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Psalms 18:15-16

Context

18:15 The depths 1  of the sea 2  were exposed;

the inner regions 3  of the world were uncovered

by 4  your battle cry, 5  Lord,

by the powerful breath from your nose. 6 

18:16 He reached down 7  from above and took hold of me;

he pulled me from the surging water. 8 

1 tn Or “channels.”

2 tc Ps 18:15 reads “water” (cf. Ps 42:1); “sea” is the reading of 2 Sam 22:16.

3 tn Or “foundations.”

4 tn Heb “from.” The preposition has a causal sense here.

5 tn The noun is derived from the verb גָּעַר (gaar), which is often understood to mean “rebuke.” In some cases it is apparent that scolding or threatening is in view (see Gen 37:10; Ruth 2:16; Zech 3:2). However, in militaristic contexts this translation is inadequate, for the verb refers in this setting to the warrior’s battle cry, which terrifies and paralyzes the enemy. See A. Caquot, TDOT 3:53, and note the use of the verb in Pss 68:30; 106:9; and Nah 1:4, as well as the related noun in Job 26:11; Pss 9:5; 76:6; 104:7; Isa 50:2; 51:20; 66:15.

6 tn 2 Sam 22:16 reads “by the battle cry of the Lord, by the blast of the breath of his nose.” The phrase “blast of the breath” (Heb “breath of breath”) employs an appositional genitive. Synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the single idea. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81.

7 tn Heb “stretched.” Perhaps “his hand” should be supplied by ellipsis (see Ps 144:7). In this poetic narrative context the three prefixed verbal forms in this verse are best understood as preterites indicating past tense, not imperfects.

8 tn Heb “mighty waters.” The waters of the sea symbolize the psalmist’s powerful enemies, as well as the realm of death they represent (see v. 4 and Ps 144:7).



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