Friday, October 29, 2004

Emmaus Road

Cal Seerveld, this week at Geneva, called for a fresh, "gritty" translation of the Psalms for today. I'm trying to do that in Psalm 42 and 43. I have used "Creator" for Elohim, "God" for El and Eloah, and YHWH for...YHWH (it is only used once in the whole Psalm, which seems to me important). It is self-consciously literal, especially with the physical metaphors because so much later philosophy/theology has read in foreign connotations into them (ex. the use of the literal 'throat' for 'soul'). Here's what I have so far (to verse 7).

For use in Temple worship: a skillful song in the tradition of the Sons of Korah

As a deer longs for the deep flowing streams,
So my throat longs for you, Creator.
My throats thirsts! Thirsts for the Creator, God the Living One!
When can I come and see the face of the Creator?
My tears have been food to me day and night, while saying to myself all day, 'Where is your God?'
These I mention and I pour out my throat for 'I will go over with the party, walking to the house of the Creator amidst sounds of inarticulate joy and songs of uproarious thanksgiving celebrating the festivals.'

Why are you bowed down, o my throat, and why do you groan within me? Wait for the Creator, for again shall I praise him--the salvation of my face and my God...

Now for a more paraphrastic rendition, called "Emmaus Road":

Just like a deer longs for deep, cool water;
So all I am yearns for you, Creator.
My whole self thirsts for the Creator, the Living God!
When will I be able to come back and see the face of the Creator?
Day and night, all I've eaten are my tears, while questioning myself the whole time, 'where is your God?'
Those times I remember, as I pour out myself like a libation, when I would go with the party , walking to the house of God amidst a clammer of joyful noise and booming thanksgiving songs during the festival days!
Why are you so choked up, throat? Why do you rumble inside me? Wait for the Creator! You will praise him again! He is the one who brightens your face and he is your God!

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