Psalms

1. A new translation (2015)

This translation is guided by the Grail Version used in The Divine Office (1963), by the work of Luis Alonso Schökel (1991, 1993), and by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (1994).

One of the most remarkable statements of Jesus was his call for us to be like our heavenly Father by loving our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48). Referring to the authors of the psalms, Carroll Stuhlmueller writes in the translation offered by the International Commission, just referred to: 'their angry outbursts against the enemy embarrass Jews and Christians alike and have been dropped from the liturgical prayer of most churches.' I have noted the omitted verses in this translation, and have also suggested that Psalm 75:8, Psalm 136:17-20, and Psalm 149:6-9 could well have also been omitted.

I have also followed the International Version in aiming at dynamic rather than formal equivalence. I quote from the Afterword of the translation offered by the International Commission:

'Because this translation is intended for contemporary liturgical use, it follows the principles of dynamic equivalence, rather than formal equivalence. As any serious effort at translation, it seeks to render accurately the meaning of the original, to convey the spirit and nuances of the original, to make complete sense in idiomatic English and achieve a certain literary quality, and, as far as possible, to produce the same effect in modern readers as the original Hebrew produced in its audience. The key to a dynamic equivalence translation, however, is a more acute awareness that a modern receptor language expresses the thought, nuances, and presuppositions of its society in modes that are often different from those of ancient societies. Thus, while a formally equivalent translation seeks to render closely the distinctive structural and semantic characteristics of the source language (for example, grammatical and rhetorical constructions, word order, tense, number and gender markers, literal translation of idioms not found in the receptor language), a dynamically equivalent translation seeks parallel structural, semantic and idiomatic units that are native to the receptor language. Indeed, to communicate as closely as possible the very content of the psalm or canticle to an English-speaking audience, ancient rhetorical structures and grammatical forms must be adapted to English modes of expression.'

In this new translation I have attempted dynamic equivalence. In my commentary (see below) I followed formal equivalence.

I have followed the International Version also in freeing the text from using 'he' or 'him' as pronouns for God.

I have also offered five simple melodies that may assist in chanting the psalm.

The numbering of the psalms that is used in liturgical texts follows the numbering in the Septuagint (the Old Testament Greek translation of the psalms). I have used the Hebrew numbering, followed by the liturgical numbering in a bracket.

Book 1: Psalms 1-41

Book 2: Psalms 42-72

Book 3: Psalms 73-89

Book 4: Psalms 90-106

Book 5: Psalms 107-150

 

Retreats on the Psalms (pdf files)

1. 2018 Psalms 1-50

Introduction

1.   Choosing the way

2.   God’s anointed son

3.   God our Protector

4.   The Light of God’s face
5.    God hears our prayer

6.   Plea to be saved

7.   Plea for protection from enemies

8.   Beauty and wonder of the night sky

9-10. The Lord sits enthroned forever

11.  The upright will behold God’s face

12. Commitment to truth

13. Trust while suffering

14. Are there any who seek God?

15. Truth in public life

16. Religious Experience

17. Plea for protection against enemies

18. God our Redeemer

19. Creation and God’s Law

20. Prayer for victory in battle

21. Thanksgiving for victory in battle

22. Suffering Servant

23. The Good Shepherd

24. The Lord’s Temple

25. Make us know your ways. Lord

26. In the assembly I will bless the Lord

27. Trusting in God

28. The Lord is the strength of his people

29. The power of nature

30. You have turned my mourning into dancing

31. Trust in terrible distress

32. Admitting one’s sin

33. Praise the Lord with music

34. Look to God and be radiant

35. Speaking out against enemies

36. God’s righteousness is like the mighty mountains

37. Trust in the Lord and do good

38. God, do not forsake me

39. Human frailty

40. Obedience

41. You have set me in your Presence forever

42-43. God’s Absence and our Longing

44. Lord of history

45. Royal Wedding

46. God with us

47. God is exalted

48. Jerusalem

49. Human mortality

50. Sin and Judgment

 

2. 2019 Psalms 51-100

 

51. Sorrow for sin

52. Like a green olive tree in the house of God

53. As though there is no God

54. Animal Sacrifice

55. Plea from an anguished heart

56. God our Deliverer

57. Awake, lyre and harp

58. Wanting to see the wicked punished

59. A plea to God to destroy his enemies

60. A plea to defeat Israel’s enemies

61. Longing to be in the temple

62. Waiting on God

63. Longing for and clinging to God

64. Taking refuge in God

65. God and Nature

66. Thanksgiving

67. All invited to join in praising God

68. Celebrating Victory

69. Plea from one who has been rejected

70. Lord, do not delay

71. Old man continues to trust

72. Good government (Kingdom of God)

73. False prosperity of the wicked

74. Jerusalem Temple burning

75. God’s Judgment

76. God’s Judgment

77. Israel passing through the Red Sea

78. God and Israel’s History

79. Gentiles in the Holy Land and Temple

80. God’s face shining upon us

81. If only you would listen

82. God of Justice

83. Plea to gave the enemies crushed

84. Delight of being in God’s Temple

85. Justice and peace will kiss

86. Tender devotion

87. All are coming to Jerusalem

88. On the edge of death

89. Davidic Dynasty

90. Life is passing

91. God’s Providence

92. Thanksgiving

93. God’s Majesty

94. God’s Judgment

95. Listen to God’s voice

96. Let heavens be glad and earth rejoice

97.  Light dawns for the righteous

98.  The Lord is coming to judge

99.  Worship and God’s holy mountain

100. Celebrating God’s faithful love

 

3. 2020 Psalms 101-150

 

101. Good Government

102. Suffering, personal and national

103. Thanksgiving for God’s faithful love

104. Creation reveals God’s Beauty

105. Exodus Story

106. Israel’s history of sin

107. God, our Saviour

108. Awake, lyre and harp

109. Suffering of being slandered

110. King as Priest

111. Fear of the Lord

112. Happy are those who fear the Lord

113. The Lord raises the poor from the dust

114. Judah is God’s sanctuary, Israel God’s dominion

115. Their idols are silver and gold

116. I love the Lord

117. Praise the Lord all you nations

118. Victory procession in the temple

119. Delighting in God’s will

120. Living in an alien land

121. God guards us

122. Jerusalem

123. Gaze upon the Lord

124. God our Redeemer

125. God encircles us with Love

126. Restored by God

127. Conforming to God’s action

128. Church (God) as mother

129. They have attacked but not prevailed

130. Cry from the depths

131. Childlike humility

132. Davidic Dynasty

133. Community

134. Servants of the Lord, praise the Lord

135. Israel, God’s treasured possession

136. God’s faithful love endured forever

137. Lament and seeking revenge

138. God’s purpose for us

139. God’s intimate knowledge

140. The upright will live in God’s Presence

141. My eyes are turned towards you, my God

142. Urgent Plea

143. Thirsting for God

144. Plea for victory

145. God’s characteristics

146. God’s characteristics

147. Praise of the Creator

148. All invited to praise the Creator

149. Praise the Lord with dancing

150. Praise our God

 

3. Commentary published in 2005

I published a commentary on the Psalms in 2005 (Chevalier Press, 542 pages RRP $40.00) (www.annals.com.au) [email: annalsaustralasia@gmail.com;
Phone: 61+2 96627894]. With the permission of the publisher this book is now accessible from this website in pdf format. Click on the psalm that interests you.

 

3. Audio files (2004-2005)

From October 2004 to November 2005 I offered lectures in Canberra on the Psalms.

You can listen to my reflections on the psalm that interests you by clicking on one of the following. The process for downloading and saving the file varies from browser to browser (generally right-click for Widows PC and control-click for Mac).

A copy of the full suite of audio files is available on 4 CDs (cost $20.00). Please contact me if you wish to purchase.

  • You can, of course, download this material free of charge from this website.