To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
Listen up, all the earth! Pay attention!
Everyone in the world, give your ear!
Those born low or born high — doesn't matter!
Whether rich or you're poor — listen here!
Every word of my mouth speaks of wisdom,
every thought is insightful and sharp.
For I listen to many a proverb,
and solve riddles by way of the harp.
Should I fear when my troubles start coming,
or surrounded by venomous foes?
Even those who would trust in their riches,
or would boast how their revenue grows?
Man can neither redeem his own brother,
nor can ransom his life at God's price.
The redemption of souls is so costly
that no payment would ever suffice
to allow him to live on forever;
that his body would never decay.
It is clear wise men die with the foolish,
and the senseless leave wealth without say.
For their graves will entomb them forever,
though estates may yet carry their name.
But, in spite of past glories and honors,
they will perish like beasts all the same.
All of this is the fate of self-confident fools,
and of those who would follow their teachings and rules.
They are sheep that are destined for Sheol;
by their shepherd of death are they led.
In the morning the godly will rule them,
and their bodies will rot with the dead.
From the power of death, God will ransom my soul;
he'll receive me with grace from the hand of Sheol.
Do not fear when the wicked grow richer,
when their homes are the best homes in town.
When they die, they will take with them nothing,
for their wealth will not follow them down.
While they live they think they have been favored,
for they're praised when success comes their way.
But they'll die like their fathers before them,
and will nevermore see light of day.
Those who boast of their wealth yet who understand not,
are like beasts that will perish and then soon forgot.
A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah.
Oh, how great is the LORD who is worthy of praising,
in the city of God on his mountain, we sing.
It is lofty and high, and to earth — it's amazing!
On Mount Zion, the city and home of the King!
God, himself, is inside of Jerusalem's towers,
he has made himself known as the Rock of Defense.
When the kings joined together their forces and powers,
they advanced and passed by with their faux confidence.
But, as soon as they saw it they all were astounded;
they were troubled and panicked and fled in their fear.
In a frenzy they trembled, completely confounded,
in great anguish as mothers whose labors were here.
You destroyed them like ships in east winds without pity.
As we've heard, so we've seen with our eyes the allure —
for the LORD of the Armies is there in God's city,
in the city that God will forever make sure.
We have thought on your kindness in our meditation,
in the midst of your temple while worshiping you.
Like your name, you'll be praised until earth's termination;
God, your right hand is full of your righteousness, too.
Let Mount Zion be glad! All of Judah, delighted,
on account that your judgements are honest and fair.
Take a walk around Zion together, united;
count her towers to see just how many are there;
and remember her ramparts, her citadels, hallways,
to describe to the next generation beyond.
Because this God is our God forever and always;
and he'll guide us and lead us till all breath is gone.
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
Clap your hands, everyone! Every nation!
Shout with joy in proclaiming God’s worth!
For the LORD, the Most High — he is awesome;
he’s the King over all of the earth.
He subdues all the people before us,
and the nations beneath us are placed.
He has chosen our heritage for us,
which was Jacob’s, whom he has embraced.
God ascends to his throne with glad shouting,
and the LORD, with the blast of horns raised.
Sing your praises to God, sing your praises!
Sing your praises; may our King be praised!
For our God is the King of the world;
sing a psalm wherein wisdom is shown.
It is God who reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
And the nobles of nations have gathered
with the people of Abraham’s God.
For the kings of the earth have surrendered;
God is highly exalted and awed.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song for Alamoth.
Our God is our refuge and power indeed,
a present and sure help in moments of need.
For we will not fear though earth shakes violently;
though mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
though seas rage and surge, churning foam with their tide;
though mountaintops quake at the waters' swelled pride.
The joy in God's city — a river provides,
the holy place wherein the Most High resides.
God dwells in that city, it can't be undone:
he'll help her before the first rays of the sun.
The nations rage on and their kingdoms decay;
God thunders his voice and the earth melts away.
The LORD of the heavenly armies is here;
our refuge, the LORD God of Jacob, is near.
Come, see and behold the LORD's works of his hands,
who brings desolation throughout all the lands.
He causes the wars through the earth to expire;
breaks bows and snaps spears, and he burns shields with fire.
Be still, know I'm God! You will honor my worth!
I will be exalted by all on the earth!
The LORD of the heavenly armies is here;
our refuge, the LORD God of Jacob, is near.
For the director of music. To the tune of "Lilies." Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song.
Oh, my heart's stirred with words that are noble;
written verse, to the king, I'll recite;
for my tongue is a quill to be used with the skill
(yes, my tongue is a pen to be bent to the will)
of a scribe who is ready and eager to write.
You're the handsomest man without measure;
on your lips has grace always found rest;
on account of that kiss God has given you this:
(yes, the God of creation has promised you this)
you will always forever and ever be blessed.
Strap your sword on your thigh, mighty warrior;
in your splendor and majesty, go.
In your majesty ride with the truth at your side;
(ride with justice and righteousness matching your stride)
may your right hand teach awesome things that you should know.
Pierce the foes of your king with sharp arrows;
let the nations fall under your feet.
May your throne, God, endure — be forever secure;
may your throne last forever to ever ensure
that the scepter of justice be used from that seat.
You love righteousness and you hate evil;
therefore God, your God, chose to deploy
his poured oil upon you that the rest never knew.
All your robes smell of myrrh, aloes, cassia, too;
from the ivoried palaces, harps bring you joy.
The kings' daughters are there with the others,
among your honored women they stand;
at your right hand is seen no one else but the queen
wearing jewelry from Ophir with sparkling sheen;
for the Ophir-mined gold is the best in the land.
Daughter, listen, pay careful attention:
forget home; let your past be ignored.
For your husband-to-be loves you most tenderly,
(loves your grace and your beauty and delicacy)
when you honor him, bow, because he is your Lord.
And the princess of Tyre will bring presents,
while the wealthiest seek out your face.
The king's daughter, a-bloom sits alone in her room
(to await the arrival of her loving groom)
and her gown is embroidered with gold in the lace.
She'll be led to the King in her raiment,
with her virgin companions as well.
With rejoicing and song they will hurry along,
(oh, what glorious joyous noise made by this throng)
as they enter into the King's palace to dwell.
Then your sons will be kings like their fathers;
you'll make princes of sons that you raised.
And I'll make so your name is recalled with your fame,
so that all generations and nations proclaim;
therefore you will forever and ever be praised.
To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah.
We've heard the old stories, O God, with our ears —
traditions our ancestors told;
the wonderful deeds you've performed through the years,
in days of our fathers of old.
You drove out the nations that pagans once held,
and planted our fathers therein;
uprooting the people from lands where they dwelled,
allowing our growth to begin.
It wasn't with sword that they vanquished the land,
nor by their own might was it done;
but rather by strength of your arm and right hand,
and light of your face was it won.
For you are forever my God and my King,
from whence Jacob's victories came.
Through you we repel what our enemies bring,
and trample our foes in your name.
I do not put trust in the strength of my bow,
nor sword to decide in my fate.
But you give us victory over our foe;
disgracing those showing us hate.
In God we give glory and boast all day long;
forever we'll thank you in praise and in song.
You've tossed us aside and you've made us disgraced;
you no longer lead us to war.
You've made us retreat from the foes that we faced,
who robbed us like never before.
You've given us up to be butchered like sheep;
we're scattered throughout foreign lands.
You've sold us for nothing for others to keep;
no profit enriching your hands.
You've made us the taunt of the neighborhood folk;
their scorn and derision have spread.
You've made us a byword — a national joke!
They're laughing and shaking their head.
Disgrace and dishonor are constantly here,
I can't show my face for my shame;
because of the sound of their scorn in my ear,
because of the sight of the same.
Though all of this happened, you've not been forgot;
your covenant's not been betrayed.
Our hearts have not turned from you, whom we have sought;
our feet, from your path, have not strayed.
And yet you'd have crushed us in wastelands abroad,
with jackals in darkness and haze.
If we have forgotten the name of our God
or prayed to false gods with hands raised,
would God not have surely discovered this wrong,
since he knows the secrets we keep?
And yet for your sake we are killed all day long;
we're doomed to be slaughtered like sheep.
Oh, why do you sleep, LORD? Wake up and arise!
Will you be forever obtuse?
And why are you hiding your face from our eyes?
Ignoring our pain and abuse?
Collapsing, our soul is brought down to the dirt;
we cleave to the ground on our face.
Rise up! Come, and help us! Redeem us, we hurt,
because of your love and your grace.
For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.
As the hart pants for water and streams that are flowing,
it's you, God, my heart would embrace.
O my soul thirsts for God, who is living, all-knowing.
God, when can I come see your face?
I am feeding on tears, night and day, that I'm bawling;
they taunt, Where's your God? all day long.
My heart's broken and heavy as I am recalling
the crowds at your house, full of song.
O my soul, why despair with such grievous emotion?
And why are you restless in me?
I will hope, wait on God with pure, utter devotion
and praise for salvations to be.
O my God, I'm discouraged, but I will remember —
yes, I will remember you still!
From the source of the Jordan to Hermon's high splendor,
yes, even from Mizar's small hill.
As the deep calls to deep — raging waters are driven
by billows and waves of despair.
For by day has the LORD's loving-kindness been given;
by night, comes his song as a prayer.
I will say to my Rock, Why do you, God, forget me?
Why let me, God, wander in grief?
Like the crushing of bones, my foes taunt and beset me
by saying, Where's your God's relief?
O my soul, why so downcast? What's caused your vexations?
And why so uneasy in me?
Because I shall yet praise him in hope of salvations;
my God and my Savior is he.
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
How blest is the one who is kind to the poor!
Jehovah will save him in his time of woe.
The LORD will protect him and keep him secure;
on earth he will prosper and all men will know.
The LORD will not let him fall to the impure;
nor will he succumb to the will of his foe.
The LORD will sustain him when he's sick in bed,
restore him to healthiness he never knew.
Be gracious to me, LORD, and heal me, I pled,
for I, once again, have transgressed against you.
With evil and malice my enemies said,
how soon will he die and his name perish, too?
The wicked will visit and act as my friend,
yet speak with me falsely and gather each word;
the first thing he does when he goes 'round the bend,
is tell everyone everything he has heard.
They whisper their hatred of me — in the end,
devising their worst plans of harm, they conferred:
A fatal disease has him lying in bed;
he'll never be able to leave his front door.
And even my close friends with whom I've shared bread,
have turned and betrayed me like those I abhor.
O LORD, give me grace, raise me up in your stead,
that I may repay them with justice once more.
By this do I know I am favored these days:
my enemies are not victorious men.
Preserving my life for my virtuous ways,
I'm placed in your presence for time without end.
The LORD, God of Israel, all blessings and praise
forever and ever! Amen and Amen.
I've known about the Psalms being broken into five different books for most of my life, when I turned a few of the Psalms into my version of poetry as a kid. But, never did I know, until this week, that the final verse (or so) of the last Psalm in each book was a doxology. And, in the case of Psalm 150, the entire chapter of six verses was a doxology.
Praise the LORD, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and amen!
Psalm 41:13 (final verse of Book 1)
Praise the LORD God, the God of Israel,
who alone does such wonderful things.
Praise his glorious name forever!
Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and amen!
(This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)
Psalm 72:18-20 (final verses of Book 2)
Praise the LORD forever!
Amen and amen!
Psalm 89:52 (final verse of Book 3)
Praise the LORD, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting!
Let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 106:48 (final verses of Book 4)
Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works;
praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
praise him with strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD!
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150 (final verses of Book 5)
A Psalm of David.
Oppose those who oppose me;
fight those who choose to fight.
Take up your shield and buckler;
arise and aid my plight.
Lift up your spear and javelin
against those who pursue;
And, let me hear your whisper,
I've come to ransom you.
Bring shame and great dishonor
to those who'd take my soul;
confound those who would harm me
and turn them from their goal.
May they be chaff, wind-driven
by angels you've assigned;
their way be slick and darkened,
as angels chase behind.
Without just cause or reason,
they lay traps I can't see;
without one provocation,
they dig deep pits for me.
May sudden ruination
befall them unawares;
let them become entangled
and trapped by their own snares.
Allow them to be swallowed
by their own holes — destroyed!
My soul, in your salvation,
will then be overjoyed.
My bones cry out, Who's like you;
who gives the poor relief?
Who else protects the helpless
and needy from the thief?
by witnesses are brought,
bombarding me with questions
of things which I know not.
My good repaid with evil;
I'm sickened with despair.
And, yet, when they were ailing,
my sackcloth did I wear.
Afflicted by my fasting;
none heard my stomach groan.
I prayed for them in public,
and pled for them alone.
I grieved as for my brother,
and paced as for a friend;
I mourned as for my mother,
and wept for days on end.
But, now that I have stumbled,
they gather to rejoice.
I'm slandered — even strangers
malign me with their voice.
Like godless, profane jesters
who entertain at feasts,
they constantly abuse me
and gnash me with their teeth.
How long will you stand idle?
How long will you hold back?
My life is in the clutches
of lions who attack.
Among the great assembly,
my thanks will I proclaim;
among the many people,
I'll ever praise your name.
Don't let my foes gloat over
my downfall and defeat;
those hating without reason —
who wink in their deceit.
Their words are never peaceful;
they plot to stir up strife
against the meek and timid
who live the quiet life.
They gape with mouths wide open:
Aha! At last we see!
You've seen, LORD, don't be silent;
do not abandon me.
Awaken, and defend me!
My God and LORD — my fate!
Judge me, LORD, with your justice.
Don't let them celebrate.
Don't let them say in triumph,
At last we have his soul!
Don't let them say, Let's eat him,
and swallow him up whole.
Let those who seek my downfall,
who denigrate my name,
who gloat in all my troubles —
may they be clothed in shame.
Let those who shout with gladness
when my name's been restored —
let them say to you always,
Exalted be the LORD,
who loves to bless his servant
with welfare and with peace.
Then I'll proclaim your justice;
your praises will not cease.
I finished writing Psalm 1 on 8/22/2020, Psalm 2 on 8/25, Psalm 3 on 8/26. This is not to brag — but rather to illustrate how utterly consumed I was. It was an all-day, every day affair. Running lines thru my head on the car ride to and from work, while at work — all the time. And it was exhausting. Psalm 32 was completed on 11/5, Psalm 33 on 11/6, and Psalm 34 on 11/9. Midway thru Psalm 35, I just stopped. I hit a wall and completely stopped writing.
I eked out a Christmas poem by the end of that year and managed an Easter poem as well — but I was not motivated to get back into the Psalms. Finally, a few weeks ago, I reread through the thirty-four Psalms that I had written a few times and eased back into Psalm 35. But it still took a few weeks to get it done and it was a tough road.
30 Pieces of Silver
Oh, what did you gain from the silver?
And, what was that kiss really worth?
Your fateful decision now met with derision
by all who have traveled this earth.
For, thirty mere pieces of silver —
the price of a slave's life, when lost;
this old law of Moses now vividly shows us
what you thought Messiah's life cost.
Did you feel remorse in the garden,
when seeing your Lord face to face?
When you were betraying was your conscience swaying
between revolution and grace?
Returning those pieces of silver,
did you think events could reverse?
Your three years befriended by Jesus now ended;
a life that was blessed — now a curse.
Once life was no longer worth living,
with you at the end of your rope;
before you stopped breathing did you dare believe in
Christ's love of forgiveness and hope?
I had been working on an Easter poem for two or three weeks and had 2 lines and no title to show for my efforts. Ten days before Good Friday, I was thinking about writing a line about Judas Iscariot into the poem and googled "30 pieces of silver", which led me to threads about how much that would be in today's terms. Ideas began percolating, and this poem was written in a matter of hours.