Psalm Four – Translation of the Song

4.1: For the leader of melodies. A song by David.


4.2: When I call out, respond to me, God of my righteousness.

Whenever [I am] in distress, You have expanded me.

Favour me and hear my prayer.


4.3: Children of man, until when my glory to shame, [until when] love you hollowness, craving falsehood?                                                   Selah.


4.4: But know Adonai has distinguished the one devout to Him.

Adonai will hear when I call out to Him.


4.5: Shiver and do not be dragged to sinfulness.

Speak with your hearts on your beds and be silent.               Selah.


4.6: Sacrifice sacrifices of righteousness and secure trust in Adonai.


4.7: A bountiful number say, “Who will enlighten [us] about good?”

Miraculously lift up upon us the light of Your face, Adonai.


4.8: You have given gladness to my heart, from the time [when]

their grain and their wine was bountiful.


4.9: With wholeness I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Adonai,

in solitude, in secure trust, will set me down.


Notes, Psalm 4


4.2: The verb “expanded” gives a metaphorical dimension of physicality to the idea of spiritual enlargement, as though the singer’s body were acting out his inward understanding.


4.2: The Hebrew for distress – בַּ֖צָּר– shares a root with “narrow” – צַר– suggesting a stricture. (See also Notes, Psalm 6, verse 8.)


4.3: In Biblical Hebrew, “man” is used to indicate a man of importance to the nation.


4.3: “Until when” – עַד־מֶ֤ה– translates more literally as “to what extent”, a phrase suggesting length as well as duration of time.


4.4: The opening conjunction is literally “and” –  וּ– ; however we have used “but” for clarity.


4.4: “Know” in Hebrew – וּדְע֗וּ– has the connotation of love, physical and spiritual, as well as of knowledge. (See also Notes, Psalm 37, verse 18.)


4.4: The verb “hear” in Hebrew – יִ֜שְׁמַ֗ע – has the connotation of “drawing close to” that the English lacks.


4.5: The Hebrew here for “hearts” adds an extra letter “bet” to the customary spelling – בִ֖לְבַבְכֶם . (See also Notes, Psalm 15, verse 2.)


4.6: To avoid the repetition of the Hebrew, the English translation is usually “Offer sacrifices”.


4.6: The Hebrew is literally “to Adonai” – אֶל יְהֹוָֽה– but we have substituted  “in Adonai” for clarity.


4.8: The Hebrew could also be translated as “even more than”, indicating a comparison rather than the continuation that “from the time [when]” suggests.


4.9: We have used the word “both” for clarity but the Hebrew implies “together with”. The Hebrew root is “ya-chud”, יַחַד; the suggestion, however, in both Hebrew and in English, is that the sleeper will lie down and immediately sleep, making simultaneous the two actions of lying down and of falling asleep.

Click here to study “Literary analysis of Psalm 4

King James Psalms 4 Translation:

[1] Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
[2] O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
[3] But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
[4] Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
[5] Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
[6] There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
[7] Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
[8] I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.