May another take his job! 2
and his wife a widow!
asking for handouts as they leave their ruined home! 5
May strangers loot his property! 7
May no one have compassion 9 on his fatherless children!
May the memory of them be wiped out by the time the next generation arrives! 12
May his mother’s sin not be forgotten! 14
and cut off the memory of his children 16 from the earth!
he harassed the oppressed and needy,
and killed the disheartened. 18
He had no desire to bless anyone, so he has experienced no blessings. 21
so curses poured into his stomach like water
and seeped into his bones like oil. 23
or a belt 25 one wears continually!
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 (shi’elu, “and beg”) in the preceding line.
7 tn Heb “the product of his labor.”
8 tn Heb “may there not be for him one who extends loyal love.”
10 tn Or “offspring.”
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.)
17 tn Heb “he did not remember to do loyal love.”
18 tn Heb “and he chased an oppressed and needy man, and one timid of heart to put [him] to death.”
19 sn A curse in OT times consists of a formal appeal to God to bring judgment down upon another. Curses were sometimes justified (such as the one spoken by the psalmist here in vv. 6-19), but when they were not, the one pronouncing the curse was in danger of bringing the anticipated judgment down upon himself.
20 tn Heb “and he loved a curse and it came [upon] him.” A reference to the evil man experiencing a curse seems premature here, for the psalmist is asking God to bring judgment on his enemies. For this reason some (cf. NIV, NRSV) prefer to repoint the vav (ו) on “it came” as conjunctive and translate the verb as a jussive of prayer (“may it come upon him!”). The prefixed form with vav consecutive in the next line is emended in the same way and translated, “may it be far from him.” However, the psalmist may be indicating that the evil man’s lifestyle has already begun to yield its destructive fruit.
21 tn Heb “and he did not delight in a blessing and it is far from him.”
22 tn Heb “he put on a curse as [if it were] his garment.”
23 tn Heb “and it came like water into his inner being, and like oil into his bones.” This may refer to this individual’s appetite for cursing. For him cursing was as refreshing as drinking water or massaging oneself with oil. Another option is that the destructive effects of a curse are in view. In this case a destructive curse invades his very being, like water or oil. Some who interpret the verse this way prefer to repoint the vav (ו) on “it came” to a conjunctive vav and interpret the prefixed verb as a jussive, “may it come!”
24 tn Heb “may it be for him like a garment one puts on.”
26 tn Heb “[may] this [be] the repayment to my accusers from the
27 tn Or “against.”
28 tn The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “being; soul”) with a pronominal suffix is often equivalent to a pronoun, especially in poetry (see BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.a).