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Psalm 110 - Best Translation.

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King David's Ultimate Puzzle.

psalm-110-best-translation

Where Translations Fail.

In terms of the Hebrew, the task of translating this one should be relatively simple since the vocabulary is comparatively easy, with only three words possessing any relevant double meaning. Unfortunately the context of this Psalm needs to be well understood, and additionally the structure at times.


Rashi's rabbinic translation made use of a lesser known Hebrew word, a form of mishchar, which becomes mishcaren, meaning, to fall, citing Bab. Talmud, Seder Moed, Beitzah35b which contains a further variant of this spelling. His theological focus was upon the connection between the mysterious figure, King-of Righteousness, a priest who met with Abraham (then Ab-raam), a fellow who was due a gift, for Ab-raam gave one-tenth of all unto him (Gen.14:20). He who is due a gift, Shiloh (Gen.49:10), is derived from the closing verses of Psalm 76, which pertain directly to Ps.110:5, for in these verses, He is the one to be feared, and in that verse, he is the one to be feared. This is why it is written that Moses is elohim (Ex.7:1), for even the greatest king, Pharaoh, shall fear him, and this is, in essence, an idiom, declaring that Moses is the Right-Hand of God (Isa.63:12). This is why it is written: A prophet I shall raise up to them from amongst their brethren, like thee... (Deut.18:18), for which of the other succeeding prophets was declared as elohim?


Let us consider the issues of translating biblical Hebrew texts. Some have described the language of the Mosaic Torah as somewhat agricultural, not that it is without its challenges, but the sophisticated prose and poetry of certain prophets come under their own unique category, perhaps like Qur'anic Arabic, or even more so. Rabbi Mordecai Schreiber has made the following observation concerning the translation of "Deutero-Isaiah" (Isa.53:1-7): The Hebrew original is extremely difficult to decipher, full of poetic terms that are barely intelligible. Extant translations - both Jewish and non - are mostly guesswork. The following is my attempt at going a step beyond those translations in light of my understanding... ("The Man Who Knew God: Decoding Jeremiah" , Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Maryland, USA, 2010, p.170).


Amongst Christian scholars, Psalm 110 is read as a Messianic proof text. Amongst Jews it is merely another component of the Davidic Temple Liturgy. Mohammadeans don't believe in the Psalms, even this one, being one of several which are given in brief, or prophetic form, or merely alluded to in the Qur'an, even though their scholars acknowledge the problem, vis-a-vis the incident in Judges 7, at the water, when the Recitation is speaking of Saul, Samuel, and David.

Psalm 110 - A Far Better Translation.

  1. A psalm to David: Yehovah said to adoni, "(Sit) to my right hand, (wait) until I shall set your enemies as your footstool."
  2. The rod of your strength, Yehovah shall send out from Zion. You rule in the midst of your enemies.
  3. Your people (abound), (volunteering-spontaneously) in the day of your display of military strength, in majesty of-holiness, (mercy) (from-[the-]womb), (as-a-descent) (of-dawn), as-a-dew, is-thy-bringing-forth.
  4. Yehovah has sworn, and will not repent, "You are Priest for all time, on My Word, Meleki-Tsadek!"
  5. Adonay on Your right hand, he shall crush kings in [the] day of His anger.
  6. He shall judge among the nations, he shall fill with bodies and crush heads, over a vast-swathe of land.
  7. In [the] way he shall drink from a stream, accordingly he shall hold his head high.


Cross-References:

  1. My lord - adoni - Gen.23:6.
  2. Ps.2:9, 6.
  3. Isa.6:8, 11:1-2, 26:19, Bab. Talmud, Kethuboth111b - "He who makes use of the light of Torah, the light of Torah shall revive...", Mic.5:1(2)-2(3), (6)7, Surah19:23-33. cf. Ps.89:42(43)-43(44); you were not willing to stand with him in battle.
  4. Num.23:19, 1Sam.15:29, Hos.11:9, Ps.89:13(14), 34(35)-35(36), Gen.14:18-20, 2Sam.8:18. On My Word, or legal precedent. ...Meleki-Tsadek is, to Yehovah, My-King of Righteousness (cf. Ps.89:18(19) - Yehovah...our King).
  5. My Great-Lord - Adonay. For Moses was god to Pharaoh – Ex.7:1, this is a unique idiom, meaning, you are to be acting as The Strong-Hand of God upon those who challenge His rule, Isa.42:6. Cf. Ps.89:23(24).
  6. Nations - goyim, Gen.15:14, Ex.14:30, Ps.72:8, Hab.3:12-14, cf. Ps.89:27(28).
  7. Judges7:2-7, 1Sam.14:24, Ps.2, 78:65, Isa.40:27-31, 63:1-6, Surah2:247-251.

Pharisaic Versus Messianic Interpretations.

Rashi's classic rabbinical interpretation attributes this Psalm to Abraham (https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16331#showrashi=true).


Rabbi Federow attributes this Psalm to David, in accordance with the Pharisaic three verse rule (What Jews Believe, Ten Christian Prooftexts...#8 Psalm 110:1, Rabbi Stuart Federow, 2012, http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org/prooftext8ps1101.html). It is not presently clear to me whether he has based his conclusions on the ancient Targums.


There has always been an association between Messiah and Ps.110 since the early Netzerim movement and Matthew's collection of sayings (Matt.22:41-46).

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