If you are not familiar with how the Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, first read II Kings 18-19 (it’s also in Isaiah 36-37). Then read Lord Byron’s immortal take, even though the psalmist beat him to it by about 2500 years.
For Holy Saturday, it is the harrowing of hell.
“Notus in Judaea” (Psalm 75)
 In finem, in laudibus. Psalmus Asaph, canticum ad Assyrios.
Unto the end, in praises. A psalm for Asaph, a canticle unto the Assyrians. Continue reading Translating Psalms (75)
It’s Friday. Focus on the chalice.
“Confitebimur tibi” (Psalm 74)
 In finem, ne corrumpas. Psalmus cantici Asaph.
Unto the end, lest you corrupt. A psalm of a canticle for Asaph. Continue reading Translating Psalms (74)
Why indeed would God be angry with us? Maybe because we just sold His Son into the hands of death? A total desecration of God in the triumph of the enemy? An overthrow of God in the garden of His holy place?
Sure if this weren’t Holy Week I could talk about what I think the historical setting of this psalm is–some later stage of the kingdom when the foreign cults were overwhelming the worship of God. But that doesn’t matter compared to seeing Jesus heading to the garden to be betrayed by his friend.
“Ut quid, Deus” (Psalm 73)
 Intellectus Asaph. Ut quid, Deus, repulisti in finem, iratus est furor tuus super oves pascuae tuae?
An understanding of Asaph. Why, O God, have You repelled unto the end, has been angry, Your fury, over the sheep of Your flock? Continue reading Translating Psalms (73)
Obviously in some boring human sense it’s mere coincidence that I am translating this on Tuesday of Holy Week and publishing it on Spy Wednesday. But it’s not only that; the coincidence of each of these psalms with their corresponding day in the Passion of Our Lord is some small, hidden corner of divine providence. They are each of them, after all, written about Him.
Playing this in the background of His last day of ministry in Jerusalem, while Judas was plotting his betrayal, is downright operatic.
“Quam bonus Israel Deus” (Psalm 72)
 Psalmus Asaph. Quam bonus Israel Deus, his qui recto sunt corde!
A psalm for Asaph. How good Israel’s God to them who are of right heart! Continue reading Translating Psalms (72)
Deus solus, Deus semper.
“Deus, judicium tuum” (Psalm 71)
 Psalmus, in Salomonem.
A psalm unto Solomon. Continue reading Translating Psalms (71)
“In te, Domine” (Psalm 70)
 Psalmus David, filiorum Jonadab, et priorum captivorum. In te, Domine, speravi; non confundar in aeternum;
A psalm for David, of the sons of Jonadab, and of the former captives. In You, O Lord, have I hoped; may I not be dismayed into the eternal; Continue reading Translating Psalms (70)
Well we pray a verse of this psalm every time we sit down to the Divine Office, so…
“Deus in adjutorium” (Psalm 69)
 In finem. Psalmus David in rememorationem, quod salvum fecerit eum Dominus.
Unto the end. A psalm of David in remembrance that He saved him, did the Lord. Continue reading Translating Psalms (69)
Really wishing I had looked ahead to see this one waiting for me after the long Psalm 67… My heart hasn’t really been in these as much this year given my other commits, but this is a great Lenten psalm with excellent Passion connections. Just look at v. 22! I can at least soldier on for gems like these!
“Salvum me fac, Deus” (Psalm 68)
 In finem, pro iis qui commutabuntur. David.
Unto the end, for them who will be all-changed. To David. Continue reading Translating Psalms (68)
Been a while since I’ve had a really long one. Time to roll up the sleeves. Wow did this thing have some weird expressions.
“Exurgat Deus” (Psalm 67)
 In finem. Psalmus cantici ipsi David.
Unto the end. A psalm of a canticle for David himself. Continue reading Translating Psalms (67)
Another highly liturgical psalm, again with more emphasis on the universal human nature than just the people of Israel. That universality of Israel’s mission is already present in Solomon’s dedication of the Temple, but it’s definitely a minor note that grows stronger as Israel’s history continues to unfold. If you like playing authorship games, it’s a reason to think of this psalm as a later one.
I however do not care for such games, as they are beside the point. David sounds an awful lot like a cosmic high priest mediating between God and man. Almost like a foreshadowing, or even a type of the True Mediator…almost as if the true mediator Himself is speaking these words…hmm…
I’ve played around a bit with the subjunctives to contrast the way David speaks to God and the way he speaks to us.
“Deus misereatur” (Psalm 66)
 In finem, in hymnis. Psalmus cantici David.
Unto the end, in hymns. A psalm of a canticle of David. Continue reading Translating Psalms (66)