acrostic in Psalm 112

The Hebrew text of Psalms 9/10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145 uses acrostics, a literary form in which each verse is started with one of the successive 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. According to Brenda Boerger (in Open Theology 2016, p. 179ff. ) there are three different reasons for acrostics in the Hebrew text: “for ease of memorization,” the representation “of the full breadth and depth of a topic, all the way from aleph to taw (tav),” and the perception of “the acrostic form as aesthetically attractive.” (p. 191)

While most translations mention the existence of an acrostic in a note or a comment, few implement it in their translation. The Natügu translation is one such exception. Boerger (see above) cites a strong tradition in singing the psalms and the fact that Natügu, like Hebrew, also has 22 possible initial letters as motivating factors to maintain the acrostics in that language.

Click or tap here for the complete psalm in Natügu

1 Awibzku mz Yawe! Murde amrlzle ncblo kx
Bilvzle natqde x amrluele nide.
2 Clvele mrnyzde kcng naxplrng mz nzaclve-krdr.
Doa nedeng kxnztubqng, sa na-amrlz Gct.
3 Esalz-ngrbz Gct bade da kxmrlzting kxkqlu.
Gct okatrle nide murde natubq.
4 Ipq ncblo lc kztedeng mz nzvz-nqblq-krde zmrlz ngrde, nzryckr drtwrde, x nztubq-krde.
Jzsle da kx naokatrle leplz kc-kzng, mz nzngini-krbzle lrpzki badr.
5 Kabzle da kxkqlu mz krkcng trnzrngiscung.
Lalztqbzle mz Gct x alele da kx rsakrlrngr mz nzwz-krde.
6 Murde ncblo kxtubq kxtr-rnrcti-lzbqu
Nadcpx zvz mz drtwr leplz.
7 Obqtipx-zvzle Yawe x
Prlxpxle kx nabzde trtaprlzpuu mz nrpa kxtrka.
8?Rnrcti-lzbq-ngrde? Trtingr, a’ tu-amqngile.
Sa namcle nzaovxiokr Yawe enqmi rdeng.
9 Tresakiu nzrka-krbzle da mz kxrsuti drtwr.
Vz zvz nzayzlu-krbz Gct bade mz nqmq krde lc tqtubq.
Wxbu me matq mz mzlir leplz.
10 X angya drtwr kxdrka’-ngrng mzli kc namc-ngrdr nide.
Ycpwz pipz kxdrka’-ngrng lcng sa namrbr, x mane nzmadqti-krdr nqngidr mz zngya.
Zbz da amrlx kcng tqmrlzbz badr sa nangitx brmrda x sa na-apulr zsikapu kx ngilia.

© 2008, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Danish Bibelen på Hverdagsdansk (publ. 1985, rev. 2015 et al.) also translated Psalm 112 into an acrostic. Due to the higher number of Danish letters, it skips the Danish letters C, Q, W, X, Z, Å, and Ø.

Click or tap here for the complete psalm in Danish

1 At adlyde Herren giver velsignelse.
Budene er til for at blive overholdt.
2 Du og dine efterkommere får fremgang og magt,
enhver, der handler ret, bliver velsignet.
3 Familien vil opleve velstand,
gode mennesker vil altid blive husket.
4 Herren gør de gudfrygtige til et lys midt i mørket,
især når de er venlige og barmhjertige.
5 Ja, velsignet er de gavmilde og hjælpsomme,
kendetegnet på deres handlinger er ærlighed.
6 Lever de sådan, får de styrke og fasthed,
mennesker med et godt ry bliver husket længe.
7 Når modgangen kommer, som kunne skabe frygt,
opgiver de ikke, for de stoler på Herren.
8 På trods af fjendens angreb
rider de stormen af og ender med sejr.
9 Sådanne mennesker giver gavmildt til dem, der er i nød,
taknemmelighed og ære bliver dem til del,
uselvisk godhed vil aldrig blive glemt.
10 Ved at se en sådan velsignelse bliver de gudløse vrede.
Ynkeligt sidder de tilbage med tomme hænder,
ærgrelsen står malet i deres ansigter.

Copyright © 1985, 1992, 2005, 2013, 2015 by Biblica, Inc.®

In the Zürich German dialect (Züritüütsch) of Swiss German, the Psalms were translated while maintaining the acrostic by Josua Boesch (publ. 2009 ).

Click or tap here for the complete psalm in Zürich German

1 Halleluja!
Am beschte gaat s dèm, wo uufrächt vor IMM labt,
Bi siine wiisige bliibt vo ganzem hèrze.
2 Chasch dèm sini naachkome gaar nüme zele.
Die wèrded gsägnet als gschlächt vo de graade.
3 Er hat au riichtum und woolschtand im huus.
Für siini bewèèrig mues me nöd soorge, die blübt.
4 Graade straalt imer es liecht im tunkle:
Hoffnig, vertrouen und liebi.
5 Iich glaube dèm lieber, wo vo hdrze vertleent,
Kän fuule drèè macht mit sine sache.
6 Lueg nu, de uufrichtig cha me nöd legge.
Me wiird an en tänke dur gänerazione.
7 Nüüt mues er füürche vom bööse gschwätz.
Ooni en wank vertrout er uf INN.
8 Pass uuf, dè bliibt getrooscht, er hat ja nüüt z füürche.
Ruig chan er waarten uf s änd vo de find.
9 Still täilt er den aarmen und dürftigen uus.
Tröi bliibt d grächtigkäit biin em für imer.
Und gachtet wiird er vo ale.
10 Vill z tänke und èèrger git daas bi de rueche.
Wie sell s die nöd pötzli verjage vor wuet!
Zietscht schwiint ene jedi hoffnig uf s glück, wo s gmäint händ chönid s erzwänge.

The English Bible translation by Ronald Knox (publ. 1950) maintains almost every Hebrew acrostic (even though Knox’s translation itself is based on the Latin text of the Vulgate rather than the Hebrew). Due to the higher number of letters in the English alphabet, it skips the letter K, X, Y, and Z.

1 A blessed man is he, who fears the Lord, bearing great love to his commandments.
2 Children of his shall win renown in their country; do right, and thy sons shall find a blessing.
3 Ease shall dwell in his house, and great prosperity; fame shall ever record his bounty.
4 Good men see a light dawn in darkness; his light, who is merciful, kind and faithful.
5 It goes well with the man who lends in pity, just and merciful in his dealings.
6 Length of days shall leave him still unshaken; men will remember the just for ever.
7 No fear shall he have of evil tidings; on the Lord his hope is fixed unchangeably.
8 Patient his heart remains and steadfast, quietly he waits for the downfall of his enemies.
9 Rich are his alms to the needy; still his bounty abides in memory. The Lord will lift up his head in triumph;
10 ungodly men are ill content to see it. Vainly they gnash their teeth in envy; worldly hopes must fade and perish. (Source )