Psal. 11 notes


לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד בַּיהוָה חָסִיתִי אֵיךְ תֹּאמְרוּ לְנַפְשִׁי (נוּדוּ) [נוּדִי] הַרְכֶם צִפֹּור׃   11:1

Psal. 11:1   For David's leader.

                      I trust in the Lord.

                              What can You say to my soul,

                      “Flee your mountain, bird?”

The error indication and its correction in this verse are rather strange.  But the verse (particularly the words

corresponding to the last two English lines) is even more strange.  First, let’s consider the error indication.  The

word in parentheses, the word following it (not the one in the brackets), and the last word comprise the question

translated in the last English line.  Now the first of these words (flee) is masculine plural, the second (your

mountain) has a masculine plural pronoun suffix, and the third word is feminine singular.  I would imagine the first

and second words would ordinarily be considered in error.  But no, only the first word is singled out.  Strange

indeed!  The correction (in the brackets) of the first word makes it feminine singular to match the third word,

bird.  I would like to accept the experts’ decision, but if they are right, the second word, having a plural suffix,

should also be considered to be in error.  Otherwise, the third word itself should be corrected to be masculine plural.

The correction I would make would be that made to the first word, and I would also change the next word to have a

feminine singular second-person pronoun suffix


But before we conclude the discussion of the error and it correction, let‘s consider the last two lines of this verse:

The third English line says “What can You say to my soul?”  As I read this, I imagine David is addressing the Lord,

in Whom he trusts.  The fourth line is David’s imagining the Lord’s answer. That’s why I interpret the answer as a

question (in David’s mind).  He imagines that God might say to David’s soul, “Flee the mountain, bird?”  That

makes the most sense to me.  So according to that, both the first and second Hebrew words of those

corresponding to the last English line, would be in error.  They should be feminine singular, as soul and bird

are both feminine singular.  So what’s going on here?

Well, there’s an alternative interpretation possible.  Can it be that in David’s imagination the Lord is addressing

David and his soul with the first two words, and only his soul with the third?  Yes, that a definite possibility.  Then

the first word should be masculine plural, the second word should have a masculine plural suffix, and the third word

should be feminine singular, which is precisely what they are.  For me that’s the preferable conclusion.  So as far

as I am concerned, there probably is no error at all in this verse.


Then finally, what do the words flee your mountain mean?  I have to presume from them that David may be holed

up somewhere in or on a mountain, and David is questioning whether the Lord is telling him to leave his hiding



This for me makes the most sense out of this verse.