Sunday, February 9, 2014

Psalm 23 - the precise translation.

I wish to provide a more precise translation of Psalm 23. This psalm is completely mistranslated in the English/Greek translations.

  1. Verse 1
    • מזמור לדוד - song-of/sung-to David
    • יי רעי - Hashem is my companion.
      • {רע} in this case actually means companion, or chaperone.
      • The word does not mean shepherd.
      • But it is used idiomatically as shepherd, because a sheep herder is expected to behave as a companion, as a friend.
    • לא אחסר - I shall not be lacking/less
      • I shall not be lesser than others. I shall not be insignificant.
      • The word חסר means less. It could be less, as being insufficient.Or less, in stature.
      • My Companion expects no less from my full abilities.
  2. Verse 2
    • בנאות דשא ירביצניin lush meadow He places/lays me
      • He places me where I will be comfortable.
    • על מי מנחות ינהלני - upon calming waters he shall usher me.

  3. Verse 3:
    • נפשי ישובב - my breath He shall restore.
    • ינחני במעגלי צדק - He confines me within encirclement of righteousness
      • {עגל} = round, circle, sphere
        • Do not confuse {עגל=round} as equiv to {גל=rolling} even though having common etymology. 1 King 7:23, 31, 35, 10:19 {עגל}=round.
        • Rolling of wheels of wagon = path. But {עגל} is around or round, not "rolling".
        • {מגל} vs {מעגל}
        • Therefore, causative/intensive (depending of vowelzation) {מעגל} = cause to be round/around or implements/implemented as being round/around.
        • Causative {מעגלי} = encirclement, surrounding
      • {נחן} = commit = a superior setting a subordinate in place
      • Therefore in this usage {נחן} = confine
    • למען שמו - due to His Name
      • {למען} actually means "in response to", "reciprocating". Used idiomatically in Hebrew as "due to".
    Verse 3 explains Numbers 15:38-39, where tassels in Hebrew is tzitzit [ציצית] that keep the garments from fraying.
    • Tzitzit [ציצית] actually means flower blossoms.
    • Psalm 119:103 How sweet are Your words to taste from honey to my mouth.
    • When you see the tzizit/beatiful blossoms encircling and tied to the garment to keep it from fraying, then you will understand My law and righteousness that I encircle you is sweet to keep your communities from fraying apart.

  4. Verse 4
    • גם כי אלך בגיא צלמות
      • also/moreover as shall I walk in a valley of shadow of death
        • This appears to be subjunctive: moreover should I walk in a valley of shadow of death
    • לא אירא רע
      • I shall not fear evil
    • כי אתה עמדי
      • as You stand with me
        • עמד = root for stand or located
    • שבטך ומשענתך המה ינחמני 
      • Your tribal-rod and your providing-support they comfort-console me.
      • i.e. Your domain-leadership and your support they assure me.
      • Notes:
        • {שבט} has dual meanings = "rod" and "tribe". There are many passages in the Bible where {שבט} is used to mean "tribe".
        • {שען} means a support.
          {משען} is to provide support
          {משענת} is the participle = the providing of support
        • {משענת} could be used idiomatically as "supporting staff".
        • Most English translators commit the error of using the idiomatic meaning, rather than its actual grammatical meaning. Both a walking stick or a super-grandiose regal looking staff can be called a [משענת]. But in this case, משענת means exactly what it means - G'd providing support.
        • {נחם} is to comfort and console. Perhaps, assure.

  5. Verse 5:
    • תערך לפני שלחן 
      • You will arrange a table before me
        • {ערך} = arrange, organise, lay-out
    • נגד צררי
      • affronting my enemies.
      • Alternatively: as I confront my troubles/adversity
    • דשנת בשמן ראשי - ravishing my head with oil.
      • Note, contrary to usual English translations, there is actually no {anointing}, but {ravishing}.
      • He will make your head luxurious and presentable.
    • כוסי רויה - my cup overflows
      • You will have more than you need.
    You hold me up in pride and honour as I confront my troubles/adversity.I will have more than I need.
  6. Verse 6
    is a vert troubling verse because of how rampantly it is mistranslated. Verse 6 is a threatening warning. The verse starts with the Hebrew word for "but" or "on the other hand". It is very important, that the verse does not begin with the calming assurance "surely". The verse is not an assurance of eternal life.
    • אך טוב וחסד ירדפוני כל ימי חיי
      • HOWEVER Goodness and mercy shall pursue/harass/stalk me all the days of my life.
        • {רדפ} means to pursue, harass, haunt, hunt down
        • If the author had really wanted to say "follow", then the word [נתב] would have been used. 
        • But the author deliberately used the word [רדף].
    • ושבתי בבית יי לארך ימים
      • and I shall stay in the house of the Hashem for prolonged days
      • and I shall prolong my stay in the house of Hashem.
        • The verse does not end with "forever".
    Verse 6 says, After all the assurances the Hashem given in the 1st 5 verses, BUT this is the warning that all that is meant to be good and merciful can and will pursue, harass and hunt me down, so that I too exhibit goodness and mercy. But goodness/mercy be required of me, as much as it is provided to me.  And therefore, I will stay in the house of the Hashem for prolonged/extended days.Many people want to say {לארך ימים} means {length of days}, which is contraindicated by Lamentations 5:20.

The full psalm
מזמור לדוד Psalm of David
יי רעי Hashem my companion
לא אחסר I shall lack not
בנאות דשא In regions of vegetation
ירביצני He will recline me
על מי מנחות By waters of relaxation
ינהלני He will direct me
נפשי ישובב My soul/breath He will restore
ינחני במעגלי צדק He will place me in surrounding/encirclement of righteousness
למען שמו for-sake-of His Name
גם כי אלך Also as I traverse
בגיא צלמות in a ravine/valley of shadow-of-death
לא אירא רע I will not fear evil
כי אתה עמדי for You stand with me
שבטך ומשענתך Your leadership/dominance and Your providing-support
המה ינחמני they will comfort-console(i.e. assure) me
תערך לפני שלחן You then arrange before me a table
נגד צררי confronting my enemies
דשנת בשמן ראשי You invigorate my head with oil
כוסי רויה My cup overfills
אך טוב וחסד ירדפוני but goodness and mercy will pursue me
כל ימי חיי all the days of my life
ושבתי בבית יי and I shall reside in the house of the LORD
לארך ימים for lengthened days