Done like a toast

The practice of reciting is impressive but pretty dangerous, and memorizing Bible sayings along with their book, chapter and verse references has been taken as secure wordwork. Both practices often overlook what the writer intended and the Psalms, being a source of popular expressions are often part of the phenomenon which I liken to “never done like toast”.

The speaker’s view of action: condition and events

The actions in a sentence fall into two simple categories according to Hebrew grammar. We like to think of them as time-stamped, which results in the recognition of English tense; past, present and future. Hebrew verb tense grammar, being only two, resolves more into TYPE of action than into TIME of action. Perfect tense resolves the business of action into a condition. We can call this the way things are. Imperfect tense resolves the business of action into incomplete and repeatable events.  We can call this the what’s going on model.

For I will not trust in my bow, Nor will my sword save me. But You have saved us from our adversaries, And You have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Your name forever. Selah

Psalms 44:6-8, NASB
  1. I will not trust [imperfect]
  2. (Nor will my sword) save me. [imperfect]
  3. You have saved us (from our adversaries) [PERFECT]
  4. You have put to shame (those who hate us) [PERFECT]
  5. we have boasted all day long, [PERFECT]
  6. we will give thanks [imperfect] (to Your name forever.) Selah.” (Psalms 44:6-8, NASB)

“Doing the math”, accurately interpreting not always big deal for the translators

Toast, cracker, or untoasted are the simple choices for the translator, but the reader is often robbed of this currency.

  1. I won’t keep trusting my bow. I did not trust my bow
  2. Sword did not save
  3. You save us
  4. You shame
  5. We boast
  6. Let us give thanks