Friday, January 1, 2021

Teaching the next generation

 The human parents are responsible for teaching the instruction (Torah) to the generation to follow. No surprise here. If we are just a clever bootstrap of nature within the limited domain of space-time, then we seem to be very clever, foreseeing the future by knowing the riddles of the past and the need for a particular trajectory of care, that care in itself reflecting the character of the force that drives us forward - it is indeed forward in time and generation because though we can imagine backward (all the laws of science with the sign of time reversed) we cannot 'yet' go there.

Psalm 78 is riddle and parable, part of the metaphoric imagery in which we live. The first 8 verses specify the means of escape - a folly in God. Even the ancients knew that there was mystery at the heart of all knowledge. What is our folly (csl)? Tate like everyone else assume the summary of anger and wrath is punishment. Punish never occurs in the Psalm or anywhere else in the Hebrew Scripture. Consequences surely do, but whose responsibility is that? 

Does the chosen humanity know that our actions, our policies and their consequences, are not up to scratch? It seems that the natural solution is to retry the imagery in every generation. Did it work? We have had great progress and marvels of technology but have we learned to prepare for the unknown? to care for the poor and other unfortunates? Dickens had it right with his ghost of Christmas yet to come.

I think we are working on it. It's true to say that the poet attributes the consequences to the fury, anger, indignation, and wrath of Yahweh. These are all part of the domain of wrath right at the bottom of the page. I have been very careful not to overlap these many different words. With respect to the character of Yahweh, we should note also the attribution of grief (verse 58). For other uses, see cys. (Not the same word as in the famous triple in Isaiah 53. See klh, illness.)

I have also been careful not to use the gloss punish, because there is no root in Hebrew that has punish as a necessary gloss. The KJV translators used it for a half-dozen roots and even when there was no word at all in the text for it. (You can verify my analysis - the stems used by others for punish are all listed here. For the record, I came to this conclusion based on my experience of translating using contextual pattern matching. I did not set out with this particular issue in mind.)

spr thlim

Book of Psalms



amwcil lasf.
hazinh ymi torti.
h'tu aozncm lamri-pi.
1An insight of Asaph.
Listen my people to my instruction.
Bend your ears to the sayings of my mouth.
baptkh bmwl pi.
abiyh kidot mni-qdm,
2I will open my mouth in a parable.
I will ferment riddles from of old,
gawr wmynu vndym,
vabotinu sipru-lnu.
3which we have heard and known,
and our ancestors recounted to us.
dla nckd mbnihm ldor akron msprim thilot ihvh,
vyzuzo vnplaotiv awr ywh.
4We will not conceal from their children in the generation to follow, recounting the praises of Yahweh,
and his strength and his wonders which he did.
hviqm ydut biyqob vtorh wm biwral,
awr xivvh at-abotinu,
lhodiym lbnihm,
5He raised a testimony in Jacob and he set up instruction in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors,
to make known to their children,
vlmyn iidyu dor akron bnim iivvldu,
iqumu vispru lbnihm,
6so that the generation to follow will know. The children to be born,
will arise and recount to their children,
zviwimu balohim cslm,
vla iwcku mylli-al,
umxvotiv inxoru,
7so they might set up their folly in God,
and not forget the prodigality of God,
and observe his commandments,
kvla ihiu cabotm dor sorr umorh,
dor la-hcin libo,
vla-namnh at-al ruko.
8and not become like their ancestors, a rebellious and provocative generation,
a generation not preparing its heart,
and whose spirit did not believe God.
'tbni-apriim nowqi romi-qwt,
hpcu biom qrb.
9The children of Ephraim, equipped and ready with bow,
changed in the day of close combat.
ila wmru brit alohim,
ubtorto mianu llct.
10They did not keep the covenant of God,
and in his instruction they would not walk.
iaviwcku ylilotiv,
vnplaotiv awr hram.
11And they forgot his prodigality,
and his wonders that he had showed them.
ibngd abotm ywh pla,
barx mxriim wdh-xoyn.
12In front of their ancestors he did a wonder,
in the land of Egypt, the field of Zoan.
igbqy im viybirm,
vixb-mim cmo-nd.
13He split sea and made them cross over,
and he made waters stand firm in a heap.
idvinkm bynn iomm,
vcl-hlilh baor aw.
14And he guided them in a cloud by day,
and all the night long in the light of fire.
'tvibqy xurim bmdbr,
viwq cthomot rbh.
15He split rocks in the wilderness,
and gave drink as abundant abysses.
'tzvioxia nozlim msly,
viord cnhrot mim.
16And he brought forth flows from a cliff,
and made waters descend as rivers.
izviosipu yod lk'toa-lo,
lmrot ylion bxiih.
17But they added still sin against him,
to provoke the Most High in the arid places.
ikvinsu-al blbbm,
lwaol-aocl lnpwm.
18And they tempted God in their heart,
by asking food for themselves.
i'tvidbru balohim.
amru hiucl al,
lyroç wulkn bmdbr?
19And they spoke against God.
They said, Is God able,
to arrange a table in the wilderness?
chn hch-xur vizubu mim unklim iw'topu.
hgm-lkm iucl tt?
am-icin war lymo?
20Hey! he struck a rock and out gushed water and the torrents overflowed.
Is he even able to give bread?
Or will he prepare meat for his people?
calcn wmy ihvh vitybr vaw niwqh biyqob,
vgm-af ylh biwral.
21So Yahweh heard and he was furious, and fire was ignited in Jacob,
and even anger ascended against Israel.
cbci la haminu balohim,
vla b'tku biwuyto.
22For they did not believe in God,
and they did not trust in his salvation.
cgvixv wkqim mmyl,
vdlti wmiim ptk.
23For he had commanded the skies from above,
and the gateways of heaven he opened.
cdvim'tr ylihm mn lacol,
udgn-wmiim ntn lmo.
24And he rained on them manna to eat,
and the grain of heaven he gave to them.
chlkm abirim acl aiw.
xidh wlk lhm lwoby.
25The bread of the mighty each ate.
Victuals he sent among them to satiation.
cvisy qdim bwmiim,
vinhg byuzo timn.
26He sprung an east wind in the heavens,
and drove a south wind in his strength.
czvim'tr ylihm cypr war,
uckol imim yof cnf.
27And he rained meat on them as dust,
and winged fowl as the sand of the seas.
ckvipl bqrb mknhu,
sbib lmwcnotiv.
28And he made it fall within their camp,
surrounding their dwellings.
c'tviaclu viwbyu maod,
vtavvtm ibia lhm.
29And they ate and were sated utterly,
and he let their desires come to them.
lla-zru mtavvtm.
yod aoclm bpihm,
30They were not a stranger to their desires.
While their food was in their mouths,
lavaf alohim ylh bhm vihrog bmwmnihm,
ubkuri iwral hcriy.
31and the anger of God ascended in them, and slew among their stoutest,
and the chosen of Israel were bowed down.
lbbcl-zat k'tau-yod,
vla-haminu bnplaotiv.
32In all this they sinned,
and still did not believe in his wonders.
lgvicl-bhbl imihm,
uwnotm bbhlh.
33And he finished their days in futility,
and their years in vexation.
ldam-hrgm udrwuhu,
vwbu vwikru-al.
34When he slew them then they searched him out,
and they turned and sought early for God.
lhvizcru ci-alohim xurm,
val ylion goalm.
35And they remembered for God is their rock,
and God the Most High their redeemer.
lvviptuhu bpihm,
ublwonm iczbu-lo.
36But they seduced him with their mouth,
and with their tongue they lied to him.
lzvlibm la-ncon yimo,
vla namnu bbrito.
37And their heart was not prepared from him,
and they did not believe in his covenant.
lkvhua rkum icpr yvon vla-iwkit,
vhrbh lhwib apo,
vla-iyir cl-kmto,
38But he compassionate, he covered over iniquity and did not destroy,
but many times his anger turned,
and did not arouse all his heat,
l'tvizcor ci-bwr hmh,
ruk holç vla iwub.
39for he remembered that they are flesh,
a walking wind which does not return.
mcmh imruhu bmdbr,
iyxibuhu biwimon.
40How much they provoked him in the wilderness,
and caused him pain in the wasteland.
maviwubu vinsu al,
uqdow iwral htvu.
41And they turned back and tempted God,
and constrained the Holy One of Israel.
mbla-zcru at-ido,
iom awr-pdm mni-xr.
42They did not remember even his hand,
the day he ransomed them from trouble.
mgawr-wm bmxriim aototiv,
umoptiv bwdh-xoyn.
43That he had set up in Egypt his signs,
and his portents in the field of Zoan.
mdvihpoç ldm iaorihm,
vnozlihm bl-iwtiun.
44That he changed their canals to blood,
so their flows they could not imbibe.
mhiwlk bhm yrob viaclm,
uxprdy vtwkitm.
45He sent a swarm of flies at them and it ate them,
and frogs and he destroyed them.
mvviitn lksil ibulm,
vigiym larbh.
46And he gave to the caterpillar their produce,
and their labour to a swarm.
mzihrog bbrd gpnm,
vwqmotm bknml.
47He slew their vines with hail,
and their sycamore with sleet.
mkvisgr lbrd byirm,
umqnihm lrwpim.
48And he imprisoned their kine to the hail,
and their acquisitions to the fire-brands.
m'tiwlk-bm kron apo ybrh vzym vxrh,
mwlkt mlaci ryim.
49He sent them his fierce anger, fury and indignation and trouble,
by sending messengers of evil.
nipls ntib lapo.
la-kwç mmvvt npwm,
vkitm ldbr hsgir.
50He leveled a pathway for his anger.
He did not keep back their being from death,
and he imprisoned their lives to the pestilence.
naviç cl-bcor bmxriim,
rawit aonim baohli-km.
51And he struck all the firstborn in Egypt,
head of the vigour in the tents of Ham.
nbvisy cxan ymo,
vinhgm cydr bmdbr.
52And he sprung his people like sheep,
and drove them like a troop in the wilderness.
ngvinkm lb'tk vla pkdu,
vat-aoibihm cish him.
53And he guided them in trust and they were not in dread,
and their enemies the sea covered.
ndvibiam al-gbul qodwo,
hr-zh qnth imino.
54And he conducted them to the border of his holiness,
whose right hand acquired this hill.
nhvigrw mpnihm goiim vipilm bkbl nklh,
viwcn baohlihm wb'ti iwral.
55And he expelled the nations before their faces, and let fall in pledge an inheritance,
and made the sceptres of Israel dwell in their tents.
nvvinsu vimru at-alohim ylion,
vydotiv la wmru.
56But they tempted and they provoked God Most High,
and his testimonies they did not keep.
nzviisogu vibgdu cabotm.
nhpcu cqwt rmiih.
57And they were spineless and acted treacherously like their ancestors.
They were changed like an unready bow.
nkvicyisuhu bbmotm,
ubpsilihm iqniauhu.
58And they grieved him with their high places,
and with their graven images moved him to jealousy.
n'twmy alohim vitybr,
vimas maod biwral.
59God heard and was furious,
and he refused utterly in Israel.
svii'tow mwcn wilh,
aohl wicn badm.
60So he abandoned the dwelling in Shiloh,
the tent where he dwelt among humanity.
saviitn lwbi yuzo,
vtparto bid-xr.
61And he gave his strength into captivity,
and his adornment into the hand of trouble.
sbvisgr lkrb ymo,
ubnklto htybr.
62And he imprisoned with the sword his people,
and with his inheritance he was furious.
sgbkuriv aclh-aw,
ubtulotiv la hullu.
63His young men fire devoured,
and his maidens were not praiseworthy.
sdcohniv bkrb nplu,
valmnotiv la tbcinh.
64His priests fell by the sword,
and his widows did not weep.
shviiqx ciwn adonii,
cgibor mtronn miin.
65And my Lord awoke as from sleep,
as valour shouting from wine.
svviç-xriv akor,
krpt yolm ntn lmo.
66And he struck his foes back,
a reproach ever he gave them.
szvimas baohl iosf,
ubwb't apriim la bkr.
67And he refused the tent of Joseph,
and the sceptre of Ephraim he did not choose.
skvibkr at-wb't ihudh,
at-hr xion awr ahb.
68But he chose the sceptre of Judah,
the hill of Zion which he loved.
s'tviibn cmo-rmim mqdwo,
carx isdh lyolm.
69And he built as exalted, his sanctuary,
as the earth he founded forever.
yvibkr bdvid ybdo,
viiqkhu mmclaot xan.
70And he chose in David his servant,
and took him from the sheepfolds.
yamakr ylot hbiao,
lryot biyqob ymo,
ubiwral nklto.
71From behind those giving suck he conducted him,
to shepherd in Jacob his people,
and in Israel his inheritance.
ybvirym ctom lbbo,
ubtbunot cpiv inkm.
72And he shepherded them as the completeness of his heart,
and in the discernments of his open palms he guided them.

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