Thijs Booij, «A Circumstantial Clause in Psalm 99,4», Vol. 94 (2013) 100-106
In Psalm 99,4 the first stich is a circumstantial clause expressing causality relative to the clause following it. Verse 4 means to say that YHWH's royal power is exercised in establishing justice, as is shown by his acts in Israel. A syntax identical with that of the first line in Ps 99,4 can be found in Gen 50,20; Ezek 2,4a; Hab 1,10; Ps 40,18a.
See more by the same author
A CIRCUMSTANTIAL CLAUSE IN PSALM 99,4
In its different forms this interpretation, while trying to do justice to the
introductory w, runs counter to the structure of the poem. Psalm 99 is logi-
cally divided into two stanzas. The first stanza honours YHWH as the uni-
versal king (vv. 1-3), who brings about justice and righteousness in Israel
(v. 4). The second stanza mentions YHWHâ€™s goodness and severity toward
those of his servants who were granted close communication with him (vv.
6-8). In vv. 5 and 9 the stanzas are concluded by a varying refrain. The call
awh vwdq (v. 3b) announces this refrain, thereby concluding the first of two
strophes. So v. 4a must be the opening of a unit.
Some authors, taking bha jpvm as a relative clause to $lm, consider
$lm z[ to be the object of tnnwk in the second stich. The noun ~yrvym
may now be understood as an adjunct (cf. Ps 58,2; 75,3; Cant 1,4):
Und eines KÃ¶nigs Gewalt, der das Recht liebt,
Hast Du festgestellt in Geradsinnigkeit; [â€¦] 5.
Or ~yrvym is taken as an object of tyf[:
Thou doest establish the strength of a king, who loveth judgement,
Thou executest equity, judgement and righteousness in Jacob 6.
This type of interpretation can hardly be right. It is doubtful whether z[
(â€˜strengthâ€™) may be an object of !wk pol. (â€˜establishâ€™). In the proposed read-
ing, moreover, the mention of â€˜a kingâ€™ is problematic. If the $lm were the
Judean ruler 7, the first line of v. 4 would be, in this song for YHWH as a king,
a somewhat isolated element. If the reference were to YHWH 8, the phrasing
â€œthe strength of a king...â€ would be curious by its indirectness.
It has been suggested that v. 4a is in apposition to the statement of the
Und die StÃ¤rke eines KÃ¶nigs, der das Recht liebt:
befestigt hast du gerechte Ordnung [â€¦] 9.
From a syntactic point of view, this reading seems rather strained. In
addition, z[ characterizing an action would be unusual.
F. DELITZSCH, Biblischer Commentar Ã¼ber die Psalmen (Leipzig 41883)
662; also J. RIDDERBOS, De Psalmen. Vertaald en verklaard (COT; Kampen
1955-1958) II, 454.
B.D. EERDMANS, The Hebrew Book of Psalms (OTS IV; Leiden 1947) 452.
DELITZSCH, Psalmen, 663: â€œEs ist das theokratische KÃ¶nigtum gemeintâ€.
Thus RIDDERBOS, Psalmen II, 456.
F. HITZIG, Die Psalmen. Uebersetzt und ausgelegt (Leipzig 1863-1865)
Â© Gregorian Biblical Press 2012 - Tutti i diritti riservati