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Psalms 44:4-8

Context

44:4 You are my 1  king, O God!

Decree 2  Jacob’s 3  deliverance!

44:5 By your power 4  we will drive back 5  our enemies;

by your strength 6  we will trample down 7  our foes! 8 

44:6 For I do not trust in my bow,

and I do not prevail by my sword.

44:7 For you deliver 9  us from our enemies;

you humiliate 10  those who hate us.

44:8 In God I boast all day long,

and we will continually give thanks to your name. (Selah)

1 sn The speaker changes here to an individual, perhaps the worship leader or the king. The oscillation between singular (vv. 4, 6) and plural (vv. 1-3, 5, 7-8) in vv. 1-8 may reflect an antiphonal ceremony.

2 tc The LXX assumes a participle here (מְצַוֶּה [mÿtsavveh], “the one who commands/decrees”) which would stand in apposition to “my God.” It is possible that the MT, which has the imperative (צַוֵּה, tsavveh) form, has suffered haplography of the letter mem (ם). Note that the preceding word (אֱלֹהִים, ’elohim) ends in mem. Another option is that the MT is divided in the wrong place; perhaps one could move the final mem from אֱלֹהִים to the beginning of the next word and read מְצַוֶּה אֱלֹהָי (’elohay mÿtsavveh, “[You are my king,] my God, the one who decrees”).

tn Or “command.” This may be the Israelites’ petition prior to the battle. See the introductory note to the psalm.

3 tn That is, Israel. See Pss 14:7; 22:23.

4 tn Heb “by you.”

5 tn Heb “gore” (like an ox). If this portion of the psalm contains the song of confidence/petition the Israelites recited prior to battle, then the imperfects here and in the next line may express their expectation of victory. Another option is that the imperfects function in an emphatic generalizing manner. In this case one might translate, “you [always] drive back…you [always] trample down.”

sn The Hebrew verb translated “drive back” is literally “gore”; the imagery is that of a powerful wild ox that “gores” its enemies and tramples them underfoot.

6 tn Heb “in your name.” The Lord’s “name” refers here to his revealed character or personal presence. Specifically in this context his ability to deliver, protect, and energize for battle is in view (see Ps 54:1).

7 sn The image of the powerful wild ox continues; see the note on the phrase “drive back” in the preceding line.

8 tn Heb “those who rise up [against] us.”

9 tn Or “have delivered,” if past successes are in view. Another option is to take the perfect as rhetorical, emphasizing that victory is certain (note the use of the imperfect in vv. 5-6).

10 tn Or “have humiliated,” if past successes are in view. Another option is to take the perfect as rhetorical, emphasizing that victory is certain (note the use of the imperfect in vv. 5-6).



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