Jo'nath-e'lem-recho'kim (יוֹנִת אֵלֶםרחֹקַים, yonath' e'lem rechokim', dove of the dumbness of the distances, i.e. the silent dove in distant places, or among strangers; Septuag. ὑπέρ τοῦ λαοῦ τοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁγίων μεμακρυμμένου, Vulg. pro populo qui a Sanctis longe factus est), an enigmatical title of Psalm 56, variously interpreted, but probably descriptive of David's solitary feelings while absent from the worship of the Temple among the Philistines; comp. Ps 38:13; Ps 65:5; Ps 74:19. (See Alexander, Comment. ad loc.) The expression "upon" (עִל), preceding this phrase, would seem to indicate that it was the name or opening clause of some well known air to which the ode was set, a supposition not inconsistent with the above appropriation. Its original application would in that case be unknown, like that of similar superscriptions of other Psalms. "Rashi considers that David employed the phrase to describe his own unhappy condition when, exiled from the land of Israel, he was living with Achish, and was an object of suspicion and hatred to the countrymen of Goliath: thus was he amongst the Philistines as a mute (אלמית) dove. Kimchi supplies the following commentary: 'The Philistines sought to seize and slay David (1Sa 29:4-11), and he, in his terror, and pretending to have lost his reason, called himself Jonath, even as a dove driven from her cote.' Knapp's explanation 'on the oppression of foreign rulers' assigning to Elem the same meaning which it has in Ex 15:15 is in harmony with the contents of the psalm, and is worthy of consideration. De Wette translates 'dove of the distant terebinths,' or 'of the dove of dumbness (Stummheit) among the strangers' or 'in distant places.' According to the Septuagint, the phrase means 'on the people far removed from the holy places' (probably, אל=,אוּלָ, the Temple hall; see Orient. Literaturblatt. p. 579, year 1841), a rendering which very nearly accords with the Chaldee paraphrase: 'On the congregation of Israel, compared with a mute dove while exiled from their cities, but who come back again and offer praise to the Lord of the Universe.' Aben-Ezra regards Jonath-elem-rechokim as merely indicating the modulation or the rhythm of the psalm. In the notes to Mendelssohn's version of the Psalms, Jonath-elem-rechokim is mentioned as a musical instrument which produced dull, mournful sounds. 'Some take it for a pipe called in Greek ἕλυμος, יונת, from יון, Greek, which would make the inscription read "the long Grecian pipe," but this does not appear to us admissible' (Preface, p. 26)" SEE PSALMS.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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