Translating Psalms (63)

“Exaudi Deus orationem” (Psalm 63)

[1] In finem. Psalmus David.

Unto the end.  A Psalm of David.

[2] Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam cum deprecor; a timore inimici eripe animam meam.

Listen, O God, for my orison when I pray; from fear of the enemy rescue my soul.

[3] Protexisti me a conventu malignantium, a multitudine operantium iniquitatem.

You have protected me from the assembly of evil-doers, from the multitude of those working injustice.

[4] Quia exacuerunt ut gladium linguas suas; intenderunt arcum rem amaram,

Since they have sharpened as a sword their tongues; they have bent the bow, an evil affair,

[5] ut sagittent in occultis immaculatum.

that they might shoot in hidden places the untarnished.

[6] Subito sagittabunt eum, et non timebunt; firmaverunt sibi sermonem nequam. Narraverunt ut absconderent laqueos; dixerunt : Quis videbit eos?

Suddenly they will shoot him and they will not fear; they have established for themselves a wicked word.  They have made tell that they might hide snares; they have said, “Who will see them?”

[7] Scrutati sunt iniquitates; defecerunt scrutantes scrutinio. Accedet homo ad cor altum;

Searched are injustices; they have failed, the searching, in the search.  He will come, will the man, to a deep heart.

[8] et exaltabitur Deus. Sagittae parvulorum factae sunt plagae eorum;

He also will be lifted up, will God.  The arrows of the wee are made their plagues

[9] et infirmatae sunt contra eos linguae eorum. Conturbati sunt omnes qui videbant eos;

and weakened are their tongues against them.  They have been confounded, all who saw them

[10] et timuit omnis homo. Et annuntiaverunt opera Dei; et facta ejus intellexerunt.

and he has feared, each man.  They also have announced the works of God and His deeds they have understood.

[11] Laetabitur justus in Domino, et sperabit in eo; et laudabuntur omnes recti corde.

He will be glad, will the just, in the Lord and he will hope in Him, and they will be praised, all the right in heart.


v. 2 deprecor As usual, there’s no good way to render this into English without using a phrase.  It’s the prayer of warding off an evil.

v. 7 scrutati sunt This can be taken either as a passive verb from scruto or as a deponent, from scrutor.  I think the sense in the whole verse comes out the same either way–they search for injustices and they fail.  I take it as a passive with the subject being made clear in the next phrase, defecerunt scrutantes.

v. 7 cor altum The real problem is here.  Homo in previous psalms has sometimes meant Saul, but there’s nothing here to make that obvious.  Contrasted with the many who work evil, it’s more natural to take as David here.  So what is the sense in David coming to a “deep (high?) heart?”  Against this, all the surrounding lines are about the wicked and God bringing them down.  So if we throw back to Saul again, the sense of “deep heart” is given by the preceding lines about searching for injustice.  Let him search as deep in his heart as he please?  A form of pondering evils?  The shift to singular troubles me a little though.  I don’t like suddenly breaking from the plural.

v. 8 parvulorum “Wee” might be a bit silly, so I almost went with “least.”  It’s a fun form though–the adjective small with the diminutive ending.  If you wanted to really play games, you might try anawim here.  Bit too ’90s trendy for my taste though.

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