Sunday 31 October 2021

Psalms 137

This is an experimental post to see how much I can get from my database without significant intervention. I hope to be producing a series of e-books using this automated method of revealing the text. It may be that I can eventually cover every section of the Hebrew Bible with one of these 'quartets' (4-fold view of each verse and its observable characteristics.)

The sections will be in this sequence: 
  1. The music for the first verse.
  2. A heading derived from the roots recurring for the first time and various statistics. To this I will manually add significant links to performances and manuscripts.
  3. The roots that occur in the chapter and their frequency. The links are not functional here though they could be - just go to the concordance. Each section will include a full concordance for all its words.
  4. The meat: verse by verse: Hebrew, an English guide, SimHebrew, and an automated parsing of the morphology (reader beware!)
  5. Notes by verse.
  6. First time recurrence and a cross-tab for those roots if there are any.
  7. The full score.
You can see a sample in an e-book form here. All the links work in the e-book. This example shows the value of SimHebrew - utter ease of searching in the e-book - vast improvement in speed of learning Hebrew word structure - vast improvement in learning to read fluently. This is an unparalleled change in the teaching of Hebrew, making an accurate reading of the whole corpus of the native tongues of the Bible far more approachable by a reader trained in the Latin alphabet. You can find the SimHebrew Bible here.

As far as significant links for this psalm are concerned - don't miss this lecture on Psalms 137 by Susan Gillingham from Feb 11 2020 at the Pontifical Biblical Institute

Babel, expose
Syllables: 181. Words: 84. Roots: 54. Root Recurrence: 56%. Average per verse: 5.2.
adm advm akz aic al am (3) amr awr (2) at (6) b bbl (2) bch bn bt gm gml (2) dbq dbr zcr (3) kc ihvh (2) ivm ill imn isd irvwlm (3) iwb ci cnr l (3) la (2) lwvn nhr ncr npx sly yd yvll yl (4) ylh yrb yrh (2) xivn (2) raw wal wbh wdd wir (5) wck (2) wlm wm (2) wmk (2) tvc tlh
עַ֥ל נַהֲר֨וֹת ׀ בָּבֶ֗ל שָׁ֣ם יָ֭שַׁבְנוּ גַּם־בָּכִ֑ינוּ
בְּ֝זָכְרֵ֗נוּ אֶת־צִיּֽוֹן
1 ♪f By the rivers of Babel - there we sat, yea we wept,
when we remembered Zion.
a yl nhrot bbl wm iwbnu gm-bcinu
bzocrnu at-xion
yl nhr\vt bbl wm iwb\nv gm bc\inv
b/zcr\nv at xivn
עַֽל־עֲרָבִ֥ים בְּתוֹכָ֑הּ
תָּ֝לִ֗ינוּ כִּנֹּרוֹתֵֽינוּ
2 On willows in the midst of her,
we hung our harps.
b yl-yrbim btoch
tlinu cinorotinu
yl yrb\im b/tvc\h
tl\inv cnr\vtinv
כִּ֤י שָׁ֨ם שְֽׁאֵל֪וּנוּ שׁוֹבֵ֡ינוּ דִּבְרֵי־שִׁ֭יר וְתוֹלָלֵ֣ינוּ שִׂמְחָ֑ה
שִׁ֥ירוּ לָ֝֗נוּ מִשִּׁ֥יר צִיּֽוֹן
3 ♪C For there our captors asked us the words of a song, and our tormentors mirth.
"Sing to us a song of Zion."
g ci wm walunu wobinu dbri-wir vtollinu wmkh
wiru lnu mwir xion
ci wm wal\vnv wvb\inv dbr\i wir vtv/ll\inv wmk\h
wir\v l\nv m/wir xivn
אֵ֗יךְ נָשִׁ֥יר אֶת־שִׁיר־יְהוָ֑ה
עַ֝֗ל אַדְמַ֥ת נֵכָֽר
4 ♪~ How will we sing such a song of Yahweh,
on alien ground?

d aiç nwir at-wir-ihvh
yl admt ncr
aic n/wir at wir ihvh
yl adm\t ncr
אִֽם־אֶשְׁכָּחֵ֥ךְ יְֽרוּשָׁלִָ֗ם תִּשְׁכַּ֥ח יְמִינִֽי 5 If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand forget.
h am-awckç iruwlim twck imini 13
am a/wck\c irvwlm t/wck imn\i
תִּדְבַּ֥ק־לְשׁוֹנִ֨י ׀ לְחִכִּי֮ אִם־לֹ֪א אֶ֫זְכְּרֵ֥כִי
אִם־לֹ֣א אַ֭עֲלֶה אֶת־יְרוּשָׁלִַ֑ם
עַ֝֗ל רֹ֣אשׁ שִׂמְחָתִֽי
6 Let my tongue cleave to my palate, if I do not remember you,
if I do not offer you up, Jerusalem,
over my ultimate mirth.

v tdbq-lwoni lkici am-la azcrci
am-la aylh at-iruwlim
yl raw wmkti
t/dbq lwvn\i l/kc\i am la a/zcr\ci
am la a/ylh at irvwlm
yl raw wmk\ti
זְכֹ֤ר יְהוָ֨ה ׀ לִבְנֵ֬י אֱד֗וֹם אֵת֮ י֤וֹם יְֽרוּשָׁ֫לִָ֥ם
הָ֭אֹ֣מְרִים עָ֤רוּ ׀ עָ֑רוּ
עַ֝֗ד הַיְס֥וֹד בָּֽהּ
7 Remember Yahweh of the children of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem,
those saying, Expose, expose,
to her foundations.
z zcor ihvh lbni adom at iom iruwlim
haomrim yru yru
yd hisod bh
zcr ihvh l/bn\i advm at ivm irvwlm
h/amr\im yr\v yr\v
yd h/isd b\h
בַּת־בָּבֶ֗ל הַשְּׁד֫וּדָ֥ה
אַשְׁרֵ֥י שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם־לָ֑ךְ
אֶת־גְּ֝מוּלֵ֗ךְ שֶׁגָּמַ֥לְתְּ לָֽנוּ
8 Devastating daughter of Babel,
happy the one who makes peace with you,
even rewards you as you rewarded us.
k bt-bbl hwdudh
awri wiwlm-lç
at-gmulç wgmlt lnu
bt bbl h/wdvd\h
awr\i wi/wlm l\c
at gmvl\c w/gml\t l\nv
אַשְׁרֵ֤י ׀ שֶׁיֹּאחֵ֓ז וְנִפֵּ֬ץ אֶֽת־עֹ֝לָלַ֗יִךְ אֶל־הַסָּֽלַע 9 Happy the one who grasps and smashes your babies on the cliff.
't awri wiakz vnipx at-yolliiç al-hsly 17
awr\i wi/akz v/npx at yll\ic al h/sly
1The first four verses are first person plural. Note the frequency of the letter pair suffix, nu.
2The words in verse 2 set the scene. Only the common preposition, the first word, yl, occurs more than once in the psalm.
5Verses 5 and 6 are first person singular.
6ultimate, ראשׁ (raw), or head, top, beginning, chief. By using ultimate here, I have created an artificial hapax.
8the one who, interpreting the relative use of the letter shin, also in v 9.
rewards (gml) in the sense of payback. See also Psalm 131 where the root indicates a nursing child on the mother's back.
9The second person (plural imperative or corporate singular) is repeated in verses 7 to 9. The only other use of smash (npx) in the Psalms is in Psalm 2.
First time recurrence: bbl yrh
Word / Gloss12VsStem
בבל Babel
ערו expose
ערו expose
בבל Babel

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Initial links for the SimHebrew Bible

 The link from the publisher is available here.

It is also available at several other outlets. I see links at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google PlayRakuten,   KoboWeltbild

Thursday 21 October 2021


The twelve books I have been working on
Twelve (!) e-books are now off my desk - and at the publisher/distributor. Energion publishing - yea Henry Neufeld - is handling all 12 of them. 

Eleven are second editions of my work to bring the translations up to date with changes that have come about from working with partner Jonathan Orr-Stav on The SimHebrew Bible. 

This bilingual Bible will be a great boon to people who want to really see what is going on in the Hebrew language but who find that reading the square script is both hard to do and hard to search. 

Cover design: Nathan James.
"Moses breaking the tables of the law."
Engraving by Gustave Doré,
Photo by D Walker (duncan1890)
ISBN: 978-0-9811338-1-2
Here's the intro for the metadata description:

The SimHebrew Bible makes reading, searching, and learning the Hebrew Bible much easier for non-Hebrew readers. SimHebrew is an exact simulation of the fully spelled Hebrew text of the Bible. Readers of the Latin character set who are not versed in the square text will find both ease and pleasure in learning the Bible in its original tongue without any of the difficulties encountered when facing the traditional right-to-left text. The technique gives a true insight into the linguistic features of the Hebrew – in particular, its economy of language, wordplay, repetition of the same word in different contexts, and above all, the root structure of its words. This Bible also allows easy searching in both Hebrew and English including a full glossary and links to a corresponding online concordance. The combination makes both the Hebrew language and the translation decisions in the English guide fully transparent.

When all the new links are available, I will let you know.

I am working gradually on my first book, Seeing the Psalter, Energion 2013, to see how I would approach the text now with technology that I did not have available 8 years ago. I am thinking I want to write the grammar book too - a fearful prospect.

Saturday 16 October 2021

Blog haitus

 Oct 5th  - 11 days ago - I have been very busy - but silent as to posting. Still here though, not a dead parrot.

The past 9 days have been experimenting with e-books. 9 of my 10 volumes on The Bible and its Music are completely updated and ready for release when the SimHebrew Bible is released. We are getting close and may well meet the target of November 11.

As part of this I have completely redesigned the concordance here. Notice the headings - effectively splitting the display in two:

Design for my concordance of the Tanach

The left hand columns in a table + grid format (Root / Domain / Hebrew Word / Gloss / Word) allow you to concentrate on the root (ab in this case) and its form (ab) itself.

The middle two cells Word and Vowels let you construct the sound in SimHebrew. If you read the square text, it will agree of course. In this case we have two consonants a and b and one vowel 'a'. Put the two consonants a and b in the _ slots in the vowel string and bingo: aab is what you get. Remember that the consonant a (like y - ayin) is a guttural - not a vowel. The first a in this case carries the vowel a. It may carry other vowels - as in abn (stone) abn _e_e_. English does this too - anyone (eny-one) - so don't be surprised by it.

The right hand columns Previous word / Word / References and Count give the context. Hover over the reference to get tooltips in both my translation and the NRSV. (Courtesy of the Bible Gateway links). The previous word is the Hebrew word. In the first case above, read v/ain (and there is none or something like that) - if you are not sure of the root just look at the URL or click it, so don't read it as English.

This concordance will also be available as an e-book (when the new versions are released). That will give it longevity. The concordance blog has likely been updated for the last time unless I find an easier way to do it. [I need a technique for automatic update of posts and one that confines the translation to a single instance for the tooltips. JSON? + popups? Help me if you can.]

Books are software and require the same care with controlling the master copy - it takes away from leisure time, as Qohelet 12:12 notes.

ib viotr mhmh bni hizhr // ywot sprim hrbh ain qx vlhg hrbh igiyt bwr

[For anyone who has the skill of suggestion, this is a sample of my code for the section (the ninth column spanning the two right sections of the grid) that is inconvenient. The code is all generated from the database. Any solution needs to be similarly simple in blogdom and Oracle. In other words, I need something more complex than tooltips and some way of referring to the text other than repeating it.

<div class="tdcl9"><span title="And stand in holiness for the entanglements of the house of the ancestors, for your kin, the children of the people,
and the divisions of the house of the ancestor of the Levites.">2Chr 35:5(11)</span> 

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Anger and grief again

I wrote on this root /cys/ here. Now I would like to see what Google translate does with a verse where the tradition uses grief for its gloss. We know from Kubler-Ross that anger is a first stage of grief - so the emotions are close in our hearts. But the one is not the other, and the difference in potential intent is known.

עָֽשְׁשָׁ֣ה מִכַּ֣עַס עֵינִ֑י
עָֽ֝תְקָ֗ה בְּכָל־צוֹרְרָֽי

ywwh mcys yini
ytqh bcl-xorrii

Swollen from grief my eye,
viscous in all my troubles.

Well no one has interfered with Google for this one 

A toothache from the anger of my eyes
Copy in all-turret

O dear.

Monday 4 October 2021

Experiment with translation and transcription

בוקר מוקדם הוא הזמן למחשבה יצירתית. 

Early morning is the time for creative thought.

bvqr mvqdm hva hzmn lmkwbh ixirtit.

רק הבנתי שיש לי פתרון תוכנה לחירשות ולמטומטמות שלי. 

I just realized I have a software solution for my deafness and dumbness. 

rq hbnti wiw li ptrvn tvcnh lkirwvt vlm'tvm'tmvt wli.

הקלד באנגלית - תן לגוגל לתרגם איות מלא לעברית. 

Type in English - Let Google translate full spelling into Hebrew.

hqld banglit - tn lgvgl ltrgm aivt mla lybrit.

לאחר מכן השתמש בממיר כדי לשנות אותו להפוך לעברית מדומה. 

Then use the converter to change it to become SimHebrew. 

lakr mcn hwtmw bmmir cdi lwnvt avtv lhpvç lybrit mdvmh.

אז כדי לבדוק את התרגום שלי, אני אקח עברית מדומה, אמיר אותה לטקסט מרובע, ונראה מה גוגל עושה עם זה. 

So to test Scriptural translation, I'll take Simulated Hebrew, Convert it to square text, and see what Google does with it as if it were modern Hebrew.

az cdi lbdvq at htrgvm hmqrai, aqk ybrit mdvmh, amir avth l'tqs't mrvby, varah mh gvgl yvwh aith cailv mdvbr bybrit mvdrnit.

I see that there are some issues with what we term 'Google translate' of course. - I can't use words it can't understand or it leaves them unprocessed. SimHebrew became Simulated Hebrew, Google translate got slightly morphed as a phrase so I dropped the word 'translate'.

Is this a debate between the right and the left hand? 

Just what would it be like if we could get BH into a form that Google translate would handle? Well, I have this as I noted above, so now for the first experiment.

Convert BH to SimHebrew, SimHebrew to Square text, plug into Google translate and see what happens.

Starting with a few of the 10 Words of Exodus 20 which first addressed as a child, then 7 letters later, an adult. (Yes, jump a mere 7 consonants - ignoring the parashat markers and the verse numbers!)

wmot cExodus 20
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
ig la trxk s13 You will not murder. S
id la tnaf s14 You will not commit adultery. S
'tv la tgnob s15 You will not steal. S

Yea Google - here it is! (I think they cheated).

Shemot v
Twelve Honor your father and your mother
That thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee
Thirteen Thou shalt not kill
Hand will not commit adultery
Tu will not steal s

Surely it should get shemot - it is a plain plural of wm, names. The c confused it: c is twenty - what else could it be? How did it become v? Every samech except the last was dropped! 

Twelve and thirteen it got, but choked on 'id' - fourteen = hand. It has no memory of context from one line to another of course. Verse 15 ended up in a combination of French and English.

I suspect that Google is bordering on being a learning tool, but someone has intervened with archaic English in the translation process and taught Google to act like a 15th century English speaker.

I will put out some more examples, particularly where I know there are conflicts between BH and MH as in the common word for anger (cys) in MH. This is a root I always render as grief. It will be curious to see how much interference King James has had with the Babel-fish.

For a funnier post see the next one.

Friday 1 October 2021

Links - remembering the past

I was looking around the web and found an old article of mine on Patterns of Recurrence in the Poetry of the Psalms from December 2014, almost lost in history.

And a fine essay by Anthony Ledonne on Adele Reinhartz book Cast out of the Covenant and then another one on the perils of friendship.

On the Truth and Reconciliation Day (A new Canadian Holiday) we watched The Flight of the Hummingbird, Pacific Opera Victoria - still available on YouTube streaming for a few weeks.

The Biblical Studies Carnival is available for September. I will be doing the November Carnival next month, November, for delivery Dec 1. Three articles came my way this past 24 hours on Hebrew script and linguistics. The link in the carnival to a free e-book on the history of Hebrew Script, an article on aywh-lo yzr cngdo and one from the Hebrew Café - a warning on magical thinking about letters.

Old carnivals have some history too: Somewhat far back from 'on not being a sausage' is this on Bach's Magnificat, linked from a James McGrath rare mid-month Carnival 10 years ago. The next carnival at the same patheos site, Bibliobloggers Strike Back, has a very racy section. Some of its links (BW16) have gone private - but there is still much to read including a response with plain sense for those who can manage from BW3. (I am not at all convinced that this is the only possible righteous response. It seems to me that boiling the text down to meaning is more of a power than a love trip.) There had to be a third episode of course including a trip in a TARDIS.

Still in 2011, from the month earlier August carnival lampooning the carnie atmosphere, comes this definition of a Biblical Studies Blogger by John Hobbins, himself too busy these days to be in the blogging business any more. (And he might be horrified at what I have done to Hebrew!)

Backing up to 2009, this carnival from anti-bishop NT Wrong. No One knows the real name of that Biblical Studies blogger. But he/she/they impressively knew/knows/know all the classic bloggers - many of whom are still blogging - though some referenced sites have disappeared. In 2016 - surprise - another long carnival from the bishop of Durham (NC).

The earliest carnival #1 from March 2005 is still available. Some of its links require the way-back machine. Including one large jpeg on the chiastic structure of Mark and a note on how to address a business letter (Jacob to Esau). 

If you've never read a BS Carnival, these will give you some sort of intro. The links were gathered from Phil Long's master BS Carnival list, almost up to date...