Psalm 130

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Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 70r - De Profundis, the Musée Condé, Chantilly.

Psalm 130 (Septuagint numbering: Psalm 129), traditionally "De profundis" from its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential psalms.

Words[edit]

The Hebrew transliteration of Psalm 130 is as follows:

Shir hamaalot mima'amakim keraticha adonai / Adonai shimah vekoli tiyena oznecha kashuvot lekol tachanunai / Im avonot tishmor ya adonai mi yaamod / Ki imcha haslicha lemaan tivare / kiviti adonai kivta nafshi velidvaro hochalti / Nafshi ladonai mishomrim laboker shomrim laboker / Yachel yisrael el adonai ki im adonai hachesed veharbeh imo fedut / Vehu yifdeh et yisrael mikol avonotav.

Traditional Latin translation, used in compositions when in Latin, translated from the Septuagint Greek:

[Canticum graduum]
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;
Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes
in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est; et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus:
Speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem, speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israël ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.

Latin translated:

[A Song in steps]
From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities, who, O Lord, shall stand?
For with you is forgiveness; and because of your law, I stood by you, Lord.
My soul has stood by his word.
My soul has hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch, even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Translation of the Hebrew text:
[A Song of ascents]

From the depths I have cried out to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities, who, O Lord, shall stand?
But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. I trust in the Lord;
My soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen wait for the dawn. More than watchmen wait for the dawn, let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Commentary[edit]

This lament, a Penitential Psalm, is the De profundis used in liturgical prayers for the faithful departed in Western liturgical tradition. In deep sorrow the psalmist cries to God (1-2), asking for mercy (3-4). The psalmist's trust (5-6) becomes a model for the people (7-8).

v1. the depths: Here is a metaphor of total misery. Deep anguish makes the psalmist feel "like those who go down to the pit" (Psalm 143:7). Robert Alter points out that '..."the depths" are an epithet for the depths of the sea, which in turn is an image of the realm of death'.[1] Other Bible passages (Creation, the dwelling of Leviathan, Jesus stilling the storm) also resonate with imagery of fear and chaos engendered by the depths of the sea.

v3. 'If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities, who, O Lord, shall stand?. A temporary shift from the personal to the communal; this plurality (the nation, Israel) again appears in the final two verses.

v4. that you may be revered. The experience of God's mercy leads one to a greater sense of God.

Musical settings[edit]

This psalm has been frequently set to music, as part of musical settings for the Requiem, especially under its Latin incipit "De profundis":

Some other works named "De profundis" but with texts not derived from the psalm include:

In German[edit]

Martin Luther paraphrased Psalm 130 to the hymn Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir ("Out of deep distress I cry to you"), which has inspired several composers, including Bach (cantatas Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131 and Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 38), Mendelssohn and Reger.

In literature[edit]

The title "De Profundis" was used as the title of a poem by Spanish author Federico García Lorca in his Poema del cante jondo.

A long letter by Oscar Wilde, written to his former lover Lord Alfred Douglas near the end of Wilde's life while he was in prison, also bears the title "De Profundis" (though it was given the title after Wilde's death), as do poems by Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Baudelaire, Christina Rossetti, C. S. Lewis, Georg Trakl and Dorothy Parker.

In the novel Fires on the Plain, by Shōhei Ōoka, the character Tamura makes reference to Psalm 130's first line "De profundis clamavi" in a dream sequence.[2]

In Judaism[edit]

  • Psalm 130 is recited as part of the liturgy for the High Holidays, sung responsively before the open Torah ark during the morning service from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur. The custom of reciting this psalm during these times had long lain dormant until it was revived in the Birnbaum and Artscroll siddurim in the 20th century.[3]
  • Is recited following Mincha between Sukkot and Shabbat Hagadol.[4]
  • Is recited during Tashlikh.[5]
  • It is also among those psalms traditionally recited as a prayer for the sick.
  • In some synagogues, it is said on every weekday. In Hebrew, it is often called "(Shir HaMa'alot) MiMa'amakim" after its initial words.
  • Verses 3-4 are part of the opening paragraph of the long Tachanun recited on Mondays and Thursdays.[6]

Shir hamaalot mima'amakim keraticha adonai Adonai schimah vekoli tiyena oznecha kashuvot Lekol tachanunai Im avonot tishmor ya adonai mi yaamod Ki imcha haslicha Lemaan tivare kiviti adonai Kivta nafshi velidvaro hochalti Nafshi ladonai Mishomrim laboker Yachel yisrael el adonai Ki im adonai hachesed Veharbeh imo fedut Vehu yifdeh et yisrael mikol avonotav.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alter, Robert (2007). The Book of Psalms: a translation with commentary. W.W.Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-06226-7. 
  2. ^ Ōoka, Shōhei (1957), Fires on the Plain, Tokyo, Japan: Tuttle Co., p. 86, ISBN 978-0-8048-1379-2 .
  3. ^ 1,001 Questions and Answers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur By Jeffrey M. Cohen, page 167
  4. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 530
  5. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 772
  6. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 125

External links[edit]