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Psalms 25:1-22

Context
Psalm 25 1 

By David.

25:1 O Lord, I come before you in prayer. 2 

25:2 My God, I trust in you.

Please do not let me be humiliated;

do not let my enemies triumphantly rejoice over me!

25:3 Certainly none who rely on you will be humiliated.

Those who deal in treachery will be thwarted 3  and humiliated.

25:4 Make me understand your ways, O Lord!

Teach me your paths! 4 

25:5 Guide me into your truth 5  and teach me.

For you are the God who delivers me;

on you I rely all day long.

25:6 Remember 6  your compassionate and faithful deeds, O Lord,

for you have always acted in this manner. 7 

25:7 Do not hold against me 8  the sins of my youth 9  or my rebellious acts!

Because you are faithful to me, extend to me your favor, O Lord! 10 

25:8 The Lord is both kind and fair; 11 

that is why he teaches sinners the right way to live. 12 

25:9 May he show 13  the humble what is right! 14 

May he teach 15  the humble his way!

25:10 The Lord always proves faithful and reliable 16 

to those who follow the demands of his covenant. 17 

25:11 For the sake of your reputation, 18  O Lord,

forgive my sin, because it is great. 19 

25:12 The Lord shows his faithful followers

the way they should live. 20 

25:13 They experience his favor; 21 

their descendants 22  inherit the land. 23 

25:14 The Lord’s loyal followers receive his guidance, 24 

and he reveals his covenantal demands to them. 25 

25:15 I continually look to the Lord for help, 26 

for he will free my feet from the enemy’s net. 27 

25:16 Turn toward me and have mercy on me,

for I am alone 28  and oppressed!

25:17 Deliver me from my distress; 29 

rescue me from my suffering! 30 

25:18 See my pain and suffering!

Forgive all my sins! 31 

25:19 Watch my enemies, for they outnumber me;

they hate me and want to harm me. 32 

25:20 Protect me 33  and deliver me!

Please do not let me be humiliated,

for I have taken shelter in you!

25:21 May integrity and godliness protect me,

for I rely on you!

25:22 O God, rescue 34  Israel

from all their distress! 35 

Psalms 34:1-22

Context
Psalm 34 36 

Written by David, when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, causing the king to send him away. 37 

34:1 I will praise 38  the Lord at all times;

my mouth will continually praise him. 39 

34:2 I will boast 40  in the Lord;

let the oppressed hear and rejoice! 41 

34:3 Magnify the Lord with me!

Let’s praise 42  his name together!

34:4 I sought the Lord’s help 43  and he answered me;

he delivered me from all my fears.

34:5 Those who look to him for help are happy;

their faces are not ashamed. 44 

34:6 This oppressed man cried out and the Lord heard;

he saved him 45  from all his troubles.

34:7 The Lord’s angel camps around

the Lord’s 46  loyal followers 47  and delivers them. 48 

34:8 Taste 49  and see that the Lord is good!

How blessed 50  is the one 51  who takes shelter in him! 52 

34:9 Remain loyal to 53  the Lord, you chosen people of his, 54 

for his loyal followers 55  lack nothing!

34:10 Even young lions sometimes lack food and are hungry,

but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

34:11 Come children! Listen to me!

I will teach you what it means to fear the Lord. 56 

34:12 Do you want to really live? 57 

Would you love to live a long, happy life? 58 

34:13 Then make sure you don’t speak evil words 59 

or use deceptive speech! 60 

34:14 Turn away from evil and do what is right! 61 

Strive for peace and promote it! 62 

34:15 The Lord pays attention to the godly

and hears their cry for help. 63 

34:16 But the Lord opposes evildoers

and wipes out all memory of them from the earth. 64 

34:17 The godly 65  cry out and the Lord hears;

he saves them from all their troubles. 66 

34:18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted;

he delivers 67  those who are discouraged. 68 

34:19 The godly 69  face many dangers, 70 

but the Lord saves 71  them 72  from each one of them.

34:20 He protects 73  all his bones; 74 

not one of them is broken. 75 

34:21 Evil people self-destruct; 76 

those who hate the godly are punished. 77 

34:22 The Lord rescues his servants; 78 

all who take shelter in him escape punishment. 79 

1 sn Psalm 25. The psalmist asks for divine protection, guidance and forgiveness as he affirms his loyalty to and trust in the Lord. This psalm is an acrostic; every verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, except for v. 18, which, like v. 19, begins with ר (resh) instead of the expected ק (qof). The final verse, which begins with פ (pe), stands outside the acrostic scheme.

2 tn Heb “to you, O Lord, my life I lift up.” To “lift up” one’s “life” to the Lord means to express one’s trust in him through prayer. See Pss 86:4; 143:8.

3 tn Heb “those who deal in treachery in vain.” The adverb רֵיקָם (reqam, “in vain”) probably refers to the failure (or futility) of their efforts. Another option is to understand it as meaning “without cause” (cf. NIV “without excuse”; NRSV “wantonly treacherous”).

4 sn Teach me your paths. In this context the Lord’s “ways” and “paths” refer to the moral principles which the Lord prescribes for his followers. See vv. 8-10.

5 sn The Lord’s commandments are referred to as truth here because they are a trustworthy and accurate expression of the divine will.

6 tn That is, “remember” with the intention of repeating.

7 tn Heb “for from antiquity [are] they.”

8 tn Heb “do not remember,” with the intention of punishing.

9 sn That is, the sins characteristic of youths, who lack moral discretion and wisdom.

10 tn Heb “according to your faithfulness, remember me, you, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.”

11 tn Heb “good and just.”

12 tn Heb “teaches sinners in the way.”

13 tn The prefixed verbal form is jussive; the psalmist expresses his prayer.

14 tn Heb “may he guide the humble into justice.” The Hebrew term עֲנָוִים (’anavim, “humble”) usually refers to the oppressed, but in this context, where the psalmist confesses his sin and asks for moral guidance, it apparently refers to sinners who humble themselves before God and seek deliverance from their sinful condition.

15 tn The prefixed verbal form is interpreted as a jussive (it stands parallel to the jussive form, “may he guide”).

16 tn Heb “all the paths of the Lord are faithful and trustworthy.” The Lord’s “paths” refer here to his characteristic actions.

17 tn Heb “to the ones who keep his covenant and his testimonies.”

18 tn Heb “name.” By forgiving the sinful psalmist, the Lord’s reputation as a merciful God will be enhanced.

19 sn Forgive my sin, because it is great. The psalmist readily admits his desperate need for forgiveness.

20 tn Heb “Who is this man, the one who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.” The singular (note “man”) is representative here (see v. 14, where the plural is used), and has thus been translated as a plural (“followers…they”).

21 tn Heb “his life in goodness dwells.” The singular is representative (see v. 14).

22 tn Or “offspring”; Heb “seed.”

23 tn Or “earth.”

24 tn Heb “the advice of the Lord belongs to those who fear him.”

25 tn Heb “and his covenant, to make them know.”

26 tn Heb “my eyes continually [are] toward the Lord.”

27 tn Heb “for he will bring out from a net my feet.” The hostility of the psalmist’s enemies is probably in view (see v. 19).

28 tn That is, helpless and vulnerable.

29 tc Heb “the distresses of my heart, they make wide.” The text makes little if any sense as it stands, unless this is an otherwise unattested intransitive use of the Hiphil of רָחַב (rakhav, “be wide”). It is preferable to emend the form הִרְחִיבוּ (hirkhivu; Hiphil perfect third plural “they make wide”) to הַרְחֵיב (harkhev; Hiphil imperative masculine singular “make wide”). (The final vav [ו] can be joined to the following word and taken as a conjunction.) In this case one can translate, “[in/from] the distresses of my heart, make wide [a place for me],” that is, “deliver me from the distress I am experiencing.” For the expression “make wide [a place for me],” see Ps 4:1.

30 tn Heb “from my distresses lead me out.”

31 tn Heb “lift up all my sins.”

32 tn Heb “see my enemies for they are numerous, and [with] violent hatred they hate me.”

33 tn Or “my life.”

34 tn Or “redeem.”

35 tn Heb “his distresses.”

sn O God, rescue Israel from all their distress. It is possible that the psalmist speaks on behalf of the nation throughout this entire psalm. Another option is that v. 22 is a later addition to the psalm which applies an original individual lament to the covenant community. If so, it may reflect an exilic setting.

36 sn Psalm 34. In this song of thanksgiving the psalmist praises God for delivering him from distress. He encourages others to be loyal to the Lord, tells them how to please God, and assures them that the Lord protects his servants. The psalm is an acrostic; vv. 1-21 begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (Verse 6 begins with the letter he (ה) and v. 7 with the letter zayin (ז). The letter vav (ו), which comes between ה and ז, seems to be omitted, although it does appear at the beginning of v. 6b. The final verse of the psalm, which begins with the letter pe (פ), is outside the acrostic scheme.

37 tn Heb “By David, when he changed his sense before Abimelech and he drove him away and he went.”

sn Pretended to be insane. The psalm heading appears to refer to the account in 1 Sam 21:10-15 which tells how David, fearful that King Achish of Gath might kill him, pretended to be insane in hopes that the king would simply send him away. The psalm heading names the king Abimelech, not Achish, suggesting that the tradition is confused on this point. However, perhaps “Abimelech” was a royal title, rather than a proper name. See P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 (WBC), 278.

38 tn Heb “bless.”

39 tn Heb “continually [will] his praise [be] in my mouth.”

40 tn Heb “my soul will boast”; or better, “let my soul boast.” Following the cohortative form in v. 1, it is likely that the prefixed verbal form here is jussive.

41 tn The two prefixed verbal forms in this verse are best taken as jussives, for the psalmist is calling his audience to worship (see v. 3).

42 tn Or “exalt.”

43 tn Heb “I sought the Lord.”

44 tc Heb “they look to him and are radiant and their faces are not ashamed.” The third person plural subject (“they”) is unidentified; there is no antecedent in the Hebrew text. For this reason some prefer to take the perfect verbal forms in the first line as imperatives, “look to him and be radiant” (cf. NEB, NRSV). Some medieval Hebrew mss and other ancient witnesses (Aquila, the Syriac, and Jerome) support an imperatival reading for the first verb. In the second line some (with support from the LXX and Syriac) change “their faces” to “your faces,” which allows one to retain more easily the jussive force of the verb (suggested by the preceding אַל [’al]): “do not let your faces be ashamed.” It is probable that the verbal construction in the second line is rhetorical, expressing the conviction that the action in view cannot or should not happen. See GKC 322 §109.e.

45 tn The pronoun refers back to “this oppressed man,” namely, the psalmist.

46 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

47 tn Heb “those who fear him.”

48 tn The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive here carries the same generalizing force as the active participle in the first line. See GKC 329 §111.u.

49 tn This verb is normally used of tasting or savoring food. The metaphor here appears to compare the Lord to a tasty meal.

50 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see Pss 1:1, 3; 2:12; 41:1; 65:4; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).

51 tn Heb “man.” The principle of the psalm is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the more neutral “one.”

52 tn “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear, and serve the Lord (Pss 2:12; 5:11-12; 31:17-20; 34:21-22).

53 tn Heb “fear.”

54 tn Heb “O holy ones of his.”

55 tn Heb “those who fear him.”

56 tn Heb “the fear of the Lord I will teach you.” In vv. 13-14 the psalmist explains to his audience what it means to “fear” the Lord.

57 tn Heb “Who is the man who desires life?” The rhetorical question is used to grab the audience’s attention. “Life” probably refers here to quality of life, not just physical existence or even duration of life. See the following line.

58 tn Heb “[Who] loves days to see good?”

59 tn Heb “guard your tongue from evil.”

60 tn Heb “and your lips from speaking deception.”

61 tn Or “do good.”

62 tn Heb “seek peace and pursue it.”

63 tn Heb “the eyes of the Lord [are] toward the godly, and his ears [are] toward their cry for help.”

64 tn Heb “the face of the Lord [is] against the doers of evil to cut off from the earth memory of them.”

65 tn Heb “they” (i.e., the godly mentioned in v. 15).

66 tn The three perfect verbal forms are taken in a generalizing sense in v. 17 and translated with the present tense (note the generalizing mood of vv. 18-22).

67 tn The Hebrew imperfect verbal form highlights the generalizing statement and draws attention to the fact that the Lord typically delivers the oppressed and needy.

68 tn Heb “the crushed in spirit.”

69 tn The Hebrew text uses the singular form; the representative or typical godly person is envisioned.

70 tn Or “trials.”

71 tn The Hebrew imperfect verbal form highlights the generalizing statement and draws attention to the fact that the Lord typically delivers the godly.

72 tn Heb “him,” agreeing with the singular form in the preceding line.

73 tn The Hebrew participial form suggests such protection is characteristic.

74 tn That is, he protects the godly from physical harm.

75 sn Not one of them is broken. The author of the Gospel of John saw a fulfillment of these words in Jesus’ experience on the cross (see John 19:31-37), for the Roman soldiers, when they saw that Jesus was already dead, did not break his legs as was customarily done to speed the death of crucified individuals. John’s use of the psalm seems strange, for the statement in its original context suggests that the Lord protects the godly from physical harm. Jesus’ legs may have remained unbroken, but he was brutally and unjustly executed by his enemies. John seems to give the statement a literal sense that is foreign to its original literary context by applying a promise of divine protection to a man who was seemingly not saved by God. However, John saw in this incident a foreshadowing of Jesus’ ultimate deliverance and vindication. His unbroken bones were a reminder of God’s commitment to the godly and a sign of things to come. Jesus’ death on the cross was not the end of the story; God vindicated him, as John goes on to explain in the following context (John 19:38-20:18).

76 tn Heb “evil kills the wicked [one].” The singular form is representative; the typical evil person is envisioned. The Hebrew imperfect verbal form draws attention to the typical nature of the action.

77 tn Heb “are guilty,” but the verb is sometimes used metonymically with the meaning “to suffer the consequences of guilt,” the effect being substituted for the cause.

78 tn Heb “redeems the life of his servants.” The Hebrew participial form suggests such deliverance is characteristic.

79 tn “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear, and serve the Lord (Pss 2:12; 5:11-12; 31:19).



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