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Psalms 50:16-20

Context

50:16 God says this to the evildoer: 1 

“How can you declare my commands,

and talk about my covenant? 2 

50:17 For you hate instruction

and reject my words. 3 

50:18 When you see a thief, you join him; 4 

you associate with men who are unfaithful to their wives. 5 

50:19 You do damage with words, 6 

and use your tongue to deceive. 7 

50:20 You plot against your brother; 8 

you slander your own brother. 9 

1 tn Heb “evil [one].” The singular adjective is used here in a representative sense; it refers to those within the larger covenant community who have blatantly violated the Lord’s commandments. In the psalms the “wicked” (רְשָׁעִים, rÿshaim) are typically proud, practical atheists (Ps 10:2, 4, 11) who hate God’s commands, commit sinful deeds, speak lies and slander, and cheat others (Ps 37:21).

2 tn Heb “What to you to declare my commands and lift up my covenant upon your mouth?” The rhetorical question expresses sarcastic amazement. The Lord is shocked that such evildoers would give lip-service to his covenantal demands, for their lifestyle is completely opposed to his standards (see vv. 18-20).

3 tn Heb “and throw my words behind you.”

4 tn Heb “you run with him.”

5 tn Heb “and with adulterers [is] your portion.”

6 tn Heb “your mouth you send with evil.”

7 tn Heb “and your tongue binds together [i.e., “frames”] deceit.”

8 tn Heb “you sit, against your brother you speak.” To “sit” and “speak” against someone implies plotting against that person (see Ps 119:23).

9 tn Heb “against the son of your mother you give a fault.”



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