Saturday, December 18, 2021

Wild Geese

 I should like a wild goose chase. I have been reviewing Forbes in these posts. Forbes's rehearsal of the Messianic beliefs of the 19th century at the beginning of the fundamentalist fight with higher criticism is quite interesting. Turgidity past, he has come to many texts with which I can sympathize without degenerating into violence though there is a high degree of what I might think is random association of words across genres. E.g., he still interprets what I read as myth as if the characters were flesh and blood. Nonetheless, he traces a thought process through the Tanach somewhat carefully. On page 46 he comes to the last words of David.

Let's look at David's last words. 2 Samuel 23:2-5. David's words are given as an oracle. Oracle is used exactly twice in the Psalter in psalms 36 and 110. [You wouldn't know this from most translations. It is a commonly used word (nam) often translated simply as say. I separated the tangled uses of words in the domain of speaking. (For the term dbir, a specialized form of dbr referring to a place in the temple, I used a coinage to avoid overlap.)]

These are key structural pieces of the Psalter. I would even call them pillars. They are so obvious. Each of the 7 poems preceding the 9 acrostics is a pillar. Years ago I drew them as in the following diagram.

A chiastic relationship between the poems prior to the acrostics in the Psalter

I suspect that the music of this section (1-5 - yes include the incipit) is like the other of David's poems in 2 Samuel, the elegy over the death of Saul and Jonathan.

2 Samuel 23

Syllables: 145. Words: 71. Roots: 52. Root Recurrence: 44%. Average per verse: 6.2.
וְאֵ֛לֶּה דִּבְרֵ֥י דָוִ֖ד הָאַֽחֲרֹנִ֑ים
נְאֻ֧ם דָּוִ֣ד בֶּן־יִשַׁ֗י וּנְאֻ֤ם הַגֶּ֙בֶר֙ הֻ֣קַם עָ֔ל מְשִׁ֙יחַ֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וּנְעִ֖ים זְמִר֥וֹת יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
1 And these are the words of David, the last ones.
An oracle of David the son of Jesse, and an oracle of the valiant, upheld concerning the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the pleasure of the psalmists of Israel.
a valh dbri dvid hakronim
naum dvid bn-iwi unaum hgbr huqm yl mwik alohi iyqob unyim zmirot iwral
v/alh dbr\i dvd h/akr\nim
nam dvd bn iwi v/nam h/gbr h/qm yl mwk alh\i iyqb v/nym zmr\vt iwral
ר֥וּחַ יְהוָ֖ה דִּבֶּר־בִּ֑י
וּמִלָּת֖וֹ עַל־לְשׁוֹנִֽי
2 ♪f The spirit of Yahweh spoke in me,
and his speech was on my tongue.
b ruk ihvh dibr-bi
umilto yl-lwoni
rvk ihvh dbr b\i
v/ml\tv yl lwvn\i
אָמַר֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לִ֥י דִבֶּ֖ר צ֣וּר יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל
מוֹשֵׁל֙ בָּאָדָ֔ם צַדִּ֕יק מוֹשֵׁ֖ל יִרְאַ֥ת אֱלֹהִֽים
3 The God of Israel said to me, the rock of Israel spoke,
Who governs for humanity, ... righteous governing in the fear of God.
g amr alohi iwral li dibr xur iwral
mowl badm xdiq mowl irat alohim
amr alh\i iwral l\i dbr xvr iwral
mvwl b/adm xdiq mvwl ira\t alh\im
וּכְא֥וֹר בֹּ֖קֶר יִזְרַח־שָׁ֑מֶשׁ
בֹּ֚קֶר לֹ֣א עָב֔וֹת מִנֹּ֥גַהּ מִמָּטָ֖ר דֶּ֥שֶׁא מֵאָֽרֶץ
4 Then as the light of morning, sun will rise,
morning without thick clouds, from the luminous, from the rain, vegetation from the land.
d ucaor boqr izrk-wmw
boqr la ybot mnogh mm'tr dwa marx
vc/avr bqr i/zrk wmw
bqr la yb\vt m/ngh m/m'tr dwa m/arx
כִּֽי־לֹא־כֵ֥ן בֵּיתִ֖י עִם־אֵ֑ל
כִּי֩ בְרִ֨ית עוֹלָ֜ם שָׂ֣ם לִ֗י עֲרוּכָ֤ה בַכֹּל֙ וּשְׁמֻרָ֔ה כִּֽי־כָל־יִשְׁעִ֥י וְכָל־חֵ֖פֶץ כִּֽי־לֹ֥א יַצְמִֽיחַ
5 Though my house is not so with God,
yet a covenant everlasting he set for me, arranged in all, and kept for all my salvation and all delight, though it does not grow.
h ci-la-cn biti ym-al
ci brit yolm wm li yruch bcol uwmurh ci-cl-iwyi vcl-kpx ci-la ixmik
ci la cn bit\i ym al
ci brit yvlm wm l\i yrvc\h b/cl v/wmr\h ci cl iwy\i v/cl kpx ci la i/xmk
Selected recurrence in 2 Samuel 23:1-5

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