The most esteemed Psalm would have to be Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd ...". It is a wonderful psalm that has been set to music many times. Bach even did a superb version. But it is not only the music but also the words that changes. Hebrew poetry does not come out as poetry when you translate it directly into English. So you have to rejig the words in some way to make the psalm singable in English.
I was not fully aware of that. I was aware that the version in the Anglican prayer book was different from the version in the King James Bible but assumed that everybody used the prayer book version. I could not have been more wrong. I keep both books on my table in front of me so I checked. The prayer book version is TOTALLY unsingable and the King James version is not much better.
So where do we get the version in our hymn books? We get it from Crimond. Crimond is a small town in Northern Scotland where the religion is pretty fundamentalist, meaning that they take the Bible, including the psalms, pretty seriously. I was once one of them so I like them for that. And they have their own Scottish psalter (book of psalms in singable form): The Scottish Psalter of 1650, to be precise. And the words of psalm 23 in that book were set to music by a young Scotswoman who lived in Crimond. It proved a very popular setting so the tune we all now sing is known as Crimond. Below are the words concerned:
He maketh me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
My soul He doth restore again;
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
Even for His own Name's sake.
Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear none ill;
For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
My table Thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God's house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.
I am still very responsive emotionally to the Protestant religion of my youth so it still gives me great joy to listen to that