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Psalms 118:8-12

Context

118:8 It is better to take shelter 1  in the Lord

than to trust in people.

118:9 It is better to take shelter in the Lord

than to trust in princes.

118:10 All the nations surrounded me. 2 

Indeed, in the name of the Lord 3  I pushed them away. 4 

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 5  as a fire among thorns. 6 

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

1 tn “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear, and serve the Lord (Pss 5:11-12; 31:17-20; 34:21-22).

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

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

4 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.

5 tn Heb “were extinguished.”

6 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.



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