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Psalms 110:5-7

Context

110:5 O sovereign Lord, 1  at your right hand

he strikes down 2  kings in the day he unleashes his anger. 3 

110:6 He executes judgment 4  against 5  the nations;

he fills the valleys with corpses; 6 

he shatters their heads over the vast battlefield. 7 

110:7 From the stream along the road he drinks;

then he lifts up his head. 8 

1 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.

2 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.

3 tn Heb “in the day of his anger.”

4 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.

5 tn Or “among.”

6 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.

7 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).

8 tn Here the expression “lifts up the head” refers to the renewed physical strength and emotional vigor (see Ps 3:3) provided by the refreshing water. For another example of a victorious warrior being energized by water in the aftermath of battle, see Judg 15:18-19 (see also 1 Sam 30:11-12, where the setting is different, however).



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