October 17, 2006

Psalm 3

Category: Bible - OT - Psalms :: Permalink

A reminder: I’ve prepared these psalms for our liturgy, trying to be as accurate in my translation as possible.  The alternation between plain text and bold is for responsive reading.  I invite feedback on the translation!

A Psalm.
By David,
When he fled from the face of Absalom his son.

Yahweh, how multiplied are my oppressors!
Many are rising against me!
Many are saying to my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”  Selah.

But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me,
My glory, and the lifter of my head.
With my voice to Yahweh I cry;
And he hears me from his holy mountain.  Selah.

I myself lay down and slept;
I awoke because Yahweh sustains me.
I will not fear myriads of people
Who all around set themselves against me.

Arise, Yahweh!
Save me, my God!
Indeed, you have struck all my enemies on the jaw;
The teeth of the wicked you have broken!
To Yahweh belongs the salvation.
Upon your people be your blessing.  Selah.

Posted by John Barach @ 6:27 am | Discuss (4)

4 Responses to “Psalm 3”

  1. Sean Brandt Says:

    Pastor Barach,

    I notice you’ve included the “selahs” in your translation. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts as to whether they ought to be said/sung in a Psalm being sung corporately or read responsively.


  2. John Barach Says:

    They’re there, so we say them when we recite the Psalm responsively. I haven’t thought about what to do if we sing or chant the Psalm … largely ’cause I don’t have a clue what “Selah” means or what it’s doing in a psalm.

    Sometimes, it seems to provide a break between stanzas, but at other times it appears in the middle of a stanza. It could be a form of musical notation, but it isn’t one that makes much sense to me, then.

    But that’s definitely something I’ll have to figure out if we start chanting these psalms.

    What would you do, Sean?

  3. Sean Brandt Says:

    I’m really not sure. The selahs seem to provide guidance for the literary structure of most of the Psalms in which they appear, but since nobody really knows what the word means or exactly what they’re there for, it’s hard to say what should be done with them.

    On the one hand, saying it because it’s in the text seems like a safe rule to follow. On the other hand, it seems strange that we would say a hebrew word just because it’s in the text, when we have no idea what it means or what it’s there for.

    All of which is to say, again, I have no idea what to do with the “selah”.

    Looking forward to meeting you next week.

  4. John Says:

    Yeah, saying a word just ’cause it’s there even if we don’t know what it means is a bit weird, but the other option (ignoring it) doesn’t look much better to me.

    Maybe someday someone will explain it and then we can translate it the right way. In the meantime, I’ll probably keep saying it when we read it. And probably when we chant it. But I probably wouldn’t require it when we sing it. How’s that for consistent?

    I look forward to meeting you, too. And I’m glad to see that someone’s actually reading and thinking about these Psalm translations. I appreciate the feedback.

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