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  1. Default Albert Hembd and Trinity Bustria on Facebook


    Albert Hembd
    under pressure from King James Only advocates, sometimes Gomez relented to his contributors, and translated from the King James instead of from the Masoretic Text. Such was the case in Psalm 12.7 (verse 8 in the Masoretic Text), where Gomez translated them as feminine (to make 'thou shalt keep them apply to the words of God), whereas the original Hebrew is masculine, and applies to the saints, the poor and needy ones described in verse 5. By the way, the original Reina/Valera was correct in this, but under pressure, Gomez revised the original Reina/Valera to follow the King James Version instead of the Hebrew Masoretic Text.

    In all fairness to the King James Version, the word 'them' in English doesn't have gender, so it was impossible for the AV translators to translate 'them' as masculine instead of feminine.
    The Masoretic text - I am a scholar in the Masoretic Text - I have lived seven years in Israel, where I am studying with Professor Yosef Ofer, the one of the two or three leading scholars in the Masoretic Text. Professor Ofer was the editor of the official Bible of the Israeli Knesset and the Hebrew University.

    The Masoretic Text says 'thou shalt keep them' in reference to the poor and needy ones, as Calvin correctly notes.

    Psalm 12.6 (verse 7 in the Masoretic Text) in the Masoretic text reads:

    ‎ אִֽמֲר֣וֹת יְהוָה֘ אֲמָר֪וֹת טְהֹ֫ר֥וֹת כֶּ֣סֶף צָ֭רוּף בַּעֲלִ֣יל לָאָ֑רֶץ מְ֜זֻקָּ֗ק שִׁבְעָתָֽיִם׃

    "The words of the LORD are pure as silver tried in a furance of earth seven times."

    The word for words above in Hebrew is אִֽמֲר֣וֹת, which is feminine. It is from the Hebrew work אִמְרָה, which is feminine.

    But when we come to 'thou shalt keep THEM', the word 'them' in the Masoretic Text is masculine. Therefore, 'them' cannot naturally refer to 'words.' ‎ The Hebrew word used - תְּשְׁמְרֵ֑ם ends with ם, mem sofit, which is masculine, and it can only mean 'thou shalt keep them [masculine]. And therefore 'them' is not referring to אמרות words which is feminine; it is referring to אביונים, 'poor ones', which is masculine.

    All the Masoretic manuscripts are agreed in these words.

    The Reina Valera formerly translated the Masoretic Text correctly. The Gomez does not.

    Trinity Bustria

    Thank you, again, Albert Hembd, for your responses. I want to first candidly state that I am a "Ruckmanite" who--in the main--supports the TBS and its work. If you can believe it, I hold devotions and conduct Bible studies with my Tanakh and Greek New Testament (and even use it church during sermons) published by the TBS. Without going into too much detail, I thank the LORD God of Israel for the TBS's faithfulness to the Confessional Texts and their God-honored, Protestant translations. In that, if it were not for the TBS, the Bible distribution work that a sister Bible distribution society (that shall not be named) and I are engaged in among the children of Israel would not be possible. Even though I am a self-professed "Ruckmanite," I agree with the now disbanded, former TBS of Canada and their stance on the Authorized Version and Psalms 12:7's promise of preservation pertaining to "words of the LORD," and I unapologetically stand upon the Authorized Version (as the pure, preserved, infallible, error-free, given-by-the-mediate-inspiration words of God), I am conceived of the same English text that there is a place for: a. the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus (particularly Scrivner's work) b. knowledge and use of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek

    My aim is not to strictly inform you of my Bibliology, position on the edifying nature of knowing and using the Bible's original tongues, or my approach to upholding the Confessional Texts. Rather, my aim is to be like the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and magnify His word above His name as He did in His dealings with the son of Jesse (Psalm 138:2).

    In all truth, I am not an eminent Hebraist like you (and my grasp of Modern Hebrew is not like unto yours--yet), yet my position (and that of the former TBS of Canada) regarding HaShem's words being preserved "for ever" are not without validity.

    Rav ibn Ezra, the same who rightly contended that נַשְּׁקוּ-בַר is about a "son" and not "purity" in worship, maintained that the promise of preservation is regarding "the words of the LORD." It is the opinion of one Christian witness to our Jewish friends that ibn Ezra is "the most exacting of medieval Jewish commentators." I opine, in anticipation of Kimchi being upheld as an authority for reading verse seven's promise pertaining verse five's poor, that ibn Ezra tends to be more of a careful exegete and reader of the Hebrew Bible than Kimchi. Even so, we are not without any other credible-enough authority and Hebrew expertise to understand that verse seven's promise is inclusive of verse five's poor.

    Jerome in his Latin translation of a proto-Masoretic Text in the disputed verse (i.e., Psalm 12:7) uses "ea" as the pronoun for the antecedent "eloquia." "Ea," meaning "them," and "eloquia" ("words/utterances") are feminine. The Latin translator consulted not just the Targumim but Ravs contemporary to him abiding in Bethlehem. He would not have been uniformed as an Hebraist as to what would be appropriate Latin diction and word selection for Psalm 12:6-7.

    It is not on the basis of ibn Ezra or Jerome that we are to read Psalm 12:6-7 in the context and framework I am advocating. Even though, according to University of Birmingham Hebrew professor John H. Eaton, the main, historical Jewish position and exegesis regarding these verses upholds ibn Ezra over Rashi's, we should be Bereans and follow the comandment of the Rabbi come from God in searching the Scriptures (John 5:39).

    The issue of gender discord regarding the masculine עֲנִיִּים and אֶבְיוֹנִים of verse five and the feminine אִמְרוֹת of verse seven appear to pose a problem to reading אִמְרוֹת as having a corresponding pronoun in תִּשְׁמְרֵם in verse seven. Yet, applying our faith in and the understanding of the truth that the Scriptures are our Final Authority in all matters of faith and conduct and that they interpret themselves, we would do well to note the following:
    1. “Through a weakening in the distinction of gender … masculine suffixes (especially in the plural) are not infrequently used to refer to feminine substantives (E Kautzsch, ed, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 2nd ed by A E Cowley [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910], 440, sect O). Gesenius' assertion is valid when we let the Torah/Law be our light.

    In the First Book of Moses, we learn that B'reishit/Genesis 31:9's "your father" has a masculine plural pronoun suffix: אֲבִיכֶם. Reading further along in the Torah, we behold in the same book in the next chapter, in the fifteenth verse that "milch camels and their colts" are worded as: גְּמַלִּים מֵינִיקוֹת וּבְנֵיהֶם, שְׁלֹשִׁים. The verse features a masculine plural pronoun suffix with a female antecedent. In Shemot/Exodus 1:21, we also another example of a masculine plural pronoun suffix with a female antecedent: וַיְהִי, כִּי-יָרְאוּ הַמְיַלְּדֹת אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים

    Gesenius' assertion was not without warrant and had Biblical grounding.
    2. In Tehillim/Psalms 119:111, 129, 152, and 167 in a passage dealing with the very words of God, the Confessional Text (i.e., the Masoretic Text) presents more gender discord:

    נָחַלְתִּי עֵדְו*ֹתֶיךָ לְעוֹלָם: כִּי-שְׂשׂוֹן לִבִּי הֵמָּה.

    פְּלָאוֹת עֵדְו*ֹתֶיךָ; עַל-כֵּן, נְצָרָתַם נַפְשִׁי.

    קֶדֶם יָדַעְתִּי, מֵעֵדֹתֶיךָ: כִּי לְעוֹלָם יְסַדְתָּם.

    שָׁמְרָה נַפְשִׁי, עֵדֹתֶיךָ; וָאֹהֲבֵם מְאֹד.

    We observe feminine עֵדְו*ֹתֶיךָ with masculine הֵמָּה in verse 111, feminine עֵדְו*ubuֹתֶיךָ with masculine נְצָרָתַם in verse 129,
    feminine מֵעֵדֹתֶיךָ with masculine יְסַדְתָּם, and feminine עֵדֹתֶיךָ with masculine יְסַדְתָּם in verse 167. This is similar to what we read in Mizmor/Psalm 12:6-7 (using the Christian verse numbers) wherein feminine plural noun for God's words are followed by a masculine plural pronoun regarding them.
    This may not be the wording of the Confession, but "[t]he words of the LORD are pure words...[kept and preserved] for ever" in light of the Confessional Text's (i.e., the Masoretic Text and its English translation in the Authorized Version) own pure, preserved words.
    (I would be remiss of me to not acknowledge James Ach (a Sabra), J/A, Jeffrey Khoo, Kent Brandenburg, and Qwek Suan Yew's writings significantly helped with my argument in that I learned a high amount of information from what they wrote that I later verified.)

  2. Default Rashi

    The following, from 2009,

    Psalm 12:7 - the Promise of Preservation

    can give some more specifics about the sources used by Trinity Bustria above.


    Jerome - referenced en passant in the post on Michael Ayguan

    Ibn Ezra - mentioned briefly on posts 119 and 121

    Kimchi - post #3

    Rashi - this post

    John Herbert Eaton
    - post #2


    Rashi -
    posts on p. 12-13

    Post 118

    Psalm 12:6-7
    The words of the LORD are pure words:
    as silver tried in a furnace of earth,
    purified seven times.
    Thou shalt keep them, O LORD,
    thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

    Now Rashi gives an interesting interpretation on the two verses. He first writes very nicely about Psalm 12:6. (Psalm 12:7 in the Hebrew Bible, as they include the verse header as a verse.) The Mayer Gruber translation is clearer generally, so if I indicate nothing, that is what I am using. The major difference in the Judaica Press edition I will put as from JP. Where JP is clearer, then (Gr) can give Gruber.

    The promises of the Lord are pure promises

    They are so for He has the ability to fulfill them, while the promises of people are not (valid promises) for they (people) die, and they have not the ability to fulfill them.


    clear and fulfilled (JP: permanent) He does all that He promises; Note that He promised me (David) vindication and kingship. (JP: salvation and the throne).

    silver refined (Gr - purged)

    They are like refined silver that is exposed to the entire land. (JP)

    Note that they (the promises of the Lord) is like purged silver, which is manifest to the whole earth. (Gr)

    exposed Heb. בעליל, an expression of revealing; in the language of the Mishna (Rosh Hashanah 21b, see Gemara): “whether it was plainly (בעליל) visible or whether it was not plainly (בעליל) visible, etc.” Others explain בעליל as an expression of elevation, and this is its explanation: silver refined with the best earth. (snip more explanations) ... Targum Jonathan, too, renders it as an expression of lordship. He says that His sayings are like silver, refined by the Lord of the earth, Who is God, for He refined and clarified them.

    Clarified sevenfold.

    This part is clearly excellent. Rashi is strongly emphasizing the purity of the words of God and the temporality of man's words and promises ("from this generation for ever" is a critical part of the next verse). The one omission I notice is that while Rashi talks about the "sayings" or "promises" of the Lord he does not specifically identify the Scripture as the eternal vessel and container for the words of God to man. One reason for this lack might be the confusions in rabbinics where extra-scriptural writings (e.g Talmud-Midrash and later even the rabbinics themselves) are given a very high status as of divine origin. Thus in Jewish writings there is a tendency to avoid simple statements about the full specialness and authority and inspiration of the Scripture alone.
    Post 119

    Now having discussed Rashi's mostly strength and some weakness on verse 6:

    Psalm 12:6
    The words of the LORD are pure words:
    as silver tried in a furnace of earth,
    purified seven times.

    We go to verse 7.

    Psalm 12:7
    Thou shalt keep them, O LORD,
    thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

    Working with the Mayer Gruber version, as the Judaica Press is lacking some of the text on this verse.


    You, O Lord, Will Keep them.

    Keep it in their hearts (Rashi)

    Footnote: The midrash reads "Keep their Torah in their hearts"


    Hmmm... hold the presses !
    So immediately we have fine new information, double the fun.

    Rashi and the midrash (presumably Midrash on Psalms, which has not been referenced on this verse in the recent discussions) apparently both support Psalm 12:7a being about the words of the Lord. Rashi clearly so, in a straightforward manner. Midrash on Psalms needing to be checked. This is powerful information and afaik has never been noted before in the discussions.

    We have some of the words from the midrash, however on verse 6. The context of the quote was different so it will be next helpful to look up the midrash, the William Braude translation would be fine, and see if we can find something akin to :

    "Keep their Torah in their hearts".
    (Readers: Feel free to check your local university library and report back.)

    “The words of the Lord are . . . silver tried in the open before all men, refined seven times seven.” “Rabbi Yannai said: The words of the Torah were not given as clear-cut decisions. For with every word which the Holy One, blessed be He, spoke to Moses..."

    The Midrash on Psalms, trans. by William G. Braude, vol. I (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), p. 173.

    The context given there is one of the oral law discussions, our of our loop. However based on what we see in Rashi there might be some fine parts in the Midrash.

    Note: Now we have learned that Doug Kutilek wrote deceptively.

    Rabbinic scholar Rashi (d. 1105) writes, “you will keep them -- this is said concerning the poor and afflicted who are persecuted by this generation."
    (Why Psalm 12:6,7 is not a Promise of the Infallible Preservation of Scripture, Doug Kutilek)

    Hmmm... oopps.. Doug Kutilek did not tell his readers that this is a part of the Rashi Psalm 12:7b section. By simply quoting "you will keep them..." Kutilek wants to give the reader the false impression that Rashi is referring to all of verse 7, with Doug Kutilek knowing full well that is the impression that will be received by most. Since the readers are familiar with "Thou shalt keep them" as Psalm 12:7a.

    Yet the Psalm 12:7a section from Rashi is as above, God is keeping the word of God in their heart ! (In Jewish understanding Torah is a multi-dimensional word, with meanings that include the 5 Books of Moses and Scripture as a whole.)

    So surprisingly enough, this will end up being at least a 3-part response ! The import of all this is far-reaching, since the "split understanding" is a very big fly in the ointment of the attack on the King James Bible defender understanding that Psalm 12 does refer to God's words.

    Please remember one thing. There really is absolutely no doubt, even among the informed opposition, that the King James Bible translation is 100% sound and accurate, and that the "preserve us" translations are very dubious, ie. errant, not representing the Hebrew Bible.

    And within the King James Bible accurate and proper translation there are three general interpretations.

    1) The words of God kept and preserved
    2) 7a is words, 7b is poor and needy
    3) Poor and needy preserved from this generation for ever !

    And then there are the dual and ambiguous interpretations that allow for both.

    Having discovered that Rashi had been greatly misrepresented, and lines best with (2) and with Ibn Ezra being (1) and David Kimchi being (2) or (3) (research needed) really changes the dynamic of the rabbinic evidences. I had previously been surprised that the major early rabbinics would be majority for persons, that simply did not seem likely looking at the simple context of the verse and knowing their sense. Now we see that it is simply is not the case, the rabbinics had been misrepresented. Also we discover the Midrash on Psalms may want to weigh in as well.

    Now to be fair, there is a distinction between the words of God being kept in the heart of the believer and being preserved for all generations. In fact, one irony in all this is that if a split was to be had -- "preserve them from this generation for ever" clearly is a better fit for words than people ! However we will go into this more, by the grace of the Lord Jesus, in a future post.

    We will next look at Rashi on Psalm 12:7b.
    Post 120

    Before more discussion, let us give the Rashi commentary on Psalm 12:7b.

    Preserve them from this generation that they do not learn from (this Generation's) behaviour to be informers. Another equally plausible interpretation (of v. 8 is the following). Keep them (ie. those poor and impoverished who are persecuted from (being victimized by) this generation, who are informers.
    (Rashi's Commentary on Psalms - translated by Mayer I. Gruber - 2008)

    Note what Doug Kutilek offered as the Rashi interpretation is actually his second, alternative interpretation. (The Judaica Press publication only gives the first interpretation, so that cannot be the reason, my conjecture is that Doug Kutileki looked up a translation from Old French to Hebrew or Aramaic and then deliberately parsed the information for his own purposes. If I am wrong on this I would be happy to be corrected and I acknowledge that this is all new as of yesterday and no effort has been made to check with Doug Kutilek.)

    So we noticed that Doug Kutilek also simplified the Rashi interpretation in order to match his absurd attempt to paint "words" as preserved as some sort of "totally foreign" interpretation that would come from those who handle the word of God "deceitfully" and "dishonestly". The putrid accusation that David Cloud rightly characterized as a mouse attacking elephants ! -- since Kutilek had mentioned a number of excellent scholars who interpret the verse with an emphasis on words. Now we find that it appears that Kutilek had to quote "deceitfully and dishonestly" in order to try to make this case of deceitfulness against others ! Oh, what a web.

    Ok, next we will look at the two competing interpretations. Neither one of which has very much pizazz .. however at least they come from a writer of competence and scriptural insight, who wrote quite interestingly about the verses. However, off to work for now.
    Post 124

    Now we move to Rashi on Psalm 12:7b.

    Psalm 12:7
    thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

    Preserve them from this generation that they do not learn from (this Generation's) behaviour to be informers. Another equally plausible interpretation (of v. 8 is the following). Keep them (ie. those poor and impoverished who are persecuted from (being victimized by) this generation, who are informers.
    (Rashi's Commentary on Psalms - translated by Mayer I. Gruber - 2008)

    Clearly this is an unusual commentary. The reason is explained in an article by Avi Baumol which discusses the commentaries of Rashi, Radak and Malbim. The Avi Baumol commentary itself is interesting, mixed, yet it really explains the Rashi context.

    Tehillim: The Book of Psalms by Avi Baumol.

    Psalm 12, in a word, is about words. Our greatest medium of expression is indeed King David's most precious vehicle for connecting to his creator. However, there is a grave danger that surrounds the use, or rather abuse, of words ...

    Psalm 12 represents a significant change in David's attitude in his Psalms. It is an enclosed unit devoted almost entirely to one topic: words. It does not have to do with David's suffering, or his despair. Nor is there a plea for salvation in general. Rather, David has one thing on his mind:

    "Save O God, for honesty, integrity is gone, trustworthiness has been stripped from man. Lies and deceit speaks one to the other, a language of smoothness, superficial communication. Let God obliterate all who smooth talk, those who speak with high-flouting language.

    Let God obliterate those who brazenly state, our words will strengthen us, we are our own masters. They who prey on the downtrodden, they who embezzle from the simple. I shall arise, says God, wage war against those who breathe out erring air. God's words are pure, as molten silver, glowing from the furnace. You God (alone) will guard the downtrodden, watch over this generation."

    ... Rashi ... remains true to the tradition and maintains that the psalms were written by David, and are about David.

    As David was dodging King Shaul's spear, he experienced an eerie alliance from people living in the wilderness of Zif. They accepted him and offered him peace. At the same time, using their 'other hearts,' they went to Shaul and betrayed David's hideout, waiting for a reward for David's ultimate demise.

    It was not the people of Zif who were killing David; they merely spoke words to Shaul, informing on David, and causing a near tragic ending to David's life. Against them, David speaks out, 'where are the honest and wholehearted people in the world? Why must I encounter smooth talkers who speak with one heart but adhere to the other? Let God strike down those who talk with such haughtiness...'

    Rashi finds an historical background to trace the motivation for David's psalm.

    Thus we can well understand the Rashi emphasis on "informers". Rashi is looking through a historical lens with David at the center. This is something he does on many Psalms, an interesting example being Psalm 2 where Rashi avoids the powerful Messianic interpretation that is later given by Ibn Ezra.

    Within his lens, Rashi offers two interpretations. Both bump up against the difficulty mentioned in the last post.

    from this generation for ever.


    A) Preserve them from this generation that they do not learn from (this Generation's) behaviour to be informers.

    B) Keep them (ie. those poor and impoverished who are persecuted from (being victimized by) this generation, who are informers.

    Neither of these are not really preservation in our traditional positive sense, and our protective sense, they are more "keep away from .." in the sense of separation. The first is close in sense to :

    1 Corinthians 15:33
    Be not deceived:
    evil communications corrupt good manners.

    While the second is to avoid the evil done by informers. (This is closer to our traditional sense, albeit with the imposed limitations of the informer context.)

    Thus Rashi has to simply bypass:

    from this generation for ever.

    So while Rashi's interpretation of Psalm 12:7b can be seen as an interesting midrashic attempt, it is not really strong as the pshat, the simple and clear reading of the Bible text. Rashi is working with a limited Davidic lens and he even has to omit discussing the salient "for ever" (such as we saw in the Delitzsch flying-in-time leap). In order to try to work the verse into being about not becoming informers and being protected from informers, the needs of those around David.

    Fascinating, yet not of great significance. The Rashi usage of Psalm 12:7a for keeping Torah on the hearts of men and the Midrash on Psalms full reference (to track down) are the main elements of interest. And the Rashi interpretation of Psalm 12:6 is quite nice.

    Now, it might be good to mention that there is nothing at all in these Hebraic studies that even remotely allows for the common error of translating Psalm 12:7b as "preserve us" rather than the correct "preserve them". From a strictly translation point-of-view this is the major error made on the verses in the modern versions. Do the modern versions mistranslate deliberately in order to avoid the application of Psalm 12 to the preservation of the words of God ?

    Returning to Rashi ...
    solabiblia, I hope this has been helpful in answering your question.

  3. Default John Herbert Easton

    Here is a bit on John H. Eaton:

    John Herbert Eaton (b. 1927) - "the main Hebrew Tradition"

    Torch Bible Commentaries (1967)
    "...but we may rather follow the main Hebrew tradition:
    "Thou O Lord shalt keep them (i.e. watch over the words to fulfill them, Jer. 1:12)..."

    Jeremiah 1:12
    Then said the LORD unto me,
    Thou hast well seen:
    for I will hasten my word to perform it.

    The question was how John H. Eaton referenced the "main Hebrew tradition" if Rashi and Kimchi had both not applied keep to words. With Ibn Ezra taking the words side. Now we have the answer. Rashi had been misrepresented and in Psalm 12:7a does apply 'keep' to words, against most of the modernist weak interpretations. (And we will try to track down the fulness of Kimchi's interpretation.)


  4. Default Kimchi

    Courtesy of Thomas Ross and Kent Brandenburg, however note some caution below about how John Gill is used, where a negative is omiitted.


    Kent Brandenburg and Thoma Ross

    Ver. 7. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, &c.] . . . Aben Ezra explains it . . . [of] the words before mentioned . . . God has wonderfully kept and preserved the sacred writings; and he keeps every word of promise which he has made; and the doctrines of the Gospel will always continue from one generation to another.[1-John Gill]

    THOU WILT KEEP THEM. The mem [Heb. “them”] of tishmerem (Thou wilt keep them) most probably refers to The words of the Lord (v. 7 [Heb.]).[2-Strickman]
    Thus, it is clear that the position that Psalm 12:6-7 refers to the preservation of the Words of Scripture has been held by significant numbers of people in the history of interpretation--Jewish grammarians, Roman Catholics, Reformed Protestants, Arminian Protestants, theological liberals, and theological conservatives have all recognized this position.

    (For sources for these citations, please see the original article here.)

    Psalm 12:6-7: Commentators On the Preservation of Words
    Thomas Ross
    Ibn Ezra, Abraham, Commentary on the First Book of Psalms: Chapter 1-41, trans. & ann. H. Norman Strickman (Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2009) 103

    There are complications in how John Gill uses Aben Ezra, that is discussed on AV1611. In fact, above, Thomas Ross plays a little foot-loose with the John Gill part of the quote.

    My discussion on AV1611

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