Translating Psalms (2)

Watch me try to do them all in 150 days… (hah!)

“Quare fremuerunt” (Psalm 2)

  1. Quare fremuerunt gentes, et populi meditati sunt inania?
  2. Astiterunt reges terrae, et principes convenerunt in unum adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
  3. Dirumpamus vincula eorum, et projiciamus a nobis jugum ipsorum.
  4. Qui habitat in caelis irridebit eos, et Dominus subsannabit eos.
  5. Tunc loquetur ad eos in ira sua, et in furore suo conturbabit eos.
  6. Ego autem constitutus sum rex ab eo super Sion, montem sanctum ejus, praedicans praeceptum ejus.
  7. Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu; ego hodie genui te.
  8. Postula a me, et dabo tibi gentes haereditatem tuam, et possessionem tuam terminos terrae.
  9. Reges eos in virga ferrea, et tamquam vas figuli confringes eos.
  10. Et nunc, reges, intelligite; erudimini, qui judicatis terram.
  11. Servite Domino in timore, et exsultate ei cum tremore.
  12. Apprehendite disciplinam, nequando irascatur Dominus, et pereatis de via justa.
  13. Cum exarserit in brevi ira ejus, beati omnes qui confidunt in eo.

Why did the nations rage, and the peoples ponder inanities?

The kings of the earth arose, and princes gathered as one against the Lord, and against His Christ.

‘Let us sunder their chains, and hurl from us their yoke.’

Who dwells in the heavens derides them, and the Lord mocks them.

Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and in His fury He will plunge them into confusion.

I, however, I have been established king by Him over Zion, His holy mountain, preaching His precept.

The Lord has said to me: ‘My son you are; I today have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will give to you nations as your heritage, and as your possession the ends of the earth.

You will rule them in an iron rod, and like a potter’s vase you will shatter them.’

And now, kings, understand; learn, you who judge the earth.

Serve the Lord in fear, and exalt Him with trembling.

Acquire discipline, lest ever the Lord be angry, and lest you lose the just path.

When His wrath blazes out in brief, blessed are all who confide in Him.


“their chains, their yoke”–the chains and burden imposed by God and His Christ.  Cf. Wisdom 3 (same for the previous psalm, for that matter)

erudimini: “git gud.”

in brevi: in a short space of time?  for a short time?  soon?  So much better to just leave it unclear.

When I was young and steeped in fancy biblical studies and Knew Things, I worried about the “extravagantly Christo-centric” readings given to psalms like this one and, by extension, the Vulgate itself for fostering them in its “pietistic” translation.  What a colossal waste of my time that worry was!


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