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I am going to begin the examination of St. Hilary’s homily on the First Psalm by providing a variety of translations of the First Psalm. I am doing this for several reasons:

  • It is always good to look at a couple different translations when it comes to English, because there really isn’t a solid translation of Scripture into English. Comparing translations allows us to use the strengths of each translation to overcome the weaknesses of others. Plus, we get to see first hand the depth of meaning in the verses of Scripture.
  • The Psalms are a form of poetry and poetry is very difficult to translate. Therefore having multiple versions allows us greater understanding of these difficulties and possible interpretations.
  • One of the Alexandrian influences on St. Hilary was Origen, whose most important work was the Hexapla which was an interlinear comparison of six different translations of the Old Testament. I will therefore proceed with the translations of the First Psalm in a similar manner.

Before I get to the Psalm itself, let me give a brief description of why I chose each of these translations:

  • Septuagint (LXX) [with a very literal English translation] — when the OT is quoted in the NT, they do so from the Septuagint, which was (and is) the Greek Translation of the OT the Church used (uses).
  • Revised Standard Version (RSV) — according to Archbishop Demetrius, this is the most solid English translation available.
  • New King James (NKJ) — this is the Archbishop’s second choice (and if memory serves), he finds that it is better for reading because it is more lyrical.
  • New International Version (NIV) — this is the most widely read English translation of the Bible.
  • New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) — this is the translation I most often read for myself. I highly recommend its annotated version, because the notations are very solid and enlightening.

Verse One

LXX

μακάριος ἀνήρ ὃς οὐκ ἐπορεύθη ἐν βουλῇ ἀσεβῶν καὶ ἐν ὁδῷ ἁμαρτωλῶν οὐκ ἔστη καὶ ἐπὶ καθέδραν λοιμῶν οὐκ ἐκάθισεν
[blessed (is the) man who (does) not proceed in (the) counsel (of the) ungodly and in a way sinful not cause to stand also on a seat of pestilence not to sit]

RSV

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

NKJ

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

NIV

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

NJB

How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not take a stand in the path that sinners tread, nor a seat in company with cynics,

Verse Two

LXX

ἀλλ’ ἢ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ κυρίου τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ αὐτοῦ μελετήσει ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτός
[(but rather) in the law of the Lord the will of himself and in the the law himself take care day and night]

RSV

but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

NKJ

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.

NIV

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

NJB

but who delights in the law of Yahweh and murmurs his law day and night.

Verse Three

LXX

καὶ ἔσται ὡς τὸ ξύλον τὸ πεφυτευμένον παρὰ τὰς διεξόδους τῶν ὑδάτων ὃ τὸν καρπὸν αὐτοῦ δώσει ἐν καιρῷ αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ φύλλον αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἀπορρυήσεται καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν ποιῇ κατευοδωθήσεται
[and he is as the tree that was planted beside the outlet of the waters who the heart of himself will give in time of himself and the leaves of himself will not die away/run off and all as great he will be made prosperous]

RSV

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

NKJ

He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

NIV

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

NJB

Such a one is like a tree planted near streams; it bears fruit in season and its leaves never wither, and every project succeeds.

Verse Four

LXX

οὐχ οὕτως οἱ ἀσεβεῖς οὐχ οὕτως ἀλλ’ ἢ ὡς ὁ χνοῦς ὃν ἐκριπτεῖ ὁ ἄνεμος ἀπὸ προσώπου τῆς γῆς
[not thus the ungodly not thus (but rather) the dust/chaff which is cast forth (by) the wind from (the) face of the earth]

RSV

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.

NKJ

The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

NIV

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

NJB

How different the wicked, how different! Just like chaff blown around by the wind

Verse Five

LXX

διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἀναστήσονται ἀσεβεῖς ἐν κρίσει οὐδὲ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐν βουλῇ δικαίων
[on account of this not will arise (the) ungodly in judgement and not (the) sinful in counsel of (the) righteous]

RSV

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

NKJ

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

NIV

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

NJB

the wicked will not stand firm at the Judgement nor sinners in the gathering of the upright.

Verse Six

LXX

ὅτι γινώσκει κύριος ὁδὸν δικαίων καὶ ὁδὸς ἀσεβῶν ἀπολεῖται
[because (he) comes to know (the) Lord (the) way of (the) righteous and the way of (the) ungodly will be destroyed.]

RSV

for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

NKJ

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

NIV

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

NJB

For Yahweh watches over the path of the upright, but the path of the wicked is doomed.