The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Psalms 88 in Aramaic Bible

I found this while studying the Hebrew of Psalms 88. Most every version poses these as rhetorical questions. I double checked the wording and wondered how we could know if these words were properly translated as questions. I don’t know Hebrew grammar at all but then upon checking the lexicon I found this startling translation.

10 Behold, you work wonders to the dead and mighty ones will stand and confess you!

11 And they will tell your kindness which is in the tombs and your faithfulness in destruction!

12 Your wonders will be known in darkness and your righteousness in the land that was forgotten!

Mark, like you I am totally unfamiliar with Hebrew or Aramaic. The translation you quoted from the Aramaic Bible is so much at variance with other versions that is difficult for me to know which is correct. However, I don’t have any problem accepting the other translations, including the KJV. I can only presume that the scholars who suggest the verses 10 - 12 contain rhetorical questions do so from a learned understanding of the grammar employed in the original text.

Psalm 88, along with Psalm 77, are both pretty miserable psalms, written presumably by men who were going through a pretty depressing time when they wrote them, wondering why God didn’t hear their prayers or choose to free them from their misery. I can sympathise with them, having asked the Lord similar rhetorical questions many times in the past during times when I was particularly at low points in spirit.