Sunday, February 28, 2010

Books I read on my holidays

Flowers and Plants of Hawaii and Tropical Trees of Hawaii, two little books by Paul Wood and Ron Dahlquist - teaching myself botany now! and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society a book about the occupation of Guernsey during the second world war. And finally Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, a book with rather better policy direction and fulfillment than war allows.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Things you just can't believe

Don't miss this one from Dr. Platypus.

New giveaway

Joel is a clear thinker so this book will likely be worth buying or winning
Enter the contest to win here. You will find God Didn't say that on my blogroll too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I can't find meaning

Is there any word for meaning? People think that meaning is important, and sometime will use understanding as a synonym. But meaning itself seems to be a word not used in older translations of the Bible. In an English-Hebrew dictionary I found these glosses: רב משמעות, משמעי; שמשמעותו One can see that these are all derived from hearing.

How important is meaning? 

It occurs to me that meaning may be deceptive. It may make us think we understand when we don't. It drives us to abstraction! rather than to reality.  Of someone it is said (Isaiah 11:3) - how do I dare read this!

וַהֲרִיחֹו בְּיִרְאַת יְהוָה
וְלֹֽא־לְמַרְאֵה עֵינָיו יִשְׁפֹּוט
וְלֹֽא־לְמִשְׁמַע אָזְנָיו יֹוכִיחַ
and his breath (interpreting the infinitive as a noun) is the fear the the Lord
and not in the seeing of his eye will he judge
and not in the hearing of his ear will he rebuke
My Jerusalem Bible translates as follows 
(The fear of YHWH is his breath).
 He does not judge by appearences
he gives no verdict on hearsay

Including the parentheses in the translation - as if it were part of the prior verse. It then begins the second line as a new sentence. The third line contains 'the word' in question which the dictionary 'defines' as meaning 'meaning' - that which is heard.  The only other place I see in the Biblical Hebrew corpus (based on BDB and its list of words) where this mem precedes shema` is in Isaiah 11:14. 

There are 9 other places according to my Hebrew Latin lexicon: Isaiah 21:3, 33:15, 33:19, 59:1-2, Zechariah 7:11-12, Proverbs 28:9, and Ecclesiastes 1:8. On first glance these all appear to be straightforward usage of the mem as preposition in one or more of its usual senses. (The usage in Isaiah 1:3 could be pointed as an infinitive rather than as a noun.) 

I am coming to the conclusion that meaning by itself is singularly unimportant. But 'what is heard' is of course not unimportant. Hear is the first word. But hear and do is better than hear and disappear. It is, I think, only in the doing that understanding and so 'meaning' is given.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Samech out of order

I pushed the wrong buttons and published Samech after Ayin instead of before. Then today I read our Rector's invitation to imagine a teaching program that would introduce the unchurched to the Gospel. My initial thought is that it could all fit into the circle of Samech. What topics would you include in such an introduction?

I am by the way somewhat opposed to course programs that work from a confessional stance without the grounding of the more ancient narratives in the 'Old' Testament. I also think that the 'unchurched' may have more to offer than expected.

What would I fit into a Samech program? One might begin with the meaning of Samech סמך - to sustain. That captures time, life, and relationship in a word. (Psalm 145:14 - it's the 15th letter but there is a letter missing in the acrostic of Psalm 145.)

By the time I return from Hawaii, will there be a complete outline of a new program - maybe in the comments - for learning about the dwelling of God with us?

Or is this a meme - consider yourself tagged. What is the most important thing - or three most important things you would teach or present or whatever to the unchurched or to someone who had never heard the Gospel - or just what is the most important trio of things that you have in your tradition?

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Samech is rare. The letter occurs only nine times in Ruth. Three of those are in the word חֶסֶד - kindness among other things, and one in a related root, חָסָה take refuge, or shelter, or trust.. E.g. Ruth 1:8

יעשה יְהוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד
may יְהוָה deal with you kindly
In Ruth 1:17, we have the word יָסַף for adding
כֹּה יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה לִי וְכֹה יוֹסִיף
this יְהוָה deal with me and more
Ruth 2:7 - gather אָסַף, seems very close to adding
וְאָסַפְתִּי בָעֳמָרִים אַחֲרֵי הַקּוֹצְרִים
and gather among the sheaves after the reapers
Ruth 2:12 (mysteriously connected to 3:9 by the word כנף). I doubt this is a structural accident.
אֲשֶׁר-בָּאת לַחֲסוֹת תַּחַת-כְּנָפָיו
to whom you came to take refuge under his wings
Ruth 2:20 - kindness again
אֲשֶׁר לֹא-עָזַב חַסְדּוֹ
who has not left off his kindness
Ruth 3:3 - anoint, a relatively rare word and not the usual one for anointing or anointed which are related to מָשַׁח. Some people distrust etymology but I find it fascinating. How does language work and how did it begin? This word סוך has three homonyms that I see when scanning BDB meaning come to an end, cease, and hedge or fence, and reeds. These last two meanings seem related to סָכַךְ from which we get the feast of tabernacles חַג הַסֻּכֹּות (Leviticus 23:34).
וְרָחַצְתְּ וָסַכְתְּ
so wash yourself and anoint yourself
Ruth 3:10 - kindness again
הֵיטַבְתְּ חַסְדֵּךְ
you have made good your kindness
Ruth 4:1 - two instances of 'turn aside', a word that is also spelled with a שׂ and can mean apostatize.
וַיֹּאמֶר סוּרָה שְׁבָה-פֹּה
 פְּלֹנִי אַלְמֹנִי
וַיָּסַר וַיֵּשֵׁב
and he said turn aside sit here -
what a coincidence!
and he turned aside and sat down


Ayin, in contrast to Samech, is not rare. The ancients liked this guttural. Naomi נָעֳמִי and Boaz בֹּעַז both have ayin in their name. Also Orpah  עָרְפָּה. It also begins some common prepositions and words.If one was to include ayin in the grammatical team, it would be a strong player and bring in the heavy usage of the two character prepositions, עַל and עִם

Many verses repeat in these exercises - it is a reading game. If one actually reads all these posts here and on Bob's Log - (click the links to the letter by letter series on the sidebars) - one will begin to recognize both form and word in Hebrew. There is no substitute for repetition - it builds ze little grey cell connections. (Actually some of those cells might be green.)

Distinguish the differing words in the following verses. There are enough examples to learn all sorts of pronomial and personal suffixes.

Ruth 1:6
כִּי-פָקַד יְהוָה אֶת-עַמּוֹ
that יְהוָה had visited his people
Ruth 1:7 It's curious, don't you think, that people and 'with' are homonyms as far as consonants go. In this case, the differing pronunciation must have been critical - unless they derive from a similar experience - since one's people are those with whom one lives.
וּשְׁתֵּי כַלּוֹתֶיהָ עִמָּהּ
and her two daughters-in-law with her
Ruth 1:8 - the preposition עִמָּד is listed with עִם - as if a synonym - BDB p 767 -
יעשה יְהוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד
כַּאֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם עִם-הַמֵּתִים וְעִמָּדִי
may יְהוָה deal with you kindly
as you have dealt with those who died and with me
This עִם is a very complex word. The definitions listed in Latin are simul, preterea, cum, contra, apud, prope; in domo, corpore, animo alic.; inter; ex vicinia, e domo, e potestate, ex animo. Oh if only I had learned Latin better! BDB lists with, against (with combative verb), towards, resemblance, of time = as long as, of locality, beside, close to, and many more. Nice example of the use of עִמָּד in Job 9:35.
אַֽדַבְּרָה וְלֹא אִירָאֶנּוּ כִּי לֹא־כֵן אָנֹכִי עִמָּדִי
I would speak and I would not fear him for not so am I with myself

BDB P 768 as if alone and in one's own consciousness whether of knowledge or memory or purpose.

Ruth 1:13-14 - here a pair of temporal words - until and further that look as if they might be related depending on the role of the vav. (BDB p 728-29 treats them together also).
הֲלָהֵן תְּשַׂבֵּרְנָה עַד אֲשֶׁר יִגְדָּלוּ
As if you could wait till such had grown?

וַתִּשֶּׂנָה קוֹלָן וַתִּבְכֶּינָה עוֹד
and they lifted up their voice and wept further
Ruth 1:15-16 - her, your, and mine - these and Ruth 1:6 give four of the possessive pronouns as they attach to a noun
אֶל-עַמָּהּ וְאֶל-אֱלֹהֶיהָ
to her people and to her God

עַמֵּךְ עַמִּי
your people my people
Ruth 1:19 - another common noun,עִיר, city, and here and Ruth 2:7, another common preposition עַל with a host of meanings that seem to overlap somewhat with אֶל, used above.
וַתֵּהֹם כָּל-הָעִיר עֲלֵיהֶן
that all the city was excited concerning them
Ruth 2:7
וַיַּעַן הַנַּעַר הַנִּצָּב עַל-הַקּוֹצְרִים וַיֹּאמַר
and the lad standing by the reapers answered and he said

Friday, February 12, 2010

Vav again

Just fooling around and I noticed that every verse in Ruth with the exception of  7 of them begins with a vav ו.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


ן נ

On words beginning with nun, like na`ar and na`arah - see lads and lasses

Grammatically, nun is used in the second person feminine plurals
e.g. Ruth 1:7

וַתֵּלַכְנָה בַדֶּרֶךְ
and they (i.e. the women) went on their way

and Ruth 1:8
לֵכְנָה שֹּׁבְנָה אִשָּׁה לְבֵית אִמָּהּ
Go - return - each to the house of her mother
and Ruth 1:9
וַתִּשֶּׂאנָה קוֹלָן וַתִּבְכֶּינָה
and they lifted up their voice and wept
In Ruth 2:13 we have the object pronoun with the verb in a form that will receive it - the mem changing to a taf and followed by a nun so the yod can be attached.
כִּי נִחַמְתָּנִי
for you have comforted me

I can't avoid the word for 'giving'. It is a very commonly used verb with nun in both the first and third position of the radical. It occurs 8 times in Ruth: Ruth 1:6, 1:9, 2:18, 3:17, 4:7, 11, 12, 13. Can you find the word in the following?
כִּי-פָקַד יְהוָה אֶת-עַמּוֹ
לָתֵת לָהֶם לָחֶם
יִתֵּן יְהוָה לָכֶם וּמְצֶאןָ מְנוּחָה
אִשָּׁה בֵּית אִישָׁהּ
וַתּוֹצֵא וַתִּתֶּן-לָהּ
 אֵת אֲשֶׁר-הוֹתִרָה מִשָּׂבְעָהּ
וַתֹּאמֶר שֵׁשׁ-הַשְּׂעֹרִים
 הָאֵלֶּה נָתַן לִי
שָׁלַף אִישׁ נַעֲלוֹ וְנָתַן לְרֵעֵהוּ
וְזֹאת הַתְּעוּדָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל
יִתֵּן יְהוָה אֶת-הָאִשָּׁה הַבָּאָה אֶל-בֵּיתֶךָ
אֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן יְהוָה לְךָ מִן-הַנַּעֲרָה הַזֹּאת
וַיִּתֵּן יְהוָה לָהּ הֵרָיוֹן וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן

If I translate them, it will be too easy - right?

Demeaning meaning?

Meaning can be mean, slighting the searcher, evading the evangelist, withdrawing itself from view. Why do we search for meaning and can we find it in text?

Why? - even the poet did not know?

No. The poet knew and wrote from knowledge, but it was not so mean a view as we would impose on the poem.

The meaning was not necessarily in natural or easy language. The idea was not the point. The point was engagement with mystery.

So meaning is not first able to be anything but potentiality till it is found by the reader. Then the poet rejoices.

Readers too might rejoice - but the real risk is that they will be cheated by preachers, carrying them to heights of fancy rather than joy.

Preachers are not the word, but its ministers, and the word does not have a meaning that can be taken away by observation as if we have control over it.

The meaning is in the interaction. The word is like a mirror which deflects the individual: either to life or not, to darkness or light. So the human diffracts by the word when engaged by it. Don't look away.

Monday, February 8, 2010


ם מ
Mem doesn't have pages in BDB about itself - it's מן that does and the preposition when it clings on to a word loses its nun most of the time. This losing of letters cannot be ignored any more. Vav and yod appear and disappear as helpers of reading in full and defective spellings and 'nun' and 'he' appear and disappear if they are part of the root. Will we find examples? Just consider, if I were to look for nun - it wouldn't be there - so how will I find it? I am sure the weak consonants will appear when we need them.

Some things that we do with our gums, lips, teeth and throat are common to all tongues. I bet there is stuff on the web somewhere about sibilants (sounds like s), gutturals (from the throat), dentals (from the teeth), and labials (from the lips) and a bunch of other special terminology. How do the Hebrew letters stand in this area?

These are distracting question so I have pushed my meandering answer to the bottom of the post. Continuing with Ruth ...

Mem as a leading letter meaning 'from' is common

וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה
לָגוּר בִּשְׂדֵי מוֹאָב
and a man went from the house of bread (Bethlehem) of Judah
to stay in the fields of Moab
also מִשְּׂדֵי from the fields - frequently repeated. and in Ruth 1:7 we have the full word (used 4 more times in the story)
וַתֵּצֵא מִן-הַמָּקוֹם
and she emerged from the place
I don't want to pass over Ruth 1:9. 'Find' is just mem as part of the root, but 'rest' appears to be a noun derived by the addition of a mem prefix from נוּחַ 'to rest'. This extended form of the word with a final 'he' is of significance in that it is used for the resting place for the ark of the covenant in Psalm 132 and for the name. (Is this also marriage related?)
 וּמְצֶאןָ מְנוּחָה
may you find rest
Ruth 1:12 looks like an idiom - having and getting wife or husband will turn out to be significant  - see this recent post by Kurk Gayle which poses some questions.
זָקַנְתִּי מִהְיוֹת לְאִישׁ
for I am too old to have a husband
Ruth 1:13 has what I thought was a comparative usage (also 3:12) but BDB notes this as a 'because of' usage rather than the usual 'from = separate from or out of' usage.
כִּי-מַר-לִי מְאֹד מִכֶּם
for bitterness to me is greater because of you

Ruth 2:1 (similar to 3:2) has an mem prefix to the word know יָדַע thus forming the noun acquaintance.
וּלְנָעֳמִי מוֹדָע לְאִישָׁהּ
Now for Naomi there was an acquaintance of her husband
Ruth 2:3 contains three mems - one with an apparently repeated root in two forms - again a noun derived from the verb, and the second a preposition but also preceding another derived noun again using mem.
וַיִּקֶר מִקְרֶהָ
חֶלְקַת הַשָּׂדֶה לְבֹעַז
אֲשֶׁר מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת אֱלִימֶלֶךְ
and she happened to happen
on the part of the field of Boaz
who was of the family of Elimelek
Ruth 2:7 gives us the preposition used with a temporal conjunction
וַתָּבוֹא וַתַּעֲמוֹד
 מֵאָז הַבֹּקֶר וְעַד-עַתָּה
and she came and she remained
from then - the morning and until now
Ruth 2:8 gives us the preposition used with a demonstrative pronoun
וְגַם לֹא תַעֲבוּרִי מִזֶּה
 and also do not pass beyond this one
In Ruth 2:14 we have again the fully spelled out preposition - one wonders, why spell it out sometimes and sometimes not?
 וְאָכַלְתְּ מִן-הַלֶּחֶם
and eat of the bread
In Ruth 2:20, the preposition precedes a participle
קָרוֹב לָנוּ הָאִישׁ מִגֹּאֲלֵנוּ הוּא
near to us is the man and he our redeemer

Ruth 3:4 (sim 3:7, 3:8, 3:14) This word in the plural is again derived from the verb or even the singular noun together with a mem. (In this form only used in Ruth and once in Daniel 10:6)
 וּבָאת וְגִלִּית מַרְגְּלֹתָיו
 and you come and uncover his feet
Ruth 3:10 we might say 'from beginning to end'. I leave it in the awkward state.
 הָאַחֲרוֹן מִן-הָרִאשׁוֹן
the end from the beginning
Ruth 3:12 - an unambigous comparative - but why two mems? My eldest son as a child could not say 'milk'. Repeated training produced mmmmm-nilk. M and N are by no means completely easy. I suspect nun has run from min and made mim because a second nun was needed for the pronoun affix. But I couldn't find a seconder for this conjecture. (Putnam did teach me a new word - nunnation - the disappearance of the nun. That could be a Poirot mystery.)
וְגַם יֵשׁ גֹּאֵל קָרוֹב מִמֶּנִּי
and moreover there is a redeemer closer than I

Addendum - letters and their sound classifications

This summary from Gesesius will save me some thinking - notice the distribution of the first 11 - the green grammatical group. I have a theory that they are 'easier' to pronounce and they make pronunciation of other letters easier especially when things need to be elided (like 'a' and 'an' in English).
(a) Gutturals   א ה ע ח
(b) Palatals ג כ‍ ק
(c) Dentals ד ט ת
(d) Labials ב פ
(e) Sibilants

ז שׁ שׂ ס צ‍
(f) Sonants

ו י | ר ל | נ‍ מ‎‎‎

א - guttural like a glottal stop in English - light
ב - must be a labial
ג - palatal - I can feel the palate 'g'
ד - dental
ה - guttural - light
ו - sonant - never seen this word before and neither has my dictionary! Sounds like it is missing a con as prefix. I think I know it as a voiced consonant. Most of the others are unvoiced except zayin, dalet, and gimel.
ז - sibilant
ח - guttural - heavy duty
ט - dental like its brother taf
י - sonant
כ - palatal (guttural?)
ל - sonant - the middle pair
מ - sonant - the last pair
נ - sonant - the last pair
ס - sibilant
ע - guttural - heavy
פ - labial (fricative?)
צ - sibilant
ק - palatal (guttural?)
ר - sonant - the middle pair - like the gutturals never takes a dagesh
ש - sibilant - ambiguous pronunciation without the diacritical mark
ת - dental

Post this one under humour

Notes for Irshad's next book.

Clayboy on the 39 articles

Doug Chaplin again has an intriguing post on the nature of Jesus related to Article XV of the 39 articles.

The article starts off with this phrase: Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit.

Void is a curious term for today - sounds like a method definition in a C# or java module. Meaning today - I don't return a value when executed. So when Jesus earthly life was executing (= running), with respect to sin, he did not return a value. Exactly the opposite is what I would expect. If the Father is doing the 'running' by the Spirit, then a continuous return = communications would be expected. Relationship never broken.  Now this communication of mine is not in English.

It raises for me a question as to what our humanity is and what is the nature of sin in terms of my experience with systems and machines.  The 19th century Frankenstein approach to humanity was that we are a clockwork finely tuned machine. This leaves no room for sin at all. It is pure determinism. Modern physics after quantum theory leaves no room for determinism of this sort. So what are we? (I have been reading some popular books on Entanglement, Infinity, and Quantum theory - so be prepared for some more strained analogies!)

Who am I and who is he - this Jesus whom Peter called the Christ, the son of the Living God? (Mark 8:27 and par.)

This is not a theological post (yet), but an anthropological one. A few weeks ago when reading Psalm 90, a teacher said to me. We are reading too much at once. How can God prosper the work of our hands when we are but a machine? We did not follow this comment up, but it has stayed with me. I think the notion that our humanity is mechanical is too simplistic. If indeed we are a wavefunction as quantum theory implies, then there are two of us as Paul noted, the old and the new. When we have passed through the split beam produced by our birth in the flesh and our birth in the cross, we are splattered into a diffraction pattern. The question is then - who will measure us that we might collapse the wavefunction and know who we are?

Our warning is not to collapse the wavefunction in the wrong way: Judge not, lest ye be judged, as our Lord said, and note also the envelope that Paul uses for his letter to the Romans (yes that letter to the Romans has a complex envelope: who are you to judge your sibling? Romans 14 closes this part of the envelope and the opening portion is in chapter 2. As I said elsewhere

When I read the closing bracket in chapter 14 - why do you judge your brother? I find the best answer is given by the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov - "because the people cannot stand the freedom You have placed them in". That is why we misread Romans. We have no capacity to judge till we have died.
In this life and the life of the world to come, we must respect the outer envelope of this letter - the obedience of faith. (Romans 1:5, 16:26)  Yes I know there are disputes over the last chapter. There are lots of people who open letters and rip the envelope and toss it away.

So given the requirement of faith, is there any good news about our humanity to be gleaned from this article of religion? Here it is: the Anointed is without sin in the spirit and in the flesh. So how does this affect me or you? Can I participate in the unbroken and unbreakable communion that Jesus has? (He is implicitly being talked about here as the author and finisher of our faith.) Yes we can. (Someone else said that recently.) Does our choice effect a collapse of the wavefunction? Yes it does. Is that good news? Yes it is. Try it and see. You will discover a change in judgment. Here I quote a note from Ken Schenck this morning,1897. No church that is acquainted with the Holy Ghost will object. 

So we have a measurement that we have measured. We have looked at the life of Jesus and it was good. We do not de-create ourselves as Job did, because this source of our light has appeared to our Leviathan and has made the beast acceptable. The accuser can no longer stand to accuse. This same Anointing is from the beginning and is thoroughly manifest in the canon. Time itself changes its character in our eyes, much as it changed when Einstein demonstrated dilation. Do not think it is imaginary. Negative numbers, complex numbers, and the probability cloud, in spite of the fact that no one understands them, have produced technological marvels. Enter then this marvelous cloud of unknowing by the door of faith and be thereby known. You will not find it void.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I switched my orientation from left to right so I could use the new page gadget. I have annotated my current blog list so I might get to know the people I am reading a bit better. Please let me know if you have a blog you think I should read.

I have also started using Google Analytics. So far, I am impressed with their features. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Today's lesson is brought to us by the letter ל from the scroll of Ruth מגילת רות

This is another letter with several roles. Let us look at the examples to see the roles. A good place to start is with a phrase we saw in several earlier posts

לָתֵת לָהֶם לָחֶם
to give them bread
Five letters of the 9 in this phrase are playing grammatical roles. In English we always begin an infinitive with 'to'. While this is not the rule in Hebrew it also often happens as it does in the case of the first word, the infinitive of נתן, a word in which 2 of the three letters of the root disappear in this form! (I will postpone this discussion of missing letters till we get to נ.) Like English, the preposition ל can be used the way we use 'to'. In the second word, although often left as understood, we could have said 'to them' as seems to be the case in Hebrew. So this verb appears to require an indirect object with a preposition. Does that verb even appear without one? Or say with an attached object pronoun?

The preposition occurs frequently and is most often translated by 'to' in English. So in Ruth 1:7
לָשׁוּב אֶל-אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה 
to return to the land of Judah
and in Ruth 1:8
לֵכְנָה שֹּׁבְנָה אִשָּׁה לְבֵית אִמָּהּ
 Go - return - each to the house of her mother
and in Ruth 1:9
יִתֵּן יְהוָה לָכֶם וּמְצֶאןָ מְנוּחָה  
may יְהוָה give to you and may you find rest
and in Ruth 1:10
כִּי-אִתָּךְ נָשׁוּב לְעַמֵּךְ
and they said to her
for with you we will return to your people

and so on.

Well - doesn't it just mean 'to' then. Not so fast. BDB lists more than 25 differing uses. We are just on the surface. We have two uses: with the verb - but infinitives don't require a preposition, so it is not exactly like English, and with nouns and pronouns. The correspondence between English and Hebrew verbs and their use of prepositions is varied. Sometimes it seems that Hebrew requires the preposition and English doesn't and sometimes it is the other way around. Lots of examples below for reading practice.

Ruth 1:12 and a similar use of לְאִישׁ in Ruth 1:13
זָקַנְתִּי מִהְיוֹת לְאִישׁ
כִּי אָמַרְתִּי יֶשׁ-לִי תִקְוָה
גַּם הָיִיתִי הַלַּיְלָה לְאִישׁ
for I am too old to have a husband
for had I said there is hope for me
even if there was tonight a husband

Ruth 1:20 has the use of the preposition where we omit it in English and a separate preposition I have translated as 'to' also
וַתֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶן
אַל-תִּקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי
קְרֶאןָ לִי מָרָא
כִּי-הֵמַר שַׁדַּי לִי מְאֹד
and she said to them
do not call me Naomi
call me Mara
for bitter is the Sufficient to me - greatly so

Ruth 2:1 has two more examples which I would render 'for' or 'of' in a awkward moment. 'Of' is a common usage particularly in the headings of the psalms.
וּלְנָעֳמִי מוֹדָע לְאִישָׁהּ
Now for Naomi there was an acquaintance of her husband

Ruth 2:14 has one attached to a time word
 לְעֵת הָאֹכֶל גֹּשִׁי הֲלֹם
at the time of eating draw near here

Ruth 2:20
בָּרוּךְ הוּא לַיהוָה
Blessed be he from יהוָה

Ruth 4:3 has an interesting pair
חֶלְקַת הַשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר לְאָחִינוּ לֶאֱלִימֶלֶךְ
the portion of the field of our brother Elimelek

Ruth 4:6. These examples make me ask why the second verb does not take a pronoun as object directly. There's a feel for the language here that I don't yet have. One exercise that might be useful is to list all the various ways one might say the same thing.
 וַיֹּאמֶר הַגֹּאֵל לֹא אוּכַל לִגְאָל- לִי
and the redeemer said I cannot redeem her

Ruth 4:13 almost at the end of the whole story
וַיִּקַּח בֹּעַז אֶת-רוּת וַתְּהִי-לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה
 וַיָּבֹא אֵלֶיהָ
וַיִּתֵּן יְהוָה לָהּ הֵרָיוֹן וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן
So Boaz got Ruth and she became his wife
and he came to her
and יְהוָה gave her conception and she bore a son

Ruth 4:16 a final example - I think there is no correspondence between the preposition and 'his'. It just came out that way!
וַתִּקַּח נָעֳמִי אֶת-הַיֶּלֶד
 וַתְּשִׁתֵהוּ בְחֵיקָהּ
וַתְּהִי-לוֹ לְאֹמֶנֶת
and Naomi got the child
and set him in her lap
and became for him his support

Note 1: Henceforth no more transcription. (There are transcriptions in the previous posts in this series from dalet to kaf. ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ. And there are transcriptions in the series on Psalm 119 א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ). John Hobbins even wants to wean us from נְקֻדּוֹת the nikkudot, all those little dots and dashes, but I am not going there yet. Maybe after I have visited Israel in the fall but I doubt it even then - you can generally hum and haw between letters and beats but the diacritics help me see some patterns that are otherwise invisible (like most of that piel conjugation).

Note 2: I will continue to put my translations close to the Hebrew. That's the state I am in at the moment with respect to understanding. Reading is easier than a year ago, but memory is lagging. I don't want to trouble my readers with more difficulty than I can manage.

Begin soapbox. By the way, I might be wrong. Where I remember an acknowledgment, I will note it. If I forget you, shout. Hitherto note also - I am a devoted servant of the Beloved whose Name is blessed and who makes me happy in the midst of trouble. Happy as written in Psalm 1:1 and Proverbs 8:34, confident as noted in Psalm 91:15. There is no arguing this even if I fall away into depression and skepticism. Therefore I am not first a scholar, if indeed I will ever be one. I study the Bible but I am not first doing Biblical Studies because I am not disinterested. Professionals, squirm if you must. I have been trained in recognizing my errors and I know how to leave things incomplete but do not hesitate to correct me. I like interaction and I don't get much of it. It may be that the Bible in the hands of amateurs is like loaded weapons in the hands of children, but perhaps that is the nub of our problem. I make no apology to those who are objective and distanced from text or life. I don't see either as an option. End soapbox.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Proverbs 8

Does not wisdom call
and understanding give her voice
from the hilltops
on the way
where the roads meet
she takes her stand
right by the gates
at the mouth of the town
from the entrance of the doors
she sings
To all humanity I call
my voice to the children of humus
understand, O naive, shrewdness
O simpletons, understand a heart
hear, for princely things I will speak
and from the parting of my lips things that are upright
for truth I muse with my gums
and an abomination to my lips is wickedness
of righteousness are all the words of my mouth
there is nothing in them twisted or perverse
all of them transparent to one who understands
and upright to those who find knowledge
receive my discipline and not silver
and knowledge rather than gold of choice
for better is wisdom than rubies
and all things to be desired are not to be compared with her
I, wisdom, live with shrewdness
and knowledge of purpose I find out
The fear of יְהוָה
to hate evil
Pride, arrogance, the way of evil
and the mouth of falsehoods I hate
To me is counsel and success
I am understanding
to me is strength
by me kings reign and rulers decree righteousness
by me leaders lead
and princes, all the judges of righteousness
as for me, I love all those loving me
and those who seek me will find me
wealth and glory are with me
substance of old and righteousness
better is my fruit than gold or fine gold
and my coming than silver of choice
in the path of righteousness I walk
in the middle of the roads of judgment
to allot to those loving me what is
and their storehouses I will fill
יְהוָה acquired me as the beginning of his way
before his works of old
from everlasting I was poured out
from the beginning
from before earth
when there were no depths I was begotten
when there were no fountains heavy with water
earlier than the mountains were sunk
in the presence of the hills I was begotten
as yet he had not made earth, the outside
or the beginning of the dust of the world
when he established the heavens, there was I
when he inscribed a circle on the face of the deep
when he encouraged the clouds above
to strengthen the fountains of the deep
when he set to the sea his decree
that the waters should not pass over his bidding
when he inscribed the foundations of earth
then I was beside him - faithful
and I was his delight
day by day
at play in his presence
at all times
at play in the world, his earth
and delighting in the children of humus
So now children, hear me
for happy they that keep my ways
hear discipline and be wise
and do not let go
happy is the human who hears me
keeping watch at my portals daily
guarding the posts of my doors
for who finds me finds life
and will obtain acceptance of יְהוָה
but who sins against me does violence to self
all hating me love death