Thursday, May 28, 2009

No Fear: Psalm 41

For Post #100, something a little different. Yesterday in the Life & Times, I made fun of the No Fear: Shakespeare books, a "study aid" that badly paraphrases the more popular Shakespeare plays into colloquial English. So today, I thought I would try this out on the next Psalm to happen along. Which happens to be Psalm 41:

1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
2 The LORD will protect him and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.

3 The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed
and restore him from his bed of illness.

4 I said, "O LORD, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you."

5 My enemies say of me in malice,
"When will he die and his name perish?"

6 Whenever one comes to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it abroad.

7 All my enemies whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,

8 "A vile disease has beset him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies."

9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted,
he who shared my bread,
has lifted up his heel against me.

10 But you, O LORD, have mercy on me;
raise me up, that I may repay them.

11 I know that you are pleased with me,
for my enemy does not triumph over me.

12 In my integrity you uphold me
and set me in your presence forever.

13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

Here's my version:

People who are nice to the unfortunate will always have good fortune themselves. God will take care of them when they have problems, and will look after them and make sure they don't get killed. He will make sure they don't get hurt by either natural forces or their human enemies. If they get sick, God will make sure they pull through.

"God, have mercy on me," I said. "I am sick, and even though I realize that I've sinned, I still ask you to make me well again." My enemies think it's great that I'm sick, and they hope I'll die. They come and see me, but only so they can go out and tell their friends how bad I look. They have fun imagining how bad off I am. Since I've been sick, even my best friend has been trying to turn the situation to his own advantage.

But you, God, are merciful with me. I hope you will make me strong again so I can take revenge. I know you must be happy with me, or I wouldn't have lasted as long as I already have. Because I'm faithful, you take care of me and are always looking after me. Praise the Lord!

Assessment: This was a moderately interesting exercise to complete, but probably not a very interesting one to read about.

Next: Psalm 42 Illustrated


Elaine said...

Well, other Psalms might have offered more scope. Just your bad luck that old #41 fell due. For yours to be on a par with NF_S-peare, though, you'd have to throw in some moth-eaten old "Dude" and "whazzup?" kinda stuff. Praise be, you just used modern English, not garbage-English. See? There IS a God!

Serendipity said...

Actually, as soon as I saw the start of the post, I started thinking happy thoughts. I love snapshots of reading processes, and this paraphrase exercise lets me see how you read the text, which makes it the ultimate in interesting--or "teh cool," as the N-F dudes might say.

Anonymous said...

Michael, good work.

Btw, consider the 46th word from the front, and 46th word from the end of Psalm 46 - this only works in the King James Version (not the New KJV)... May shed some light on who may have had a hand in translating it into English...

As for the cognitive dissonance we pseudo-intellectuals experience whilst comparing David's sermons to his actions, please visit and scroll down to the area entitled "Triad Oaths". Compare modern Triad values to those of the OT Hebrews - the laws Triads cherish are only applicable to Triad Brethren and their families. Keep that in mind.

A part of me is really conditioned to believe David was more righteous than modern gangsters... but is there a Hells Angel out there who's killed 200 men and sliced the foreskins off their dead carcasses? (1 SA 18:27)

Is Solomon more righteous than porn star Ron Jeremy?

Please do not stop writing your thoughts. I've followed your blog for months - and it's added a measure of sanity to my quest for God.