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Psalms 138:2-4

Context

138:2 I will bow down toward your holy temple,

and give thanks to your name,

because of your loyal love and faithfulness,

for you have exalted your promise above the entire sky. 1 

138:3 When 2  I cried out for help, you answered me.

You made me bold and energized me. 3 

138:4 Let all the kings of the earth give thanks 4  to you, O Lord,

when they hear the words you speak. 5 

1 tc The MT reads, “for you have made great over all your name your word.” If retained, this must mean that God's mighty intervention, in fulfillment of his word of promise, surpassed anything he had done prior to this. However, the statement is odd and several emendations have been proposed. Some read, “for you have exalted over everything your name and your word,” while others suggest, “for you have exalted over all the heavens your name and your word.” The translation assumes an emendation of “your name” to “your heavens” (a construction that appears in Pss 8:3 and 144:5). The point is that God has been faithful to his promise and the reliability of that promise is apparent to all. For a fuller discussion of these options, see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 244.

2 tn Heb “in the day.”

3 tn Heb “you made me bold in my soul [with] strength.”

4 tn The prefixed verbal forms here and in the following verse are understood as jussives, for the psalmist appears to be calling upon the kings to praise God. Another option is to take them as imperfects and translate, “the kings of the earth will give thanks…and will sing.” In this case the psalmist anticipates a universal response to his thanksgiving song.

5 tn Heb “the words of your mouth.”



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