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GEORGE BUCHANAN’S PARAPHRASES
OF BOOK V OF THE PSALMS
Let us praise the Lord, Who is a good and kind Parent, whose large indulgence hath no bounds. Let those who celebrate Him together with grateful voice, Whom, when severe tyranny oppressed, He recovered safe from the cruel enemy, and shook the servile yokes from off their captive necks, and Who, scattered amidst barbarous nations where the sun rises from the waters, and where, departing, he hides himself in opposite waters, He gathered from the icy plains of the northern Bear and recalled home from the sultry south. When wandering through barren forests and inhospitable rocks, where no footsteps lead to cultivated lands, their minds cast down with grief in want both of water and of food, they implored His aid with sorrowful complaints. He heard them praying, and, pitying them, thus destitute of help, He delivered their afflicted breasts out of all their troubles, and showed a way which might bring them to inhabited cities. Therefore let them praise the Lord, Who is both a good and a kind Parent, and display abroad His renowned deeds to lands unknown. For He allayed their thirst and pinching hunger with food, and He restored strength to their bodies and vigour to their mind.
And those who, with ungrateful heart, having forsaken the commandment of their God, lay in the gloomy abode of a prison, and in the utmost obscurity, when, fainting, they trembled through the fear of cold death, and, afflicted with distress, lay dejected and disconsolate, and implored His aid in mournful strains, He heard when praying unto Him, and, pitying their troubles, He brake their bands asunder with His mighty hand, and removed the fear of death, and brought them, affrighted, forth from the gloomy shades. Therefore let them praise the Lord, both a good and a kind Parent, and display abroad His renowned deeds to lands unknown; Who likewise broke upon the thresholds and bars of the brazen gate. When foolish sensuality enervates the powers of their minds with luxury, and their bodies, relaxed with heavy sickness, suffer the punishments of their folly, and, death approaching, sickly loathings reject like of food. Those who besought His aid in mournful strains, He looked upon when praying, and, pitying them thus destitute of help, He delivered their afflicted breasts from all their cares, and He restoreth to them and reneweth fresh vigour throughout every part of their bodies, thus snatched by His word from the gates of death. Therefore let them praise the Lord, who is both a good and a kind Parent, and display abroad His renowned deeds to lands unknown, and, mindful, let them load His altars with deserved gifts, and testify the salvation they have received with grateful voice.
To him who ploweth the billow-sounding sea, and with crooked keels uniteth foreign nations together by the means of extensive commerce, the divine power is not unknown, nor the wonders which He often streweth in the immense deep. When He commandeth, the winds rush forth with a boisterous storm, and the sea one while toucheth the stars with its white foam, and another while sinketh to the bottom of the infernal deep. Their faces grow pale, fear seizeth their quaking breasts, and their footsteps reel like those overcome with wine, neither availeth the skilful art or care of the hoary pilot. But as soon as they implored the Lord in mournful strains, He heareth them, trembling for fear, and pitieth them, thus destitute of help. Already the winds are hushed and the still silence of the calm sea smileth, its waves being smoothed as a plain. The cheerful mariners, having now laid aside their fears, rejoice, seeing their shattered ships have reached their desired havens. Let them sing, therefore, unto the Lord, Who is both a good and kind Parent, and display abroad His renowned deeds to lands unknown.
Let the congregation of the people praise Him, and let the assembly of the elders extol Him above the heavens, Who drieth up the rivers, and, shutting up the springs, turneth the lands that were everywhere watered with bubbling brooks, into dry land, and commandeth fruitful fields on a sudden to become barren with salt clods, for the wicked deeds of their inhabitants. But on the other hand He maketh water-pools to stand, and fat fens to stagnate on the unfruitful plain of barren sand, and He watereth the dry grounds with rivers and purling streams, and giveth them to the poor man for a habitation, who also may govern these new cities with sacred laws, and entrust vines to ditches and seed to furrows, from whence he may gather delicious fruits in due season, which our almighty Father cherisheth, and He multiplieth the produce of their cattle with constant increase. When again their hearts, not knowing how to carry with moderation the blessings of prosperity, gave up the reins to vice, the righteous Disposer of all things withdraweth His favours, He humbleth their stubborn hearts and proud spirits with affliction, He giveth them up to cruel tyrants to be punished, and this insolent people, grown contemptible under an indolent prince, He devoteth for a prey to neighbouring nations. He leadeth them also through lands destitute of food, where no footsteps of men show the path to be formerly trod. He likewise removeth afflictions from the poor and humble-minded, and maketh their cheerful dwellings to abound with a numerous offspring. These things the righteous see, and rejoice, but the wicked, conscious of their guilt, muttereth with fear. But those to whom is given wisdom of heart with serious attention consider these things and treasure them up in their remembrance, that the loving-kindness of the Lord may be made manifest to all nations.
My heart, unvanquished by adversity, the vigour of my soul being entire, shall praise Thee, o thou Ruler of the world, with the voice, shall praise Thee with the harp. Come then, o my soul, having laid aside thy cares, and thou, my warbling lyre, with my psaltery, awake. Before that the day-star summoneth up the morning rays, ere the morning rouseth up the songs of birds, I will praise Thee, o most gracious Father, and I, thy bard, will publish Thy mighty deeds throughout all nations as far as the earth extends. For Thy goodness reacheth above the summit of the starry heaven, and Thy faithfulness above the regions of the clouds. Shew forth, o God, thy divine face from out of the shining heaven, manifest a ray of Thy glory to the world, that, being present, Thou mayest rescue Thy beloved from the fear of cold death, and, bringing help, mayest hear their cry. God hath heard and, from the sacred recess of the flaming heaven, hath returned this answer, the messenger of joy: “Lo, I will divide to thee the fruitful fields of Schechem, I will mete out the valley of Succoth with a measure of ten feet long. Do not the children of Jacob, as well he that croppeth the fields with cattle as he that cleaveth them with the ploughshare, give obedience unto Me? I will trample under My feet the cities of proud Syria, Moab, Edom, and the dwellings of Palestine. ” What leader will lay open to me the ways to their fortified cities? Who will pull down the walls of rich Edom? Who but Thou, o God alone, the guardian of our nation? Who, provoked by our detestable crimes, hadst left us to be oppressed by our enemies, nor didst Thou, as heretofore, go forth as a leader before our armies when rushing into the battle. Do Thou, our gracious Father, now bring us aid in our sraits. Human hope, being fallacious, deceiveth those who trust in it. But under Thy conduct we shall tread down the pride of our enemies with our feet, having our temples adorned with the victorious laurel.
Hold not thy peace, o Thou my glory, conceal not Thyself, neither suffer Thou the truth to be suppressed by falsehood. The deceit and the cruel venom of a wicked mouth falleth heavy upon me, the froward tongue beareth me down with invented falsehoods. Hatred whetteth their resentment against me with private slanders, and they create trouble to the innocent. They who owed me the faithful consolation of a friend, privately loaded me with reproaches and calumny. But I, with a grieving heart, poured forth my prayers unto Thee Who knowest the inmost recesses of the secret thoughts. Those whom I had served by my every act of kindness in return to me hurt, they reward my ingenuous love with hatred. Deliver Thou him over, o Father, to be tormented by a cruel tyrant, let the destroying angel stand at his right hand. When he stand as a pannel before the tribunal of his judge, let him depart, condemned by a severe sentence. When he meaneth to soften by eloquence his angry judges, let him exasperate their minds by his speech. Snatched away by a cruel fate, let him perish before his time, and let a new master occupy his vacant place. Let his orphan children weep, let his wife mourn in the windowed hall, let his children, cast out, be banished their native country. As vagabonds and beggars, let them go round the world with endless wanderings, nowhere let them fine a place of rest. Let the extortioner also, after searching every little chest, turn his wretched habitation upside down and expose the house for sale, and let an unknown successor carry off what he had gathered together with long labour, and let none bring him help when asking it, neither let the pity of any relieve his fatherless offspring. Let death with his scythe cut down his whole family at once, let the succeeding age abolish his whole race together with their name. And let the sin of his father appear and present itself in the presence of God, before his eyes and among his hands, as if recently committed, neither let any forgetfulness blot out the crimes of his mother. And as he remembered not to shew mercy, let oblivion bury his family in eternal obscurity, who endeavoured to draw the disconsolate, the poor man, and him that languished under severe trouble into the snares of heath. As cursing was always his delight, let curses and execrations fall on him. And as, from a wicked intention, he avoided blessing others, so let none wish well to or bless him. And as his body is covered with a garment reaching even unto the ancles, let him become vile, wholly covered over with diseases, let them pour themselves into all his bowels, even as oil penetrates into the bones and water into the bowels. Let him walk, therefore, always clothed with this garment, let this girdle gird his loins and his bowels. Let evil-speaking, and whoever privily fightest against my life, suffer the like punishments in the presence of God. But, gracious Father, protect me with Thy right hand. Gracious Father, deliver me from the slanders of mine enemies, that every corner of the earth may revere Thy name and taste of the sweetness of Thy mercy. Deliver me from envy, for I am poor, needy, and hopeless, and vexing cares torment my troubled soul. I disappear no otherwise than the figure of a fleeting shadow, when the evening twilight groweth faint by reason of the darkness, or as the locust when, driven from its leafy habitations, it falleth down, the boughs of the trees being shaken with diligent scrutiny. My feeble knees totter, fasting enfeebleth my joints, my lifeless body, my bones being dried, withereth away. My proud foes have insulted me with arrogant reproaches, when they looked upon me they shaked their heads. Bring help, o gracious Father, and deliver Thy servant according to Thy wonted mercy. That they also may acknowledge Thy right hand, o most gracious Parent of the universe, and that they may know that I am preserved by Thy favour. While mine enemies pour out curses, while they utter reproaches, Thou, both kind and propitious, will bless me. While ignominious shame shall brand their abashed faces, gladness shall rejoice the heart of Thy servant. Let shame cover them, as a a garment wide spread from the head to the very ancles covereth the whole body; let shame and disgrace, that weepeth with confused face, cover those who backbite me with malicious tooth. But I, being then mindful, will give thanks unto the Lord with my mouth, and will sing praises in the solemn assembly, Who stood on the right hand of the poor to assist, and rescued his life from the insults of his enemies.
The Lord thus spoke unto my lord: “Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies lie prostrate beneath thy feet to be trampled upon as a footstool. I will send forth thy ensigns of government out of lofty Zion to the uttermost ends of the earth, that thou mayest restrain the rebellious pride of thine enemies by the ties of just law. When thy people, triumphing, shall with joyous acclamations conduct thee back, after having obtained thy desire, to the Temple, the men of war, adorned with holy armour, shall solemnize that happy day. A shower of dew before daylight covereth not the fields with so many silver gems as there shall numerous offspring flock to thee from all corners of the world.” The Lord hath sworn to thee, and bound Himself by an immutable oath, that thou thyself shalt be to Him an high priest of sacred things after the order of Melchizedek, while the sun with his restless orb of light enlighteneth the day, or the moon the night. He shall ever stand at thy right hand, He shall restrain thine oppressors by His avenging sword: lending thee His fury, He shall subdue the rebellious nations, and princes ruling over opulent kingdoms He shall lay prostrate on the ground while, victorious, He shall pursue the flight of his enemies, He shall allay His burning thirst from the brooks in His way. Therefore shall He lift up His head, bedecked with glory, to heaven, His enemies being subdued.
Whether I treat of private matters among my trust confidents or shall make a public oration, the congregation of Thy holy people crowding round me, I will ever praise Thee, o gracious Father, with my whole heart; with grateful mouth I will extol Thy benefits, those great wonders of Thine eternal right hand, great indeed, yea more, truly glorious and apparent to good men, their unwearied application seeking them out. For whatsoever He doth, beauty shineth on all, majesty refulgent with heavenly glory shineth on all, and while these bright stars shall travel round this earth, the latest ages of posterity shall acknowledge that He is ever just and righteous. Nor shall envious oblivion blot out the remembrance of the works which our ancient forefathers, astonished, did formerly behold with amazement, and which are to be admired by their children. For He is a Parent bounteous to pardon, and ready to incline His heart to the cries of the distressed. He hath decked His friends with the spoils taken from the proud foe. Nor shall any generation prove Him unmindful of the Covenant He hath made with his peculiar people. And He hath shewed His power by His illustrious works, when, having laid waste rich kingdoms and measured out the enemies countries to new inhabitants, He gave their cities to His chosen people. Whatsoever He doth and saith, invariable truth and the rules of equity direct all His actions. Whatsoever things He commandeth, He commandeth righteously, and not intermixed with any false colouring or concealed sacred fraud, and which length of years that run on with uninterrupted course can neither destroy nor diminish by time. For the stedfastness of unshaken truth and uprighteousnes, standing by, preserve His commandments established forever. When the cruel sway of the Egyptian tyrant oppressed the children of His chosen people, He both shook off the yoke and annulled the cruel orders of this haughty monarch, and He would have given this happy people to enjoy perpetual freedom, if their succeeding race had kept inviolable the covenants of his holy Law, that were formerly sworn to by their forefathers, covenants at no time void. For the name of God is holy and reverend, and He keepeth His promises inviolably, and He extracteth severe punishments when His Covenant is broken. To worship and fear Him with the heart is the source of living well, and the highest wisdom. He who directeth all his actions towards this end is truly wise, the ages of posterity to come shall forever call him blessed.
Blessed is the man that worshippeth God, the Parent of the universe, with unfeigned piety and delighteth in the laws of God, and, according to these, endeavoureth to form his manners. His offspring shall largely extend their power over opulent cities, the bounty of the deity, with liberal hand, shall bless the generation of the upright. Wealth in abundance shall ever be in his house, nor shall the latest age deface the glory and fruits of his righteousness. When fortune, that rejoiceth with cruel sport to turn all things upside down, shall bear hard upon the wicked, then God shall display the light of His goodness to the righteous in the midst of darkness. Being merciful and gracious, He will defend the children of the upright in every danger. A good man, pitying the poor, relieveth his necessity with a liberal hand, so managing all his affairs with proper judgment that not even a word escapeth him unadvisedly. The whirlwind of fortune, that shaketh all things, shall not move him from his place, nor shall the last day bury his fame in the envious silence of oblivion. Malice that delighteth to publish falsehoods, or calumny, shall not dismay him, or the rumour of war, or bleak poverty, or the report of approaching death, but with a stout heart he challengeth danger and dependeth on God alone. Like as a hoary rock despiseth the threatening shocks of the roaring sea, so he, unafraid with firm confidence, withstandeth the storms of fortune, and will with stand until he in safety shall see the downfall of his enemies. To the poor he hath liberally given riches,that are fleeing like the swift wind; he hath retained the fame of his righteousness after his death, a fame longer-lived than the world, not liable to be hurt by the teeth of rusty old age. While the wicked shall behold the upright renowned with praise, and living elegantly on a fine estate, vexing thoughts shall both torment his soul and drain away the very sap of his body; gnashing with his teeth, he shall grin, he shall cause himself to pine away with a consumptive disease. The Lord laugheth at the vain wishes of wicked men, even as He encourageth the hopes of the humble.
Praise the Lord, o ye His servants, extol the name of the Lord in a solemn song. Let the name of the Lord be celebrated in such a manner that it may never be forgot by length of time, for ages of ages. Let all men, from the first rising of the sun in the east even unto the ruddy west, adore the name of the Lord, Who, being exalted above all nations, inhabiteth the lofty palaces of heaven, Whose glory is carried far beyond the lucid barriers of the universe. O hearts ignorant of true piety! O ye who devise religious solemnities with the most unhallowed rites, know ye any of your gods like unto our God, from Whom, although placed above the highest top of heaven, nothing shut up under the hollow bowels of the lowest earth, nothing beyond the manifold orbs of heaven, far from human sight, is concealed; Who raiseth up the poor when lying on the ground, and lifteth the needy out of the dust, that, being set on a lofty throne, He may receive the highest honours of the people; Who, being intreated, giveth maternal fruits to the barren woman, and families that were extinct He reneweth with a joyous offspring.
When the house of Israel returned to their native country and forsook the strange lands of detested Egypt, God Himself made Judah safe by His divine protection: He himself was the ensign of His own people. The sea, afraid, saw it and clave asunder its astonished waves, it drove the recoiling waters of Jordan back to their fountain-head. The rugged ridges leaped along the uncut mountains, as the leader of the flock skippeth among the well-fed sheep, and the woody hills moved their lofty tops as the lamb used to wanton in the pastures. What sawest thou, o sea, that thou retreatedst from thy wonted channel? Why, o water of the river, fleddest thou back to thy sources? Why leaped ye, o mountains, your tops being shaken like as the well-fed ram skippeth among the sheep? Why leaped ye, o hills, with woody tops like as the lamb useth to wanton in the pastures? Because the presence of God terrified the trembling world, to Whom many victims are sacrificed upon the fires of Jerusalem; Who opened the veins of the rocks for the advantage of springs, before Whom the hard flint flowed with a copious stream.
Great Ruler of the world, we ask not victory over our cruel enemies that fame may make us distinguished among all the nations, nor that triumph may carry us in a golden chariot, exulting in gorgeous apparel in the view of the populace, but that the generations of heathen nations may know that Thou art liberal of help to Thy worshippers, and ever ready to perform Thy promises with immutable faithfulness, lest they, perhaps, insolent with prosperity, should ask, “Where is now your God?” Our God, Who inhabiteth the heavens, manageth human affairs by His nod. By the imagination, the heathen nations fashioned with the hand useless gods: melting gold in furnaces or beating plates with hammers out of the ductile mass, it placed upon altars gods that were ridiculous with figures of various shapes. They have mouths, but wanting speech; they have eyes, but eyeballs wanting sight. They neither small odures [odors] with their nostrils, nor hear sounds with their deaf ears. They cannot handle with their hands, nor walk with their feet, that are insensible. Nor doth an articulate sound that cometh from the breathing lungs proceed through their hollow throat. Whoever fashioneth or worshippeth such gods, let him be like unto his gods. But place thou, o race of Jacob, all the confidence of thy safety in God, Who will uphold thee by His almighty hand and protect thee in the midst of danger. And ye posterity of Aaron, place all the hope of your safety in God, who will uphold you by His almighty hand and protect you in the midst of danger. Whoever thou art that feareth God, place the confidence of thy safety in God, Who will uphold thee by his almighty hand and protect thee in the midst of danger. Who embracing us with His love, being ever mindful, hath cherished, and doth cherish us carefully; who will cherish all the children of Jacob and the holy race of Aaron. Who will cherish and preserve those that fear Him, whether young or old. Who will always enrich us and our children’s children with fresh blessings. For He separated us from among the heathen nations, Who is the Creator of heaven and earth. He hath made heaven to be a palace for Himself, the earth hath He given for a habitation to the children of men, that, recompensing Him with His own gifts, they might acknowledge Him to be the Parent of the universe. Nor shall those, o Father, open their mouths in Thy praises whom death covereth with silence. But we who live on the breath of vital air shall acknowledge Thee to be our Father. We will celebrate Thee with praises while the sun in his bright chariot shall go round the earth.
I will love and fear the Lord alone with my whole heart, Who of His goodness hath not given a deaf ear to my supplications. I will ever love him while my breath shall cause my heart to beat, Who hath given an attentive ear to my supplications. Already death was before mine eyes, already I stood upon the brink of my grave, already distracting trouble overwhelmed me from every quarter. Being then hopeless, I called upon the Lord with humble prayer: “O Father,” say I, “preserve at least, I beseech Thee, my wretched life.” How righteous, and gracious, and ready to pardon is the Lord! He covered me, when standing in need of His assistance and counsel, from my cruel enemy. Wherefore, o my soul, being now restored to thyself, restrain thy sorrow and enjoy with cheerfulness those blessings which God hath bestowed with a liberal hand. For He hath delivered thy life from the jaws of death, and wiped the tears from off thy cheeks, and with a steady foot hath established thy going. I will live safe under the protection of God, and, depending on the undoubted faithfulness of His promise, I will sing His praises with grateful heart. Being weary and afflicted with adverse fortune, providing for my life by a sudden flight, I thus communed with myself: “The faith of no man is to be relied on, but the sovereign Ruler of the world, He alone is constant to His promise, He alone cannot deceive.” In what way shall I, so often delivered from so many evils, so often enriched with so many blessings, endeavour to render thanks unto Thee? I will wait upon Thee with meat-offerings, with prayer and with drink-offerings; with grateful voice will I acknowledge Three to be the support of my life. Being bound by a vow unto Thee, I will worship Thee, Who art the support of my life, in the assembly of Thy people, with a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thou, o Father, their preserver, coverest Thine elect by Thy protection, nor leavest unavenged the ghosts of those that perish by violence. Thou, Lord, has rescued me Thy servant, the son of Thine handmaid, from the threatening chains of mine enemies. I will ever extol Thee with praises, o most excellent Father of the universe, I will invoke Thy name in perplexing trials. Being bound by a vow, being rescued from death, having returned back to the holy city, I will worship with sacrifice at the threshold of Thy sacred courts.
Cheerfully celebrate the praises of the most excellent Parent of the universe, all ye nations everywhere, whom the paths of the sun encompasseth. Acknowledge His favour, Who cherisheth us with still greater kindness from day to day, and His immutable stedfastness to make good His promises.
Come, praise God, God Who is both gracious and good, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Come, ye offspring of Jacob, express the praises of God, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Come, let the numerous race of Aaron praise God, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Come, thou that worshippest God with unfeigned piety, confess that He is ever abundant in plenteous mercy. The Lord heard me when calling in my distresses, and He delivered me forthwith out of my straits. Let Him alone stand by me, neither arms nor any human power shall make me afraid. Let Him alone be my help, I will satiate mine eyes, nor doth my hope deceive me with the misfortunes of mine enemies. It is safer to hope for salvation from the Lord of the universe than to trust in the arms of valiant men, it is safer to hope for salvation from the Lord of the universe than to trust in the power of mighty princes. The neighbouring nations from every quarter may conspire against me, I will destroy them all by the assistance of God, Who is on my side. Though they should surround and press upon me from every quarter, I will destroy them all by the assistance of God, Who is on my side. Though they may surround and press upon me from every quarter in vast multitudes, as bees swarm in the springtime, I will destroy them all by the assistance of God, Who is on my side, just as the violence of fire destroyeth dry thorns. Why, o wicked man, triest thou in vain to overthrow me, who am already tottering? The right hand of almighty God sustaineth me. He is my strength, my songs shall celebrate Him alone, He alone is the author of my salvation. And all the tabernacles of the righteous shall together shout for joy: they shall together praise God, the author of my salvation, and in their song they shall exalt to the stars His right hand, mighty in war, that obtaineth the victory, a right hand that excelleth in arms, a right hand that excelleth in strength, a right hand that is mighty in war, that obtaineth the victory. Why insultest thou me, o cruel death? Put up thy weapons: in vain doth thou affright me with thy threatening dart. For I live, and, living, shall in my song exalt above the heavens the unparalleled mercy of kind providence. My indulgent Parent by bitter affliction hath humbled me, but notwithstanding He hath repulsed death, which threatened me. Open to me, ye priests, the gates of His holy Temple, that I may praise God for the salvation I have obtained. This is the gate that is most acceptable to God, the gate that from henceforth shall be open to the prayers of the righteous. Justly will I praise thee, holy Father. Thou givest a favourable ear to the suppliant in distress. Under Thy administration, I am safe and secure from my infesting foe. The stone also which the wickedness of the builders had rejected, now conspicuous far and wide, crowns the top of the highest corner. Verily this is the doing of His invisible providence, a deed which our wondering eyes behold with astonishment. O happy day! O day made for pleasant joy, a day witness of the heavenly favour towards us! Most gracious Father, do Thou ever favour, and be Thou the guardian of thy king, and bring Thou his undertakings to a happy exit. O blessed, o twice blessed may he be whom the Lord of heaven hath sent to be the author of salvation to his people! We, to whom the keeping of His holy Temple is entrusted, pray that all things may turn out prosperously to you. For God, Who sheddeth upon us the light of His grace, alone manageth the reins of the universe. Celebrate this day with gladness, and let a tender lambkin stand bound to the horns of the altar. Thee, Lord, will I revere with my heart, Thee will I confess with my mouth, and I will ever praise thy name. Come, praise God, God both gracious and good, and ever abounding in plenteous mercy.
O blessed are they who pursue the path of God’s Law. O blessed are they who with the heart yield obedience to the admonitions of His providence, being undefiled with guilt, nor forsake the path prescribed in His Law, which with rigorous severity thou commandest us to keep. O mayest Thou so direct my tottering steps that I may listen to Thy admonitions, that my eyes, attentive to Thy commandments, may never wander. Then with upright heart I will praise Thee, the captain of righteousness. I will obey Thee, forsake not Thou Thine obedient servant.
Grant that I may live, who obey Thy Law. Open the eyes of my understanding, that I may behold more nearly the righteousness of Thy Covenant. Hide not from a stranger the precepts of Thy Law. My anxious soul longeth after the laws of thy covenants. O Thou that punisheth the proud contempt of Thy Law, deliver me, who an observer of Thy Law, whom those in power insolently reproach because I keep Thy precepts, because I take my rule of life out of Thy word.
Grant that I may live, who obey Thy Law. Open the eyes of my understanding, that I may behold more nearly the righteousness of Thy Covenant. Hide not from a stranger the precepts of Thy Law. My anxious soul longeth after the laws of thy covenants. O thou that punisheth the proud contempt of Thy Law, deliver me, an observer of Thy Law, whom those in power insolently reproach because I keep Thy precepts, because I take my rule of life out of thy word.
My afflicted soul fainteth, revive Thou my afflicted soul by Thy word. I have disclosed to Thee the secret recesses of my heart, teach Thou me, who am ignorant, and enlighten me, that I may meditate on Thy statutes, and mayest Thou raise up my distressed soul with the consolation of Thy word. Grant that I may love the ordinances of Thy laws without dissimulation. I follow what is right, I continually have a respect unto Thy statutes. Thy Law is engraven upon my heart, forsake not Thou my hope. Shew me the way of Thy righteousness, as a willing companion I will follow Thee.
Shew me the way of Thy statutes, teach me Thy Covenant, that I may receive Thy Covenant and Thy Law with my whole heart. Withdraw my heart from sordid cares to Thy commandments, that I may ever follow in a straight path all Thy statutes. Turn away mine eyes, that they behold not impious vanities. Rouse my listless soul, cause my soul to fear and love Thee. Do Thou, a generous patron, deliver me from shameful reproach. May thy righteousness preserve me, seeing I love Thy statutes.
Do Thou, Who art good and bringest help, mindful of Thy Covenant, look upon me that I may shut the mouth of him that reproacheth me for my trust in Thy promise. O Thou who art the hope of my salvation, take not Thy truth out of my mouth. Thy precepts alone do I seek, that, ever attentive to Thy statutes, I may walk with a safe step. I will speak of Thy words before kings, and will not be ashamed. Them have I loved, and them will I love, and obedience to them will lift up my hands, that I may have them continually in my mouth, and revolve them in my mind.
Be mindful of Thy Covenant, which is the pillar of my faith, which when I am afflicted raiseth me up, and rescueth when languishing from the jaws of death. Though the proud may scoff, I will follow after Thee, I will call to mind Thy Law continually, it will be my consolation in adversity. When I behold the profane adversaries of Thy Law, I tremble throughout. It shall be my song while as a stranger I shall sojourn in this world. The silent shades admonish me to observe it. This concern only ever employeth my thoughts.
To obey Thee is my only hope, riches, and inheritance. This one thing only I seek after, that Thou wouldst graciously perform Thy promises. That I might frame all the actions of my life agreeably to Thy Law, I set myself about keeping it as far as possible. Even when fettered with the bands of the wicked, I meditate upon it. For its sake, rising by night, I will honour Thee with praises. I esteem those my friends who revere it. Teach it me, gracious Father, Who fillest all things with Thy bounty.
Be present, o Lord, grant that Thy promises may appear bountifully to Thy servant. I will acquiesce in Thy Law, teach me Thy Law. My soul, humbled by affliction, with difficulty hath learned Thy Laws. Fountain of mercy, mercifully teach me Thy statutes. The round have accused me falsely, but I will obey Thee with my whole heart. Thy precepts delight me, but their heart is become stupid with their prosperity. Thou hast taught me by afflictions to adhere to Thy Law, to adhere to Thy Law, which is more to be desired than vast heaps of gold.
Give me, whom Thou hast fashioned by Thine hand, to know the power of Thy Law. the pious with joy behold me obeying Thy laws. Thy Law is righteous: Thou a righteous Judge, deservedly afflictest me. Yet revive me again, seeing I willingly obey Thy precepts. Prevent me with Thy mercy, seeing I willingly obey Three. Humble Thou the pride that overbeareth Thy servant. They that obey Thy Law love me who obey it. Let not my heart, sincerely devoted to Thee, suffer shame.
My soul fainteth in expectation of Thy salvation, yet hope forsaketh it not. My weary eyes fail, my body withereth like a bottle dried in the smoke. Comfort Thou me in my affliction, seeing I am mindful of Thy Covenant. What end shall there be of my sufferings? When wilt Thou inflict punishment on my adversary? The proud enemy of Thy Law hath digged a pit for me. Thy Law is just, Thy promises are sure. Destroy my enemies, who persecute me because I put my confidence in Thee alone. Grant that I may regulate all my actions agreeably to Thy statutes.
Thy promises are sure, Thy faithfulness to Thy words remains undoubted whilst the stars shall sparkle in the heaven, whilst the grass shall clothe the earth, which obey Thy laws in their perpetual revolution. My afflictions had overwhelmed me, had not Thy Law, thy salutary Law, been my help. No kind of forgetfulness shall take it from us. I am Thine, I love them that love Thy statutes. The wicked threatened death to me for meditating on Thy ordinances. Of other things there is an end, they alone shall remain forever.
O how I loved Thy Law! I ever meditate upon it. It hath made me wiser than mine enemies. By obeying it, I am become more learned than my teachers. Because I attend to it, I am more knowing than sagacious old age. I turn my steps from the paths of evil men that I may follow it. Under Thy instruction, I depart not in the least from Thy words, which are sweeter than delicious honey to my taste. Instructed by them, I depart from paths of falsehood.
Thy holy Law, like a lamp, directeth my feet. I have firmly resolved to obey Thy words. Being mindful of Thy Covenant, raise me up, who am overwhelmed with troubles. Teach me Thy statutes, and graciously accept this sacrifice of my mouth. Thy commandments are not rejected by me, though evils surround me on every side, nor have I cast them off when almost inclosed in the nets of the wicked. Thy Law is my delight, it is my only joy, it is my heritage. It shall be my main study, so long as I shall draw the breath of life.
I love thy Law, as I detest evil men. Thou art my alone hope, my sole confidence is in Thy promises. Depart from hence, ye evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me by Thy word, that I may not seek after vain delusions. Being safe under Thy administration, I will ever love Thy precepts. Thou treadest down those that depart from Thee, who to no purpose dote upon vanities. I love Thy Law, because Thou puttest away all the wicked. My flesh trembleth when I think of Thee, who art a severe Judge.
Leave not me, that loveth righteousness, to mine oppressors, grant that I, preserved from proud scorn, may love the things that are just. My weary eyes fail whilst I look for thy salvation, whilst I wait for Thy ordinances: graciously teach Thou Thy servant Thy judgments, make him understand the mysteries of Thy laws. The time for punishing the enemies of Thy Law is at hand. But Thy Covenant is more precious unto me than the finest gold, I love it, agreeably to it, having forsaken my false opinions, I steer my course of life.
My soul reveres the wonderful mysteries of the Law. Thy words are the gate of light to the simple. With open mouth I suck in Thy words as the breath of life. Graciously look upon me, as Thou useth to do unto those that love Thee. Order Thou my steps according to Thy word, then iniquity shall not have dominion over me. Being delivered from the reproach of the wicked, I will obey Thy Law; graciously look upon me, that I may keep Thy Law. If any despise it, tears flow from me like a river.
Thou art the righteous Creator of the world, Thy commandments are righteous. Thy Law is full of equity, Thy faithfulness to Thy promises is established. I burst with indignation when it is impiously despised by profane men. Thy word is pure like fire, Thy servant loveth it. Thy commandments stand forever, shaken by no storm. In troubles they revive my perplexed soul. Give me to know Thy Law, so shalt Thou give me life.
Hear Thou me crying with my whole heart, that I may obey Thy Law. I call upon Thee, help me when I call, that I may respect Thy Covenant. In the morning I call upon Thee, my trust is in Thy promises. I prevent the night watches, that I might meditate on Thy word. Graciously hear me, as Thou used to do, and rescue me from the jaws of death. The wicked that know not Thy Law persecute me. Be thou near, o Lord, all Whose commandments are right. Thy commandments are established, they are established without beginning, without end.
Behold me afflicted, deliver me, seeing I am mindful of Thy Covenant. Do Thou, my counsellor, mindful of Thy Covenant, plead for my life. The wicked who despise Thy statutes shall miserably perish. O do Thou, who art good without end, strengthen my soul, as Thou usest to do. The great number of my oppressors has not made me decline from the Law. My heart is grieved at seeing those who despise Thy covenants. Graciously quicken Thou me again, seeing I love Thy precepts. All Thy promises, being established, know no end.
Tyranny oppresseth me, but my heart meditateth on Thy word, on Thy word which is more desirable to my soul than golden treasures. I love Thy Law, as I abhor lying. Each day seeth me seven times sing of Thy righteousness. Great peace and nothing to offend them have they who love Thy Law. My soul, relying on Thy promises, looketh for salvation from Thee. My soul only loveth and observeth Thy promises. I keep Thy covenants, as Thou, on Thy part, preserveth my life.
Give Thou unto me, that calleth upon Thee, to understand the hidden things of Thy Law. Do Thou, mindful of Thy Covenant, deliver me Thy suppliant. Whilst Thou teachest, my mouth shall shew forth Thy praises, my tongue shall declare Thy judgments, Thy judgments that are most just. With Thy right hand help me that obeyeth Thy commands I expect help from Thee, I love the ordinances of Thy laws. Save me, that I may praise Thee, Thy law shall help me. Seek me like a strayed sheep, who am mindful of Thy Covenant.
Wars did beset me on the one hand, the malice of calumny lighted up torches on the other. Abandoned by all, I have fled to the most gracious Creator of the universe. I humbly invoked Thee with my lips, Thou readily heardst my supplications. Defend me, o God, from the poison of a deceitful tongue and from lies. From what view makest Thou an attempt on my life, o thou tongue, the deviser of malicious falsehoods, thou tongue, that are more deadly than the envenomed arrows of the cruel Scythian, thou tongue, that art fiercer than the flames of devouring fire when dry wood burneth? Alas what a sad life, what a hard anxious life, wandering among pathless mountains, amidst robbers, and in the inhospitable cottages of a barbarous people. My afflicted soul is seized with an aversion for life, dwelling beside the enemies of peace, beside the enemies of peace, whom fair words make more fierce, whom the very mentioning of innocent harmony rouseth to cruel war.
Whilst my cruel enemy pursueth me with arms, I turn about my wandering eyes to the neighbouring mountains, if perhaps any help should appear from thence. But the Lord of heaven and earth alone will bring me help. He is the keeper of his saints (why, o my throbbing heart, beatest thou against my breast with needless perturbation?), He, believe me, watcheth night and day. Nor doth He ever remove His eyes, overcome by the allurements of inviting sleep. He hovereth about thee wings gently stretched out like a shade, that the rays of the sultry sun burn not thy skin by day, nor the vapour of the cloudy moon benumb thy limbs by night If thou stayest shut up at home, He preserveth thee whilst thou stayest shut up in thy house; if thou dischargeth abroad the offices of desirable peace or the cruel duties of war, the good Lord will ever bring thee safe out of all dangers.
O delightful day, a day witness of glad tidings to me! Now the return of the year restoreth the appointed solemnities, now the holy days call me again to the august house of the Lord. I shall now gladly stand within the threshold of His holy Temple. I shall now behold the tops of Jerusalem rising to heaven, and the huge piles of her noble buildings, and the city itself, too small for its inhabitants. The city, to which the children of Israel, called from afar, from the uttermost ends of the earth, repair, that they may worship God after the manner of their forefathers, a city, appointed by heaven to give law to the other cities, and to be the seat of the race of David to all ages. May friendly peace ever favour thee, o thou princely mother of cities, and may all things ever go well with those that love thee. May peace ever dwell within thy walls, may plenty, with liberal hand, ever pour out her blessings within thy palaces. May peace thy inhabitant preserve thee, thou delightful habitation of Israel. May all things succeed prosperously with the, o thou house of God.
Unto thee have I lifted up mine eyes, o my King, my Father, and my God. Unto Thee have I lifted up mine eyes, Who, far removed from human defilement, inhabitest the shining temples of heaven. As a servant with obsequious eye observeth the hands of his master and all his motions, as an active maiden with sharp eyes looketh unto the nods of her mistress, so the eyes of our souls attentively wait upon Thee, upon Thee, our Lord and God, until that Thou forgive our heinous offences, and graciously give pardon and peace to Thy servants. Now mercifully look Thou upon us, now at length spare Thy poor servants, spare Thy faithful servants, whom their insulting foe mocketh and beareth down with a contemptuous look. We are the contempt and the scorn of our enemies, and are weary of life. Our souls cannot bear the arrogance of the haughty brow, and the ridicule of those puffed up with riches.
“Unless the presence of God, Who is on our side, had been with us,” may the offspring of Isaac say, “Unless the presence of God, Who is on our side, had been with us when a proud body of men, depending on their foolish strength, came to destroy us, they had perhaps swallowed us up quick, as we were both weak and few and number. The rage of their impetuous fury, desirous of our blood, had overwhelmed us like a wave in a storm of destruction, their violence should have suddenly carried us away like a torrent swoln with snow-sater. The streams sholud have even gone over our souls, the unpassable streams should have even gone over our soul.” Eternal praise be to God, Who hath not given us as a prey to the cruel teeth of these perfidious people. We have escaped safe, their insidious snares being broken, as a bird lately taken flies from the net of the fowler. The hope of our salvation is placed in God alone, Who made heaven and earth by the power of His almighty hand.
The boisterous north wind shaketh not Mount Zion, founded upon an immoveable rock, nor the south wind, that with its black wings collected together the storms of rain. whoever in truth placeth his hope in God, neither the violence nor the cunning of his enemy shall shake him: if even the shattered world should fall to ruin, he, unhurt, shall escape the wreck. As walls of mountains defend the holy city, so the Lord encompasseth His people with invisible strength, nor will He ever leave them destitute of help. Nor will He suffer the offspring of the righteous to be oppressed with the perpetual yoke of the wicked, lest they, giving way, should defile their souls with shameful crimes. Grant that good things may be in abundance to those that be good. Grant that it may be ever ill with the wicked, whom infatuated impiety with its allurements hath turned aside from the path of righteousness. Grant, holy Creator of the universe, that perfect peace may ever dwell in the house of Isaac. May lasting tranquillity cheer the inhabitants of the beautiful Jerusalem.
When our almighty Father commanded captive Zion to return, and to behold again our delightful country, our minds were struck with astonishment, weighing with themselves their unexpected joys betwixt hope and fear. And scarce do they believe themselves, like one that in the morning, after sleep, recollecteth the dreams of the lonely night. Laughter returneth for tears, every one, praising his fathers God, expresseth his joy with this mouth. Nor did the heathen people stand with less astonished countenances at these miracles, muttering thus with themselves: “See what tokens of His favour this Father of the gods hath shewn! How constantly doth He provide for the safety of His own people!” Not without reason: for God hath shewn manifest tokens of His favour whilst He provided for our safety. For which cause we chearfully testify our joy with glad acclamation. But grant, o gracious Father, that the rest of the captives may now return, and may the number of them pour in like a flood, the ways being quite overspread with them, even as the rivers, scorning to be confined within their own banks, with ungovernable fury murmur along the fields when a blast of the boisterous south wind blows. He that hath sown his seed in barren land, and sadly revolveth many things in his anxious heart, if a crop enriched with favourable showers succeedeth, the heart of the reaper exults with chearful joy. We in like manner, after the long tediousness of our banishment, and after many sufferings, have with joy again beheld the plains of our delightful country. We both praise Thee and ever will praise thee, Thou God of our fathers, and do return, and will return Thee our thankful acknowledgements.
Except the Lord prosper thine undertakings, thou raiseth thy stately fabrics of houses in vain. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchful guard of its walls watcheth in vain. In vain riseth thou before the sun in the morning, and returnest home late at night: if the Lord take thee not by the hand, with all thy painful labour thou wilt scarce procure bread. Meanwhile, however, to His beloved He will give sleep undisturbed by dreams, and He will give them a house filled with a pleasant race of children. This is the inheritance, this is the reward, wherewith the Lord of all things blesseth those that are dear unto Him. A hostile warrior, having his hand filled with arrows, is not such a terror to his enemies as the parent of a race of sons whom the favour of God hath blessed. O thrice happy and more is the man that filleth his quiver with such arrows! He shall not be confounded by the reproaches of his insulting adversary before the judgment seat.
O thrice happy and more is the man whom the fear of the Lord directeth, whom error, that loveth to wander, hath not turned aside from his way. Happy art thou, and all things shall go prosperously with thee, for thou shalt eat pleasant dished procured by thine own industry. Thy wife, like a fruitful vine loadened with fruit and with its verdant branches spreading about thy house, shall cheer thee. Thy children in a joyful band shall sit abut thy table, as olive plants flourish in a fertile soil. He whom the fear of the Lord possesseth shall amidst such blessings pass the days of his life. Yea the liberal hand of the Lord shall bless thee from Mount Zion, and while thy life shall endure thou shalt see Jerusalem flourish in prosperity. Thou shalt see thy childrens children in a continued succession, and the offspring of Isaac always happy in festive peace.
“With a thousand vexations have a party of the wicked plagued me,” may the society of the rightous justly say, “with a thousand vexations have a party of the wicked plagued me even from my very birth, yet could they never overthrow me with all their intrigues.” They have plowed my back with the cruel prints of their whiops, my back cut into long furrows, to the loathing even of my enemy. But the gracious Parent of the universe hath broke their unhallowed chains and delivered me from the cords of cruel slavery. May he that beholdeth the palaces of Zion with an unfriendly eye ever meditate vain wishes and cherish fruitless hopes. Let him wither as the fading grass withereth under the scorching sun, the grass that groweth upon the house-tops wich, parched with rotten stalks, suddeny falleth down before the stroke of the sharp sickle. wherewith he that bindeth sheaves hath not filled his bosom, nor the sun-burnt reaper that moweth the flowery meads his hand. Neither hath the wayfaring man wished prosperity to the reapers, thus praying: “O beautiful and well-watered fields, may the favour of our gracious God ever keep, improve, and enrich thee for this year and for the years to come, even forever.”
Overwhelmed by the raging billows of affliction, I cried from the inmost recesses of my soul: “Most gracious Father, hear the words of my supplication. Hear the words, o Father, which we Thy suppliants pour out to Thee with much groaning, graciously lend an attentive ear to our mournful complaints. If Thou, a severe Judge, shouldst incline to punish all our iniquities, who is there so self-confident as not to dread the mournful event? But Thou in the midst of Thy fierce wrath art not inexorable, but liberal of pardon and a bountiful Parent, that justly we may fear Thee and the salutary precepts of Thy laws. For my hope is Thy promise, and my faith is Thy promise, which cannot deceive, revives me, and this firm confidence upholds my troubled soul. The watchman at the close of night waiteth not so anxiously for the ruddy morning, the watchman longeth not so vehemently for the ruddy sun-rising, as my soul ardently thirsteth for God.” Ye righteous, with assurance place your confidence in the Lord, Who is not unwilling to bestow pardon on His suppliants, and is ready to lend an helping hand to those that are oppressed with cruel slavery. He will deliver from their enemies the offspring of His chosen people born down by grievous bondage, and, having redeemed them from death, He will set them free from all their iniquities.
If with overbearing soul, if with supercilious eye I have proudly stalked, if, lifted up by a consciousness of my own importance, I have looked down upon my inferiors, if, raised aloft on the wings of a presumptuous heart, I have thought of greater things than it became to look for, nor have restrained my desires by due moderation, I deprecate or ask nothing, I refuse no punishment. As a young child scarcely weaned sigheth after his mother only, looketh toward her, hangeth upon her only, seeketh after her only, so my soul, o eternal Ruler of the world, looketh to Thee alone, cleaveth to Thee alone, ` Thee alone to be the procurer of my salvation. O ye sacred offspring of pious parents, look to the God of your fathers alone, place your expectations in Him alone, hope all things from Him alone, nor shall ye ever cherish a deceitful hope.
Be mindful, o Father, of David, remember the afflictions which he suffered following Thy precepts while in the most necessitous circumstances. To Thee, the only God of the Hebrew nation, He hath pledged his life by a vow, and opened his lips with these promises: “My house I will not enter, nor repose my limbs upon my soft couch, nor allow sweet sleep to mine eyes, until I find out a Temple, and mark out the foundations of His holy habitation, and measure out the place for His sacred altars. Though tradition flattered much our native country, yet God Himself hast pointed out the place, amidst rocks overgrown with wild shrubs. Here God Himself hath appointed an everlasting habitation and a fixed place for the sacred altars of His Temple. Let us theref9ore with chearfulness hasten to this Temple, which is acceptable to God, with our faces bowed to the ground let us worship at His footstool. And do Thou, holy Father, graciously and favourably accept our vows and chearfully go to Thine own habitation, nor despise the house which shall keep the Ark, the symbol of Thy everlasting Covenant. Let holy priests keep Thy Temple, and let all who in a becoming manner worship Thy majesty with hallowed rites leap for joy.” If David hath worshipped Thee with a pure heart, refuse not the offerings of David’s son, to whom Thou hast given to govern the reins of Thy people. For formerly Thou didst swear unto David, nor shall any advice alter Thy purpose: “a race sprung from thee as the root shall maintain the throne and sceptre of their ancestors. And if thy posterity will keep My covenants, if they will stand to their engagements, if they will not violate the laws of their forefathers, no length of time, no violence shall expel their children’s children, and those who shall descend from them, from the throne of their fathers. I have chosen Zion for an habitation to Myself, here My peculiar delight. This house is acceptable to Me. I will make the favour of heaven to cherish its corn, and abundantly satisfy its laborious swains. Sincere and upright ministers shall keep My Temple, and I will fill the hearts of the righteous with constant joy. And from David’s seed I will bring forth a new branch, which shall spread its boughs far and wide among the nations. I will provide one to his future offspring who shall render his father’s throne illustrious, and diffuse clear light over all the earth. The offspring of Jesse shall flourish, and with a crown encircle his sacred head, and transmit his fame to latest ages, but shame and reproach that spreadeth foul stains shall confound the faces of his enemies.”
There is nothing more agreeable than the mutual love of brethren, nothing more delightful than a good agreement. Not the perfume of odiferous balsam, when it is poured upon the holy head of Aaron, and wetting his beard and bosom with its agreeable drops, runs down to the golden skirts of his garments, nor the dew that paints the tender grass of Zion with its little silver gems, or filleth the vernal tops of unshorn Hermon with its pleasant moisture. The Lord with liberal hand blesseth the house wherein brotherly peace dwelleth, and enricheth it, and miultipieth their children’s children for many ages.
Praise the Lord, ye servants of the Lord, who by night keep watch at His sacred threshold, whilst night in solemn silence listens to your praises. And amidst your praises, lift up your hands to heaven with pure hearts. And the Lord in return shall bless you with all the good thihngs of heaven and earth, the Lord Who preserveth Zion, the alone Creator of heaven and of earth.
Come, praise God, ye to whom the keeping of His holy Temple is entrusted. Praise God, ye his servants, who with constant care watch at His sacred courts. Come, praise God, Who is good, and in your song extol His blessed name forever above the heaven. For of His own good pleasure He hath chosen Jacob, and him having chosen He hath set apart for Himself as the peculiar lot of His inheritance forever. The infinite power of the Lord is indeed manifest, his godhead is manifest. For, being superior, He humbleth beneath Him all the gods whom others with foolish attention worship as deities. For by His nod whatsoever He pleaseth in heaven and in earth and in the sea, or if any secret place is concealed by the hidden darkness of nature. From the bowels of the earth He calls forth the vapours and suspends them in the liquid air, and He prevents the impending showers with swift lightnings, and bringeth forth the blasts of wind out of His treasures. He smote the firstborn of man and beast throughout the lands of wealthy Egypt, and its proud monarch, and all that drink the waters of the Nile that flow in seven streams He terrified with wonders. He overthrew cities fortified with strong walls, He put kings to a violent death, even while surrounded with a numerous army, together with their offspring. He smote Sihon King of the Amorites of great valour, and Og that ruled Bashan with extensive sway, and the kingdoms of Canaan, that are not subject to one sceptre. And these countries, lately depopulated, they that exercised tyranny over them being expelled, have received new inhabitants of the race of Jacob. Holy Father of the universe, Who by Thy imperial balance knowest how to spare the humble, and to humble the proud, latest posterity shall praise Thee. No sort of forgetfulness shall ever blot Thy glorious acts out of our remembrance. But the idols which foolish superstition hath fashioned to itself of various forms, melting gold and silver in hot furnaces, are nothing but the silly inventions of men’s hands. A mouth they have, but incapable of speech, their eyes see not the light, sound reaches their ears but they are deaf, and the sweet perfume of odours in vain enters their open nostrils, the warm breath moveth not in their breasts. O may everyone that maketh or worshippeth such mock-deities himself spend his days like his gods, insensible and blind. Let him not hear words with his ear, nor utter them with his mouth, nor with quick smell perceive the flowers breathing amidst the smiling meadows. But, o thou race descended from the mighty Israel, and you house of Aaron, and ye that are sprung from the blood of Levi, and whosoever thou art that in holy reverence worshippest the Father of the universe, praise God, Who graciously inhabiteth the lofty palaces of Zion, Who inhabiteth the holy Temple of Jerusalem.
Come, praise God, Who is a God both gracious and good, and ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Come, praise god, for He is the God of gods, and ever abundant in plenteous mercy. To whom tyrants, the lords of this world, yield up their sceptres, ever abundant in plenteous mercy.. Who alone performeth great wonders to the astonished world, always abundant in plenteous mercy. Who by His stupendous wisdom hath rolled the heaven into shining spheres, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who commanded the earth to rise up from beneath the clear waters, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who kindled flaming lights in the clear firmament, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who commanded the golden-rayed sun to rule the day, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who commanded the moon and stars to distinguish the darkness of night, always by his abundant mercy. Who cut off the firstborn of Egypt by an untimely fate, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who recovered the Israelites safe out of the midst of their enemies, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who divided the motionless waters of the Red Sea, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. And through the waters thus divided conducted the children of Abraham, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. He drowned Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s chariots in the deep, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. And led His own people safe through the pathless wilderness, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. And smote powerful kings with deserved destruction, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. He smote Sihon, King of the Amorites, of great valour ever abundant in plenteous mercy. And he slew Og, that trusted in vain to his own strength, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. And measured out the lands of them both to new inhabitants, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who made His own Israel to inhabit their enemies’ land, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who remembered us when miserable in necessitous circumstances, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. And removed the cruel enemy from our necks, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Who giveth life and food to mankind, ever abundant in plenteous mercy. Praise God Who ruleth over the starry worlds, ever abundant in plenteous mercy.
Whilst far from our native country, in the borders of Babylon, we perchance sat down sorrowful by the clear waters of the river, the deplorable appearance of Zion came into our mind, and the habitations of our native country, never to be seen by us again. We wept, and signs restrained our words that struggled for utterance, and a shower of clear water fell into our bosoms. Our musical instruments did hang dumb upon the green branches, and the willows bore our silent harps. Behold our cruel master, the overthrower of the wealthy Jerusalem, in the midst of our misfortunes, requireth of us entertaining songs. He that changed our country to us by cruel banishment commands us to recite verses to our country tunes, such as we sung while the lofty palaces of Zion stood, the envy of the neighbouring nations. So then, must Babylon mock our divine hymns? And must a prophane country hear our sacred lays? O Jerusalem, o sanctuary, and ye inmost recesses of the holy Temple, can any length of time blot you out of my remembrance? Sooner, I pray, that a forgetfulness of my own right hand may seize me, nor let my right hand remember the warbling lyre. May the power of speech forsake me, may my rough tongue cleave to my haws, the roof my mouth having become parched, if the celebration of thy praise be not my principal theme, if the source of my joy arise not from hence. But do Thou, o Father, do Thou remember the people of Edom, who, rejoicing, exulted at our being plundered. “Destroy it,” cried they, “raze it from the very foundation, and make its houses level with the ground.” Thou likewise, wicked Babylon, shalt suffer severe punishment, and experience the uncertain vicissitudes of human affairs. Happy shall he be that shall come to avenge our wrongs, that in return shall do thee ill offices after thine own example. Happy shall he be that, snatching thy dear little ones out of thy bosom, besmeareth the stones with their soft brains.
With grateful heart I will confess The to be my Lord and my God before proud kings, and will praise Thy deeds. Looking with my eyes towards Thy Temple, with my soul to Thy divine majesty, I will extol Thy name and Thy perpetual faithfulness, Who repayest what Thou hast promised heaped with new favours, hearest me when I cry, and givest strength to my trembling soul. Kings, wheresoever the earth flowed about by the sea extends, shall acknowledge Thee to be their God when they shall have heard of Thy spotless faithfulness, and shall extol Thy worship above the heavens, astonished at the brightness of Thy glory. For although Thou remainest happy in Thyself beyond the fiery walls of the visible creation, yet Thou despiseth not the humble, and humblest the proud. Let a thousand dangers surround me on every side, I shall be safe under Thy protection. With Thy mighty hand Thou wilt oppose the furious attempts of mine enemies that fall upon me. What remaineth, if aught remaineth, Thou wilt give to me in safety. Defend the works of Thine own hands out of Thine everlasting bounty, in the same way Thou hadst begun.
No moment of my life, gracious Lord of the heavenly hosts, is hid from Thee. Whether I sit down or rise up, or whatever is in my thoughts, Thou, present, beholdest all. Whether the day hath brought care or the night repose, Thou orderest my care and my repose. Nor doth the sound of the least word which my tongue may have unadvisedly uttered escape Thee. Thou hast sustained both my face and shoulders, and the fabric of my whole body, with such wonderful art that no dint of human capacity or reason can comprehend. Whither then shall I fly from Thy presence? In what hiding-place shut up shall I be concealed? Shall I ascend to heaven? There Thou art present. Shall I go down to Hell. There Thou art not absent. Though the morning should convey me in her swift chariot to the farthest limit of the west, here Thou shalt lay hold upon me, nor safe here shall I escape the thunder of Thy right hand. If perhaps my inconsiderate mind should think with itself that night might conceal me by its darkness, our night, when wrapt up in darkness, is to Thee clearer than the meridian light. Darkness is not darkness to Thee, nor is there any night to Thy providence. Thou knowest the secrets of my soul, Who formedst the recesses of my heart, Who coveredst me with the thin clothing of skin when concealed in my mother’s womb. The wonderful fabric of our body is a miracle of thy skill, Whose stupendous works our reason can neither comprehend nor yet deny. For there is no part of our body so minute as that it can escape Thy knowledge, nor are any secrets of the soul hid from Thee, the Former of the soul. The primary elements of my new-made substance as yet unfashioned, and the first principles of this shapeless mass, Thou hadst as it were written down, and Thou knewest the lineaments, movement, and habit of my body. And when as yet my members were not, thou knewest what each day should add. Wonder and ecstasy bereave me of my senses, whilst I revolve these things in my secret thought. My soul faileth when I weigh with myself the miracles of Thy right hand. Sooner should I count how many particles of sand the tide tosseth upon the shore, although perpetually watching I should never allow sweet sleep to my eyes. O Father of the universe, when wilt Thou destroy the wicked? O when wilt Thou drive from me bloody men, who prophanely scoff at Thy name and Thy majesty? Whoever hateth Thee, do not I hate? Do I not count Thy enemies as my enemies? I hate them sincerely, nor is any of Thine enemies a friend to me. Search, o God, the inmost corners of my heart and the recesses of my breast. If Thou see not there the love of Thyself, if Thou see not a mind never slothful to obey Thee, if I am equal to the wicked in sin, give a like exit to my life with the wicked.
O eternal Creator of the universe, in Thy mercy defend me from the poison of a malicious tongue, and preserve my life from the snares of my perjured foes, who by secret policy stir up unjust wars, and, not less cruel than noxious serpents, they dart their venemous tongues and spew forth poison out of their ravenous mouths. Avert their cunning and withdraw me from the violence of my wicked enemies, who watch my steps, throwing pits and laying snares. But do Thou, the fortress of my salvation, hear my supplication. Thou art my Lord and my God, Thou hast delivered me safe out of the doubtful conflict. Do Thou, Who art still the same, now in Thy mercy render the purposes of the wicked ineffectual, humble their cruel pride, and convert the poison of the pestilential tongue to the destruction of its owner. May a fiery tempest sent down from heaven scatter those perfidious wretches with precipitant flight, and drive them blindfold into the profound darkness of the everlasting gulph. The false vanity of a prating tongue will never live in quiet peace, but will bring upon its possessor destruction worthy of his evil deeds. But the Lord, their protector, will defend His own from the violence and fraud of the wicked, that the righteous may celebrate the present and powerful protection of God with perpetual praise.
Father, give ear to me speedily when I cry, and, bringing salvation, hear my prayers. When sorrowful I pour out my supplications and lift up clean hands, respect Thou my supplication and my clean hands, as much as if I worshipped Thee with sacrifice and drink-offerings late in the ruddy evening. Bridle my tongue, cause a centinel watch before the door of my mouth. Make my heart to pursue those things that are right, grant it may not turn aside to the slippery path of error. May it never rejoice in the assembly of the wicked, nor partake of their unhallowed repast. I would rather a righteous man should rebuke me, yea smite me, than a wicked man caress me, or that he should anoint my hair with the ointment of spikenard. I pray that the wicked and the ringleaders of the wicked may suffer the punishments due to their wickedness, then may it strike their guilty conscience that they despised me when admonishing them for their welfare. The dread of death disuniteth the joints of my bones, even as the fragments of a felled beech, cloven with wedges, lie scattered about the fields. Sacred ruler of the heavenly hosts, Thou art the only hope of our salvation, we acknowledge Thee to be our only patron. Keep my life from the snares of the wicked, from the device which they prepare for me. Grant that I, having obtained safety, may see the wicked fall into their own nets.
Humbly I call upon the Lord and stretch out my suppliant hands to the heaven. To him I discover the griefs of my heart, in mournful strains I implore His aid. Grief overwhelmed my afflicted soul. Although Thou, gracious King of the heavenly host, be the most perfect Judge of my life being spent in innocence, yet whenever I made a step from home they laid snares for me. Wherever I turned my eyes, there was neither acquaintance nor friend anywhere, nowhere an outgate, no escape, none who would rejoice at my being safe. Wherefore, o Father of the universe, I have called upon Thee, my only refuge in adversity: Thou art my strength, my hope, and my help while I inhabit the dwellings of men. Give a favourable ear to my complaints, who am dejected with the severest calamities, rescue me from the hands of a cruel tyrant, who, being stronger, doth oppress me. Snatch my soul out of the darkness of the prison, that I may extol Thee with praises, and that the assembly of the righteous may praise Thee, Who art ready to bring assistance to the upright.
O Creator of the universe, hear me when I call in my distressful circumstances, and graciously give ear to my supplications, and rescue me from mine enemies with that faithfulness and righteousness Thou usest to do. Weigh not my life in the scale of strict justice: there is no man so innocent as that he can declare before Thy tribunal that he is free from sin. Behold my unrelenting foe threateneth, and when discomfited oppresseth me. I dwell concealed in melancholy darkness and deprived of light, like those whom cruel death hath buried in the dungeon of the tomb. My soul, almost overwhelmed with troubles, began to consider former times, when Thou often plucked our fathers out of the jaws of death, whom the hope of Thy protection supported. Revived again with this thought, I humbly implore Thine aid. My soul eagerly looks for Thee, as a thirsty land for showers under the sultry dog-star. Hear me speedily, for my breath scarce moves my ` breast, if Thou withdraw the amiable light of Thy countenance, cruel death threatens with hungry jaws. My soul sustains its afflictions in the hope of Thy aid. Most gracious Father, it looketh to Thee alone. Mercifully hear my prayer and presently shew me a way to escape from those dangers that are about to overwhelm me. Guardian of my life, protect me from my cruel enemy. Teach my soul and body to resist wickedness and pursue righteousness, who worship Thee the only God. Cause the secret power of Thy presence to direct my steps through even places, that I may follow Thy precepts, lest error turn me aside, being too credulous, into the path of the wicked. Revive me, destitute of protection, that every nation may extol Thy power and justice, and deliver me from the wicked arts of my flagitious foe. Cover me with the wonted shade of Thy favour, and destroy my wicked enemy, who continually afflicteth me with grievous pains, and ever preserve Thy servant.
With what song shall I praise Thee, o King of men? Who strengtheneth my soul with might, Who both teacheth my hand to war and guideth through the danger of the doubtful combat. That I live and am well, and, safe from the treachery of my enemies, shine with distinguished honour, that I command the most powerful nations, is wholly of Thy bounty. O Creator of the universe, what is Man, whom Thou bestowest upon with such liberality, and regardeth with a fatherly care? A piece of brittle clay, than which an empty bubble of air is not more trifling, nor dreams which disturb troubled minds, nor the shadow that flieth before the late twilight, nor the vapour of fleeting smoke. Gracious King of saints, open the doors of heaven and come down from Thy siderial dwellings, cover the mountains withal cloud, dart lightenings throughout the regions of the clear aether. Scatter the wicked, confounded, with a cowardly flight, and, when scattered, destroy them with Thy pursuing darts. Most gracious Father, rescue me with Thy outstretched hand from the raging billows. In Thy goodness repel the cruel violence of the wicked enemy. Restrain the virulency of the tongue that speaketh vanity, and break with Thy might the power of the hand accustomed to deadly frauds,that my harp may praise Thee with a new song, Who revivest kings with Thy support, Who often rescues the life of David from impending dangers. Repel far from me the savage cruelty of my barbarous foe, restrain the virulency of the tongue that speaketh vanity, and break with Thy might the power of the hand accustomed to deadly frauds. May the offspring of our sons grow up as riseth a wood of laurels in a fertile soil, may our daughters appear as splendid in their dress as the middle part of the roof of temples with golden cielings. May our barns be filled with weighty corns, may plenty supply all things out of her rich storehouse, may our pastures not be able to contain our flocks of fruitful cattle within their extensive inclosures. May fat and beautiful oxen draw our waggons, may our market-places never resound with the doleful trumpet, nor our streets with lamentation, nor hostile fury roar in our towns that are shut up. Happy is the people who in quiet peace spend their life amidst such blessings. Thrice happy and more the people whose God is the Father of the whole universe.
I will praise Thee my King and my Lord while the lucid pole shall whirl round the bright constellations, and will worship Thee, the only God. I will praise Thee by day, I will praise Thee by night, not a hour shall be without Thy praises, o Creator and preserver of the universe. Almighty Father, Whose power is infinite, all ages shall resound Thy praises, and ancient fathers shall extol Thy deeds, and hand them down in succession to latest posterity, nor shall any age not know Thy majesty. One, mindful, shall relate Thy wonderful acts and their beauty, another shall sing of Thy greatness, another shall extol Thee as being ready to pardon, and blessing with a liberal hand. And amidst so many perfections and encomiums of praises that shall at no time die, nothing shines brighter than Thy mercy. Wherefore, o Father of the universe, the frame of the starry heaven, containing all things in its bosom, declares Thy power, and those that are undefiled with the heinous contagion of sin praise Thee and publish abroad among the nations the strength of Thy empire, that no country may be ignorant of Thy dominion, and glory, and power. Thy dominion is without end, nor swayest Thou a sceptre subject to the laws of age or confined within the bounds of time. Thou raisest up again those that have fallen, and strengthenest the drooping, and them, preserved, Thou cherishest with the blessings of life. The whole species of birds and of beasts, yea the savage tribes of wild beasts, look to Thee alone and receive their food in due season. Thou openest Thine hand and liberally satisfieth every living thing out of Thy rich storehouse. Whatever Thou dost, Thou dost both justly and holily. Thou readily givest a favourable ear to Thy suppliants, and whoever pray with a pure heart, Thou sendest away possessed of Thy aid. Thou also art ready to help the righteous, and rescuest from all dangers those who honour and love Thee, but the wicked with their wickedness Thou pluckest up by the root. Wherefore all men shall praise Thee as becomes them, and no nation shall conceal Thy renown throughout all ages.
Almighty Creator of the universe, I will celebrate Thee and Thy praises, and transmit Thy wondrous deeds to posterity while the blood circulates through my warm veins. Promise not thyself permanent security in the protection of princes, nor rest the strength of Thy safety on a frail and mortal race. So soon as the spirit hath left the body, the earthen mass returns to its earth and long-concerted schemes vanish, and, coming to nothing, are carried through the empty air. O thrice happy he whom the Lord of heaven defendeth with His assured protection, and who hath placed all his hope and help in the Lord his God alone, Who made the earth and the sea and the heaven, and whatever the sea, the earth and the heaven contain; Who, stedfast in His perpetual course, performeth His promises; Who suffereth not the weak to be oppressed by the violence of a tyrant, nor to be afflicted with famine; Who relieveth the innocent from their prisons; Who, having dispelled the mist, poureth into the blind eyes a ray of golden light, and establisheth the tottering steps, and justly loveth impartial justice; Who with a faithful care preserveth the stranger; Who favoureth the widow that hath lost her husband, Who protecteth fatherless children, and defeateth the designs of the wicked. Wherefore thy King, o Zion, shall possess the reins of government while the stars shall beautify the heaven, and the sun drive his flaming chariot-wheels round his oblique circuit.
Come, praise ye the Lord, sing unto the Lord becoming songs. He is worthy surely of a skilful song, Who again buildest up Jerusalem and bringeth back the banished posterity of Abraham scattered here and there throughout the earth; Who relieveth the broken in heart, and easeth their troubled breasts, soothest their pains, and softeneth their wounds; Who telleth the number of the stars in the still firmament, and calleth each of them by their names. Great is God’s might, His power infinite, which no tongue can express, or mind conceive; Who supporteth, lifteth up, and honoureth the meek spirit, and levelleth presumptuous pride with the ground. Come, praise God, render thanks to God, praise your benefient Father upon the grateful harp, Who covereth the heaven with darkness, watereth the earth with rain, and clotheth the high mountains with delightful grass; Who with a liberal hand giveth food to the herd, and giveth meat to the raven which crieth to him; Whom neither the strength of mettlesome steeds delightest, nor the might or arm of the daring soldier, but unfeigned piety of heart,which can place the hope of its salvation in His mercy along. Come, sing the praises of God, ye towers of Jerusalem; declare his goodness, o Mount Zion, who hath strengthened the entrances of thy gates with brazen bars, and favoured thy citizens with every advantage; Who blesseth thee with smiling peace, and defendeth from the enemy, and covereth thy fields with a yellow crop of wheat; at Whose command the earth pours forth her blessings; Whose orders nature readily obeys; Who covereth the lofty mountains with flakes of snow like wool; Who scattereth thick hoarfroast like ashes, and stops the running of the waters, which become solid with ice; Whose cold what mortal can endure? When it pleaseth Him, the ice dissolves into soft water, a gentle gale blows, the rivers flow. He hath shewed His mind by manifest tokens, and delivered His laws to the children of Abraham. He hath not shewn Himself so friendly to other nations, who know not the statutes of His heavenly laws.
Praise the Lord, ye blessed quires of heaven, who, far from the contagion of mortals, keep the temples of heaven. Praise ye the Lord, whom He hath appointed to be His angels. Praise the Lord, Ye his hosts, every ready to execute His commands. Praise ye the Lord, thou sun who enlightenest the day, thou moon who enlightenest the night. Praise the Lord, ye stars, adorned with sparkling rays. Praise Him, ye revolving systems of so many worlds, and ye water that are far above the regions of the bright atmosphere. Sing ye all praises to Him, and extol ye His majesty, which created all things by an act of His will, and by an act of His will upholdeth them all, and hath established them on a sure foundation, that they fall not down by the injury of time, and hath bound them by certain laws which they dare not transgress. Praise the Lord, ye dragons that lurk in dens of the earth, and ye huge whales which swim through the remote gulphs of the sea. Fire, snow, and hail, and vapour, and currents of air that at the command of God wheel round the swift whirlwinds, ye fruitful hills and wild mountains, and all trees, whether ye grow rugged upon the mountains or become pliant by culture, ye tame and wild beasts, and ye that creep slowly along the ground, and ye that in your flight divide the liquid fields of air. Ye kings and princes of the earth, and free people, and ye who from on high pronounce judgment to the poor people, and you young men and maidens cheerful in blooming youth, and ye old men, just about to depart in the last stage of life, praise ye the Lord. To His name alone be the glory, and let heaven and earth acknowledge Him alone as the Lord of all. Let the races of Isaac extol Him with praises throughout all ages, Who has blessed with all good things the nation dedicated to Himself.
Sing unto the Lord a new song. Let his praise resound throughout all congregations who have not defiled themselves with heathen sacrifices. Let the children of Isaac solace themselves in their Maker, let the daughters of lofty Zion rejoice together with their King. Let them praise His name with joyous bands of dancers, and with timbrels, and sing of His praises accompanied with the sweetly warbling harp. Our indulgent Father embraces His own people with sacred love, and establisheth meek clemency with constant salvation, that the assembly of the righteous may exult abroad in splendid apparel, and may rejoice with themselves privately at home in their beds. Let the praise of the Ruler of the universe be continually in their mouth, and two-edged swords for taking vengeance be brandished in their hands; that they may avenge the cruelty of the heathen nations towards them, and may repress for the future their rage, threats, and insolence; that they may bind the kings of their enemies in firm chains, and confine their proud princes in iron fetters; that they may inflict punishments on them agreeably to the laws of heaven, and that the praise of His saints may be published throughout all quarters of the world.
Praise ye the Lord, Who inhabiteth the bright temple of the heaven, Who established the foundations of the world by the might of His power. Praise ye the Lord, who is everywhere renowned for His acts of valour. Praise ye His greatness, which is above the conception of mortals. Praise the Lord with the shrill sound of the warlike trumpet. Praise ye the Lord with psalteries and sweetly-warbling harps. Praise ye the Lord with timbrels and the songs of the festive choir. Praise ye the lord with stringed instruments and the sweet sound of the organ. Praise Him with the pleasant notes of the melodious cymbal. Let all who breathe the breath of life praise Him.