Thursday, July 10, 2014

Psalm 138 verses 1-4

Psalm 138 opens with an acknowledgment of God's omnipotence.

Dómine, probásti me, et cognovísti me: * tu cognovísti sessiónem meam, et resurrectiónem meam.
Domine, scrutatus es et cognovisti me, tu cognovisti sessionem meam et resurrectionem meam.
Domine, inuestigasti me, et cognouisti. Tu cognouisti sessionem meam et resurrectionem meam, 

κύριε δοκίμασάς με κα γνως με σ γνως τν καθέδραν μου κα τν γερσίν μου 

Domine (O Lord) probasti (you have examined)  me (me) et (and) cognovisti (you have known) me (me) tu (you) cognovisti (you have known) sessionem (the sitting) meam (my) et (and) resurrectionem meam.

Britt suggests that sessiónem meam, et resurrectiónem meam can be interpreted as 'my every act, my whole life'.

probo, avi, atum, are to try, to test, prove, examine; to search, prove
cognosco, gnovi, gnitum, ere 3, to know, see, learn, perceive, be come acquainted with
sessio  onis f a sitting, the act of sitting
resurrectio onis f  resurrection, rising again from the dead

Lord, thou hast proved me, and known me:  Thou hast know my sitting down, and my rising up
O Lord, thou hast proved me, and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine up-rising
O Lord thou searchest me through and through and knowest me, Thou knowest my sitting down and my rising up
Lord, thou hast searched me out, and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting, and mine up-rising
Lord, I lie open to thy scrutiny; thou knowest me, knowest when sit down and when I rise up again,
O Lord, you search me and you know me, you know my resting and my rising,

This verse can be interpreted both as Christ's words, and in our own voice.  As a reference to Christ, the second half of the verse plainly refers to the Passion and Resurrection, and is used as such in the Introit for the Mass of Easter Sunday.  Cassiodorus explains the first half of the verse as follows:

With the invocation Lord, Christ Jesus cries to the Father in His role as servant. The Father proved Him in the sense that He made manifest His humility, when He consented to be baptized by John though He was without sin. He was not a sinner; rather He undertook the healing of sinners. As the prophet says: He has borne our sins and carried our infirmities. The Father has known Him, in other words, made Him plain when He said: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.  He means "Hear Him saying I and the Father are one".

As for us, Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Intellexísti cogitatiónes meas de longe: * sémitam meam, et funículum meum investigásti.
Intellexisti cogitationes meas de longe, semitam meam et accubitum meum investigasti.
Old Roman
intellexisti cogitationes meas a longe semitam meam et directionem meam investigasti 
intellexisti malum meum de longe.  Semitam meam et accubitionem meam euentilasti,

σ συνκας τος διαλογισμούς μου π μακρόθεν τν τρίβον μου κα τν σχονόν μου σ ξιχνίασας 

Intellexisti (you have understood) cogitationes (the thoughts) meas (my) de (from) longe  (far off) semitam (the path) meam (my) et (and) funiculum (the cord) meum (my) investigasti (you have searced out)

Funiculus is obscure. Lewis and Short give its meaning as 'a slender rope, a cord', and as well as classical sources, cite Exodus 35: 18.  Britt suggests that by meton the word is sometimes used to refer to what is measured out by the cord, and consistent with this, the New English Translation from the Septuagint renders the Greek as 'my path and my miles you tracked', ie 'the miles I travelled'.  However, a number of Latin alternatives to funiculum exist in various translations: St Augustine uses limitem (limit), to render the phrase ' You have tracked out my path and my limit'; while the old Roman text uses directionem.  Other translations (even those purporting to translate the Vulgate) simply follow the Hebrew (reflected in the neo-Vulgate accubitum) here.

intelligo, lexi, lectum, ere 3  understand, give heed to something, to consider
cogitatio, onis, f. thoughts, plans, designs; evil plans or devices; the deep plans or thoughts of God.
longe, adv. far off, at a distance; as a substantive with a and de, afar off, from afar.
semita, ae, f, a path, way; course of life, action, conduct, or procedure.
funiculus i m 1.  measuring line or cord; by meton, estate, inheritance; 2. [following the Hebrew] bed, resting place
investigo are avi atum go, search out

Thou hast understood my thoughts afar off: my path and my line thou hast searched out.
thou understandest my thoughts long before. Thou hast traced my path and my bed,
Thou understandest my thoughts from afar Thou observest my going and my resting
thou discernest my thoughts from afar. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down,
thou understandest my thoughts long before. Thou art about my path, and about my bed,
canst read my thoughts from far away. Walk I or sleep I, thou canst tell;
you discern my purpose from afar. You mark when I walk or lie down, all my ways lie open to you.

St Benedict uses this verse to explain the first degree of humility:

The first degree of humility, then, is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
and beware of ever forgetting it...This is what the Prophet shows us when he represents God as ever present within our thoughts, in the words "Searcher of minds and hearts is God" and again in the words "The Lord knows the thoughts of men". Again he says, "You have read my thoughts from afar" and "The thoughts of people will confess to You".

Et omnes vias meas prævidísti: * quia non est sermo in lingua mea.
Et omnes vias meas perspexisti, quia nondum est sermo in lingua mea,.
et omnes uias meas intellexisti :  quia non est eloquium in lingua mea.

κα πάσας τς δούς μου προεδες τι οκ στιν λόγος ν γλώσσ μου

et (and) omnes (all) vias (the ways) meas (my) prævidisti (you have foreseen) quia (for/because) non (not) est (he is) sermo (the word/speech)  in (on) lingua (the tongue) mea (my).

via, ae, a way, road, path, street. God's way, God's policy, way of life
praevideo ere vidi visum, to foresee, foreknow
sermo, onis, m. words; a command, edict word, speech, saying, discourse;  scheme, plan, proposal
lingua, ae, f., the tongue; language, speech, tongue; plan, council

And thou hast foreseen all my ways: for there is no speech in my tongue.
and hast foreseen all my ways. For there is no unrighteous word in my tongue:
And thou forseest all my ways, not even a word is upon my tongue
and spiest out all my ways. For lo, there is not a word in my tongue,
Before ever a word is on my tongue you know it, O Lord, through and through.

Ecce, Dómine, tu cognovísti ómnia novíssima, et antíqua: * tu formásti me, et posuísti super me manum tuam.
et ecce, Domine, tu novisti omnia A tergo et a fronte coartasti me et posuisti super me manum tuam.
Ecce, Domine, nosti omnia : retrorsum et ante formasti me,  et posuisti super me manum tuam. 

δού κύριε σ γνως πάντα τ σχατα κα τ ρχαα σ πλασάς με κα θηκας π' μ τν χερά σου

Ecce (behold), Domine (O Lord) tu (you) cognovisti (you have known) omnia (all) novissima (the newest/the end) et (and) antiqua (old) Tu (you) formasti (you have formed) me (me) et (and) posuisti (you have placed/laid) super (over) me manum (the hand) tuam (your)

The Greek here arguably describes the things God knows as 'the first and the last'; 'novissima' (on the face of it the superlative of novus, or new) works as this meaning, and has to be strained to translate it as 'the last' as the Douay-Rheims does.  The received Hebrew, however, reflected in the neo-Vulgate, is a little different, suggesting 'before and after'

cognosco, gnovi, gnitum, ere 3, to know, see, learn, perceive, be come acquainted with.
novus, a, um,  new; novissimus a um (substantive) the end, final lot
antiquus, a, um old, ancient
formo are avi atum to give shape to something, to form or fashion
pono, posui, itum, ere 3,  to put, place, lay, set.
manus, us, f, the hand

Behold, O Lord, thou hast known all things, the last and those of old: thou hast formed me, and hast laid thy hand upon me.
behold, O Lord, thou hast known all things, the last and the first: thou hast fashioned me, and laid thine hand upon me.
Behold, O Lord, Thou knowest all, both new and old, thou hast fashioned me and laid Thy hand upon me
lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me.
but thou, O Lord, knowest it altogether. Thou hast fashioned me behind and before, and laid
thine hand upon me.
all my thought is known to thee; rearguard and vanguard, thou dost compass me about, thy hand still laid upon me.
Behind and before you besiege me, your hand ever laid upon me.

Psalm 138/1 – Domine probasti me
Vulgate (Numbering follows psalmody)
Douay-Rheims (numbering follows DR)
In finem, psalmus David.
Unto the end, a psalm of David.
Dómine, probásti me, et cognovísti me: * tu cognovísti sessiónem meam, et resurrectiónem meam.
1 Lord, you have proved me, and known me: 2 You have known my sitting down, and my rising up.
2  Intellexísti cogitatiónes meas de longe: * sémitam meam, et funículum meum investigásti.
You have understood my thoughts afar off: my path and my line you have searched out.
3  Et omnes vias meas prævidísti: * quia non est sermo in lingua mea.
4 And you have foreseen all my ways: for there is no speech in my tongue.
4  Ecce, Dómine, tu cognovísti ómnia novíssima, et antíqua: * tu formásti me, et posuísti super me manum tuam.
5 Behold, O Lord, you have known all things, the last and those of old: you have formed me, and have laid your hand upon me.
5  Mirábilis facta est sciéntia tua ex me: * confortáta est, et non pótero ad eam.
6 Your knowledge has become wonderful to me: it is high, and I cannot reach to it
6  Quo ibo a spíritu tuo? * et quo a fácie tua fúgiam?
7 Whither shall I go from your spirit? Or whither shall I flee from your face?
7  Si ascéndero in cælum, tu illic es: * si descéndero in inférnum, ades.
8 If I ascend into heaven, you are there: if I descend into hell, you are present.
8  Si súmpsero pennas meas dilúculo, * et habitávero in extrémis maris.
9 If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea:
9  Etenim illuc manus tua dedúcet me: * et tenébit me déxtera tua.
10 Even there also shall your hand lead me: and your right hand shall hold me.

You can find the next set of notes on this psalm here.

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