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Psalms 18:25-29

Context

18:25 You prove to be loyal 1  to one who is faithful; 2 

you prove to be trustworthy 3  to one who is innocent. 4 

18:26 You prove to be reliable 5  to one who is blameless,

but you prove to be deceptive 6  to one who is perverse. 7 

18:27 For you deliver oppressed 8  people,

but you bring down those who have a proud look. 9 

18:28 Indeed, 10  you are my lamp, Lord. 11 

My God 12  illuminates the darkness around me. 13 

18:29 Indeed, 14  with your help 15  I can charge against 16  an army; 17 

by my God’s power 18  I can jump over a wall. 19 

1 tn The imperfect verbal forms in vv. 25-29 draw attention to God’s characteristic actions. Based on his experience, the psalmist generalizes about God’s just dealings with people (vv. 25-27) and about the way in which God typically empowers him on the battlefield (vv. 28-29). The Hitpael stem is used in vv. 26-27 in a reflexive resultative (or causative) sense. God makes himself loyal, etc. in the sense that he conducts or reveals himself as such. On this use of the Hitpael stem, see GKC 149-50 §54.e.

2 tn Or “to a faithful follower.” A “faithful follower” (חָסִיד, khasid) is one who does what is right in God’s eyes and remains faithful to God (see Pss 4:3; 12:1; 16:10; 31:23; 37:28; 86:2; 97:10).

3 tn Or “innocent.”

4 tn Heb “a man of innocence.”

5 tn Or “blameless.”

6 tn The Hebrew verb פָתַל (patal) is used in only three other texts. In Gen 30:8 it means literally “to wrestle,” or “to twist.” In Job 5:13 it refers to devious individuals, and in Prov 8:8 to deceptive words.

7 tn The adjective עִקֵּשׁ (’iqqesh) has the basic nuance “twisted, crooked,” and by extension refers to someone or something that is morally perverse. It appears frequently in Proverbs, where it is used of evil people (22:5), speech (8:8; 19:1), thoughts (11:20; 17:20), and life styles (2:15; 28:6). A righteous king opposes such people (Ps 101:4).

sn Verses 25-26 affirm God’s justice. He responds to people in accordance with their moral character. His response mirrors their actions. The faithful and blameless find God to be loyal and reliable in his dealings with them. But deceivers discover he is able and willing to use deceit to destroy them. For a more extensive discussion of the theme of divine deception in the OT, see R. B. Chisholm, “Does God Deceive?” BSac 155 (1998): 11-28.

8 tn Or perhaps, “humble” (note the contrast with those who are proud).

9 tn Heb “but proud eyes you bring low.” 2 Sam 22:28 reads, “your eyes [are] upon the proud, [whom] you bring low.”

10 tn Or “for.” The translation assumes that כִּי (ki)is asseverative here.

11 tn Ps 18:28 reads literally, “you light my lamp, Lord.” 2 Sam 22:29 has, “you are my lamp, Lord.” The Ps 18 reading may preserve two variants, נֵרִי (neriy, “my lamp”) and אוֹרִי (’oriy, “my light”), cf. Ps 27:1. The verb תָּאִיר (tair, “you light”) in Ps 18:28 would, in this case, be a corruption of the latter. See F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry (SBLDS), 150, n. 64. The metaphor, which likens the Lord to a lamp or light, pictures him as the psalmist’s source of life. For other examples of “lamp” used in this way, see Job 18:6; 21:17; Prov 13:9; 20:20; 24:20. For other examples of “light” as a symbol for life, see Job 3:20; 33:30; Ps 56:13.

12 tn 2 Sam 22:29 repeats the name “Lord.”

13 tn Heb “my darkness.”

14 tn Or “for.” The translation assumes that כִּי (ki) is asseverative here.

15 tn Heb “by you.”

16 tn Heb “I will run.” The imperfect verbal forms in v. 29 indicate the subject’s potential or capacity to perform an action. Though one might expect a preposition to follow the verb here, this need not be the case with the verb רוּץ (ruts; see 1 Sam 17:22). Some emend the Qal to a Hiphil form of the verb and translate, “I put to flight [Heb “cause to run”] an army.”

17 tn More specifically, the noun גְּדוּד (gÿdud) refers to a raiding party or to a contingent of troops.

sn I can charge against an army. The picture of a divinely empowered warrior charging against an army in almost superhuman fashion appears elsewhere in ancient Near Eastern literature. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 228.

18 tn Heb “and by my God.”

19 sn I can jump over a wall. The psalmist uses hyperbole to emphasize his God-given military superiority.



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