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Psalms 21:8-9

Context

21:8 You 1  prevail over 2  all your enemies;

your power is too great for those who hate you. 3 

21:9 You burn them up like a fiery furnace 4  when you appear; 5 

the Lord angrily devours them; 6 

the fire consumes them.

1 tn The king is now addressed. One could argue that the Lord is still being addressed, but v. 9 militates against this proposal, for there the Lord is mentioned in the third person and appears to be distinct from the addressee (unless, of course, one takes “Lord” in v. 9 as vocative; see the note on “them” in v. 9b). Verse 7 begins this transition to a new addressee by referring to both the king and the Lord in the third person (in vv. 1-6 the Lord is addressed and only the king referred to in the third person).

2 tn Heb “your hand finds.” The idiom pictures the king grabbing hold of his enemies and defeating them (see 1 Sam 23:17). The imperfect verbal forms in vv. 8-12 may be translated with the future tense, as long as the future is understood as generalizing.

3 tn Heb “your right hand finds those who hate you.”

4 tn Heb “you make them like a furnace of fire.” Although many modern translations retain the literal Hebrew, the statement is elliptical. The point is not that he makes them like a furnace, but like an object burned in a furnace (cf. NEB, “at your coming you shall plunge them into a fiery furnace”).

5 tn Heb “at the time of your face.” The “face” of the king here refers to his angry presence. See Lam 4:16.

6 tn Heb “the Lord, in his anger he swallows them, and fire devours them.” Some take “the Lord” as a vocative, in which case he is addressed in vv. 8-9a. But this makes the use of the third person in v. 9b rather awkward, though the king could be the subject (see vv. 1-7).



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