Some translations render “said” in Psalm 16:2 as first person singular, while others choose second person singular. Which of these two translations has a stronger textual basis?

From what I can see, the Masoretic texts place the second person vowel pointers on אָמַרְתְּ.

You have said

The LXX has εἶπα and the Vulgate has both dixi and dicens, all of which would effectively be 1st person.

I said

While dicens is not 1st person directly, I believe it is a gerund, which would then read in reference to the previous verb which was 1st person.

in You I put my trust, saying…

I couldn’t find this verse anywhere in the DSS. Are there any other early OT manuscripts which would help clarify the most accurate reading of this verse?

Upon further inspection, it appears that the Syriac Peshitta and the Aramaic Targum support 2nd person “You have said”, while the Sahidic Coptic supports the 1st person “I have said”. However, I still cannot reconcile which reading has a stronger textual basis.

  • 1
    For reference : Thou hast said to Jehovah, My Lord Thou art';' My good `is' not for thine own sake; [Young's Literal Translation]
    – Nigel J
    Jan 27, 2022 at 9:16

1 Answer 1


Amart אָמַרְתְּ (You said) in [Tehillim | Psalms 16:2] is 2nd person feminine - because King David is speaking about the nation [Israel]. If Tehillim 16:2 used 2nd person masculine, we read Amarta אָמַרְתָּ (You said).

If "Lomar" לוֹמַר (to say) was 1st person masculine, we would read either "Omer" אוֹמֵר (He says), or "Amarti" אָמַרְתִּי (I said), or "Omar" אֹמַר (He will say), or the imperative to a man "Emor" אֱמֹר (Say!).

King David addresses the actions of [Israel] in [Tehillim 16:2] - ' You said to YHVH, "You are my Master; my good is not incumbent upon You." ' (אָמַרְתְּ לַ֖יהֹוָה אֲדֹנָי אָתָּה טוֹבָתִי בַּל־עָלֶיךָ) - David describes additional actions of sinners in [Tehillim 16:4] "those who espouse another [god] may have many sorrows! I will have no part of their bloody libations; their names will not pass my lips." ( יִרְבּוּ עַצְּבוֹתָם֘ אַחֵר מָהָרוּ בַּל־אַסִּיךְ נִסְכֵּיהֶם מִדָּם וּבַל־אֶשָּׂא אֶת־שׁ֜מוֹתָם עַל־שְׂפָתָי)

[Meaning : I will not be like those who sprinkle blood for pagan deities, neither will I take up the name of pagan deities upon my lips.]

  • Thank you for your answer. I believe your response references the wording from the Masoretic tradition. I referenced this reading in my question, along with the LXX and later edited in the Vulgate. Do you have any additional evidence that would indicate that the Masoretic reading is the more accurate in this verse?
    – Any_mouse
    Jan 27, 2022 at 18:44

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