PSALM 55:15-23

Version One:

A (15) Let death seize upon them, and LET THEM GO DOWN quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

B (16) As for me, I will call upon God; and YAHWEH shall save me.

C (17) Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and HE SHALL HEAR my voice.

D (18) He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

C1 (19) God SHALL HEAR, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah.

B1 (19-22) Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. Cast thy burden upon YAHWEH, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

A1 (23) But thou, O God, SHALT BRING THEM DOWN into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Version Two:

A (15) Let death seize upon them, and LET THEM GO DOWN quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

B (16,17) As for me, I will call upon God; and YAHWEH shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

C (18) He hath delivered my soul IN PEACE from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

D (19) God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah.

C1 (19-21) Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. He hath put forth his hands against such as be AT PEACE with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

B1 (22) Cast thy burden upon YAHWEH, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

A1 (23) But thou, O God, SHALT BRING THEM DOWN into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Comment:
The close pairings of “hear” and “peace” within the framework of going “down” and “Yahweh” indicate two separate central clauses. Both versions are presumably right – they are both clearly there in the text. Another point to note is that “selah” has been treated in these suggested structures as a boundary marker to divide the text. Is this approach right? In the English versions verse 19 has “selah” in the middle. Maybe this is a case of where the verse divisions could be better.

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