Nov 27, 2015

An Early Song of Thanksgiving and Praise

An early Song of Thanksgiving and Praise (in view of the holiday). The most dramatic formatting in the Torah is found in Exodus 15, in the section known as "The Song of the Sea," or "The Song of Moses." As soon as an experienced reader of Torah sees this structure, he automatically recognizes the passage just by the formatting, viz. without even having to read the text. In Codex L, it is the most dramatic formatting in the entire Tanach (Old Testament), because even the Masoretic notes are stylized at the top of the page-the only place that happens (the below pic. is from a scroll, not codex). This formatting style is referred to as the "brick upon brick" structure and is used elsewhere in the Hebrew OT to set off special sections of the text, such as with songs, the Ten Commandments, etc. The significance here, it that the song is a song of praise and worship-the FIRST ONE.
As such, the first occurrences of terms for "praise," "exalted" (as a description of God), "extol," "strength" (as a description of God), "song" (as a description of God), "salvation" (as a description of God) are used. And these terms all show up in the first 2 verses of the song-a pretty fantastic way to begin worship.
You can see these terms in the first 4 lines (2 verses) of the brick upon brick structure. The song is *introduced with the first line/full line of the section. The first word of the song proper shows up in the middle of the first brick line "אָשִׁ֤ירָה לַֽיהוָה" ("I will sing to Yahweh"), viz. the song begins with the second word of the brick structure (reading right to left), and the first word of line 4 of the brick is "וַאֲרֹמְמֶֽנְהוּ" ("I will exalt Him"). The opening lines read thus:

אָשִׁ֤ירָה לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה
ס֥וּס וְרֹכְב֖וֹ רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם׃
עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֔הּ וַֽיְהִי־לִ֖י לִֽישׁוּעָ֑ה
זֶ֤ה אֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ
אֱלֹהֵ֥י אָבִ֖י וַאֲרֹמְמֶֽנְהוּ׃

Note: I've formatted the lines for logical flow and based on the Masoretic accents from Codex L; observe that the divisions correspond to the disjunctive accents and that your English punctuation corresponds, or should correspond, to these accents.
In English (NASB), these read: "I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. 2 "The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him.
These lines are worth extra contemplation during this Thanksgiving season.
Exodus 15, from the BMATS Sefer Torah

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