Ps 139:4

The main place for discussion the Hebrew Bible, its language and message.
Forum rules
Members will observe the rules for respectful discourse at all times!
Please sign all posts with your first and last (family) name.
User avatar
SteveMiller
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:53 pm
Location: Detroit, MI, USA
Contact:

Ps 139:4

Postby SteveMiller » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:17 pm

Thank you all for the help with v3.
Psalm 139:3 אָרְחִ֣י וְרִבְעִ֣י זֵרִ֑יתָ וְֽכָל־דְּרָכַ֥י הִסְכַּֽנְתָּה׃
My path and my lying down you sift (or spread) out, and [in] all my ways You work [Your] purpose.

Now for v4:
Psalm 139:4 כִּ֤י אֵ֣ין מִ֭לָּה בִּלְשׁוֹנִ֑י הֵ֥ן יְ֜הוָ֗ה יָדַ֥עְתָּ כֻלָּֽהּ׃
Most translate it similar to:
NKJV - For there is not a word in my tongue, [but], Behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

The conjunction "but" is not there, so I don't think it is right to combine the 2 sentences in v4 into one.
Literally it would be:
for there is not a word in my tongue. Behold, LORD, You have known it all.
But the first half of the verse would be an incomplete thought.

LXX did not combine the 2 halves:
For there is no unrighteous word in my tongue: behold, O Lord, thou hast known all things,
Apparently, LXX added the word "unrighteous".
Also, I wonder if LXX saw כֻלָּֽם instead of כֻלָּֽהּ.
DSS does not preserve this verse.

Since v4 starts with "for", it should be connected with v3. Then I get:
My path and my lying down you sift (or spread) out, and [in] all my ways You work [Your] purpose for there is not a word in my tongue.
which is incomplete.

Questions:
1. What do you think is the meaning of the "for" connecting v4 to v3? In other words, how is v4 connected to v3?

2. Is it permissible to add a "but" in the middle of v4? Are there any other examples of such?

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

S_Walch
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby S_Walch » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:59 pm

The LXX actually combines the last part with the next sentence in v5:

ἰδού, Κύριε, σὺ ἔγνως πάντα, τὰ ἔσχατα καὶ τὰ ἀρχαῖα·
Behold, Yahweh, you know all things, the final and the ancient.

So I would agree with you that the LXX translator either read כלם, or had a text reading כלם instead of כלה.

After writing the above sentence, I did a quick search and found that translating כלה as παντα or some form of πας isn't that uncommon in the LXX.

Actually, this entire section (v3-5) in the LXX reads somewhat different from the Masoretic:

τὴν τρίβον μου καὶ τὴν σχοῖνόν μου ἑξιχνίασας,
καὶ πάσας τὰς ὁδούς μου πρόιδες,
ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν λόγος ἄδικος ἐν γλώσσῃ μου·
ἰδού, Κύριε, σὺ ἔγνως πάντα
τὰ ἔσχατα καὶ τὰ ἀρχαῖα·
σὺ ἔπλασάς με καὶ ἔθηκας ἐπʼ ἐμὲ τὴν χεῖρά σου.

You have tracked out my path and my course,
and You have foreseen all my ways,
because there doesn't exist an unrighteous word on my tongue.
Behold, Yahweh, You know all things,
the final and the ancient.
You have formed me and put Your hand upon me.


LXX translator seems to have understood the Hebrew thus:

ארחי ורבעי זרית
וכל דרכי הסכנתה
כי אין מלת שקר בלשוני
הן יהוה ידעת כלה
אחור וקדם
צרתני ותשת עלי כפכה


With the translator understanding צרת as a synonym with יצר, or had a Hebrew text that had יצרתני, and a variant that had שקר or another synonym with מלת.

Needless to say, I like the LXX's edition, which makes more sense.

I would agree that the Hebrew sentence seems incomplete.

My path and my lying down you sift (or spread) out, and [in] all my ways You work [Your] purpose for there is not a word in my tongue (that You did not know/did not put there/without You?)

The other option is to think that there's something missing along with מלה.

English translations seem to have to add a few extra words here and there to have the sentence make sense.

ESV reads:
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether

Whilst making sense, seem to butcher the Hebrew somewhat, omitting that necessary כי/for.

Either way, I don't have a full answer for you, Steve. Good questions though :)
Ste Walch

Schubert
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:05 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby Schubert » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:33 pm

Steve, I have a few comments in response to your questions.

1. In my view כִּ֤י simply introduces an explanation/reason/example for the last clause in verse 3.

2. Your question whether it’s permissible to add “but” in verse 4 raises issues of translation theory or philosophy, matters strictly speaking beyond the scope of this forum. A traditional division of translation types is word for word versus dynamic. In my view each type has its own purpose. I use both types myself.

In verse 4, if one is using the word for word approach, one might want not to add “but”. However, in my view it makes good sense to do so in the way done in the NJKV (and KJV). The end result is idiomatic English that conveys the meaning of the original language.
הֵ֥ן is a word intended to grab the reader’s attention. Certainly, it could be translated simply as “behold” but I see no objection to adding “but” in order to reinforce the attempt to seize the reader’s attention before saying that the Lord knows the word.
John McKinnon

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:37 pm

In any event the ‫צרתני‬ of
‎‫אחור וקדם‬
‎‫צרתני ותשת עלי כפכה‬
is not for ‫יצרתני‬, 'You have formed me', but for ‫נצרתני‬, 'You have guarded me, You have encircled me'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

User avatar
SteveMiller
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:53 pm
Location: Detroit, MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby SteveMiller » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:27 pm

S_Walch wrote:The LXX actually combines the last part with the next sentence in v5:

ἰδού, Κύριε, σὺ ἔγνως πάντα, τὰ ἔσχατα καὶ τὰ ἀρχαῖα·
Behold, Yahweh, you know all things, the final and the ancient.

So I would agree with you that the LXX translator either read כלם, or had a text reading כלם instead of כלה.

After writing the above sentence, I did a quick search and found that translating כלה as παντα or some form of πας isn't that uncommon in the LXX.

Thanks very much, Ste. It seems the LXX took the 3ms suffix on כלה as referring to "the final and the ancient".


S_Walch wrote:Actually, this entire section (v3-5) in the LXX reads somewhat different from the Masoretic:

τὴν τρίβον μου καὶ τὴν σχοῖνόν μου ἑξιχνίασας,
καὶ πάσας τὰς ὁδούς μου πρόιδες,
ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν λόγος ἄδικος ἐν γλώσσῃ μου·
ἰδού, Κύριε, σὺ ἔγνως πάντα
τὰ ἔσχατα καὶ τὰ ἀρχαῖα·
σὺ ἔπλασάς με καὶ ἔθηκας ἐπʼ ἐμὲ τὴν χεῖρά σου.

You have tracked out my path and my course,
and You have foreseen all my ways,
because there doesn't exist an unrighteous word on my tongue.
Behold, Yahweh, You know all things,
the final and the ancient.
You have formed me and put Your hand upon me.


LXX translator seems to have understood the Hebrew thus:

ארחי ורבעי זרית
וכל דרכי הסכנתה
כי אין מלת שקר בלשוני
הן יהוה ידעת כלה
אחור וקדם
צרתני ותשת עלי כפכה


With the translator understanding צרת as a synonym with יצר, or had a Hebrew text that had יצרתני, and a variant that had שקר or another synonym with מלת.


I am pretty sure the LXX added "unrighteous" to make sense of the sentence. Something needs added, and that was their best guess.
I think it is too proud of a statement for David to say 'there is no unrighteous word on my tongue'.
Regarding צרת, Isaac also commented on it later, so I'll respond to his.

S_Walch wrote:Needless to say, I like the LXX's edition, which makes more sense.

I would agree that the Hebrew sentence seems incomplete.

My path and my lying down you sift (or spread) out, and [in] all my ways You work [Your] purpose for there is not a word in my tongue (that You did not know/did not put there/without You?)

I am thinking to add the words "that escapes Your sifting" at the end:
My path and my lying down you sift (or spread) out, and [in] all my ways You work [Your] purpose for there is not a word in my tongue (that escapes Your sifting).
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

User avatar
SteveMiller
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:53 pm
Location: Detroit, MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby SteveMiller » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:33 pm

Isaac Fried wrote:In any event the ‫צרתני‬ of
‎‫אחור וקדם‬
‎‫צרתני ותשת עלי כפכה‬
is not for ‫יצרתני‬, 'You have formed me', but for ‫נצרתני‬, 'You have guarded me, You have encircled me'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Thanks Isaac. I agree.
Interestingly, HALOT gives "form" as a possible meaning for ‎ צור.
They support it with 1 example:
1Kings 7:15 ‎ וַיָּ֛צַר אֶת־שְׁנֵ֥י הָעַמּוּדִ֖ים נְחֹ֑שֶׁת
And he formed the 2 pillars of brass.
I don't know why HALOT considers וַיָּ֛צַר here to be from the root צור rather than from יצר.
BibleWorks says the same thing.

HALOT also supplies 2 "disputed references":
Exo 32:4 ‎ וַיָּ֤צַר אֹתוֹ֙ בַּחֶ֔רֶט
And he formed it [the golden calf] with a chisel
2 Kings 12:10 ‎ וַיָּצֻ֙רוּ֙ וַיִּמְנ֔וּ אֶת־הַכֶּ֖סֶף
And they bound up and counted the money.
For this last verse HALOT says that some say this means that they melted the silver down and formed it.
Doesn't make sense, and HALOT is not endorsing it, just saying this opinion exists among scholars.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

User avatar
SteveMiller
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:53 pm
Location: Detroit, MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby SteveMiller » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:49 pm

Schubert wrote:Steve, I have a few comments in response to your questions.

1. In my view כִּ֤י simply introduces an explanation/reason/example for the last clause in verse 3.

2. Your question whether it’s permissible to add “but” in verse 4 raises issues of translation theory or philosophy, matters strictly speaking beyond the scope of this forum. A traditional division of translation types is word for word versus dynamic. In my view each type has its own purpose. I use both types myself.

In verse 4, if one is using the word for word approach, one might want not to add “but”. However, in my view it makes good sense to do so in the way done in the NJKV (and KJV). The end result is idiomatic English that conveys the meaning of the original language.
הֵ֥ן is a word intended to grab the reader’s attention. Certainly, it could be translated simply as “behold” but I see no objection to adding “but” in order to reinforce the attempt to seize the reader’s attention before saying that the Lord knows the word.

Thanks John. I'll do a search in Psalms to see if "but" is ever added in a way similar to this one.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

User avatar
SteveMiller
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:53 pm
Location: Detroit, MI, USA
Contact:

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby SteveMiller » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:06 pm

SteveMiller wrote:
Schubert wrote:2. Your question whether it’s permissible to add “but” in verse 4 raises issues of translation theory or philosophy, matters strictly speaking beyond the scope of this forum. A traditional division of translation types is word for word versus dynamic. In my view each type has its own purpose. I use both types myself.

In verse 4, if one is using the word for word approach, one might want not to add “but”. However, in my view it makes good sense to do so in the way done in the NJKV (and KJV). The end result is idiomatic English that conveys the meaning of the original language.
הֵ֥ן is a word intended to grab the reader’s attention. Certainly, it could be translated simply as “behold” but I see no objection to adding “but” in order to reinforce the attempt to seize the reader’s attention before saying that the Lord knows the word.

Thanks John. I'll do a search in Psalms to see if "but" is ever added in a way similar to this one.


I did a search for "but" and "yet" in Psalms in Darby's translation and got 151 hits.
144 of these translated something in the Hebrew to get "but" or "yet":
87 waw (not waw consecutive)
26 waw consecutive
8 ki
2 ki im
5 ohd
2 achan
2 af
1 ach
1 bli
1 gam
1 kaf prefix

The "but"'s or "yet"'s added by Darby, but not in the Hebrew text:
Ps 9:20 different meaning of "but". here means "only"
50:21 "but" not needed. 2 complete sentences.
75:10 "but" not needed. 2 complete sentences.
91:7 "but" not needed. 2 complete sentences
119:95 "but" not needed. 2 complete sentences
139:4a "yet" meaning "before"
139:4b This is the only instance where the translator added "but" to connect a partial sentence with a full sentence.

So, my conclusion is that it is not right for the translator to add "but" in the middle of Ps 139:4.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:24 pm

The root צר means 'collect, aggregate, guard, wrap', and is further extended to יצר, נצר, אצר, עצר, ציר, צור, צרר.
In 2 Kings 12:10(11)
וַיְהִי כִּרְאוֹתָם כִּי רַב הַכֶּסֶף בָּאָרוֹן וַיַּעַל סֹפֵר הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל וַיָּצֻרוּ וַיִּמְנוּ אֶת הַכֶּסֶף הַנִּמְצָא בֵית יהוה
KJV: "And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king's scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord."
וַיָּצֻרוּ is for ויצררוּ, of which the צְרוֹר of Prov. 7:20
צְרוֹר הַכֶּסֶף לָקַח בְּיָדוֹ
NIV: "He took his purse filled with money"

צוּרָה, 'form', is actually a צְרוּרָה, a 'formation. an arrangement'. As I have often said before the uniliteral root ר R of plurality is commonly found in geometrical terms such as קרוֹב, 'near, רחוֹק, 'far', צר, 'narrow', רחב, 'wide', because geometrical shapes are made up of many particles or individuals variously arranged and spread out to create all sorts of shapes and forms.
See Ezekiel 43:11
וְיִשְׁמְרוּ אֶת כָּל צוּרָתוֹ וְאֶת כָּל חֻקֹּתָיו
NIV: "and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple—its arrangement, its exits and entrances—its whole design and all its regulations[a] and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations"

Also Jeremiah 1:5
בְּטֶרֶם אצורך (אֶצָּרְךָ) בַבֶּטֶן יְדַעְתִּיךָ
NIV: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you"

מָצוֹר = מה-צוֹר as in Deut. 20:20
רַק עֵץ אֲשֶׁר תֵּדַע כִּי לֹא עֵץ מַאֲכָל הוּא אֹתוֹ תַשְׁחִית וְכָרָתָּ וּבָנִיתָ מָצוֹר עַל הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר הִוא עֹשָׂה עִמְּךָ מִלְחָמָה עַד רִדְתָּהּ
NIV: "However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls."
is actually a מעצוֹר = מה-עצוֹר or מעטוֹר = מה-עטוֹר, 'encirclement'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1039
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Ps 139:4

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:31 am

And not to forget אוֹצָר = א-הוּא-צר, 'treasure', as in Isaiah 45:3
וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ אוֹצְרוֹת חֹשֶׁךְ וּמַטְמֻנֵי מִסְתָּרִים
NIV: "I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places"

Isaac Fried, Boston University


Return to “General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests