Saturday, 20 January 2018

Psalms 139

Psalm 139 has had some press from a local colleague here (and at the related links on his page), so here is my translation from several years ago.

In the three books, Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, an additional major disjunction occurs, the ole-veyored, a cadence on the supertonic. When combined with the atnah (always following the ole-veyored if both are present), the result is a tricolon. I know, a subjective reading of the verses may allow for more tricola than these, but the importance of these major pauses should not be underestimated. The revia (mordent) is less emphatic. Here the tricola appear in 12, 14, 15, 16 - each one giving us pause as we read.

Psalms 139 Fn Min Max Syll
לַ֭מְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִ֣ד מִזְמ֑וֹר
יְהוָ֥ה חֲ֝קַרְתַּ֗נִי וַתֵּדָֽע
1 g For the leader, of David, a psalm.
Yahweh you have examined me and you know.
3e 4B 9
אַתָּ֣ה יָ֭דַעְתָּ שִׁבְתִּ֣י וְקוּמִ֑י
בַּ֥נְתָּה לְ֝רֵעִ֗י מֵרָחֽוֹק
2 You yourself know my sitting and my arising.
You understand my thought from afar.
3e 4B 10
אָרְחִ֣י וְרִבְעִ֣י זֵרִ֑יתָ
וְֽכָל־דְּרָכַ֥י הִסְכַּֽנְתָּה
3 My path and my lying down and stretching out you sift,
and all my ways you cherish.

3e 4B 8
כִּ֤י אֵ֣ין מִ֭לָּה בִּלְשׁוֹנִ֑י
הֵ֥ן יְ֝הוָ֗ה יָדַ֥עְתָּ כֻלָּֽהּ
4 C For there is not a speech on my tongue,
but Yahweh knows all of it.
3e 4C 7
אָח֣וֹר וָקֶ֣דֶם צַרְתָּ֑נִי
וַתָּ֖שֶׁת עָלַ֣י כַּפֶּֽכָה
5 Rearguard and advance you fortify me,
and you set on me your palm.
3e 4B 8
פְּלִ֣יאָֽה דַ֣עַת מִמֶּ֑נִּי
נִ֝שְׂגְּבָ֗ה לֹא־א֥וּכַֽל לָֽהּ
6 Wonderful - knowledge beyond me.
I am set on high - I cannot accomplish it.

3e 4B 8
אָ֭נָ֥ה אֵלֵ֣ךְ מֵרוּחֶ֑ךָ
וְ֝אָ֗נָה מִפָּנֶ֥יךָ אֶבְרָֽח
7 g Where will I walk from your spirit?
And where from your presence run away?
3e 4B 8
אִם־אֶסַּ֣ק שָׁ֭מַיִם שָׁ֣ם אָ֑תָּה
וְאַצִּ֖יעָה שְּׁא֣וֹל הִנֶּֽךָּ
8 If I take off into heaven, there you are,
and spread out a bed in Sheol... Here? you?

3e 4B 8
אֶשָּׂ֥א כַנְפֵי־שָׁ֑חַר
אֶ֝שְׁכְּנָ֗ה בְּאַחֲרִ֥ית יָֽם
9 I lift up the wings of dawn.
I dwell in the farthest part of the sea.
3e 4A 5
גַּם־שָׁ֭ם יָדְךָ֣ תַנְחֵ֑נִי
וְֽתֹאחֲזֵ֥נִי יְמִינֶֽךָ
10 Even there your hand guides me,
and holds me fast, your right hand.

3e 4B 7
וָ֭אֹמַר אַךְ־חֹ֣שֶׁךְ יְשׁוּפֵ֑נִי
וְ֝לַ֗יְלָה א֣וֹר בַּעֲדֵֽנִי
11 g And I say, Surely darkness will bruise me,
and night be light about me,
3e 4B 10
גַּם־חֹשֶׁךְ֮ לֹֽא־יַחְשִׁ֪יךְ מִ֫מֶּ֥ךָ
וְ֭לַיְלָה כַּיּ֣וֹם יָאִ֑יר
כַּ֝חֲשֵׁיכָ֗ה כָּאוֹרָֽה
12 even darkness is not darkness from you,
and night like day enlightens,
as darkness as light.
3d 4B 9
כִּֽי־אַ֭תָּה קָנִ֣יתָ כִלְיֹתָ֑י
תְּ֝סֻכֵּ֗נִי בְּבֶ֣טֶן אִמִּֽי
13 For you yourself have purchased my insides.
You overshadowed me in the belly of my mother.

3e 4B 8
אֽוֹדְךָ֗ עַ֤ל כִּ֥י נוֹרָא֗וֹת נִ֫פְלֵ֥יתִי
נִפְלָאִ֥ים מַעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ
וְ֝נַפְשִׁ֗י יֹדַ֥עַת מְאֹֽד
14 I will thank you for fearfully I am reserved.
Wonderful your deeds,
as my self knows in full.
3e 4C 10
לֹא־נִכְחַ֥ד עָצְמִ֗י מִ֫מֶּ֥ךָּ
אֲשֶׁר־עֻשֵּׂ֥יתִי בַסֵּ֑תֶר
רֻ֝קַּ֗מְתִּי בְּֽתַחְתִּיּ֥וֹת אָֽרֶץ
15 Not concealed are my bones from you,
when I was made in secret,
embroidered in the lowest parts of earth.
3e 4A 8
גָּלְמִ֤י ׀ רָ֘א֤וּ עֵינֶ֗יךָ וְעַֽל־סִפְרְךָ֮ כֻּלָּ֪ם יִכָּ֫תֵ֥בוּ
יָמִ֥ים יֻצָּ֑רוּ
וְל֖וֹ אֶחָ֣ד בָּהֶֽם
16 Your eyes saw my embryo and in your book all were written.
Days were fashioned,
and its one was in them.
3d 4C 18
וְלִ֗י מַה־יָּקְר֣וּ רֵעֶ֣יךָ אֵ֑ל
מֶ֥ה עָ֝צְמוּ רָאשֵׁיהֶֽם
17 And to me how precious your thoughts, O God,
how numerous their beginnings.
3e 4B 9
אֶ֭סְפְּרֵם מֵח֣וֹל יִרְבּ֑וּן
הֱ֝קִיצֹ֗תִי וְעוֹדִ֥י עִמָּֽךְ
18 g I count them. They increase more than sand.
I awake and still I am with you.

3e 4B 7
אִם־תִּקְטֹ֖ל אֱל֥וֹהַּ ׀ רָשָׁ֑ע
וְאַנְשֵׁ֥י דָ֝מִ֗ים ס֣וּרוּ מֶֽנִּי
19 If you kill, O God, the wicked,
so, persons of blood, depart from me,
3e 4B 8
אֲשֶׁ֣ר יֹ֭אמְרֻךָ לִמְזִמָּ֑ה
נָשֻׂ֖א לַשָּׁ֣וְא עָרֶֽיךָ
20 who promise you out of scheming,
and lift up to vanity your cities.

3e 4B 8
הֲלֽוֹא־מְשַׂנְאֶ֖יךָ יְהוָ֥ה ׀ אֶשְׂנָ֑א
וּ֝בִתְקוֹמְמֶ֗יךָ אֶתְקוֹטָֽט
21 Will I not hate those hating you Yahweh,
and those arising against you - will I be upset?
3e 4A 10
תַּכְלִ֣ית שִׂנְאָ֣ה שְׂנֵאתִ֑ים
לְ֝אוֹיְבִ֗ים הָ֣יוּ לִֽי
22 A consummation of hatred - I hate them.
As enemies they are to me.

3e 4B 7
חָקְרֵ֣נִי אֵ֭ל וְדַ֣ע לְבָבִ֑י
בְּ֝חָנֵ֗נִי וְדַ֣ע שַׂרְעַפָּֽי
23 Examine me, O God, and know my heart.
Test me and know my ambivalence.
3e 4B 9
וּרְאֵ֗ה אִם־דֶּֽרֶךְ־עֹ֥צֶב בִּ֑י
וּ֝נְחֵ֗נִי בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ עוֹלָֽם
24 And see if a way of hardship is in me,
and guide me in the way everlasting.
3e 4B 8

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