Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Okay, nobody needs to like this but me, and I do like it. Further to last Sunday's lectionary psalm selection Psalm 112, finding out that we ought never read Psalm 112 without reading its twin Psalm 111, both acrostics, 111 about God and 112 about neighbor (put simplistically? maybe but I don't care), I went through Psalm 111 and sorted it out into its acrostic framework. Composition was dedicated work for the psalmist, forcing each line to begin with the next letter of the Hebrew alefbet while creating a poem that doesn't necessarily hold together as logically flowing Hebrew poetry, and seldom makes good English poetry, and never ever is discernible as acrostic in a translation outside the Hebrew; but meeting the rule nevertheless. 

Psalm 112 didn't initially jump out at me as an acrostic because it has ten verses, the disjointed poetry was my only clue in the English. Most of the psalms that are acrostics are easy to spot because they have 22 verses (the Hebrew alefbet has 22 letters). Some psalms are even more complicated and difficult from the psalmist's point of view: Psalm 119, for example, (BCP 763 through 778 and see http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt26b9.htm) is an acrostic poem of 22 verses of eight lines for each letter of the alefbet, each line of each eight-line verse beginning with the same letter sound, acrostically from א alef to תִּ tav, likely incredibly challenging for the psalmist poet -- and we have to give up on the quality of the poetry, but greatly admire the psalmist for his undertaking, determination and accomplishment as a gift to Adonai. Anyway, here's Psalm 111.

The letter in bold (א = 1) is the verse number. Unlike our English system with Arabic numerals, Hebrew has no separate numerals. Hebrew numbers use the alefbet, as do Greek numbers.

Then comes the Hebrew letter in English (Alef)

Then comes the Hebrew line of the psalm.

Then comes the English transliteration of the first Hebrew word, so I could perceive the acrostic letter and sound progressively through the acrostic psalm. But of course the translated English word is not acrostic.

Then comes the English transliteration of the Hebrew line.

Enjoy! I certainly did!! See, my sabbath isn't entirely pagan! 

No Hebrew knowledge on my part is claimed. I used the online mechon-mamre Hebrew-English Bible, and Jane's hint about the atnach (although in this case instead of karets they seemed to use semicolons and dashes). And I used an online Hebrew-English interlinear to check myself and to sound out the Hebrew word that begins each line acrostically.  Challenges to my work are invited and welcome, but unlike my struggle with Psalm 112, I'm fairly comfortable with this one.

Psalm 111 תְּהִלִּים

א  הַלְלוּ-יָהּ:
1 Hallelujah.

אוֹדֶה יְהוָה, בְּכָל-לֵבָב;
Aude: I shall    
I will give thanks unto the LORD with my whole heart,

בְּסוֹד יְשָׁרִים וְעֵדָה.
B.sud: in deliberation of
in the council of the upright, and in the congregation.

ב  גְּדֹלִים, מַעֲשֵׂי יְהוָה;
Gdlim: great ones
2 The works of the LORD are great,

דְּרוּשִׁים, לְכָל-חֶפְצֵיהֶם.
Drushim: ones being inquired
sought out of all them that have delight therein.

ג  הוֹד-וְהָדָר פָּעֳלוֹ;
Eud: splendor
3 His work is glory and majesty;

וְצִדְקָתוֹ, עֹמֶדֶת לָעַד.
Utzdqth.u: and righteousness of him
and His righteousness endureth for ever.

ד  זֵכֶר עָשָׂה, לְנִפְלְאוֹתָיו;
Zkr: remembrance
4 He hath made a memorial for His wonderful works;

חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם יְהוָה.
Chnun: gracious
the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

ה  טֶרֶף, נָתַן לִירֵאָיו;
Trph: prey
5 He hath given food unto them that fear Him;

יִזְכֹּר לְעוֹלָם בְּרִיתוֹ.
Izkr: he shall remember
He will ever be mindful of His covenant.

ו  כֹּחַ מַעֲשָׂיו, הִגִּיד לְעַמּוֹ—
Kch: vigor of
6 He hath declared to His people the power of His works,

 לָתֵת לָהֶם, נַחֲלַת גּוֹיִם.
Lthth: to to give of
in giving them the heritage of the nations.

ז  מַעֲשֵׂי יָדָיו, אֱמֶת וּמִשְׁפָּט;
Moshi: deeds of
7 The works of His hands are truth and justice;

נֶאֱמָנִים, כָּל-פִּקּוּדָיו.
Namin: ones being faithful
all His precepts are sure.

ח  סְמוּכִים לָעַד לְעוֹלָם;
Smukim: ones being supported
8 They are established for ever and ever,

עֲשׂוּיִם, בֶּאֱמֶת וְיָשָׁר.
Oshuim: ones being done
they are done in truth and uprightness.

ט  פְּדוּת, שָׁלַח לְעַמּוֹ—
Phduth: ransom
9 He hath sent redemption unto His people;

צִוָּה-לְעוֹלָם בְּרִיתוֹ;
Tzue: he instructed
He hath commanded His covenant for ever;

קָדוֹשׁ וְנוֹרָא    שְׁמוֹ.
Qdush: holy
Holy and awful is His name.

י  רֵאשִׁית חָכְמָה, יִרְאַת יְהוָה—
Rashith: beginning of
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;

שֵׂכֶל טוֹב, לְכָל-עֹשֵׂיהֶם;
Shkl: intelligence
a good understanding have all they that do thereafter;

תְּהִלָּתוֹ,    עֹמֶדֶת לָעַד.
Thelth.u: praise of him
His praise endureth for ever.

Most sabbatical mornings I'm trying to honor my birth year with a picture of a 1935 model car. Or truck. Most American, some English, some German, not sure, there may have been a Russian car. This fuzzy print is English, a 1935 Armstrong Siddeley

Ach du Lieber, keine Schokolade diese Morgen, einzig schwarz Kaffee, es ist Blut-Tag.

Monday sunset from 7H


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