Chapter 32

1Of David. A maskil. Happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered over.

l'-da-VID mas-KEEL ash-RAY n'-suy PE-sha k'-SUY kha-ta-AH

אלְדָוִד מַשְׂכִּיל אַשְׁרֵי נְשׂוּי־פֶּשַׁע כְּסוּי חֲטָאָה׃

 32:1   Happy

The word ashrei (אשרי), ‘happy,’ which begins this psalm, reminds us of the first word of the opening chapter of the book of Tehillim, which speaks of the happy person who veers away from sin and chooses the godly path. Unlike Psalm 1, which refers to the person who avoids sin, this psalm expresses the power of repentance, referring to the individual who already sinned and suffers punishment. However, if he returns to God, he, too, is happy, since his sins are forgiven and he can again enjoy a close relationship with the Almighty. Two of the metaphors used to describe the process of sin and repentance relate to weather conditions in Israel. The “summer drought” (verse 4) and the “rushing mighty waters” (verse 6) refer to Israel’s semi-arid and desert areas, and to the mountainous regions where waters rush through streams. Both environments play a role in the physical and spiritual cleansing of the individual in the Land of Israel.

2Happy the man whom Hashem does not hold guilty, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

באַשְׁרֵי אָדָם לֹא יַחְשֹׁב יְהֹוָה לוֹ עָוׂן וְאֵין בְּרוּחוֹ רְמִיָּה׃

3As long as I said nothing, my limbs wasted away from my anguished roaring all day long.

גכִּי־הֶחֱרַשְׁתִּי בָּלוּ עֲצָמָי בְּשַׁאֲגָתִי כָּל־הַיּוֹם׃

4For night and day Your hand lay heavy on me; my vigor waned as in the summer drought. Selah.

דכִּי יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה תִּכְבַּד עָלַי יָדֶךָ נֶהְפַּךְ לְשַׁדִּי בְּחַרְבֹנֵי קַיִץ סֶלָה׃

5Then I acknowledged my sin to You; I did not cover up my guilt; I resolved, “I will confess my transgressions to Hashem,” and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.

החַטָּאתִי אוֹדִיעֲךָ וַעֲוׂנִי לֹא־כִסִּיתִי אָמַרְתִּי אוֹדֶה עֲלֵי פְשָׁעַי לַיהֹוָה וְאַתָּה נָשָׂאתָ עֲוׂן חַטָּאתִי סֶלָה׃

6Therefore let every faithful man pray to You upon discovering [his sin], that the rushing mighty waters not overtake him.

ועַל־זֹאת יִתְפַּלֵּל כָּל־חָסִיד אֵלֶיךָ לְעֵת מְצֹא רַק לְשֵׁטֶף מַיִם רַבִּים אֵלָיו לֹא יַגִּיעוּ׃

7You are my shelter; You preserve me from distress; You surround me with the joyous shouts of deliverance. Selah.

זאַתָּה סֵתֶר לִי מִצַּר תִּצְּרֵנִי רָנֵּי פַלֵּט תְּסוֹבְבֵנִי סֶלָה׃

8Let me enlighten you and show you which way to go; let me offer counsel; my eye is on you.

חאַשְׂכִּילְךָ וְאוֹרְךָ בְּדֶרֶךְ־זוּ תֵלֵךְ אִיעֲצָה עָלֶיךָ עֵינִי׃

9Be not like a senseless horse or mule whose movement must be curbed by bit and bridle; far be it from you!

טאַל־תִּהְיוּ כְּסוּס כְּפֶרֶד אֵין הָבִין בְּמֶתֶג־וָרֶסֶן עֶדְיוֹ לִבְלוֹם בַּל קְרֹב אֵלֶיךָ׃

10Many are the torments of the wicked, but he who trusts in Hashem shall be surrounded with favor.

ירַבִּים מַכְאוֹבִים לָרָשָׁע וְהַבּוֹטֵחַ בַּיהֹוָה חֶסֶד יְסוֹבְבֶנּוּ׃

11Rejoice in Hashem and exult, O you righteous; shout for joy, all upright men!

יאשִׂמְחוּ בַיהֹוָה וְגִילוּ צַדִּיקִים וְהַרְנִינוּ כָּל־יִשְׁרֵי־לֵב׃