Bible blog 2252

Continuing my translation with comment of the third book of psalms (73-89)

PSALM 86

A Prayer. For David.

.

Listen to me Yahweh and answer me,

For I am afflicted and in need.

Guard my soul for I am honest;

Save your servant who trusts in you.

.

You are my God. Be gracious to me, my Lord

For to you I cry out all the day.

Lighten the soul of your slave

For to you, my Lord, I lift it up.

.

You are good and prompt to forgive, Lord,

Large in lovingkindness to all who cry to you.

Listen please to my prayer,

And pay heed to the sound of my pleading.

.

In the day of my distress I cry to you,

For you will answer me. Among the Gods

There is none like you, my Lord

Nor are there any acts like yours.

.

All the nations you have made

Shall come and bow before you Lord

And offer honour to your name.

For you are great and do great deeds

You alone are God.

.

Teach me your way, my Lord

That I may walk in your truth;

Unify my heart to fear your name.

.

Lord My God,

I will give you thanks with a whole heart

And I will honour your name forever,

Because your lovingkindness is large towards me:

You have delivered my soul from the depths of Death.

.

Arrogant men have risen against me, God;

A gang of thugs desires my soul.

They give you no place in their thinking.

But you are a God of compassion and grace

Slow to anger and mighty in steadfast love:

Turn your face to me and favour me;

Give your strength to me your slave

And save the son of your slave-girl.

Give me a sign of your bounty

So that those who hate me may see and be shamed,

Because you, Yahweh, have been my help and my solace.

“Teach me your way, my Lord, that I may walk in your truth.”

.

I may be doing it an injustice but to me this psalm sounds as if it was composed by PSALMWRITER(tm), an AI app that lets anyone compose new psalms from bits of old ones. Almost every standard psalm phrase is present in this one and given a place in its structure. Even the last section which is livelier than the rest fails to provide any originality of thought or expression.

My guess is that it is the work of an editor of the psalms in the 3rd century BCE, writing with Israel’s troubles in mind.

The one notable phrase is the request that God “unify the heart” of the psalmist so that he can relate to God, which he then does with a “whole heart.” The experience of trying to worship with a divided heart is widely enough shared to make us grateful for this petition.

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