Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Genesis 49

If I had hired the poet, I wonder if I would have paid for this song when it was finished. It is certainly blunt at times from Reuben's incest to Benjamin's violence. And in the middle (Gen 49:18), there is a three word prayer. None of the three words is repeated anywhere else in the chapter. That makes it a central message. There's no doubt that having a family requires one to wait patiently for the salvation of Yahweh. But it is poetry. So I would have coughed up. With significant recurrence, and imagery. Many of the lines are also very short as in the three poetry books (Psalms, Proverbs, Job).

The alliteration of e.g. verse 19 is striking: Gad, gdud ygudnu, vhu yagud aqav. Needless to say, comments welcome on how to imitate this in some other tongue. This is mine if it lives:
Gad, a raiding party will invade him,
and himself, he will invade the hindmost.

JB does well with:
Gad, robbers rob him,
and he, he robs and pursues them.

One has to miss the allusion to the name of his father. The last word is עקב is the root of Jacob.

JB has a lovely translation of verse 22:
Joseph is a fruitful creeper near the spring,
whose tendrils climb over the wall.

It's not even close to the Hebrew but it expresses the idea well, but the Hebrew does it with the words son and daughter, now completely lost in the English.

A fruitful son is Joseph, a fruitful son by a spring,
whose daughters march over a barrier.

I've already used climb for עלה, so I won't use it for צעד (march, pace). Joseph gets 8 out of 9 of the blessings.

Verse 23 is strange. It appears that the pause is between verb and its subject. I have never (yet) seen verb and its subject separated by the rest on the subdominant.

About proper names. Many of these are 'Anglicized' but some are spelled differently in different parts of the Bible itself. So Isaac and Yitzhaq are the same person, but here it is spelled with a tsade (צ) and elsewhere with a sin (ס). One could get distracted here. I suspect a study of Biblical names could be a lifetime's job all by itself for the person who is so inclined. My guess is that Isaac is the later version. It occurs only in the Psalms and Amos, 3 of 114 occurrences. You can tell that my not starting with Torah is a bit like going through the door back first.

Genesis 49
וַיִּקְרָ֥א יַעֲקֹ֖ב אֶל־בָּנָ֑יו
וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הֵאָֽסְפוּ֙ וְאַגִּ֣ידָה לָכֶ֔ם אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָ֥א אֶתְכֶ֖ם בְּאַחֲרִ֥ית הַיָּמִֽים
1 And Jacob called to his children
and said, Gather yourselves, and I will tell you what will encounter you in the aftermath of the days.
9
26
הִקָּבְצ֥וּ וְשִׁמְע֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֑ב
וְשִׁמְע֖וּ אֶל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל אֲבִיכֶֽם
2 Collect yourselves and hear children of Jacob,
and hear Israel, your father.
11
10
רְאוּבֵן֙ בְּכֹ֣רִי אַ֔תָּה כֹּחִ֖י וְרֵאשִׁ֣ית אוֹנִ֑י
יֶ֥תֶר שְׂאֵ֖ת וְיֶ֥תֶר עָֽז
3 Reuben, my firstborn you are, my power, and the first of my virility,
the surplus of what is lifted up and the surplus of strength.
15
8
פַּ֤חַז כַּמַּ֙יִם֙ אַל־תּוֹתַ֔ר כִּ֥י עָלִ֖יתָ מִשְׁכְּבֵ֣י אָבִ֑יךָ
אָ֥ז חִלַּ֖לְתָּ יְצוּעִ֥י עָלָֽה
4 Reckless like water, you will not have advantage, for you went up to where your father lies down,
then you profaned my bunk in going up.
17
9
שִׁמְע֥וֹן וְלֵוִ֖י אַחִ֑ים
כְּלֵ֥י חָמָ֖ס מְכֵרֹתֵיהֶֽם
5 Simeon and Levi, kin,
instruments of violence are in your forges.
7
9
בְּסֹדָם֙ אַל־תָּבֹ֣א נַפְשִׁ֔י בִּקְהָלָ֖ם אַל־תֵּחַ֣ד כְּבֹדִ֑י
כִּ֤י בְאַפָּם֙ הָ֣רְגוּ אִ֔ישׁ וּבִרְצֹנָ֖ם עִקְּרוּ־שֽׁוֹר
6 In their council may my being not comply. Into their congregation may my glory not be united,
for in their anger, they slew someone. In their acceptance, they rooted out a barrier.
17
14
אָר֤וּר אַפָּם֙ כִּ֣י עָ֔ז וְעֶבְרָתָ֖ם כִּ֣י קָשָׁ֑תָה
אֲחַלְּקֵ֣ם בְּיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַאֲפִיצֵ֖ם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל
7 Cursed be their anger for strength and their fury for intransigence.
I will divide them in Jacob and fracture them in Israel.
14
15
יְהוּדָ֗ה אַתָּה֙ יוֹד֣וּךָ אַחֶ֔יךָ יָדְךָ֖ בְּעֹ֣רֶף אֹיְבֶ֑יךָ
יִשְׁתַּחֲוּ֥וּ לְךָ֖ בְּנֵ֥י אָבִֽיךָ
8 Judah, you are the one for whom your brothers will give thanks. Your hand will be in the nape of your enemies.
The children of your father will worship you.
19
11
גּ֤וּר אַרְיֵה֙ יְהוּדָ֔ה מִטֶּ֖רֶף בְּנִ֣י עָלִ֑יתָ
כָּרַ֨ע רָבַ֧ץ כְּאַרְיֵ֛ה וּכְלָבִ֖יא מִ֥י יְקִימֶֽנּוּ
9 Judah is a lion's whelp. From prey, my son, you have ascended.
He is bowed down. He reclines like a lion, and as an old lion, who will make him arise?
14
15
לֹֽא־יָס֥וּר שֵׁ֙בֶט֙ מִֽיהוּדָ֔ה וּמְחֹקֵ֖ק מִבֵּ֣ין רַגְלָ֑יו
עַ֚ד כִּֽי־יָבֹ֣א שִׁיל֔וֹ וְל֖וֹ יִקְּהַ֥ת עַמִּֽים
10 Sceptre will not turn aside from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
till Shiloh come and to him will be the mustering of the peoples.
14
11
אֹסְרִ֤י לַגֶּ֙פֶן֙ עִיר֔וֹ וְלַשֹּׂרֵקָ֖ה בְּנִ֣י אֲתֹנ֑וֹ
כִּבֵּ֤ס בַּיַּ֙יִן֙ לְבֻשׁ֔וֹ וּבְדַם־עֲנָבִ֖ים סוּתֽוֹ
11 Binding to the vine his foal, to the noble vine, the child of his she-donkey,
he scoured in wine his clothing and in the blood of grapes his vesture,
17
14
חַכְלִילִ֥י עֵינַ֖יִם מִיָּ֑יִן
וּלְבֶן־שִׁנַּ֖יִם מֵחָלָֽב
12 flushed eyes from wine,
and white teeth from milk.
8
7
זְבוּלֻ֕ן לְח֥וֹף יַמִּ֖ים יִשְׁכֹּ֑ן
וְהוּא֙ לְח֣וֹף אֳנִיּ֔וֹת וְיַרְכָת֖וֹ עַל־צִידֹֽן
13 Zebulun at the seaport will dwell,
and he will be a port for ships, his outer reaches at Tsidon.
9
14
יִשָּׂשכָ֖ר חֲמֹ֣ר גָּ֑רֶם
רֹבֵ֖ץ בֵּ֥ין הַֽמִּשְׁפְּתָֽיִם
14 Issachar is a strong-boned ass
reclining between two hearth-stones.
7
8
וַיַּ֤רְא מְנֻחָה֙ כִּ֣י ט֔וֹב וְאֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ כִּ֣י נָעֵ֑מָה
וַיֵּ֤ט שִׁכְמוֹ֙ לִסְבֹּ֔ל וַיְהִ֖י לְמַס־עֹבֵֽד
15 And he saw rest as good and the land as pleasant,
so he bent his backside for burden and became a servant in forced service.
16
12
דָּ֖ן יָדִ֣ין עַמּ֑וֹ
כְּאַחַ֖ד שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
16 Dan makes the case for his people,
as one of the sceptres of Israel.
5
8
יְהִי־דָן֙ נָחָ֣שׁ עֲלֵי־דֶ֔רֶךְ שְׁפִיפֹ֖ן עֲלֵי־אֹ֑רַח
הַנֹּשֵׁךְ֙ עִקְּבֵי־ס֔וּס וַיִּפֹּ֥ל רֹכְב֖וֹ אָחֽוֹר
17 Dan will be a snake by the way, a horned adder by a path,
biting the heels of the horse so its rider will fall backwards.
14
13
לִֽישׁוּעָתְךָ֖ קִוִּ֥יתִי יְהוָֽה 18 For your salvation I await, Yahweh. 9
גָּ֖ד גְּד֣וּד יְגוּדֶ֑נּוּ
וְה֖וּא יָגֻ֥ד עָקֵֽב
19 Gad, a raiding party will invade him,
and himself, he will invade the hindmost.
7
6
מֵאָשֵׁ֖ר שְׁמֵנָ֣ה לַחְמ֑וֹ
וְה֥וּא יִתֵּ֖ן מַֽעֲדַנֵּי־מֶֽלֶךְ
20 From Asher, his bread will be stout,
and himself will make royal specialty foods.
8
9
נַפְתָּלִ֖י אַיָּלָ֣ה שְׁלֻחָ֑ה
הַנֹּתֵ֖ן אִמְרֵי־שָֽׁפֶר
21 Naphtali is potency set loose,
the one who gives glistening promises.
9
6
בֵּ֤ן פֹּרָת֙ יוֹסֵ֔ף בֵּ֥ן פֹּרָ֖ת עֲלֵי־עָ֑יִן
בָּנ֕וֹת צָעֲדָ֖ה עֲלֵי־שֽׁוּר
22 A fruitful child is Joseph, a fruitful child by a spring,
whose daughters march over a barrier.
11
8
וַֽיְמָרֲרֻ֖הוּ וָרֹ֑בּוּ
וַֽיִּשְׂטְמֻ֖הוּ בַּעֲלֵ֥י חִצִּֽים
23 And have embittered him,
and showered him and opposed him, the owners of the arrows.
8
10
וַתֵּ֤שֶׁב בְּאֵיתָן֙ קַשְׁתּ֔וֹ וַיָּפֹ֖זּוּ זְרֹעֵ֣י יָדָ֑יו
מִידֵי֙ אֲבִ֣יר יַעֲקֹ֔ב מִשָּׁ֥ם רֹעֶ֖ה אֶ֥בֶן יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
24 But persists perennially his bow and the arms of his hands are made nimble,
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. From there is the shepherd, the Stone of Israel.
17
16
מֵאֵ֨ל אָבִ֜יךָ וְיַעְזְרֶ֗ךָּ וְאֵ֤ת שַׁדַּי֙ וִיבָ֣רְכֶ֔ךָּ בִּרְכֹ֤ת שָׁמַ֙יִם֙ מֵעָ֔ל בִּרְכֹ֥ת תְּה֖וֹם רֹבֶ֣צֶת תָּ֑חַת
בִּרְכֹ֥ת שָׁדַ֖יִם וָרָֽחַם
25 From the God of your father and your helper and the Sufficient, and he will bless you: the blessings of heaven above, the blessings of the abyss reclining under,
the blessings of the breasts and the womb.
33
7
בִּרְכֹ֣ת אָבִ֗יךָ גָּֽבְרוּ֙ עַל־בִּרְכֹ֣ת הוֹרַ֔י עַֽד־תַּאֲוַ֖ת גִּבְעֹ֣ת עוֹלָ֑ם
תִּֽהְיֶ֙ין֙ לְרֹ֣אשׁ יוֹסֵ֔ף וּלְקָדְקֹ֖ד נְזִ֥יר אֶחָֽיו
26 The blessings of your father have prevailed over the blessings of my progenitors to the desire of the everlasting hillocks.
They will be as the beginning of Joseph, and on the scalp of the Nazirite of his brothers.
20
13
בִּנְיָמִין֙ זְאֵ֣ב יִטְרָ֔ף בַּבֹּ֖קֶר יֹ֣אכַל עַ֑ד
וְלָעֶ֖רֶב יְחַלֵּ֥ק שָׁלָֽל
27 Benjamin, a wolf, will tear: in the morning he will devour endlessly,
and in the evening he will divide spoil.
13
9
כָּל־אֵ֛לֶּה שִׁבְטֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שְׁנֵ֣ים עָשָׂ֑ר
וְ֠זֹאת אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֨ר לָהֶ֤ם אֲבִיהֶם֙ וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אוֹתָ֔ם אִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר כְּבִרְכָת֖וֹ בֵּרַ֥ךְ אֹתָֽם
28 All these are the twelve sceptres of Israel
and this is what their father spoke to them and blessed them, each that was according to his blessing, he blessed them.
12
27
וַיְצַ֣ו אוֹתָ֗ם וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֲלֵהֶם֙ אֲנִי֙ נֶאֱסָ֣ף אֶל־עַמִּ֔י קִבְר֥וּ אֹתִ֖י אֶל־אֲבֹתָ֑י
אֶל־הַ֨מְּעָרָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר בִּשְׂדֵ֖ה עֶפְר֥וֹן הַֽחִתִּֽי
29 And he commanded them and he said to them, I am to be gathered to to my people. Entomb me with my fathers,
at the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
26
13
בַּמְּעָרָ֞ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר בִּשְׂדֵ֧ה הַמַּכְפֵּלָ֛ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עַל־פְּנֵי־מַמְרֵ֖א בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן
אֲשֶׁר֩ קָנָ֨ה אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֶת־הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה מֵאֵ֛ת עֶפְרֹ֥ן הַחִתִּ֖י לַאֲחֻזַּת־קָֽבֶר
30 in the cave that is in the field of the Makpelah that is before Mamre in the land of Canaan,
that Abraham purchased with the field, from Ephron the Hittite, to hold a tomb.
24
24
שָׁ֣מָּה קָֽבְר֞וּ אֶת־אַבְרָהָ֗ם וְאֵת֙ שָׂרָ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ שָׁ֚מָּה קָבְר֣וּ אֶת־יִצְחָ֔ק וְאֵ֖ת רִבְקָ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֑וֹ
וְשָׁ֥מָּה קָבַ֖רְתִּי אֶת־לֵאָֽה
31 There they entombed Abraham and Sarah, his wife. There they entombed Yitshaq and Rebekah, his wife,
and there I entombed Leah.
27
9
מִקְנֵ֧ה הַשָּׂדֶ֛ה וְהַמְּעָרָ֥ה אֲשֶׁר־בּ֖וֹ מֵאֵ֥ת בְּנֵי־חֵֽת 32 The purchase of the field and the cave that is in it has from the children of Heit. 17
וַיְכַ֤ל יַעֲקֹב֙ לְצַוֺּ֣ת אֶת־בָּנָ֔יו וַיֶּאֱסֹ֥ף רַגְלָ֖יו אֶל־הַמִּטָּ֑ה
וַיִּגְוַ֖ע וַיֵּאָ֥סֶף אֶל־עַמָּֽיו
33 And Jacob finished commanding his children and he gathered his feet to the couch,
and expired and was gathered to his people.
21
10


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