Tuesday 30 November 2021

Carnival is scheduled

 It's well past midnight in most of the world, but not yet here. Do not fear the 189th Biblical Studies carnival is on the way. No supply chain problems should derail it at this point.

A free e-book in draft for Jonah

 I have ulterior motives in offering a free e-book.

  1. I am looking for backers, performers, brave souls to perform this short cantata. It is scored for 4 voices and harp. 
  2. I want to learn Biblical Hebrew better, and Jonah is the text that (I might say) God repeatedly assigned me over the last 45 years. I was not a promising student. So I can testify to the patience of the one who assigned it.
  3. I want others to learn how to read Biblical Hebrew in SimHebrew, a Latin equivalent to fully spelled Hebrew (consonantal Hebrew without vowel points or cantilation). SimHebrew is a reliable learning tool and will I am sure prove very helpful to me. But seriously, we cannot ignore the music.
  4. I would like feedback on how this kind of presentation of Biblical Hebrew works.
If you are interested, let me know (Twitter DM @drmacdonald) and I will send you a link. It summarizes what I have written about Jonah these past several years. And it summarizes my cantata and my thoughts about why it is important.

Friday 26 November 2021

Biblical versus Modern Hebrew again

Biblical vs modern Hebrew stretches the brain. The next sentence in the article I was reading on wearing clothes is this one:

אֲנׅי תָּמִיד עׅם כּוֹבַע: בַּקַּיׅץ אֲנׅי חוֺבֶשֶׁת כּוֹבַע קַשׁ, בַּחוֺרֶף כּוֹבַע צֶמֶר.

If you put it into Google translate it will become:
I always wear a hat: in the summer I wear a straw hat, in the winter I wear a wool hat.

Google translate is well-trained in Modern Hebrew, though as we have seen, it is untrained in Biblical Hebrew.

If I were translating this based on Biblical words, it would be: 
I am continually with a ?coby: in the summer ?kobwt a ?coby stubble, in the ?korf, a ?coby wool.

 [I use always for nxk (a few times out of its 111 occurrences) and once in Daniel (Aramaic) for cl (out of 5517 occurrences) - I probably could have used it for tmid (104 occurrences) but that word is part of sacrificial language.] 

In the prior post, we learned that kbw is the verb (looks somewhat like an active participle here) for wearing a hat specifically.

The word coby does not occur in Biblical Hebrew or Aramaic. (You can search in the concordance under the link for cv or cb if you want to check it out. Maybe you'll find something I missed.) Perhaps if this theological statement about hats were in the Bible, I would import a French word for it like chapeau. The word I have rendered hat is /crbl/, in the Aramaic of Daniel 3 v 21 below. It is also used in 1 Chronicles 15:27 as something on David's head. We must expect significant coinages in Hebrew, everything from modern food to modern technology. I guess hat qualifies.
בֵּאדַ֜יִן גֻּבְרַיָּ֣א אִלֵּ֗ךְ כְּפִ֙תוּ֙ בְּסַרְבָּלֵיהוֹן֙ פַּטְּשֵׁיה֔וֹן וְכַרְבְּלָתְה֖וֹן וּלְבֻשֵׁיה֑וֹן
וּרְמִ֕יו לְגֽוֹא־אַתּ֥וּן נוּרָ֖א יָקִֽדְתָּֽא
21 Then these men of valour were bound in their trousers, their tunics, and their hats and their clothes,
and were heaved into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
ca badiin gubria ailiç cpitu bsrblihon p'twihon vcrblthon ulbuwihon
urmiv lgoa-atun nura iqidta
b/adin gbr\ia al\c cpt\v b/srbl\ihvn p+w\ihvn v/crbl\thvn v/lbw\ihvn
v/rm\iv l/gv\a atvn nvr\a iqd\ta

Bricks without straw is the Biblical phrase that pops into my head when straw is mentioned, but that's not the word used in straw-hat, but rather stubble. Straw is tbn - derived from the root bnh build. Stubble is qw. One might well expect the language to morph in these rare areas. But a straw hat is like stubble to me - very uncomfortable.

Winter occurs once in my translation of the Bible in the Song, chapter 2. 

כִּֽי־הִנֵּ֥ה הַסְּתָ֖יו עָבָ֑ר
הַגֶּ֕שֶׁם חָלַ֖ף הָלַ֥ךְ לֽוֹ
11 For behold, the winter is passed.
The heavy rain has done its renewal. It has walked offstage.
ia ci-hnh hstiv ybr
hgwm klf hlç lo
ci hnh h/stv ybr
h/gwm klp hlc l\v

The season that is contrasted with summer (qvx) in the Bible is harvest (qxr) rather than winter. E.g. this from Proverbs 10.

אֹגֵ֣ר בַּ֭קַּיִץ בֵּ֣ן מַשְׂכִּ֑יל
נִרְדָּ֥ם בַּ֝קָּצִ֗יר בֵּ֣ן מֵבִֽישׁ
5 Stockpiling in the summer is a child of insight.
Entranced at the harvest is a child that causes shame.
h aogr bqix bn mwcil
nrdm bqxir bn mbiw
agr b/qx bn m/wcl
n/rdm b/qxr bn m/bw

You will see that in the summer is indeed bqix. But where does korf come from? For krp(3) I have used autumn as a gloss. I originally misread krp as krc - so must withdraw the remaining examples. 

I misread the final p for a final kaf. A relatively easy mistake. I see that winter is used for krp in the KJV. Then it is also used for a different root, stv, in the Song. Here is perhaps a failure in my approach to roots and glosses.

These examples are interesting but irrelevant to the seasons. krc occurs as a root 3 times in the Bible. It is one of those rare instances where I found no single English gloss would fit. Each occurrence gets a specific gloss, creating three artificial hapaxes in my translation. (I can't think of a single gloss that would cover these three instances. Can you?) Also note that the middle verse is Aramaic (Daniel) - so the Hebrew question only applies to the Song 2 and Proverbs 12..

דּוֹמֶ֤ה דוֹדִי֙ לִצְבִ֔י א֖וֹ לְעֹ֣פֶר הָֽאַיָּלִ֑ים
הִנֵּה־זֶ֤ה עוֹמֵד֙ אַחַ֣ר כָּתְלֵ֔נוּ מַשְׁגִּ֙יחַ֙ מִן־הַֽחֲלֹּנ֔וֹת מֵצִ֖יץ מִן־הַֽחֲרַכִּֽים
9 My beloved is like the hosts of gazelle, or the faun of the hart.
Behold, this one, standing behind our embankment, peering through the perforations, blossoming through the lattice.
't domh dodi lxbi ao lyopr haiilim
hnh-zh yomd akr cotlnu mwgik mn-hklonot mxix mn-hkrcim
dvmh dvd\i l/xbi av l/ypr h/ail\im
hnh zh yvmd akr ctl\nv m/wgk mn h/kln\vt m/xx mn h/krc\im

וּ֠מִֽתְכַּנְּשִׁין אֲחַשְׁדַּרְפְּנַיָּ֞א סִגְנַיָּ֣א וּפַחֲוָתָא֮ וְהַדָּבְרֵ֣י מַלְכָּא֒ חָזַ֣יִן לְגֻבְרַיָּ֣א אִלֵּ֡ךְ דִּי֩ לָֽא־שְׁלֵ֨ט נוּרָ֜א בְּגֶשְׁמְה֗וֹן וּשְׂעַ֤ר רֵֽאשְׁהוֹן֙ לָ֣א הִתְחָרַ֔ךְ וְסָרְבָּלֵיה֖וֹן לָ֣א שְׁנ֑וֹ
וְרֵ֣יחַ נ֔וּר לָ֥א עֲדָ֖ת בְּהֽוֹן
27 ♪~ And those garnered, the satraps, the prefects, and the viceroys, and the consultants of the king, perceived of these men of valour, that fire had no authority over their bodies, and not a hair of their heads was singed, and their trousers were unmarked,
and the smell of fire was removed from them.
cz umtcnwin akwdrpnia sgnia upkvvta vhdbri mlca kziin lgubria ailiç di la-wli't nura bgwmhon uwyr riwhon la htkrç vsrblihon la wno
vrik nur la ydt bhon
vmt/cnw\in akwdrpn\ia sgn\ia v/pk\vta v/hdbr\i mlc\a kz\in l/gbr\ia al\c di la wl+ nvr\a b/gwm\hvn v/wyr raw\hvn la ht/krc v/srbl\ihvn la wn\v
v/rik nr la yd\t b/hvn

לֹא־יַחֲרֹ֣ךְ רְמִיָּ֣ה צֵיד֑וֹ
וְהוֹן־אָדָ֖ם יָקָ֣ר חָרֽוּץ
27 Deceit fails to set in motion its hunt,
but the value of human esteem is decisive.
cz la-ikroç rmiih xido
vhon-adm iqr krux
la i/krc rm\ih xid\v
v/hvn adm iqr krx

Should I continue this series? It is clear that one cannot learn Biblical Hebrew as a byproduct of learning Modern Hebrew and vice versa.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

More on language differences between old and new

Here is an article on dressing in Modern Hebrew.

My comments were ignored - they probably thought I was a troll. But hey - there are differences between MH and BH and it's curious to explore them. Some time ago I pointed out the confusion between anger and grief.

Now I would like to look at these words for dressing and see what SimHebrew would do to make them easier to examine for a person not trained in square text. Or even for someone trained in square text who wants to avoid the hassle of searching in two or more keyboard layouts and alphabets.

So I will look at each sentence - transform it to SimHebrew and find out if it has any Biblical usage. The first verb to be considered is lkbvw. The first sentence is yl aopnoy kobwim qsdh. [On a motorcycle wear a helmet - browse the link if you missed this]

One of the things I note is that every verb under consideration seems to begin with l (lamed). This is odd. l (ל) is a common prefix in BH, usually signifying to, of, or for. If one were imitating English infinitives, one might use it as in to wear, but there is no such grammatical convention in BH. (Scroll down in the link to the table summarizing the verbs.)

The BH convention (Lambdin 115, 128) is the infinitive construct (a holam is in the second syllable) or the infinitive absolute (a vav is included explicitly in the second syllable). So for ctb [write], the infinitive absolute would be ctob in SimHebrew. You can't distinguish the two infinitive forms without the full pointing. (And the distinction is largely irrelevant. The gloss may or may not include the traditional 'to' of an English infinitive - see e.g. lctob here. Then if you search for ctob you will also see some absolute forms but they are indistinguishable from what is rendered as an imperative. Translation is not a rigid absolutism.)

The teacher in this case is presenting a new thing in MH - after the pattern of English usage. The l is not part of the root. And the root is expressed in its absolute form. So the root for the first example lkbvw is kbw, a word in BH used for bandaging, binding, and saddling. A far cry from wearing a hat.

If you look in my subdomain of Clothe in the glossary page of the concordance, you will find the Biblical words for articles of clothing and the root lbw, the verb to clothe in BH. Not kbw. Other things you might put on your head include bonnet gby(97), hat crbl(2), headscarf xmh(4), head-dress, turban, twirl xnp(21), and head-band wbis(1). The links will take you to every instance of these roots in the Hebrew canon. But for putting on clothing, lbw is used everywhere. Not specific to hats!

yl aopnoy kobwim qsdh

Curious that the imperative is expressed in the plural(?) ... I wonder if that is a nod to gender parity.

The other words in this sentence are /yl/ a common preposition, /apny/ - not a BH root but perhaps related to Proverbs 25:11.

תַּפּוּחֵ֣י זָ֭הָב בְּמַשְׂכִּיּ֥וֹת כָּ֑סֶף
דָּ֝בָ֗ר דָּבֻ֥ר עַל־אָפְנָֽיו
11 Quinces of gold in icons of silver,
a word roundly spoken.
ia tpuki zhb bmwciiot csf
dbr dbur yl-aopniv
tpvk\i zhb bm/wc\ivt csp
dbr dbr yl apn\iv

and finally, qsd - which, whatever it is, is not a root that is used in BH. There are only 3 roots that begin with qs, qsm, qww, qst. You can find the links for these on the glossary page in the concordance.

The next sentence is: hua kbw cph vixa lbit cnst. hva is a common third person pronoun. cph(1) is used only once in BH, in Proverbs 21:14. I rendered it as pacify.

מַתָּ֣ן בַּ֭סֵּתֶר יִכְפֶּה־אָ֑ף
וְשֹׁ֥חַד בַּ֝חֵ֗ק חֵמָ֥ה עַזָּֽה
14 Graft in secret may pacify anger,
and a bribe to the chest strong heat.
id mtn bstr icph-af
vwokd bkiq kmh yzh
mtn b/str i/cph ap
v/wkd b/kq km\h yz\h

ixa(1144) is common in BH, as is bit(2334), but cnst (knesset - government) is possibly related to cns(20) [garner, storehouse], here used as Synagogue and this is the expression used in the Hebrew NT that I have available to me. But cnst is not a word in BH. The string occurs 3 times in forms of cns. The ti suffix would read I have garnered. You can see this easily by looking for cnst at the cns link above. 

These examples show how SimHebrew allows much easier analysis without searching in two conflicting alphabets.

I have only looked at two sentences - no wonder I could not do this sort of thing on the fly in my Hebrew classes. The changes in the language are manifold.

This post is long enough. Maybe I will do some more later. Enjoy the search.

Monday 22 November 2021

What shows a change in the language?

The usage of /w/ as a prefix [sh] in Biblical Hebrew is rare. The prefix /w/ is pervasive in Modern Hebrew as expressions like wli, ([shli] mine) and wlo ([shlo] his) occur frequently in conversation and the more formal pronoun suffixes are not used. It almost seems that it might be an abbreviation of awr in its role as a pronoun. When did this change begin?

In most books of the Hebrew Scriptures, w (shin) as a prefix occurs less than 0.05% of the time if at all. In the following books, it is significantly more frequent:

  • The Song of Solomon 2.4%,
  • Qohelet (Ecclesiastes) 2.07%,
  • Jonah 0.44%,
  • Lamentations 0.26%,
  • Psalms 0.11%,
  • Ezra 0.07%,
  • Judges 0.05%.
In every other book, this prefix fades into insignificance.

Compare the uses of other prepositional prefixes like 

  • b, occurring between 2 and 8% in every book, 
  • l, very similar to b,
  • m, in every book, between 3 and 9%,
  • c, in every book, between 0.3% and 3.6% The Song, 2.2% Hosea, 2.5% Nahum, 1.8% Micah, down to 0.43% for Jonah.

Are there other language markers that we might notice whose frequency of use would allow us to make general statements about variations in language usage?

One I have noted before that distinguishes prose from poetry is the direct object marker /at/.

  • Prose books range from 6.68%, Leviticus, down to 4.59 for Numbers in the Pentateuch, 
  • 5.92 Joshua down to 4.17 for 2 Samuel in the former prophets, 
  • 1.65 for Isaiah, 4.42 for Jeremiah, 3.79 for Ezekiel, so slightly lower than the first sections from Genesis to Kings, 
  • then lower again for the Book of the 12, 0.54 Nahum to 4.34 Malachi, 
  • and for the Poetry books, Psalms 0.89, Proverbs 0.69, Job 0.62. 
  • The scrolls range from 0.45 Lamentations to 3.94 for Esther. Lamentations is the only one that is < 2. 
  • Daniel Ezra and Nehemiah are low probably because of the preponderance of Aramaic. 
  • Chronicles is 4.15 and is very consistent across both books.
I have always had a suspicion that some of the prophets wrote like poets. If for instance we eliminate the 4 chapters of Kings duplicated in Isaiah 36-39, his percentage drops to 1.44.

Looking at just 4 verses of the first servant song, Isaiah 42:1-4, we find a reasonable tight poetic line that could have appeared in the Psalms without surprising us too much stylistically.

Syllables: 93. Words: 43. Roots: 32. Root Recurrence: 37%. Average per verse: 4.
הֵ֤ן עַבְדִּי֙ אֶתְמָךְ־בּ֔וֹ בְּחִירִ֖י רָצְתָ֣ה נַפְשִׁ֑י
נָתַ֤תִּי רוּחִי֙ עָלָ֔יו מִשְׁפָּ֖ט לַגּוֹיִ֥ם יוֹצִֽיא
1 ♪C Lo, my servant. I will maintain him. My chosen, my very self accepts.
I have given my spirit to him. The judgment of the nations, he will bring forth.
a hn ybdi atmoç-bo bkiri rxth npwi
ntti ruki yliv mwp't lgoiim ioxia
hn ybd\i a/tmc b\v bk\iri rx\th npw\i
nt\ti rvk\i yl\iv m/wp+ l/gvi\m iv/x\ia
לֹ֥א יִצְעַ֖ק וְלֹ֣א יִשָּׂ֑א
וְלֹֽא־יַשְׁמִ֥יעַ בַּח֖וּץ קוֹלֽוֹ
2 ♪f He will not cry out and he will not lift up,
or make his voice heard in the street.
b la ixyq vla iiwa
vla-iwmiy bkux qolo
la i/xyq v/la i/wa
v/la i/wmy b/kvx qvl\v
קָנֶ֤ה רָצוּץ֙ לֹ֣א יִשְׁבּ֔וֹר וּפִשְׁתָּ֥ה כֵהָ֖ה לֹ֣א יְכַבֶּ֑נָּה
לֶאֱמֶ֖ת יוֹצִ֥יא מִשְׁפָּֽט
3 A damaged purchase he will not break, and dim flax he will not quench.
To truth he will bring forth judgment.
g qnh rxux la iwbor upwth chh la icbnh
lamt ioxia mwp't
qnh rxx la i/wbr v/pwt\h chh la i/cb\nh
l/amt iv/x\ia m/wp+
לֹ֤א יִכְהֶה֙ וְלֹ֣א יָר֔וּץ עַד־יָשִׂ֥ים בָּאָ֖רֶץ מִשְׁפָּ֑ט
וּלְתוֹרָת֖וֹ אִיִּ֥ים יְיַחֵֽילוּ פ
4 ♪C He will not dim and he will not be damaged until he has set judgment in the land,
and for his instruction, coasts will hope.
d la ichh vla irux yd-iwim barx mwp't
ultorto aiim iiklu p
la i/chh v/la i/rx yd i/wim b/arx m/wp+
vl/tvr\tv ai\im ii/k\ilv
Recurring words in Isaiah 42:1-4

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Oratorio part 7, Psalms 150

There's room to expand on the finale of the oratorio. But it does go from the dismal to the happy. I am assuming that praise is happy. Certainly any time I look at the complexity and beauty of things I am thankful.

Psalms 150

The opening of Psalms 150

Syllables: 94. Words: 37. Roots: 22. Root Recurrence: 49%. Average per verse: 3.
הַ֥לְלוּ־יָ֨הּ ׀ הַֽלְלוּ־אֵ֥ל בְּקָדְשׁ֑וֹ
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בִּרְקִ֥יעַ עֻזּֽוֹ
1 ♪f Hallelu Yah. Praise God in his holiness.
Praise him in the expanse of his strength.
a hllu-ih hllu-al bqodwo
hlluhu brqiy yuzo
hll\v ih hll\v al b/qdw\v
hll\vhv b/rqy yz\v
הַֽלְל֥וּהוּ בִגְבוּרֹתָ֑יו
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ כְּרֹ֣ב גֻּדְלֽוֹ
2 Praise him in his valiant acts.
Praise him for the multitude of his greatness.
b hlluhu bgburotiv
hlluhu crob gudlo
hll\vhv b/gbvr\tiv
hll\vhv c/rb gdl\v
הַֽ֭לְלוּהוּ בְּתֵ֣קַע שׁוֹפָ֑ר
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בְּנֵ֣בֶל וְכִנּֽוֹר
3 ♪g Praise him with the sound of a shophar.
Praise him with lute and harp.
g hlluhu btqy wopr
hlluhu bnbl vcinor
hll\vhv b/tqy wvpr
hll\vhv b/nbl v/cnr
הַֽ֭לְלוּהוּ בְתֹ֣ף וּמָח֑וֹל
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בְּמִנִּ֥ים וְעוּגָֽב
4 ♪g Praise him with drum and dance.
Praise him on harp-strings and pipes.
d hlluhu btof umkol
hlluhu bminim vyugb
hll\vhv b/tp vm/kvl
hll\vhv b/mn\im v/ygb
הַֽלְל֥וּהוּ בְצִלְצְלֵי־שָׁ֑מַע
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בְּֽצִלְצְלֵ֥י תְרוּעָֽה
5 Praise him on cymbals to be heard.
Praise him on cymbals of jubilation.
h hlluhu bxlxli-wmy
hlluhu bxlxli truyh
hll\vhv b/xl\xli wmy
hll\vhv b/xl\xli t/rvy\h
כֹּ֣ל הַ֭נְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּ֥ל יָ֗הּ הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ 6 ♪B All the breath-bearing praise Yah. Hallelu Yah.
v col hnwmh thll ih hllu-ih 11
cl h/nwm\h t/hll ih hll\v ih
6breath-bearing, נשׁם (nwm), panting, used of a woman in childbirth (also Psalm 18:16, where the breath-bearing is used of God again implying a birthing process).
First time recurrence (for this book in the chapter): xll
Word / Gloss123VsStem
בצלצלי on cymbals
בצלצלי on cymbals of
The last phrase of Psalms 150 - praise in a minor key

Oratorio part 7, Psalms 117

 The shortest chapter. I did not use my earliest setting of Psalms 117. 

Psalms 117

Psalms 117 snipped from an old YouTube version

Syllables: 34. Words: 17. Roots: 14. Root Recurrence: 35%. Average per verse: 3.
amh amt at ci cl (2) gbr gvi hll (2) ih ihvh (2) ksd wbk yl ylm
הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֭הוָה כָּל־גּוֹיִ֑ם
שַׁ֝בְּח֗וּהוּ כָּל־הָאֻמִּֽים
1 Praise Yahweh, all nations.
Commend him, all the clans.
a hllu at-ihvh cl-goiim
wbkuhu cl-haumim
hll\v at ihvh cl gvi\m
wbk\vhv cl h/am\im
כִּ֥י גָ֘בַ֤ר עָלֵ֨ינוּ ׀ חַסְדּ֗וֹ וֶֽאֱמֶת־יְהוָ֥ה לְעוֹלָ֗ם הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ 2 ♪f For his mercy has prevailed over us, and the truth of Yahweh is forever. Praise Yah.
b ci gbr ylinu ksdo vamt-ihvh lyolm hllu-ih 19
ci gbr yl\inv ksd\v v/amt ihvh l/yvlm hll\v ih
1clans, אמה (amh) unique in the Psalter, related to mother.
[Romans 15:11]

The oratorio uses these elementary demonstrations of the viability of Haïk-Vantoura's application of Ockham's Razor and push the multi-modal possibilities a bit further.
A snippet of the fun to be had for the basses in Psalms 117

Oratorio part 7, Psalms 92

The recitative for the 7th day begins the section. Recitative style is demonstrated here. Then there are three psalms, 92 for the Sabbath is also an aria like 116, then next is Psalms 117, the final psalm of the series begun in part 1 with 110,  and finally 150. Some parts are shorter than others. The whole is roughly slightly over an hour's music.

I have not workshopped any of the pieces here so I have little idea how much effort this would take to prepare even with minimal forces. But individual psalms as chorales or anthems could be performed separately. And the Job series would be fun just on its own. Some of it would require light-hearted fast singing.

As I review the mechanicals at the playlist on my YouTube channel, I think some of the tempi may be a bit on the fast side. Again the full score is here and all the posts of this month, revisiting this after 2 years, are mostly in sequence on the blog. There sure seem to be a lot of them. 

[The links are fixed to the online concordance - the only bug is that they are in English letter sequence rather than SimHebrew letter sequence - O well! One day I will consolidate my hacks. A solo interactive database really gets away from an individual. If I ever have to move it to another computer - I could do it then - but I would probably not. I would just restore the environment and then restore the database from an image.]

Psalms 92

Psalms 92:1-2a melody according to the deciphering key of Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura

A psalm, a song to the day of the Sabbath, luxuriant, flourishing
Syllables: 269. Words: 112. Roots: 84. Root Recurrence: 39%. Average per verse: 2.8.
מִזְמ֥וֹר שִׁ֗יר לְי֣וֹם הַשַּׁבָּֽת 1 A psalm. A song to the day of the Sabbath.
a mzmor wir liom hwbt 8
m/zmr wir l/ivm h/wbt
ט֗וֹב לְהֹד֥וֹת לַיהוָ֑ה
וּלְזַמֵּ֖ר לְשִׁמְךָ֣ עֶלְיֽוֹן
2 ♪~ Good it is to give thanks to Yahweh,
and to sing a psalm to your name, O Most High,
b 'tob lhodot lihvh
ulzmr lwmç ylion
+vb lh/d\vt l/ihvh
vl/zmr l/wm\c ylivn
לְהַגִּ֣יד בַּבֹּ֣קֶר חַסְֽדֶּ֑ךָ
וֶ֝אֱמֽוּנָתְךָ֗ בַּלֵּילֽוֹת
3 to announce in the morning your kindness,
and your faithfulness in the nights,
g lhgid bboqr ksdç
vamuntç blilot
lh/gd b/bqr ksd\c
v/amvn\tc b/lil\vt
עֲ‍ֽלֵי־עָ֭שׂוֹר וַעֲלֵי־נָ֑בֶל
עֲלֵ֖י הִגָּי֣וֹן בְּכִנּֽוֹר
4 on ten-strings and on a lute,
on meditation with a harp.

d yli-ywor vyli-nbl
yli higion bcinor
yl\i ywr v/yl\i nbl
yl\i h/g\ivn b/cnr
כִּ֤י שִׂמַּחְתַּ֣נִי יְהוָ֣ה בְּפָעֳלֶ֑ךָ
בְּֽמַעֲשֵׂ֖י יָדֶ֣יךָ אֲרַנֵּֽן
5 ♪C For you have made me glad, Yahweh, in your work.
In the deeds of your hands I will shout for joy.
h ci wimktni ihvh bpoylç
bmywi idiç arnn
ci wmk\tni ihvh b/pyl\c
bm/yw\i id\ic a/rnn
מַה־גָּדְל֣וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֣יךָ יְהוָ֑ה
מְ֝אֹ֗ד עָמְק֥וּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶֽיךָ
6 How great your deeds Yahweh,
very deep your devices.

v mh-gdlu mywiç ihvh
maod ymqu mkwbotiç
mh gdl\v m/yw\ic ihvh
mad ymq\v m/kwb\tic
אִֽישׁ־בַּ֭עַר לֹ֣א יֵדָ֑ע
וּ֝כְסִ֗יל לֹא־יָבִ֥ין אֶת־זֹֽאת
7 A brute does not know,
and a dullard will not understand this:
z aiw-byr la iidy
ucsil la-ibin at-zat
aiw byr la idy
v/csl la i/bin at zat
בִּפְרֹ֤חַ רְשָׁעִ֨ים ׀ כְּמ֥וֹ עֵ֗שֶׂב וַ֭יָּצִיצוּ כָּל־פֹּ֣עֲלֵי אָ֑וֶן
לְהִשָּֽׁמְדָ֥ם עֲדֵי־עַֽד
8 that the wicked flourish like field-grass and all workers of mischief blossom,
to be exterminated for ever and ever.

k bprok rwyim cmo ywb vixixu cl-poyli avvn
lhiwmdm ydi-yd
b/prk rwy\im cmv ywb vi/xix\v cl pyl\i avn
lh/wmd\m yd\i yd
וְאַתָּ֥ה מָר֗וֹם לְעֹלָ֥ם יְהוָֽה 9 But you are on high forever, Yahweh.
't vath mrom lyolm ihvh 10
v/ath m/rvm l/ylm ihvh
כִּ֤י הִנֵּ֪ה אֹיְבֶ֡יךָ ׀ יְֽהוָ֗ה כִּֽי־הִנֵּ֣ה אֹיְבֶ֣יךָ יֹאבֵ֑דוּ
יִ֝תְפָּרְד֗וּ כָּל־פֹּ֥עֲלֵי אָֽוֶן
10 ♪C For behold your enemies Yahweh, for behold your enemies will perish.
All workers of mischief will be separated.

i ci hnh aoibiç ihvh ci-hnh aoibiç iabdu
itprdu cl-poyli avvn
ci hnh aib\ic ihvh ci hnh aib\ic i/abd\v
it/prd\v cl pyl\i avn
וַתָּ֣רֶם כִּרְאֵ֣ים קַרְנִ֑י
בַּ֝לֹּתִ֗י בְּשֶׁ֣מֶן רַעֲנָֽן
11 But you will exalt my horn like wild bulls.
I have been mingled with luxuriant oil.
ia vtrm cram qrni
bloti bwmn rynn
vt/rm c/ram qrn\i
bl\ti b/wmn rynn
וַתַּבֵּ֥ט עֵינִ֗י בְּשׁ֫וּרָ֥י
בַּקָּמִ֖ים עָלַ֥י מְרֵעִ֗ים תִּשְׁמַ֥עְנָה אָזְנָֽי
12 And my eye has taken note of those who scrutinize me,
of evildoers who arise over me, my ear has heard.

ib vtb't yini bwurii
bqmim ylii mryim twmynh aoznii
vt/b+ yin\i b/wvr\i
b/qm\im yl\i m/ry\im t/wmy\nh azn\i
צַ֭דִּיק כַּתָּמָ֣ר יִפְרָ֑ח
כְּאֶ֖רֶז בַּלְּבָנ֣וֹן יִשְׂגֶּֽה
13 ♪g A righteous one will flourish like a palm tree,
like a cedar in Lebanon abounding.
ig xdiq ctmr iprk
carz blbnon iwgh
xdiq c/tmr i/prk
c/arz b/lbnvn i/wgh
שְׁ֭תוּלִים בְּבֵ֣ית יְהוָ֑ה
בְּחַצְר֖וֹת אֱלֹהֵ֣ינוּ יַפְרִֽיחוּ
14 ♪g Those transplanted in the house of Yahweh,
in the courts of our God will flourish.

id wtulim bbit ihvh
bkxrot alohinu ipriku
wtvl\im b/bit ihvh
b/kxr\vt alh\inv i/prkv
ע֭וֹד יְנוּב֣וּן בְּשֵׂיבָ֑ה
דְּשֵׁנִ֖ים וְרַֽעֲנַנִּ֣ים יִהְיֽוּ
15 ♪g They will still profit when grey-haired.
Fat and luxuriant they will be:
'tv yod inubun bwibh
dwnim vrynnim ihiu
yvd i/nvb\vn b/wib\h
dwn\im v/rynn\im i/hi\v
לְ֭הַגִּיד כִּֽי־יָשָׁ֣ר יְהוָ֑ה
צ֝וּרִ֗י וְֽלֹא־עַוְלָ֥תָה בּֽוֹ
16 ♪g to announce that upright is Yahweh,
my rock, and there is no injustice in him.
'tz lhgid ci-iwr ihvh
xuri vla-yvvlth bo
lh/gd ci iwr ihvh
xvr\i v/la yvl\th b\v
6very deep, עמק (`mq) or most inscrutable (to avoid the deep gloss), see 64:7 where these letters recur.
14transplanted, compare Psalm 1:3, 128:3.
First time recurrence (for this book in the chapter): prk rynn

Word / Gloss





בפרח that flourish



רענן luxuriant



יפרח will flourish



יפריחו will flourish



ורעננים and luxuriant



Monday 15 November 2021

Habakkuk chapter 1 and 2:1 Afterwords

Why is my translation different from the NRSV? 197 different roots are used in this chapter - a sizeable quick study. Yes - even when you have translated the whole Hebrew canon, every section is still a study - there's always something more to check in the puzzle.

One thing I noted when reading this section of the SimHebrew Bible: one has to ask whose voice is being heard in each section. There is a narrator in v 1, a plea from the prophet in vv 2-4, Verse 5 is recognition of the pending action of Yahweh - then the prophet switches into the voice of Yahweh in verses 6-11. Verse 12-17 is the prophet addressing Yahweh. Then verse 1 of chapter 2 is the prophet waiting for his own correction. I find it took time to get the sense of the voices. The NRSV is no easier to read and I think it distorts the content severely. As the preacher said before the service - it's not sinful mortals in the hand of an angry God, its angry (and sinful) mortals in the hands of a loving God. And anger is fine in its place - but we need a place to put it when our sense of justice and correction is exercised.

From the point of view of my style in deciphering a translation for the passage, I found these issues to be the most disappointing with respect to the NRSV.

Verse 1: NRSV: the oracle is a bad choice. This word is related to what is lifted up. So I use load (nwa)  to distinguish this word from burden (sbl) and also from oracle (nam). I suspect these differing roots used in different context and by different prophets are significant. They might be local idioms, historical development of the language, or a particular class of vision or speech-acts. Whatever it is, the Hebrew is a different word so the English should be also. You can check my usage via the glossary in the online concordance. [By the way, I have repaired all the root links to the glossary for the set of posts on the oratorio. My program was setting them for an e-book rather than for the blog. Sorry about that!]

Verse 7: NRSV has dignity for the rare stem pvg. But for the same word in Genesis they use stunned. Really! This too violates my sense of how a language speaks. I think it is unlikely that the Genesis usage needs to be so contradictory. While there is change over time, and variation within region or even from writer to writer, it takes more information than 6 uses to be quite so fickle with gloss choice. (Though I might fail this way occasionally too.)

Verse 12: NRSV has from of old or the like, it's fine and the same as the rendering in the Jerusalem Bible, but I don't see why. I wondered if the Masoretic tradition had decided that qdm might be always one way or the other, but I don't think so. The sense has to be determined from whatever one can tell from the context. The current threat is from the east - why change the point of view mid thought to remind us of the agelessness of God?

NRSV assumes rock is an invocation of God, OK if you like, but for correction they have punishmentWhen you find this p word in a translation of the Old Testament, cross it out. It just reflects a prejudiced and perverse mindset. Besides the fact that imputing a punishing mindset to God is inaccurate reporting, in this case particularly, the gloss must match what is used of the prophet in 2:1 where the same root is repeated a few verses later. I pointed this out in the prior post. I would chose correction or reproof. The sense of this root ick can also include referee. Again I have been careful to use different English roots for different Hebrew roots, respecting the words of the text. I also allow multiple related English words for a single Hebrew root. (My decisions are transparent in the concordance. I welcome informed feedback.)

As I pondered this passage, I thought Chaldea for me today is the threat of climate change, a devouring enemy if ever there was one, and clearly both a judgment and a call to correction - but emphatically not punishment

The service with its excellent music is available here. Push it ahead to the start at about 13 minutes in.

Habakkuk 1

The opening line of Habakkuk

Syllables: 459. Words: 197. Roots: 135. Root Recurrence: 48%. Average per verse: 5.5.
הַמַּשָׂא֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָזָ֔ה חֲבַקּ֖וּק הַנָּבִֽיא 1 The load which Habakkuk the prophet gazed on.
a hmwa awr kzh kbquq hnbia 13
hm/wa awr kzh kbqvq h/nbia
עַד־אָ֧נָה יְהוָ֛ה שִׁוַּ֖עְתִּי וְלֹ֣א תִשְׁמָ֑ע
אֶזְעַ֥ק אֵלֶ֛יךָ חָמָ֖ס וְלֹ֥א תוֹשִֽׁיעַ
2 How long please, Yahweh, will I cry and you will not hear?
Will I appeal to you of violence and you will not save?
b yd-anh ihvh wivvyti vla twmy
azyq aliç kms vla towiy
yd anh ihvh wvy\ti v/la t/wmy
a/zyq al\ic kms v/la tv/wy
לָ֣מָּה תַרְאֵ֤נִי אָ֙וֶן֙ וְעָמָ֣ל תַּבִּ֔יט וְשֹׁ֥ד וְחָמָ֖ס לְנֶגְדִּ֑י
וַיְהִ֧י רִ֦יב וּמָד֖וֹן יִשָּֽׂא
3 ♪B Why do you show me mischief and misery you make me notice, and devastation and violence before me?
And there is contention and sentence borne.
g lmh trani avvn vyml tbi't vwod vkms lngdi
vihi rib umdon iiwa
lmh t/ra\ni avn v/yml t/b+ v/wd v/kms l/ngd\i
vi/hi rib vm/dvn i/wa
עַל־כֵּן֙ תָּפ֣וּג תּוֹרָ֔ה וְלֹֽא־יֵצֵ֥א לָנֶ֖צַח מִשְׁפָּ֑ט
כִּ֤י רָשָׁע֙ מַכְתִּ֣יר אֶת־הַצַּדִּ֔יק עַל־כֵּ֛ן יֵצֵ֥א מִשְׁפָּ֖ט מְעֻקָּֽל
4 Therefore numbed is instruction and lasting judgment fails to emerge,
for wickedness encircles the righteous one, therefore crooked judgment emerges.
d yl-cn tpug torh vla-iixa lnxk mwp't
ci rwy mctir at-hxdiq yl-cn iixa mwp't myuql
yl cn t/pvg tvrh v/la ixa l/nxk m/wp+
ci rwy m/ctr at h/xdiq yl cn ixa m/wp+ m/yql
רְא֤וּ בַגּוֹיִם֙ וְֽהַבִּ֔יטוּ וְהִֽתַּמְּה֖וּ תְּמָ֑הוּ
כִּי־פֹ֙עַל֙ פֹּעֵ֣ל בִּֽימֵיכֶ֔ם לֹ֥א תַאֲמִ֖ינוּ כִּ֥י יְסֻפָּֽר
5 See among the nations and take note and marvel with astonishment,
for he worked a work in your days you would not have believed though it were recounted.
h rau bgoiim vhbi'tu vhitmhu tmhu
ci-poyl poyl bimicm la taminu ci isupr
ra\v b/gvi\m vh/b+\v vh/tmh\v tmh\v
ci pyl pyl b/im\icm la t/amnv ci i/spr
כִּֽי־הִנְנִ֤י מֵקִים֙ אֶת־הַכַּשְׂדִּ֔ים הַגּ֖וֹי הַמַּ֣ר וְהַנִּמְהָ֑ר
הַֽהוֹלֵךְ֙ לְמֶרְחֲבֵי־אֶ֔רֶץ לָרֶ֖שֶׁת מִשְׁכָּנ֥וֹת לֹּא־לֽוֹ
6 For note me well, I raise up the Chaldeans, the bitter and swift nation,
to rush into the broad land to possess dwellings that are not theirs.
v ci-hnni mqim at-hcwdim hgoi hmr vhnmhr
hholç lmrkbi-arx lrwt mwcnot la-lo
ci h/n\ni m/qim at h/cwdi\m h/gvi h/mr vhn/mhr
h/hvlc lm/rkb\i arx l/rw\t m/wcn\vt la l\v
אָיֹ֥ם וְנוֹרָ֖א ה֑וּא
מִמֶּ֕נּוּ מִשְׁפָּט֥וֹ וּשְׂאֵת֖וֹ יֵצֵֽא
7 Horrible and feared it is.
From this its judgment and its forbearance will emerge.
z aiom vnora hua
mmnu mwp'to uwato iixa
aim vnv/ra hva
m/mn\v m/wp+\v v/wa\tv ixa
וְקַלּ֨וּ מִנְּמֵרִ֜ים סוּסָ֗יו וְחַדּוּ֙ מִזְּאֵ֣בֵי עֶ֔רֶב וּפָ֖שׁוּ פָּֽרָשָׁ֑יו
וּפָֽרָשָׁיו֙ מֵרָח֣וֹק יָבֹ֔אוּ יָעֻ֕פוּ כְּנֶ֖שֶׁר חָ֥שׁ לֶאֱכֽוֹל
8 And fleeter than leopards are its horses, and keener than wolves of evening, its cavaliers frisk about.
And its cavaliers come from afar. They fly like an eagle hurrying to eat.
k vqlu mnmrim susiv vkdu mzabi yrb upwu prwiv
uprwiv mrkoq iboau iyupu cnwr kw lacol
v/ql\v m/nmr\im svs\iv v/kd\v m/zab\i yrb v/pw\v prw\iv
v/prw\iv m/rkq i/ba\v i/yp\v c/nwr kw l/acl
כֻּלֹּה֙ לְחָמָ֣ס יָב֔וֹא מְגַמַּ֥ת פְּנֵיהֶ֖ם קָדִ֑ימָה
וַיֶּאֱסֹ֥ף כַּח֖וֹל שֶֽׁבִי
9 All for violence it comes, their faces pumped up as the east wind,
and it gathers captives as in a dance.
't culo lkms iboa mgmt pnihm qdimh
viasof ckol wbi
cl\h l/kms i/bva mgm\t pn\ihm qd\imh
vi/asp c/kvl wb\i
וְהוּא֙ בַּמְּלָכִ֣ים יִתְקַלָּ֔ס וְרֹזְנִ֖ים מִשְׂחָ֣ק ל֑וֹ
ה֚וּא לְכָל־מִבְצָ֣ר יִשְׂחָ֔ק וַיִּצְבֹּ֥ר עָפָ֖ר וַֽיִּלְכְּדָֽהּ
10 And it, among sovereigns, ridicules them, and the rule-makers laugh at it.
Itself, at all enclosure it laughs and it accumulates dust and catches it.
i vhua bmlcim itqls vroznim mwkq lo
hua lcl-mbxr iwkq vixbor ypr vilcdh
v/hva b/mlc\im it/qls v/rzn\im m/wkq l\v
hva l/cl m/bxr i/wkq vi/xbr ypr vi/lcd\h
אָ֣ז חָלַ֥ף ר֛וּחַ וַֽיַּעֲבֹ֖ר וְאָשֵׁ֑ם
ז֥וּ כֹח֖וֹ לֵאלֹהֽוֹ
11 ♪B Then it is renewed in spirit when it has passed through and been declared guilty.
This is its power for its god.
ia az klf ruk viybor vawm
zu coko laloho
az klp rvk vi/ybr v/awm
zv ck\v l/al\hv
הֲל֧וֹא אַתָּ֣ה מִקֶּ֗דֶם יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהַ֛י קְדֹשִׁ֖י לֹ֣א נָמ֑וּת
יְהוָה֙ לְמִשְׁפָּ֣ט שַׂמְתּ֔וֹ וְצ֖וּר לְהוֹכִ֥יחַ יְסַדְתּֽוֹ
12 Are not you from the east, Yahweh my God, my Holy One? We will not die.
Yahweh, for judgment, you have set it up, and for a rock of correction you have founded it.
ib hloa ath mqdm ihvh alohii qdowi la nmut
ihvh lmwp't wmto vxur lhocik isdto
h/lva ath m/qdm ihvh alh\i qdw\i la n/mvt
ihvh lm/wp+ wm\tv v/xvr lhv/ck isd\tv
טְה֤וֹר עֵינַ֙יִם֙ מֵרְא֣וֹת רָ֔ע וְהַבִּ֥יט אֶל־עָמָ֖ל לֹ֣א תוּכָ֑ל
לָ֤מָּה תַבִּיט֙ בּֽוֹגְדִ֔ים תַּחֲרִ֕ישׁ בְּבַלַּ֥ע רָשָׁ֖ע צַדִּ֥יק מִמֶּֽנּוּ
13 Too clean of eyes than to see evil and you cannot notice misery?
Why do you notice the treacherous? You are silent when wickedness swallows one more righteous than itself.
ig 'thor yiniim mraot ry vhbi't al-yml la tucl
lmh tbi't bogdim tkriw bbly rwy xdiq mmnu
+hr yin\im m/ra\vt ry vh/b+ al yml la tv/cl
lmh t/b+ bvgd\im t/krw b/bly rwy xdiq m/mn\v
וַתַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֖ם כִּדְגֵ֣י הַיָּ֑ם
כְּרֶ֖מֶשׂ לֹא־מֹשֵׁ֥ל בּֽוֹ
14 And you make humanity as the fish of the sea,
as a creeper that has no governor over it.
id vtywh adm cdgi him
crmw la-mowl bo
vt/ywh adm c/dg\i h/im
c/rmw la mwl b\v
כֻּלֹּה֙ בְּחַכָּ֣ה הֵֽעֲלָ֔ה יְגֹרֵ֣הוּ בְחֶרְמ֔וֹ וְיַאַסְפֵ֖הוּ בְּמִכְמַרְתּ֑וֹ
עַל־כֵּ֖ן יִשְׂמַ֥ח וְיָגִֽיל
15 All of it with a fishhook brought up, it gullets them in utter destruction, and it gathers them into its own cravings,
therefore it will be glad and it will rejoice.
'tv culo bkch hiylh igorhu bkrmo viasphu bmcmrto
yl-cn iwmk vigil
cl\h b/kch h/ylh i/gr\hv b/krm\v vi/asp\hv bm/cmr\tv
yl cn i/wmk vi/gil
עַל־כֵּן֙ יְזַבֵּ֣חַ לְחֶרְמ֔וֹ וִֽיקַטֵּ֖ר לְמִכְמַרְתּ֑וֹ
כִּ֤י בָהֵ֙מָּה֙ שָׁמֵ֣ן חֶלְק֔וֹ וּמַאֲכָל֖וֹ בְּרִאָֽה
16 Therefore it will offer its utter destruction and burn incense to its own cravings,
for in them is the oil of its share and its plenteous food.
'tz yl-cn izbk lkrmo viq'tr lmcmrto
ci bhmh wmn klqo umaclo briah
yl cn i/zbk l/krm\v vi/q+r lm/cmr\tv
ci b/hm\h wmn klq\v vm/acl\v bra\h
הַ֥עַל כֵּ֖ן יָרִ֣יק חֶרְמ֑וֹ
וְתָמִ֛יד לַהֲרֹ֥ג גּוֹיִ֖ם לֹ֥א יַחְמֽוֹל ס
17 ♪f Will it therefore empty its utter destruction,
and continually slay nations without pity?
iz hyl cn iriq krmo
vtmid lhrog goiim la ikmol s
h/yl cn i/riq krm\v
v/tmid l/hrg gvi\m la i/kml
Recurrence patterns: 
Word / Gloss12345678910123456789201234567VsStem
המשא the load
יהוה Yahweh
ולא and not
אליך to you
חמס violence
ולא and not
למה why
תראני do you show me
ועמל and misery
תביט you make me notice
וחמס and violence
ישא borne
על --
כן therefore
ולא and fails
יצא to emerge
משפט judgment
כי for
רשע wickedness
את --
הצדיק the righteous one
על --
כן therefore
יצא emerges
משפט judgment
ראו see
בגוים among the nations
והביטו and take note
והתמהו and marvel
תמהו with astonishment
כי for
פעל he worked
פעל a work
לא not
כי though
כי for
את --
הגוי the nation
לא not
לו that are theirs
הוא it is
ממנו from this
משפטו its judgment
ושאתו and its forbearance
יצא will emerge
פרשיו its cavaliers
ופרשיו and its cavaliers
יבאו come
לאכול to eat
כלה all
לחמס for violence
יבוא it comes
קדימה as the east wind
ויאסף and it gathers
והוא and it
משחק laugh
לו at it
הוא itself
לכל at all
ישחק it laughs
לאלהו for its god
מקדם from the east
יהוה Yahweh
לא not
יהוה Yahweh
למשפט for judgment
מראות than to see
והביט and you notice
אל --
עמל misery
לא not
למה why
תביט do you notice
רשע wickedness
צדיק one more righteous
ממנו than itself
לא without
כלה all of it
בחרמו in utter destruction
ויאספהו and it gathers them
במכמרתו into its own cravings
על --
כן therefore
על --
כן therefore
לחרמו its utter destruction
למכמרתו to its own cravings
כי for
ומאכלו and its food
העל --
כן therefore
חרמו its utter destruction
גוים nations
לא without