Having closely examined the original text, Mitchell Dahood has attempted a unique translation which relies heavily on contemporary linguistic evidence. His work stresses the relation of the Psalms to the Ugaritic texts found at Ras-Shamra, and to other epigraphic discoveries along the Phoenician littoral.
This translation tries to capture as much as possible—within the limits of language and the scope of present scholarship—the poetic qualities of the original Hebrew. It attempts to render accurately not only the meaning of the Psalms but their poetic forms and rhythms as well. It is particularly responsive to the terse, three-beat metrical line predominant in Hebrew poetry, and it reproduces the parallelism so characteristic of biblical verse. In this process of probing the original, Mitchell Dahood unearths some striking examples of passages previously mistranslated, and arrives at many provocative readings.
In addition to an introduction, text, and notes, this volume contains a comprehensive grammar of the Psalter which makes use of much of Mitchell Dahood’s recent work with Ugaritic.
Logos Bible Software gives you the tools you need to use this volume effectively and efficiently. With your digital library, you can search for verses, find Scripture references and citations instantly, and perform word studies. Along with your English translations, all Scripture passages are linked to Greek and Hebrew texts. What’s more, hovering over a Scripture reference will instantly display your verse! The advanced tools in your digital library free you to dig deeper into one of the most important contributions to biblical scholarship in the past century!
“The present writer shared this evaluation until a careful analysis of the Hebrew text revealed, in verse after verse, a freshness of thought and a felicity of expression unnoticed and consequently unappreciated in earlier versions.” (Page 172)
“Since ‘tears’ symbolize death and ‘shouts of joy’ resurrection (e.g., Ps 30:6, ‘In the evening one falls asleep crying, but at dawn there are shouts of joy’), the poet, by contrasting in the second stanza dimʿāh, ‘tears,’ and bākōh, ‘weeping,’ with rinnāh, ‘shouts of joy,’ seems to hint at a resurrection which will follow the present sorrow.” (Page 218)
“Current scholarship tends to assign a late date of composition to this psalm, but the view that the psalm was composed for a ruler—even, perhaps, a Davidic king who stood in special relation to God’s law (cf. Deut 17:18 ff; Ps 40:6–8)—does not seem improbable. Numerous poetic usages that were rarely employed in the post-Exilic period have been uncovered in the poem. These strongly favor a pre-Exilic date of composition. The period of the Deuteronomic reform (late seventh century b.c.) provides a likely background for the spirit and legal language that pervades throughout.” (Page 173)
“The poem is remarkable for the contrast between the tender poignancy of the first six verses and the bitter imprecations of the last three. But unyielding hatred of her foes was the correlate of intense love for Zion. To the psalmist the law of retaliation for cruelty seems only just, and the shocking form in which he expresses his desire for the extermination of his country’s destroyer must be judged in the light of customs prevailing in his age.” (Page 269)
Mitchell Dahood was professor of Ugaritic language and literature at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome up to his death in 1982. He received his PhD under the direction of W. F. Albright at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Ugaritic-Hebrew Philology, available from Logos as part of the Ugaritic Library (12 vols.).