Since beginning to teach the book of Psalms six years ago I have made it part of my spiritual discipline to read through the Psalms every summer, each time in a different version. This summer I am doing something quite different and reading all the psalms aloud from “The Book of Psalms translated into English Verse” by George Burgess [published in 1840]. My first impression was that this version trivialized the depth of Hebrew parallelism by replacing it with rhyming and perfectly metered lines but it has grown on me. The translator has lived deeply with the Psalms and labored some years over this project. This version includes King James Version style language [Remember, it was the only English version around at the time.] and heightens the poetic grandeur for English readers. I suppose I should record myself and post the readings on Youtube but since I have not yet taken the time to learn that technology I will post a few notable psalms on this site during the summer.
Psalm 6 may not seem like the usual summer fare of long sunny days and walks in the park but unfortunately those are not everyone’s summertime reality. Since last summer serious illness, deep misfortune, and death have visited our circle of family and close friends. I and my loved ones have prayed with the psalmist: How long? When no resolution is forthcoming I keep crying anyway because at least I know that I am heard.
Lord, not in wrath my sin reprove,
Nor let thy rod in vengeance move :
Have mercy, Lord, all faint I cry,
And heal the frame that droops to die.
My limbs, my soul, with anguish burn :
How long, O Lord? ah, yet return!
There is no mem’ry in the grave,
Nor death can praise : return, and save !
My weary groans have no repose ;
All night my couch with tears o’er flows ;
Mine eyes are dim and dull with tears ;
And foes have left the sign of years.
O men of guilt, depart, depart :
The Lord hath heard my weeping heart :
He knows my pray’r, he owns my call ;
In shame my foes shall flee and fall.