Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two Apocryphal Psalms of David

Two of the five apocryphal psalms of David. They form a pair, as the texts show. In the first, David cries for God's help in the face of a lion and wolf that have already killed a sheep and are now after him. In the second, he praises God for his deliverance from the wolf and the lion.
I set the first one to the very mournful and plaintive Genevan 13. The second I set to the victorious tune, Macabbaeus.
The English translation of these two Syriac (which I cannot read) Psalms is from http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/wright_syriac_apocryphal_psalms.htm
Text:
I. Spoken by David when he was contending with the lion and the wolf which took a sheep from his flock.
(1) O God, O God, come to my aid; help Thou me and save me; deliver Thou my soul from the slayer. (2) Shall I go down to Sheol by the mouth of the lion? or shall the wolf confound me? (3) Was it not enough for them that they lay in wait for my father's flock, and rent in pieces a sheep of my father's drove, but they were wishing also to destroy my soul? (4) Have pity, O Lord, and save Thy holy one from destruction; that he may rehearse Thy glories in all his times, and may praise Thy great name: (5) when Thou hast delivered him from the hands of the destroying lion and of the ravening wolf, and when Thou hast rescued my captivity from the hands of the wild beasts. (6) Quickly, O my Lord (Adonai), send from before Thee a deliverer, and draw me out of the gaping pit, which imprisons me in its depths.

Song:

O God, O God, Come to my Aid
Spoken by David when he was contending with the lion and the wolf which took a sheep from his flock.


1. O God, O God, come to my aid 
and save me, for I am afraid.
Deliver me from brutish creatures,
from wolf and lion, deadly prowlers,
lest I am deep in the earth laid.

2. One of my father's sheep they killed,
tore her apart, her blood they spilled.
And now they want to kill the shepherd,
they wish to bring my spirit downward.
I'll cry to you till I am stilled.

3. Have pity, LORD, please save my soul
so I am not sent to Sheol
and I may speak about your glory
to praise your name for you are worthy.
The dead cannot your name extol.

4. O, quickly Lord send from on high
someone to help before I die.
Withdraw me from the place I languish,
the gaping pit of fear and anguish,
the prison deep from where I cry.



Text:


II. Spoken by David when returning thanks to God, who had delivered him from the lion and the wolf and he had slain both of them.

(1) Praise the Lord, all ye nations; glorify Him, and bless His name: (2) Who rescued the soul of His elect from the hands of death, and delivered His holy one from destruction: (3) and saved me from the nets of Sheol, and my soul from the pit that cannot be fathomed. (4) Because, ere my deliverance could go forth from before Him, I was well nigh rent in two pieces by two wild beasts. (5) But He sent His angel, and shut up from me the gaping mouths, and rescued my life from destruction. (6) My soul shall glorify Him and exalt Him, because of all His kindnesses which He hath done and will do unto me.

Song:

Praise God, all Nations, Glorify his Name

"Spoken by David when returning thanks to God,
who had delivered him from the lion and the wolf
and he had slain both of them."


1. Praise God, all nations, glorify his name
for he is our Saviour, age to age the same.
His elect he rescued from the hands of death,
for my soul he ransomed and prolonged my breath.
From sure destruction, he delivered me.
From eternal anguish he has set me free.

2. I was in danger from the fearsome beasts,
from the wolf and lion--how my fear increased.
But God sent his angel who closed up their mouths.
From their teeth he saved me, and destroyed them both.
My soul shall praise him and exalt his name,
for he has shown kindness; I will spread his fame.

Text: Syriac Psalm; vers. George van Popta, 2011, (c)        MACCABEUS
Tune: George Frederick Handel 10,11,11,11+10,11

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