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Chapter 73

Translation and Transliteration of 

1A psalm of Asaf. Hashem is truly good to Yisrael, to those whose heart is pure.

miz-MOR l'-a-SAF AKH TOV l'-yis-ra-AYL e-lo-HEEM l'-va-RAY lay-VAV

אמִזְמ֗וֹר לְאָ֫סָ֥ף אַ֤ךְ ט֖וֹב לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל אֱלֹהִ֗ים לְבָרֵ֥י לֵבָֽב׃

73:1   A Psalm of Asaf

Asaf is mentioned in Sefer Divrei Hayamim I (15:16-17) as one of the Leviim whom David appointed to sing in the Beit Hamikdash, and he is the author of the next ten psalms. In this psalm, he contrasts the suffering of the righteous in this world with the success of the wicked, and notes that the wicked are “at ease” (verse 3) though he experiences difficult times. The way Asaf begins the psalm, however, is most significant. He speaks of Hashem’s greatness and his belief that God rewards His servants with good: “Hashem is truly good to Yisrael, to those whose heart is pure.” The question of theodicy is as old as time. Though Asaf struggles with the fact that his enemies rejoice, relax and persevere while he has been “constantly afflicted” (verse 14), he nevertheless begins with an acknowledgment that ultimately, what the Lord does to His faithful servants is good, even if the benefit is not immediately obvious. In the meantime, Asaf concludes that although he suffers, just being close to the Lord is good, as he states “nearness to Hashem is good” (verse 28).

2As for me, my feet had almost strayed, my steps were nearly led off course,

va-a-NEE ki-m'-AT (na-TOO) [na-TA-yu] rag-LAI k'-a-YIN (sh'-PO-kha) [shu-P'-khu] a-shu-RAI

בוַאֲנִ֗י כִּ֭מְעַט (נטוי) [נָטָ֣יוּ] רַגְלָ֑י כְּ֝אַ֗יִן (שפכה) [שֻׁפְּכ֥וּ] אֲשֻׁרָֽי׃

3for I envied the wanton; I saw the wicked at ease.

ki-ki-NEE ba-hol-LE-leem, sh'-LOM r'-sha-EEM er-EH

גכִּֽי־קִ֭נֵּאתִי בַּהוֹלְלִ֑ים שְׁל֖וֹם רְשָׁעִ֣ים אֶרְאֶֽה׃

4Death has no pangs for them; their body is healthy.

ki EIN khar-tzu-BOT le-mo-TAM u-va-REE ul-AM

דכִּ֤י אֵ֖ין חַרְצֻבּ֥וֹת לְמוֹתָ֗ם וּבָרִ֥יא אוּלָֽם׃

5They have no part in the travail of men; they are not afflicted like the rest of mankind.

ba-a-MAL e-NOSh EY-ne-MO, v'-im a-DAM lo ye-nu-GA-u

הבַּעֲמַ֣ל אֱנ֣וֹשׁ אֵינֵ֑מוֹ וְעִם־אָ֝דָ֗ם לֹ֣א יְנֻגָּֽעוּ׃

6So pride adorns their necks, lawlessness enwraps them as a mantle.

la-KHEN a-na-ka-T'-mo ga-a-VA ya-a-TAF shi-T' kha-MAS la-MO

ולָ֭כֵן עֲנָקַ֣תְמוֹ גַאֲוָ֑ה יַעֲטָף־שִׁ֝֗ית חָמָ֥ס לָֽמוֹ׃

7Fat shuts out their eyes; their fancies are extravagant.

ya-TZAH me-KHE-lev e-NEE-mo, a-VO-ru mash-ki-YOT le-VAV

זיָ֭צָא מֵחֵ֣לֶב עֵינֵ֑מוֹ עָ֝בְר֗וּ מַשְׂכִּיּ֥וֹת לֵבָֽב׃

8They scoff and plan evil; from their eminence they plan wrongdoing.

ya-MI-koo v'-ya-da-B'-ru v'-ra O-shek mi-ma-ROM y'-da-B'-ru

חיָמִ֤יקוּ ׀ וִידַבְּר֣וּ בְרָ֣ע עֹ֑שֶׁק מִמָּר֥וֹם יְדַבֵּֽרוּ׃

9They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues range over the earth.

sha-TOO va-sha-MA-yim pi-HEM u-l'-sho-NAHM ti-ha-LAKH ba-A-retz

טשַׁתּ֣וּ בַשָּׁמַ֣יִם פִּיהֶ֑ם וּ֝לְשׁוֹנָ֗ם תִּהֲלַ֥ךְ בָּאָֽרֶץ׃

10So they pound His people again and again, until they are drained of their very last tear.

la-KHEN (ya-SHEEV) [ya-SHUv] a-MO ha-LOM u-MAY ma-LE yim-MA-tzu la-MO

ילָכֵ֤ן ׀ (ישיב) [יָשׁ֣וּב] עַמּ֣וֹ הֲלֹ֑ם וּמֵ֥י מָ֝לֵ֗א יִמָּ֥צוּ לָֽמוֹ׃

11Then they say, “How could Hashem know? Is there knowledge with the Most High?”

v'-a-m'-RU, ay-KHA ya-DA a-EL, v'-YESH day-AH b'-el-YON

יאוְֽאָמְר֗וּ אֵיכָ֥ה יָדַֽע־אֵ֑ל וְיֵ֖שׁ דֵּעָ֣ה בְעֶלְיֽוֹן׃

12Such are the wicked; ever tranquil, they amass wealth.

hi-NEH e-LEH r'-sha-EEM v'-shal-VAY o-LAM his-GU-kha-YIL

יבהִנֵּה־אֵ֥לֶּה רְשָׁעִ֑ים וְשַׁלְוֵ֥י ע֝וֹלָ֗ם הִשְׂגּוּ־חָֽיִל׃

13It was for nothing that I kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence,

akh-REEK zi-KI-tee l'-va-VEE va-er-KHATZ b'-ni-KA-yon ka-PA-yi

יגאַךְ־רִ֭יק זִכִּ֣יתִי לְבָבִ֑י וָאֶרְחַ֖ץ בְּנִקָּי֣וֹן כַּפָּֽי׃

14seeing that I have been constantly afflicted, that each morning brings new punishments.

va-e-HI na-GU-a kol ha-YOM v'-to-KHAT-tee la-b'-ka-RIM

ידוָאֱהִ֣י נָ֭גוּעַ כׇּל־הַיּ֑וֹם וְ֝תוֹכַחְתִּ֗י לַבְּקָרִֽים׃

15Had I decided to say these things, I should have been false to the circle of Your disciples.

im-a-MAR-tee a-sa-pe-RAH k'-MO, hi-NEH dor ba-NE-kha ba-gad-TEE.

טואִם־אָ֭מַרְתִּי אֲסַפְּרָ֥ה כְמ֑וֹ הִנֵּ֤ה ד֖וֹר בָּנֶ֣יךָ בָגָֽדְתִּי׃

16So I applied myself to understand this, but it seemed a hopeless task

va-a-kha-sh'-VAH la-DA-at ZOT a-MAL (HEE) [HU] b'-ay-NAI

טזוָ֭אֲחַשְּׁבָה לָדַ֣עַת זֹ֑את עָמָ֖ל (היא) [ה֣וּא] בְעֵינָֽי׃

17till I entered Hashem's sanctuary and reflected on their fate.

ad-a-VO el mik-d'-SHEI-EL, a-vee-NA l'-a-cha-ree-TAM

יזעַד־אָ֭בוֹא אֶל־מִקְדְּשֵׁי־אֵ֑ל אָ֝בִ֗ינָה לְאַחֲרִיתָֽם׃

18You surround them with flattery; You make them fall through blandishments.

akh ba-kha-LA-kot ta-SHEET la-MO hi-PAL-tam le-ma-shu-OT

יחאַ֣ךְ בַּ֭חֲלָקוֹת תָּשִׁ֣ית לָ֑מוֹ הִ֝פַּלְתָּ֗ם לְמַשּׁוּאֽוֹת׃

19How suddenly are they ruined, wholly swept away by terrors.

AYKH ha-YU l'-sha-MA k'-ra-GA, sa-FU ta-MU min ba-la-HOT.

יטאֵ֤יךְ הָי֣וּ לְשַׁמָּ֣ה כְרָ֑גַע סָ֥פוּ תַ֝֗מּוּ מִן־בַּלָּהֽוֹת׃

20When You are aroused You despise their image, as one does a dream after waking, O Hashem.

ka-cha-LOM me-ha-KITZ, a-do-NAI ba-IR, tza-LA-MAM tiv-ZEH

ככַּחֲל֥וֹם מֵהָקִ֑יץ אֲ֝דֹנָ֗י בָּעִ֤יר ׀ צַלְמָ֬ם תִּבְזֶֽה׃

21My mind was stripped of its reason, my feelings were numbed.

ki yit-cha-METS l'-va-VA-vee v'-khil-yo-TAI esh-TO-nan

כאכִּ֭י יִתְחַמֵּ֣ץ לְבָבִ֑י וְ֝כִלְיוֹתַ֗י אֶשְׁתּוֹנָֽן׃

22I was a dolt, without knowledge; I was brutish toward You.

va-a-NEE-var v'-lo ay-DA b'-he-MOT ha-YEE-tee i-MAKH

כבוַאֲנִי־בַ֭עַר וְלֹ֣א אֵדָ֑ע בְּ֝הֵמ֗וֹת הָיִ֥יתִי עִמָּֽךְ׃

23Yet I was always with You, You held my right hand;

va-a-NEE ta-MEED i-MAKH a-KHAZ-ta b'-yad y'-mi-NEE

כגוַאֲנִ֣י תָמִ֣יד עִמָּ֑ךְ אָ֝חַ֗זְתָּ בְּיַד־יְמִינִֽי׃

24You guided me by Your counsel and led me toward honor.

ba-a-tza-t'-KHA tan-KHE-ni, v'-a-KHAR ka-VOD ti-ka-KHE-ni

כדבַּעֲצָתְךָ֥ תַנְחֵ֑נִי וְ֝אַחַ֗ר כָּב֥וֹד תִּקָּחֵֽנִי׃

25Whom else have I in heaven? And having You, I want no one on earth.

mi-li ba-sha-MA-yim, v'-im-KHA lo-kha-FATZ-tee va-A-retz

כהמִי־לִ֥י בַשָּׁמָ֑יִם וְ֝עִמְּךָ֗ לֹֽא־חָפַ֥צְתִּי בָאָֽרֶץ׃

26My body and mind fail; but Hashem is the stay of my mind, my portion forever.

ka-LAH she-E-ri u-le-va-VEE tzur-le-va-VEE v'-khel-KEE e-lo-HEEM l'-o-LAM

כוכָּלָ֥ה שְׁאֵרִ֗י וּלְבָ֫בִ֥י צוּר־לְבָבִ֥י וְחֶלְקִ֗י אֱלֹהִ֥ים לְעוֹלָֽם׃

27Those who keep far from You perish; You annihilate all who are untrue to You.

ki-hi-NEH r'-khe-KHE-kha yo-VE-du, hitz-ma-TAH kol zo-NEH mi-ME-kha

כזכִּֽי־הִנֵּ֣ה רְחֵקֶ֣יךָ יֹאבֵ֑דוּ הִ֝צְמַ֗תָּה כׇּל־זוֹנֶ֥ה מִמֶּֽךָּ׃

28As for me, nearness to Hashem is good; I have made Hashem my refuge, that I may recount all Your works.

va-a-NEE kir-VAT e-lo-HEEM li-TOV sha-TEE ba-do-NAI y'-ho-VEH makh-SEE l'-sa-PAYR kol mal-a-KO-te-KHA.

כחוַאֲנִ֤י ׀ קִ֥רְבַ֥ת אֱלֹהִ֗ים לִ֫י־ט֥וֹב שַׁתִּ֤י ׀ בַּאדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֣ה מַחְסִ֑י לְ֝סַפֵּ֗ר כׇּל־מַלְאֲכוֹתֶֽיךָ׃