Sunday, November 09, 2008

Psalm 104

Bless יְהוָה O my being
יְהוָה my God you are very great

you wear honor and splendor
wrapped in light as a garment
stretching out heaven as a shimmering curtain
the laying rafters in the waters of his upper rooms
the making thick clouds his chariot
walking on the wings of the wind
making his messengers winds
his ministers a flaming fire

he established earth on her foundations
she will not be moved now and for ever

you covered it with the abyss as clothing
the waters stood above the hills
from your rebuke they flee
from the voice of your thunder they hurry away
they climb hills
they descend to valleys
to that place you established for them

a bound you set that they will not pass through
they will not turn again to cover the earth
sending springs into torrents
between hills they run
they give drink for all his life of the field
they quench the thirst of the wild donkeys

on them a bird of the heavens settles
between flights he gives voice
watering hills from his upper rooms
from the fruit of your works
the earth is satisfied

growing grass for the cattle
and herb for the service of the human
to bring forth bread from the earth
wine to make glad the heart of the mortal
faces shine with oil
and bread supports the mortal heart

filled are the trees of יְהוָה
the cedars of Lebanon which he has planted
there where the birds make their nests
a stork the fir trees her house
high hills for the mountain goats
the crags a refuge for the conies

He made a moon for appointed times
a sun that knows his cue to rise or set
you make darkness and it becomes night
in it creep all the lives of the forest
the young lions roar at their prey
and seek from God their meat
the sun appears
they pride themselves
and in their dens they make their home
the human goes forth to his work
and to his services till evening

how great are your works יְהוָה
all of them in wisdom you have made
the whole earth is your possession

There is the great sea and wide of hand
there organisms
and there is no number of those living
small with great

there go the ships
Leviathan that you formed to play there
all of them look to you
to give their food in its time

you give to them
they gather
You open your hand
they are satisfied with good
you hide your face
they are disturbed
you will gather their spirit
they die and to the dust they return
you send out your spirit
they are created
and you renew the face of the earth

the glory of יְהוָה shall be forever
יְהוָה will be glad in his works
regarding the earth it will quake
he will touch the hills and they will smoke

I will sing to יְהוָה in my life
I will make music to my God in my time
on him my musing will be sweet
I will be glad in יְהוָה
sinners will be consumed from the earth
and there is no time for the wicked
Bless יְהוָה O my being

I am intrigued with the use of the definite article and the participle a few times in the early verses: הַמְקָרֶה and I am curious what to do with הַשָּׂם. Both these I have essentially ignored in this translation. Perhaps in a third pass I will be more creative.


scott gray said...


i'm ready to write essys again soon, and i want to use this translation of psalm 104. is this ok with you?

also, i've lost your email address. could you email me? i'm at gray9999 at earthlink dot net.



Bob MacDonald said...

hi scott
lovely to hear from you - check out the posts on psalm 104 at Dust - there are a couple - and there are some differences with this one, and another exploring the relationship (slight IMO) between the psalm and the Hymn to the Sun from Akhenaten c 1400 BCE

I am happy you would like to use my translation - please feel free to do so.