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To the Lord (El Adon)


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There is an anonymous piyut (Jewish hymn) dating from between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD.

It is sang before the morning recitation of the shma.

The verses don't rhyme, but they descend alphabetically.

Those who would like to see the Hebrew can take a look here

I'll leave my commentary to a minimum.

To the Lord for all his doings

Blessed and blessed by the mouth of every soul

His greatness and goodness fill the world [or universe]

Knowledge and wisdom surround his glory

Who takes pride in the holy creatures

And is resplendent in honour [or glory] on the chariot

Righteousness and and integrity [or justice] are before his throne

Grace and mercy fill his glory [or honour]

Good are the lights created by our God

He has created them in [by] knowledge, understanding and intellect

Power and authority has put in them

To be rulers in the universe

Full of radiance and glow

Fair is their radiance throughout the world

[People] are joyous when they come out [rise] and rejoice when they arrive [set]

Fearful they do the will of their purchaser [maker]

They give all glory and honour to his name [they magnify and glorify his name]

Singing and rejoicing in remembrance of his reign

He has called the sun and light shone

He saw and corrected the shape of the moon

The entirew host of heaven gives him praise

Magnificience and greatness- seraphs and creatures [or beasts] and the holy wheels [of the chariot].

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Could "purchaser" also mean "redeemer"?

That participle (קוֹנֵיהֶם) has a long and sorted history. It originally referred to procreation, or begetting, and it was one of the early titles of El (Begetter of the Earth - see also Deut 32:6), but the procreative qualities were largely lost by the time it was fully incorporated into the biblical texts. It still maintained a sense of creation, but only peripherally. By the time of the composition of this piyyut, it would have carried the exclusive sense of "purchaser/owner/lord." It is used in parallel with the verb "to redeem," so "redeemer" would be a loose, but not terribly inaccurate translation in this context.

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