Archive for the ‘hebrew’ Category
There are (at least) two biblical Hebrew words for breasts: dad and shad (or possibly shod). I have just spent a fairly fruitless half an hour trying to determine whether these two have an etymological link or not. It doesn’t make much difference to my argument, I would just like to know. Feel free to tell me in the comments.
But I have been amused by the origin of the word dad suggested in several lexicons: child’s babble. Now, it’s true that babies learning to speak do indeed often make that sound, ‘dadadadada’. In English, we have interpreted this as recognition of the child’s father (just as ‘mamamamama’ is taken to be recognition of the mother). In Israel, apparently, it was interpreted as an expression of hunger, or recognition of the food source of the infant. It seems likely to me that both cultures are equally guilty of reading in their own meaning to the infant’s sounds. As far as I can see, babies just like making these kinds of sounds for the sheer pleasure of being able to do so. Associated meanings come much later.
I’m writing a paper on the metaphor of people as plants in the psalter at the moment. The paper has to include detailed exegetical work on one psalm, for which I’ve chosen Psalm 80. I’ve just attempted a translation which I’ll be working with and I include it here in case it’s useful to anyone else.
Any comments or suggestions more than welcome.
For the director. To ‘The Lilies’. A testimony. For Asaph, a psalm.
Hear, Israel’s shepherd, lead Joseph as [your] sheep.
Seated among the cherubim, shine forth!
In the presence of Ephraim,
Benjamin and Manasseh,
summon up your strength
and come for our salvation.
O God, restore us. Let your face shine out and let us be saved.
Lord God of hosts, how long will you fume
at the prayer of your people?
You have fed them on the bread of weeping,
given them to drink from the bowl of tears.
You have made us a bone of contention for our friends;
our enemies mock [us] among themselves.
O God of hosts, restore us. Let your face shine out and let us be saved.
You took a vine out of Egypt,
you drove out nations, you planted her,
you cleared her way and she
put down roots and filled the land,
Over the hills crept her shadow,
her branches grew into great cedars.
She sent out branches as far as the sea,
her shoots reached to the river.
Why have you broken her walls so that
all who pass along the path pluck from her?
The forest boar tears at her;
the field beasts feast on her.
O God of hosts, please return.
Look from heaven and see, and visit this vine
and the stock planted by your right hand,
and the son you strengthened for yourself.
She has been burned with fire, cut away.
By the rebuke of your face, they will perish.
Let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
on the son of man you strengthened for yourself.
No turning back from you, you will revive us
and on your name, we will call.
O Lord God of hosts, restore us. Let your face shine out and let us be saved.