Psal. 24 notes


כִּי־הוּא עַל־יַמִּים יְסָדָהּ וְעַל־נְהָרֹות יְכֹונְנֶהָ׃   24:2

Psal. 24:2   For He founded it upon the seas,

                              and upon the floods He shall establish it.

Every bible I’ve examined (some 20 of them) has, for the second part of the translation, something like and established it upon the floods, instead of the translation I have.  I humbly submit that they are all in error, because the last word in the second line is clearly imperfect and should be translated as a future event.  Some may argue that the poetry makes necessary the “error” in tense.  Others may claim this is an example of an imperfect tense to be considered as a prophetic tense, which might be interpreted to be that of a past event.  I disagree with both of these ideas.  As I’ve translated the bible, I have always assumed that every Hebrew concept in it is accurately described, because the scribes were so divinely inspired that they meant what they wrote and took no liberties with their sacred messages.  As further response to the first argument, I claim that David could have used any of several perfect-tense words to denote that the Lord had established it (the earth), which would have left the poetry intact, i.e., echoed the yad-sound of the fifth word, the other verb in the verse.  As for the second argument, which is about the prophetic tense, normally a perfect tense verb is considered a prophetic tense form and is understood to be describing a future event, not the other way around, as in this case.  Enough said about this.

So if I’m correct, what might be the meaning of my translation?  For one, it could indeed be sort of prophetic in a strange way.  David could have projected the idea of the founding (creation?) of the world back to the time of that event, back to Genesis 1.  In that case the flood would be in the future.  This is a fairly reasonable interpretation, but it would be unique to this verse; the same concept does not seem to occur elsewhere in the bible, certainly not in the Psalms.  Another possibility is that there will be additional floods in the future, that is, after David’s time.  But the Lord has promised no more total destruction by a flood (remember Gene. 9:11?).  The only other interpretation I can conceive of is that the term for floods can mean many minor ones that would occur in the future and would help to reshape parts of the earth.  Thus the establishment of the earth is not complete until there are no more little floods.  Do you have any additional ideas?