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Psalms 43:1-5

Context
Psalm 43 1 

43:1 Vindicate me, O God!

Fight for me 2  against an ungodly nation!

Deliver me 3  from deceitful and evil men! 4 

43:2 For you are the God who shelters me. 5 

Why do you reject me? 6 

Why must I walk around 7  mourning 8 

because my enemies oppress me?

43:3 Reveal 9  your light 10  and your faithfulness!

They will lead me, 11 

they will escort 12  me back to your holy hill, 13 

and to the place where you live. 14 

43:4 Then I will go 15  to the altar of God,

to the God who gives me ecstatic joy, 16 

so that I express my thanks to you, 17  O God, my God, with a harp.

43:5 Why are you depressed, 18  O my soul? 19 

Why are you upset? 20 

Wait for God!

For I will again give thanks

to my God for his saving intervention. 21 

1 sn Psalm 43. Many medieval Hebrew mss combine Psalm 43 and Psalm 42 into one psalm. Psalm 43 is the only psalm in Book 2 of the Psalter (Psalms 42-72) that does not have a heading, suggesting that it was originally the third and concluding section of Psalm 42. Ps 43:5 is identical to the refrain in Ps 42:11 and almost identical to the refrain in Ps 42:5.

2 tn Or “argue my case.”

3 tn The imperfect here expresses a request or wish. Note the imperatives in the first half of the verse. See also v. 3.

4 tn Heb “from the deceitful and evil man.” The Hebrew text uses the singular form “man” in a collective sense, as the reference to a “nation” in the parallel line indicates.

5 tn Heb “God of my place of refuge,” that is, “God who is my place of refuge.” See Ps 31:4.

6 tn The question is similar to that of Ps 42:9, but זָנַח (zanakh, “reject”) is a stronger verb than שָׁכַח (shakhakh, “forget”).

7 tn The language is similar to that of Ps 42:9, but the Hitpael form of the verb הָלַךְ (halakh; as opposed to the Qal form in 42:9) expresses more forcefully the continuing nature of the psalmist’s distress.

8 sn Walk around mourning. See Ps 38:6 for a similar statement.

9 tn Heb “send.”

10 sn God’s deliverance is compared here to a light which will lead the psalmist back home to the Lord’s temple. Divine deliverance will in turn demonstrate the Lord’s faithfulness to his people.

11 tn Or “may they lead me.” The prefixed verbal forms here and in the next line may be taken as jussives.

12 tn Heb “bring.”

13 sn In this context the Lord’s holy hill is Zion/Jerusalem. See Isa 66:20; Joel 2:1; 3:17; Zech 8:3; Pss 2:6; 15:1; 48:1; 87:1; Dan 9:16.

14 tn Or “to your dwelling place[s].” The plural form of the noun may indicate degree or quality; this is the Lord’s special dwelling place (see Pss 46:4; 84:1; 132:5, 7).

15 tn The cohortative expresses the psalmist’s resolve. Prefixed with the vav (ו) conjunctive it also expresses the result or outcome of the preceding verbs “lead” and “escort.”

16 tn Heb “to God, the joy of my happiness.” The phrase “joy of my happiness” employs an appositional genitive. Synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the degree of the psalmist’s joy. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81.

17 tn The cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive probably indicates purpose (“so that”) or intention.

18 tn Heb “Why do you bow down?”

19 sn For poetic effect the psalmist addresses his soul, or inner self.

20 tn Heb “and why are you in turmoil upon me?”

21 tc Heb “for again I will give him thanks, the saving acts of my face and my God.” The last line should be emended to read יְשׁוּעֹת פְנֵי אֱלֹהָי (yÿshuot fÿneyelohay, “[for] the saving acts of the face of my God,” that is, the saving acts associated with God’s presence/intervention. This refrain is identical to the one in Ps 42:11. See also 42:5, which differs only slightly.



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