Psalm 139:12

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Kenneth Greifer
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Psalm 139:12

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:16 am

Psalm 139:12 is usually translated something like "...and a night like a day will shine like the darkness is like a light."

The quote has "like" twice. Is that normal or unusual?

I found a few quotes like this, but they seem a little different, so I am not sure. For examples, see Hosea 4:9, Judges 8:18, 1 Kings 22:4, 2 Kings 3:7, and 2 Chronicles 18:3.

Are there any other quotes like Psalm 139:12 because it sounds funny to me, but it might be normal in Hebrew.

Kenneth Greifer

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Psalm 139:12

Postby Kirk Lowery » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:05 pm

Well, a literal translation (from my perspective) would be:

"Even the darkness is not dark for you;
and night is as the day shines.
As darkness, so light. [Darkness is the same as light (for you).]"

In poetry sentences are often short and elliptical. And word order is changed to match parallelism or meter. Seems pretty normal to me, and understandable.
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Re: Psalm 139:12

Postby S_Walch » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:06 pm

Deuteronomy 32:2 comes to mind (ESV):

May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.

Both as + like = Hebrew כ, same as in Psalm 139:2
Ste Walch

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Psalm 139:12

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:11 pm

The reason I asked is that it would sound more common if it said "a night will shine like a day, like the darkness is a light" and not "like the darkness is like a light." Most of the quotes use "like" to compare something to something else without saying like for both things.

Kenneth Greifer

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Re: Psalm 139:12

Postby Jemoh66 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:54 pm

I agree with you Kirk. I like your translation. Ken, this is probably idiomatic you Hebrew. But there is a parallel in English:

Like father like son.

If you run it through Kirk's phrasing you get

as the father (is) so the son

That's what the two ka's are about
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