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Psalms 10:14-18

Context

10:14 You have taken notice, 1 

for 2  you always see 3  one who inflicts pain and suffering. 4 

The unfortunate victim entrusts his cause to you; 5 

you deliver 6  the fatherless. 7 

10:15 Break the arm 8  of the wicked and evil man!

Hold him accountable for his wicked deeds, 9 

which he thought you would not discover. 10 

10:16 The Lord rules forever! 11 

The nations are driven out of his land. 12 

10:17 Lord, you have heard 13  the request 14  of the oppressed;

you make them feel secure because you listen to their prayer. 15 

10:18 You defend 16  the fatherless and oppressed, 17 

so that mere mortals may no longer terrorize them. 18 

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

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

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

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

5 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.

6 tn Or “help.”

7 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).

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

9 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.

10 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.

11 tn Heb “the Lord is king forever and ever.”

12 tn Or “the nations perish from his land.” The perfect verb form may express what is typical or it may express rhetorically the psalmist’s certitude that God’s deliverance is “as good as done.”

sn The nations may be the underlying reality behind the psalmist’s references to the “wicked” in the earlier verses. This reference to the nations may have motivated the combining of Ps 10 with Ps 9 (see Ps 9:5, 15, 19).

13 sn You have heard. The psalmist is confident that God has responded positively to his earlier petitions for divine intervention. The psalmist apparently prayed the words of vv. 16-18 after the reception of an oracle of deliverance (given in response to the confident petition of vv. 12-15) or after the Lord actually delivered him from his enemies.

14 tn Heb “desire.”

15 tn Heb “you make firm their heart, you cause your ear to listen.”

16 tn Heb “to judge (on behalf of),” or “by judging (on behalf of).”

17 tn Heb “crushed.” See v. 10.

18 tn Heb “he will not add again [i.e., “he will no longer”] to terrify, man from the earth.” The Hebrew term אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh, “man”) refers here to the wicked nations (v. 16). By describing them as “from the earth,” the psalmist emphasizes their weakness before the sovereign, eternal king.



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