Noun or verb in Psalm 40:7 (6 in English)

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Noun or verb in Psalm 40:7 (6 in English)

Postby kwrandolph » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:44 pm

זבח ומנחה לא-חפצת אזנים כרית לי עולה וחטאה לא שאלת

This verse has always given me a problem. וחטאה every time I’ve seen it translated, it is translated as a noun. That’s where it gets sticky. When looking up חטאה and its uses, in every case except in this verse, it refers to missing the mark, or in the moral sense, sin. Never does it mean “sin offering”, except possibly this verse. The word for “sin offering” is the very similar חטאת (which, for confusion, is also the construct form of חטאה).

The verbal root is: ‎חטא to err, aim for a mark but not achieve or hit the mark Jd 20:16, Pr 19:2, 20:2, this is a deliberate action that doesn’t achieve its desired results, hence also to fail or be a failure, also used of the sense of being wrong or to be accounted as being in the wrong, used most often in the moral sense ⇒ to make amends for missing the mark, used even of dwellings as in declaring a place purified from error

Now if we take וחטאה as a verb connected with עולה, we get “whole burnt offering that misses the mark” which fits the context that it’s not the offerings at the temple that count, rather what counts is obedience to God, then afterwards the offerings are pleasing. Grammatically the verb is feminine to match its subject עולה. The waw is often better translated as “that”, possibly the most famous verse where it’s translated that way is Isaiah 53:2 “that we should desire only him”.

Any thoughts on the matter? What’s your 2¢?

Karl W. Randolph.

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