October 16, 2007

Psalm 40

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.
By David.
A Psalm.

Waiting, I awaited Yahweh,
And he bent down to me and heard my cry.
And he brought me up from the roaring cistern,
From the slimy mud,
And he set upon a rock my feet;
He established my footsteps.
And he put in my mouth a new song,
Praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
And will trust in Yahweh.

Happy is the young man who has made Yahweh his trust,
And has not turned to the proud and those turning aside to a lie.
Many things have you done, Yahweh my God — your wonders;
And your thoughts toward us — there is no stating them to you in order.
I will declare and speak:
They are too numerous to count.

Sacrifice and tribute you did not desire.
Two ears you have dug out for me.
Ascension and sin offering you did not ask.
Then I said, “Look!  I come.
In the scroll of the book it is written about me.”
To do your will, my God, I delight;
And your Instruction is within my innards.

I have announced your righteousness in a great assembly.
Look!  My lips I will not hold back.
Yahweh, you yourself know.
Your righteousness I have not hidden in the midst of my heart.
Your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken.
I have not concealed your loyalty and your trustworthiness from a great assembly.

You yourself, Yahweh, will not hold back your compassions from me.
Let your loyalty and your trustworthiness continually preserve me,
Because surrounding me are evils till there is no number.
Overtaking me are my liabilities and I am not able to see.
More numerous they are than the hairs of my head,
And my heart has left me.

Be pleased, Yahweh, to deliver me!
Yahweh, to my help make haste!
Let them be shamed and confounded together —
The ones seeking my soul to destroy it.
Let them shrink back and be disgraced —
The ones wishing me evil.
Let them be desolate because of their shame —
Those saying to me, “Aha!  Aha!”
Let them be glad and rejoice in you –all those who seek you.
Let them say continually, “Great is Yahweh!” — those who love your salvation.

But I am oppressed and needy.
My Master thinks about me.
My help and my deliverer are you.
My God, do not delay.

A couple comments about this translation:

(1) In line 3, the “roaring” of the cistern (or pit) is the sound of many waters in a deep place.

(2) In line 14, the verb has to do with organizing something.  It can refer to an army being arrayed against someone, but that doesn’t fit the context here well.  It may also be used for comparison (“There is none like you!”), which is possible here.  But sometimes it refer to an orderly statement or argument, and that seems to fit the context best.

(3) In line 18, the word for “ears” neither singular (“ear”) nor plural (“ears”) but rather dual, a form that doesn’t exist in English but does in Hebrew: the psalmist is speaking of his two ears.

Posted by John Barach @ 4:10 pm | Discuss (0)

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