For my Hebrew class last year, I was asked to write up a super literal translation of Psalm 23 (below), and then build off of that to create a much more dynamic, creative, contemporary translation. This was the result.
A Psalm in the spirit of David.
The LORD is tending to me
I want for nothing
He has me lie down in pastures of fresh, new grass
Beside the waters of rest
He gently guides me
He brings the life back to my soul
He leads me into the grooves of life well-lived because of who he is.
Though I truly die in the depth of darkness,
there is no evil that I fear,
You are truly there with me
Your staff and your support: they comfort me
You host before my face a table opposite all that stands against me.
You clean me with oil over top of my head.
Overflowing abundance is my cup.
Surely, goodness and steadfast faithfulness will chase me down
for the whole of my life’s days
This will be my story:
I will return into the dwelling place of the Lord and stay—
for lifetimes upon lifetimes.
Literal Translation (for those that care)
- A Psalm about David. The LORD is shepherding me; I am not wanting.
- In pastures of fresh grass he causes me to lie down; upon waters of rest he leads me.
- My soul he brings back; he causes me to be led in ways of rightness for the sake of his name.
- Even though I truly die in a valley of darkness, I do not fear evil; truly you are with me. Your rod and your staff: they comfort me.
- You set out towards my face a table over against those being hostile towards me; you revive my head with the oil; my cup is superabundance.
- Surely good things and faithfulness pursue me all days of my life; I will go back within the dwelling place of the LORD until the length of days.