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Psalms 84

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Psalm 84 1 

For the music director; according to the gittith style; 2  written by the Korahites, a psalm.

84:1 How lovely is the place where you live, 3 

O Lord who rules over all! 4 

84:2 I desperately want to be 5 

in the courts of the Lord’s temple. 6 

My heart and my entire being 7  shout for joy

to the living God.

84:3 Even the birds find a home there,

and the swallow 8  builds a nest,

where she can protect her young 9 

near your altars, O Lord who rules over all,

my king and my God.

84:4 How blessed 10  are those who live in your temple

and praise you continually! (Selah)

84:5 How blessed are those who 11  find their strength in you,

and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! 12 

84:6 As they pass through the Baca Valley, 13 

he provides a spring for them. 14 

The rain 15  even covers it with pools of water. 16 

84:7 They are sustained as they travel along; 17 

each one appears 18  before God in Zion.

84:8 O Lord, sovereign God, 19 

hear my prayer!

Listen, O God of Jacob! (Selah)

84:9 O God, take notice of our shield! 20 

Show concern for your chosen king! 21 

84:10 Certainly 22  spending just one day in your temple courts is better

than spending a thousand elsewhere. 23 

I would rather stand at the entrance 24  to the temple of my God

than live 25  in the tents of the wicked.

84:11 For the Lord God is our sovereign protector. 26 

The Lord bestows favor 27  and honor;

he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity. 28 

84:12 O Lord who rules over all, 29 

how blessed are those who trust in you! 30 

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1 sn Psalm 84. The psalmist expresses his desire to be in God’s presence in the Jerusalem temple, for the Lord is the protector of his people.

2 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew term הַגִּתִּית (haggittit) is uncertain; it probably refers to a musical style or instrument.

3 tn Or “your dwelling place[s].” The plural form of the noun may indicate degree or quality; this is the Lord’s special dwelling place (see Pss 43:3; 46:4; 132:5, 7).

4 tn Traditionally, “Lord of hosts.” The title draws attention to God’s sovereign position (see Ps 69:6).

5 tn Heb “my soul longs, it even pines for.”

6 tn Heb “the courts of the Lord” (see Ps 65:4).

7 tn Heb “my flesh,” which stands for his whole person and being.

8 tn The word translated “swallow” occurs only here and in Prov 26:2.

9 tn Heb “even a bird finds a home, and a swallow a nest for herself, [in] which she places her young.”

sn The psalmist here romanticizes the temple as a place of refuge and safety. As he thinks of the birds nesting near its roof, he envisions them finding protection in God’s presence.

10 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see v. 12 and Pss 1:1; 2:12; 34:9; 41:1; 65:4; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).

11 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here was certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to in v. 5a is representative of followers of God, as the use of plural forms in vv. 5b-7 indicates.

12 tn Heb “roads [are] in their heart[s].” The roads are here those that lead to Zion (see v. 7).

13 tn The translation assumes that the Hebrew phrase עֵמֶק הַבָּכָא (’emeq habbakha’) is the name of an otherwise unknown arid valley through which pilgrims to Jerusalem passed. The term בָּכָא (bakha’) may be the name of a particular type of plant or shrub that grew in this valley. O. Borowski (Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 130) suggests it is the black mulberry. Some take the phrase as purely metaphorical and relate בָּכָא to the root בָּכָה (bakhah, “to weep”). In this case one might translate, “the valley of weeping” or “the valley of affliction.”

14 tc The MT reads “a spring they make it,” but this makes little sense. Many medieval Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX, understand God to be the subject and the valley to be the object, “he [God] makes it [the valley] [into] a spring.”

15 tn This rare word may refer to the early (or autumn) rains (see Joel 2:23).

16 tc The MT reads בְּרָכוֹת (bÿrakhot, “blessings”) but the preceding reference to a “spring” favors an emendation to בְּרֵכוֹת (bÿrekhot, “pools”).

sn Pools of water. Because water is so necessary for life, it makes an apt symbol for divine favor and blessing. As the pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem, God provided for their physical needs and gave them a token of his favor and of the blessings awaiting them at the temple.

17 tn Heb “they go from strength to strength.” The phrase “from strength to strength” occurs only here in the OT. With a verb of motion, the expression “from [common noun] to [same common noun]” normally suggests movement from one point to another or through successive points (see Num 36:7; 1 Chr 16:20; 17:5; Ps 105:13; Jer 25:32). Ps 84:7 may be emphasizing that the pilgrims move successively from one “place of strength” to another as they travel toward Jerusalem. All along the way they find adequate provisions and renewed energy for the trip.

18 tn The psalmist returns to the singular (see v. 5a), which he uses in either a representative or distributive (“each one” ) sense.

19 tn HebLord, God, hosts.” One expects the construct form אֱלֹהֵי before צְבָאוֹת (tsÿvaot, “hosts”; see Ps 89:9) but יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים (yehvahelohim) precedes צְבָאוֹת in Pss 59:5 and 80:4, 19 as well.

20 tn The phrase “our shield” refers metaphorically to the Davidic king, who, as God’s vice-regent, was the human protector of the people. Note the parallelism with “your anointed one” here and with “our king” in Ps 89:18.

21 tn Heb “look [on] the face of your anointed one.” The Hebrew phrase מְשִׁיחֶךָ (mÿshikhekha, “your anointed one”) refers here to the Davidic king (see Pss 2:2; 18:50; 20:6; 28:8; 89:38, 51; 132:10, 17).

22 tn Or “for.”

23 tn Heb “better is a day in your courts than a thousand [spent elsewhere].”

24 tn Heb “I choose being at the entrance of the house of my God over living in the tents of the wicked.” The verb סָפַף (safaf) appears only here in the OT; it is derived from the noun סַף (saf, “threshold”). Traditionally some have interpreted this as a reference to being a doorkeeper at the temple, though some understand it to mean “lie as a beggar at the entrance to the temple” (see HALOT 765 s.v. ספף).

25 tn The verb דּוּר (dur, “to live”) occurs only here in the OT.

26 tn Heb “[is] a sun and a shield.” The epithet “sun,” though rarely used of Israel’s God in the OT, was a well-attested royal title in the ancient Near East. For several examples from Ugaritic texts, the Amarna letters, and Assyrian royal inscriptions, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 131, n. 2.

27 tn Or “grace.”

28 tn Heb “he does not withhold good to those walking in integrity.”

29 tn Traditionally “Lord of hosts.”

30 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man [who] trusts in you.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to here is representative of all followers of God, as the use of the plural form in v. 12b indicates.



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