Translating Psalms (29)

“Exaltabo te, Domine” (Psalm 29)

[1] Psalmus canti, in dedicatione domus David.

A Psalm of chant, at the dedication of David’s house.

[2] Exaltabo te, Domine, quoniam suscepisti me, nec delectasti inimicos meos super me.

I shall exalt You, O Lord, for You have borne me up, nor have You loved my enemies above me.

[3] Domine Deus meus, clamavi ad te, et sanasti me.

O Lord my God, I have cried to You and You have healed me.

[4] Domine, eduxisti ab inferno animam meam; salvasti me a descendentibus in lacum.

O Lord, You have led from hell my soul; You have saved me from those descending into the pit.

[5] Psallite Domino, sancti ejus; et confitemini memoriae sanctitatis ejus.

Sing to the Lord, ye His holy ones; and confess to the memory of His holiness.

[6] Quoniam ira in indignatione ejus, et vita in voluntate ejus; ad vesperum demorabitur fletus, et ad matutinum laetitia.

For wrath in His indignation, and life in His will; unto the evening star shall weeping stay, and joy unto the morning.

[7] Ego autem dixi in abundantia mea : Non movebor in aeternum.

But I have said in my abundance “I shall not be moved unto the eternal.

[8] Domine, in voluntate tua praestitisti decori meo virtutem; avertisti faciem tuam a me, et factus sum conturbatus.

O  Lord, in Your will You have provided strength to my comeliness;” You have turned Your face from me and I am made troubled.

[9] Ad te, Domine, clamabo, et ad Deum meum deprecabor.

Unto You, O Lord, shall I cry, and I shall make deprecation to my God.

[10] Quae utilitas in sanguine meo, dum descendo in corruptionem? Numquid confitebitur tibi pulvis, aut annuntiabit veritatem tuam?

What utility in my blood, when I descend into corruption? Shall the dust praise You, or announce Your truth?

[11] Audivit Dominus, et misertus est mei; Dominus factus est adjutor meus.

The Lord has heard and been merciful to me; the Lord has been made my helper.

[12] Convertisti planctum meum in gaudium mihi; conscidisti saccum meum, et circumdedisti me laetitia;

You have turned my wailing into joy for me; You have rent my sack-cloth and compassed me with joy;

[13] ut cantet tibi gloria mea, et non compungar. Domine Deus meus, in aeternum confitebor tibi.

that my glory may sing to You and I not be pierced through.  O Lord my God, unto the eternal I shall confess You.


drbo does not give a semicolon in the middle of v. 6 but it is verrry hard to give a good sense to the line without it.  I was about to make ira and vita into ablatives to do something wonky when I struck on the punctuation idea.

ooh, decori is a flexible word there in v. 8.  My thought is to play off of David’s early description in I Samuel 16:12, where he is “decorous of face.”  Now God has added might to that youthful appearance!

I have added the teensiest alterations to v. 8 to make the sense more prose-obvious.  I was tempted to add a strong adversative there, something like “But now…”

v. 12 conscidisti saccum meum perplexed me until I kicked over to the Greek.  Saccum in Latin just means sack and doesn’t seem to have any standard metaphorical meanings.  I considered taking it as a metaphor for burden, as in God cutting the burden off my back.  But wait!  St. Jerome has done something a little funny here, turning the Greek sakkon (sack-cloth, hair shirt) not into the Latin cilicium but the false friend saccum!  I very nearly went with the “proper” use of saccum but decided to obey sense and Septuagint instead.  I reserve the right to change back if I stumble upon some excellent spiritual sense later.

By St. Jerome’s time compungar had taken on the metaphorical sense of pierced by guilt or remorse, which is probably the intention here.  He’s translating katanugo from the Septuagint, which is a bit weird in its own right but we’ll let sleeping dogs lie.

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