December 1, 2009

Psalm 62

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.
On Jeduthun.
A psalm.
By David.

Only toward God is my soul silent.
From him is my salvation.
Only he is my rock and my salvation,
My refuge; I will not be greatly shaken.

How long will you attack a man?
Will you murder,
Like a leaning wall,
A pulled-down fence?

Only from his elevation they plot to lure him down;
They take pleasure in a lie;
With their mouth they bless,
But in their inward part they belittle. Selah.

Only before God be silent, my soul,
Because from him comes my hope.
Only he is my rock and my salvation,
My refuge; I will not be shaken.
With God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength, my hiding-place is in God.

Trust in him at every time, people!
Pour out before him your hearts!
God is a hiding-place for us. Selah.

Only vapor are the sons of Adam,
A lie, the sons of man.
In the scales they go up,
They themselves together, from a vapor.

Do not trust in oppression,
And in robbery do not become vapor.
When wealth flourishes,
Do not set your heart on it.

One thing God has spoken;
These two things I have heard:
That strength belongs to God.
And to you, Lord, belongs loyalty,
Because you yourself render to a man according to his deed.

A few comments about the translation of this rather difficult psalm:

(1) All through this psalm, the word translated “only” might perhaps be rendered “surely.” But “only” makes sense and seems to be the basic meaning of the word. So the psalm says that only when he looks toward God is his soul silent (lines 1, 13), that He alone is rock and salvation (lines 3, 15), that the only thing the wicked want is to bring him down (line 9), that the sons of Adam are only vapor (line 22).

(2) In line 5, the verb may be “attack” or “strike terror into,” depending on what root the word comes from.

(3) In line 11: “Their mouth” is actually singular: “his mouth.” I’m not sure what to do with that.

(4) In lines 22-23, “sons of Adam” and “sons of a man” can sometimes refer to men of low degree and of high degree (as in the NKJV).

(5) In lines 24-25, the idea seems to be that if all of these men were together on one side of the scales, a mere vapor on the other side would outweigh them. The side with the vapor on it would go down, and the side with all the wicked on it would go up. They aren’t just vapor; in fact, they are lighter than vapor.

(6) In line 26, the word translated “oppression” may mean extortion. It often seems to have something to do with thievery.

Posted by John Barach @ 4:31 pm | Discuss (0)

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