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Psalms 107

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Book 5
(Psalms 107-150)

Psalm 107 1 

107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

and his loyal love endures! 2 

107:2 Let those delivered by the Lord speak out, 3 

those whom he delivered 4  from the power 5  of the enemy,

107:3 and gathered from foreign lands, 6 

from east and west,

from north and south.

107:4 They wandered through the wilderness on a desert road;

they found no city in which to live.

107:5 They were hungry and thirsty;

they fainted from exhaustion. 7 

107:6 They cried out to the Lord in their distress;

he delivered them from their troubles.

107:7 He led them on a level road, 8 

that they might find a city in which to live.

107:8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his loyal love,

and for the amazing things he has done for people! 9 

107:9 For he has satisfied those who thirst, 10 

and those who hunger he has filled with food. 11 

107:10 They sat in utter darkness, 12 

bound in painful iron chains, 13 

107:11 because they had rebelled against God’s commands, 14 

and rejected the instructions of the sovereign king. 15 

107:12 So he used suffering to humble them; 16 

they stumbled and no one helped them up.

107:13 They cried out to the Lord in their distress;

he delivered them from their troubles.

107:14 He brought them out of the utter darkness, 17 

and tore off their shackles.

107:15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his loyal love,

and for the amazing things he has done for people! 18 

107:16 For he shattered the bronze gates,

and hacked through the iron bars. 19 

107:17 They acted like fools in their rebellious ways, 20 

and suffered because of their sins.

107:18 They lost their appetite for all food, 21 

and they drew near the gates of death.

107:19 They cried out to the Lord in their distress;

he delivered them from their troubles.

107:20 He sent them an assuring word 22  and healed them;

he rescued them from the pits where they were trapped. 23 

107:21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his loyal love,

and for the amazing things he has done for people! 24 

107:22 Let them present thank offerings,

and loudly proclaim what he has done! 25 

107:23 26 Some traveled on 27  the sea in ships,

and carried cargo over the vast waters. 28 

107:24 They witnessed the acts of the Lord,

his amazing feats on the deep water.

107:25 He gave the order for a windstorm, 29 

and it stirred up the waves of the sea. 30 

107:26 They 31  reached up to the sky,

then dropped into the depths.

The sailors’ strength 32  left them 33  because the danger was so great. 34 

107:27 They swayed 35  and staggered like a drunk,

and all their skill proved ineffective. 36 

107:28 They cried out to the Lord in their distress;

he delivered them from their troubles.

107:29 He calmed the storm, 37 

and the waves 38  grew silent.

107:30 The sailors 39  rejoiced because the waves 40  grew quiet,

and he led them to the harbor 41  they desired.

107:31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his loyal love,

and for the amazing things he has done for people! 42 

107:32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people!

Let them praise him in the place where the leaders preside! 43 

107:33 He turned 44  streams into a desert,

springs of water into arid land,

107:34 and a fruitful land into a barren place, 45 

because of the sin of its inhabitants.

107:35 As for his people, 46  he turned 47  a desert into a pool of water,

and a dry land into springs of water.

107:36 He allowed the hungry to settle there,

and they established a city in which to live.

107:37 They cultivated 48  fields,

and planted vineyards,

which yielded a harvest of fruit. 49 

107:38 He blessed 50  them so that they became very numerous.

He would not allow their cattle to decrease in number. 51 

107:39 As for their enemies, 52  they decreased in number and were beaten down,

because of painful distress 53  and suffering.

107:40 He would pour 54  contempt upon princes,

and he made them wander in a wasteland with no road.

107:41 Yet he protected 55  the needy from oppression,

and cared for his families like a flock of sheep.

107:42 When the godly see this, they rejoice,

and every sinner 56  shuts his mouth.

107:43 Whoever is wise, let him take note of these things!

Let them consider the Lord’s acts of loyal love!

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1 sn Psalm 107. The psalmist praises God for his kindness to his exiled people.

2 tn Heb “for forever [is] his loyal love.”

3 tn Or “let the redeemed of the Lord say [so].”

4 tn Or “redeemed.”

5 tn Heb “hand.”

6 tn Heb “from lands.” The word “foreign” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

7 tn Heb “and their soul in them fainted.”

8 sn A level road. See Jer 31:9.

9 tn Heb “and [for] his amazing deeds for the sons of man.”

10 tn Heb “[the] longing throat.” The noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), which frequently refers to one’s very being or soul, here probably refers to one’s parched “throat” (note the parallelism with נֶפֱשׁ רְעֵבָה, nefesh rÿevah, “hungry throat”).

11 tn Heb “and [the] hungry throat he has filled [with] good.”

12 tn Heb “those who sat in darkness and deep darkness.” Synonyms are joined here to emphasize the degree of “darkness” experienced by the exiles. The Hebrew term צַלְמָוֶת (tsalmavet, “deep darkness”) has traditionally been understood as a compound noun, meaning “shadow of death” (צֵל + מָוֶת [tsel + mavet]; see BDB 853 s.v. צַלְמָוֶת; cf. NASB). Other authorities prefer to vocalize the form צַלְמוּת (tsalmut) and understand it as an abstract noun (from the root צלם) meaning “darkness.” An examination of the word’s usage favors the latter derivation. It is frequently associated with darkness/night and contrasted with light/morning (see Job 3:5; 10:21-22; 12:22; 24:17; 28:3; 34:22; Ps 107:10, 14; Isa 9:1; Jer 13:16; Amos 5:8). In some cases the darkness described is associated with the realm of death (Job 10:21-22; 38:17), but this is a metaphorical application of the word and does not reflect its inherent meaning. In Ps 107:10 the word refers metonymically to a dungeon, which in turn metaphorically depicts the place of Israel’s exile (see vv. 2-3).

13 tn Heb “those bound in suffering and iron.” “Suffering and iron” is a hendiadys (like English “good and angry”), where both words contribute to one idea. In this case the first word characterizes the second; the iron (chains) contribute to the prisoners’ pain and suffering.

14 tn Heb “the words of God.”

15 tn Heb “the counsel of the Most High.”

16 tn Heb “and he subdued with suffering their heart.”

17 tn Heb “darkness and deep darkness.” See the note on the word “darkness” in v. 10.

18 tn Heb “and [for] his amazing deeds for the sons of man.” See v. 8.

19 sn The language of v. 16 recalls Isa 45:2.

20 tn Heb “fools [they were] because of the way of their rebellion.”

21 tn Heb “all food their appetite loathed.”

22 tn Heb “he sent his word.” This probably refers to an oracle of assurance which announced his intention to intervene (see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 [WBC], 59).

23 tn Heb “he rescued from their traps.” The Hebrew word שְׁחִית (shekhit, “trap”) occurs only here and in Lam 4:20, where it refers to a trap or pit in which one is captured. Because of the rarity of the term and the absence of an object with the verb “rescued,” some prefer to emend the text of Ps 107:20, reading מִשַׁחַת חַיָּתָם (mishakhat khayyatam, “[he rescued] their lives from the pit”). Note also NIV “from the grave,” which interprets the “pit” as Sheol or the grave.

24 tn Heb “and [for] his amazing deeds for the sons of man.” See v. 8.

25 tn Heb “and let them proclaim his works with a ringing cry.”

26 sn Verses 23-30, which depict the Lord rescuing sailors from a storm at sea, do not seem to describe the exiles’ situation, unless the word picture is metaphorical. Perhaps the psalmist here broadens his scope and offers an example of God’s kindness to the needy beyond the covenant community.

27 tn Heb “those going down [into].”

28 tn Heb “doers of work on the mighty waters.”

29 tn Heb “he spoke and caused to stand a stormy wind.”

30 tn Heb “and it stirred up its [i.e., the sea’s, see v. 23] waves.”

31 tn That is, the waves (see v. 25).

32 tn Heb “their being”; traditionally “their soul” (referring to that of the sailors). This is sometimes translated “courage” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

33 tn Or “melted.”

34 tn Heb “from danger.”

35 tn Only here does the Hebrew verb חָגַג (khagag; normally meaning “to celebrate”) carry the nuance “to sway.”

36 tn The Hitpael of בָלַע (vala’) occurs only here in the OT. Traditionally the form is derived from the verbal root בלע (“to swallow”), but HALOT 135 s.v. III בלע understands a homonym here with the meaning “to be confused.”

37 tn Heb “he raised [the] storm to calm.”

38 tn Heb “their waves.” The antecedent of the third masculine plural pronominal suffix is not readily apparent, unless it refers back to “waters” in v. 23.

39 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the sailors) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

40 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the waves) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

41 tn The Hebrew noun occurs only here in the OT.

42 tn Heb “and [for] his amazing deeds for the sons of man.” See v. 8.

43 tn Heb “in the seat of the elders.”

44 tn The verbal form appears to be a preterite, which is most naturally taken as narrational. (The use of prefixed forms with vav [ו] consecutive in vv. 36-37 favor this.) The psalmist may return to the theme of God’s intervention for the exiles (see vv. 4-22, especially vv. 4-9). However, many regard vv. 33-41 as a hymnic description which generalizes about God’s activities among men. In this case it would be preferable to use the English present tense throughout (cf. NEB, NRSV).

45 tn Heb “a salty land.”

46 tn The words “As for his people” are not included in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. The psalmist contrasts God’s judgment on his enemies with his blessing of his people. See the note on the word “enemies” in v. 39 for further discussion.

47 tn The verbal form appears to be a preterite, which is most naturally taken as narrational. See the note on the word “turned” in v. 33.

48 tn Heb “sowed seed in.”

49 tn Heb “fruit [as] produce.”

50 tn “Bless” here carries the nuance “endue with sexual potency, make fertile.” See Gen 1:28, where the statement “he blessed them” directly precedes the command “be fruitful and populate the earth” (see also 1:22). The verb “bless” carries this same nuance in Gen 17:16 (where God’s blessing of Sarai imparts to her the capacity to bear a child); 48:16 (where God’s blessing of Joseph’s sons is closely associated with their having numerous descendants); and Deut 7:13 (where God’s blessing is associated with fertility in general, including numerous descendants). See also Gen 49:25 (where Jacob uses the noun derivative in referring to “blessings of the breast and womb,” an obvious reference to fertility) and Gen 27:27 (where the verb is used of a field to which God has given the capacity to produce vegetation).

51 tn The verbal form in this line appears to be an imperfect, which may be taken as customary (drawing attention to typical action in a past time frame) or as generalizing (in which case one should use the English present tense, understanding a move from narrative to present reality).

52 tn The words “As for their enemies” are not included in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. Without such clarification, one might think that v. 39 refers to those just mentioned in v. 38 as objects of divine blessing, which would contradict the point just emphasized by the psalmist. The structure of vv. 33-42 is paneled (A-B-A-B). In vv. 33-34 the psalmist describes God’s judgment upon his enemies (perhaps those who had enslaved his people). In vv. 35-38 he contrasts this judgment with the divine blessing poured out on God’s people. (See the note on the word “people” in v. 35.) In vv. 39-40 he contrasts this blessing with the judgment experienced by enemies, before returning in vv. 41-42 to the blessing experienced by God’s people.

53 tn Heb “from the oppression of calamity.”

54 tn The active participle is understood as past durative here, drawing attention to typical action in a past time frame. However, it could be taken as generalizing (in which case one should translate using the English present tense), in which case the psalmist moves from narrative to present reality. Perhaps the participial form appears because the statement is lifted from Job 12:21.

55 tn Heb “set on high.”

56 tn Heb “all evil,” which stands metonymically for those who do evil.



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