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Psalms 109:8-15


109:8 May his days be few! 1 

May another take his job! 2 

109:9 May his children 3  be fatherless,

and his wife a widow!

109:10 May his children 4  roam around begging,

asking for handouts as they leave their ruined home! 5 

109:11 May the creditor seize 6  all he owns!

May strangers loot his property! 7 

109:12 May no one show him kindness! 8 

May no one have compassion 9  on his fatherless children!

109:13 May his descendants 10  be cut off! 11 

May the memory of them be wiped out by the time the next generation arrives! 12 

109:14 May his ancestors’ 13  sins be remembered by the Lord!

May his mother’s sin not be forgotten! 14 

109:15 May the Lord be constantly aware of them, 15 

and cut off the memory of his children 16  from the earth!

1 tn The prefixed verbal forms (except those with vav [ו] consecutive) in vv. 8-20 are taken as jussives of prayer. Note the distinct jussive forms used in vv. 12-13, 15, 19.

2 tn The Hebrew noun פְּקֻדָּה (pÿquddah) can mean “charge” or “office,” though BDB 824 s.v. suggests that here it refers to his possessions.

3 tn Or “sons.”

4 tn Or “sons.”

5 tn Heb “and roaming, may his children roam and beg, and seek from their ruins.” Some, following the LXX, emend the term וְדָרְשׁוּ (vÿdoreshu, “and seek”) to יְגֹרְשׁוּ (yÿgoreshu; a Pual jussive, “may they be driven away” [see Job 30:5; cf. NIV, NRSV]), but דָּרַשׁ (darash) nicely parallels שִׁאֵלוּ (shielu, “and beg”) in the preceding line.

6 tn Heb “lay snares for” (see Ps 38:12).

7 tn Heb “the product of his labor.”

8 tn Heb “may there not be for him one who extends loyal love.”

9 tn Perhaps this refers to being generous (see Ps 37:21).

10 tn Or “offspring.”

11 sn On the expression cut off see Ps 37:28.

12 tn Heb “in another generation may their name be wiped out.”

13 tn Or “fathers’ sins.”

14 tn Heb “not be wiped out.”

sn According to ancient Israelite theology and its doctrine of corporate solidarity and responsibility, children could be and often were punished for the sins of their parents. For a discussion of this issue see J. Kaminsky, Corporate Responsibility in the Hebrew Bible (JSOTSup). (Kaminsky, however, does not deal with Ps 109.)

15 tn Heb “may they [that is, the sins mentioned in v. 14] be before the Lord continually.”

16 tn Heb “their memory.” The plural pronominal suffix probably refers back to the children mentioned in v. 13, and for clarity this has been specified in the translation.

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