Friday, April 30, 2021

Psalms 11

When we were doing the psalms in sequence, (in March) we got to the first acrostic, Psalms 9-10. The next set is Psalms 11-25, then 26-34, then 35-37. Each of the last psalms in the series (bolded) is an acrostic. Will it make sense to see these as being like chapters in the first book of the Psalter, Psalms 1-41? Each of the four acrostics in book 1 is broken. One or more letters are missing. Psalms 9-10 is treated as a single psalm in the Greek and Orthodox and Latin translations. Two psalms are trying to make up one broken acrostic.

The fifth book, Psalms 107-150 (using Hebrew numbering - as is used by most English versions) similarly has 4 acrostic poems. They are all perfect. Looking at sequences leading up to acrostics gives us Psalms 106-111-112, (two acrostics in a row here) 113-119, (one enormous acrostic). Then come the psalms of ascent and three psalms following (120-134, 135, 136, 137 - no acrostics here), finally the fourth acrostic comes at the end a series of Davidic psalms, 138-145, and then the final 5, the doxology for the whole Psalter. 

We are still at the beginning, but there is some discernible structure to this collection.

These are poems full of violence. The poet takes refuge in Yahweh, in the one who was, who is, and who is to come. Confidence grows. Tension is high.

Are the fundamentals overthrown today? No preparation for the pandemic, profit before people in long term care, but the economy! balance the books, open up in the name of freedom (at whose expense?), essential workers at minimum wage, undocumented workers escaping from violent governance, and we haven't even looked at the Near East and the utter destruction there. How does a righteous one, (i.e. Yahweh) work in this disordered environment?

thlim ia Psalms 11 Fn Min Max Syll
a lmnxk ldvid
bihvh ksiti aiç tamru lnpwi
nudi hrcm xipor
1 For the leader. Of David.
In Yahweh I take refuge. How do you say to me,
Flit away to your mountain, bird?
3e 4B 7
11
6
b ci hnh hrwyim idrcun qwt connu kixm yl-itr
lirot bmo-aopl liwri-lb
2 For behold: the wicked. They direct a bow. They prepare their arrows on the bow-string,
to shoot in gloom at the upright of heart.
C 3d 4C 18
9
g ci hwtot iihrsun
xdiq mh-pyl
3 For the fundamentals are overthrown.
How does a righteous one work?

B 3e 4B 8
5
d ihvh bhicl qodwo ihvh bwmiim cisao
yiniv ikzu
ypypiv ibknu bni adm
4 Yahweh is in his holy temple. Yahweh in the heavens his throne.
His eyes gaze on,
His eyelids test the children of humanity.
3d 4C 14
5
10
h ihvh xdiq ibkn
vrwy vaohb kms
wnah npwo
5 Yahweh will test a righteous one,
but the wicked and lover of violence ...
he hates.

3d 4B 6
8
4
v im'tr yl-rwyim pkim
aw vgoprit vruk zlypot mnt cosm
6 He rains snares on the wicked.
Fire and pitch and ferocious wind are the portion of their cup.
3e 4B 8
14
z ci-xdiq ihvh xdqot ahb
iwr ikzu pnimo
7 For Yahweh is a righteous one. He loves righteousness.
His faces gaze on the upright.
3e 4B 9
8

You can observe from the syllable counts that there are 3 tricola, and 4 bicola. And the music is below. (No available performance as yet.) Take the trouble to sing it - if you only know English, remember it is plainsong, sing the syllables in Hebrew, and read the English line by line. It's only the first page in the chapter. Let's see where it takes us.

 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Makarisms, beatitudes, in the Psalms

1

1

awri haiw awr la hlç byxt rwyim
ubdrç k'taim la ymd
ubmowb lxim la iwb

Happy the person who does not walk in the advice of the wicked,
and in the way of sinners does not stand,
and in the seat of the scornful does not sit.

2

12

nwqu-br pn-ianf vtabdu drç ci-ibyr cmy't apo
awri cl-kosi bo

Kiss, each of you, pure lest he be angry and you perish in the way,
for he kindles as a hint of his anger. Happy are all who take refuge in him.

32

1

ldvid mwcil
awri nwui-pwy csui k'tah

Of David, an insight.
Happy transgression borne away, sin covered.

32

2

awri adm la ikwob ihvh lo yvon
vain bruko rmiih

Happy the human to whom Yahweh will not reckon iniquity,
and without deceit in his spirit.

33

12

awri hgoi awr-ihvh alohiv
hym bkr lnklh lo

Happy the nation whose God is Yahweh,
the people chosen as his inheritance.

34

9

'tymu urau ci-'tob ihvh
awri hgbr iksh-bo

Taste and see for Yahweh is good.
Happy the valiant that takes refuge in him.

40

5

awri hgbr awr-wm ihvh mb'tko
vla-pnh al-rhbim vw'ti czb

Happy the valiant who sets up Yahweh as his trust,
and does not save face with the defiant, falling away to a lie.

41

2

awri mwcil al-dl
biom ryh iml'thu ihvh

Happy the one giving insight to the weak.
In the day of evil Yahweh will let him escape.

65

5

awri tbkr utqrb iwcon kxriç
nwbyh b'tub bitç
qdow hiclç

Happy the one you have chosen and brought near, who will dwell in your courts.
We will be satisfied in the good of your house,
the holy of your temple.

84

5

awri iowbi bitç
yod ihlluç slh

Happy those sitting in your house.
Ever they will praise you. Selah.

84

6

awri adm yoz-lo bç
msilot blbbm

Happy the human whose strength is in you,
with a highway in their heart.

84

13

ihvh xbaot
awri adm bo'tk bç

Yahweh of hosts,
happy the human who trusts in you.

89

16

awri hym iodyi truyh
ihvh baor-pniç ihlcun

Happy the people knowing jubilation.
Yahweh, in the light of your face they will walk.

94

12

awri hgbr awr-tiisrnu ih
umtortç tlmdnu

Happy the valiant whom you chasten Yah,
and from your instruction you teach them.

106

3

awri womri mwp't
yowh xdqh bcl-yt

Happy those keeping judgment,
doing righteousness at all times.

112

1

hllu-ih awri-aiw ira at-ihvh
bmxvotiv kpx maod

Hallelu Yah. A happy person fears Yahweh.
By his commandments he has much delight.

119

1

awri tmimi-drç
hholcim btort ihvh

All joy for the complete of the way,
who walk in the instruction of Yahweh.

119

2

awri noxri ydotiv bcl-lb idrwuhu

All joy for those observing his testimonies. With a whole heart they search him out.

127

5

awri hgbr awr mila at-awpto mhm
la-ibowu
ci-idbru at-aoibim bwyr

Happy the valiant who filled his quiver with them.
He will not be ashamed,
when he speaks with enemies at the gate.

128

1

wir hmylot
awri cl-ira ihvh
hholç bdrciv

A song of the ascents.
Happy all who fear Yahweh,
who walk in his ways.

137

8

bt-bbl hwdudh
awri wiwlm-lç
at-gmulç wgmlt lnu

Devastating daughter of Babel,
happy the one who makes peace with you,
even rewards you as you rewarded us.

137

9

awri wiakz vnipx at-yolliiç al-hsly

Happy the one who grasps and smashes your babies on the cliff.

144

15

awri hym wcch lo
awri hym wihvh alohiv

Happy the people who are such to him.
Happy the people who have Yahweh as their God.

144

15

awri hym wcch lo
awri hym wihvh alohiv

Happy the people who are such to him.
Happy the people who have Yahweh as their God.

146

5

awri wal iyqob byzro
wbro yl-ihvh alohiv

Happy the one who has the God of Jacob for its help.
Its reliance is on Yahweh its God,

See also this structural analysis where one or two more instance of happy occur, showing that every book closes with a reference to happy. 

 

Refuge and Support

 Words, words, words - actually they turn out to be important. Is there a reality to refuge? With the upcoming terror of climate disturbance, fires, floods, famine, and other fears and furies, after this (relatively harmless) warning from the plague, where is there refuge? 

This is a continuation of thinking about the psalms. At the beginning, we have the first word - O the happinesses of x (verse 1) to O the happinesses of y (verse 18 of 2,527 verses).

  • x is a pattern of three actions to be avoided

Happy the person who does not walk in the advice of the wicked,
and in the way of sinners does not stand,
and in the seat of the scornful does not sit.

and one to practice - muttering day and night in the instruction of Yahweh.

  • y is one (impossible?) action to be taken - to take refuge in this name, Yahweh. 

Can we even take action? How hard is it?

Yahweh is a mysterious personal name of God, roughly signifying one who was, who is, and who will be - this is the name by which this 'one' is to be remembered (as Moses teaches at the burning bush). So we need to remember (history) and to be (present to each other) and to anticipate (science). Hey - this doesn't sound that hard. It sounds a bit like local responsible living - with all senses engaged and concern for others. (That's hard enough, given our propensity to me-first-itis.)

What is this word 'refuge'? It is another three character root, /ksh/ from the past to us via the canon of Scripture. Like the earlier word I noted /ksd/, /ksh/ is heavily used in the poetry of the Psalms. 

There are several roots in the Hebrew language which begin with /ks/ - SimHebrew uses 'k' as an abbreviation for the heavier 'h' ח, (chet/ket) of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The letter s is ס (samech), one of two letters that make an s sound, this one is where the letter o occurs in our Latin alphabet. All the roots beginning with /ks/ and their usage patterns can be studied in the concordance here. Samech /smc/ is the Hebrew word for support.

(Aside: k is traditionally the letter כ (caf/kaf) which is itself clearly a mirror image of the Latin c - there's a historical reason for this. Nonetheless, SimHebrew uses c for kaf. My name for the concordance comes from a Hebrew-Latin qonqordnxih-ltnk. That's part of its URL name. The book was given to me by my first Hebrew teacher of blessed memory - Gidi Nashon of Victoria's Temple Emanuel. tnk is the traditional Law, Prophets, and Writings. I should have transcribed it as tnc but I didn't for tradition's sake.)

Look through the 450 roots for /ks/ and see if you can feel the sound - strong h (phonetic ḥ) - sibilant s - with each of the third letters that follow it, imagine ḥ s followed by d, kindness, then h, the lighter aspirate, for refuge, then id for ḥasid, the noun form of ḥsd (including the stork), then l (the caterpillar), then m, muzzle, and n, invincible, then p, an Aramaic word for clay, used in Daniel only for the feet of that statue, and then r, for a word out of Psalms 23. I you search for Psa, you will find a large portion, just under half, of these words are used in the Psalms (199 of the 450). That's one percent of the words in the Psalter, the highest of an equivalent measure in any other book. These are the sounds of care in the Psalms. Here is the graph.

A graph showing the percent of words in each book of the Bible in the word group ks (חס).

Where do these occur in the Psalms - Is there a pattern?

Where words beginning with ks occur by chapter in the Psalms

Psalms 135 stands out because it has a chorus that includes the word: ci lyolm ksdo, because forever is his kindness. The second most obvious is Psalms 89, because the poet emphasizes God's promises to David and asks why they have failed. This is the great lament before Book 4, a book framed by appeals to Moses in Psalms 90 to 106.

We could go further with happiness too. Did you know there are more beatitudes in the Psalms than in the New Testament? I think there are 25. Are there 25 in the NT?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Psalms 2 and 149

Christopher Page is writing on the psalms here - a long journey as any reader of this blog will know. I am looking forward to doing it again as much as I would look forward to walking say an end to end trail in East Sooke Park again. To begin at the beginning needs a pointer to the end. I know I could walk the some of these day trips, but I might choose a loop or have a vehicle at each end of the trail. For the Psalms, is it a loop? Or is it a journey from A to B? Probably both. Look at the rocks and the sea in the second psalm and the second to last psalm.

Here is an image of the words of Psalms 149 reflecting the words of Psalms 2. 

Two verses in Psalms 149 focus words and concepts in Psalms 2

Here are some questions off the top of my head.

Who are the kings? 

Who are the people 'under his mercy'?

Who is the king?

Were these poems written together? Did the poet of Psalms 149 know Psalms 2 or vice-versa? 

Is this supporting or against monarchy?

Does the Psalter support violence against the enemy?

Here are the psalms in full. Square text is represented one for one in Latin characters using SimHebrew.

In these COVID times, when throngs are rare, it is curious that the word for throng in verse 1 is related to the modern Hebrew word for 'feeling', roughly 'regash'. It is also used in the psalm of betrayal, Psalms 55, Together we had sweet intimacy. // In the house of God we walked in the throng. This root seems to morph in its Biblical Hebrew 'meaning' of a great crowd to a modern Hebrew 'meaning' of great emotion

thlim b Psalms 2 Fn Min Max Syll
a lmh rgwu goiim
ulaumim ihgu-riq
1 Why such a throng of nations?
and tribes in empty muttering?
g 3e 4B 6
6
b itiixbu mlci-arx vroznim nosdu-ikd
yl-ihvh vyl-mwiko
2 They station themselves, these sovereigns of earth, these rule-makers reasoning as one,
over Yahweh and over his anointed:
f 3e 4A 12
8
g nntqh at-mosrotimo
vnwlich mmnu ybotimo
3 Let us snap their bonds,
and kiss good-bye to their cords.

g 3e 4B 8
11
d iowb bwmiim iwkq
adonii ilyg-lmo
4 The one sitting in the heavens, he laughs.
My Lord derides them.
3e 4B 7
7
h az idbr alimo bapo
ubkrono ibhlmo
5 Then he will speak to them in his anger,
and in his burning vex them.
C 3e 4C 10
10
v vani nscti mlci
yl-xion hr-qodwi
6 I myself have offered as libation my own king,
on Zion, my holy hill.

g 3e 4B 8
6
z asprh al-koq
ihvh amr alii bni ath
ani hiom ildtiç
7 I will recount the decree.
Yahweh promised to me: You are my son.
I myself this day gave birth to you.
3e 4A 5
10
8
k wal mmni vatnh goiim nkltç
vakuztç apsi-arx
8 Ask me and I give the nations as your legacy,
and as yours to hold fast, the ends of the earth.
3e 4C 15
8
't troym bwb't brzl
ccli ioxr tnpxm
9 You will injure them with an iron sceptre.
Like fashioned vessels, you will smash them.

g 3e 4B 8
7
i vyth mlcim hwcilu
hivvsru wop'ti arx
10 So now, you sovereigns, let there be insight.
Be warned you who judge on earth.
g 3e 4B 9
7
ia ybdu at-ihvh birah
vgilu brydh
11 Serve Yahweh in fear,
and rejoice in trembling.
3e 4B 8
6
ib nwqu-br pn-ianf vtabdu drç ci-ibyr cmy't apo
awri cl-kosi bo
12 Kiss, each of you, pure lest he be angry and you perish in the way,
for he kindles as a hint of his anger. Happy are all who take refuge in him.
3e 4C 19
6
thlim qm't Psalms 149 Fn Min Max Syll
a hllu-ih wiru lihvh wir kdw
thilto bqhl ksidim
1 Hallelu Yah. Sing to Yahweh a new song.
His praise in the congregation of the-many who are under mercy.
f 3e 4B 10
9
b iwmk iwral byowiv
bni-xion igilu bmlcm
2 Let Israel be glad in the one who made him.
Let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
3e 4B 8
9
g ihllu wmo bmkol
btof vcinor izmru-lo
3 Let them praise his name in a dance.
With drum and harp let them psalm him.
3e 4B 8
8
d ci-roxh ihvh bymo
ipar ynvvim biwuyh
4 For Yahweh finds favour with his people.
He adorns the afflicted with salvation.

3e 4B 7
9
h iylzu ksidim bcbod
irnnu yl-mwcbotm
5 Let the-many who are under mercy exult in glory.
Let them shout aloud when they lie down.
3e 4B 9
8
v rommot al bgronm
vkrb pipiiot bidm
6 Vocal in their celebrations of God,
and handy with their multi-edged sword.

3e 4B 6
9
z lywot nqmh bgoiim
tockot blaumim
7 Making vengeance in the nations,
corrections in the tribes.
3e 4B 9
6
k lasor mlcihm bziqim
vncbdihm bcbli brzl
8 To bind their sovereigns in chains,
and these glorious ones with iron fetters.
3e 4B 8
10
't lywot bhm mwp't ctub hdr hua lcl-ksidiv hllu-ih 9 To make in them judgment inscribed. This honour to all under his mercy. Hallelu Yah. 3e 4C 20

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Climate and theology, Jonah 3

 I wonder if it is time to bend my theological comments if any toward a recognition of the disaster we are in the midst of.

I know I have friends who are refusing to hear, yes, even religious friends, looking for the Deus ex machina to fix the problem. Dim wicks who can barely see past the end of their noses.

I watched Greta Thunberg's 3 hour documentary on the climate. It is right up to date. I watched it on PBS but it is available here also and probably lots of other places. It's definitely worth the time to watch. 

Now - what to do. That's a different problem. It's more what to undo. But theologically, some of us must first get our heads out of the sand. Particularly the religious who are too afraid to face reality, like the Chinese government who cannot tell the truth because they need to save face. The second coming will not fix this. Those who are denying climate change likely overlap with coronavirus deniers, the vaccine hesitant, and those who still claim that the US election was fraudulent. It won't do, folks. You will be devoured along with the rest of us by the 'fire from his mouth'. (Psalms 18 et al.)

What did Jesus say? The only sign for this evil and adulterous generation is the sign of Jonah. And this has nothing to do with the fish story. We are Nineveh - we need to change our behaviour and stop denying reality for a starter. 

Arise - walk to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against her,
for their evil has come up in my face.

We can also consider ourselves Jonah, the one who refuses to preach that there is a problem.  But he changes - well, at least a smidgen. Yet 40 days (an indeterminate time) and Nineveh will be changed. (Note I did not interpret that as 'destroyed'. I could have used overturned but for some reason I didn't. I could not have used destroyed because that I have used for a different root. Destroyed is the traditional gloss.) 

And Nineveh turned from its wickedness, from the king to the cattle. And they even stopped eating and drinking. 

As some of us have done for Covid-19, we turned our lives to help stop the virus. It turns out that too few of us have done this so our action is moot as to its effectiveness for herd immunity. The same political issue happens here as in all crises - a few, sometimes a large few, do the work, but everyone has to, not just a few. And maybe it's good that we are failing so that we do not restart the destructive paths we have been on. You will get this from the film: 2020 saw a 7% reduction in emissions over 2019. We need to do this every year for the next 10 years to get to a control point that will begin to hold the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.

How long is the gap between human turnaround and God sighing. Well, folks, God sighs (that's my word for nkm, which some translate as repent, a word I don't use). What might God's sigh be composed of - signs of hope? 

  • China and Poland closing coal facilities, 
  • Alberta closing down the oil sands,
  • Brazil removing its knee from the rainforest that makes the earth unable to breathe.
  • politicians to stop lying,
  • all of us changing our clothing and purchasing habits, 
  • and our diets, 
  • and carbon capture being scaled up, 
  • and cattle burping less. (Lots of cattle in Jonah, not to mention the children...)
No - we don't have to 'go back to church' to reinforce our prejudices. Nineveh didn't promise much. If church is even to continue, we need to become the church, a caring body that is no longer taking refuge in its sin. It's the king, the secular leader (clearly anticipating the one who removed his garment and washed the feet of his disciples) who says - Who knows. This God may turn and sigh, and turn from his fierce anger and we will not perish ... (immediately).

Turn false interpretations upside down. Let priests indeed be clothed with righteousness. And let's get on with doing something good in that good temple we have been entrusted with. (The patient among us can also reread early Genesis beginning here. It's a very gentle presentation that extends our vision past the end of the nose.)

Jonah 3 Fn Min Max Syll
וַיְהִ֧י דְבַר־יְהוָ֛ה אֶל־יוֹנָ֖ה שֵׁנִ֥ית לֵאמֹֽר 1 And the word of Yahweh happened to Jonah a second time, saying, 3c 3g 13
ק֛וּם לֵ֥ךְ אֶל־נִֽינְוֵ֖ה הָעִ֣יר הַגְּדוֹלָ֑ה
וִּקְרָ֤א אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ אֶת־הַקְּרִיאָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָנֹכִ֖י דֹּבֵ֥ר אֵלֶֽיךָ
2 Arise, walk to Nineveh, the great city,
and call out to her the call that I was speaking to you.
d 3d 4C 10
19
וַיָּ֣קָם יוֹנָ֗ה וַיֵּ֛לֶךְ אֶל־נִֽינְוֶ֖ה כִּדְבַ֣ר יְהוָ֑ה
וְנִֽינְוֵ֗ה הָיְתָ֤ה עִיר־גְּדוֹלָה֙ לֵֽאלֹהִ֔ים מַהֲלַ֖ךְ שְׁלֹ֥שֶׁת יָמִֽים
3 And Jonah arose and walked to Nineveh according to the word of Yahweh.
Now Nineveh happened to be a great city of the gods, a walk of three days.
3d 4C 15
20
וַיָּ֤חֶל יוֹנָה֙ לָב֣וֹא בָעִ֔יר מַהֲלַ֖ךְ י֣וֹם אֶחָ֑ד
וַיִּקְרָא֙ וַיֹּאמַ֔ר ע֚וֹד אַרְבָּעִ֣ים י֔וֹם וְנִֽינְוֵ֖ה נֶהְפָּֽכֶת
4 And Jonah let himself come into the city one day's walk,
and he called out and he said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be changed.
3e 4C 15
17
וַֽיַּאֲמִ֛ינוּ אַנְשֵׁ֥י נִֽינְוֵ֖ה בֵּֽאלֹהִ֑ים
וַיִּקְרְאוּ־צוֹם֙ וַיִּלְבְּשׁ֣וּ שַׂקִּ֔ים מִגְּדוֹלָ֖ם וְעַד־קְטַנָּֽם
5 And the men of Nineveh believed in God,
and they called a fast, and they clothed themselves with sackcloth from the greatest of them and to the least of them.
3d 4B 12
19
וַיִּגַּ֤ע הַדָּבָר֙ אֶל־מֶ֣לֶך נִֽינְוֵ֔ה וַיָּ֙קָם֙ מִכִּסְא֔וֹ וַיַּעֲבֵ֥ר אַדַּרְתּ֖וֹ מֵֽעָלָ֑יו
וַיְכַ֣ס שַׂ֔ק וַיֵּ֖שֶׁב עַל־הָאֵֽפֶר
6 And the word touched the king of Nineveh and he arose from his throne and transferred his majesty from him,
and he covered in sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
3e 4C 27
10
וַיַּזְעֵ֗ק וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ בְּנִֽינְוֵ֔ה מִטַּ֧עַם הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ וּגְדֹלָ֖יו לֵאמֹ֑ר
הָאָדָ֨ם וְהַבְּהֵמָ֜ה הַבָּקָ֣ר וְהַצֹּ֗אן אַֽל־יִטְעֲמוּ֙ מְא֔וּמָה אַ֨ל־יִרְע֔וּ וּמַ֖יִם אַל־יִשְׁתּֽוּ
7 And he appealed and he said, In Nineveh from the taste of the king, and his great ones, saying,
The human and the cattle, the herd and the flock, let none taste anything whatever, let none pasture, and water let none imbibe.
3c 4B 20
28
וְיִתְכַּסּ֣וּ שַׂקִּ֗ים הָֽאָדָם֙ וְהַבְּהֵמָ֔ה וְיִקְרְא֥וּ אֶל־אֱלֹהִ֖ים בְּחָזְקָ֑ה
וְיָשֻׁ֗בוּ אִ֚ישׁ מִדַּרְכּ֣וֹ הָֽרָעָ֔ה וּמִן־הֶחָמָ֖ס אֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּכַפֵּיהֶֽם
8 But let them be covered in sackcloth, the human and the cattle, and call out to God resolutely,
and let each turn from its evil way and from the violence that is in their palms.
3e 4C 24
22
מִֽי־יוֹדֵ֣עַ יָשׁ֔וּב וְנִחַ֖ם הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים
וְשָׁ֛ב מֵחֲר֥וֹן אַפּ֖וֹ וְלֹ֥א נֹאבֵֽד
9 Who knows. This God may turn and sigh,
and turn from his fierce anger and we will not perish.
3d 4B 12
11
וַיַּ֤רְא הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶֽת־מַ֣עֲשֵׂיהֶ֔ם כִּי־שָׁ֖בוּ מִדַּרְכָּ֣ם הָרָעָ֑ה
וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם הָאֱלֹהִ֗ים עַל־הָרָעָ֛ה אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר לַעֲשׂוֹת־לָהֶ֖ם וְלֹ֥א עָשָֽׂה
10 And this God saw their deeds, that they turned from their evil ways,
and this God sighed over the evil that he designated to do to them and he did not do it.
3d 4C 19
25
For a short cantata on Jonah, listen to this music derived from the accents of the Hebrew Bible with a nod or two to Gershwin. Looking for a sponsor to get this performed and make it go viral! ($20K should do it.) Get the message out that God has given us humans the task of controlling our waste products. ($40K and we can perform Unleashing Leviathan as well. Pace those who say that the dragons are dealt with in Gen 1.)

You religious who are looking for a bit of comfort  - by all means read Psalm 18. Concentrate on verses 5 to 16. And then imagine you are one of David's enemies. Conspiracy theorists are not on a friendly basis with the Most High. Business as usual will not fly.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Lamentations 5

A related post here stimulated me to have a look at the music for this non-acrostic chapter. It is the only one of the 22-verse chapters in the 5-chapter scroll of Lamentations (1,2,4) to fail to use an atnah in any verse. Instead the zaqen-qatan marks a brief pause. It certainly has a pausal capacity, but it is not the feel of the subdominant. The subdominant is used only once in verse 56 of chapter 3, a 66 verse acrostic.


Lamentations 5 Fn Min Max Syll
זְכֹ֤ר יְהוָה֙ מֶֽה־הָ֣יָה לָ֔נוּ הַבִּ֖יטָה וּרְאֵ֥ה אֶת־חֶרְפָּתֵֽנוּ 1 Remember Yahweh how it is for us. Take note and see our reproach. 3e 4C 19
נַחֲלָתֵ֙נוּ֙ נֶֽהֶפְכָ֣ה לְזָרִ֔ים בָּתֵּ֖ינוּ לְנָכְרִֽים 2 Our inheritance is changed for strangers, our houses for aliens. 3e 4B 17
יְתוֹמִ֤ים הָיִ֙ינוּ֙ וְאֵ֣ין אָ֔ב אִמֹּתֵ֖ינוּ כְּאַלְמָנֽוֹת 3 We have become orphans and without a father, our mothers as widows. 3e 4C 17
מֵימֵ֙ינוּ֙ בְּכֶ֣סֶף שָׁתִ֔ינוּ עֵצֵ֖ינוּ בִּמְחִ֥יר יָבֹֽאוּ 4 Our water for money we imbibe. Our trees come at a price. 3e 4B 16
עַ֤ל צַוָּארֵ֙נוּ֙ נִרְדָּ֔פְנוּ יָגַ֖עְנוּ וְלֹ֥א הֽוּנַ֖ח־לָֽנוּ 5 On our necks persecution, we labour and there is no rest for us. C 3e 4C 17
מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ נָתַ֣נּוּ יָ֔ד אַשּׁ֖וּר לִשְׂבֹּ֥עַֽ לָֽחֶם 6 To Egypt we give a hand. To Ashur, to be satisfied with bread. 3e 4B 13
אֲבֹתֵ֤ינוּ חָֽטְאוּ֙ וְאֵינָ֔ם וַאֲנַ֖חְנוּ עֲוֺנֹתֵיהֶ֥ם סָבָֽלְנוּ 7 Our ancestors sinned and there is no them, but we ourselves bear the burden of their iniquities. 3e 4C 21
עֲבָדִים֙ מָ֣שְׁלוּ בָ֔נוּ פֹּרֵ֖ק אֵ֥ין מִיָּדָֽם 8 Servants govern among us. There is no one to rend from their hand. 3e 4B 13
בְּנַפְשֵׁ֙נוּ֙ נָבִ֣יא לַחְמֵ֔נוּ מִפְּנֵ֖י חֶ֥רֶב הַמִּדְבָּֽר 9 We are, ourselves, come to our bread in the face of the sword in the wilderness. 3e 4B 16
עוֹרֵ֙נוּ֙ כְּתַנּ֣וּר נִכְמָ֔רוּ מִפְּנֵ֖י זַלְעֲפ֥וֹת רָעָֽב 10 Our skin is like an oven, fevered, in the face of ferocious famine. 3e 4B 16
נָשִׁים֙ בְּצִיּ֣וֹן עִנּ֔וּ בְּתֻלֹ֖ת בְּעָרֵ֥י יְהוּדָֽה 11 They afflicted women in Zion, the virgins of the cities of Judah. 3e 4B 16
שָׂרִים֙ בְּיָדָ֣ם נִתְל֔וּ פְּנֵ֥י זְקֵנִ֖ים לֹ֥א נֶהְדָּֽרוּ 12 Nobility by their hand are hanged. The faces of the elders they do not honour. 3e 4B 16
בַּחוּרִים֙ טְח֣וֹן נָשָׂ֔אוּ וּנְעָרִ֖ים בָּעֵ֥ץ כָּשָֽׁלוּ 13 They bear youths in their prime to grind, and the lads stumble under the tree. 3e 4B 16
זְקֵנִים֙ מִשַּׁ֣עַר שָׁבָ֔תוּ בַּחוּרִ֖ים מִנְּגִינָתָֽם 14 The elders from the gate have ceased, youths in their prime, from their strings. 3e 4B 16
שָׁבַת֙ מְשׂ֣וֹשׂ לִבֵּ֔נוּ נֶהְפַּ֥ךְ לְאֵ֖בֶל מְחֹלֵֽנוּ 15 Ceased is the joy of our heart, changed to lament is our dance. 3e 4B 16
נָֽפְלָה֙ עֲטֶ֣רֶת רֹאשֵׁ֔נוּ אֽוֹי־נָ֥א לָ֖נוּ כִּ֥י חָטָֽאנוּ 16 Fallen is the crown of our head. Woe now to us because we have sinned. 3e 4B 16
עַל־זֶ֗ה הָיָ֤ה דָוֶה֙ לִבֵּ֔נוּ עַל־אֵ֖לֶּה חָשְׁכ֥וּ עֵינֵֽינוּ 17 For this our heart has become infirm for these are our darkened eyes. 3e 4C 17
עַ֤ל הַר־צִיּוֹן֙ שֶׁשָּׁמֵ֔ם שׁוּעָלִ֖ים הִלְּכוּ־בֽוֹ פ 18 On the hill of Zion is desolation. Foxes walk on it. P C 3e 4C 13
אַתָּ֤ה יְהוָה֙ לְעוֹלָ֣ם תֵּשֵׁ֔ב כִּסְאֲךָ֖ לְדֹ֥ר וָדֽוֹר 19 You, Yahweh, persist for ever, your throne from generation to generation. 3e 4C 16
לָ֤מָּה לָנֶ֙צַח֙ תִּשְׁכָּחֵ֔נוּ תַּֽעַזְבֵ֖נוּ לְאֹ֥רֶךְ יָמִֽים 20 Why in perpetuity do you forget us and forsake us for such a length of days? C 3e 4C 18
הֲשִׁיבֵ֨נוּ יְהוָ֤ה ׀ אֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ וְֽנָשׁ֔וּבָה חַדֵּ֥שׁ יָמֵ֖ינוּ כְּקֶֽדֶם 21 Turn us Yahweh, to you, and we will be turned. Make new our days as of old. 3e 4C 21
כִּ֚י אִם־מָאֹ֣ס מְאַסְתָּ֔נוּ קָצַ֥פְתָּ עָלֵ֖ינוּ עַד־מְאֹֽד ש 22 Because if to refuse, you refuse us, you are raging over us very severely. W C 3e 4C 18

Background on the acrostics of the Bible.

There are 13 acrostics in the TNK, 4 in Lamentations, one in Proverbs, and 8 in the Psalms, Psalms 9-10,25,34,37, // 111,112,119, and 145. These 8 are clear structural markers in the Psalter, each one celebrating the immediately preceding psalm, and those 7 psalms, 8, 24, 33, 36, 110, 118, 144 clearly define a word based circular structure. fingers(8,144 and some other ‘obvious’ connections) and oracle (36,110).

I have heard it suggested that the final acrostic in Proverbs is closing the circle for that book by reflecting the opening chapters on wisdom, constantly at play (chapter 8). The acrostics in the Psalms are celebratory, the last one leading directly to the final doxology. The ones in book 1 are incomplete, the ones in book 5 complete.The 4 acrostics in Lamentations consistently reverse the order of Peh and Ayin. As if the poet were saying, I too can express my sorrow even in my devotion.