Stephen Hughes wrote:I think that there is a cultural misunderstanding by using "the apple of one's eye" here. So far as I understand the English idiom, it means, "you are the thing that I dote on, I gaze at, and whose reflection is always in my eye", by extension (abstraction), "my most cherished possession".
I wouldn't say it's a misunderstanding
per se, though possibly the exact same correlation isn't quite there.
Essentially, both mean "something that you cherish deeply".
When it comes to the human eye, especially the iris and pupil, we cherish that more than quite a few other parts of the body. So much to the point that our eyelids automatically react to danger coming towards them. Unless you're like myself of course, and have been wearing contact lenses for most of your life - the eyelid doesn't respond quite as quick as it should!
Let me ask about the nature of "protection" or "keeping" given by שָׁמַר
. I've seen it suggested that the reference to the eye-ball or to the pupil, or as you suggest iris, is a reference to a verb sensitive part of the body, and that if our eyes are in danger, we would have a reflexive (or is it learnt?) reaction to put our hands over our eyes -
Zechariah 2:9 wrote:διότι ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐπιφέρω τὴν χεῖρά μου ἐπ’ αὐτούς /
כִּ֠י הִנְנִ֨י מֵנִ֤יף אֶת־ יָדִי֙ עֲלֵיהֶ֔ם
That is to say that the hand is against them (the agressors), raised and protecting the eyes / eye-balls / pupils. Can the Hebrew be understood in that sense - in the sense of protecting the eyes themselves?
Most definitely. See above on the automatic reaction of the eyelids.
Also, when we protect others, it is natural to bury them face (specifically eyes) first into one's chest - it is more than a reflexive reaction.
Psalm 17:8 wrote:φύλαξόν με ὡς κόραν ὀφθαλμοῦ, ἐν σκέπῃ τῶν πτερύγων σου σκεπάσεις με. /
שָׁמְרֵנִי כְּאִישֹׁון בַּת־עָיִן בְּצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵֽנִי׃
In Psalm 17:8 too, the accompanying imagery ἐν σκέπῃ τῶν πτερύγων σου σκεπάσεις με / בְּצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵֽנִי
seem to be suggesting a type of covering protection.
The eye-lids offer a sort of natural over shadowing covering protection to the eye-balls / eyes / pupils, and we do raise our hands to ward off danger to our eyes. I don't think the Greek can be pushed so far as to mean, "to cause somebody to remain in some state".
Yes. Think "Shield" would be a better translation of שָׁמַר
in Psa 17:8: "Shield me like (you would) the inner-eye"; in order to bring across the protective nature of the context - it isn't keeping someone in a state; it's literally a complete protection being requested.
The other two passages:
Deuteronomy 32:10 wrote:αὐτάρκησεν αὐτὸν ἐν γῇ ἐρήμῳ ἐν δίψει καύματος ἐν ἀνύδρῳ ἐκύκλωσεν αὐτὸν, καὶ ἐπαίδευσεν αὐτὸν, καὶ διεφύλαξεν αὐτὸν ὡς κόραν ὀφθαλμοῦ. /
יִמְצָאֵהוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִדְבָּר וּבְתֹהוּ יְלֵל יְשִׁמֹן יְסֹֽבְבֶנְהוּ יְבֹונְנֵהוּ יִצְּרֶנְהוּ כְּאִישֹׁון עֵינֹֽו׃
Proverbs 7:2 wrote:φύλαξον ἐμὰς ἐντολάς καὶ βιώσεις, τοὺς δὲ ἐμοὺς λόγους ὥσπερ κόρας ὀμμάτων. /
שְׁמֹר מִצְוֹתַי וֶחְיֵה וְתֹורָתִי כְּאִישֹׁון עֵינֶֽיךָ׃
could easily be understood in English as, "never took one's eyes off", or alternatively as "guarded", "kept safe from damage / loss / or change".
Agreed. I have also thought that שָׁמַר
should be translated as "guard" more often than "keep", for "keep" has more a sense of "follow" in English rather then "keep safe, protect" that is to be understood from the use of שָׁמַר
I think the idea of keep (without changing) can better be expressed in Greek by τηρεῖν or even simply by ἔχειν-κρατεῖν?
One of the interesting developments between LXX and NT Greek, was the transferred use of φυλασσω to τηρεω for the sense of "keeping" or "guarding" the commandments of God. φυλασσω is the predominant word in LXX (413 uses) as compared to τηρεω (27); whereas the NT changes to τηρεω being the predominant word (71) compared to φυλασσω (31); and of the 31 uses of φυλασσω in the NT, only 11 of them correspond to how the LXX uses φυλασσω to indicate "keep, guard, observe".
What does the Hebrew suggest? Are there different Hebrew words for "to cause somebody to keep being something"?, with easily identifiable different patterns of usage?
Would think that נָצַר
fits this usage the closest. Granted, this is only off the top of my head - I'll see if I can't find something more appropriate.
S Walch wrote:Does Hebrew have metre? Is Psalm 17:8 cumsily written in the Hebrew?
It does, albeit I'm hardly an expert and can't comment too much on that. I would say that the double stop provided by the two final-nun's in כְּאִישׁוֹן בַּת־עָיִן
seem out of place - one stop at the end would work better:
בְּצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנִי
We can see the metre more clearly in v10:
חֶלְבָּמוֹ סָּגְרוּ פִּימוֹ דִּבְּרוּ בְגֵאוּת
The interchanges of וֹ