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Psalms 50:2-6

Context

50:2 From Zion, the most beautiful of all places, 1 

God comes in splendor. 2 

50:3 Our God approaches and is not silent; 3 

consuming fire goes ahead of him

and all around him a storm rages. 4 

50:4 He summons the heavens above,

as well as the earth, so that he might judge his people. 5 

50:5 He says: 6 

“Assemble my covenant people before me, 7 

those who ratified a covenant with me by sacrifice!” 8 

50:6 The heavens declare his fairness, 9 

for God is judge. 10  (Selah)

1 tn Heb “the perfection of beauty.”

2 tn Or “shines forth.”

sn Comes in splendor. The psalmist may allude ironically to Deut 33:2, where God “shines forth” from Sinai and comes to superintend Moses’ blessing of the tribes.

3 tn According to GKC 322 §109.e, the jussive (note the negative particle אַל, ’al) is used rhetorically here “to express the conviction that something cannot or should not happen.”

4 tn Heb “fire before him devours, and around him it is very stormy.”

5 tn Or perhaps “to testify against his people.”

sn The personified heavens and earth (see v. 1 as well) are summoned to God’s courtroom as witnesses against God’s covenant people (see Isa 1:2). Long before this Moses warned the people that the heavens and earth would be watching their actions (see Deut 4:26; 30:19; 31:28; 32:1).

6 tn The words “he says” are supplied in the translation for clarification. God’s summons to the defendant follows.

7 tn Or “Gather to me my covenant people.” The Hebrew term חָסִיד (khasid, “covenant people”) elsewhere in the psalms is used in a positive sense of God’s loyal followers (see the note at Ps 4:3), but here, as the following line makes clear, the term has a neutral sense and simply refers to those who have outwardly sworn allegiance to God, not necessarily to those whose loyalty is genuine.

8 tn Heb “the cutters of my covenant according to sacrifice.” A sacrifice accompanied the covenant-making ceremony and formally ratified the agreement (see Exod 24:3-8).

9 tn Or “justice.”

10 tn Or “for God, he is about to judge.” The participle may be taken as substantival (as in the translation above) or as a predicate (indicating imminent future action in this context).



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