Sunday 31 January 2021


 I am finally getting around to read the 2019 Nine Dots prize winner, Annie Zaidi, Bread, Cement, Cactus, A Memoir of Belonging and Dislocation. At the beginning of chapter 3 (page 40 in the PDF) she writes:

Maya Angelou has said that ‘the ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.’ This safe place – does it exist? I don’t know. What I do know is that the illusion must exist. For a person to give her loyalty to the land, to trust those who create and enforce laws, safety is a prerequisite. One essential aspect to this illusion is familiarity: systems functioning as we expect them to, people talking in tongues we understand.

 You can get the PDF here.

Saturday 30 January 2021

Atonement - in for a penny, in for a pound

This post continues to explore the implications of my assessment that the word punish should not be associated with the actions of God. 

It is commonplace to hear from Christians that God punished Jesus so that we could be saved from our sins and many other words to that effect. This is known as penal substitution. If God does not punish, as I have assumed from reading the Tanakh, then this statement that God punished Jesus cannot be true.

I think it is more likely that no one can be punished for another's sin. We all suffer when anyone sins. 

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. This is accurate reporting, but it is not by any means easy to understand. That preposition for is a slippery beast. 

There are verses in the Old Testament that tradition uses to explain the death of Jesus. Like those of Isaiah 53. These words need not be unique to Jesus.

What Isaiah seems to say is that all can share in the suffering of this person that he is writing about and in the sighing of God over evil. Christians believe that God vindicated Jesus. So be it. And God will equally vindicate with him and has vindicated all those who suffer with him. Isaiah did not compose this passage out of thin air. He knew people whose suffering mirrored the sighing of God for his people. And I have no doubt he and others like him bear my sin also as I have shared in bearing theirs. 

There is not punishment here, but gift. What does he say, Go and do thou likewise. Such action is the obedience of faith rather than self-protection, as if we could be shielded from reality. Yet we cannot fail to know both sides of this. That is the knowledge of good and evil.





ami hamin lwmuytnu?
uzroy ihvh yl-mi nglth?
1Who believes what we heard?
And the arm of Yahweh, to whom disclosed?
bviyl cionq lpniv vcworw marx xiih la-toar lo vla hdr.
vnrahu vla mrah vnkmdhu.
2He grew up as a sapling in his presence, as a root from arid earth. Not handsome was he, nor was he honoured.
And if we see him, there is no charisma that we should be attracted to him.
gnbzh vkdl aiwim aiw mcaobot viduy koli,
ucmstr pnim mmnu nbzh vla kwbnuhu.
3He is despised and set aside by everyone, a sorrowful person, one who knows illness,
like someone from whom we would hide our faces. He is despised and we did not consider him.
dacn kvliinu hua nwa umcaobinu sblm.
vanknu kwbnuhu nguy much alohim umyunh.
4Nevertheless our illnesses he himself bore and the burden of our sorrows he carries.
And we ourselves consider him contagion, struck by God, answered.
hvhua mkoll mpwyinu mduca myvonotinu.
musr wlomnu yliv ubkburto nrpa-lnu.
5But he was profaned for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.
The chastening of our wholeness is on him, and in his stripes is our healing.
vculnu cxan tyinu aiw ldrco pninu,
vihvh hpgiy bo at yvon culnu.
6All we like sheep have wandered, each facing its own way,
and Yahweh has compelled into him the iniquity of us all.
znigw vhua nynh vla iptk-piv cwh l'tbk iubl ucrkl lpni gozzih nalmh,
vla iptk piv.
7He is harassed and he himself afflicted and he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb to the slaughter he is escorted, and as a ewe in the face of her shearer is dumb,
so he did not open his mouth.
kmyoxr ummwp't luqk vat-doro mi iwokk?
ci ngzr marx kiim mpwy ymi ngy lmo.
8From coercion and from judgment he is taken, and who will ponder his generation?
Because he was disconnected from the land of the living, from the transgressions of my people, their contagion.
'tviitn at-rwyim qbro vat-ywir bmotiv,
yl la-kms ywh vla mrmh bpiv.
9So he gives the wicked his tomb as one who is rich in his death,
though he had done no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth.
ivihvh kpx dcao hkli am-twim awm npwo irah zry iariç imim.
vkpx ihvh bido ixlk.
10And Yahweh delighted to crush him. He was made illness as if he had set him up as a guilt offering. He will see seed. He will lengthen days.
So the delight of Yahweh in his hand will thrive.
iamyml npwo irah iwby bdyto ixdiq xdiq ybdi lrbim,
vyvonotm hua isbol.
11From his toil he will see. He will be satisfied. In his knowledge, my servant, righteous, will make many righteous,
and their iniquities, he himself bears the burden.
iblcn aklq-lo brbim vat-yxumim iklq wll tkt awr hyrh lmvvt npwo vat-powyim nmnh,
vhua k'ta-rbim nwa vlpowyim ipgiy. {p}
12Therefore I will divide for him among the many and he will divide spoil among the numerous under which he exposed himself to death and was apportioned transgressions,
while he himself lifted up the sin of many and was compelled through transgressions. P

Friday 29 January 2021

Word studies related to correction and other critical concepts

 Do we need correction? Do we need to work in a right relationship with others and with the resources that we are given? The answer to such a closed question appears to be yes. It is in the character of the foundational texts of our tradition 

  • that we avoid superstition, believing things that are without foundation, 
  • that we do mercy, and keep to regulations that are helpful, 
  • that we avoid a certain kind of emptiness that is destructive, 
  • that we allow ourselves time to reflect, 
  • that we give due glory to our ancestors, 
  • that we help each other to avoid deadly violence to others, 
  • that we deal with our tendency to gratify ourselves at others expense, 
    • whether this be in matters of sex, 
    • or material possessions, 
    • or lies, whether convenient or deliberate, 
  • and that we be content with our lot in the midst of our friends.
You will surmise where I got this paraphrase from. And that it is largely a set of negatives - though we are not without help.

In considering the character of God and the issue of punishment, (see my prior post), we see what looks like the threat of visitation in this passage below (verse 5). This third and fourth motif is evident in several verses of Torah (see the concordance under four, rby look for ribyim). It is part of the character of God. Is it punishment? It is not. It is a straightforward statement of the intergenerational consequences of evil. 

In the wake of colonialism, in the treatment of slaves, in the conquest of territories, it is just plain obvious to anyone who has lived long enough that such violence has repercussions particularly for the victims (who indeed may not hate God). Such actions hound us today in race relations particularly, us and our children. And it feels like the threat applies through 40 rather than merely 4 generations. But that's because we never seem to learn!

Notice that the word here is visit pqd. If you want to review the error of assigning the gloss punish to any of the roots in the Hebrew Bible, check out these ones too: isr nch ryy ynw yvh where punish is a common gloss. (I had a mistake in this list, ydh instead of yvh and here are two places where the KJV inserts punish with no underlying word, Amos 1:6 (etc), Eze 14:10, Job 31:3, Lam 3:39, 4:6 - it's hard to search for this kind of nonsense.)

Here are the first verses of Exodus 20 in my translation. You will see how this expands on the third and fourth generation motif implied in the Psalms and the Prophets where Exodus 34:6 is frequently alluded to (As Jean Sharp correctly points out).
וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֵ֛ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה לֵאמֹֽר סa vidbr alohim at cl-hdbrim halh lamor s1 And God spoke all these words, saying, S
אָֽנֹכִ֖י֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑֔יךָ
אֲשֶׁ֧ר הוֹצֵאתִ֛יךָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם מִבֵּ֣֥ית עֲבָדִֽ֑ים
b anoci ihvh alohiç
awr hoxatiç marx mxriim mbit ybdim
2 I am Yahweh your God,
who brought you forth from the land of Egypt, from the house of servitude.
לֹֽ֣א יִהְיֶֽה־לְךָ֛֩ אֱלֹהִ֥֨ים אֲחֵרִ֖֜ים עַל־פָּנָֽ֗יַg la ihih-lç alohim akrim yl-pnii3 Not it is for you: other gods over my presence.
לֹֽ֣א תַֽעֲשֶׂ֨ה־לְךָ֥֣ פֶ֣֙סֶל֙ ׀ וְכָל־תְּמוּנָ֡֔ה אֲשֶׁ֤֣ר בַּשָּׁמַ֣֙יִם֙ ׀ מִמַּ֡֔עַל וַֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר֩ בָּאָ֖֨רֶץ מִתַָּ֑֜חַת
וַאֲשֶׁ֥֣ר בַּמַּ֖֣יִם ׀ מִתַּ֥֣חַת לָאָֽ֗רֶץ
d la tywh-lç psl vcl-tmunh awr bwmiim mmyl vawr barx mtkt
vawr bmim mtkt larx
4 You will not make for yourself a graven image or any similitude that is in the heavens above or that is in the earth beneath,
or that is in the waters beneath the earth.
לֹֽא־תִשְׁתַּחְוֶ֥֣ה לָהֶ֖ם֮ וְלֹ֣א תָעָבְדֵ֑ם֒
כִּ֣י אָֽנֹכִ֞י יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ אֵ֣ל קַנָּ֔א פֹּ֠קֵד עֲוֺ֨ן אָבֹ֧ת עַל־בָּנִ֛ים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁ֥ים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִ֖ים לְשֹׂנְאָֽ֑י
h la-twtkvvh lhm vla toybdm
ci anoci ihvh alohiç al qna poqd yvon abot yl-bnim yl-wilwim vyl-ribyim lwonaii
5 You will not worship them and you will not serve them,
for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous god, visiting the iniquity of forebears on children over three and over four generations to those who hate me.
וְעֹ֥֤שֶׂה חֶ֖֙סֶד֙ לַאֲלָפִ֑֔ים
לְאֹהֲבַ֖י וּלְשֹׁמְרֵ֥י מִצְוֺתָֽי ס
v vyowh ksd lalpim
laohbii ulwomri mxvotii s
6 And doing mercy for thousands,
who love me and who keep my commandments. S
לֹ֥א תִשָּׂ֛א אֶת־שֵֽׁם־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ לַשָּׁ֑וְא
כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יְנַקֶּה֙ יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֛ת אֲשֶׁר־יִשָּׂ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ לַשָּֽׁוְא פ
z la tiwa at-wm-ihvh alohiç lwva
ci la inqh ihvh at awr-iiwa at-wmo lwva
7 You will not lift up the name of Yahweh your God to vanity,
for Yahweh will not hold innocent who lifts up his name to vanity. P
זָכ֛וֹר֩ אֶת־י֥֨וֹם הַשַּׁבָּ֖֜ת לְקַדְּשֽׁ֗וֹk zcor at-iom hwbt lqdwo8 Remember the day of the Sabbath to sanctify it.
שֵׁ֤֣שֶׁת יָמִ֣ים֙ תַּֽעֲבֹ֔ד֮ וְעָשִׂ֖֣יתָ כָּל־מְלַאכְתֶּֽךָ֒'t wwt imim tybod vywit cl-mlactç9 Six days you will serve and do all your affairs,
וְי֙וֹם֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔֜י שַׁבָּ֖֣ת ׀ לַיהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑֗יךָ
לֹֽ֣א־תַעֲשֶׂ֣֨ה כָל־מְלָאכָ֡֜ה אַתָּ֣ה ׀ וּבִנְךָֽ֣־וּ֠בִתֶּ֗ךָ עַבְדְּךָ֤֨ וַאֲמָֽתְךָ֜֙ וּבְהֶמְתֶּ֔֗ךָ וְגֵרְךָ֖֙ אֲשֶׁ֥֣ר בִּשְׁעָרֶֽ֔יךָ
i viom hwbiyi wbt lihvh alohiç
la-tywh cl-mlach ath ubnç-ubtç ybdç vamtç ubhmtç vgrç awr bwyriç
10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your God.
You will not do any trade, you and your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, and your cattle and your guest that is in your gates.
כִּ֣י שֵֽׁשֶׁת־יָמִים֩ עָשָׂ֨ה יְהוָ֜ה אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֶת־הַיָּם֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֔ם וַיָּ֖נַח בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֑י
עַל־כֵּ֗ן בֵּרַ֧ךְ יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־י֥וֹם הַשַּׁבָּ֖ת וַֽיְקַדְּשֵֽׁהוּ ס
ia ci wwt-imim ywh ihvh at-hwmiim vat-harx at-him vat-cl-awr-bm vink biom hwbiyi
yl-cn birç ihvh at-iom hwbt viqdwhu s
11 For six days Yahweh constructed the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day.
Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it. S
כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ
לְמַ֙עַן֙ יַאֲרִכ֣וּן יָמֶ֔יךָ עַ֚ל הָאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ ס
ib cbd at-abiç vat-aimç
lmyn iaricun imiç yl hadmh awr-ihvh alohiç notn lç s
12 Glorify your father and your mother,
so that prolonged are your days on the ground that Yahweh your God gives to you. S
לֹ֥֖א תִּֿרְצָֽ֖ח סig la trxk s13 You will not murder. S
לֹ֣֖א תִּֿנְאָֽ֑ף סid la tnaf s14 You will not commit adultery. S
לֹ֣֖א תִּֿגְנֹֽ֔ב ס'tv la tgnob s15 You will not steal. S
לֹֽא־תַעֲנֶ֥ה בְרֵעֲךָ֖ עֵ֥ד שָֽׁקֶר ס'tz la-tynh briyç yd wqr s16 You will not inflict false witness against your associate. S
לֹ֥א תַחְמֹ֖ד בֵּ֣ית רֵעֶ֑ךָ
לֹֽא־תַחְמֹ֞ד אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֶ֗ךָ וְעַבְדּ֤וֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ֙ וְשׁוֹר֣וֹ וַחֲמֹר֔וֹ וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְרֵעֶֽךָ פ
iz la tkmod bit riyç
la-tkmod awt riyç vybdo vamto vworo vkmoro vcol awr lriyç
17 You will not covet the house of your friend,
nor will you covet the wife of your friend or manservant or maidservant or bull or ass or anything that is your friend's. P
וְכָל־הָעָם֩ רֹאִ֨ים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹ֜ת וְאֶת־הַלַּפִּידִ֗ם וְאֵת֙ ק֣וֹל הַשֹּׁפָ֔ר וְאֶת־הָהָ֖ר עָשֵׁ֑ן
וַיַּ֤רְא הָעָם֙ וַיָּנֻ֔עוּ וַיַּֽעַמְד֖וּ מֵֽרָחֹֽק
ik vcl-hym roaim at-hqolot vat-hlpidim vat qol hwopr vat-hhr ywn
vira hym vinuyu viymdu mrkoq
18 And all the people saw the rumblings and the torches and the voice of the shophar and the mountain smoking,
and the people saw and wavered to and fro and they stood distant.

The difficulty of escaping a past bias

There is a commonplace in the theological world from the last 2000 years that God punishes. It is not true.

Can I be any more clear. It - is - not - true.

To attribute the role of punisher to God (whether by direct mistranslation or by inference in the mind of the reader) is a false understanding of the Scriptures in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The understanding is false.

God does not punish. We punish.

There are more ways to get 'God punishes' wrong as policy than there are to get 'we punish' wrong as policy.

Perhaps you didn't know that theology - what we think about God - can lead us to do things that we think God would do. Since by definition - God is the ultimate good. (If indeed we dare to define God.)

Don't get me wrong in these ways. There are consequences to what we do. And plenty of them are painful and deadly. If we rape the creation, we will suffer. If we fail to prepare for a pandemic, we will suffer. If we lie to each other, we will suffer. If we are lucky, we can attribute such suffering to a visitation from God. Perhaps we will revive. 

We know the difference between what is good and what is evil. Punishment and its motivation is evil. It cannot be attributed to God. It has no role in understanding either the First Testament and its theories of atonement nor has it any role in the Newer Testament and theories of how the work of Jesus works for those who believe. 

Prove me wrong. But I tell you. Punishment as theology is evil news, not good news.

I am a Christian and I value the teaching that I have derived from the New Testament. The apostle Paul in particular invites us by faith into suffering with God rather than suffering for our own ignorance and error. Jesus was and remains faithful in the message of the NT - but it is not an easy path to follow nor is it a slam dunk to understand. 

The first potential for our stumbling is our desire to control what we know and to control our relationships. We must have both self-control and cooperation amongst the elements of the created order. But we cannot achieve this with cheap answers to hard questions. We have to work it out and we have to correct the errors that are evident in our body politic.

You will know them by their fruits - says Jesus. Just look around: world wars, holocaust, famine, arms races, fear, oligarchies, inequities, and on and on. There is no lack of sin. 

Look around again, hard working farmers, health workers, hospitals, schools, scientists restoring and understanding life, from species restoration to waste management systems, and on and on, good human endeavors. There is no lack of care. 

Look around again: Consider the lilies - there is an immensity of words in the Tanakh (the Old Testament) about creation, and animals, and plant life, and beauty. It is not punishment. It is a prodigality of astonishing wealth. There is no lack of resources. 

How is it that there is inequity among us?

It has come to my attention that a blog I follow is writing about the character of God. The first two parts avoid the commonplace failures in translation. But parts 3 and 4 do not. Example in part 4 that God 'relents from punishing'. The Hebrew says No Such Thing. 

The translation of a word that signifies 'evil' as 'punishment' is sheer irresponsibility. God sighs over the evil that is evident to God in the human endeavors. It says nothing about God as the subject of 'punishment'. It will be misread if it is translated this way and the resulting idea about God in the mind of the reader will be distorted. This is the verse cited:

Rip your heart and not your garments and turn to Yahweh your God, for gracious and compassionate is he, slow to anger and abundant in kindness, and sighs over evil. (Joel 2:13).

I am grateful that the blog I noted (link here) is considering the character of God, but it is nearly impossible to consider it accurately without a concordant translation. I have pointed out on this blog that punish as a gloss is badly used in traditional translations at least as far back as the Vulgate and certainly in the mind of the 16th century in English tradition. Punishment was in vogue in the 16th century.

I have left a critical comment on Claude's blog. The teaching in the churches has to change. My comment is under moderation. Well, in my immoderate fashion, here it is:

Hi – thanks for your work on this formative verse. I want to object, however, to the use of the gloss punish for any root in the Hebrew language. The 16th century translators had punishment on their minds a lot. The evidence is for the number of different Hebrew words (יסר נכה ענשׁ פקד רעע עוה) that are glossed as punish. A review of these words will show that not one of them has punish as its dominant gloss. Sometimes the KJV translators even put in punishment as a word when there is no corresponding word at all in the Hebrew. (See Lev 26:41.)

I have written on this extensively having completed in the last 15 years a full translation of the Hebrew. Important though discipline and discipleship is, punishment is not part of it, rather it is governance. I do not deny pain or suffering or consequences but punishment is the imposition of a distorted human violent action that is not in the mind of God.

Just that one root pqd – primarily it has the sense of visit. Would we not want to be visited by God? Even if it required us to be corrected, chastened, struck, or even bewildered. Personally, I have been struck and I know the presence because of it. It is this way that I have suffered with God who grieves concerning our decisions that draw us away from such presence.

When I meditate on the character of God I am struck by the Psalms – 146 is among the best. 145 also includes Exodus 34:6 – I have prepared a short lecture and performance on the music of Psalm 145 that you can find here if you are interested.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Tone of voice, continued, and the root pls

 The amount of work implied for each of these posts is extensive, but they are easy to produce. The music is generated for a verse. Musescore reads the XML. I use its photo feature and copy and paste the photo into the blogger editor - congratulations all around. The blogger editor feature that allows paste image is great.

The remaining uses of pls are all in the books of poetry. Tone changes slightly for these books. They are more song than proclamation.

Psalms 78:50 He leveled a pathway for his anger. //
He did not keep back their being from death, //
and he imprisoned their lives to the pestilence.
Here the pathway is leveled. You can see some overlap in sounds in the English glosses. But path is different from pathway and different from way. They are all together in the section on the domain Way in the list of glosses. (No translation is perfect. I will try to avoid misleading you. Be very careful what sorts of theology you infer from what may be random associations in a translation. Remember that a human seeks power. Power to do what is good can degenerate into power over others.)

I have been tempted to introduce soul into my translation these days - but only where a singular soul is attached to an implied plural or collective. You can understand my temptation. We are clearly in a time when our soul is knit into one by shared affliction.

No problem with level here or the following which also uses the verb with nouns related to the domain Way.

Proverbs 4:26 Level the track for your foot, // and all your ways will be established.
In this and the next example, the verse begins on a note other than /e/ showing that it is grammatically connected to the prior verse. (Never believe someone who tells you the accents aren't connected across verses. They most certainly are connected. Thousands of connections aptly illustrated with the music. You will not be likely to hear them without the Haïk-Vantoura deciphering key. It is for this reason that I was born and that the Most High held me till now as an arrow in his quiver. You who seek spiritual power, get busy and study correctly, not by memorizing answers.)
Proverbs 5:6, Verse 21 also continues the prior verse.

I see very clearly that all the remaining uses of pls are quite fine with the gloss level. I will take this as read. All the music is online and all the glossary is online and it can legitimately be called concordant. Unless I am persuaded otherwise, I will leave the gloss untouched in Psalms 58.

He leveled lies to his land. 
Such is said of some. 
Deliver me from my wrath.

I read some haiku for fun 
- so I turned my thought 
and my anger into one.

Learning about tone of voice in ancient texts

We obviously don't have recordings of ancient language recitation. It seems likely, however, that such ancient texts were recited and a tone of voice was part of the recitation. My only clues are in the music of the accents. So here are the verses from yesterday's post - another translation challenge,

We should also observe several things about each verse. Who is speaking to whom, i.e. who is the subject of pls? What words are used in parallel that might give us an idea of sense. All this is of course outside the cultural and historical frame. We are in a puzzle frame and need a gloss in English that will agree with others for the same root and not mislead concerning others that are not the same root.

It will be clear that I do not translate for 'meaning'. The translation must be readable and make 'sense' in its context. 'Sense' is not identical to 'meaning'. Also clear is that I don't know the answer in advance. I must discover my best inferences or even guesses based on usage. There are only 9 instances to look at. In 300,000+ words.

Isaiah 26:7 aork lxdiq miwrim // iwr mygl xdiq tpls
The tone of this verse is subdued. It is a matter of fact assertion about righteousness and uprightness, roots that are repeated in the verse. I do not use synonyms freely in translation since the one who originally recited this verse did not either. (I do allow myself synonyms - but with care so that the English sense is readable.) Who is the you in this verse? The You is Yahweh. The circular thought is clear from the recurrence in verses 7 and 8.
ארח the path of
לצדיק a righteous one
מישרים is uprightness
ישר upright
צדיק the righteous one
ארח the path of

So far, the gloss level makes perfect sense. There is no need to derive a shift in sense of this root. At Bible Gateway you can see all their English translations at once. (Bravo BG!) There are lots of glosses for pls, weigh / direct / clear / smooth / make even / make equal / make safe / make level . Many of these translations fail to mimic the sound of iwr in words 3 and 4.

Several translations hear praise in word 4. There is a clue in the music that iwr is an invocation of Yahweh. The grammar does not preclude this as an interpretation. A performer could hear it that way with my simple rendering.

The path of a righteous one is uprightness. // Upright, the track of the righteous one, you level.

What about the next verse that uses pls in Isaiah?
Isaiah 40:12

Here the tone is different, a full braggadocio for Yahweh. You can explore the BG to see how many different ways this is translated. What is difficult though is seeing and hearing how many different roots have been used for the same gloss. One can only do this with a database where the overlap of glosses to multiple roots has been reduced to a minimum and is tightly controlled by the functions supporting translation. That has been my work these past 15 years. Was it a reasonable assumption to make about the language of the ancients which many call the word of God?

Who has measured his fistful of waters, or heaven in a span, stabilized, or nourished in three, the dust of the earth, // or weighed in a level the hills, and the hillocks in the balance?

When I translate, you can be sure that if I use the word level pls or weigh wql or balance azn or any other specific and significant word, that I have never used it for more than one root without very good reason.  And if you study the concordance - (and it is accurate, being simply a record of the data), my only contributions are layout, my glosses, and my semantic domains. These can be questioned. The bulk of it is raw data, a sequence of ancient words turned on its head and inside out. And on my page of reduced glosses you can check whether my claim is sound and where I have had to compromise. Check out come / came for example. You will still see how carefully I have added unique prepositions (come up / come down) to distinguish the overlaps. (Also note the Aramaic versus the Hebrew).

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Psalms 58

 We had better keep going on these do not destroy psalms. Perhaps this one can apply in this age to those who "prepare the way in the land for the violence of their hands", to use Tate's paraphrase of verse 3. Is there a God in the earth judging today?

I should consider my options in my translation. The gloss I used for pls does not seem perfect here. From my concordance I see there are only these uses of the root in the data that I have.

plsRulebpls1בַּפֶּ֙לֶס֙in a levelIsa 40:12(13)
ipls1יְפַלֵּ֥סhe leveledPsa 78:50(1)
mpls1מְפַלֵּֽסhe levelsPro 5:21(9)
mplwi1־מִפְלְשֵׂיthe leveling ofJob 37:16(3)
pls2פֶּ֤לֶסlevelPro 16:11(1)
פַּ֭לֵּסlevelPro 4:26(1)
tpls2־תְּפַלֵּ֑סyou should levelPro 5:6(4)
תְּפַלֵּֽסyou levelIsa 26:7(7)
tplsun1תְּפַלֵּֽסֽוּןyou level outPsa 58:3(8)

We should look at every instance and see whether we can level with this gloss. I may be missing a nuance, or verse 3 may have an element of sarcasm. Tate suggests several options weigh out / mete / deal out, or look at / watch / survey [NEB], but he prefers 'prepare the way'. This appears to me to be pure guessword. It might make us wonder if this phrase matches the famous words in Isaiah 40:3. It does not even come close. Can we make sense of these 9 instances - and keep our concord focused?
Isaiah 26
אֹ֥רַח לַצַּדִּ֖יק מֵֽישָׁרִ֑ים
יָשָׁ֕ר מַעְגַּ֥ל צַדִּ֖יק תְּפַלֵּֽס
z aork lxdiq miwrim
iwr mygl xdiq tpls
7 The path of a righteous one is uprightness.
Upright, the track of the righteous one, you level.
Isaiah 40
מִֽי־מָדַ֨ד בְּשָׁעֳל֜וֹ מַ֗יִם וְשָׁמַ֙יִם֙ בַּזֶּ֣רֶת תִּכֵּ֔ן וְכָ֥ל בַּשָּׁלִ֖שׁ עֲפַ֣ר הָאָ֑רֶץ
וְשָׁקַ֤ל בַּפֶּ֙לֶס֙ הָרִ֔ים וּגְבָע֖וֹת בְּמֹאזְנָֽיִם
ib mi-mdd bwoylo mim vwmiim bzrt ticn vcl bwliw ypr harx
vwql bpls hrim ugbyot bmazniim
12 Who has measured his fistful of waters, or heaven in a span, stabilized, or nourished in three, the dust of the earth,
or weighed in a level, the hills and the hillocks in the balance?
Psalms 78
יְפַלֵּ֥ס נָתִ֗יב לְאַ֫פּ֥וֹ
לֹא־חָשַׂ֣ךְ מִמָּ֣וֶת נַפְשָׁ֑ם
וְ֝חַיָּתָ֗ם לַדֶּ֥בֶר הִסְגִּֽיר
n ipls ntib lapo
la-kwç mmvvt npwm
vkitm ldbr hsgir
50 He leveled a pathway for his anger.
He did not keep back their being from death,
and he imprisoned their lives to the pestilence.
Proverbs 4
פַּ֭לֵּס מַעְגַּ֣ל רַגְלֶ֑ךָ
וְֽכָל־דְּרָכֶ֥יךָ יִכֹּֽנוּ
cv pls mygl rglç
vcl-drciç iiconu
26 Level the track for your foot,
and all your ways will be established.
Proverbs 5
אֹ֣רַח חַ֭יִּים פֶּן־תְּפַלֵּ֑ס
נָע֥וּ מַ֝עְגְּלֹתֶ֗יהָ לֹ֣א תֵדָֽע פ
v aork kiim pn-tpls
nyu myglotih la tdy p
6 Lest you should level a path of life,
wavering to and fro are her tracks. You do not know. P
כִּ֤י נֹ֨כַח ׀ עֵינֵ֣י יְ֭הוָה דַּרְכֵי־אִ֑ישׁ
וְֽכָל־מַעְגְּלֹתָ֥יו מְפַלֵּֽס
ca ci nock yini ihvh drci-aiw
vcl-myglotiv mpls
21 Because opposite the eyes of Yahweh are the ways of each,
and all its tracks he levels.
Proverbs 16
פֶּ֤לֶס ׀ וּמֹאזְנֵ֣י מִ֭שְׁפָּט לַֽיהוָ֑ה
מַ֝עֲשֵׂ֗הוּ כָּל־אַבְנֵי־כִֽיס
ia pls umazni mwp't lihvh
mywhu cl-abni-cis
11 Level and balanced is a judgment of Yahweh,
his deed, all the stones of a cup.
Job 37
הֲ֭תֵדַע עַל־מִפְלְשֵׂי־עָ֑ב
מִ֝פְלְא֗וֹת תְּמִ֣ים דֵּעִֽים
'tz htdy yl-mplwi-yb
mplaot tmim dyim
16 Do you know about the leveling of thick cloud,
from the wonders of one who is complete in knowledge?





almnxk al-twkt ldvid mctm. 1For the leader. Do not destroy. Of David, a miktam.
bhaumnm alm xdq tdbrun?
miwrim twp'tu bni adm?
2Is it truly a dumb righteousness that you speak?
From uprightness you judge the earthling children?
gaf-blb yolot tpylun.
barx kms idicm tplsun.
3Indeed you work injustice in the heart.
In the earth, you level out the violence of your hands.
dzoru rwyim mrkm.
tyu mb'tn dobri czb.
4Estranged are the wicked from the womb.
They wander out of the belly speaking a lie.
hkmt-lmo cdmut kmt-nkw.
cmo-ptn kirw ia'tm aozno,
5Their heat is akin to the heat of a snake.
As the deaf adder plugs his ear,
vawr la-iwmy lqol mlkwim,
kobr kbrim mkucm.
6which will not hear the voice of the conjurers,
charming charms with wisdom.
zalohim hros-winimo bpimo.
mltyot cpirim ntox ihvh.
7O God, overthrow their teeth in their mouths.
the fangs of young lions break off, Yahweh.
kiimasu cmo-mim ithlcu-lmo,
idroç kixiv cmo itmollu,
8Let them be refused like their meandering waters,
as when one directs a tailless arrow,
'tcmo wblul tms ihloç,
npl awt bl-kzu wmw.
9as a slimy slug slithering off,
a woman's miscarriage that will not gaze on the sun.
ib'trm ibinu siroticm a'td,
cmo-ki cmo-kron iwyrnu.
10Ere your garden-pots discern a brierpatch,
like life, like burning, he will sweep him away.
iaiwmk xdiq ci-kzh nqm.
pymiv irkx bdm hrwy.
11A righteous one will be glad for he gazes on vengeance.
He will wash his footfall in the blood of the wicked.
ibviamr adm aç-pri lxdiq.
aç iw-alohim wop'tim barx.
12And an earthling will say, Surely fruit for one who is righteous.
Surely there is a God judging in the earth.
To be continued.

Introduction to SimHebrew - a developer's viewpoint.

As readers will know, I have been allowing the benefits of SimHebrew as a ltr abbreviation for rtl Hebrew sink in over the past year. You could say I have been doing a little word processing experiment with multiple representations of a language. Here is a summary of the things I have learned over the year, extracted from various posts on the subject.

Every software developer who wants to work with a right-to-left language in a left-to-right programming language has a problem testing the values of the words he or she may be working with. SimHebrew is an elegant solution to this problem for Hebrew.

SimHebrew is a representation of rtl square Hebrew in ltr Latin letters. It makes learning the letters easier. It is good for ease of searching, especially with software, and for applications like URL coding. SimHebrew was a very slight translation for me from a technique I had used in the first version of my software, but lowercase rather than uppercase letters and the choices of letters to reflect the shapes through mirroring improve its usability. 

Compare: a traditional keyboard mapping:


with the SimHebrew mapping:


One has to get used to either one. Dislodging a poor mapping can be difficult for us. My old mapping was usable but I hid it from anything or anyone outside my programs. My aleph was ), my ayin was `, these reminded me of the guttural aspect of the letters. My chet was X. My yod was Y and my kaf was K and my tsade was C like the keyboard. I distinguished shin and sin as $ and W. Enough said. It worked, but SimHebrew is simpler and graphically closer to the Hebrew letters and it doesn't have to be hidden.

The grapheme /a/ begins the alphabet as is traditional. One gets used to /k/, the eighth letter as chet. The ninth, tet is anomalous. SimHebrew uses an escaped /t/. (I use + internally for tet.) The grapheme /i/ is a natural for yod. Similarly C is a natural for כ, its mirror image. And /x/ is not a bad graphic imitation of tsade. Note too how even in our standard typefaces, q, r, and w are all mirror images of the Hebrew letters. This clue is followed up by Jonathan Orr-Stav in his book Aleph through the Looking Glass.

So how do we pronounce these letters and the words they make up? I have no shortcut answers for this question at the moment. But pronunciation can be studied directly by scanning the concordance in the form that I have it in.

Aleph, a, א is a guttural. Think of it as a glottal stop (as in English) but it can carry one of many vowel sounds with it. So the /a/ of ab, father, carries an a. But the /a/ of abn, stone, carries an /e/ so is pronounced ebn (as in Ebenezer). This is not different from English. For example, note that the English any begins with an 'e' sound.

Bet, b, ב sounds as b or v. Gimel, g, ג is g. Dalet, d, ד is d. He (heh), h, ה is the lighter aspirate, but it counts as a guttural too. /a/ and /h/ both have significant grammatical roles.

Vav, v, ו is the connector and appears in SimHebrew as /u/ /o/ or /v/. SimHebrew tells you explicitly for this letter. /v/ is part of the grammatical team.

Zayin, z, ז is z. Chet, k, ח is ch, the serious aspirate, much like ch in loch. Tet, 't, ט is t, a minor player on the grammatical team, occasional metastasis in a word.

Yod, i, י is i. It may operate like a consonant (as does the English /y/, for example, in the name Iago) as well as a vowel.

Kaf, c, כ is a hard c with a little h in it as well. /ç/ is used for a final kaf. Lamed (two syllables), l, ל is l. Mem, m, מ is m. Nun, n, נ is n. /i/, /c/, /l/, /m/, /n/ all play grammatical roles.

Samech, s, ס is s. It may look like an /o/ and be difficult to distinguish from an /m/ sofit. This is not a problem in SimHebrew. Samech, smç, support or sustain, comes in the place of O in the Latin alphabet. There must be story here.

Ayin, y, ע is the heavier-duty guttural - sort of like an emphasized 'excellent' in English. And like aleph, it may take more than one different vowel. For example viyl, so let him go up, is the connector vav, va, followed by the prefix /i/ behaving like a consonant y and the guttural /y/ carrying an ah sound, all together vaiy`al. And yolm, everlasting, eras past, etc, is /y/ glottal stop carrying an o sound, all together `olam. From a pronunciation point of view, two consecutive consonants tend to be separated by something close to a schwa. 

Peh, p, פ sounds like /p/, or /f/ if the last letter of a word. Tsade, x, צ is ts. Qof, q, ק is q. Resh, r, ר is r.

Shin / sin, w, שׁ is sh or s (and you just hafta know). /w/ is a minor player on the grammatical team, the prefix /sh/.

taf t ת is t. /t/ is a grammatical letter. The famous word amt comprised of the first and last letters and the 13th has either a or e associated with its pronunciation, but the two are very close and always heading towards schwa. E.g. amito, his truth, sounds like it is written but amt, truth, sounds like the Lego hero, Emmet.

So: five gutturals, a, h, k, y, and r. (May be disputed.) Several (16) strong letters that rarely disappear in word forms: b, g, d, z, 't, | k, c, l, s, y, | p, x ,q, r, w, t. Several (6) weak letters that often disappear in some word forms a, h, v, i, m, n. In particular, v and i often morph into each other. In SimHebrew the v will be written as v, o, or u.

There does not seem to be anything particularly tidy about this sequence of letters, any more or less than any other alphabet. The ancient scribes were aware of a sequence of letters. This is clear from the acrostic psalms and played on in the poems of Lamentations with what appears to be a reversed order of p and y. There are ancient abecedaries that agree with Lamentations.

SimHebrew has allowed my work to follow an easier path since 2019. Just the use of lowercase rather than my original mapping, has made life easier in this exercise of seeking out the changes in the presentation of the language from the pointed Biblical text to an unpointed text. SimHebrew makes searching very easy and aids greatly in presenting the data of Tanakh. And it so easy to type in both languages.

Saturday 23 January 2021

Teaching poetry and script

In Lent last year, Jim Gordon had a series on the poetry of George Herbert. Did you ever have trouble reading poetry? I could not slow myself down long enough even in University to tease out the reality of poetry. It was not until I began to sing the Metaphysicals that I began to appreciate all the poetry that had been stuffed into me by rote from Chaucer to Eliot. I still have trouble.

The Psalms, the Prophets, and Job (with the exception of the prologue and Epilogue) are all 'poetry' in the Bible. The words are in short sharp lines and have a different set of cantillation signs.

We should be able to slow down, even if we may read parts of a poem fast as Amanda Gorman did at the inauguration of Biden, We should be able to perform and study and appreciate the shapes, the forms, the sounds of words and letters, to celebrate the gift of tongues that we all have.

Rejoice in God O ye Tongues:
Give the glory to the Lord and the Lamb

Nations and languages And every Creature
In which is the breath of Life

Let man and beast appear before him,
and magnify his name together

Jubilate Agno, Fragment A, by Christopher Smart

A youngster 1/10th my age asked if we could write a book together. I said, yes, but thought, we must explore all aspects of writing in this digital age, cursive, mirror, shape, ease, sound, and also form, content, character, tension, humour, and poetry.

After some discussion of his initial words for a story, and scribbling down some quick thoughts, he and I together, and asking some questions about writing, I started us off with the exercise of tracing the poem Easter Wings by George Herbert, as if one must have a poem as a lead-off, maybe part of the front matter of 'The Book' to be written. All due love to my first teachers of Metaphysical poetry especially Peter Ohlin of McGill, 50+ years ago, and the musicians, knowingly or not, who allowed me to wake up to Herbert's words.

If we are to write a book, we really ought to practise some writing. Here is our first attempt, each of us alternatively tracing the words and letters over three days. What is in the poem?
Tracing Easter Wings by George Herbert

No doubt our letters are impoverished compared to what the 17th century writer would have done. But it is a start. (You can find an original Ms online at the Bodleian - but I could not get it to instantiate.)
Here is an image from Trinity College Cambridge.
Easter Wings  by George Herbert: TCC, VI.11.29, p
Many have written about this poem, what does a 75-year-old see to help teach a 7.5-year-old? What is in the poem today for us in the early 21st Century? It is rather more applicable to us than abstract theology drawn from its surface.

But surely, having touched on the obvious shape, we could begin with sound and letters. Including the words that I inadvertently skipped! My failure will give both of us a lesson in syllables. How could I leave out 'this day', so much a part of Hebert's theology! (There is but one and that one ever).

Why are the syllables asymmetrical? 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 : 2, 4, 8, 8, 10.

Letters that stood out to me were the f's in the last line of stanza 1. These sounds are repeated in the final three lines of the second stanza.

How did I think of applying the content - we are still at the beginning of things, and a poem like this will take years to absorb. But the created order is evident to a 7.5 year old: parks, animals, fields of vegetables, beaches, seas, rain, snow, wind, mountains, clouds, sky, sun and moon, planets and stars. So line 1 has its application - and the loss of species (line 2) he has heard of, the becoming poore. Yet with thee (the old language that he has never heard till now), he can imagine flying even after the fall into most poore in the middle lines.

And stanza 2? Sicknesses and shame he is no stranger to, broken bones, disability in near relations, trouble, and most obviously, the current pandemic. But imp though he is in modern terms, he can hear the original sense of imp, as Jim Gordon pointed out, the grafting of our feathers on greater wings, using even the pandemic as affliction to advance flight.

Can we learn and use such affliction together to advance the flight in us?

Singular must include some aspect of plurality also, lest we be merely self-centred.

Friday 22 January 2021

A long time ago

I wrote this as a 'page' when I was in the middle of my analysis of the Hebrew Bible. Now with the new concordance, we have come a long way from this initial attempt.

From the archives, a record of a learning process... (unedited)

This will take shape over time. I did a full two-way Biblical Hebrew-English glossary for my 2013 book Seeing the Psalter. Clearly, after working through the whole canon since then, things have changed. I work with a self-developed interactive app using the GX LEAF framework. I don't have the funding to put such a thing on the web, but this page will at least capture the data for others. There is value in the analysis. I have a complete list of stems as a starting point for anyone who wants to critique it. If I am wrong, I am consistently wrong, and several of the areas of weakness in my puzzle solution will be apparent.

I am not working from a rote-learned theological position. I have axes to grind, but they will be obvious. I believe humans have to take responsibility for their actions whether good or bad. Generally you can tell the difference by what the action cost you and how it benefits others. Cheap to you, hurts others: bad. Costly to you, good for others: good. You didn't know what you were doing and your motives were questionable but it proved the lesser of evils to others: probably good. You didn't know what you were doing and it was an embarrassment to others: bad. Is it possible that God will help? Work hard at it and you may find that good is what it is all about.

All this is in the record of the Hebrew Bible. The love in the Song, the unknown in Qohelet, the glory in the Psalms, the failures there and in the former prophets, the judgments in the later prophets, the agony in Job, the pith in the Proverbs, the record of the moment in Chronicles, the formation in Torah, and the hope for restoration and renewal in Ezra-Nehemiah.

Here is a simple list of every gloss by stem.
  • the dominant gloss is the one with the highest count
  • glosses are largely reduced to their English root form
  • I have excluded links - available from a full concordance to be published. 
If you search for (1), you can see immediately which glosses are unique and which stems are unique. You can see real hapaxes (unique stem) and artificial hapaxes (unique gloss) created in the process of translation. An artificial hapax may be caused by a use of an English synonym purely for variety, or the example may be of a unique use for a stem that has multiple uses.

As far as I know I have allowed all true hapaxes to have unique English glosses that do not overlap with any other Hebrew stem.
Aleph Bet Gimel Dalet Heh Vav Zayin Xet Tet Yod Kaf Lamed
Mem Nun Samek Ayin Peh Tsade Qof Resh Shin Sin Taf

The first numeric column counts the 305,368 words of the Hebrew Bible by first letter of the stem.
The second numeric column shows counts of the same words by first letter of the Hebrew word.
Note the significant differences (in bold) where the first letter may be a prefix.
א 62219
ב 19846
ג 6016
ד 7282
ה 12088
ו 38
ז 5388
ח 11401
ט 1876
י 28600
כ 17739
ל 14636
מ 16127
נ 13054
ס 3203
ע 28886
פ 7631
צ 4684
ק 7909
ר 10120
שׁ 20194
שׂ 3443
ת 2988
א 44180
ב 24723
ג 2929
ד 4230
ה 30726
ו 51001
ז 2152
ח 5412
ט 892
י 24047
כ 14298
ל 24920 
מ 20097
נ 6910
ס 1423
ע 16372
פ 3432
צ 2530
ק 2982
ר 4250
שׁ 9411
שׂ 1552
ת 6899

How many? (from an answer I wrote on

There are (at my count) 305,358 words. My word count does not double ketiv (what is written) and qere (what is read), and I count words separated by spaces after replacing every maqaf (hyphen) with a space.

There are 36,364 distinct word forms in these words (excluding names), 39,750 with names. Some of the word forms are derived from different stems. There are, at my current stage of processing, (95% complete), 4,031 distinct stems, 2250 excluding names.

A stem is the entry point to a dictionary or glossary. If you don’t know the stem, you will be lost in a Hebrew dictionary for a while.

Some of these stems may be homonyms, i.e. they are more than one distinct word but they are not distinguishable by their letters. (I do not distinguish verb stem from noun stem and I have kept a few stems distinct that are clearly related.)

Most stems are 3 letters long. My stem counts are as follows:
4 of length 1,
130 of length 2,
1,762 of length 3,
272 of length 4,
67 of length 5,
6 of length 6,
2 of length 7,
and 1 of length 9.

The unique 9 character stem is borrowed, אחשׁדרפנים for satraps (occurs 6 times). It could be reduced in length by removing the plural. The two of length 7 are סומפניה (symphonyah!) and פסנטרין. I have rendered these in reverse order as psaltery (4 times, Daniel 3:5,7,10,15) and symphony (3 times, missing from Daniel 10:7). This is of course the scene with Nebuchadnezzar:
You, O king, you have set up a warrant that all mortals who hear the tone of the horn, the flute, zither, the sackbut, psaltery, symphony, and all kinds of music,
will fall and pay homage to the image of gold.

The four shortest stems of 1 character never occur by themselves and so cannot be counted easily in my data. They are parts of the prefix for some word forms. In Latin characters, they are K כ ך (like, as etc), L ל (for to etc), M מ ם (from etc) and B ב (in etc). I use them as a last resort for words that are composed without a significant stem, e.g. לי mine = prefixed preposition + suffixed pronoun. But something like לדוד would not show under ל but under דוד, itself many words including David, aunt, uncle, mandrake etc.

All prepositions (bar none) are notorious for assuming a host of variations depending on the English context. In grammar class you are taught the dominant gloss but that’s only an approximation of what you need. (It’s a similar story for word forms - especially in poetry.) So anyone who bases an interpretation on an English preposition is showing ignorance of the real translation problem.

Thursday 21 January 2021

Psalms 57

 Am I becoming predictable in my choices of Psalms to read? Likely not. These psalms in the late 50s seem particularly applicable to today's events. God regretted making Saul king. How about that eh? David describes (verse 5) what is was like to stumble through that period.

One good reason to read the psalms is to note just how applicable they are. Another is described here by Jim Gordon at Living Wittily.





almnxk al-twkt ldvid mctm,
bborko mpni-waul bmyrh.
1For the leader. Do not destroy. Of David, a miktam,
when he ran away from the face of Saul in the cave.
bkonni alohim konni ci bç ksih npwi,
ubxl-cnpiç aksh,
yd iybor huot.
2Be gracious to me O God be gracious to me for in you is refuge for my being,
and in the shadow of your wings I make my refuge,
until calamities are passed by.
gaqra lalohim ylion,
lal gomr ylii.
3I will call to God Most High,
to the One who obliterates over me.
diwlk mwmiim viowiyni kirf woapi slh.
iwlk alohim ksdo vamito.
4He will send from heaven and will save me. He reproached the one bearing down on me. Selah.
God will send his kindness and his truth.
hnpwi btoç lbaim awcbh loh'tim,
bni-adm winihm knit vkixim,
ulwonm krb kdh.
5I am among great cats. I lie down with those who are blazing,
the children of humanity, their teeth spears and arrows,
and their tongue a keen sword.
vrumh yl-hwmiim alohim,
yl cl-harx cbodç.
6Be high over the heavens O God,
over all the earth your glory.
zrwt hcinu lpymii cpf npwi.
cru lpnii wikh.
nplu btoch slh.
7A net they have prepared for my footfall. Disturbed is my being.
They have dug facing me a ditch.
They have fallen into the midst of it. Selah.
kncon libi alohim ncon libi.
awirh vazmrh.
8My heart is prepared O God, my heart is prepared.
I will sing and I will sing a psalm.
'tyurh cbodi yurh hnbl vcinor ayirh wkr. 9Be roused my glory. Be roused O lute and harp. I will rouse the dawn.
iaodç bymim adonii.
azmrç blaumim.
10I will give you thanks among the peoples my Lord.
I will sing you a psalm among the tribes.
iaci-gdol yd-wmiim ksdç,
vyd-wkqim amitç.
11For great to the heavens is your kindness,
and to the skies your truth.
ibrumh yl-wmiim alohim,
yl cl-harx cbodç.
12Be high over the heavens, O God,
over all the earth your glory.
Interesting to compare (verse 1 above) Do not destroy with Deuteronomy 9:26, the only other place in the canon outside the four psalms, 57, 58, 59 and 75 where the phrase in the inscription occurs.