Psalm 30: I will Extol You, O Lord

 

Noam Fields-Meyer

 

Translation with Analysis

 

Psalm 30

 

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;

you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,

and give thanks to his holy name.

 

      For His anger is but for a moment,

and His favor is for a lifetime.

Weeping may tarry for the night,

     but joy comes with the morning.

 

As for me, I said in my prosperity,

    “I shall never be moved.”

By your favor, O Lord,

you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face;

I was dismayed.

 

To you, O Lord, I cry,

and to the Lord I plead for mercy:

“What profit is there in my death,

    if I go down to the pit?

Will the dust praise you?

Will it tell of your faithfulness?”

     Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!

  O Lord, be my helper!”

 

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth

    and clothed me with gladness,

that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

 

Structure:

Underlined: thankful/words of praise

Italics: asking for something

Bold: negative statements ("x is only present sometimes," etc.) Red: praise

Green: dealing with hardship

Blue: prayer

 

Interpretive Translation

 

Character: Ludwig van Beethoven (deaf classical composer)

 

You hid Your face; I was dismayed.

(Learning that he is deaf)

You are a fraud. Either You didn't exist, or you're playing some kind of stupid game with me. This can't be right. THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT. YOU PREDISPOSE ME TO BE A REVOLUTIONARY COMPOSER, AND THEN YOU TAKE MY SENSE OF HEARING???? What kind of joke are you, "master of the universe?"

 

What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME??? I write my music of You!!!!!!! I write symphonies to praise Your name!!! I write sonatas to realize the beauty in Your world!!! And You noticed none of it. You didn't recognize me for any of my service to You....You didn't give me any credit for praising your name in a way no one else could. (cries) I WAS LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN. NOW I AM NOTHING. (cries more) How can dust praise you? (laughing existentially) How can a deaf composer bring out the beauty in the world? I'm as good for that as a dead cat. Was I not good enough?? Was my music too "sacrilegious??" My last question: who will praise you in the same way?

 

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing.

(after writing his first piece of music while deaf)

I ... never knew I could do that anymore. Before, I depended on hearing the music I was playing in order to appreciate it, and now ... I just know what it sounds like. I can feel the vibrations in my hands... I can see what the notes look like ... Suddenly, I'm not just writing music but I'm––I'm living it. (To God:) Was this your plan? Did you make me deaf so that I could be one with my music?

 

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

You didn't let my disability get the best of me. I was about to give up music completely ... but you let me see that it wasn't over for me. My fellow musicians have been so supportive of me too ................................................................... I

thought they would say, "Look at poor Beethoven, never to compose again! What a fool!" But they have visited me ... helped me ... comforted me ... and they have not made fun of me. I am no longer their competitor, but their friend who needs help.

 

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

(Working on draft #57 of a single page of a symphony)

Scratch that ...... scratch that .... that harmony doesn't work .... can I fit the E-flat in the viola line? ..... arrrrgghhhhhhhhhhaaaahhhh ........ NO!!! That doesn't work!! I just need to hear it! (Tears paper into pieces, burns it in the fireplace) I just. ... I just need to keep working. I won't be able to get this right the first time I try it, or the second time, or the hundredth time even .... but I need to keep making it better until it can't get any better. I might be struggling right now, but the harder I try, the closer I'm going to get to a great piece. Patience, Ludwig .... "joy comes with the morning."