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Psalms 107:4-22

Context

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. 1 

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, 2 

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! 3 

107:9 For he has satisfied those who thirst, 4 

and those who hunger he has filled with food. 5 

107:10 They sat in utter darkness, 6 

bound in painful iron chains, 7 

107:11 because they had rebelled against God’s commands, 8 

and rejected the instructions of the sovereign king. 9 

107:12 So he used suffering to humble them; 10 

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, 11 

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! 12 

107:16 For he shattered the bronze gates,

and hacked through the iron bars. 13 

107:17 They acted like fools in their rebellious ways, 14 

and suffered because of their sins.

107:18 They lost their appetite for all food, 15 

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 16  and healed them;

he rescued them from the pits where they were trapped. 17 

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

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

107:22 Let them present thank offerings,

and loudly proclaim what he has done! 19 

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

2 sn A level road. See Jer 31:9.

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

4 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”).

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

6 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).

7 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.

8 tn Heb “the words of God.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 tn Heb “all food their appetite loathed.”

16 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).

17 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.

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

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



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