DAVID THE PIOUS 2Sam 7:18-29

            CONTEXT: In a lengthy prayer, apparently in respons to Nathan’s words on the deity’s behalf, David addresses God by a phrase uncommon in Tanach: Adonai YHVH, frequently rendered “O Lord God.”  Adonai  here is spelled out: אדני.  Generally where a translation reads “Lord,” the Hebrew original is YHVH, the not to be pronounced name for which we are permitted to substitute “Yahh.” The Masorites, 8th century text scholars/editors who introduced vowel points to standardize readings, pointed the name with the vowels for Adonai which means “my lord/master,” in plural form with first person singular possessive pronoun. The plural form parallels the generic word for “God,” Elohim. By convention in Tanach, when YHVH follows, rather than precedes, another word in the phrase, the Masorites pointed it with the vowels for Elohim rather than the more common Adonai. In its unpointed original, the prayer opens: “my lord, Yahh . . .”
            The Hebrew text for these verses does not appear in verse form and there is little of the parallelism found in classic Tanach poetry. Still the lines come across to me as poetic and so I present them in translation.
            Note the variant readings, inserted in {}, from 1 Chronicles. In particular, v. 23 follows the version in 1Ch 12:21. This translations has further emendations as suggested by Moshe Tsvi Segal, 1956.
            GLOSSARY: Torah, תורה, is a complex word indeed, meaning “revelation,” “teaching,” “rules,” and, later,  referring to the Pentateuch. In v. 19 the word suggests “revealed description.” The text, however may be corrupt and the Chronicles version, dividing the consonants into different words, may be the correct reading. The Septuagint sees it as “law,” the common translation into Greek. The Vulgate goes further, translating: lex Adam, linking to the creation story.

            18David the king came and sat before Yahh and said:
“Who am I my lord Yahh? And who is my house, that you have brought me to this point?
   19And this being yet a small matter in your eyes, my lord Yahh,
      You speak also of your servant’s house in a distant time.
      Thus torah for a person, my lord Yahh? {You have considered me as high born  1Ch 17:17}
20What might David add in speaking to you?
   For you recognized your servant, my lord Yahh.  {You honored your servant . . . 1Ch 17:18}
   21For your word and your thinking you have done all this greatness,
      To inform your servant.
22Thus you are great, my lord Yahh,
   For there is none like you and no god but you
      In all we have heard with our ears.
23And who is like your people Yisrael? A singular nation on earth!
  Whom a god went to redeem for himself as a people,
        To make a name for him,
          To do for them great and awesome things
            To drive out before his people
            (Whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt)
              Nations, each with its gods.
24You set for yourself your people Yisrael
   As a people for you forever.
     And you, Yahh, became for them God.
25And now, Yahh God,
   The word you spoke of your servant and of his house,
     Establish it forever
        And do as you spoke.
26And be your name great forever:
   Yahh of hosts is God over Yisrael!
     And the house of your servant, David, be it firm before you.
27For you, Yahh of hosts, God of Yisrael,
   Revealed to Your servant’s ear:
For this your servant found heart to pray to you this prayer.
28And now, my lord Yahh, you are the god.
    Be your words truth as you speak to your servant this good.
29And now get on with blessing your servant’s house to be eternally before you
   For you, my lord Yahh, have spoken
      And of your blessing is your servant’s house eternally blessed.”

©Rabbi David L. Kline http://good-to-be-a-jew.blogspot.com/

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