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Psalms 17:2-3

Context

17:2 Make a just decision on my behalf! 1 

Decide what is right! 2 

17:3 You have scrutinized my inner motives; 3 

you have examined me during the night. 4 

You have carefully evaluated me, but you find no sin.

I am determined I will say nothing sinful. 5 

1 tn Heb “From before you may my justice come out.” The prefixed verbal form יָצָא (yatsa’) could be taken as an imperfect, but following the imperatives in v. 1, it is better understood as a jussive of prayer.

2 tn Heb “May your eyes look at what is right.” The prefixed verbal form is understood as jussive. (See also the preceding note on the word “behalf.”)

3 tn Heb “you tested my heart.”

4 tn Heb “you visited [at] night.”

5 tc Heb “you tested me, you do not find, I plan, my mouth will not cross over.” The Hebrew verbal form זַמֹּתִי (zammotiy) is a Qal perfect, first person singular from the root זָמַם (zamam, “plan, plan evil”). Some emend the form to a suffixed form of the noun, זִמָּתִי (zimmatiy, “my plan/evil plan”), and take it as the object of the preceding verb “find.” However, the suffix seems odd, since the psalmist is denying that he has any wrong thoughts. If one takes the form with what precedes, it might make better sense to read זִמּוֹת (zimmot, “evil plans”). However, this emendation leaves an unclear connection with the next line. The present translation maintains the verbal form found in the MT and understands it in a neutral sense, “I have decided” (see Jer 4:28). The words “my mouth will not cross over” (i.e., “transgress, sin”) can then be taken as a noun clause functioning as the object of the verb.



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