Psalm 60, the AIDS Psalm

(an Africa Paraphrase)

Dr Danny McCain, Assoc. Prof, Religious Studies Dept, University of Jos, Nigeria.

Taken from AIDS Is Real and it’s in our Church by Jean Garland and Dr. Mike Blyth, 2005.


You have rejected us, O God, and broken our bodies. 

            You have been angry with us; now restore us to your favour.

You have shaken Africa and split it open.

            Seal the cracks before it completely collapses.

You have been very hard on us,

            making us drink wine that sent us reeling.

But you have raised a banner for those who honour you –

            a rallying point in the face of attack.

Use your strong right arm to save us,

            and rescue your beloved African people.

God has promised this by his holiness:

            “I will divide up Africa with joy.

            I will measure out the Rift Valley.

Mozambique is mine,

            and Burkina Faso belongs to me.

            South Africa will produce my missionaries,

            And Nigeria will produce my bishops.

Your bodies will continue to be my servants,

            and your immune systems will once again be my slaves.

            I will shout in triumph over the cemetery.”

But who will deliver us from HIV?

            Who will give us victory over AIDS?

Have you rejected us, O God?

            Will you no longer walk with our people?

Oh, please help us against this great enemy,

            for all human help is useless.

With God’s help we will do mighty things,

            for he will trample down this mighty foe.

         based on the New Living Translation


Psalm 60 – New International Version

You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us;

you have been angry – now restore us.

You have shaken the land and torn it open;

            mend its fractures, for it is quaking.

You have shown your people desperate times;

            you have given us wine that makes us stagger.

But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner

to be unfurled against the bow.

Save us and help us with your right hand,

            that those you love may be delivered.

God has spoken from his sanctuary:

            “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem

            and measure off the Valley of Succoth.

Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;

            Ephraim is my helmet,

            Judah my secepter.

Moab is my washbasin,

            upon Edom I toss my sandal;

            over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?

            Who will lead me to Edom?

Is it not you, O God, you who have rejected us

            and no longer go out with our armies?

Give us aid against the enemy,

            for the help of man is worthless.

With God we will gain the victory,

            and he will trample down our enemies.


HIV/AIDS is prevalent in Kenya as it is in much of Africa.  I will by proxy then be working with HIV/AIDS programs.  This is not an area where I have a lot of knowledge or experience so I am doing some research now that I’m in Senegal.  The office has a book that I have borrowed that has been helpful, giving all sorts of information and discussion questions at the end of each chapter.  It’s an easy read and has a lot of personal stories as well as great information.  I will be posting some information later taken from the book.  It’s the one mentioned above where I found the paraphrase for the above Psalm.  It was first written in 2003 and has had two revisions published in 2004 and 2005.