A psalm of David, written when he fled from his son Absalom. 2
Many attack me. 4
3:2 Many say about me,
and he answered me from his holy hill. 11 (Selah)
3:5 I rested and slept;
who attack me from all directions. 16
Deliver me, my God!
you show favor to your people. 23 (Selah)
Deliver me from all who chase me! Rescue me!
they will tear me to bits and no one will be able to rescue me. 31
or am guilty of unjust actions, 33
or helped his lawless enemy, 35
may he trample me to death 39
and leave me lying dishonored in the dust. 40 (Selah)
Rise up with raging fury against my enemies! 42
Wake up for my sake and execute the judgment you have decreed for them! 43
take once more your rightful place over them! 45
Vindicate me, Lord, because I am innocent, 47
O righteous God,
the one who delivers the morally upright. 57
7:11 God is a just judge;
he is angry throughout the day. 58
and prepares to shoot his bow. 61
he gets ready to shoot flaming arrows. 63
7:14 See the one who is pregnant with wickedness,
who conceives destructive plans,
and gives birth to harmful lies – 64
and then falls into the hole he has made. 66
and the violence he intended for others falls on his own head. 68
I will sing praises to the sovereign Lord! 70
26:1 Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have integrity, 72
and I trust in the Lord without wavering.
26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and test me!
Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives! 73
and your loyalty continually motivates me. 75
and do not associate 80 with the wicked.
so I can appear before your altar, 82 O Lord,
and to tell about all your amazing deeds. 84
the place where your splendor is revealed. 86
or execute me along with violent people, 88
or offer a bribe. 90
Rescue me 92 and have mercy on me!
and among the worshipers I will praise the Lord.
1 sn Psalm 3. The psalmist acknowledges that he is confronted by many enemies (vv. 1-2). But, alluding to a divine oracle he has received (vv. 4-5), he affirms his confidence in God’s ability to protect him (vv. 3, 6) and requests that God make his promise a reality (vv. 7-8).
3 tn The Hebrew term מָה (mah, “how”) is used here as an adverbial exclamation (see BDB 553 s.v.).
4 tn Heb “many rise up against me.”
5 tn Heb “there is no deliverance for him in God.”
6 sn The function of the Hebrew term סֶלָה (selah), transliterated here “Selah,” is uncertain. It may be a musical direction of some kind.
7 tn Heb “a shield round about me.”
8 tn Heb “my glory,” or “my honor.” The psalmist affirms that the
9 tn Heb “[the one who] lifts my head.” This phrase could be understood to refer to a general strengthening of the psalmist by God during difficult circumstances. However, if one takes the suggestion of the superscription that this is a Davidic psalm written during the revolt of Absalom, the phrase “lift the head” could refer to the psalmist’s desire for restoration to his former position (cf. Gen 40:13 where the same phrase is used). Like the Hebrew text, the present translation (“who restores me”) can be understood in either sense.
10 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.
12 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
13 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
14 tn The imperfect verbal form here expresses the psalmist’s continuing attitude as he faces the crisis at hand.
15 tn Or perhaps “troops.” The Hebrew noun עָם (’am) sometimes refers to a military contingent or army.
16 tn Heb “who all around take a stand against me.”
17 tn In v. 2 the psalmist describes his enemies as those who “confront” him (קָמִים [qamim], literally, “rise up against him”). Now, using the same verbal root (קוּם, qum) he asks the
18 tn Elsewhere in the psalms the particle כִּי (ki), when collocated with a perfect verbal form and subordinated to a preceding imperative directed to God, almost always has an explanatory or causal force (“for, because”) and introduces a motivating argument for why God should respond positively to the request (see Pss 5:10; 6:2; 12:1; 16:1; 41:4; 55:9; 56:1; 57:1; 60:2; 69:1; 74:20; 119:94; 123:3; 142:6; 143:8). (On three occasions the כִּי is recitative after a verb of perception [“see/know that,” see Pss 4:3; 25:19; 119:159]). If כִּי is taken as explanatory here, then the psalmist is arguing that God should deliver him now because that is what God characteristically does. However, such a motivating argument is not used in the passages cited above. The motivating argument usually focuses on the nature of the psalmist’s dilemma or the fact that he trusts in the Lord. For this reason it is unlikely that כִּי has its normal force here. Most scholars understand the particle כִּי as having an asseverative (emphasizing) function here (“indeed, yes”; NEB leaves the particle untranslated).
19 tn If the particle כִּי (ki) is taken as explanatory, then the perfect verbal forms in v. 7b would describe God’s characteristic behavior. However, as pointed out in the preceding note on the word “yes,” the particle probably has an asseverative force here. If so, the perfects may be taken as indicating rhetorically the psalmist’s certitude and confidence that God will intervene. The psalmist is so confident of God’s positive response to his prayer, he can describe God’s assault on his enemies as if it had already happened. Such confidence is consistent with the mood of the psalm, as expressed before (vv. 3-6) and after this (v. 8). Another option is to take the perfects as precative, expressing a wish or request (“Strike all my enemies on the jaw, break the teeth of the wicked”). See IBHS 494-95 §30.5.4c, d. However, not all grammarians are convinced that the perfect is used as a precative in biblical Hebrew.
21 tn In the psalms the Hebrew term רְשָׁעִים (rÿsha’im, “wicked”) describes people who are proud, practical atheists (Ps 10:2, 4, 11) who hate God’s commands, commit sinful deeds, speak lies and slander (Ps 50:16-20), and cheat others (Ps 37:21). They oppose God and his people.
22 tn Heb “to the
25 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew term שִׁגָּיוֹן (shiggayon; translated here “musical composition”) is uncertain. Some derive the noun from the verbal root שָׁגָה (shagah, “swerve, reel”) and understand it as referring to a “wild, passionate song, with rapid changes of rhythm” (see BDB 993 s.v. שִׁגָּיוֹן). But this proposal is purely speculative. The only other appearance of the noun is in Hab 3:1, where it occurs in the plural.
26 tn Or “on account of.”
27 sn Apparently this individual named Cush was one of David’s enemies.
28 tn The Hebrew perfect verbal form probably refers here to a completed action with continuing results.
29 tn The verb is singular in the Hebrew text, even though “all who chase me” in v. 1 refers to a whole group of enemies. The singular is also used in vv. 4-5, but the psalmist returns to the plural in v. 6. The singular is probably collective, emphasizing the united front that the psalmist’s enemies present. This same alternation between a collective singular and a plural referring to enemies appears in Pss 9:3, 6; 13:4; 31:4, 8; 41:6, 10-11; 42:9-10; 55:3; 64:1-2; 74:3-4; 89:22-23; 106:10-11; 143:3, 6, 9.
31 tn Heb “tearing and there is no one rescuing.” The verbal form translated “tearing” is a singular active participle.
32 tn Heb “if I have done this.”
33 tn Heb “if there is injustice in my hands.” The “hands” figuratively suggest deeds or actions.
34 tn Heb “if I have repaid the one at peace with me evil.” The form שׁוֹלְמִי (sholÿmi, “the one at peace with me”) probably refers to a close friend or ally, i.e., one with whom the psalmist has made a formal agreement. See BDB 1023 s.v. שָׁלוֹם 4.a.
35 tn Heb “or rescued my enemy in vain.” The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive (the verb form is pseudo-cohortative; see IBHS 576-77 §34.5.3) carries on the hypothetical nuance of the perfect in the preceding line. Some regard the statement as a parenthetical assertion that the psalmist is kind to his enemies. Others define חָלַץ (khalats) as “despoil” (cf. NASB, NRSV “plundered”; NIV “robbed”), an otherwise unattested nuance for this verb. Still others emend the verb to לָחַץ (lakhats, “oppress”). Most construe the adverb רֵיקָם (reqam, “emptily, vainly”) with “my enemy,” i.e., the one who is my enemy in vain.” The present translation (1) assumes an emendation of צוֹרְרִי (tsorÿriy, “my enemy”) to צוֹרְרוֹ (tsorÿro, “his [i.e., the psalmist’s ally’s] enemy”) following J. Tigay, “Psalm 7:5 and Ancient Near Eastern Treaties,” JBL 89 (1970): 178-86, (2) understands the final mem (ם) on רֵיקָם as enclitic, and (3) takes רִיק (riq) as an adjective modifying “his enemy.” (For other examples of a suffixed noun followed by an attributive adjective without the article, see Pss 18:17 (“my strong enemy”), 99:3 (“your great and awesome name”) and 143:10 (“your good spirit”). The adjective רִיק occurs with the sense “lawless” in Judg 9:4; 11:3; 2 Chr 13:7. In this case the psalmist affirms that he has not wronged his ally, nor has he given aid to his ally’s enemies. Ancient Near Eastern treaties typically included such clauses, with one or both parties agreeing not to lend aid to the treaty partner’s enemies.
36 tn The vocalization of the verb form seems to be a mixture of Qal and Piel (see GKC 168 §63.n). The translation assumes the Piel, which would emphasize the repetitive nature of the action. The translation assumes the prefixed verbal form is a jussive. The psalmist is so certain that he is innocent of the sins mentioned in vv. 3-4, he pronounces an imprecation on himself for rhetorical effect.
38 tn Heb “and may he overtake.” The prefixed verbal form is distinctly jussive. The object “me,” though unexpressed, is understood from the preceding statement.
39 tn Heb “and may he trample down to the earth my life.”
40 tn Heb “and my honor in the dust may he cause to dwell.” The prefixed verbal form is distinctly jussive. Some emend כְבוֹדִי (khÿvodiy, “my honor”) to כְבֵדִי (khÿvediy, “my liver” as the seat of life), but the term כְבוֹדִי (khÿvodiy) is to be retained since it probably refers to the psalmist’s dignity or honor.
41 tn Heb “in your anger.”
42 tn Heb “Lift yourself up in the angry outbursts of my enemies.” Many understand the preposition prefixed to עַבְרוֹת (’avrot, “angry outbursts”) as adversative, “against,” and the following genitive “enemies” as subjective. In this case one could translate, “rise up against my furious enemies” (cf. NIV, NRSV). The present translation, however, takes the preposition as indicating manner (cf. “in your anger” in the previous line) and understands the plural form of the noun as indicating an abstract quality (“fury”) or excessive degree (“raging fury”). Cf. Job 21:30.
43 tc Heb “Wake up to me [with the] judgment [which] you have commanded.” The LXX understands אֵלִי (’eliy, “my God”) instead of אֵלַי (’elay, “to me”; the LXX reading is followed by NEB, NIV, NRSV.) If the reading of the MT is retained, the preposition probably has the sense of “on account of, for the sake of.” The noun מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat, “judgment”) is probably an adverbial accusative, modifying the initial imperative, “wake up.” In this case צִוִּיתָ (tsivvita, “[which] you have commanded”) is an asyndetic relative clause. Some take the perfect as precative. In this case one could translate the final line, “Wake up for my sake! Decree judgment!” (cf. NIV). However, not all grammarians are convinced that the perfect is used as a precative in biblical Hebrew.
44 tn Heb “and the assembly of the peoples surrounds you.” Some understand the prefixed verbal form as a jussive, “may the assembly of the peoples surround you.”
45 tn Heb “over it (the feminine suffix refers back to the feminine noun “assembly” in the preceding line) on high return.” Some emend שׁוּבָה (shuvah, “return”) to שֵׁבָה (shevah, “sit [in judgment]”) because they find the implication of “return” problematic. But the psalmist does not mean to imply that God has abandoned his royal throne and needs to regain it. Rather he simply urges God, as sovereign king of the world, to once more occupy his royal seat of judgment and execute judgment, as the OT pictures God doing periodically.
46 sn The
47 tn Heb “judge me, O
48 tn Heb “according to my blamelessness.” The imperative verb translated “vindicate” governs the second line as well.
49 tn The Hebrew form עָלָי (’alay) has been traditionally understood as the preposition עַל (’al, “over”) with a first person suffix. But this is syntactically awkward and meaningless. The form is probably a divine title derived from the verbal root עָלָה (’alah, “ascend”). This relatively rare title appears elsewhere in the OT (see HALOT 824-25 s.v. I עַל, though this text is not listed) and in Ugaritic as an epithet for Baal (see G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 98). See M. Dahood, Psalms (AB), 1:44-45, and P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 (WBC), 98.
50 tn In the psalms the Hebrew term רְשָׁעִים (rÿsha’im, “wicked”) describes people who are proud, practical atheists (Ps 10:2, 4, 11) who hate God’s commands, commit sinful deeds, speak lies and slander (Ps 50:16-20), and cheat others (Ps 37:21). They oppose God and his people.
51 tn The prefixed verbal form is a jussive, expressing an imprecation here.
53 tn The prefixed verbal form expresses the psalmist’s prayer or wish.
55 tn Heb “and [the one who] tests hearts and kidneys, just God.” The translation inverts the word order to improve the English style. The heart and kidneys were viewed as the seat of one’s volition, conscience, and moral character.
56 tn Traditionally, “my shield is upon God” (cf. NASB). As in v. 8, עַל (’al) should be understood as a divine title, here compounded with “God” (cf. NIV, “God Most High”). See M. Dahood, Psalms (AB), 1:45-46. The shield metaphor pictures God as a protector against deadly attacks.
57 tn Heb “pure of heart.” The “heart” is here viewed as the seat of one’s moral character and motives. The “pure of heart” are God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a result, experience his deliverance (see Pss 11:2; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10; 94:15; 97:11).
58 tn Heb “God (the divine name אֵל [’el] is used) is angry during all the day.” The verb זֹעֵם (zo’em) means “be indignant, be angry, curse.” Here God’s angry response to wrongdoing and injustice leads him to prepare to execute judgment as described in the following verses.
59 tn Heb “If he”; the referent (a person who is a sinner) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The subject of the first verb is understood as the sinner who fails to repent of his ways and becomes the target of God’s judgment (vv. 9, 14-16).
60 tn Heb “if he does not return, his sword he sharpens.” The referent (God) of the pronominal subject of the second verb (“sharpens”) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
61 tn Heb “his bow he treads and prepares it.” “Treading the bow” involved stepping on one end of it in order to string it and thus prepare it for battle.
62 tn Heb “and for him he prepares the weapons of death.”
63 tn Heb “his arrows into flaming [things] he makes.”
64 tn Heb “and he conceives harm and gives birth to a lie.”
sn Pregnant with wickedness…gives birth to harmful lies. The psalmist metaphorically pictures the typical sinner as a pregnant woman, who is ready to give birth to wicked, destructive schemes and actions.
65 tn Heb “a pit he digs and he excavates it.” Apparently the imagery of hunting is employed; the wicked sinner digs this pit to entrap and destroy his intended victim. The redundancy in the Hebrew text has been simplified in the translation.
66 tn The verb forms in vv. 15-16 describe the typical behavior and destiny of those who attempt to destroy others. The image of the evildoer falling into the very trap he set for his intended victim emphasizes the appropriate nature of God’s judgment.
68 tn Heb “and on his forehead his violence [i.e., the violence he intended to do to others] comes down.”
69 tn Heb “according to.”
70 tn Heb “[to] the name of the
72 tn Heb “for I in my integrity walk.”
73 tn Heb “evaluate my kidneys and my heart.” The kidneys and heart were viewed as the seat of one’s volition, conscience, and moral character.
74 tn Heb “for your faithfulness [is] before my eyes.”
75 tn Heb “and I walk about in your loyalty.”
sn The psalmist’s awareness of the Lord’s faithfulness and…loyalty toward him motivates him to remain loyal to the Lord and to maintain his moral purity.
76 tn Heb “sit.”
77 tn Heb “go.” The psalmist uses the imperfect form of the verb to emphasize that he does not make a practice of associating with such people.
78 tn Heb “[those who] conceal themselves.”
79 tn Heb “assembly, company.”
80 tn Heb “sit.” The psalmist uses the imperfect form of the verb to emphasize that he does not make a practice of associating with such people.
81 tn Heb “I wash my hands in innocence.” The psalmist uses an image from cultic ritual to picture his moral lifestyle. The imperfect verbal emphasizes that this is his habit.
82 tn Heb “so I can go around your altar” (probably in ritual procession). Following the imperfect of the preceding line, the cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose or result.
83 tn Heb “to cause to be heard the sound of thanksgiving.”
84 tn The two infinitival forms (both with prefixed preposition -לְ, lamed) give the purpose for his appearance at the altar.
85 tn Heb “the dwelling of your house.”
86 tn Heb “the place of the abode of your splendor.”
87 tn Heb “do not gather up my life with.”
88 tn Heb “or with men of bloodshed my life.” The verb is supplied; it is understood by ellipsis (see the preceding line).
89 tn Heb “who [have] in their hands evil.”
90 tn Heb “and their right hand is full of a bribe.”
91 tn Heb “and I in my integrity walk.” The psalmist uses the imperfect verbal form to emphasize this is his practice. The construction at the beginning of the verse (conjunction + pronoun) highlights the contrast between the psalmist and the sinners mentioned in vv. 9-10.
92 tn Or “redeem me.”
93 tn Heb “my foot stands in a level place.”