Ps 139:3

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SteveMiller
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Ps 139:3

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:07 pm

Psalm 139:3 אָרְחִ֣י וְרִבְעִ֣י זֵרִ֑יתָ וְֽכָל־דְּרָכַ֥י הִסְכַּֽנְתָּה׃

Generally translated as:
ESV Psalm 139:3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

The verbs ‎ זרה, translated "search out", and ‎ סכן, translated "are acquainted with", never seem to have those meanings.

How would you translate the above 2 verbs in this verse?

thanks.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

S_Walch
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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby S_Walch » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:10 pm

Whilst the literal translation of זרה is 'to scatter, fan, winnow', I don't have an issue with it being translated as 'search out' in Psalm 139:3.

Here it probably means 'fan out, winnow through, sift through', which are easily synonymous with 'searching'; think it's essentially saying that Yahweh scatters and disperses the Psalmist's 'wanderings' in order to go through them thoroughly. 'Search out' works fine.

For סכן, yes this is somewhat more tricky to determine its usage. Good choice of words, as it would be 'be of use, service' in Qal.

'Exhibit use' or essentially 'cause to be of service to': and all my ways you make use of ?

FWIW, the LXX has:

τὴν τρίβον μου καὶ τὴν σχοῖνόν μου ἑξιχνίασας, καὶ πάσας τὰς ὁδούς μου πρόιδες

My path and my course You have tracked out; and You have foreseen all my ways.
Ste Walch

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SteveMiller
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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby SteveMiller » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:25 pm

Thanks Ste.
I was thinking similarly for סכן. You make all my ways work for Your purpose as in Romans 8:27-30.

For זרה, I didn't like the "search out" translation because I was understanding it as in Numbers 10:33, to search out my path before me, which would be a wrong meaning here. To go through my path thoroughly, to separate the good from the worthless, that works well.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

Isaac Fried
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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:00 am

Seems to me that
NIV: "You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways" is an apt rendering of the Hebrew. I would say: "You scrutinized my life; you are intimately acquainted with all my ways"
Recall the סֹכֶנֶת of 1Kings 1:2
יְבַקְשׁוּ לַאדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ נַעֲרָה בְתוּלָה וְעָמְדָה לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וּתְהִי לוֹ סֹכֶנֶת וְשָׁכְבָה בְחֵיקֶךָ וְחַם לַאדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ
NIV: “Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm”
where סֹכֶנֶת is actually a שוֹכֶנֶת, 'residing, resting, dwelling, familiarizing, habituating'.
Also Num. 22:30
וַתֹּאמֶר הָאָתוֹן אֶל בִּלְעָם הֲלוֹא אָנֹכִי אֲתֹנְךָ אֲשֶׁר רָכַבְתָּ עָלַי מֵעוֹדְךָ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה הַהַסְכֵּן הִסְכַּנְתִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת לְךָ כֹּה וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא
NIV: The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

kwrandolph
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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby kwrandolph » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:46 pm

SteveMiller wrote:Psalm 139:3 אָרְחִ֣י וְרִבְעִ֣י זֵרִ֑יתָ וְֽכָל־דְּרָכַ֥י הִסְכַּֽנְתָּה׃

…The verbs ‎ זרה, translated "search out", and ‎ סכן, translated "are acquainted with", never seem to have those meanings.

How would you translate the above 2 verbs in this verse?

thanks.


The verb זרה has the meaning of “to spread out” or “to stretch out” as can be seen in Proverbs 1:17 used for the spreading out of a net. Therefore, in Psalm 139:3 we have the idea that God is spreading out the traveling that we can continue down it, and spreading out a bed to make it more comfortable for sleeping.

The verb סכן has the basic idea of being productive, producing.

So the verse gives the idea of God giving success. But we need to keep in mind that success in God’s eyes may look like failure to the world.

Karl W. Randolph.

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SteveMiller
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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby SteveMiller » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:39 pm

Thanks Isaac and Karl.

Isaac,
Based on the meaning of סכן throughout Scripture, I think that Num 22:30 is also a bad translation of סכן.
I would translate the last phrase: ... Have I been useful to do like that to you?
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

Isaac Fried
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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:25 pm

Steve,

Indeed, what is the (common) meaning of ‫סכן‬ throughout Scripture?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby Isaac Fried » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:20 pm

The act סכן is kin to צחן שחן שכן with the fraction סך being kin to שח, 'be down, be smeared', and hence also שכן, 'settle, dwell'. Hence further the מי-סכן = מִסְכֵּן, 'lowly, abject, weak, wretched, depressed', of Ecclesiastes 4:13 (see also Ec. 9:15-16)
טוֹב יֶלֶד מִסְכֵּן וְחָכָם מִמֶּלֶךְ זָקֵן וּכְסִיל אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַע לְהִזָּהֵר עוֹד
NIV: "Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning."
Also the מִסְכֵּנֻת = מסכן-הוּא-את of Deut. 8:9
אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לֹא בְמִסְכֵּנֻת תֹּאכַל בָּהּ לֶחֶם לֹא תֶחְסַר כֹּל בָּהּ
KJV: "A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it"
See also Ecclesiastes 10:9
מַסִּיעַ אֲבָנִים יֵעָצֵב בָּהֶם בּוֹקֵעַ עֵצִים יִסָּכֶן בָּם
KJV: "Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby."

In post-biblical Hebrew סַכָּנָה SAKANAH, is 'danger, weakness, low-point'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:49 pm

Job 35:3
כִּי תֹאמַר מַה יִּסְכָּן לָךְ מָה אֹעִיל מֵחַטָּאתִי
NIV: Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?’
KJV: For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

I would translate this סכן as 'asset, possession'. Namely, יִּשְׁכָּן = יִּסְכָּן.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
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Re: Ps 139:3

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:17 pm

To 'asset, possession', I would add 'gain, profit'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University


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