(Psalm 99:3) Scitóte quóniam Dóminus ipse est Deus: * ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos.

(Douay Rheims) Know ye that the Lord he is God: * he made us, and not we ourselves.

How exactly does one parse "non ipsi nos" in this sentence? I would have treated ipsi as a nominative plural and nos as a direct object and translated the senctence as "Know that the Lord is God; he made us, and they didn't make us." However, judging from the Douay Rheims translation, it looks like something reflexive might be going.


1 Answer 1


One way to parse non ipsi nos is to parse nos as a nominative plural pronoun and ipsi as a nominative plural adjective. The phrase then means "not we ourselves".

  • 1
    Though this is possible, the parallelism ("ipse...nos, non ipsi...nos") strongly inclines me to read nos as accusative.
    – brianpck
    Feb 6, 2020 at 18:52
  • 3
    I think you were right the first time. If nos were accusative, there wouldn't really be anything to link ipsi to a first-person subject idea. In that case, I, for one, would naturally read it as 'they themselves' (as indeed the original poster tried to do) – especially since both preceding occurrences of ipse were for a 3rd person singular subject. Plus, the repetition of accusative nos would be pretty clunky. However, I freely confess that I'm completely out of my element in the Vulgate.
    – cnread
    Feb 7, 2020 at 20:14
  • 1
    @cnread I think you're right now. The Greek is in the nominative, and usually the Vulgate adheres very closely to the LXX: "γνῶτε ὅτι Κύριος, αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, αὐτὸς ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς καὶ οὐχ ἡμεῖς."
    – brianpck
    Feb 8, 2020 at 15:24
  • Ok, I removed the alternate parsing from my answer. Thanks guys!
    – ktm5124
    Feb 9, 2020 at 16:01

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