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The word for “Your decrees” (Sefaria) appears in Tehillim 119 (& elsewhere) in two forms with and without the letter “vav”. The meanings seem to be identical but the pronunciation is different.

Tehillim 119 (14) עֵדְוֺתֶ֥יךָ

Tehillim 119 (24) עֵ֭דֹתֶיךָ

What is the difference in meaning between the words עֵ֭דֹתֶיךָ and עֵדְוֺתֶ֥יךָ?

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  • What makes you say that the meaning seems to be identical? That seems to be an answer to your question.
    – magicker72
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 12:05
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    In the Targum on Tehillim both are rendered as סהדותך , so the same meaning. Assuming there's a chaseir vav in the latter case, perhaps your question should really be what linguistic phenomenon might cause the vav to be vocalized with a consonant in one case but not the other. Or perhaps there are merely two similar variants of the same words which happens from time to time throughout Tanach.
    – EraserX
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 13:42
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    @magicker72 The Sefaria translation of both forms is the same. Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 14:55
  • @AvrohomYitzchok Which translation? Some are more reliable than others. The standard Sefaria translation is JPS which is definitely not Orthodox, and partly based on non-Jewish sources.
    – N.T.
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 17:29
  • @N.T. As EraserX points out "In the Targum on Tehillim both are rendered as סהדותך". But anyway my question is "What is the difference in meaning between the words עֵ֭דֹתֶיךָ and עֵדְוֺתֶ֥יךָ?" Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 20:02

1 Answer 1

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+50

One possible solution may lie in that עֵדְוֺתֶ֥יךָ in 119:14 is part of a phrase, בדרך עדותיך. While in 119:24 and in 93:5, the verse is discussing the actual עדתיך (i.e. not the דרך עדותיך).

Just to point out further, the Artscroll (Stone edition Tanach) translates the word in all three cases 'testimonies'.

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  • The ArtScroll in their Kesuvim with a commentary (the big blue edition) explains why עדותיך/עדתיך means Testimonies . the quote R' Hirsch who links the term to עדי, ornament. By fulfilling these "memorial" precepts the Jew becomes ennobled and crowned with with splendour in his relationship with G-d. In Melachim II, 11:12 the posuk tells of a coronation וַיִּתֵּ֤ן עָלָיו֙ אֶת־הַנֵּ֙זֶר֙ וְאֶת־הָ֣עֵד֔וּת, the fact that the person was crowned as a scion of the Davidic dynasty was a testimony to his distinguished royal ancestry. Commented Jan 30 at 10:14
  • I've seen that the Minchas Shay expands on the Radak I mentioned previously. Commented Jan 30 at 14:40

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