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Psalms 116:3-6

Context

116:3 The ropes of death tightened around me, 1 

the snares 2  of Sheol confronted me.

I was confronted 3  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.

116:6 The Lord protects 4  the untrained; 5 

I was in serious trouble 6  and he delivered me.

1 tn Heb “surrounded me.”

2 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.

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

4 tn Heb “guards.” The active participle indicates this is a characteristic of the Lord.

5 tn Or “the [morally] naive,” that is, the one who is young and still in the process of learning right from wrong and distinguishing wisdom from folly. See Ps 19:7.

6 tn Heb “I was low.”



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