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Psalms 18:38-42

Context

18:38 I beat them 1  to death; 2 

they fall at my feet. 3 

18:39 You give me strength 4  for battle;

you make my foes kneel before me. 5 

18:40 You make my enemies retreat; 6 

I destroy those who hate me. 7 

18:41 They cry out, but there is no one to help them; 8 

they cry out to the Lord, 9  but he does not answer them.

18:42 I grind them as fine windblown dust; 10 

I beat them underfoot 11  like clay 12  in the streets.

1 tn Or “smash them.” 2 Sam 22:39 reads, “and I wiped them out and smashed them.”

2 tn Heb “until they are unable to rise.” 2 Sam 22:39 reads, “until they do not rise.”

3 sn They fall at my feet. For ancient Near Eastern parallels, see O. Keel, The Symbolism of the Biblical World, 294-97.

4 tn Heb “clothed me.” See v. 32.

5 tn Heb “you make those who rise against me kneel beneath me.”

sn My foes kneel before me. For ancient Near Eastern parallels, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 268.

6 tn Heb “and [as for] my enemies, you give to me [the] back [or “neck”].” The idiom “give [the] back” means “to cause [one] to turn the back and run away.” Cf. Exod 23:27.

7 sn Those who hate me. See v. 17, where it is the Lord who delivered the psalmist from those who hated him.

8 tn Heb “but there is no deliverer.”

9 tn Heb “to the Lord.” The words “they cry out” are supplied in the translation because they are understood by ellipsis (see the preceding line).

sn They cry out. This reference to the psalmist’s enemies crying out for help to the Lord suggests that the psalmist refers here to enemies within the covenant community, rather than foreigners. However, the militaristic context suggests foreign enemies are in view. Ancient Near Eastern literature indicates that defeated enemies would sometimes cry out for mercy to the god(s) of their conqueror. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 271.

10 tn Heb “I pulverize them like dust upon the face of the wind.” The phrase “upon the face of” here means “before.” 2 Sam 22:43 reads, “like dust of the earth.”

11 tc Ps 18:42 reads, “I empty them out” (Hiphil of ריק), while 2 Sam 22:43 reads, “I crush them, I stomp on them” (juxtaposing the synonyms דקק and רקע). It is likely that the latter is a conflation of variants. One, but not both, of the verbs in 2 Sam 22:43 is probably original; “empty out” does not form as good a parallel with “grind, pulverize” in the parallel line.

12 tn Or “mud.”



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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