Psalm 4
Semantics

Lexical Semantics

A crucial element in translating words is knowing the overlap between the cultural associations of the source language and the cultural associations of the receptor language.

We represent this relationship with Venn diagrams, putting the Hebrew cultural associations in green and, in yellow, the cultural associations of the creators of this work (Standard North American English). This exercise has been so helpful we recommend translation projects consider generating their own such diagrams for all key terms in a psalm.

It is useful to know what information is shared by both cultures (in the overlap), and so will readily come across with a standard gloss, what associations will be wrongfully associated with a translation (and so need to be guarded against: in the yellow only), and what associations from the Hebrew may need to be explicitly included, because they are foreign to the local terms (in the green only).

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Close-but-clear*

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For the director, with stringed instruments, a psalm by David.

Respond to me when I cry out, my righteous God, who granted me relief in distress. Be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

 

You mortal humans, how long will you turn my honour into shame? How long will you love vanity? How long will you seek falsehood? Selah.

 

But know that YHWH has set apart for himself a loyal person. YHWH hears when I cry out to him.

 

Tremble and do not sin. Think in your minds on your beds and be silent. Selah.

 

Sacrifice right sacrifices and trust in YHWH.

 

Many are those who say, “Who will show us good?” Cause the light of your face to shine on us, YHWH.

 

You have put joy in my heart greater than what you put in their hearts at the time in which their grain and wine multiplied.

 

In peace I will both lie down and fall asleep, for you alone, YHWH, make me dwell securely.

* The "close-but-clear" is a formal-equivalent rendering of the Hebrew. It is based on the interlinear, adjusted for English word-order. It aims to be as close to the Hebrew as possible while still being clear in English. 

 

Verbal Semantics

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Unit-level Semantics

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Expanded Paraphrase

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