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Psalms 18:28-29

Context

18:28 Indeed, 1  you are my lamp, Lord. 2 

My God 3  illuminates the darkness around me. 4 

18:29 Indeed, 5  with your help 6  I can charge against 7  an army; 8 

by my God’s power 9  I can jump over a wall. 10 

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

2 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.

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

4 tn Heb “my darkness.”

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

6 tn Heb “by you.”

7 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.”

8 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.

9 tn Heb “and by my God.”

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



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