July 2, 2007

Psalm 26

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!

By David.

Judge me, Yahweh,
Because as for me, I have walked in my blamelessness;
And in Yahweh I have trusted;
I have not wavered.
Examine me, Yahweh, and try me;
Test my kidneys and my heart,
Because your loyalty is before my eyes,
And I walk in your trustworthiness.

I do not sit with men of falsehood,
And with hidden ones I do not go.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
And with the wicked I do not sit.

I wash my hands in innocence,
And I go around your altar, Yahweh,
To proclaim with a voice of thanksgiving,
And to declare all your wonders.

Yahweh, I love the habitation of your house,
And the place of the tabernacle of your glory.

Do not gather my soul away with sinners
And my life with men of bloodshed,
In whose hands is a scheme
And whose right hand is full with a bribe.

But as for me, in my blamelessness I walk;
Redeem me and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
In the assemblies I will bless Yahweh.

Some comments on this psalm and on my translation: 

1.  In line 6, the “kidneys” here are the inward parts, associated with thoughts and emotions.

2.   In the second stanza, the “hidden ones” may be people who say one thing and mean another, who have hidden agendas, who hide their wicked thoughts and plans.  Perhaps we could translate this phrase with the word hypocrites.

3.  In the third stanza, David talks about “going around” the altar.  That may refer to a ceremonial procession around the altar, or perhaps the way the Levites and others encircled the altar when they sang God’s praise.

The altar in the Old Covenant wasn’t the place where animals were slaughtered.  Rather, it was God’s Table.  It was the place where God ate the animals which represented His people and the place from which God’s people sometimes received portions to eat.  The altar is thus the site of communion and David is singing here about the privileges of that communion with God.

4.  The first and last stanzas of this psalm are closely parallel (note the second line and the fourth from the end: “As for me, I have walked in my blamelessness” and “As for me, in my blamelessness I walk”).  In fact, the Hebrew word for stand (עמד) in the second last line has the same consonants as the word for slip or waver (מעד) in the fourth line, only the first two are in reverse order!

Posted by John Barach @ 1:06 pm | Discuss (0)

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