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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Be glad in this post!

I can't help it. I hear things all the time. Oh, not a psychotic kind of hearing, I hope. But I've got ears and a brain that constantly monitor what I hear or read.

Yesterday as my wife prayed before we ate breakfast, she included Psalm 118:24:
This is the day which the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. (RSV)
Now, my wife hears things a lot also. Often, she will comment on something she has heard, questioning whether it is natural English or not, just as I do. This time it was my turn. I mentiond to her that I wondered if "be glad in it" is natural English.

Is it natural English to be glad "in" something (or we might substitute some similar words too "glad")? Listen to the following sentences to see if they sound like proper, natural English to you:
  1. I'm glad in my car.
  2. John is glad in the pastorate.
  3. Suzanne is glad in her studies.
  4. David rejoices in the wife of his youth.
  5. Peter is glad in this month.
There is a long tradition of using "glad (or "rejoice) in it" in translations of Psalm 118:24. Among the versions which follow this tradition are: KJV, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NASB, NAB, NWT, NIV (but not TNIV), NET, HCSB, NLT, and ISV.

I like the way the NJB handles the issue here:
This is the day which Yahweh has made,
a day for us to rejoice and be glad.
Saying "a day for us to rejoice and be glad" sounds like natural English to me" (except for the Hebraism of "rejoice and be glad" but that should wait for another post).

Are you glad in this day? Are you glad in this post?


At Wed Jun 04, 11:55:00 AM, Blogger ElShaddai Edwards said...

REB: "This is the day on which the Lord has acted / a day for us to exult and rejoice."

Don't know about that "has acted" rendering, but the rest tracks with the NJB and maybe avoids the Hebraism.

At Wed Jun 04, 11:58:00 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

Good point. But to what extent must poetry sound "natural"? I'm inclined to give the poet -- and the translator rendering the poet -- a little poetic license on this one.

And in the prepositional phrase "in it," I even hear an echo of the English phrase "revel in it" (it's probably just me). Surely part of the best way to obey this Scriptural teaching is to revel in the day the Lord has made.

At Wed Jun 04, 01:26:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

ElShaddai, the problem with the REB rendering is that at least here in England (the home of REB) hardly anyone knows what "exult" means. Most people I have heard reading out Bible passages and liturgies with this word seem to assume that it is a typo for "exalt" and pronounce it as such.

At Wed Jun 04, 01:40:00 PM, Blogger ElShaddai Edwards said...

Thanks, Peter - that issue honestly didn't occur to me, but I also wasn't reading it aloud because I couldn't get the old praise chorus "This is the day" out of my head!

At Thu Jun 05, 12:01:00 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Interesting. The only "every day" use of glad I could come up with was "I'd be glad to".

But your question is about the "in", and I have to respond tht for me, it depends what it means. If I substitute "happy" for "glad" in your four sentences, then 1-3 work, and 5 doesn't - suggesting that we're OK if "in" is about geographical location, but not if it's about time. For that I think we tend to use "on", unless we're talking about today itself...

At Thu Jun 05, 06:49:00 AM, Blogger exegete77 said...

GW: This is the day the LORD has made. Let's rejoice and be glad today!

At Thu Jun 05, 06:01:00 PM, Blogger Bill said...

another everyday use: my mom used to find silver linings in bad situations by saying "just be glad that..." or "she should be glad that...". To me though, I guess it's just a trash bag. ;)

Hmm. Does "glad" get used in contrasting situations, particularly?

But "be happy about it" is the most common nearly matching phrase I can think of. Oh, but what's the diff btw "rejoice" and "glad" in the first place?

At Thu Jun 05, 06:04:00 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Today's part of God's creation, so get your spirits up and be happy about it!


At Thu Jun 05, 10:36:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Bill asked:

what's the diff btw "rejoice" and "[be] glad" in the first place?

As far as I know, there isn't any, Bill. And that will make a good topic for another post. English doesn't allow us to conjoin synonyms. Biblical Hebrew does. In fact, it's a beautiful form in Hebrew composition. Ah, I must stop. I can't write that entire post here in a comment :-)

At Thu Jun 05, 11:54:00 PM, Blogger Iyov said...

rejoice = "to make (others or oneself) glad"

thus the difference is between "making glad" and "being glad"

A subtle but distinct difference.

At Fri Jun 06, 11:14:00 AM, Blogger Bill said...

@ Iyov - That's what I was guessing at with my paraphrase. Thank you for that note.

@ Wayne - I trust you can see that I'll look forward to your next post. I notice you often observe things others fail to spot. I will continue to scan this site and watch for your words so that I can inspect your analysis and behold your conclusions.

@ MS Word Thesaurus - Thanks, that was fun! ;)


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