Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Isaiah 53-55 extremes of tone

The other chapters 53, 55 are at the links. This has been a challenging exercise. I did not wait for Joel Hoffman to translate this chapter 54. It has been a month so I just ploughed ahead with all three chapters. The musical scores are still in Hebrew only, so if I transcribe the close English to the music, who knows, there may be updates to this exercise. But here is Isaiah 54. It is not all celebration.

A few notes -
1 be bright, as in Psalm 104:15.
2 note the invitation to security, seems innocent, but the whole oracle ends with Yahweh saying he is the one that creates the forger of 'instruments', i.e. the very weapons that cause one to be insecure.
3 seat of governance. Just seat, but sit as in 'sit at my right hand' is a metaphor for good governance and judgment, so reside seems weak. See also Psalm 107 anticipating Psalm 110. What is more striking but that desolated cities (think Kosovo and other places) might become seats of good governance.
4,6 shame, humiliation, and disappointment are a theme in the Psalms. Maturing is also a theme.
5 this is a key to TNK and NT and the grand incarnating metaphor of the Scriptures.
7,8 the potential for ironic humour is in the alliteration: בְּשֶׁ֣צֶף קֶ֗צֶף. beshetsef qetsef. That first word is a coinage by the prophet. Rage reminds us of the raging at the waters of Meribah (Psalm 106) and of the penitential Psalm 38: do not in your rage correct me. The wrath is but for a moment as Psalm 30:6 also tell us.
9 recalling Noah should tell us that rage is not everlasting. It just might seem that way. Bellowing balances the strange tone created by the initial alliteration noted above.
10 hills and hillocks again remind me of the psalms, specifically 114, the hills skipped like rams, hillocks like lambkin.
11, 12 lots of guesswork about what the gemstones are.
13 the ultimate Talmud.
14 There is an imperative to begin the verse. Dislocation is a tough word. I can't quite think of the right gloss... Should not the elect fear such exile, especially when there has been a history of it?
15 I am perplexed by the phrase it is not from me. There is a word here אפס that could have been more simply phrased. How can something not be from Yahweh, not be an 'act of God'? Also I deliberately glossed on you but here perhaps is the stumbling block - on you is ambiguous. I changed it to against you. The servant cannot again be the scapegoat.
16 pangs, an odd word used in the labour image in Psalm 7, pushes out mischief after conceiving trouble. This can also be just a pledge. But the birth image may be adequate.
15-17 seem to point to increasing responsibility of human governance for overall welfare. One hopes that God is not delegating too much too quickly.
- the numbers in column 4 are the syllable count before and after the atnah ^ in the verse. It shows the rest point in the phrase where the music comes to the subdominant. If you are into punctuation, it is the major disjunctive.

54
Isaiah 54 Fn Min Max Syll
רָנִּ֥י עֲקָרָ֖ה לֹ֣א יָלָ֑דָה
פִּצְחִ֨י רִנָּ֤ה וְצַהֲלִי֙ לֹא חָ֔לָה כִּֽי רַבִּ֧ים בְּֽנֵי שׁוֹמֵמָ֛ה מִבְּנֵ֥י בְעוּלָ֖ה אָמַ֥ר יְהוָֽה
1 Shout for joy, O barren who has not given birth.
Erupt in a shout of joy and be bright, she who has not writhed in birth,
for in abundance are the children of the desolate over the children of the married, says Yahweh.
3c 4C 9
28
הַרְחִ֣יבִי מְק֣וֹם אָהֳלֵ֗ךְ וִירִיע֧וֹת מִשְׁכְּנוֹתַ֛יִךְ יַטּ֖וּ אַל תַּחְשֹׂ֑כִי
הַאֲרִ֙יכִי֙ מֵֽיתָרַ֔יִךְ וִיתֵדֹתַ֖יִךְ חַזֵּֽקִי
2 Open wide the place of your tent and the curtains of your dwellings stretch out. Do not resist.
Loosen the tension from your bow strings and have the courage of your tent pegs.
3c 4B 22
16
כִּי יָמִ֥ין וּשְׂמֹ֖אול תִּפְרֹ֑צִי
וְזַרְעֵךְ֙ גּוֹיִ֣ם יִירָ֔שׁ וְעָרִ֥ים נְשַׁמּ֖וֹת יוֹשִֽׁיבוּ
3 f For right and left you will break out,
and your seed will possess nations and you will make desolated cities a seat of governance.
3e 4B 9
16
אַל תִּֽירְאִי֙ כִּי לֹ֣א תֵב֔וֹשִׁי וְאַל תִּכָּלְמִ֖י כִּ֣י לֹ֣א תַחְפִּ֑ירִי
כִּ֣י בֹ֤שֶׁת עֲלוּמַ֙יִךְ֙ תִּשְׁכָּ֔חִי וְחֶרְפַּ֥ת אַלְמְנוּתַ֖יִךְ לֹ֥א תִזְכְּרִי עֽוֹד
4 Fear not for you will not be ashamed and do not be humiliated for you will not be disappointed.
For the shame of your adolescence you will forget and the reproach of your widowhood you will not remember any more.
3e 4C 18
23
כִּ֤י בֹעֲלַ֙יִךְ֙ עֹשַׂ֔יִךְ יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת שְׁמ֑וֹ
וְגֹֽאֲלֵךְ֙ קְד֣וֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֱלֹהֵ֥י כָל הָאָ֖רֶץ יִקָּרֵֽא
5 C for your husband is your maker, Yahweh of Hosts is his name,
and your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. The God of all the earth he will be called.
3e 4C 15
18
כִּֽי כְאִשָּׁ֧ה עֲזוּבָ֛ה וַעֲצ֥וּבַת ר֖וּחַ קְרָאָ֣ךְ יְהוָ֑ה
וְאֵ֧שֶׁת נְעוּרִ֛ים כִּ֥י תִמָּאֵ֖ס אָמַ֥ר אֱלֹהָֽיִךְ
6 For as a wife forsaken and tortured in spirit, Yahweh has called you,
and as a wife of youth for you were refused, says your God.
3c 4B 18
16
בְּרֶ֥גַע קָטֹ֖ן עֲזַבְתִּ֑יךְ
וּבְרַחֲמִ֥ים גְּדֹלִ֖ים אֲקַבְּצֵֽךְ
7 For a tiny moment I forsook you,
and with great compassion I will collect you.
3e 4A 8
10
בְּשֶׁ֣צֶף קֶ֗צֶף הִסְתַּ֨רְתִּי פָנַ֥י רֶ֙גַע֙ מִמֵּ֔ךְ וּבְחֶ֥סֶד עוֹלָ֖ם רִֽחַמְתִּ֑יךְ
אָמַ֥ר גֹּאֲלֵ֖ךְ יְהוָֽה
8 In a smidgen of rage, I hid my face from you for a moment but with everlasting loving-kindness I will have compassion on you,
says Yahweh your redeemer.
3e 4B 22
6
כִּי מֵ֥י נֹ֙חַ֙ זֹ֣את לִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֣ר נִשְׁבַּ֗עְתִּי מֵעֲבֹ֥ר מֵי נֹ֛חַ ע֖וֹד עַל הָאָ֑רֶץ
כֵּ֥ן נִשְׁבַּ֛עְתִּי מִקְּצֹ֥ף עָלַ֖יִךְ וּמִגְּעָר בָּֽךְ
9 f For this is to me the waters of Noah as when I swore that the waters of Noah would not any more pass through onto the earth,
so I swear to refrain from rage against you and from bellowing at you.
3d 4B 22
13
כִּ֤י הֶֽהָרִים֙ יָמ֔וּשׁוּ וְהַגְּבָע֖וֹת תְּמוּטֶ֑נָה
וְחַסְדִּ֞י מֵאִתֵּ֣ךְ לֹֽא יָמ֗וּשׁ וּבְרִ֤ית שְׁלוֹמִי֙ לֹ֣א תָמ֔וּט אָמַ֥ר מְרַחֲמֵ֖ךְ יְהוָֽה
10 C For the hills may deviate and the hillocks be moved,
but my loving-kindness will not deviate concerning you and the covenant of my peace will not move says Yahweh who has compassion for you.
3e 4C 15
25
עֲנִיָּ֥ה סֹעֲרָ֖ה לֹ֣א נֻחָ֑מָה
הִנֵּ֨ה אָנֹכִ֜י מַרְבִּ֤יץ בַּפּוּךְ֙ אֲבָנַ֔יִךְ וִיסַדְתִּ֖יךְ בַּסַּפִּירִֽים
11 O afflicted, storm-tossed, without comfort,
behold I myself am laying your stones with antimony and your foundations with sapphires,
3e 4C 10
20
וְשַׂמְתִּ֤י כַּֽדְכֹד֙ שִׁמְשֹׁתַ֔יִךְ וּשְׁעָרַ֖יִךְ לְאַבְנֵ֣י אֶקְדָּ֑ח
וְכָל גְּבוּלֵ֖ךְ לְאַבְנֵי חֵֽפֶץ
12 And I will set up your battlements with ruby and your gates with stones of red garnet,
and all your borders with delightful gems.
3e 4C 18
10
וְכָל בָּנַ֖יִךְ לִמּוּדֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה
וְרַ֖ב שְׁל֥וֹם בָּנָֽיִךְ
13 Then all your children will be students of Yahweh,
and abundant will be the peace of your children.
3e 4B 10
7
בִּצְדָקָ֖ה תִּכּוֹנָ֑נִי
רַחֲקִ֤י מֵעֹ֙שֶׁק֙ כִּֽי לֹ֣א תִירָ֔אִי וּמִ֨מְּחִתָּ֔ה כִּ֥י לֹֽא תִקְרַ֖ב אֵלָֽיִךְ
14 In righteousness you will be established.
Be distant from oppression for you will not fear dislocation for it will not approach you.
3e 4C 7
22
הֵ֣ן גּ֥וֹר יָג֛וּר אֶ֖פֶס מֵֽאוֹתִ֑י
מִי גָ֥ר אִתָּ֖ךְ עָלַ֥יִךְ יִפּֽוֹל
15 B Lo, terror will terrorize but it is not from me.
Who terrorizes you? Against you he will fall.
3d 4B 9
9
הִנֵּ֤ה אָֽנֹכִי֙ בָּרָ֣אתִי חָרָ֔שׁ נֹפֵ֙חַ֙ בְּאֵ֣שׁ פֶּחָ֔ם וּמוֹצִ֥יא כְלִ֖י לְמַעֲשֵׂ֑הוּ
וְאָנֹכִ֛י בָּרָ֥אתִי מַשְׁחִ֖ית לְחַבֵּֽל
16 Behold, I myself created the smith that stokes hot coal in the fire and brings out an instrument that he is making,
but I myself created the destroying pangs.
3d 4C 27
12
כָּל כְּלִ֞י יוּצַ֤ר עָלַ֙יִךְ֙ לֹ֣א יִצְלָ֔ח וְכָל לָשׁ֛וֹן תָּֽקוּם אִתָּ֥ךְ לַמִּשְׁפָּ֖ט תַּרְשִׁ֑יעִי
זֹ֡את נַחֲלַת֩ עַבְדֵ֨י יְהוָ֧ה וְצִדְקָתָ֛ם מֵאִתִּ֖י נְאֻם יְהוָֽה
17 ~ All instruments fashioned against you will not prosper and every tongue arising against you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the inheritance of the servants of Yahweh and their righteousness is from me. An oracle of Yahweh.
3c 4C 25
19