Tyler Williams, at Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot has written a clarification on his blog about the discovery of the Medieval Irish Book of Psalms. He correctly says that, since the Book of Psalms discovered in the Irish bog was written in Latin, then Psalm 83 in the Latin Vulgate is actually Psalm 84 in our English translations. Tyler wrote:
“There has been a clarification in connection to the Psalm book discovered in the Irish bog. Initial news reports said that the book was open to Psalm 83, which in most modern English translations is a prayer to wipe out the enemies of Israel. What no one noted is that they meant Psalm 83 in the Latin Vulgate, and the Latin Vulgate (like the Greek Septuagint it follows) is usually one chapter off of the Hebrew MT tradition and our modern English translations. So as it turns out – much to the dismay of all of those who interpreted this as some sort of sign from God – the book from the bog is open to Psalm 84 according to our modern translations.”
Even though I did not mention Psalm 83 in my post, I did so when I responded to the comment of one reader. The blog world and several Christian writers have made a direct connection between Psalm 83 and the war between Israel and Hezbolla. What many people failed to realize is that, since the psalms were in Latin and were taken from the Vulgate, the numbering of the Psalms in this collection would be different from the numbering of the Psalms in our English Bibles. In his post, Tyler explains the reason the numbering of the Psalms in our English Bibles differs from the Greek (the Septuagint) and from the Latin (the Vulgate) translations.
Many Christians are not familiar with textual differences between our English translations and many of the ancient translations and even the original Hebrew text. Complete dependence on the English translations can cause people to make mistaken assumptions, such as in the case, relating the psalm to the war between Israel and Hezbollah.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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