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Psalms 3:4-5

Context

3:4 To the Lord I cried out, 1 

and he answered me from his holy hill. 2  (Selah)

3:5 I rested and slept;

I awoke, 3  for the Lord protects 4  me.

1 tn The prefixed verbal form could be an imperfect, yielding the translation “I cry out,” but the verb form in the next line (a vav [ו] consecutive with the preterite) suggests this is a brief narrative of what has already happened. Consequently the verb form in v. 4a is better understood as a preterite, “I cried out.” (For another example of the preterite of this same verb form, see Ps 30:8.) Sometime after the crisis arose, the psalmist prayed to the Lord and received an assuring answer. Now he confidently awaits the fulfillment of the divine promise.

2 sn His holy hill. That is, Zion (see Pss 2:6; 48:1-2). The psalmist recognizes that the Lord dwells in his sanctuary on Mount Zion.

3 tn The three verbal forms that appear in succession here (perfect + vav [ו] consecutive with preterite + perfect) are most naturally taken as narrational. When the psalmist received an assuring word from the Lord, he was able to sleep calmly. Because the Lord was protecting him, he awoke safely from his sleep.

4 tn Or “supports”; “sustains.” In this explanatory causal clause the imperfect verbal form probably has a habitual or present progressive nuance, for the psalmist is confident of God’s continual protection (see v. 3). Another option is to take the verb as a preterite, “for the Lord protected me.” In this case, the psalmist focuses specifically on the protection God provided while he slept.



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