It is no secret that, among other objectionable features, the English translations of our Orthodox liturgical services more commonly in use are tragically riddled with all sorts of linguistic infelicities. Of the many examples that could be cited, perhaps the more distressing is the lack of grammatical agreement often inflicted on the unsuspecting worshipper. More often than not this is a result of a painfully incompetent editorial hand engaged in the task of modernizing translations that had originally used “archaic English” of the (pseudo-)Jacobean variety. So it is that, for example, “O Lord, who blessest those who bless Thee” becomes “O Lord, who blesses those who bless You”—a “modernization” wrought by merely changing the pronoun and dropping the letter “t,” but which failed to take into consideration that “blessest” is second person singular while “blesses” is third person singular. To be fair, however, other errors in this vein actually predate the age of the zealous Modernizing Editor: consider, for instance, the jarring (and ubiquitous) “O Son of God, who is risen from the dead,” which falls into the very same trap. Given that we are addressing Christ with the vocative “O Son of God,” the verb in the appositive clause ought to be in the second, not the third person singular.
Like countless others, I have learned to endure these grammatical crimes in silence, hoping against hope that one day we would be delivered from them by a Translator in Shining Armor whose good sense would triumph over the squalid attempts of his or her lessers. In my naïve optimism, I had often comforted myself by pondering the example of contemporary Bible translations, which, whatever their deficiencies, surely did not make this sort of mistake. Imagine my shock, then, when I laid my innocent eyes upon the following:
For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD,
You surround him with favor as with a shield.
(Psalm 5:12, NASB )
Alas, my gentle snowflakes! There is no hope.
Unfortunately, my copy of the 1977 NASB is back in Puerto Rico, and since the only NASB text that appears to be available online is that of the 1995 update, I have thus far been unable to ascertain the reading of the earlier edition. Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated! [UPDATE: Thanks to our good friend Nick Norelli for providing the 1977 NASB translation of this verse in the comments!]