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Psalms 143:7-10

Context

143:7 Answer me quickly, Lord!

My strength is fading. 1 

Do not reject me, 2 

or I will join 3  those descending into the grave. 4 

143:8 May I hear about your loyal love in the morning, 5 

for I trust in you.

Show me the way I should go, 6 

because I long for you. 7 

143:9 Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord!

I run to you for protection. 8 

143:10 Teach me to do what pleases you, 9 

for you are my God.

May your kind presence 10 

lead me 11  into a level land. 12 

1 tn Heb “my spirit is failing.”

2 tn Heb “do not hide your face from me.” The idiom “hide the face” (1) can mean “ignore” (see Pss 10:11; 13:1; 51:9) or (2) can carry the stronger idea of “reject” (see Pss 30:7; 88:14).

3 tn Heb “I will be equal with.”

4 tn Heb “the pit.” The Hebrew noun בּוֹר (bor, “pit; cistern”) is sometimes used of the grave and/or the realm of the dead. See Ps 28:1.

5 tn Heb “cause me to hear in the morning your loyal love.” Here “loyal love” probably stands metonymically for an oracle of assurance promising God’s intervention as an expression of his loyal love.

sn The morning is sometimes viewed as the time of divine intervention (see Pss 30:5; 59:16; 90:14).

6 sn The way probably refers here to God’s moral and ethical standards and requirements (see v. 10).

7 tn Heb “for to you I lift up my life.” The Hebrew expression נָאָשׂ נֶפֶשׁ (naas nefesh, “to lift up [one’s] life”) means “to desire; to long for” (see Deut 24:15; Prov 19:18; Jer 22:27; 44:14; Hos 4:8, as well as H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 16).

8 tn Heb “to you I cover,” which makes no sense. The translation assumes an emendation to נַסְתִּי (nastiy, “I flee,” a Qal perfect, first singular form from נוּס, nos). Confusion of kaf (כ) and nun (נ) is attested elsewhere (see P. K. McCarter, Textual Criticism [GBS], 48). The collocation of נוּס (“flee”) with אֶל (’el, “to”) is well-attested.

9 tn Or “your will.” See Ps 40:8.

10 tn Heb “your good spirit.” God’s “spirit” may refer here to his presence (see the note on the word “presence” in Ps 139:7) or to his personal Spirit (see Ps 51:10).

11 tn The prefixed verbal form is taken as a jussive. Taking the statement as a prayer fits well with the petitionary tone of vv. 7-10a.

12 sn A level land (where one can walk free of obstacles) here symbolizes divine blessing and protection. See Pss 26:12 and 27:11 for similar imagery.



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