1 tn The particle כִּי (ki) functions in an asseverative sense, “surely; indeed; truly” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 73, §449).
2 tn The noun בַּעַר (ba’ar) means “brutishness”; here it functions as a predicate adjective. It is followed by מֵאִישׁ (me’ish) expressing comparative degree: “more than a man” or “more than any man,” with “man” used in a generic sense. He is saying that he has fallen beneath the level of mankind. Cf. NRSV “I am too stupid to be human.”
3 tn Heb “than man.” The verse is using hyperbole; this individual feels as if he has no intelligence at all, that he is more brutish than any other human. Of course this is not true, or he would not be able to speculate on the God of the universe at all.
4 tn Heb “the understanding of a man,” with “man” used attributively here.
5 sn The text here uses an implied comparison (a figure of speech known as hypocatastasis): It compares the perfection of every word from God with some precious metal that has been refined and purified (e.g., Ps 12:6). The point is that God’s word is trustworthy; it has no defects and flaws, nothing false or misleading. The second half of the verse explains the significance of this point – it is safe to trust the
6 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
7 sn The line uses two more figures of speech to declare that God can be trusted for security and salvation. “Shield” is a simple metaphor – God protects. “Take refuge” is another implied comparison (hypocatastasis) – God provides spiritual rest and security for those who put their trust in him.