Psalm 91, part 3

Posted: 25th June 2007 by ElShaddai Edwards in Translation

An interesting discussion about the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation over at Gary Zimmerli’s A Friend of Christ blog has sent me looking back at a few of the Old Testament verses that I did translation comparisons on. In one of those, Psalm 91:1-2, the differences between translations (TNIV, HCSB, REB, NLTse) were significant in how they handled “gender accuracy” and voice. In the end, I made an attempt at finding middle ground and arrived at this suggested translation:

“You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

I later looked at the NET bible’s translation and found it closer, though fairly dense. Now, in looking at the NRSV, I found an approach that is much closer to what I arrived at:

“You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’”

It is gender neutral for those who care (not surprisingly, the older RSV has “He who lives in the…”) and uses parallel phrases in verse 1. More importantly, this approach keeps a second-person voice through the passage, which is consistent with the rest of the psalm, avoiding the drastic switch to first-person in verse 2 that most translations use. It is also much closer to the language that Michael Joncas used in his song “On Eagles’ Wings”, which was the inspiration for the original post.

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, Who abide in His shadow for life,
Say to the Lord, “My Refuge, My Rock in Whom I trust.”


  1. […] 23 prompted me to dredge up my previous posts on the opening verses of Psalm 91 (see here, here and here) and take another look. These are the relevant examples from my previous looks at verses […]