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Psalms 10:12-15

Context

10:12 Rise up, Lord! 1 

O God, strike him down! 2 

Do not forget the oppressed!

10:13 Why does the wicked man reject God? 3 

He says to himself, 4  “You 5  will not hold me accountable.” 6 

10:14 You have taken notice, 7 

for 8  you always see 9  one who inflicts pain and suffering. 10 

The unfortunate victim entrusts his cause to you; 11 

you deliver 12  the fatherless. 13 

10:15 Break the arm 14  of the wicked and evil man!

Hold him accountable for his wicked deeds, 15 

which he thought you would not discover. 16 

1 sn Rise up, O Lord! The psalmist’s mood changes from lament to petition and confidence.

2 tn Heb “lift up your hand.” Usually the expression “lifting the hand” refers to praying (Pss 28:2; 134:2) or making an oath (Ps 106:26), but here it probably refers to “striking a blow” (see 2 Sam 18:28; 20:21). Note v. 15, where the psalmist asks the Lord to “break the arm of the wicked.” A less likely option is that the psalmist is requesting that the Lord declare by oath his intention to intervene.

3 tn The rhetorical question expresses the psalmist’s outrage that the wicked would have the audacity to disdain God.

4 tn Heb “he says in his heart” (see vv. 6, 11). Another option is to understand an ellipsis of the interrogative particle here (cf. the preceding line), “Why does he say in his heart?”

5 tn Here the wicked man addresses God directly.

6 tn Heb “you will not seek.” The verb דָרַשׁ (darash, “seek”) is used here in the sense of “seek an accounting.” One could understand the imperfect as generalizing about what is typical and translate, “you do not hold [people] accountable.”

7 tn Heb “you see.” One could translate the perfect as generalizing, “you do take notice.”

8 tn If the preceding perfect is taken as generalizing, then one might understand כִּי (ki) as asseverative: “indeed, certainly.”

9 tn Here the imperfect emphasizes God’s typical behavior.

10 tn Heb “destruction and suffering,” which here refers metonymically to the wicked, who dish out pain and suffering to their victims.

11 tn Heb “to give into your hand, upon you, he abandons, [the] unfortunate [one].” The syntax is awkward and the meaning unclear. It is uncertain who or what is being given into God’s hand. Elsewhere the idiom “give into the hand” means to deliver into one’s possession. If “to give” goes with what precedes (as the accentuation of the Hebrew text suggests), then this may refer to the wicked man being delivered over to God for judgment. The present translation assumes that “to give” goes with what follows (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV). The verb יַעֲזֹב (yaazov) here has the nuance “entrust” (see Gen 39:6; Job 39:11); the direct object (“[his] cause”) is implied.

12 tn Or “help.”

13 tn Heb “[for] one who is fatherless, you are a deliverer.” The noun יָתוֹם (yatom) refers to one who has lost his father (not necessarily his mother, see Ps 109:9).

sn The fatherless. Because they were so vulnerable and were frequently exploited, fatherless children are often mentioned as epitomizing the oppressed (see Pss 68:5; 82:3; 94:6; 146:9; as well as Job 6:27; 22:9; 24:3, 9; 29:12; 31:17, 21).

14 sn The arm symbolizes the strength of the wicked, which they use to oppress and exploit the weak.

15 tn Heb “you seek his wickedness.” As in v. 13, the verb דָרַשׁ (darash, “seek”) is used here in the sense of “seek an accounting.” One could understand the imperfect as describing a fact, “you hold him accountable,” or as anticipating divine judgment, “you will hold him accountable.” However, since the verb is in apparent parallelism with the preceding imperative (“break”), it is better to understand the imperfect as expressing the psalmist’s desire or request.

16 tn Heb “you will not find.” It is uncertain how this statement relates to what precedes. Some take בַל (bal), which is used as a negative particle in vv. 4, 6, 11, 18, as asseverative here, “Indeed find (i.e., judge his wickedness).” The translation assumes that the final words are an asyndetic relative clause which refers back to what the wicked man boasted in God’s face (“you will not find [i.e., my wickedness]”). See v. 13.



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