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Psalms 110:1

Context
Psalm 110 1 

A psalm of David.

110:1 Here is the Lord’s proclamation 2  to my lord: 3 

“Sit down at my right hand 4  until I make your enemies your footstool!” 5 

Psalms 110:5-6

Context

110:5 O sovereign Lord, 6  at your right hand

he strikes down 7  kings in the day he unleashes his anger. 8 

110:6 He executes judgment 9  against 10  the nations;

he fills the valleys with corpses; 11 

he shatters their heads over the vast battlefield. 12 

1 sn Psalm 110. In this royal psalm the psalmist announces God’s oracle to the Davidic king. The first part of the oracle appears in v. 1, the second in v. 4. In vv. 2-3 the psalmist addresses the king, while in vv. 5-7 he appears to address God.

2 tn The word נְאֻם (nÿum) is used frequently in the OT of a formal divine announcement through a prophet.

3 sn My lord. In the psalm’s original context the speaker is an unidentified prophetic voice in the royal court. In the course of time the psalm is applied to each successive king in the dynasty and ultimately to the ideal Davidic king. NT references to the psalm understand David to be speaking about his “lord,” the Messiah. (See Matt 22:43-45; Mark 12:36-37; Luke 20:42-44; Acts 2:34-35).

4 tn To sit at the “right hand” of the king was an honor (see 1 Kgs 2:19). In Ugaritic myth (CTA 4 v. 108-10) the artisan god Kothar-and Khasis is described as sitting at the right hand of the storm god Baal. See G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 61-62.

sn The Lord’s invitation to the Davidic king to sit down at his right hand reflects the king’s position as the Lord’s vice-regent.

5 sn When the Lord made his covenant with David, he promised to subdue the king’s enemies (see 2 Sam 7:9-11; Ps 89:22-23).

6 tn As pointed in the Hebrew text, this title refers to God (many medieval Hebrew mss read יְהוָה, yehveh, “Lord” here). The present translation assumes that the psalmist here addresses the Lord as he celebrates what the king is able to accomplish while positioned at God’s “right hand.” According to this view the king is the subject of the third person verb forms in vv. 5b-7. (2) Another option is to understand the king as the addressee (as in vv. 2-3). In this case “the Lord” is the subject of the third person verbs throughout vv. 5-7 and is depicted as a warrior in a very anthropomorphic manner. In this case the Lord is pictured as being at the psalmist’s right hand (just the opposite of v. 1). See Pss 16:8; 121:5. (3) A third option is to revocalize אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “Lord”) as אֲדֹנִי (’adoniy, “my lord”; see v. 1). In this case one may translate, “My lord, at his [God’s] right hand, strikes down.” In this case the king is the subject of the third person verbs in vv. 5b-7.

7 tn The perfect verbal forms in vv. 5-6 are understood here as descriptive-dramatic or as generalizing. Another option is to take them as rhetorical. In this case the psalmist describes anticipated events as if they had already taken place.

8 tn Heb “in the day of his anger.”

9 tn The imperfect verbal forms in vv. 6-7 are understood here as descriptive-dramatic or as generalizing, though they could be taken as future.

10 tn Or “among.”

11 tn Heb “he fills [with] corpses,” but one expects a double accusative here. The translation assumes an emendation to גְוִיּוֹת גֵאָיוֹת(בִּ) מִלֵּא or מִלֵּא גֵאָיוֹת גְּוִיוֹת (for a similar construction see Ezek 32:5). In the former case גֵאָיוֹת(geayot) has accidentally dropped from the text due to homoioteleuton; in the latter case it has dropped out due to homoioarcton.

12 tn Heb “he strikes [the verb is מָחַץ (makhats), translated “strikes down” in v. 5] head[s] over a great land.” The Hebrew term רַבָּה (rabbah, “great”) is here used of distance or spatial measurement (see 1 Sam 26:13).



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