he pulled me from the surging water. 6
all your billows and waves overwhelm me. 9
For the music director; according to the tune of “Lilies;” 11 by David.
69:1 Deliver me, O God,
for the water has reached my neck. 12
69:2 I sink into the deep mire
where there is no solid ground; 13
I am in 14 deep water,
and the current overpowers me.
1 tc Ps 18:4 reads “ropes,” while 2 Sam 22:5 reads “waves.” The reading of the psalm has been influenced by the next verse (note “ropes of Sheol”) and perhaps also by Ps 116:3 (where “ropes of death” appears, as here, with the verb אָפַף, ’afaf). However, the parallelism of v. 4 (note “currents” in the next line) favors the reading “waves.” While the verb אָפַף is used with “ropes” as subject in Ps 116:3, it can also be used with engulfing “waters” as subject (see Jonah 2:5). Death is compared to surging waters in v. 4 and to a hunter in v. 5.
3 tn The noun בְלִיַּעַל (vÿliyya’al) is used here as an epithet for death. Elsewhere it is a common noun meaning “wickedness, uselessness.” It is often associated with rebellion against authority and other crimes that result in societal disorder and anarchy. The phrase “man/son of wickedness” refers to one who opposes God and the order he has established. The term becomes an appropriate title for death, which, through human forces, launches an attack against God’s chosen servant.
4 tn In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. (Note the perfect verbal form in the parallel/preceding line.) The verb בָּעַת (ba’at) sometimes by metonymy carries the nuance “frighten,” but the parallelism (see “engulfed”) favors the meaning “overwhelm” here.
5 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.
7 tn Heb “deep calls to deep.” The Hebrew noun תְּהוֹם (tÿhom) often refers to the deep sea, but here, where it is associated with Hermon, it probably refers to mountain streams. The word can be used of streams and rivers (see Deut 8:7; Ezek 31:4).
8 tn The noun צִנּוֹר (tsinnor, “waterfall”) occurs only here and in 2 Sam 5:8, where it apparently refers to a water shaft. The psalmist alludes to the loud rushing sound of mountain streams and cascading waterfalls. Using the poetic device of personification, he imagines the streams calling out to each other as they hear the sound of the waterfalls.
9 tn Heb “pass over me” (see Jonah 2:3). As he hears the sound of the rushing water, the psalmist imagines himself engulfed in the current. By implication he likens his emotional distress to such an experience.
12 tn The Hebrew term נפשׁ (nefesh) here refers to the psalmist’s throat or neck. The psalmist compares himself to a helpless, drowning man.
13 tn Heb “and there is no place to stand.”
14 tn Heb “have entered.”