Posted On February 17, 2021

Psalm 46 in the LSB vs. NASB 1995

by | Feb 17, 2021 | Theology

Last week, Three Sixteen Publishing posted the text of Psalm 46 in the Legacy Standard Bible. As we did with Psalm 37 earlier, here’s a verse-by-verse comparison with its NASB 1995 predecessor. I’ve also added some small commentary below.

LSB NASB 1995
0 God Is Our Refuge and Strength
For the choir director. | Of the sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.
God the Refuge of His People
For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains shake into the heart of the sea;
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its lofty pride. _____Selah.
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. _____Selah.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be shaken;
God will help her when morning dawns.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations roar, the kingdoms shake;
He gives His voice, the earth melts.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
7 Yahweh of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. _____Selah.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. _____Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of Yahweh,
Who has appointed desolations in the earth.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts up the spear;
He burns the chariots with fire.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 Yahweh of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. _____Selah.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. _____Selah.

Notes

vv. 2, 5, 6 — shake, totter and slip 🎶

Initially examining the change v. 2 from “slip” to “shake” would be a mistake, as this Hebrew term מוֹט (mot) appears in vv. 2, 5, and 6. The LSB, consistent with its efforts elsewhere to keep same original language terms apparent in the English renders forms of “shake” in all three appearances.

v. 3 — LSB “lofty pride” vs. NASB “swelling pride”

This is a strange one not only in terms of the LSB’s choice but also the continued inclusion of “pride.” According to HALOT, this word גַּאֲוָה (ga’avah) can mean “roaring (of the sea), ” “eminence (of God),” or “arrogance.” And oddly enough, it lists solely Psalm 46: as an instance where “roaring” is the proper sense. The NASB has translated this as “swelling pride” since at least the 1977 edition. However, the NASB tradition — including the LSB and NASB 2020 — is a small minority among English translations, most of which render “surging” or “swelling” without “pride.” To emphasize: The LSB renders the single Hebrew גַּאֲוָה (ga’avah) as “lofty pride,” and the NASB 2020 renders it as “swelling pride,” and we know this because “pride” is not italicized in either case. The NET notes explain:

The Hebrew word often means “pride.” If the sea is symbolic of hostile nations, then this may be a case of double entendre. The surging, swelling sea symbolizes the proud, hostile nations. On the surface the psalmist appears to be depicting a major natural catastrophe, perhaps a tidal wave. If so, then the situation would be hypothetical. However, the repetition of the verbs הָמָה (hamah, “crash; roar,” v. 3) and מוֹט (mot, “shake,” v. 2) in v. 6, where nations/kingdoms “roar” and “shake,” suggests that the language of vv. 2-3 is symbolic and depicts the upheaval that characterizes relationships between the nations of the earth. As some nations (symbolized by the surging, chaotic waters) show hostility, others (symbolized by the mountains) come crashing down to destruction. The surging waters are symbolic of chaotic forces in other poetic texts (see, for example, Isa 17:12; Jer 51:42) and mountains can symbolize strong kingdoms (see, for example, Jer 51:25).

Whether verse 3 should be taken to illustrate national hostility is a legitimate debate among interpreters. Retaining the non-italicized form of “pride” is a strange decision for a translation that is trying to be as word-for-word as possible. Even more strange is the LSB’s choice of “lofty,” which removes the strong sea image that is potentially later analogized towards national relationships.

v. 6 — English past tense to present tense

While this may appear to be a major change at first, Hebrew verb tense is a different animal than English verb tense or Greek verb tense…:cough:…aspect? And if there’s one word I hated hearing in seminary more than “vision casting,” it’s aktionsart. Lest we dig too deeply into the weeds, the LSB’s change of English tense is not concerning and parallels many other English versions.


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2 Comments

  1. Michael

    Much more useful comparison this go-round with the concise commentary. Thank you!