a mark, brand or pain? Ps 78:41

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kwrandolph
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Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

a mark, brand or pain? Ps 78:41

Postby kwrandolph » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:13 pm

In the second half of this verse is found וקדוש ישראל התוו. At first blush, it appears that the verb comes from תוה meaning to make a mark, which is used in 1 Samuel 21:14 in the sense of scrawling graffiti, and in Ezekiel 9:4 to indicate a mark or brand that can identify a person.

A derived term is תו, often written like an “X”, meaning an identifying mark such as a signature, even today still found at the beginning of a line or space where one is expected to sign his name.

But dictionaries claim this is a different word, used only here, meaning to “pain, wound or trouble”. Is there any cognate language support for this claim?

Or is this an example of impious people using God’s name as graffiti? Or spoken flippantly without meaning it?

Karl W. Randolph.

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

Re: a mark, brand or pain? Ps 78:41

Postby S_Walch » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:15 pm

Could תוה mean "to scratch, scribble, score"? If so, could it be case of them "scratching at" the "Holy one of Israel" therefore be figurative of causing distress, trouble or irritation?

I'd be pretty troubled/irritated if someone was constantly scratching at me.
Ste Walch

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

Re: a mark, brand or pain? Ps 78:41

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:42 pm

The act תוה TAWAH is a variant of טוה 'spin wool, lengthen, produce a line'. תו TAW is thus a variant of קו QAW and צו CAW, 'line', as in Isaiah 28:10.

In Daniel 3:24 we find it in the sense of rising.

Thinking of תוה TAWAH as 'pain', originates, methinks', in comparing it to דוה DAWAH, as in Lamentations 5:17
על זה היה דוה לבנו על אלה חשכו עינינו
NIV: "Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim"

Isaac Fried, Boston University

bobmacdonald
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Re: a mark, brand or pain? Ps 78:41

Postby bobmacdonald » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:40 am

Does the choice of gloss reflect one's opinion of what the Holy One is like? Translations vary greatly: offended, limited, grieved, pained, angered and so on. Are there clues in the poem and the collection that would let us chose a gloss from an 'appropriate' semantic domain?

For myself I chose for this hapax in the Psalms the word 'constrained'. But this does not suggest any 'suffering' on the part of the Holy One. The suggestion of a signature is interesting since a signature identifies who one is. Does this passage near the centre of the Psalms, in this the longest poem, outlining the history of Israel and focusing on Judah, indicate a signature move by the Most High?

Verses 33 to 42 summarize the wilderness experience. The passage is framed by failure to remember. A recurring negative is the focus (5 times in vv 37-42). The last verse of the psalm (72) shows the overall character of the Holy One and is also like a signature. This section containing the middle verses already emphasizes compassion (v38), so with my choice of gloss I lose any link to pain or irritation and the modern signature will have to be taken as unintentional but curious accident. I suspect that a gloss that emphasizes anger is constraining to the reader of the translation. I admit to thinking about this verse and it shows the conditioning of my own opinion - he could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

kwrandolph
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Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:51 am

Re: a mark, brand or pain? Ps 78:41

Postby kwrandolph » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:08 am

bobmacdonald wrote:Does the choice of gloss reflect one's opinion of what the Holy One is like?


Bob: I look at this not as a theologian, rather as a linguist. In fact, the proper roll of theology starts only after the work of the linguist is finished. Terms are not defined by the theology, rather the theology is defined by the terms.

bobmacdonald wrote:Translations vary greatly: offended, limited, grieved, pained, angered and so on. Are there clues in the poem and the collection that would let us chose a gloss from an 'appropriate' semantic domain?


I don’t define terms according to their semantic domain, rather I make the terms define the semantic domain. If a term can have one meaning in one semantic domain, then a completely different one for a different semantic domain, and so forth, we can end up with linguistic anarchy, for if we redefine terms according to semantic domains, we can change the semantic domains by our redefinitions.

I am open to the possibility of homonyms, but I want evidence to back it up.

bobmacdonald wrote:For myself I chose for this hapax in the Psalms the word 'constrained'. But this does not suggest any 'suffering' on the part of the Holy One. The suggestion of a signature is interesting since a signature identifies who one is.


Do you have any evidence from cognate languages that would back up your reading?

bobmacdonald wrote:Does this passage near the centre of the Psalms, in this the longest poem, outlining the history of Israel and focusing on Judah, indicate a signature move by the Most High?


No, this is not the longest poem, rather Psalm 119 is the longest.

bobmacdonald wrote:Verses 33 to 42 summarize the wilderness experience. The passage is framed by failure to remember. A recurring negative is the focus (5 times in vv 37-42). The last verse of the psalm (72) shows the overall character of the Holy One and is also like a signature. This section containing the middle verses already emphasizes compassion (v38), so with my choice of gloss I lose any link to pain or irritation and the modern signature will have to be taken as unintentional but curious accident. I suspect that a gloss that emphasizes anger is constraining to the reader of the translation. I admit to thinking about this verse and it shows the conditioning of my own opinion - he could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.


Actually reference to the wilderness experience starts in verse five, but really gets underway in verse twelve.

Karl W. Randolph.

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