Psal. 41 notes


יְהוָה יִשְׁמְרֵהוּ וִיחַיֵּהוּ (יֶאְשֹּׁר) [וְאֻשַּׁר] בָּאָרֶץ וְאַל־תִּתְּנֵהוּ בְּנֶפֶשׁ אֹיְבָיו׃   41:3

Psal. 41:3   The Lord shall preserve him and keep him alive;

                               he will be called blessed in the land,

                      and You will not deliver him to the passion of his enemies.

The word in the parentheses is assumed to be misspelled; presumably it should have a vav in place of the yad, as shown in the “correction” in the brackets.  I’m saddened by such seemingly trivial concerns by the scholars and sages.  The difficulty for me in understanding the “error” is embodied in the following explanation.  The word as it stands is in the imperfect tense.  Replacing the yad with the vav would simply add the word “and” to the second English line of the verse.  Spelled with the vav prefix, the word now becomes perfect, but the added vav is inverting,  so it changes the tense back to the imperfect.  Thus to take the correction into account, the translation of verse would have to be changed as follows:

                      Let the Lord preserve him and keep him alive,

                              and let him be called blessed in the land,

                      and ....

As you can see some of the significance of the verse has been altered.  Actually the latter translation causes this verse to appear a bit awkward following v. 2, which is also a more positive affirmation of the Lord’s deliverance.  My translation of v. 3 follows v. 2 more consistently.

In truth, the verse reads perfectly fine with either the yad or the vav.  However, I believe the verse reads better without the “correction,” because the translation exhibits assurance in the first line that the Lord will help. This positive attitude comes through in much of the rest of the psalm too.  The “correction” makes the first line more of a plea in the absence of assurance, which seems inconsistent with much of the remainder of the psalm.  Thus I see no reason for the “correction.”