In reimagining the Psalms, I have looked to retain the style that is seen in the English translation and in the original ie with no rhyming and no standard sentence length or metre. I have worked within the verse structures so that the reader can seen what I have read into the original text.
I have also given considerable thought to the representation of the gender of God in these reimagined Psalms. The Psalms exclusively use the pronoun he to refer to God. This has presented me with a challenge, is the male representation of God merely a metaphor as with the words rock, shepherd etc, which I have chosen to reimagine, or is God, in fact, male? I have come to the conclusion that God is neither male nor female – that the bible is using a metaphor or grammatical construct. I do not believe that God has DNA which would determine his biological sex and whilst Genesis is clear that God made humans in his image, it is also clear that he made males and females.
The next challenge was how to represent this in the reimagined Psalms. I toyed with the idea of representing God in some Psalms as male and some as female but have chosen in the end to give the reader the choice and I have offered male and female pronouns in each instance. I do hope that as you read these Psalms you find this helpful and liberating rather than a point of contention.
Another issue I considered was the names for God reflected in the Psalms. To the casual reader, the Psalms would mostly seem to use the names of Lord and God, but there are a fair number of others used. I felt it was right that I should consider these but I did do so as a theological exercise but as a way of reflecting the breadth and depth of the relationships which the Psalmists have with God. I was not looking to update the translation but to create and use a name which I consistently felt comfortable with in the verses in which it arose. Below I have given the Hebrew name and next to it the name I chose to use.
El Shaddai – The Most Powerful One;
El Elyon – The Greatest of all time;
Adonai – Boss;
Yahweh – Lord (I could not find a better name for me than this);
Jehovah-Raah – Guardian;
Jehovah Rapha – Healer;
El Olam – God of all eternity;
Elohim – Creator;
Jehovah Sabaoth – the Commander of all creation’s forces.
In verses where El is used on its own, I have retained the name God.