Monday, April 19, 2021

Psalms 99

This performance of Psalms 99 is quite a change from the robust performances of Psalms 96 and 98. (See this post for a full list of available performances.)

So here is the raw data. Note that the performer has chosen the augmented fourth yet she does not observe it in the revia mugresh, that ornament that so commonly follows the rest on the subdominant. She emphasizes the thoughtful undercurrent in the poem. We are not dealing with a tame lion. I thought Haïk-Vantoura used the default mode as I coded in the score below. (But see her original score here which Lamandier is singing from - and it is clearly both not the default mode and it sharpens the subdominant only for the atnah. Curious. I doubt I could have coded her note heads with Musescore. They do not represent duration but accent interpretation.)

Psalms 99 Fn Min Max Syll
יְהוָ֣ה מָ֭לָךְ יִרְגְּז֣וּ עַמִּ֑ים
יֹשֵׁ֥ב כְּ֝רוּבִ֗ים תָּנ֥וּט הָאָֽרֶץ
1 Yahweh reigns. Let peoples shudder.
He sits on the cherubim. Let the earth be displaced.
3e 4B 9
יְ֭הוָה בְּצִיּ֣וֹן גָּד֑וֹל
וְרָ֥ם ה֝֗וּא עַל־כָּל־הָֽעַמִּֽים
2 Yahweh is great in Zion,
and he is himself exalted over all the peoples.
g 3e 4B 7
יוֹד֣וּ שִׁ֭מְךָ גָּד֥וֹל וְנוֹרָ֗א קָד֥וֹשׁ הֽוּא 3 Let them confess your great and fearful name. He is holy.
3e 4B 12
וְעֹ֥ז מֶלֶךְ֮ מִשְׁפָּ֪ט אָ֫הֵ֥ב
אַ֭תָּה כּוֹנַ֣נְתָּ מֵישָׁרִ֑ים
מִשְׁפָּ֥ט וּ֝צְדָקָ֗ה בְּיַעֲקֹ֤ב ׀ אַתָּ֬ה עָשִֽׂיתָ
4 And the king's strength loves judgment.
You yourself establish uprightness.
Judgment and righteousness in Jacob, you yourself make.

3d 4C 8
רֽוֹמְמ֡וּ יְה֘וָ֤ה אֱלֹהֵ֗ינוּ וְֽ֭הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַהֲדֹ֥ם רַגְלָ֗יו קָד֥וֹשׁ הֽוּא 5 Exalt Yahweh our God, and worship at his footstool. He is holy.

3e 4C 21
מֹ֘שֶׁ֤ה וְאַהֲרֹ֨ן ׀ בְּֽכֹהֲנָ֗יו וּ֭שְׁמוּאֵל בְּקֹרְאֵ֣י שְׁמ֑וֹ
קֹרִ֥אים אֶל־יְ֝הוָ֗ה וְה֣וּא יַעֲנֵֽם
6 Moses and Aaron among his priests and Samuel among those calling on his name.
They called on Yahweh and he himself answered them.
~ 3e 4C 18
בְּעַמּ֣וּד עָ֭נָן יְדַבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם
שָׁמְר֥וּ עֵ֝דֹתָ֗יו וְחֹ֣ק נָֽתַן־לָֽמוֹ
7 In the pillar of cloud he spoke to them.
They kept his testimonies and the statute he gave them.
3e 4B 11
יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ֮ אַתָּ֪ה עֲנִ֫יתָ֥ם
אֵ֣ל נֹ֭שֵׂא הָיִ֣יתָ לָהֶ֑ם
וְ֝נֹקֵ֗ם עַל־עֲלִילוֹתָֽם
8 Yahweh our God, you yourself answered them.
A God of forbearance you were to them,
but avenging their wantonness.
3d 4B 11
רֽוֹמְמ֡וּ יְה֘וָ֤ה אֱלֹהֵ֗ינוּ וְ֭הִֽשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְהַ֣ר קָדְשׁ֑וֹ
כִּֽי־קָ֝ד֗וֹשׁ יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
9 Exalt Yahweh our God and worship at his holy hill,
for Yahweh our God is holy.
3e 4C 17

Shudder, recall Psalms 4. Tate translates avenge as punish. I cannot fathom this. Yet another Hebrew root abused. But he gives a good recount of the opinions of many. That is the nature of scholarship. How will we who are not scholars observe and hear this psalm in a liturgical context? Because we are not likely to prosper in worship if we only hear the opinions of others, however learned they may be.

The key word behind this psalm is holy. Each of the preceding three psalms has qdw (holy) at least once. This psalm has it 4 times. Twice it is qdow hua He is holy. This phrase where the antecedent of the pronoun is Yahweh is unique to this Psalm. The phrase is used with the pronoun in other contexts, but there the antecedent is some consecrated thing or geographic feature, not Yahweh specifically.

I am surprised by this, even though it is my software that pointed it out to me. Tate takes the pronoun as applying to the name in verse 3. Certainly plausible. That make the phrase in verse 5 unique in the Bible. Though perhaps even here, qdw could apply to the footstool. Verse 9 is unambiguous as to the source of the holy, whatever object we might apply it to.

So where does such mystery lead us? Perhaps to a love of judgment, the establishment of uprightness and righteousness, in forbearance. Perhaps to seeing out and imitating the character of this God. No slight thing.

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