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Psalms 118:10-13

Context

118:10 All the nations surrounded me. 1 

Indeed, in the name of the Lord 2  I pushed them away. 3 

118:11 They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me.

Indeed, in the name of the Lord I pushed them away.

118:12 They surrounded me like bees.

But they disappeared as quickly 4  as a fire among thorns. 5 

Indeed, in the name of the Lord I pushed them away.

118:13 “You aggressively attacked me 6  and tried to knock me down, 7 

but the Lord helped me.

1 sn The reference to an attack by the nations suggests the psalmist may have been a military leader.

2 tn In this context the phrase “in the name of the Lord” means “by the Lord’s power.”

3 tn Traditionally the verb has been derived from מוּל (mul, “to circumcise”) and translated “[I] cut [them] off” (see BDB 557-58 s.v. II מוּל). However, it is likely that this is a homonym meaning “to fend off” (see HALOT 556 s.v. II מול) or “to push away.” In this context, where the psalmist is reporting his past experience, the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite. The phrase also occurs in vv. 11, 12.

4 tn Heb “were extinguished.”

5 tn The point seems to be that the hostility of the nations (v. 10) is short-lived, like a fire that quickly devours thorns and then burns out. Some, attempting to create a better parallel with the preceding line, emend דֹּעֲכוּ (doakhu, “they were extinguished”) to בָּעֲרוּ (baaru, “they burned”). In this case the statement emphasizes their hostility.

6 tn Heb “pushing, you pushed me.” The infinitive absolute emphasizes the following verbal idea. The psalmist appears to address the nations as if they were an individual enemy. Some find this problematic and emend the verb form (which is a Qal perfect second masculine singular with a first person singular suffix) to נִדְחֵיתִי (nidkheti), a Niphal perfect first common singular, “I was pushed.”

7 tn Heb “to fall,” i.e., “that [I] might fall.”



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