August 6, 2007

Psalm 31

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!

For the director.
A Psalm.
By David.

In you, Yahweh, I have taken refuge.
Let me not be shamed forever.
In your righteousness deliver me.
Incline to me your ear;
Quickly rescue me.

Be for me a rock of refuge,
A house of strongholds to save me,
Because you are my rock and my stronghold,
And for your name’s sake you will lead me and guide me.
You will bring me out from the net which they hid for me,
Because you yourself are my refuge.

Into your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, Yahweh, God of trustworthiness.
I have hated those who regard vain things of falsehood;
And as for me, in Yahweh I have trusted.
I will shout for joy and rejoice in your loyalty,
You who have seen my affliction,
Who have known the distresses of my soul,
And who have not shut me up in the hand of the enemy;
Who have made my feet stand in a wide place.

Be gracious to me, Yahweh, for I am in distress!
Weakened in irritation is my eye — my soul and my belly.
Indeed, wasted away in trouble is my life,
And my years in groaning;
My strength stumbles in my iniquity
And my bones are weak.
Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach —
And to my neighbors especially —
And a terror to my acquaintances who see me in the streets:
They flee from me.
I was forgotten, like a dead man, from their heart;
I became like a broken vessel,
Because I heard the slander of many —
Fear all around! —
As they schemed together against me;
To take my soul they plotted.
As for me, upon you I trusted, Yahweh;
I said, “You are my God!”
In your hand are my times;
Rescue me from my enemies’ hand and from my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
Save me in your loyalty.
Yahweh, do not let me be shamed, for I have called on you!
Let the wicked be shamed, be silenced — to Sheol!
Silenced be the lips of lying,
Which speak against a righteous man insolently, in pride and in scorn.

How great is your goodness
Which you have stored up for those who fear you,
And worked for those who take refuge in you
Before the sons of man!
You will hide them in the hiding-place of your face from the conspiracies of men
You will store them in your shelter from the disputes of tongues.

Blessed be Yahweh,
Because he has made his loyalty wonderful to me in a fortified city.
And as for me, I said in my haste,
“I am cut off from before your eyes.”
Nevertheless you heard the voice of my prayers
When I cried to you.

Love Yahweh,
All you his loyal ones!
A preserver of the faithful is Yahweh,
Repaying abundantly the one who acts proudly.
Be strong and let your heart be firm,
All you who wait for Yahweh.

A few comments about this psalm:

(1) David says in line 31 that he was “forgotten like a dead man from their heart.”  Literally, it’s “from the heart,” but it’s the heart of the people who used to know him and acknowledge him.  Now they want nothing to do with him.  It’s not just “Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s deeper than that.  It’s “keep him out of our sight, out of our heart.”

(2) In line 54, David talks about how God has “made wonderful” His loyalty toward him “in a fortified city.” The word for “fortified” is also sometimes used for “besieged.”  It could be that David is praising God for bringing him safely into a strong city.  Or it could be that he’s  praising Him for protecting him even when the city was under siege.

(3) Toward the very end of the psalm, in line 62, “repaying abundantly” is literally “repaying until a remainder.” That may mean that Yahweh repays the proud until there’s some left over, until He’s paid him back and then some.  But it may just be an expression for a full and abundant repayment.

Posted by John Barach @ 3:54 pm | Discuss (0)

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