Translating Psalms (65)

I really, really hate the punctuation and line-breaking to this psalm.  This one really requires a good page layout which I sadly cannot duplicate here on wordpress.  A heavily liturgical song.  For the first nine verses David commands the earth and directs it towards its Creator.  Then he both personalizes the prayer and speaks on behalf of all Israel.

“Jubilate Deo” (Psalm 65)

[1] In finem. Canticum psalmi resurrectionis. Jubilate Deo, omnis terra;

Unto the end.  A canticle of a psalm of resurrection.  Rejoice in God, all the earth;

[2] psalmum dicite nomini ejus; date gloriam laudi ejus.

a psalm speak to His name; give glory to His praise. 

[3] Dicite Deo : Quam terribilia sunt opera tua, Domine! in multitudine virtutis tuae mentientur tibi inimici tui.

Speak to God, “How terrible are Your works, Lord! in the multitude of Your power they will lie to You, Your enemies.

[4] Omnis terra adoret te, et psallat tibi; psalmum dicat nomini tuo.

All the earth, let it adore You and sing psalm to You; a psalm let it speak to Your name.

[5] Venite, et videte opera Dei; terribilis in consiliis super filios hominum.

Come and see the works of God, terrible in counsels above the sons of men–

[6] Qui convertit mare in aridam, in flumine pertransibunt pede; ibi laetabimur in ipso.

Who turns the sea into dry land, in a river they cross through on foot, there we will be glad in Him.

[7] Qui dominatur in virtute sua in aeternum, oculi ejus super gentes respiciunt; qui exasperant non exaltentur in semetipsis.

Who is Lord in His power into the eternal, His eyes over all the nations regard; those who provoke will not be exalted in themselves.

[8] Benedicite, gentes, Deum nostrum, et auditam facite vocem laudis ejus;

Bless, O nations, our God and make heard the voice of His praise–

[9] qui posuit animam meam ad vitam, et non dedit in commotionem pedes meos.

Who placed my soul toward life and did not give into commotion my feet.

[10] Quoniam probasti nos, Deus; igne nos examinasti, sicut examinatur argentum.

For You have proven us, God; with fire us You have examined just as is examined silver.

[11] Induxisti nos in laqueum; posuisti tribulationes in dorso nostro;

You have led us into the snare; You have placed troubles on our back;

[12] imposuisti homines super capita nostra. Transivimus per ignem et aquam, et eduxisti nos in refrigerium.

You have imposed men above our heads.  We have passed through fire and water and You have led us out into relief.

[13] Introibo in domum tuam in holocaustis; reddam tibi vota mea

I will enter into Your house in holocausts; I will repay to You my vow

[14] quae distinxerunt labia mea; et locutum est os meum, in tribulatione mea.

which they have marked, my lips; and it has spoken, my mouth, in my trouble.

[15] Holocausta medullata offeram tibi, cum incenso arietum; offeram tibi boves cum hircis.

A holocaust of marrow will I offer to You with the incense of rams; I will offer to You bulls with goats.

[16] Venite, audite, et narrabo, omnes qui timetis Deum, quanta fecit animae meae.

Come and hear and tell, all you who fear God, how many things He makes for my soul.

[17] Ad ipsum ore meo clamavi; et exaltavi sub lingua mea.

Toward Him with my mouth have I cried and I have raised up from my tongue.

[18] Iniquitatem si aspexi in corde meo, non exaudiet Dominus.

Injustice, if I have seen in my heart, He will not listen, will the Lord.

[19] Propterea exaudivit Deus, et attendit voci deprecationis meae.

Because God has listened for and attended to the voice of my prayer.

[20] Benedictus Deus, qui non amovit orationem meam, et misericordiam suam a me.

Blessed God, Who has not brushed away my prayer and His mercy from me.


v. 12 refrigerium I can’t help but think of a Roman bath when I read the progression ignisaquarefrigerium.  It’s not exactly the terms for the stages of a Roman bath but it’s really evocative.  Probably just a weird mis-firing in my brain.  Here’s an academic paper topic for you: St. Jerome is comparing the trials of Israel to God washing them in a Roman bath.  Actually, someone probably already wrote that back in the ’60s or ’70s.

v. 17 sub lingua mea The combination of ex and sub is quite odd-looking, but justified by the direction implied in –altaviSub means not just “under” but also moving up toward something from below.  Normally that takes an accusative, which brings us back to the “odd-looking” part.  Heck if I know how to render this into English without smoothing it all over.

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