April 19, 2008

Psalm 59

Category: Bible - OT - Psalms :: Permalink

A reminder: I have 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.
Do not destroy.
By David.
A michtam, when Saul sent,
And they watched the house to kill him.

Deliver me from my enemies, my God,
From those rising up against me lift me up.
Deliver me from workers of trouble,
And from men of bloodshed save me,

For look!  They lie in wait for my soul;
Strong ones assemble against me.
Not for my rebellion and not for my sin, Yahweh;
Without my liability, they run and set themselves.

Awake to meet me and see!
And you, Yahweh, God of hosts, the God of Israel,
Wake up to visit all the nations.
Do not be gracious to all trouble-making traitors.  Selah.

They return at evening;
They howl like a dog;
And they go around the city.
Look, they gush forth with their mouth;
Swords are on their lips,
Because who hears?

But you, Yahweh, will laugh at them;
You will mock at all nations.
Because of his strength, I wait on you,
Because God is my high place.
My God — his loyalty will meet me;
God will make me look on my foes.

Do not kill them, lest my people forget!
Make them wander by your power and bring them down,
Our shield, O Lord!

The sin of their mouth is the word of their lips.
And they will be taken in their pride.
And for the cursing and the lie they tell.

Consume in anger!  Consume!  And they will be no more.
And let them know that God is ruling in Jacob
To the ends of the earth.  Selah.

And they return at evening;
They howl like a dog;
And they go around the city.
They themselves wander to eat;
If they are not satisfied, they stay the night.

But I myself will sing of your strength,
And I will shout at dawn your loyalty,
Because you have been a high place for me
And a refuge in the day of my oppression.
My strength, to you I will psalm,
Because God is my high place,
My loyal God!

A few comments about the translation of this psalm:

(1) In line 2, “lift me up” has to do with putting David in a high and inaccessible place.  It implies a prayer for protection.  The same idea is seen throughout when God is referred to as a “high place.”

(2) In line 8, “run” and “set themselves” are military terms, describing an army that runs forward to scale a wall.  David’s enemies  are attacking him, even though he has not rebelled or sinned or incurred liability.

(3) In line 12, I’ve used “troublesome traitors” to translate a phrase that refers first to these people as faithless, people who don’t keep their commitments, and then as people “of trouble,” that is, people who cause trouble and harm.

(4) In line 24, to “look on one’s foes” means to see them defeated.

(5) In line 27, “Our shield, O Lord!” is a reference to God, who is both the shield of Israel and David’s master and king.

Posted by John Barach @ 3:19 pm | Discuss (0)

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