Psalm 62:1 – in translation

I shared some thoughts from Andrew Murray on waiting on God, which he related from Psalm 62:1.  I thought the wording seemed slightly awkward and wanted to see if I could render a smoother reading.  Well, in the BHS it is verse 2 since verse 1 is really the title so some English versions count it as the first verse included in the titles, whereas others separate the title from the first verse. 

So, moving on, here is Psalm 62:2 in the BHS:

אַ֣ךְ אֶל־אֱ֭לֹהִים דּֽוּמִיָּ֣ה נַפְשִׁ֑י מִ֜מֶּ֗נּוּ יְשׁוּעָתִֽי׃

First off, I admit I am not as strong in Hebrew as I would like to be, but unless I am missing something, this cola doesn’t have a verb so it makes it harder to put the sentence together, no?   But I do recognize that דּֽוּמִיָּ֣ה may have a verbal quality to it since conveys a kind of waiting in silence or patience. 

One point of exegesis to consider is the use of  אַ֣ךְ , which occurs six times in the Psalm.  In essense it is a particle of assurance or emphasis.  K-B lists it as primarily an “affirmative emphasizing particle” (e.g., yea, surely) though in some cases it does have restrictive (e.g., only) or antithetic (e.g., however, but) uses.   BDB notes it as an adverb typically used with a restrictive force, emphasizing what follows: a. in contrast to what precedes, howbeit; b. in contrast with other ideas generally, only 1. asseverative, often introducing with emphasis the expression of a truth” and so on.  

So how should it be used in this verse?  Well, it seems like the English translations below chose to go with the more restrictive meaning “alone” or “only.”   Marvin Tate, in his WBC commentary argues for using the affirmative (he recognizes this particle switches between ephasizing and restrictive).  In his translation he uses “Yes.” “Yes, my soul waits calmly for God, from him is my salvation.” 

I wonder, can we use אַ֣ךְ in both senses?  Such as, “Indeed, my soul waits patiently for God alone…”?  Is that too much?  I find myself wanting to use both senses though I know it is not entirely necessary. 

 Some of the English translations seem like they could go smoother then they do:

NAU Psalm 62:1 For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation.

 

 

NET

Psalm 62:1 For the music director, Jeduthun; a psalm of David. For God alone I patiently wait; he is the one who delivers me.

 

NLT

Psalm 62:1 I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.

 

NRS

Psalm 62:1 <To the leader: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.> For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.

 

TNIV

Psalm 62:1 For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David. Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.

 Seemed to me like I wanted to do a word or phrase switch with some of these translations.  I see the NAU as being the roughest reading but the rest seem like they need a change in some way.   For example, I like the NRSV the best but want to switch it around to read, “My soul waits in silence for God alone…”   The NLT is good too, its more consise and simpler. 

 

My other point of exegesis concerns the use of the particle prepositon מִ֜מֶּ֗נּוּ.  The English translations all opted for “from” as in “from him comes my salvation.”  I find myself wanting to use “because” because of the first clause.  If I say, “Indeed my soul waits for God alone…” I want to follow it with a “for” or “because,” as in “because my salvation comes from him.”  But the problem is I add an extra word for clarity and in a sense use the particel preposition twice, “from,” and “because.”  Maybe not. 

So, my final translation wants to read something like, “Indeed my soul waits silently for God alone, because my salvation comes from him.”  But I worry this is way to wordy. 

What say you?

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2 responses to “Psalm 62:1 – in translation

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