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Psalms 11:6

Context

11:6 May the Lord rain down 1  burning coals 2  and brimstone 3  on the wicked!

A whirlwind is what they deserve! 4 

Psalms 75:8-9

Context

75:8 For the Lord holds in his hand a cup full

of foaming wine mixed with spices, 5 

and pours it out. 6 

Surely all the wicked of the earth

will slurp it up and drink it to its very last drop.” 7 

75:9 As for me, I will continually tell what you have done; 8 

I will sing praises to the God of Jacob!

1 tn The verb form is a jussive, indicating that the statement is imprecatory (“May the Lord rain down”), not indicative (“The Lord rains down”; see also Job 20:23). The psalmist appeals to God to destroy the wicked, rather than simply stating his confidence that God will do so. In this way the psalmist seeks to activate divine judgment by appealing to God’s just character. For an example of the power of such a curse, see Judg 9:7-57.

2 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.

3 sn The image of God “raining down” brimstone on the objects of his judgment also appears in Gen 19:24 and Ezek 38:22.

4 tn Heb “[may] a wind of rage [be] the portion of their cup.” The precise meaning of the rare noun זִלְעָפוֹת (zilafot) 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).

5 tn Heb “for a cup [is] in the hand of the Lord, and wine foams, it is full of a spiced drink.” The noun מֶסֶךְ (mesekh) refers to a “mixture” of wine and spices.

6 tn Heb “and he pours out from this.”

7 tn Heb “surely its dregs they slurp up and drink, all the wicked of the earth.”

sn The psalmist pictures God as forcing the wicked to gulp down an intoxicating drink that will leave them stunned and vulnerable. Divine judgment is also depicted this way in Ps 60:3; Isa 51:17-23; and Hab 2:16.

8 tn Heb “I will declare forever.” The object needs to be supplied; God’s just judgment is in view.



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