Translating Psalms (16)

It’s going to be funny when I finally get myself confused by the numbering and translate the same psalm twice without realizing it.

I am resisting the urge to go back and double-check my previous work, even though I caught myself making a funny, terrible mistake in this psalm.  Onward and upward, lest I never finish!

“Exaudi, Domine, justitiam” (Psalm 16)

[1] Oratio David. Exaudi, Domine, justitiam meam; intende deprecationem meam. Auribus percipe orationem meam, non in labiis dolosis.

An orison of David.  Hear, O Lord, my justice; attend to my prayer of warding.  With ears perceive my orison, not on deceitful lips.

[2] De vultu tuo judicium meum prodeat; oculi tui videant aequitates.

From Thy face let my judgment go forth; let Thine eyes see equities.

[3] Probasti cor meum, et visitasti nocte; igne me examinasti, et non est inventa in me iniquitas.

Thou has tested my heart, and hast visited by night; by fire hast Thou examined me, and there has not been found in me iniquity.

[4] Ut non loquatur os meum opera hominum: propter verba labiorum tuorum, ego custodivi vias duras.

That my mouth not speak the works of men: on account of the words of Thy lips, I have guarded hard ways.

[5] Perfice gressus meos in semitis tuis, ut non moveantur vestigia mea.

Perfect my steps in Thy paths, that my tracks be not moved.

[6] Ego clamavi, quoniam exaudisti me, Deus; inclina aurem tuam mihi, et exaudi verba mea.

I myself have cried, for Thou hast heard me, O God; incline Thy ear to me, and hear my words.

[7] Mirifica misericordias tuas, qui salvos facis sperantes in te.

Make marvelous Thy mercies, Who make safe those hoping in You.

[8] A resistentibus dexterae tuae custodi me, ut pupillam oculi. Sub umbra alarum tuarum protege me,

From those resisting Your right hand guard me, as the apple of the eye.  Under the shadow of Your wings protect me,

[9] a facie impiorum qui me afflixerunt. Inimici mei animam meam circumdederunt;

from the face of the wicked who afflict me.  My enemies compass my soul;

[10] adipem suum concluserunt; os eorum locutum est superbiam.

they have concealed their boast; their mouth has spoken pride.

[11] Projicientes me nunc circumdederunt me; oculos suos statuerunt declinare in terram.

Those hurling me have now compassed me; their eyes they have decided to decline to the earth.

[12] Susceperunt me sicut leo paratus ad praedam, et sicut catulus leonis habitans in abditis.

They have undertaken me just as a lion prepared to the prey, and just as the lion’s cub dwelling in hidden places.

[13] Exsurge, Domine: praeveni eum, et supplanta eum; eripe animam meam ab impio.

Arise, O Lord: prevent him, and supplant him; rescue my soul from the wicked.

[14] Frameam tuam ab inimicis manus tuae. Domine, a paucis de terra divide eos in vita eorum; de absconditis tuis adimpletus est venter eorum. Saturati sunt filiis, et dimiserunt reliquias suas parvulis suis.

Thy spear from the enemies of Thy hand!  O Lord, from the poor of the earth divide them in their life; from Your hidden their belly has been filled.  Saturated are they with sons, and they have dismissed their remnants to their little ones.

[15] Ego autem in justitia apparebo conspectui tuo; satiabor cum apparuerit gloria tua.

But I in justice, I shall appear before Thy sight; I shall be filled when Thy glory appears.


deprecationem: remember, a prayer that something dreadful be removed or held at bay.  Hence, warding.  The opposite is imprecation, when you call something dreadful down on your enemy.  I particularly like this refinement of Latin which we don’t really use in Latin.  For us it’s just prayer, prayer, prayer!

adipem means fat or lard, figuratively boast–“fatness.”  I considered leaving it as lard but superbiam in the parallel clause is pretty well demanding its partner.  Dr. Who shout-out: remember the Adipose?

There’s framea again.  Go back to my translation of Psalm 9 if you want info on this interesting word and my choice of “spear” as the rendering.

Sense of verse 14: they eat the sons of God and pass on the leftovers to their young.  One of the few times I am tempted to gin up the English to make the sense clearer.  Learn Latin instead!

4 thoughts on “Translating Psalms (16)

  1. I had to Google your Dr Who reference because I gave up on it for a while. I thought I’d never watch another episode after they had that one with the man-eating wheelie bins. Anyway, I relented because my daughter got interested and I couldn’t resist. I’m loving Peter Capaldi as the Doctor even though I was dubious at the beginning. How about you? I thought the Weeping Angels were the best baddies I’d seen in a while.


    1. I have many thoughts on Dr. Who! Maybe I should post on the show at some point when my schedule slows down. I can’t claim to be a superfan but I have been watching since they rebooted with Christopher Eccleston (#9) and I’ll still tune in for the Christmas special.

      I think Peter Capaldi is an excellent Doctor laboring on a show that sadly has terrible writing. They have gone stale and resort to recycling old ideas far too much. Capaldi gets a lot of negative attention with fans as a result–quite unfair to him in my opinion.

      The original weeping angels episode is one of the very best Dr. Who episodes ever made. I’d be willing to argue it’s one of the best very best television programs ever to air. But, circling back to my previous point, they drained the greatness out of that story by returning to them in later episodes. Terrible mistake in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you must write a Dr Who post. 🙂 It’s a great British classic. I re-watched a lot of the early ones last year, and, I have to say, I don’t love Tom Baker as much now as I did when I was a child. Some of the more recent (pre-Capaldi) story arcs have been stonking. I love how they developed the stories of the old baddies like the daleks, the Master and the cybermen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s