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Psalms 17:14-15

Context

17:14 Lord, use your power to deliver me from these murderers, 1 

from the murderers of this world! 2 

They enjoy prosperity; 3 

you overwhelm them with the riches they desire. 4 

They have many children,

and leave their wealth to their offspring. 5 

17:15 As for me, because I am innocent I will see your face; 6 

when I awake you will reveal yourself to me. 7 

1 tc Heb “from men [by] your hand, Lord.” The translation assumes an emendation (both here and in the following line) of מִמְתִים (mimtim, “from men”) to מִמְמִתִים (mimmitim, “from those who kill”). For other uses of the plural form of the Hiphil participle of מוּת (mut, “die”), see 2 Kgs 17:26 (used with lions as subject), Job 33:22 (apparently referring to the agents of death), and Jer 26:15 (used of those seeking Jeremiah’s life).

2 tn Heb “from men, from [the] world.” On the emendation of “men” to “murderers,” see the preceding note on the word “murderers.”

3 tn Heb “their portion, in life.”

4 tn Heb “and [with] your treasures you fill their belly.”

sn You overwhelm them with the riches they desire. The psalmist is not accusing God of being unjust; he is simply observing that the wicked often prosper and that God is the ultimate source of all blessings that human beings enjoy (see Matt 5:45). When the wicked are ungrateful for God’s blessings, they become even more culpable and deserving of judgment. So this description of the wicked actually supports the psalmist’s appeal for deliverance. God should rescue him because he is innocent (see vv. 3-5) and because the wicked, though blessed abundantly by God, still have the audacity to attack God’s people.

5 tn Heb “they are satisfied [with] sons and leave their abundance to their children.”

6 tn Heb “I, in innocence, I will see your face.” To “see” God’s “face” means to have access to his presence and to experience his favor (see Ps 11:7; see also Job 33:26 [where רָאָה (raah), not חָזַה (khazah), is used]). Here, however, the psalmist may be anticipating a mystical experience. See the following note on the word “me.”

7 tn Heb “I will be satisfied, when I awake, [with] your form.” The noun תְּמוּנָה (tÿmunah) normally carries the nuance “likeness” or “form.” In Job 4:16 it refers to a ghostlike spiritual entity (see v. 15) that revealed itself to Eliphaz during the night. The psalmist may anticipate a mystical encounter with God in which he expects to see a manifestation of God’s presence (i.e., a theophany), perhaps in conjunction with an oracle of deliverance. During the quiet darkness of the night, God examines the psalmist’s inner motives and finds them to be pure (see v. 3). The psalmist is confident that when he awakens, perhaps sometime during the night or in the morning, he will be visited by God and assured of vindication.

sn When I awake you will reveal yourself to me. Some see in this verse an allusion to resurrection. According to this view, when the psalmist awakens from the sleep of death, he will see God. It is unlikely that the psalmist had such a highly developed personal eschatology. As noted above, it is more likely that he is anticipating a divine visitation and mystical encounter as a prelude to his deliverance from his enemies.



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