Psalm 141 Translation and comment

A Psalm for David

Yahweh I am shouting to you. Hurry to my side.

Hear my voice when I howl to you

Accept my prayer as incense before you,

My upraised hands as an evening gift.

Command a guard on my mouth Yahweh

A watcher at the opening of my lips.

Do not turn my heart towards evil

Or let me perform wicked practices

With men who relish wrongdoing:

Don’t let me eat their delicacies.

Let a just man hit me,

Or a holy man correct me,

But do not let the wicked anoint my head with oil

For that would make me companion to their crimes.

Let their leaders slip over a cliff

But let my words be heard for they are sweet.

As when the earth is cleft and crumbled

So their bones shall be scattered

At the lip of the land of the dead.

But my eyes are on you, Yahweh Lord;

In you I have hope;

Do not pour out my soul.

Protect me from the trap they set for me

And from the snares of wrongdoers.

Let wicked people fall into their own nets

While I walk safely on.

If this is the Word of the Lord, he was surely stuttering when he said it! Almost half the verses of it are incomprehensible in Hebrew and require mending by the guesses of scholars as to the original text.

It is yet another version of the complaint of the righteous man who is threatened by wrongdoers, but it does not have anything original to say. Or so it seems, for much of the above is my invention.

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