Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Psalm 4

Rethinking Psalm 4 a bit this morning.

There is a high level structure to the Psalter. The outer envelope is Psalms 1-2 and 149. There is then an inner envelope of personal psalms 3-4-5 and 140-141-142 (Annotations of further structures here and here.)

Psalm 4 struck me this morning as I was testing some recurrence diagrams.
It fits you, beloved, like a glove, 
and it answers your deepest questions
note particularly the gaps between verses.  Some are marked by Selah.

I refreshed my very literal translation here - note the repeated roots (arrows show them). Here is a smoothed out translation from earlier.

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.
(2)
My human child, how long will you insult my glory?
your loving on empty? your seeking a lie?
Selah
Now set down this: יְהוָה reserved
the beloved(1) 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.
Selah
Offer offerings of righteousness
and trust in יְהוָה
Many say who will show us good?
Prove to us the light of your face יְהוָה!
(2)
You have put joy(3)  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(4)  make me live.

(1) from chesed – covenant mercy – elect of God, the chosen - the mercied (singular in this case - cf Psalm 149 chasidim traditionally translated 'saints' - note the singular vs the plural - the same movement as is from Psalm 1 to 149.)
(2) needs another pause – change of speaker or plural vs singular
(3) happiness
(4) from betach – trust