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Psalms 116:1-5

Context
Psalm 116 1 

116:1 I love the Lord

because he heard my plea for mercy, 2 

116:2 and listened to me. 3 

As long as I live, I will call to him when I need help. 4 

116:3 The ropes of death tightened around me, 5 

the snares 6  of Sheol confronted me.

I was confronted 7  with trouble and sorrow.

116:4 I called on the name of the Lord,

“Please Lord, rescue my life!”

116:5 The Lord is merciful and fair;

our God is compassionate.

1 sn Psalm 116. The psalmist thanks the Lord for delivering him from a life threatening crisis and promises to tell the entire covenant community what God has done for him.

2 tn Heb “I love because the Lord heard my voice, my pleas.” It is possible that “the Lord” originally appeared directly after “I love” and was later accidentally misplaced. The translation assumes the prefixed verbal form is a preterite. The psalmist recalls that God heard his cry for help (note the perfect in v. 2a and the narrative in vv. 3-4).

3 tn Heb “because he turned his ear to me.”

4 tn Heb “and in my days I will cry out.”

5 tn Heb “surrounded me.”

6 tn The Hebrew noun מצר (“straits; distress”) occurs only here, Ps 118:5 and Lam 1:3. If retained, it refers to Sheol as a place where one is confined or severely restricted (cf. BDB 865 s.v. מֵצַר, “the straits of Sheol”; NIV “the anguish of the grave”; NRSV “the pangs of Sheol”). However, HALOT 624 s.v. מֵצַר suggests an emendation to מְצָדֵי (mÿtsadey, “snares of”), a rare noun attested in Job 19:6 and Eccl 7:26. This proposal, which is reflected in the translation, produces better parallelism with “ropes” in the preceding line.

7 tn The translation assumes the prefixed verbal form is a preterite. The psalmist recalls the crisis from which the Lord delivered him.



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