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.
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102 TH. BOOIJ
Finally, v. 4a is taken as an independent clause. It may be read then as
a nominal clause with bha jpvm as its subject:
Und die StÃ¤rke eines KÃ¶nigs ist, daÃŸ er Rechtsnorm liebt: [â€¦] 10.
Or jpvm alone is considered to be the subject, with bha as a relative clause:
Und / Aber eines KÃ¶nigs Macht ist (das) Recht, das er liebt: [â€¦] 11.
In principle, these readings are possible. However, in the former read-
ing the supposed type of clause would be â€œvery rareâ€ 12, while in the latter
the supposed relative clause, though not impossible 13, would be very
terse. The remaining option is to take v. 4a as a verbal clause:
Und die StÃ¤rke des KÃ¶nigs liebt das Recht [â€¦]14.
This reading is already found in the Septuagint 15 and is certainly mean-
ingful. A concept (quality), personified, can indeed be the subject of actions
and states (for bha cf. Prov 8,17), even when it is linked to a person (see
Isa 58,8b; Ps 40,13aÎ²; 43,3). As for the notion â€œloveâ€, it may stand for
â€œchooseâ€, â€œaim atâ€, or â€œput effort intoâ€ (cf. bha in Am 5,15; Ps 109,17).
So v. 4a appears to be about a king worthy of the name, a king whose
â€œstrengthâ€ is exercised in establishing justice. Questions, however, remain.
Why in v. 4 does the first stich open with w? Why has the second stich no
element clarifying the relation between v. 4a and the rest of the verse?
E. KÃ–NIG, Die Psalmen. Eingeleitet, Ã¼bersetzt und erklÃ¤rt (GÃ¼tersloh
1927) 227. See also, e.g., A. MAILLOT â€“ A. LELIÃˆVRE, Les Psaumes. Traduc-
tion nouvelle et commentaire (GenÃ¨ve 1961-1969) II, 287; SCORALICK, Tris-
F.L. HOSSFELD â€“ E. ZENGER, Psalmen 51-100. Ãœbersetzt und ausgelegt
(HTKAT; Freiburg i.B. 2000) 691.
P. JOÃœON â€“ T. MURAOKA, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (Rome 1991)
Â§ 157a sub I.
See W. GESENIUS â€“ E. KAUTZSCH, HebrÃ¤ische Grammatik (Leipzig
1909) Â§ 155h; JOÃœON â€“ MURAOKA, Grammar, Â§ 158c.
H. HUPFELD, Die Psalmen. Ãœbersetzt und ausgelegt. FÃ¼r die 3. Aufl. be-
arbeitet von W. NOWACK (Gotha 1888) II, 408. Revised English Bible: â€œThe
King in his might loves justiceâ€.
There Ï„Î¹Âµá½´ Î²Î±ÏƒÎ¹Î»á½³Ï‰Ï‚, â€œa kingâ€™s honourâ€.
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