אֶת־הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת רָא֥וּ עֵינָֽי
5 And I said, Woe is mine, for I am undone, for a person of unclean lips I am, and among a people of unclean lips I myself sit,
for the king, Yahweh of hosts, my eyes have seen.
33
14
וַיָּ֣עָף אֵלַ֗י אֶחָד֙ מִן־הַשְּׂרָפִ֔ים וּבְיָד֖וֹ רִצְפָּ֑ה
בְּמֶ֨לְקַחַ֔יִם לָקַ֖ח מֵעַ֥ל הַמִּזְבֵּֽחַ
6 And one from the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand a tessellation
in the tongs, he took from the altar.
16
12
וַיַּגַּ֣ע עַל־פִּ֔י וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֛ה נָגַ֥ע זֶ֖ה עַל־שְׂפָתֶ֑יךָ
וְסָ֣ר עֲוֺנֶ֔ךָ וְחַטָּאתְךָ֖ תְּכֻפָּֽר
7 And he touched on my mouth and he said, Behold this has touched on your lips,
and your iniquity is put aside and your sin is covered over.
18
13
וָאֶשְׁמַ֞ע אֶת־ק֤וֹל אֲדֹנָי֙ אֹמֵ֔ר אֶת־מִ֥י אֶשְׁלַ֖ח וּמִ֣י יֵֽלֶךְ־לָ֑נוּ
וָאֹמַ֖ר הִנְנִ֥י שְׁלָחֵֽנִי
8 And I heard the voice of my Lord saying, Whom will I send and who will go for us?
And I said, Here am I. Send me.
20
9
וַיֹּ֕אמֶר לֵ֥ךְ וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה
שִׁמְע֤וּ שָׁמ֙וֹעַ֙ וְאַל־תָּבִ֔ינוּ וּרְא֥וּ רָא֖וֹ וְאַל־תֵּדָֽעוּ
9 And he said. Go, and you will say to this people,
You hear. You hear and you have no discernment. And you see. You see and you have no knowledge.
12
19
הַשְׁמֵן֙ לֵב־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְאָזְנָ֥יו הַכְבֵּ֖ד וְעֵינָ֣יו הָשַׁ֑ע
פֶּן־יִרְאֶ֨ה בְעֵינָ֜יו וּבְאָזְנָ֣יו יִשְׁמָ֗ע וּלְבָב֥וֹ יָבִ֛ין וָשָׁ֖ב וְרָ֥פָא לֽוֹ
10 Make dense the heart of this people and make its ear heavy and its eyes muddy,
lest it see with its eyes and with its ears hear and its heart discern and turn and it be healed.
17
22
וָאֹמַ֕ר עַד־מָתַ֖י אֲדֹנָ֑י
וַיֹּ֡אמֶר עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁר֩ אִם־שָׁא֨וּ עָרִ֜ים מֵאֵ֣ין יוֹשֵׁ֗ב וּבָתִּים֙ מֵאֵ֣ין אָדָ֔ם וְהָאֲדָמָ֖ה תִּשָּׁאֶ֥ה שְׁמָמָֽה
11 And I said, How long, my Lord?
And he said, Until that the noisy cities are without inhabitant, and houses without humanity, and the humus is noised as desolate,
9
33
וְרִחַ֥ק יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־הָאָדָ֑ם
וְרַבָּ֥ה הָעֲזוּבָ֖ה בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ
12 and Yahweh has put far the human,
and the frequent disavowal within the land.
9
13
וְע֥וֹד בָּהּ֙ עֲשִׂ֣רִיָּ֔ה וְשָׁ֖בָה וְהָיְתָ֣ה לְבָעֵ֑ר
כָּאֵלָ֣ה וְכָאַלּ֗וֹן אֲשֶׁ֤ר בְּשַׁלֶּ֙כֶת֙ מַצֶּ֣בֶת בָּ֔ם זֶ֥רַע קֹ֖דֶשׁ מַצַּבְתָּֽהּ
13 But yet in her is a tenth, and it will return, and she will be for kindling,
as a turpentine tree and as an oak that in being cast down have a monument in them. The seed of the holy is from her monument.
16
24
I suppose it wouldn't surprise you that I am running too fast. My software is finding questions in my readings and I must answer them. The domain analysis is very trying at times. It governs my control of concordance and distinction of some homonyms. While the known unknowns are reducing, the unknown unknowns are increasing, and creeping up behind me. So occasionally I must retreat and pay attention to my rearguard algorithms.

This chapter is so familiar - yet also so strange. The imagery of kindling is obscured by the traditional translation. Have you used that tree for kindling. It is a natural fire-starter. A tessellation is like a piece of the pavement. Live coal is possible but strikes me as complete guesswork that is now taken as accurate. That's what happens in translation.

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