Nathan Kirkpatrick: Psalm 40
Translation indeed matters. Nathan Kirkpatrick compares the NRSV's rendering of Psalm 40 with that of a contemporary poet.
Psalm 40 appears here first in a poetic re-interpretation by Donna Hardy, a psychotherapist, poet and author of "Songs to a Watchful Lover." Below is the New Revised Standard Version.
Psalm 40 (Donna Hardy)
I waited patiently for the Lord;
and he inclined unto me…
Poor, needy, bogged down,
I waited, cried out, waited still.
The Beloved heard my cry,
bent down, lifted me from the mire,
set my feet on solid ground,
gave me a new song.
I sing now of love, of kindness,
of tender mercies not withheld.
Listen. I tell all.
Psalm 40 (NRSV)
1I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
4Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.
5You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.
6Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
9I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.
10I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
11Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.
12For evils have encompassed me without number; my iniquities have overtaken me, until I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.
13Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.
14Let all those be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who desire my hurt.
15Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
16But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.