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A Book of Psalms

Selected & Adapted from the Hebrew
Paperback Book
April, 1994
In stock now: 
$15.99 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Now in paperback, this is a wonderful classic of “rapturous praise, of deep, exuberant gratitude for being here.” It’s potent and moving when read aloud with family or friends. These “Old Testament” psalms, like timeless wines, have been brought to life in exquisite new bottles.

“Sing to the Lord a new song.” My primary allegiance in these psalms was not to the Hebew text but to my own sense of the genuine. I have translated fairly closely where that has been possible; but I have also paraphrased, expanded, contracted, deleted, shuffled the order of verses, and freely improvised on the themes of the originals. When I disregarded the letter entirely, it was so that I could follow the spirit, wherever it wanted to take me, into a language that felt genuine and alive.

The Psalms speak as both poetry and prayer. some of them are very great poems. But as prayer, even the greatest poems are inadequate. Pure prayer begins at the threshold of silence. It says nothing, asks for nothing. It is a kind of listening. The deeper the listening, the less we listen for, until silence itself becomes the voice of God.

—from the Foreword

The poems in A Book of Psalms are addressed not to a celestial patriarch but to the source and centre of all things, the luminous intelligence that shines from the depths of the human heart.

The mind in harmony with the way things are sees that this is a good world, that life is good and death is good. It feels the joy that all creatures express by their very being, and finds its own music in accompanying the universal rapture.

Let the heavens and the earth rejoice,

let the waves of the ocean roar,

let the rivers clap their hands,

let the mountains rumble with joy,

let the meadows sing out together,

let the trees of the forest exult.

Thus the Psalmists, in the ardor of their praise, enter the sabbath mind and stand at the center of creation, saying, “Behold, it is very good.”


Even in the midst of great pain, Lord

I praise you for that which is.

I will not refuse this grief

or close myself to this anguish.

Let shallow men pray for ease:

“Comfort us; shield us from sorrow.”

I pray for whatever you send me,

and I ask to receive it as your gift.

You have put a joy in my heart

greater than all the world’s riches.

I lie down trusting the darkness,

for I know that even now you are here.

Other related translations by Stephen Mitchell include The Book of Job and The Gospel According to Jesus, both from HarperCollins.

Publisher’s Description: 

Psalm 93

God acts within every moment
and creates the world with each breath.
He speaks from the center of the universe,
in the silence beyond all though.
Mighter than the crash of a thunderstorm,
mighter than the roar of the sea,
is God's voice silently speaking
in the depths of the listening heart.

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