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Psalms 35:15-21

Context

35:15 But when I stumbled, they rejoiced and gathered together;

they gathered together to ambush me. 1 

They tore at me without stopping to rest. 2 

35:16 When I tripped, they taunted me relentlessly, 3 

and tried to bite me. 4 

35:17 O Lord, how long are you going to just stand there and watch this? 5 

Rescue 6  me 7  from their destructive attacks;

guard my life 8  from the young lions!

35:18 Then I will give you thanks in the great assembly; 9 

I will praise you before a large crowd of people! 10 

35:19 Do not let those who are my enemies for no reason 11  gloat 12  over me!

Do not let those who hate me without cause carry out their wicked schemes! 13 

35:20 For they do not try to make peace with others, 14 

but plan ways to deceive those who are unsuspecting. 15 

35:21 They are ready to devour me; 16 

they say, “Aha! Aha! We’ve got you!” 17 

1 tn Heb “they gathered together against me, stricken [ones], and I did not know.” The Hebrew form נֵכִים (nekhim, “stricken ones” ?) is problematic. Some suggest an emendation to נָכְרִים[כְ] (kÿnokhÿrim, “foreigners”) or “like foreigners,” which would fit with what follows, “[like] foreigners that I do not recognize.” Perhaps the form should be read as a Qal active participle, נֹכִים (nokhim, “ones who strike”) from the verbal root נָכָה (nakhah, “to strike”). The Qal of this verb is unattested in biblical Hebrew, but the peal (basic) stem appears in Old Aramaic (J. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefire [BibOr], 114; DNWSI 1:730.) In this case one might translate, “attackers gathered together against me though I was not aware of it” (cf. NASB “smiters”; NEB, NRSV “ruffians”; NIV “attackers”).

2 tn Heb “they tore and did not keep quiet.” By using the verb “tear,” the psalmist likens his enemies to a wild animal (see Hos 13:8). In v. 17 he compares them to hungry young lions.

3 tc The MT reads “as profane [ones] of mockers of food,” which is nonsensical. The present translation assumes (1) an emendation of בְּחַנְפֵי (bÿkhanfey, “as profane men”) to בְּחַנְפִי (bekhanfiy, “when I tripped”; preposition + Qal infinitive construct from II חָנַף [“limp”] + first common singular pronominal suffix) and (2) an emendation of לַעֲגֵי מָעוֹג (laagey maog, “mockers of food”) to עָגוּ[ם]לַעְגָּ (lagamagu, “[with] taunting they taunted”; masculine plural noun with enclitic mem + Qal perfect third common plural from לַּעַג [laag, “taunt”]).

4 tn Heb “gnashing at me with their teeth.” The infinitive absolute adds a complementary action – they gnashed with their teeth as they taunted.

5 tn Heb “O Lord, how long will you see?”

6 tn Heb “bring back, restore.”

7 tn Or “my life.”

8 tn Heb “my only one.” The psalmist may mean that his life is precious, or that he feels isolated and alone (see Ps 22:20). The verb “guard” is supplied in the translation, because the verb “rescue” is understood by ellipsis (see the previous line).

9 sn The great assembly is also mentioned in Ps 22:25.

10 tn Heb “among numerous people.”

11 tn Heb “[with] a lie.” The Hebrew noun שֶׁקֶר (sheqer, “lie”) is used here as an adverb, “falsely, wrongfully” (see Ps 38:19).

12 tn Heb “rejoice.”

13 tn Heb “[do not let] those who hate me without cause pinch [i.e., wink] an eye.” The negative particle is understood in the second line by ellipsis (see the preceding line). In the Book of Proverbs “winking an eye” is associated with deceit and trickery (see 6:13; 10:10; 16:30).

14 tn Heb “for they do not speak peace.”

15 tn Heb “but against the quiet ones of the land words of deceit they plan.” The imperfect verbal forms in v. 20 highlight their characteristic behavior.

16 tn Heb “and they cause their mouth to be wide against me.” The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here carries on the generalizing mood of the previous verse. For other examples of this use of the prefixed verbal form with vav consecutive, see GKC 329 §111.t.

17 tn Heb “our eye sees.” Apparently this is an idiom meaning to “look in triumph” or “gloat over” (see Ps 54:7).



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