03 September 2009

praying: Psalm 40

A beautifully poetic and likely unfamiliar version.
Robert Alter's Translation from The Book of Psalms (2007)

I urgently hoped for the LORD.

He bent down toward me and heard my voice,
and He brought me up from the roiling pit*
from the thickest mire.
And He set my feet on a crag,
made my steps firm.
And He put in my mouth a new song-
praise to our God.
May many see and fear
and trust in the LORD.
Happy is the man who puts
in the LORD his trust
and does not turn to the sea monster gods
and to false gods.
Many things You have done- You
O LORD our God- Your wonders!
And Your plans for us-
none can match You,
I would tell and I would speak:
they are too numerous to recount.
Sacrifice and grain offering You do not desire.
You opened ears for me:
for burnt-offering and offense-offering You do not ask.

Then did I think: Look, I com
with the scroll of the book written for me.
To what pleases You, my God, I desire,
and Your teaching is deep within me.
I heralded justice in a great assembly.
Look I will not seal my lips.
LORD, You Yourself know.
Your justice I concealed not in my heart.
Your faithfulness and Your rescue I spoke.
I withheld not from the great assembly Your steadfast truth.
You, LORD, will not hold back
Your mercies from me.

Your steadfast truth
shall always guard me.
For evils drew around me
beyond count.
My crimes overtook me
and I could not see-
more numerous than the hairs of my head-
and my heart forsook me.
Show favor, O LORD, to save me.
LORD, to my help, hasten.
May they be shamed and abased one and all,
who seek my life to destroy it,
may they fall back and be disgraced,
who desire my harm.
Let them be devastated on the heels of their shame,
who say of me, "Hurrah! Hurrah!"
Let all who seek You
exult and rejoice in You.
May they always say, "God is great!"-
those who love your rescue.
As for me, I am lowly and needy.
May the Master account it for me.
My help, he who frees me You are.
My God, do not delay.

*He mentions, "literally, 'the pit of noise'"

And perhaps a more familiar version:

No comments: