Re: Night and Day

Date: Wed Feb 09 2000 - 11:47:02 EST

In a message dated 02/08/2000 1:22:21 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

>I show that this is the only instance in the Psalms where hHMERA is used in
>the dative, without the preposition EN. So there is no other instance of the
>dative to compare, here. Do you have a list of examples that I might
>consider, where the normal way about which you speak, is expressed?

>>>I'm not altogether sure what you mean to say here, Greg; is it that you
think hHMERAi is a locative dative without EN? and that the translator of
the Hebrew into Greek may somehow have understood L'YOM in a locative
sense? Or are you trying to understand hHMERAi in an instrumental
sense--that night cries out aloud "by means of night" and day speaks "by
means of day"? I don't understand what that means. <<<

No, that is not what I had in mind, but I do believe this is a possible
sense. The "day [firmament]" speaks by means of day, and the "night
[firmament]" gives forth knowledge by night. The main difference between you
and I, as I see it, is that I cannot see how one day/night can speak/give
knowledge to another, successive day/night, which is, as I said before, the
concept associated with Bart's suggested translation. I am attempting to
translate the words in accordance with the context to which they belong (as I
am sure you are, too), which, to me, seems quite clearly to suggest that the
heavens (both the day and night firmaments) declare God's glory **to

I had not considered the Hebrew text at all, to this point, per Bart's
suggestion. It is not necessary to do so, either, for the sense of the LXX
often differs from that of the MT, as I am sure you well know.

>>>If by the translation you've offered you mean "day by day" and "night by
night" to refer to
rhythmic alternation, I might come closer to agreeing with you, but it
appears you mean to give hHMERAi and NUKTI some locative or instrumental
sense, neither of which seems to me to suit the context. <<<

This is, in fact, closer to what I meant, but I can also see how an
instrumental sense fits with the context. Whatever the case, any translation
which suggests that the impersonal days/nights speak to days/nights which
follow, proclaiming to each other the same words and knowledge, does not seem
to fit with the context (see below regarding your example).

>>> You're right--this is the only instance of hHMERAi in the dative without a
preposition; does that mean that it really is locative but wanting the
preposition? I don't find but six instances of EREUGOMAI, most of them used
for the roaring of a lion, once of waters roaring (the word does mean
fundamentally come violently forth from the mouth, "belch"--it's the Latin
ERUCTARE). In Matt 13:35 (the only instance in the GNT) it is used of
utterance (ANOIXW TO STOMA ... EREUXOMAI TA KEKRUMMENA ...); but in the
parallel clause about night the verb is ANAGGELLW a verb used more than
250x in the LXXX and regularly with a dative of the person to whom an
announcement or proclamation is spoken. <<<

Well, that's just it: I believe in each case it is a person to whom
words/pronouncements are spoken, which I believe fits with my suggested
translation/meaning. I have searched all of the LXX, the OT Pseudepigrapha,
and the writings of Josephus, and have not found one example that parallels
our subject text.

>I do not believe that we must accept that the LXX of Psalm 19:2 is using the
>terms 'normally,' in any event. The LXX Psalms often uses what might seem to
>be unusual expressions that fit in with the unique concepts and ideas as
>articulated in a particular context.

>>>I will readily grant that there are some strange Greek expressions in the
lyric verse of the LXX, but I don't understand why we should abandon an
understanding based on normal grammar when it will work, and I think that
the poetic notion involved in the verse in question is intelligible enough
once one is willing to attribute to the elements of the creation poetic
license to dialog with each other antiphonally. <<<<

It is possible, but I find it highly unlikely and not at all suited to the
context. If you could further elaborate on this dialog, showing its
suitability to the context, I think this might help. Also, again, I am not
convinced we are dealing with a normal grammatical situation, here. Again, if
you could provide examples that parallel the grammar of this text, that you
believe place this verse in a normal category of grammar, then I would be
willing to give your suggestion further consideration.

>>>How relevant this is I
don't know, but I've just re-read the "Prolog im Himmel" at the beginning
of Faust, where the angels are singing to each other about the glory of the
created world; Raphael sings:
    Die Sonne toent nach alter Weise
    in Brudersphaeren Wettgesang,
    Und ihre vorgeschriebene Reise
    Vollendet sie mit Donnergang.
to which Gabriel has a reply, and then Michael ends with:
    ... Doch deine Boten, Herr, verehren
    Das sanfte Wandeln deines Tags.
Are the "messengers" (Boten) the angels who stand in awe of "the gentle
alternation of thy Day"? It seems to me that they are responding to the
message that they hear proclaimed by the chorus of created things. Of
course this is no evidence for what the Psalmist meant by 19:2, but it
shows that the notion of an antiphonal song sung by the elements of God's
creation singing in turn to each other is not really so far-fetched. <<<

In your example, though, you do not have the same impersonal elements of
God's creation proclaiming something to themselves, directly. It seems to me
that your/Bart's suggestion involves the speaking/giving knowledge of
day/night to days/nights that have not yet arrived (that would have to be the
case, since there can only be one day and night at a time). Again, I just do
not see how this fits the context of Psalm 19, or how it makes sense on any
level, for that matter.

Greg Stafford

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