1 A Psalm of Asaf. Surely God is good to Yisrael, even to such as are pure in heart.
miz-MOR l’-a-SAF akh tov l’-yis-ra-AYL e-lo-HEEM l’-va-RAY lay-VAV
א מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף אַךְ טוֹב לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֱלֹהִים לְבָרֵי לֵבָב.
73:1 A Psalm of Asaf
Asaph is mentioned in I Chronicles 15:16-17 as one of the Levites who David appointed to sing in the Temple, and he is the author of the next ten psalms. In this psalm, he contrasts the suffering of the righteous in the world with the success of the wicked, and notes the “prosperity of the wicked” (verse 3) though he experiences difficult times. The way Asaph begins the psalm, however, is most significant. He speaks of the Lord’s greatness and his belief that God rewards His servants with good: “surely God is good to Israel, even to such as are pure in heart.” The question of theodicy is as old as time. Though Asaph struggles with the fact that his enemies rejoice, relax and persevere while he has been “plagued” (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, Asaph concludes that though he suffers, just being close to the Lord is good, as he states “the nearness of God is my good” (verse 28).
2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
ב וַאֲנִי כִּמְעַט נטוי (נָטָיוּ) רַגְלָי כְּאַיִן שפכה (שֻׁפְּכוּ) אֲשֻׁרָי.
3 For I was envious at the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
ג כִּי קִנֵּאתִי בַּהוֹלְלִים שְׁלוֹם רְשָׁעִים אֶרְאֶה.
4 For there are no pangs at their death, and their body is sound.
ד כִּי אֵין חַרְצֻבּוֹת לְמוֹתָם וּבָרִיא אוּלָם.
5 In the trouble of man they are not; neither are they plagued like men.
ה בַּעֲמַל אֱנוֹשׁ אֵינֵמוֹ וְעִם אָדָם לֹא יְנֻגָּעוּ.
6 Therefore pride is as a chain about their neck; violence covereth them as a garment.
ו לָכֵן עֲנָקַתְמוֹ גַאֲוָה יַעֲטָף שִׁית חָמָס לָמוֹ.
7 Their eyes stand forth from fatness; they are gone beyond the imaginations of their heart.
ז יָצָא מֵחֵלֶב עֵינֵמוֹ עָבְרוּ מַשְׂכִּיּוֹת לֵבָב.
8 They scoff, and in wickedness utter oppression; they speak as if there were none on high.
ח יָמִיקוּ וִידַבְּרוּ בְרָע עֹשֶׁק מִמָּרוֹם יְדַבֵּרוּ.
9 They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
ט שַׁתּוּ בַשָּׁמַיִם פִּיהֶם וּלְשׁוֹנָם תִּהֲלַךְ בָּאָרֶץ.
10 Therefore His people return hither; and waters of fullness are drained out by them.
י לָכֵן ישיב (יָשׁוּב) עַמּוֹ הֲלֹם וּמֵי מָלֵא יִמָּצוּ לָמוֹ.
11 And they say: ‘How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?’
יא וְאָמְרוּ אֵיכָה יָדַע אֵל וְיֵשׁ דֵּעָה בְעֶלְיוֹן.
12 Behold, such are the wicked; and they that are always at ease increase riches.
יב הִנֵּה אֵלֶּה רְשָׁעִים וְשַׁלְוֵי עוֹלָם הִשְׂגּוּ חָיִל.
13 Surely in vain have I cleansed my heart, and washed my hands in innocency;
יג אַךְ רִיק זִכִּיתִי לְבָבִי וָאֶרְחַץ בְּנִקָּיוֹן כַּפָּי.
14 For all the day have I been plagued, and my chastisement came every morning.
יד וָאֱהִי נָגוּעַ כָּל הַיּוֹם וְתוֹכַחְתִּי לַבְּקָרִים.
15 If I had said: ‘I will speak thus’, behold, I had been faithless to the generation of Thy children.
טו אִם אָמַרְתִּי אֲסַפְּרָה כְמוֹ הִנֵּה דוֹר בָּנֶיךָ בָגָדְתִּי.
16 And when I pondered how I might know this, it was wearisome in mine eyes;
טז וָאֲחַשְּׁבָה לָדַעַת זֹאת עָמָל היא (הוּא) בְעֵינָי.
17 Until I entered into the sanctuary of God, and considered their end.
יז עַד אָבוֹא אֶל מִקְדְּשֵׁי אֵל אָבִינָה לְאַחֲרִיתָם.
18 Surely Thou settest them in slippery places; Thou hurlest them down to utter ruin.
יח אַךְ בַּחֲלָקוֹת תָּשִׁית לָמוֹ הִפַּלְתָּם לְמַשּׁוּאוֹת.
19 How are they become a desolation in a moment! They are wholly consumed by terrors.
יט אֵיךְ הָיוּ לְשַׁמָּה כְרָגַע סָפוּ תַמּוּ מִן בַּלָּהוֹת.
20 As a dream when one awaketh, so, O Lord, when Thou arousest Thyself, Thou wilt despise their semblance.
כ כַּחֲלוֹם מֵהָקִיץ אֲדֹנָי בָּעִיר צַלְמָם תִּבְזֶה.
21 For my heart was in a ferment, and I was pricked in my reins.
כא כִּי יִתְחַמֵּץ לְבָבִי וְכִלְיוֹתַי אֶשְׁתּוֹנָן.
22 But I was brutish, and ignorant; I was as a beast before Thee.
כב וַאֲנִי בַעַר וְלֹא אֵדָע בְּהֵמוֹת הָיִיתִי עִמָּךְ.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with Thee; Thou holdest my right hand.
כג וַאֲנִי תָמִיד עִמָּךְ אָחַזְתָּ בְּיַד יְמִינִי.
24 Thou wilt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me with glory.
כד בַּעֲצָתְךָ תַנְחֵנִי וְאַחַר כָּבוֹד תִּקָּחֵנִי.
25 Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And beside Thee I desire none upon earth.
כה מִי לִי בַשָּׁמָיִם וְעִמְּךָ לֹא חָפַצְתִּי בָאָרֶץ.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the rock of my heart and my portion for ever.
כו כָּלָה שְׁאֵרִי וּלְבָבִי צוּר לְבָבִי וְחֶלְקִי אֱלֹהִים לְעוֹלָם.
27 For, lo, they that go far from Thee shall perish; Thou dost destroy all them that go astray from Thee.
כז כִּי הִנֵּה רְחֵקֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ הִצְמַתָּה כָּל זוֹנֶה מִמֶּךָּ.
28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works.
כח וַאֲנִי קִרְבַת אֱלֹהִים לִי טוֹב שַׁתִּי בַּאדֹנָי יְהוִה מַחְסִי לְסַפֵּר כָּל מַלְאֲכוֹתֶיךָ.