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Psalms 144:3-6

Context

144:3 O Lord, of what importance is the human race, 1  that you should notice them?

Of what importance is mankind, 2  that you should be concerned about them? 3 

144:4 People 4  are like a vapor,

their days like a shadow that disappears. 5 

144:5 O Lord, make the sky sink 6  and come down! 7 

Touch the mountains and make them smolder! 8 

144:6 Hurl lightning bolts and scatter them!

Shoot your arrows and rout them! 9 

1 tn Heb “What is mankind?” The singular noun אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh) is used here in a collective sense and refers to the human race. See Ps 8:5.

2 tn Heb “and the son of man.” The phrase “son of man” is used here in a collective sense and refers to human beings. For other uses of the phrase in a collective or representative manner, see Num 23:19; Ps 146:3; Isa 51:12.

3 tn Heb “take account of him.” The two imperfect verbal forms in v. 4 describe God’s characteristic activity.

4 tn Heb “man,” or “mankind.”

5 tn Heb “his days [are] like a shadow that passes away,” that is, like a late afternoon shadow made by the descending sun that will soon be swallowed up by complete darkness. See Ps 102:11.

6 tn The Hebrew verb נָטָה (natah) can carry the sense “to [cause to] bend; to [cause to] bow down.” For example, Gen 49:15 pictures Issachar as a donkey that “bends” its shoulder or back under a burden. Here the Lord causes the sky, pictured as a dome or vault, to sink down as he descends in the storm. See Ps 18:9.

7 tn Heb “so you might come down.” The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose after the preceding imperative. The same type of construction is utilized in v. 6.

8 tn Heb “so they might smolder.” The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose after the preceding imperative.

9 sn Arrows and lightning bolts are associated in other texts (see Pss 18:14; 77:17-18; Zech 9:14), as well as in ancient Near Eastern art (see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” [Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983], 187).



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