Friday, November 28, 2008

Psalm 36

I have translated this oracle as if David knew himself 'in his own heart' - so I have taken the heading to be larger than others take it. Does this make the psalm too personal? What could be the meaning of 'within my heart' otherwise? Very early in this process of my learning, the poet, Charles Douglas, a very old friend, said to me: "It is all too easy to objectify the enemy in the psalms."

For the leader
the servant of יְהוָה
Of David
An oracle
on the transgression of the wicked within my heart
there is no fear of God before its eyes
for it deceives itself in its own eyes
to secure hate for its iniquity

The words of its mouth are trouble and deceit
it ceases to be skillful to do good
trouble it devises on his bed
it presents himself on a way that is not good
evil it does not reject

יְהוָה to the heavens is your loving kindness
your faithfulness to the clouds
your righteousness as the hills of God
your judgments a great deep
the human and the beast you deliver
יְהוָה how precious your loving kindness O God

And the children of dust take refuge in the shadow of your wings
they will be sated from the fatness of your house
and the torrents of your delight they will drink
for with you is the source of life
and in your light we see light

Draw out your loving kindness to those knowing you
and your righteousness to the upright of heart
do not let me develop a proud step
and do not let the movement of my hand be wicked
there the workers of trouble are fallen
they are cast down and will not be able to rise

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