Sunday, June 29, 2008

Psalm 111 Countess Mary Herbert Pembroke - comparing notes

אוֹדֶה יְהוָה, בְּכָל-לֵבָב
בְּסוֹד יְשָׁרִים וְעֵדָה
1 Hallelujah.
I will thank יְהוָה with a whole heart,
in the council of the upright, and assembly.
1: At home, abroad most willingly I will
2: Bestow on God my praises uttmost skill:
גְּדֹלִים, מַעֲשֵׂי יְהוָה
דְּרוּשִׁים, לְכָל-חֶפְצֵיהֶם
2 Great are the works of יְהוָה,
sought of all that delight in them.
3: Chaunting his workes, workes of unmatched might,
4: Deem'd so by them, who in their search delight.
הוֹד-וְהָדָר פָּעֳלוֹ
וְצִדְקָתוֹ, עֹמֶדֶת לָעַד
3 Splendor and majesty his doing;
and his righteousness stands in perpetuity.
5: Endlesse the honor to his powre pertaines:
6: From end as farre his justice eake remaines,
זֵכֶר עָשָׂה, לְנִפְלְאוֹתָיו
חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם יְהוָה
4 He makes present his wonderful works;
gracious and compassionate is יְהוָה.
7: Gratious and good and working wonders soe
8: His wonders never can forgotten goe.
טֶרֶף, נָתַן לִירֵאָיו
יִזְכֹּר לְעוֹלָם בְּרִיתוֹ
5 Food he gives to those fearing him;
he makes present for ever his covenant.
9: In hungry waste he fedd his faithful Crue,
10: Keeping his league, and still in promise true.
כֹּחַ מַעֲשָׂיו, הִגִּיד לְעַמּוֹ
לָתֵת לָהֶם, נַחֲלַת גּוֹיִם
6 The power of his works he reveals to his people,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
11: Lastly his strength he caus'd them understand,
12: Making them lords of all the heathens land.
מַעֲשֵׂי יָדָיו, אֱמֶת וּמִשְׁפָּט
נֶאֱמָנִים, כָּל-פִּקּוּדָיו
7 The works of his hands are truth and judgment; faithful are all his precepts,
13: Now what could more each promise, doome, decree,
14: Of him confirme sure, just, unmov'd to be!
סְמוּכִים לָעַד לְעוֹלָם
עֲשׂוּיִם, בֶּאֱמֶת וְיָשָׁר
8 Established in perpetuity and for ever,
worked in truth and uprightness.
15: Preserv'd his folk, his league eternall fram'd:
16: Quake then with feare when holy he is nam'd.

פְּדוּת, שָׁלַח לְעַמּוֹ
צִוָּה-לְעוֹלָם בְּרִיתוֹ
קָדוֹשׁ וְנוֹרָא שְׁמוֹ
9 Redemption he sent to his people;
he commands his covenant for ever;
Holy and fearful is his name.
17: Reverence of him is Perfect wisdoms well:
18: Stand in his lawe, so understand you well.
רֵאשִׁית חָכְמָה, יִרְאַת יְהוָה
שֵׂכֶל טוֹב, לְכָל-עֹשֵׂיהֶם
תְּהִלָּתוֹ, עֹמֶדֶת לָעַד
10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of יְהוָה;
a good intelligence to all in their working;
his praise stands in perpetuity.
19: The praise of him (though wicked hartes repine)
20: Unbounded bides, noe time can it define.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The circle of Elohim

Psalms 42 and 86 surround those psalms that use Elohim more than they use the Name as a designation for God. As I did this I realized that switching from David to Korah is quite a task - and there are significant differences in the refrain in Psalm 42 - is it my face that God saves or his presence - his face - just a yod or a vav difference.

I have used 'One' where 'El' rather than 'Elohim' occurs. I would like a better distinction - but I think it better to distinguish than to say God in both cases. Note the three times where it occurs. Is it a mark of tenderness? Why is this poem a maskil?

For the leader, an insight of the children of Korah
As a hart longs for streams of water
so my being longs for you, O God
thirsts my being for God, for the One living
When will I go in and see the presence of God?

So for me my tears, as bread day and night,
in saying to me every day, where is your God?
Such I remember as I pour out within me my being
for I go under cover

I led them to the house of God
with a voice of a loud cry and thanksgiving
a tumult of festival

Why be depressed, O my being, and murmur in me?
wait in God for yet I will thank him
for the deliverance of his presence

O my God, in me my being is depressed
therefore I will remember you
from the land of Jordan
from the Hermons
even from a small hill

Depth to depth calling to the voice of your waterspouts
All your breakers, and your waves have passed over me

By day יְהוָה will command his loving kindness
and in the night his song to me
is a prayer to the One of my life

I will say to the One, my fortress, why have you forgotten me?
why mourning do I exist under an oppressive enemy?
with a sword in my bones, my reproach, my distress?
in saying to me every day, where is your God?

Why be depressed, O my being, and why murmur in me?
wait in God for yet I will thank him
for deliverance in my presence and my God.
Psalm -86
A prayer Of David
Stretch יְהוָה your ear and answer me
for I am afflicted
and in need am I
Guard my being for under your protection am I
save your servant
you, my God, the one trusting in you
have mercy on me, O Lord
for to you I cry every day

Rejoice the being of your servant
for to you, O Lord, my being I lift up
for you, O Lord, are good
and forgiving and great in loving kindness
to all calling on you

Listen יְהוָה to my prayer
and attend to the voice of my supplication
In the day of my distress I will call on you
for you will answer me
there is none like you among the gods
O Lord, and there is nothing like your works

All nations whom you made will come
and worship in your presence, O Lord
and glorify your name
for you are great and do wonders
you O God, you alone

Instruct me יְהוָה your way
I will walk in your truth
make one my heart to fear your name
I will thank you, O Lord my God with all my heart
and I will glorify your name for ever
for your loving kindness is great to me
and you have delivered my being from Sheol's nether parts

O God the proud rise up against me
and an assembly of violent ones seek my being
and not do they set you before them
but you O Lord God are compassionate and gracious
slow to anger and full of loving kindness and truth

look to me and have mercy on me
give your strength to your servant
and salvation to the child of your truth
make for me a sign of good
and those hating me will see and be ashamed
for you יְהוָה have helped me and comforted me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Psalms 6 and 143

The second great opening and closing parentheses: Psalms 3-6 and 143 should not include Psalms 42 and 86 as I had previously noted. These two psalms surround the Elohist Psalter and at least 42 will require a different voice since it is of Korah rather than David.

This second great circle perhaps should include the Davidic psalms 140-143. I will get to them eventually and will see if these pillars are like the cathedral at Köln with their four components each.

Note: there are many words rooted in צר which I have earlier rendered with straits - narrow places rather than enemies or troubles - but here I have to move to the stress and distress - I would like to keep the relationship because of the structural significance in the opening and closing brackets - so I may have to get rid of straits earlier unless the alliteration suggests the connection. I probably should remove the hem hem (hymn him) too. Just looking for the right patter for the pattern.

Psalm 6
For the leader on strings in octaves A Psalm of David
יְהוָה do not in your wrath rebuke me
and do not in anger chastise me
Have mercy on me יְהוָה, for I am feeble
Heal me יְהוָה, for vexed are my bones
And my being is vexed much
and you יְהוָה, how long?

Turn יְהוָה deliver my being
Save for the sake of your loving kindness
For there is not in death remembrance of you
in the grave who will give you thanks?

I am weary with my groaning
I swim every night in my bed
with my tears my couch I water
consumed from grief my eye ages in all my straits

Leave me all workers of sorrow
for יְהוָה has heard the voice of my weeping
יְהוָה hears my supplication
יְהוָה my prayer will receive
Shamed and vexed much all my enemies
let them turn and be ashamed suddenly.
Psalm 143 A Psalm Of David
יְהוָה hear my prayer
listen to my supplication
in your faithfulness answer me in your righteousness
and do not go to judgment with your servant
for no one living is upright in your presence

For an enemy pursues my being
crushed in the earth my life
he consigns me to darkness as those dead for ever
so disabled in me is my spirit
in my center wasted is my heart

I remember the days from before
I meditate on all your doings
on the works of your hands I muse
I spread my hands to you
my being as thirsty ground for you
Quickly hear me יְהוָה
my spirit faints
do not hide your presence from me
lest I be alike with those going down to a pit
Make me hear in the morning your loving kindness
for in you is my trust
make me know the way that I should walk
for to you I lift up my being

Deliver me from my enemies יְהוָה
in you I am covered
Teach me the acts of your pleasure
for you are my God
Your good Spirit will lead me
in an upright land

For the sake of your name יְהוָה
let me live in your righteousness
let me exit from the stresses of my being
and in your loving kindness put an end to my enemies
destroy all those distressing my being for I am your servant.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The next circle

True to my prior post on the second great circle, I will attempt a patterned translation of Psalms 3-5 then to follow, Psalms 6, 42, 86, and 143. These represent personal psalms, the personal encircled by the promise in the first great circle (1,2,149). In the following psalms, I use יְהוָה for the Name. 'The Name' does not work as vocative. Read aloud substituting Hashem or Adonai or O Lord / Lord / the Lord or whatever is your own practice.

Again there is deliberate play on the many and the one, who now takes on additional properties - beloved, righteous, reserved.

There are many verbal connections in the Psalms 3-5 with Psalms 1,2 and 149. I hope you can hear them in the English. They are in the Hebrew but not explicit with respect to sound in any translation I have yet seen. So in translation philosophies, I advocate a pattern matching approach.

A Psalm of David, when he fled from the face of Absalom his son.

יְהוָה, how many my straits!
Many rising against me
Many saying of my life
'There is no victory for him in God'
But you, יְהוָה, a shield about me
my glory, and raising my head
My voice, to יְהוָה I call
and he answers me
from the hill of his holiness
I lie down, and I sleep
I awake, for יְהוָה sustains me
I am not afraid of the many many people
surrounding, set against me

Arise, יְהוָה
save me, my God
for you strike all my enemies on the cheek
teeth of the many wicked broken
To יְהוָה is victory
To your people your blessing

For the leader with strings A Psalm of David

When I call answer me
my God my upright
In straits you have made room for me
Be compassionate and hear my prayer

My human child, how long will you insult my glory?
your loving on empty? your seeking a lie?
Now set down this: יְהוָה reserved
the beloved as his own
יְהוָה will hear when I call to him
Tremble and do not be missing the goal
speak with your heart
on your bed and be still
Offer offerings of righteousness
and trust in יְהוָה
Many say who will show us good?
Prove to us the light of your face יְהוָה!
You have put joy in my heart
more than when their grain
and their new wine increased
In peace as one I will lie down and sleep
for you יְהוָה in solitude in safety make me live

For the leader On the flutes A Psalm of David
To my words give ear יְהוָה
Discern my meditation
Listen to the voice of my cry
my king and my God
for to you I pray
יְהוָה, morning will hear my voice
Morning I will set forth to you
and I will be observant

For you are not a God of pleasure in wickedness
You do not entertain evil
Boasters have no station before your eyes
You hate all workers of trouble
You will destroy speakers of a lie
A man of blood and deceit you will abhor, יְהוָה

But I, in the greatness of your loving kindness
will enter your house
I will adore in your holy temple
in your fear
יְהוָה lead me in your righteousness
on account of my watchers
straight in my face be your way

For there is no stability in their mouth
their belly is a chasm
an open sepulcher their neck
their tongue deceives

Declare them guilty O God
let them lie by their devices
in their many faults banish them
for they rebelled against you

And they will rejoice
All those under your protection through the age
They will cry aloud and you will be cover to them
and they will exult in you
loving your name
For you will bless a righteous one יְהוָה
with a thorn of approval you will crown him

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Psalm 1 / 2 (again)

Minor updates - to agree with the matching sounds in Psalms 3,4,5.
To live in hope - this I am doing. That I might translate psalm 1, 2 and 149 - actually - not so much 'translate' as suggest one of many templates for such a set of acts...

See what you think - first psalm 1.

Happy is the one who has not walked
in the advice of the wicked
and in the way of sinners
has not stood
and in the seat of the scornful
has not sat

in this case: such delight in the teaching of יְהוָה
and in this teaching meditating day and night
So that one will be like a tree transplanted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its time
and its leaf does not wither
and in all that it does, it prospers

Not so the-many wicked
in this case: like chaff that blows in the wind

Therefore they will not arise - the wicked
in the judgment
nor sinners in the congregation of the-equally-many righteous
For יְהוָה knows the way of those righteous
but the way of those wicked will perish

Closely followed by Psalm 2

What is this turmoil in the-many nations?
and the-many tribes meditating on empty?
They set themselves - these kinglets of earth
these rule-makers reasoning as one
against יְהוָה and against his anointed

Let us break their monopoly
and kiss good-bye to their cartel

The one sitting in the heavens - he laughs
The anointed Lord shares in the ridicule
Then he will speak to them too - confrontation
and trouble them face to face

I myself have set that one - my own king in Zion, my holy hill
I will show you the determination of יְהוָה
saying to me - you are my son
This day I gave birth to you
Ask me and I give - those many nations as your legacy
and the extremities of the earth as yours to keep
you will injure them - with durable strength
smashed pots, O Potter, is their preservation

So kinglets all, be wise
be warned you many who make earthly judgments
pay attention to יְהוָה - tremble in joy
kiss hello to purity
for he will face you and you will perish
completed in a moment his act of destruction

Happy! the many who find this protection

This opening bracket cannot stand without its close in Psalm 149

Praise יְהוָה
Sing to יְהוָה a new song
Praise among the many under protection
Let Israel be glad in that one who made him
the children of Zion joy in their king
Let them praise his name in a dance
with drum and harp let them hymn him

for pleased is יְהוָה with that people
beautifying the poor with victory
Joy for the many under protection in glory
singing on their beds
exaltations of God in their voice
a sword of many mouths in their hand

taking vengeance on the many nations
and corrections for the peoples
a monopoly on binding kinglets
these glorious ones with durable cartel
to make for them judgment inscribed
honour for all
under such protection

Praise יְהוָה

Here is the model of the verbal relations I have sought to preserve. There is a deliberate abstraction in the one, and the many of both types - wicked and righteous. It appears to me that the one announced in Psalm 1 is the model for the many who come into the covenant (here rendered protection). I am not sure if I can get away with my singular plural game - their hand, their voice, their beds. [Note this further comment here on structural bias.]

update: I must have been on something when I first translated Psalm 2:9!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Third anniversary

I first started b-logging - on myspace - three years ago yesterday.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Somewhere in 1 Corinthians, Paul writes that it is not our practice to be contentious.

Does that mean he automatically agrees with my or your personal opinion on the argument at hand? No I think, guessing at the Greek - philoneikos, that love of conquest is not our practice.

So there is a new book on the Psalms out by Amy Cottrill and Jim Davila and with him, Loren Rossen, both highlight the 'bellicose' nature of the Psalms. The psalmists, praying for the destruction of the enemy, their troubles, the wicked, etc may be desirous that God would implement their notion of such a solution, but do they see only such a rationale as God's necessary response in covenant to their prayer? Or does God see that 'bellicose' solution as the required response to their prayers? There was dialogue about reasonable faith some time ago. Why do the psalms work so well? Perhaps it is because the prayer is to God and the implementation of the answer, whether yes or no, is not in human hands.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Psalm 22:17

Linus: That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the Stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing there to one side.
Lucy: Uh huh. That's very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown: Well... I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie but I changed my mind.

There are a couple of posts on Psalm 22:17 from John with a second on its way and a response from Duane. I thought I would look to see if there were structural reasons to support the traditional LXX reading that is used in the NT. It appears there are. There are animals in these clouds and they are in circular structures:
  • Bulls verse 13, פָּרִים,
  • lion verse 14, אַרְיֵה,
  • dogs verse 17, כְּלָבִים,
  • then the reverse dog, lion, horns of wild bulls, verses 21-22.
The lion of verse 17 is not required for the structure and could even be seen as distracting from its centre which seems to be: וְאַתָּה יְהוָה אַל תִּרְחָק But thou, O LORD, do not be distant from me... repeating this word רָחוֹק 'distant' that defines a circle from verses 2 to 11.