Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Exodus 12 - translation, music in verses 1-20

Passover פסח and pass through עבר are unconnected in sound and share no letters. That they are connected in English is very misleading to the sense of the words. We might more accurately name the feast as Skip. The plague skips houses. I have avoidֶד (! talk about typos) using pass over for עבר. This word עבר has more presence to it than Passover which if anything has absence in it. It would be impossible to avoid Passover as a gloss and still be speaking to my contemporaries. Trouble meets us everywhere. If we attribute such to God, then the trouble is not skipping us as if to pass us by, but all the waves are passing through us.

The ultimate trouble is death. We wrestle with it daily. Our response may tend to be grasping as if we had any control over it. Our mechanism breaks. Our time is done. The pitcher at the fountain will no longer hold water. This plague will get Pharaoh's attention. We are the absolute monarch of our own selves, or so we think. But death gets our attention too.

Hebrew word order makes sense to me much of the time. There are three very common reasons for adjusting the word order from the Hebrew to the English. (Remember, besides my concordance rules, I am trying to align the significant words with the Hebrew music of the accents.)
  • verb-subject must more often than not become subject verb.
  • negative construction must be put in readable sequence, (the negative phrase in Hebrew typically begins with a negative particle.)
  • adjectives and other modifiers following a noun may need to precede it.
Example in verse 19: - make this into a sentence.
Seven days yeast not will be found in your houses if anyone eats what is leavened then will be cut off being that from the assembly of Israel whether guest or native of the land.

Verse 19 is a repetition of part of verse 15. Repetition is a clue to look at what is contained by it. Verses 16-18 are the instructions for the feast and its rationale, a memorial. I note that it refers to your ancestors, a generation that in that context does not yet exist since the text is addressing the ancestors themselves. Clearly this text is a composite of story + address.

In verse 15, translations are clarifying the meaning (?) by adjusting the word order of whole phrases. (Are these dangling modifiers or parenthetical insertions?) It seems to my reading that the cutting off of the individual or group (נפשׁ) that is eating leaven is a temporary suspension - during the feast.

Note also that that slippery word that I never render as soul is rendered as man in the KJV in v 16 but as soul in v 15. And of course since we don't understand either word, we read condemnation and punishment into verse 15, but simply instruction into verse 16. If we read that way, we will miss the point of human communication, let alone divine communication.

If you look at the music for verse 20 you will see it imitates the first phrase of Genesis. Now you know why the exodus via Torah is the beginning of time and creation.
Exodus 12:20