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God of vengeance, Yehovah, god of vengeance, show yourself. Rise up, judge of the earth, repay the proud. How long will the wicked, Yehovah, how long will the wicked rejoice and spout arrogance? All the doers of evil crush your people, Yehovah, and defile your inheritance. Blessed is the man who you instruct, Yehovah, and who learns from your teaching to be calm during evil times until a pit is dug for the wicked. Because Yehovah will not abandon his people and will not leave his inheritance. Therefore righteousness will return from judgement, and all those of right mind will follow it. Will a destructive government that makes trouble by law be joined to you? They band together against righteous souls and condemn innocent blood. But Yehovah is my stronghold and my god is the rock of my refuge. And he will bring on them their wickedness, and for their evil he will destroy them, Yehovah, our god, will destroy them.
-- Psalm 94:1-5,12-15,20-23 my translation
Lord, God of vengeance - God of vengeance, appear. Rise up, Judge of the earth; repay the proud what they deserve. Lord, how long will the wicked - how long will the wicked gloat? They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. Lord, they crush Your people; they afflict Your heritage. Lord, happy is the man You discipline and teach from Your law to give him relief from troubled times until a pit is dug for the wicked. The Lord will not forsake His people or abandon His heritage, for justice will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. Can a corrupt throne - one that creates trouble by law - become Your ally? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the Lord is my refuge; my God is the rock of my protection. He will pay them back for their sins and destroy them for their evil. The Lord our God will destroy them.
-- Psalm 94:1-5,12-15,20-23 HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) translation
My Hebrew is very basic, but I have the advantage of not having a bias in translation. I chose to compare to HCSB because that is the best translation I know of. I will point out what I think are basic differences.
The first obvious difference is that translations use "Lord" where I use "Yehovah". The Hebrew has YHVH and the pronunciation is unknown. Another popular pronunciation is "Yahweh" which is also fine. But the point is that some reasonable pronunciation should be used, not "Lord" which reflects the jewish refusal to try to pronounce the name and is clearly wrong.
mine - Blessed is the man who you instruct, Yehovah, and who learns from your teaching to be calm during evil times until a pit is dug for the wicked.
HCSB - Lord, happy is the man You discipline and teach from Your law to give him relief from troubled times until a pit is dug for the wicked.
This difference is quite interesting and reflects the unwillingness of both Judaism and Christianity to recognize that the Old Testament is fundamentally a book of teaching, not of law or obedience. A key Hebrew word is "torah" which is generally mistranslated as "law" but really means "teaching". If you think about the HCSB sentence, it doesn't make logical sense. How exactly would being disciplined through law bring relief from troubled times? In contrast, my sentence makes logical sense. One learns from Yehovah's teaching that ultimately justice will prevail, so one can be calm until this happens. And in fact the next sentence begins with "Because" as an explanation, which HCSB has to leave out because of their broken logic.
Where I translate "right minded" HCSB has "upright in heart". Hebrew has just one word for both "mind" and "heart" which actually makes sense both logically and anatomically (because thoughts and emotions come from the same organ, the brain). But in the context of teaching and judgement, "mind" is a better translation than "heart". In fact Jewish and Christian translations always translate this Hebrew word as heart, never as mind, throughout the Old Testament because these religions hate the mind and hate intellect. They want to focus on emotion at the expense of thought.
Where I translate "government", HCSB has "throne". Here HCSB is more literally accurate but misses the point. I am clarifying the meaning for the reader because the throne back then meant the government. To the modern reader, my sentence is more meaningful.
In the last sentence, I really tried to preserve the feeling of the Hebrew which I think HCSB failed to do. Compare:
mine - And he will bring on them their wickedness, and for their evil he will destroy them, Yehovah, our god, will destroy them.
HCSB - He will pay them back for their sins and destroy them for their evil. The Lord our God will destroy them.
In Hebrew the two instances of "will destroy them" are right next to each other for effect. This isn't possible with English grammar but I tried to preserve the effect by preserving the Hebrew order of phrases as much as possible.
In general I think Psalm 94 is quite un-Jewish and un-Christian, and so I think it was translated by both religions with little enthusiasm for preserving the original feeling of this Psalm. But this Psalm is actually representative of the Old Testament where Yehovah is repeatedly described as loving goodness and hating badness/evil. The modern Christian god is all love and no hate, which the Christians need as they sink into moral decay and want to avoid punishment for this
To the modern Christian, Psalm 94 sounds like a Psalm for terrorists. But in fact the opposite is true. It is precisely because one can trust in Yehovah's judgement that no terrorism is actually needed against evil. Yehovah will destroy modern Western culture because it has become evil, and there no need for any good religious person to get involved in this. In fact being a terrorist is just evidence of lack of faith in Yehovah's justice. I know that Yehovah will kill far more members of modern culture than any terrorist could dream of doing. Yehovah will do this through war or through economic disasters or natural disasters or some other means that I haven't thought of. But as Psalm 94 makes clear, Yehovah will certainly destroy modern Western culture, and this knowledge gives me great comfort.
Unless perhaps the good people were supposed to be the agents of Yehovah's justice.
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