Psalm Saturday: Psalm 9

Happy Psalm Saturday everyone! Today we compare Psalm 9, “God’s Power and Justice.” Oh, I love this one! (By now you realize I love all of them…) But, I’m still very excited for today because we’ve finally reached the psalm. I know, I’m being cryptic. What is “the psalm,” you ask? Keep reading, and perhaps you’ll notice before I tell you…

Psalm 9: God’s Power and Justice

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turned back,
they stumbled and perished before you.
4 For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.
5 You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemies have vanished in everlasting ruins;
their cities you have rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.
7 But the Lord sits enthroned forever,
he has established his throne for judgment.
8 He judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with equity.
9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion.
Declare his deeds among the peoples.
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13 Be gracious to me, O Lord.
See what I suffer from those who hate me;
you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,
14 so that I may recount all your praises,
and, in the gates of daughter Zion,
rejoice in your deliverance.
15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.
16 The Lord has made himself known, he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
17 The wicked shall depart to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.
19 Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail;
let the nations be judged before you.
20 Put them in fear, O Lord;
let the nations know that they are only human. Selah.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all thy wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in thee,
I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turned back,
they stumbled and perished before thee.
4 For thou hast maintained my just cause;
thou hast sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.
5 Thou hast rebuked the nations, thou hast destroyed the wicked;
thou hast blotted out their name for ever and ever.
6 The enemy have vanished in everlasting ruins;
their cities thou hast rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.
7 But the Lord sits enthroned for ever,
he has established his throne for judgment;
8 and he judges the world with righteousness,
he judges the peoples with equity.
9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know thy name put their trust in thee,
for thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek thee.
11 Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13 Be gracious to me, O Lord!
Behold what I suffer from those who hate me,
O thou who liftest me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all thy praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in thy deliverance.
15 The nations have sunk in the pit which they made;
in the net which they hid has their own foot been caught.
16 The Lord has made himself known, he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
17 The wicked shall depart to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.
19 Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before thee!
20 Put them in fear, O Lord!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah.

Have you noticed any differences yet? Well, differences barring the obvious gender-inclusive language and “thee and thou” words? What? You mean you haven’t? Yes, readers—it’s the psalm. It was inevitable that I’d come across identical psalms in a comparison of two very similar translations. This is the first one, so it’s the psalm. Only word nerds like me would be this excited, I know…

But, I do think this is an excellent time to discuss what’s been on my mind for the past few days. We all ask, “Which translation is the best?” Or “most accurate,” or “pure,” or whatever word you’d like to use. Comparing these two translations has taught me that things like “thee and thou” and gender inclusive language aren’t the deal-breakers many well-meaning people make them out to be. The NRSV isn’t hiding anything—footnotes showing “man,” etc. line the page to show where changes were made. Both translations say the same thing, so it really boils down to personal preference. (Translations can have issues, but that’s another topic I’m not qualified to say anything about.) Don’t let anyone tell you, just because you like the NABRE over the RSV or the Douay-Rheims over the NABRE, that your bible is the “wrong” one.

I believe it was Billy Graham who, when asked which bible translation was the best replied, “The one you read.” Be sure you have a complete bible with all 73 books, and with Church approval—it doesn’t matter if that’s the NABRE, RSV, NRSV, or GNT as long as you read it. However, I digress. We have a psalm to attend to, don’t we?

This is one of the psalms I always sing in my head when I read it. All the psalms are songs of course, but some just sound musical, even in English. It’s so much fun! I did notice as I was reading it that the RSV tends to use exclamation points more. I guess the translators understand my sentiment… It’s a minor grammatical thing, but I like the exclamation points.

I’m especially fond of verses 7-12. These verses are a reminder that God is sovereign over us, but that sovereignty doesn’t ask Him to ignore us—He’s always listening and reaching out to help. He’s righteous and good and fair to all of us. On the other hand, God’s justice turns our problems back on ourselves; if we’re hurting, we should probably be asking if we’ve hurt ourselves. Often, we have.

Still that’s not the end of things. “[God] does not forget the cry of the afflicted,” and if we turn away from our sin and turn to Him, He won’t forsake us. Hope this psalm is as encouraging to you as it is to me. Happy Saturday everyone. Don’t forget to call your Mother!

In His Sacred Heart,

Erica

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