Seek My Face

Read a new translation of Psalm 27 by Pamela Greenberg from her forthcoming book, “The Book of Prayer Songs: A New Translation of the Book of Psalms.” It is the psalm most associated with the Jewish High Holidays.

Psalm 27

By David.

You are my light and my hope,
whom should I fear?

You are the strength of my life,
before whom should I tremble?

When the wrongful approach to devour my flesh,
my oppressors and enemies,
it is they who stumble and fall.

If an encampment pitches tents against me,
my heart will not quiver.

If a war rises up against me,
in you I still trust:

One thing I have asked from you,
one thing I seek,

to dwell in your house
all the days of my life,

to behold your beauty,
to enter your innermost temple.

You cover me with the tabernacle of your presence
on days when hardship comes.

You shield me in concealment of your tent.
Upon a rock, you lift me high from harm.

And now, God, raise my head above troubles that surround me.

In your tent, I will make my songs into offerings,
singing forth all my melodies to your name.

Listen, God, to my voice when I call out.
With compassion, answer my need.

It is to you my heart calls,
“Seek out my face,”
because your face, God, is what I constantly search for.

Don’t hide your eyes from me.
Don’t push away your faithful in anger.

You have always been my help.

Don’t tear me out by the roots;
don’t abandon me–

for you are the one I count on for help.

My father and mother may leave me,
but you have gathered me in.

Teach me, Source of Joy, your ways.
and lead me down the level plain
because of the dangers that surround me on every side.

Don’t give me over to breath of my fears.

For distortions have risen up in name of truth,
they breathe out visions of destruction.

If only I could believe that I would see God’s goodness
in the land of the living…

Keep up your hope in God.
Strengthen your heart and sturdy it;
Keep up your hope in God.

  • Susan Chimene

    A beautiful and poetic translation. I look forward to the book.

  • Carol Conaway

    Your translated psalm is so moving and so vivid. It is a love song.

  • Douglas Henderson

    “If only I could believe that I would see God’s goodness”?
    This is a complete reversal of the more common versions. Very odd.