Monday, April 24, 2017

Feeling my lack of Hebrew

Trying to do some work on Psalm 6 today, I have really felt my lack of Hebrew. Or at least the desire for a consistent word for word translation.

As Michael Wilcock points out in The Bible Speaks Today Commentary, the NIV manages to translate bahel, “suffer” (of bones and soul and enemies 3x in vv2, 3, 10) in 3 different ways.

And of course if one’s translation doesn’t go in for word for wordness, maybe when there are repeated words they don’t reflect the original. Arrgh!

We are presumably meant to pay attention to the repetition and patterning that John Goldingay points out, and to do that we linguistic slow-learners need a translation that brings it out:

“The double “shaming” [of v10] follows on the double “listening” [of vv8-9], and their [the enemies’] great shaking [v10] corresponds to the suppliant’s double shaking [vv2-3]. The “turn” of v10 corresponds to the “turn” of v4, and whereas v3 asked “How long?” now the suppliant knows the shaming will come “instantly.”” (Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms, p141)

No comments: