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Psalm 27 - Contemporary Translation

Psalm 27 - Contemporary Translation


In the days prior to Rosh Hashanah, throughout the Hebrew month of Elul, traditional Jews add Psalm 27 to their daily prayers. Here’s a contemporary translation by Norman Fischer from his book Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms

You are my light and my help
Whom should I fear?
You are the fortress of my life
Whom should I dread?
When the narrow ones gather their strength to
devour me
It is they who stumble and fall
Even if a royal army were camped outside my gate
My heart would not fear
And when they struck with terrible weapons
against me
Even then I’d trust

One thing I ask for, one thing I hope--
To live in your house
All the days of my life
To behold your loveliness
Every morning in the light of your temple
dawn

Till on a doomful day
You secure me in your precincts
Conceal me within the folds of your covering tent
Place me high and safe upon a rock
My head lifted above the engulfing waves

With the joy of my heart
I will sacrifice
Within that billowing shelter
Singing and playing my abandonment to you

Hear my voice when I raise it up
Be gracious--answer me--
Speaking with your voice my heart sang,
Seek my presence

I will

Do not hide your glowing face from me
Do not reject me in anger because of my shortcomings
You have always been for me
Don’t cast me off now, don’t walk away
My helper, my friend

My mother and father forsake me
But you take me up
Show me the way!
Guide my steps on the clear path
Against the ever-present cliffs and thickets
Protect me from the noise of desire and hatefulness
From false words and shouted accusations

If I did not have faith in your rightness
That it would bloom in this living land--
It is unthinkable

I wait only for you
With strength and good courage--

I wait only for you