Alexander Geddes.

A new translation of the book of psalms: from the original Hebrew; with ... online

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^^ Jehovah, standing on thy right hand, 5

^^ will, in the day of his wrath, pierce those kings :

'^ will execute justice on ^Ao^e nations : 6

*^ will fill the field with carcasses ;

^^ and pierce the chief of the land of Rhaba ;

*^ wliOy because watered by a torrent in the way, 7

'^ therefore raised high his head."


Ver. I. To my-lord. My-lord whom ? David evidently in the
literal sense : whatever it be in the mystical. — The courtly bard,/ in
consequence of the people's general wish, attempts to persuade the
king not to expose his own person to the dangers of warj and intro-
duces God himself as giving him that counsel. Be thou content to
rule at home : I, Jehovah, will fight f^r thee : and thy people will
spontaneously offer themselves for thy defence. This simple hypo-
thesis makes the psalm congruous and consistent \ and removes the
principal difficulties that seem otherwise insurmountable. — Ver. 3.
This has been deemed a most puzzling passage ; and a variety of
corrections of the text, and consequently of different explications, has
been given of it- Without changing any thing in the original, (but
one letter, and that supported by manuscript authority,) I have given
a clear, and what I take to be the genuine meaning of the psalmist.
I am only at a loss how to explain in an intelligible manner the last
line : like the morning dew of thy youth, I will try, however, to make
the reader comprehend the whole verse by a few remarks. In the
first place, I #uppose that it is Jehovah who speaks to David through-
out the psalm } and, with other assurances, tclls*him, that his own
people will always freely offer themselves as a bulwark against all his
enemies, while he remains quietly in possession of empire on \\^ holy
hills of Jerusalem ; the same as mentioned Ps. 87. i. which corrobo-
rates the true reading here. See C. R. — In the next place, let it be
supposed that the war which David was now carrying on against the
Ammonites, was that war mentioned in 1 Sam. 11. x. when << David


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*' sent Joab and his servants against the enemy, but remained himself
" at Jerusalem :'' where he committed those foul acts of adultery and
murder recorded in that same chapter. However, God was recon-
ciled to him : and Joab meantime prosecuted the war with his com-
mon ability. He had already taken the strongest part of the chief
city of the Ammonites, Rhaba ; when, all danger now being over, he
begs that David may come in person, and enjoy the victory. See
A Sam. 19. x6— 28. But how is the last line to be understood;
namely, that David's people, from their aflfection to hasten to his aid,
vi txt like the dew of bis youth f I answer: The poet here had the
same idea with the author of Proverbs 19. 12. where << the king's
favour is like dew upon the grass." The fevour and benevolence of
David's people towards him is then fitly compared to a seasonable
salutary dew : and it is called the dew of bis joutb, for two reasons :
ist, because dew has a more speedy and sensible influence onyoung
plants of every kind : and sdly, because the dew of benevolence now
promised to him, is equal to that which the same people had testified in
the days of his youth ; when, after his victory over the Philistine, they
sang : *' Saul hath slain his thousands : but David his ten thousands."
It was this peculiar favour of the people that begot Saul's jealousy.
See 1 Sam. 18. 5, 6. and 22. 14.. Also 2 Sam. 3. 17. where Abner
confesses that the generality of the people wished David to be their
king. — ^Ver. 7. Here I fairly confess that I am greatly puzzled; be-
cause I can make no tolerable sense of the original without totally
deviating from almost every interpretation that has yet been given of
it. It is commonly and literally rendered " He shall drink of the
brook in the way : therefore shall he lift up his head." But who is
he who drinks of this brook, and, in consequence of that draught,
lifts up his head ? It is David, say some commentators, who, fa-
tigued by the slaughter of his enemies, refreshes himself by a transi-
tory draught from the first brook that comes in his wdy ; and then
prosecutes his Journey with new alacrity. No, say the Christian ex-
pository, it is Jesus Christ, whose frugal, simple, and painful lif(j
may be fitly called drinking out of a brook ; which in Scripture lan-
guage denotes dolours and evictions I To some modern critics neither
of these explanations is satisfactory : they think that Jehovah is here
the antecedent; and indeed the context would, at first sight, seem so to
point. In this hypothesis, then, the torrent out of which he, Jebovabf

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drinks, is a torrent of hostile blood. This seems harsh (say their op.
ponents)^ and degradingly unworthy of God. — Not more harsh or
un\yorthy (it is replied) than what is elsewhere said of the same
Jehovah ; or rather, what he is made to say of himself : *' Mine
arrows I will make drunk with blood, and with flesh my sword shall
be satiated." Deut. 32. 42.— They also urge Ps. 58. and Ps. 6S. 24.
where the righteous is made to '< bathe his feet in the blood of the
wicked," and •'tinge them with the blood of his enemies." There
appears, however, to be a considerable difference between the two
metaphfrs; and I cannot think the idea of drinking human blood,
much Jess of making God drink it, could enter into the mind of any
Israelite ; to whom the eating even of the blood of beasts was strictly
forbidden. On the other hand, I cannot think that either David or
Jesus is the antecedent to the verbs in this comma. I think the
nominative to both, is'the chief oi the Ammonites, just before men-
tioned, or in his name, perhaps, the whole inhabitants of Raba ; who
deeming themselves secure by the river that surrounded their city,
both as being a barrier, and a reservoir of water, raised high their
headSf and despised David's armies. But Joab having got posses-
sion of the city of waters, they soon fell victims to the rage of the
enemy, who took a signally cruel vengeance on them indeed ! See
1 Siim. tj, 3 1. This is a long note ; but I see not how I could have
shortened it, without the omission of something necessary for the.
elucidation of my version.


This and the tuH> following psalms are canticles of. praise ; hav-
ing each of them at its head two Hebrew words in one, which we
/commonhf pronounce HaUehyah. But the present and the next
psalm have, in the original, a peculiarity of their own. The
stanzas are arranged alphabetically, hut in a different manner
frvm those of the preceding alphabetic pahns. Each hemistich
or half verse begins by a different letter, according to the order of
the Hebrew alphabet ; only the last two verses contain six letters
instead of four. Yet these two verses might just as well have
made three ; and then the whole of both psalms would be regular.


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Jn hath I have plowed the letters of the Helrew alphabet hefirr^
their corresponding English hemistichs, leaving the verses as
they are,


bi. I will praise Jehovah with mine whole heart :
3. in the convened assembly of the righteous.
3. Great are the works of Jehovah ! 2

T exquisite to all who delight in exploring them,
rr. Glorious and decorous is every work of his : 3

\ and his justice is ever consistent.
t. Memorable he maketh his wonders : 4

n* Gracious and compassionate is Jehovah :
to. A booty he giveth to those who revere him : b

*'. of his covenant he is»ever mindful.
3. His mighty power he showed to his people ; 6

V. by giving them the heritage of nations.
Ti. The works of his hands are verity and justice : 7
3» infallible are all his precepts :

D« for ever firm and permanent : 8

y. because made with truth and rectitude.
* D. When to his people he sent redemption, 9

JJ. his covenant he sanctioned for ever,
p. Holy and venerable is his name.
'^. The sum of wisdom is, to revere Jehovah 2 10

©. all are highly prudent, who act thus :
TS- their praise shall oe perpetual.



ti. HAPPY the man, who revereth Jehovah :
^. and in his precepts placeth bis chief delight.

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2 X Powerful, on the earth, shall be his seed :

1. for blessed shall be the race of the just.

3 n. Wealth and affluence shall be in his house ; .

\ and permanent tl\,e meed of his righteousness.

4 t. From darkness, light riseth to the righteous,
n. to the kind, the compassionate, and the just :

5 D. Lucky shall be the man, who hath pity, and

•'. who manageth his affairs with judgment:

6 3. for never shall such a one stagger.

7. Everlasting shall be the memory of the j,ust :

7 ?2. of evil fame he shall not be afraid.

2. With a firm heart he trusteth in Jehovah :

8 D. his heart being steady, he shall not fear;
3^. until he see his tntmits punished :

9 S. Because he giveth liberally to the poor,

S. the meed of his justice shall be permanent :
p. his horn shall be honourably exalted :

10 1« The wicked shall see — and be grieved,

W. shall gnash with his teeth, and pine away :
Jl. for perishable is the hope of the wicked.



PRAISE— ye servant? of Jehovah
praise ye Jehovah's name.
Q Blessed be the name of Jehovah,
from now— to all eternity !

3 From the rising, to the setting sun, ^
praised be the name of Jehovah !

4 High above all nations is Jehovah !


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higher than the heaveni his glory !

Who is like to JsHOVAH-^ur God ? 5

who, though dwelling so high,

yet stoops down, to behold ^ 6

what passeth in the heavens, and on the earth !

The poor he r^seth from the dust ; 7

and from the dunghill exalteth the beggar,
to seat him among the great ones ; 8

among the very chiefs of his people !
The housewife, that was barren, he maketh 9

a joyful mother of children I



Ver. 9. The yvordt praise Jebovab at the end of this psalm are in
Sep. Syr. Vulg. and Arab, placed at the head of next psalm : where,
perhaps, they formerly stood.


WHEN Israel came forth from Egypt ; 1

the house of Jacob, from a strange-tongued nation :
Judah became a consecrated people ; 2

Israel Jehovah's domain.

The sea saw his power, and fled : 3

the Jordan backward recoiled !

the mountains skipped, like rams; 4

and, like lambs, the smaller hills !

Why fleddest thou, O sea ! 5

Jordan ! what made thee recoil ?

Mountains ! why skipped ye like rams ? 6

why, hke lambs, ye smaller hills ?
The earth trembled at the presence of Jbhovah ; 7

at the presence of th^ God of Jacob ;

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8 who turned the rock into a copious lake,
and the flint into fountains of water !


Ver. a. Some modern translators, to get rid of a supposed anomaly
in the text, would with one ms. read Tbou Judab becamesty &c. But
see C. R. — ^Ver. 7. The earth trembled^ &c. This is an answer to the
preceding queries. The present text, indeed, reads in the impera-
tive Tremble thou earth. But all the antients, save Chald. read in
the indicative, which the sense requires.


This psalm is in 70 MSS* and some printed editions joined to
the former : and so almost all the antient versions. But the dis^
similarity of style and coritents is in favour of the present division.
It is with some degree of probability referred to the time ofHeze^
kiah. Comp. 2 K. 18 and 19. with Isa. 36 and 37.

1 NOT to us, Jehovah ! not to us ;
but to thine own name give glory :

for the sake of thy benignity and truth.

2 Why should the heathens have to say :
" Where, now, is their God ?'^

3 Our God is in the heavens 1

where h^ doth whatsoever he willeth.

4 But their idols, of silver and gold,

are the works of the hands of men. ^

5 Mouths they have, but speak not !
eyes they have, but see not !

6 ears they have, but bear not !
noses they have, but smell not 1

7 hands they have, but handle not !
feet they have, but walk not !

nor can they utter words with their throats !

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Similar to them be those who make them : 8

all such as in them put their trust.

Btit let Israel trust in Jehovah : 9

He is their help and their shield.

Let the house of Aaron trust in Jehovah ; 10

He is their help and their shield.

Let the worshippers of Jehovah trust in Jehovah : 1 1

He is their help and their shield.

May Jehovah be ever mindful of us : 12

may he bless — ^may he bless the house of Israel :

may he bless the house of Aaron :

may he bless his worshippers small and great ! 13

May Jehovah accumulate blessings 14

upon yourselves and upon your children :
Blessed be ye by Jehovah, 15

who made both the heavens and the earth.
For himself he made the highest heavens : 16

but gave the earth to the children of man.

Jehovah, the dead praise not : 17

none, descended into the silent grave !
May we, then, bless Jehovah ! 18

from henceforth, long hereafter.




Ver. 12. In 40 Mss. and one printed edition, this verse begins a
^new psalm; but wrongly. — ^Ver. 17. By comparing this passage with
Ps. 6« 6* — 30. 10. — 88. II. and Isa. 38* 18, 19. it appears evident,
that the Hebrews of those times had no idea of a future state of active
sensibility. How moch more pleasing and consolatory the doctrine,
which they afterwards learned at Babylon ; and which our divine
master Jesus made the great basis of his gospel! — ^Ver. it. fram
hencefortbf long hereafter. The words which I render long bereaftery

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are commonly translated and for evermore. But the context here, as
often elsewhere, requires a limitation of the Hebrew term ; which
denotes, like the Latin word olim^ any length of time, prior or poste-
rior. -tThe psalmist wishes that he may live lon^ to j^^ise Jehovah 5
since that praise must end with death. 1


This psalm may have been composed hy HeaeUah, dfter his
recovery from the sickness mentioned in Isa, 38.

1 I DEARLY love Jehovah ;
Who hath heard my supplication.

2 Since HE to me hath inclined his ear,
HIM I will invoke, during all my days.

3 The snares of death had ^encompassed me,
enclosed me had the toils of Hades :

distress and anguish I experienced : .

4 when I tkiis mocked J he name of Jehovah : ^ >u.-r^4.' ? P ■
^^ Jehovah ! preserve my life !"

5 Gracious and just is Jehovah ;
and kindly compassionate is our God !

6 Jehovah preserveth the simple :
low, low was I, when he saved me.

7 Return, my soul, to thy wonted tranquillity :
for to thee hath Jehovah been gracious.

8 From death thou hast delivered my soul ;
from mine eye thou hast wiped the tear ;
and from slipping thou hast kept my foot !

9 Hence I yet walk before Jehovah :
in the regions of the living.

10 Jw ^Aee I always trusted :

although I thought I was grievously afflicted i

1 1 although I, too rashly; imagined

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that every man was a liar !

What, then, shall I render to Jehovah, IS

for all his favours bestowed on me ?

The cup of thanksgiving I will bear about, 1 3

and the name of Jehovah I will invoke.

My vows to Jehovah I will pay, 14

in the presence of all his people. .

Precious in the eyes of Jehovah 1 5

is the life of all his worshippers.

Surely, Jehovah ! because I an(i thy servant, 16

thy servant and the son of thine hand-maid :

thou hast now loosened my fetters.

To thee, then, I will sacrifice a sacrifice of praise ; 17

and the name of Jehovah I will invoke.

My vows to Jehovah I will pay, 18

in the presence of all his people :

in the courts of the house of Jehovah : 1$)

in the midst of thee, Jerusalem !

praise jehovah.


Vcr. 9. I yet tbalk before Jebovab^ &c. i. e. I am yet a living man,
capable of serving the Lord, and perforniing the regal functions as
usual. The prophet Isaiah had threatened Hetekiah on the pan of
Ood with sudden death \ but, in consequence of his pious prayer, he
was reprieved for fifteen years. Some, however, render thus : •* I
" will henceforth regulate my life by the of God." See C. R.—
Ver. 10. This verse in Sep. and in the versions made from it, begins
a new psalm. — ^Ver. 11. I imagined that every man was a liar. He
seems evidently to allude to the promise of recovery made by Isaiah,
by applying ** a lump of figs to the sore j*' the effcjct of which he
seems very much to have doubted of, Seelsa. 38. 21. — Ver. 13. Tbe
cup of tbanksgi*ving, lit. of salvation. He means the gteat libation cup
that was used in eucharistic sacrifices, and commuziicated to the guests

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by the chief persons present. In a similar sense Paul calls the comma
nion-cup of the New Testament the cup of benediction, i Cor. lo. i6.


Thks, too, is a psalm of praise, but a very short one, The^ oc-
casion ofi^s being composed is uncertain.

1 PRAISE Jehovah, all ye nations !
celebrate him, all ye peoples !

2 because great to us hath been his bounty :

and because everlasting is the veracity of Jeho«




I find no person to whom the subject of this psalm is mjore ap*
plicable than Hezekiah, Others, to the time qf the Machabees.

1 GIVE thanks to Jehovah ; for good is he t
for everlasting is his benevolence !

2 Let all Israel repeat 2

^^ For everlasting is his benevolenbe !"

3 Let the house of Aaron repeat :

'^ For everlasting is his benevolence !"

4 Let all his worshippers repeat :

^^ For everliastittg is his benevolence !"

5 In my distress I invoked JbHovah :
and he largely answered mine expectation.

6 Jehovah on my side, I will never fear
aught of all that man can do to me.

7 Jehovah my chief auxiliary,

I shall see the confusion of my foe$.

8 It is better to rely on Jehovah^

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than to trust in mankind :

it is better to rely on Jehovah, 9

than to trust in the great.

Many nations beset me round : . 10

but through Jehovah's aid I repulsed them.
Again, and again, they beset me round : '11

but through Jehovah's aid I repulsed them.

They beset me round like bees ; 12

they are quenched as the fire of thorns ; '

for through Jehovah's aid I repulsed them.

Thou bast thrust sore^at me that I might fall : 13

but JsHOVAH-helped me.

Jehovah is my strength and song, 14

and is become ray salvation.

The voice of rejoicing and salvation 15

is in the tabernacles of the righteous :

the right hand of Jehovah doeth valiantly.

The right hand of Jehovah is exalted : 15

the right hand of Jehovah doeth valiantly.

I shall not die, 17

but live, and declare the works of Jehovah.

Jehovah hath chastened me sore : 18

but he hath not given me over unto death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness : 19

1 will go into them : I will praise Jehovah :

This gate of Jehovah, 20

into which the righteous shall enter.

* The last sheets of manuscript which Dr. Geddes sent to the
Printer, a few days before his death, extended to the eleventh verse of
this psalm. The continuation of the work is printed from an inter-
leaved copy of the Psalms from Wilson s Bible, with many corrcc-
tiont in the handwriting of Dr. Geddes.

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CXVltl— CXIX. , tHK BOO^fe OP tSAtUS. 223

21 I Will praise thee :

for thou hast heard me^ and art become my salva-

22 The stone which the builders refused

is become the head stone of the corner.

23 This is Jehovah's doing j .
it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the ddy which Jehovah hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

e5 Save now, I beseech thee, O Jehovah !

O Jehovah, I beseech thee, send now prosperity^

26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of Jehovah :
we have blessed you out of the house of Jehovah.

27 God is Jehovah, who hath showed us light :
bind the sacri^ce with cords, unto the horns of the


28 ^ Thou art my God, and thee I will prsdse :

thou art my God, thee I will exalt.

29 Give thanks unto Jehovah, for good is he :
for everlasting is his benevolence.


TMs is another alphabetic psalm ; but of a different construe^
tionfrom all the preceding ones. Each of the 22 Hebrew letters ha^
eight stanzas or verses under it ; that is, the first eight stanzas be*
gin with fin aleph^ the 2d eight with a beth^ and so on to the end.
But that the redder may have a clearer idea of the mechanism of
this curious composition, thave placed at the head of each octrain
the name of its respective letter, and its Hebrew form at the be -
ginning of every line, stanza, or verse, beginning by that letter.
For the rest, the psalm itself is a continual ring on owe, or two
ideas ."-^the excellence of the divine laws, and the felicity of those
who observe them. The aim of the ingenious bard seems to have
been, to try in how many various shapes, and with what copious-

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ness of words, he could express those ide^. By Fenema and Mi»
chaelis U is ascribed to David, before his elevation to the throne,
J take it, as well as all the other alphabetic psalms, to be a much
more modem composition. See C.R.—


M. HAPPY they, who in the path of innocence 1

walk according to Jehovah's law.

H. Happy they who observe his testimonies j 3

and seek him with their whole heart.

M. For they who walk in his ways, commit no evil. 3

M. Thou (O Jehovah) hast commanded us 4


^. How shall a young man purify his morals ; 9

but by regulating them according to thy word ?

1* With my whole heart I have sought thee : Ip

suffer me not to stray from thy commandments.

2. In my heart I have treasured thy words, ii
that I may not sin against thee.

3. Blessed art thou, O Jehovah, 12
who hast taught me thy statutes.

a. With my lips I recount all thy decrees. 13

a. In the way of thy testimonies I rejoice, 14

as muGh as in all riches.

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15 Ir I will meditate in thy precepts,

wd baye respect unto thy way?.

16 a. I will delight myself in thy statutes :

I will not forget thy word.


17 3. Deal bountifully wjth thy servant^

that I may live, ^d keep thy word.
}S 3. Open thou mine eyes,

that I may behold wondrous things pint of thy
19 . i. lamsL stranger in the earth :

t^de not thy.commandmi^nts from me.
f i. My soul bre^ketfi for ;thie lon^ng

i tks^it hath unto4by judgments al all times. ,

91 i. Thw h^st riebuked the Accursed proud,

. i \y)io err firona thy conunandments.

92 a« Remove from me reproach and contempt 3

since I have kept fby testimonies.
$^ a. When chiefs sat and spoke against me,

thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
9^ A. Thy testimonies also are my delight-s-^

my counsellers.


25 1. My sou^ cleaveth unto the dust :

revive thou me according to thy ;word.
?6 1. I have declared my ways, and thou hearde^l,
teach me thy statutes.
27 1. Make me to understand the way of thy pre-
SQ ^hall J trtk of thy wondrous works.

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1. My soul melteth for heaviness : - 98

strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
1. Remove from me the way of lying : ' 29

and grant me thy law grabiously.
1. I have chosen the way of truth : 30

thy judgments have I laid before me.
n. I have ^tuck unto thy testimonies : 31

O Jehovah, put me not to shame,
n. I will run the way of thy commandments, 32

when thou shalt enlarge my heart.


n. Show mcj O Jehovah, the way of thy statutes ; 33

and I shall keep xti it unto the end.
n Give me Understanding, and I' shall keep thy law j 34

yea, I shall observe it wiih my whole hedf t!^ ''-
n. Mal^ me to go in the path: of thy command- 35
ments; : ' .;:

for therein do I delight,
n. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, - 36

and not to covetousness.
n. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity 5' 31

and quicken ^hou me in thy way.
n. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, 38

who is devoted to thy fear,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 17

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