Saturday, February 04, 2006

In Pleasant Places

The tlheghmey ghaj fallen Daq jIH Daq bel Daqmey. HIja', jIH ghaj a QaQ inheritance.

The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Yes, I have a good inheritance. Psalm 16:6

(Click for Podcast Version)

In the movie "When Harry Met Sally," Billy Crystal's character Harry always reads the last page of a book FIRST because he wants to know how it turns out "in case he dies" before finishing it.

I can understand this wanting to know "how things will turn out" in life or in a book - maybe you do too. Facing our uncertain future it IS easy to worry about outcomes.

That's why Davids faith is attractive - he KNOWS how his story will turn out. He's sure that the "lines have fallen to him in pleasant places." That means, when the boundaries are drawn at last, what is his inheritance will be good - will be bel Daqmey - pleasant places.

PLACE - Daq - is our Klingon word from the word for today. Thinking about "our place" and where we'll end up is an important theme in Scripture - some might say it is THE THEME of the Bible. You may have noticed this word, Daq showing up often in my podcasts. That is the effect of the translate table method I've used for the KLV.

Because Klingon doesn't have prepositions - particularly like "in" or "at" I made the locational suffix "Daq" stand in for them - for quite a lot of words, really: against, at, in, into, on, place, presence, and to. AND the word, Daq, really is the standalone noun for "place". You hear this word at work in a number of Klingon compound words. Bed == QonqDaq (Qong = sleep), Table == SopDaq (Sop = eat), and "where?" == nuqDaq (nuq == what?). If you tell your child to go to to bed, you might add the -Daq suffix and say QongDaqDaq yIQong (in-bed you-sleep!).

As I've noted - the KLV with its word-replacement method for Klingon-izing the WEB is a rough translation at best, so it isn't surprising to find a preponderance of "Daq"s in a passage. And - here's another note - the word "place" isn't really in this passage at all, it is used here as a helper word to complete the thought that the boundary lines will land in - the Hebrew word is naim, pleasant... something - just about every English translation completes the thought with the word pleasant "place" or "land."

Every translation, from the admittedly rough KLV to the majestic KJV and Douay or modern paraphrases like the NLT or Message must make decisions like this. Languages can't be mapped precisely one to another. In fact, think there is a lot of value in using more than one - it's a way of triangulating beyond the work of any one set of translators to the meaning of the underlying text. By the way - if you have a printed copy of the King James, you can see where such interpolated words have been used - the KJV is usually printed with italicized words for the words the translators used to fill in. If you've got access to an online bible - for example the BibleTool at -, or the Blueletter Bible - - you can access electronic versions that let you link back to the original texts, much as I do for these studies.

The place David expects to find as the end of the story is a pleasant one. Maybe "happily ever after" is a paraphrase one could use. This isn't to say his life was an easy one. The Daqmey - places - he had to go through included slaying a giant, fighting for his kingdom, even battling his own children. Yet he found the confidence to say "I have a good inheritance." Not because he was deluded, but because he found through those difficulties he could trust God to help him through them.

We don't know the details of our tomorrows, nor can we turn to the last page of our life's story to discover how it will turn out. But we can take David's example and put our confidence in the one who will at last bring us to bel Daqmey, pleasant places.

As Jesus reminds us:

Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient. Matthew 6:33,34

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