April 17, 2007

Psalm 17

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 prayer.
By David.

Hear, Yahweh, a just cause!
Listen to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer
Which is not from deceitful lips.
From your face let my judgment come forth;
Let your eyes look with equity.
You probe my heart;
You visit me at night;
You test me; you do not find anything.
I have resolved that my mouth will not transgress.

As for the deeds of man,
By the word of your lips I have guarded myself from the paths of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your tracks;
My feet have not slipped.
I myself have called upon you
Because you will hear me, O God!

Incline your ear to me;
Hear my speech.
Set apart your loyalties,
You who save by your right hand those who take refuge from those who rise up.
Guard me like a pupil, an eye’s daughter;
In the shadow of your wings hide me
From the face of the wicked who devastate me,
The enemies who, for my soul, surround me.

Their fat hearts they close up;
With their mouth they speak proudly.
In our steps they have now surrounded us.
Their eyes they set to cast us down to the ground.
His likeness is like a lion who longs to tear,
And like a young lion sitting in secret places.

Arise, Yahweh! Come before his face! Make him bow!
Rescue my soul from the wicked with your sword,
From men with your hand, Yahweh,
From men of the world whose portion is in life.
But as for your treasure, you fill their belly.
Their sons are satisfied
and they leave their surplus to their children.
And I — in righteousness I shall see your face;
I shall be satisfied with your form when I awake.

The last line of the third stanza may mean that these enemies want to kill him. But it may refer to the enemies’ desire (which is what “soul” often means):  “My enemies, in greed, surround me.”

“Their fat heart they close up” is literally just “their fat they close.” It may indicate that they’ve closed up their hearts from God and from other people, but it may also simply mean that they are enclosed in fat, no longer sensitive to God or people.

In the last stanza, some think the psalm is saying that God stuffs the wicked with His treasure until His judgment eventually comes . But it fits better, I think, to take “your treasure” as God’s people, whose belly God fills and whom God blesses with children and a heritage.

Posted by John Barach @ 2:06 pm | Discuss (0)

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