A Question on Psalm 20:1

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Greetings,

I wonder if anyone can help me out here?

Psalm 20:1 [1650 Psalter]
Jehovah hear thee in the day
when trouble he doth send:
And let the name of Jacob's God
thee from all ill defend.

Notice in the second line above, "when trouble he doth send," it is 'He,' God, that sends the trouble.

Indeed the Psalter is theologically correct (Amos 3:6; Exodus 4:11), but none of the translations I checked say this. I wonder if there is any textual warrant for the Psalter's translation,* that it is 'God' that sends the trouble?

Can anyone help me out with this?
Thanks.

*For those who may not know, the 1650 Psalter is more than a simple paraphrase. It is, in some sense, a new translation.

Some translations of Psalm 20:1

KJV​
The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; The name of the God of Jacob defend thee;​
ESV​
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!​
ASV 1901​
Jehovah answer thee in the day of trouble; The name of the God of Jacob set thee up on high;​
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
The consistency of English translations probably gives you your answer. The Hebrew is "in the day of trouble". The 1650 psalter is here freely paraphrasing, as it does sometimes, making a point that could certainly be defended from other texts, and providing a rhyme for "defend".
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
While not denying the theological point of the Psalter, it's probably a better method to always go with the text than with a paraphrase of a song that has to invert the word order to make it rhyme.
 

PeterR

Puritan Board Freshman
Previous versions were sometimes printed with "the prose on the margin" enabling the singer to know what a literal translation actually said and to assess the validity of any expansion in the words. Because the 1650 is closer to being a translation than some of its predecessors, this is less of an issue, but in my opinion it would still be desirable. Some people, especially in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, will tell you that "M'Cheyne said it's [often] a better translation than the AV" or that the differences unfold things that are suggested by the underlying Hebrew. My late father would have replied that if that is the case, why don't they put it in the middle of their Bibles instead of the translation that is there? ! There is an element of expediency in using a metrical psalter, and whilst it didn't please him, I think he mostly went along with it when he was in the F P Church (though he couldn't really sing, so it might have been difficult to tell). A practical method of singing non-metrical psalms in English, that a sizeable number of people are prepared to agree on, has not been found, so we go with the next best thing, being assured that there is no theological error in it, and that it is a sincere and thorough attempt to provide for singing the meaning of what is found in the Hebrew, in a way that does not conflict with the Authorized Version.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Because the 1650 is closer to being a translation than some of its predecessors, this is less of an issue, but in my opinion it would still be desirable. Some people, especially in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, will tell you that "M'Cheyne said it's [often] a better translation than the AV" or that the differences unfold things that are suggested by the underlying Hebrew.

I am posting this for those who may not be familiar with the introduction to the 1650 Psalter.

The signators are the best part. :)


Good Reader,

Tis evident by the common experience of mankind, that love cannot lie idle in the soul. For everyone hath his oblectation* and delight, his tastes and relishes are suitable to his constitution, and a man’s temper is more discovered by his solaces than by anything else. Carnal men delight in what is suited to the gust of the flesh, and spiritual men in the things of the Spirit. The promises of God’s holy covenant, which are to others as stale news or withered flowers, feed the pleasure of their minds; and the mysteries of our redemption by Christ are their hearts’ delight and comfort. But as joy must have a proper object, so also a vent: for this is an affection that cannot be penned up: the usual issue and out-going of it is by singing. Profane spirits must have songs suitable to their mirth; as their mirth is carnal, so their songs are vain and frothy, if not filthy and obscene; but they that rejoice in the Lord, their mirth runneth in a spiritual channel: “Is any merry? let him sing psalms,” saith the apostle (Jas. 5:13); and, “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage,” saith holy David (Ps. 119:54).

Surely singing, ’tis is a delectable way of instruction, as common prudence will teach us. Aelian telleth us that the Cretians enjoined their children, τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς ἐλευθέρους μανθάνειν τοὺς νόμους ἐκέλευον μετά τινος μελῳδὶας, to learn their laws by singing them in verse.† And surely singing of Psalms is a duty of such comfort and profit, that it needeth not our recommendation. The new nature is instead of all arguments, which cannot be without thy spiritual solace. Now though spiritual songs of mere humane composure may have their use, yet our devotion is best secured, where the matter and words are of immediately divine inspiration; and to us David’s Psalms seem plainly intended by those terms of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” which the apostle useth (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). But then ’tis meet that these divine composures should be represented to us in a fit translation, lest we want David, in David; while his holy ecstasies are delivered in a flat and bald expression. The translation which is now put into thy hands cometh nearest to the original of any that we have seen, and runneth with such a fluent sweetness, that we thought fit to recommend it to thy Christian acceptance; some of us having used it already, with great comfort and satisfaction.

Thomas Manton, D.D.
Henry Langley, D.D.
John Owen, D.D.
William Jenkyn
James Innes
Thomas Watson
Thomas Lye
Matthew Poole
John Milward
John Chester
George Cokayn
Matthew Mead
Robert Franklin
Thomas Doolittle
Thomas Vincent
Nathanael Vincent
John Ryther
William Tomson
Nicholas Blaikie
Charles Morton
Edmund Calamy
William Carslake
James Janeway
John Hickes
John Baker
Richard Mayo

NOTES:
* oblectation: The act of pleasing highly; delight (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary); Delight, pleasure, enjoyment; an instance of this (OED).—Ed.
† Claudius Aelianus (c. 175 – c. 235), Variae Historiae, lib. 2, cap. 39
 
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