Psalms 56:2-4

56:2 Those who anticipate my defeat attack me all day long.

Indeed, many are fighting against me, O Exalted One.

56:3 When I am afraid,

I trust in you.

56:4 In God – I boast in his promise

in God I trust, I am not afraid.

What can mere men do to me?

tn Heb “to those who watch me [with evil intent].” See also Pss 5:8; 27:11; 54:5; 59:10.

tn Or “for.”

tn Some take the Hebrew term מָרוֹם (marom, “on high; above”) as an adverb modifying the preceding participle and translate, “proudly” (cf. NASB; NIV “in their pride”). The present translation assumes the term is a divine title here. The Lord is pictured as enthroned “on high” in Ps 92:8. (Note the substantival use of the term in Isa 24:4 and see C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs (Psalms [ICC], 2:34), who prefer to place the term at the beginning of the next verse.)

tn Heb “[in] a day.”

tn Heb “in God I boast, his word.” The syntax in the Hebrew text is difficult. (1) The line could be translated, “in God I boast, [in] his word.” Such a translation assumes that the prepositional phrase “in God” goes with the following verb “I boast” (see Ps 44:8) and that “his word” is appositional to “in God” and more specifically identifies the basis for the psalmist’s confidence. God’s “word” is here understood as an assuring promise of protection. Another option (2) is to translate, “in God I will boast [with] a word.” In this case, the “word” is a song of praise. (In this view the pronominal suffix “his” must be omitted as in v. 10.) The present translation reflects yet another option (3): In this case “I praise his word” is a parenthetical statement, with “his word” being the object of the verb. The sentence begun with the prepositional phrase “in God” is then completed in the next line, with the prepositional phrase being repeated after the parenthesis.

tn Heb “flesh,” which refers by metonymy to human beings (see v. 11, where “man” is used in this same question), envisioned here as mortal and powerless before God.

tn The rhetorical question assumes the answer, “Nothing!” The imperfect is used in a modal sense here, indicating capability or potential.