11:2 For look, the wicked 1 prepare 2 their bows, 3
they put their arrows on the strings,
to shoot in the darkness 4 at the morally upright. 5
11:6 May the Lord rain down 6 burning coals 7 and brimstone 8 on the wicked!
A whirlwind is what they deserve! 9
1 tn In the psalms the “wicked” (רְשָׁעִים, rÿsha’im) are typically proud, practical atheists (Ps 10:2, 4, 11) who hate God’s commands, commit sinful deeds, speak lies and slander (Ps 50:16-20), and cheat others (Ps 37:21). They oppose God and threaten his people (Ps 3:8).
2 tn The Hebrew imperfect verbal form depicts the enemies’ hostile action as underway.
3 tn Heb “a bow.”
4 sn In the darkness. The enemies’ attack, the precise form of which is not indicated, is compared here to a night ambush by archers; the psalmist is defenseless against this deadly attack.
5 tn Heb “pure of heart.” The “heart” is here viewed as the seat of one’s moral character and motives. The “pure of heart” are God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a result, experience his deliverance (see Pss 7:10; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10; 94:15; 97:11).
6 tn The verb form is a jussive, indicating that the statement is imprecatory (“May the
7 tc The MT reads “traps, fire, and brimstone,” but the image of God raining traps, or snares, down from the sky is bizarre and does not fit the fire and storm imagery of this verse. The noun פַּחִים (pakhim, “traps, snares”) should be emended to פַּחֲמֵי (pakhamey, “coals of [fire]”). The rare noun פֶּחָם (pekham, “coal”) occurs in Prov 26:21 and Isa 44:12; 54:16.
8 sn The image of God “raining down” brimstone on the objects of his judgment also appears in Gen 19:24 and Ezek 38:22.
9 tn Heb “[may] a wind of rage [be] the portion of their cup.” The precise meaning of the rare noun זִלְעָפוֹת (zil’afot) is uncertain. It may mean “raging heat” (BDB 273 s.v. זַלְעָפָה) or simply “rage” (HALOT 272 s.v. זַלְעָפָה). If one understands the former sense, then one might translate “hot wind” (cf. NEB, NRSV). The present translation assumes the latter nuance, “a wind of rage” (the genitive is attributive) referring to a “whirlwind” symbolic of destructive judgment. In this mixed metaphor, judgment is also compared to an allotted portion of a beverage poured into one’s drinking cup (see Hab 2:15-16).