July 9, 2007

Psalm 27

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.

Yahweh is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
Yahweh is the fortress of my life;
Whom shall I dread?

When evildoers draw near against me
To eat my flesh,
My oppressors and enemies,
They themselves stumble and fall.
If an army encamps against me,
My heart will not fear.
If a war rises up against me,
In this I am confident.

One thing I have asked from Yahweh;
That is what I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of Yahweh
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of Yahweh
And to inquire in his palace.

Indeed, he will conceal me in his booth in the day of evil;
He will hide me in the hidden place of his tent.
On a rock he will lift me up.

And now my head will be lifted up
Above my enemies all around me.
And I will sacrifice in his tent sacrifices of shouts.
I will sing and psalm to Yahweh!

Hear, Yahweh! With my voice I call!
And be gracious to me and answer me!
To you my heart has spoken.
“Seek my face.”
Your face, Yahweh, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me!
Do not turn your servant away in anger!
You have been my help!
Do not forsake me and do not leave me,
God of my salvation!
Indeed, my father and my mother have left me,
But Yahweh will gather me in.

Guide me, Yahweh, in your way
And lead me in a level path because of my enemies.
Do not give me over to the desire of my oppressors,
Because they have risen against me —
False witnesses and a violent testifier.

If I hadn’t trusted
That I would see Yahweh’s goodness in the land of life….

Wait for Yahweh!
Be strong and he will strengthen your heart!
And wait for Yahweh!

Some comments about this psalm.

1.  In the middle of the psalm, there are a couple lines which are a bit confusing.  David says, “To you my heart has spoken” and we expect the next line to be what his heart said.  Instead, it appears to be something Yahweh said to David and to others along with him: “Seek my face.”  You can’t see it in English, but the command here (“Seek”) is plural.  Only then do we hear what David’s heart said to Yahweh: “Your face I will seek.”

On the other hand, it’s possible that the first line shouldn’t be translated “To you my heart has spoken” but rather should be “To you he has spoken, my heart, ‘Seek my face.'”  In this translation, David is addressing his own heart and reminding himself of what Yahweh said to David and to others.  At any rate, the line “Seek my face” is Yahweh addressing David and others, and then we have the response of David’s heart.

2.  Near the end of the psalm, there’s an unfinished exclamation: “If I hadn’t trusted that I would see Yahweh’s goodness in the land of life…” It’s like what we might say after an accident: “Boy, if I hadn’t been wearing my seatbelt….”  Leaving the rest of the sentence unfinished doesn’t puzzle people who hear us.  They don’t need us to spell out what terrible thing might have happened, and leaving it unfinished may actually heighten the sense of danger-just-past.  So, too, here.

Posted by John Barach @ 1:45 pm | Discuss (0)

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