Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

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Brandon Pye
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Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

Postby Brandon Pye » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:06 am

Hi all,

I just started going through Basics of Biblical Hebrew and trying to do this on my own. In one of the exercises in the workbook, it asks the learner to translate Psalm 23:6. I had a question about the verbal root of וְשַׁבְתִּ֥י.

To me, the verb should be parsed Qal perfect with waw consecutive 1cs. If that's the case, it seems to me that the verbal root should be שָׁבַת which would seem to render the translation "I will rest." However, everything I've seen implies that the verbal root is יָשַׁב. I don't understand how the yod in יָשַׁב could dropout to make the verb render וְשַׁבְתִּ֥י.

I hope this makes sense. I'm sure I'm missing something, but I just can't figure it out. Thanks for your help.

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

Postby Kirk Lowery » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:59 am

Brandon,

As the form stands it is a qal pf 1cs from the root שׁוּב meaning to return. But I will return in the house of the Lord doesn't seem to work. Most translations and commentators emend the text and read וְשִׁבְתִּי to live, dwell, qal infinitive construct from יָשַׁב with the 1cs pronominal suffix. The LXX translates this as κατοικεῖν με to dwell, an infinitive with the 1cs accusative pronoun, supporting the emended reading. (The translations and commentators probably got the idea of the emended reading from the LXX, as far as I can tell.)

Hope this clears up any confusion about the morphology!

P.S. It seems odd to me that your textbook would give such a problematic verse as an exercise for the beginner...
Kirk E. Lowery, PhD
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blog: https://blogs.emdros.org/eh

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:17 am

Brandon,
I am not a scholar, but I think that you are probably right that it means "and I will rest." Maybe they don't think it makes sense, but a shepherd leads the sheep until it rests somewhere, I guess. Just because translators don't like it doesn't mean they are right.

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:26 am

Brandon,

Actually, it could say "and my resting (infinitive)" is in the house of the L-rd for a length of days (forever), I think if it said "and I will rest" it would have an extra tav before the yud, but I am not sure if that is true. In Isaiah 21:2, the hiphil form of the verb used with "I" does not have two tavs at the end before the yud, so it sounds like it could say "and I will rest" like you pointed out at first.

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:07 am

The Jubilee Bible 2000 translation on Biblehub says "and I will rest in the housed of the Lord..." I don't know if anyone else translates it that way.

https://biblehub.com/psalms/23-6.htm

kwrandolph
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Re: Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

Postby kwrandolph » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:36 am

Brandon Pye wrote:Hi all,

I just started going through Basics of Biblical Hebrew and trying to do this on my own. In one of the exercises in the workbook, it asks the learner to translate Psalm 23:6. I had a question about the verbal root of וְשַׁבְתִּ֥י.


The workbook should have been clearer.

Like all languages, Biblical Hebrew has some irregular verbs, one of which is “‎ישב to settle (down) used both in the context of settling down into a chair, i.e. to sit, and settling down, i.e. making a dwelling”. What makes it more difficult is that with this verb, its derivative forms often appear the same as derivative forms from other verbs.

In this case, we have a noun participle with a first person singular suffix.

Karl W. Randolph.

talmid56
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Re: Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

Postby talmid56 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:39 am

A couple of quick points:

The text uses YHWH, not Adonai (יהוה, ולא אדני), so "house of Yahweh", or "Yahweh's house".

לְאֹ֣רֶךְ יָמִֽים refers to the Psalmist's lifetime, so "my whole life" or "as long as I live" fits better than "forever"; "length of days" is too literal.
Dewayne Dulaney
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Blog: https://letancientvoicesspeak.wordpress.com/

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים

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SteveMiller
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Re: Verbal root of "dwell" in Psalm 23:6

Postby SteveMiller » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:54 pm

Brandon,
As others have said:
ושבתי without vowels could be waw consecutive 1cs qal perfect for the roots:
שבת and I will rest
שוב and I will return

or the qal infinitive with 1cs suffix for
ישב and my dwelling
שבתand my resting

I had the same question as you. I had asked why no translation that I saw translated it as "and I will rest in ...", which seemed to me to be the correct translation. I had not seen that Jubilee 2000 translated it that way. (Thanks Kenneth.)

The explanation given to me on this forum, which I still think is valid is this:
The word שבת actually means "cease".
I don't think it makes sense as a blessing to cease from doing everything forever, or, as other people think, for all my life.
But it does make sense to dwell in the house forever, or all my life.

While we're on the verse, I think the literal phrase "for the length of days" means forever of days, or for as long as there are days.
It is forever taken one day at a time as in Ps 21:4; Gen 43:9.
If it had meant "for as long as I live" (NRSV, HCSB), then the text should say "for the length of my days" as in Deu 30:20.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)


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