Thursday, January 14, 2010

Translation Challenge

The colorful God Didn't Say That blog has issues a challenge for Isaiah 28:16.

This is verse I lost years ago. I remembered it as 'the righteous are not in a hurry'. The sense of the verse to me relates to the idea of 'waiting'. It is critical skill in many contexts. Some problems go away without any action being taken. Some need to mature before intervention is going to be effective.

So here is the section of text:

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה
הִנְנִי יִסַּד בְּצִיֹּון אָבֶן
אֶבֶן בֹּחַן
פִּנַּת יִקְרַת מוּסָד מוּסָּד
הַמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִישׁ
The first thing I note is that יָקַר is used 3 times in the corpus (Isaiah 13:12, 43:4). בֹּחַן is a unique usage of בָּחַן, to try or prove, examine, scrutinise. Joseph uses this word when proving his brothers (Genesis 42:15-16). Such proving is a theme in Job, the Psalms and Jeremiah. Next within this passage there are some repeated words. מוּסָד and אֶבֶן and they are not surrounding anything - just repeated twice in a row (though, on second thought, it is better to see יסד as repeating twice and surrounding the center - the center being 'tried and precious') . Also in this passage we get a proclamation from אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה the 'Lord God' or Adonai Hashem or My Lord Hashem. Also to be noted is that we do not have 'behold' but rather 'look at me'. That word hinneh seems to have a personal pronoun attached to it. I wouldn't throw it away - at least not till I had seen examples where it is a throwaway. The last word - יָחִישׁ - make haste is used frequently in the Psalms for the Lord making haste to help - so if Hashem is hasting, the believer need not. Job uses the word in his own defense (Job 31:5) in contrast to Zophar who tumbles over himself to say little (Job 20:2).

Therefore - thus says my Lord Hashem
Look at me - I establish in Zion a rock
a proven rock
a precious corner foundation established
the one believing will not be in a hurry

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