We are continuing to sing through the psalms on Sunday evenings, and last night we came to one of my favorites, psalm 4. As with all the psalms we have looked at so far, I begin by looking at the 1655 Scottish Psalter version to see if the wording sill communicated the meaning of the text to a 21st century audience. We sang the Scottish Psalter versions of Psalms 100 and 23 without alteration, for instance. On several of the other psalms, however, either the word choice or arrangement was such that the meaning of the psalm was not clear without slowly reading and re-reading. In these instances, I have tried to put the psalms into verse form myself, following the text of the English Standard Version. I also used the Scottish Psalter as a guide at various points, so am not claiming complete originality. What I can rejoice in is the fact that my 21st Century church has been ending the Lord’s Day by worshiping Christ with the very hymns he inspired on our lips. Here is my attempt at Psalm 4.
To “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
1 Give ear unto me when I call,
God of my righteousness:
Have mercy, as you’ve done before,
hear me in my distress.
2 O sons of men, how long will you
Turn my glory into shame?
How long will you seek after lies,
and love words that are vain?
3 Know, that the Lord has set apart
The godly for himself:
He hears me when I call to him,
His promise will not fail.
4 Fear and sin not; but on your bed,
Think silently in your heart.
5 Render to God right sacrifice,
put your trust in the Lord.
6 “O who will show us any good?”
is what so many say:
We only ask O Lord, to us,
Lift up the light of your face.
7 You’ve put more joy into my heart,
more gladness in you I have found
Than they could ever know, e’en when
Their grain and wine abound.
8 So now I will both lie me down,
and quietly drift to sleep;
For you alone can make me dwell
in safety and in peace.