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Psalms 56:8-11

Context

56:8 You keep track of my misery. 1 

Put my tears in your leather container! 2 

Are they not recorded in your scroll? 3 

56:9 My enemies will turn back when I cry out to you for help; 4 

I know that God is on my side. 5 

56:10 In God – I boast in his promise 6 

in the Lord – I boast in his promise 7 

56:11 in God I trust, I am not afraid.

What can mere men 8  do to me? 9 

1 tn Heb “my wandering you count, you.” The Hebrew term נֹד (nod, “wandering,” derived from the verbal root נוֹד, nod, “to wander”; cf. NASB) here refers to the psalmist’s “changeable circumstances of life” and may be translated “misery.” The verb סָפַר (safar, “count”) probably carries the nuance “assess” here. Cf. NIV “my lament”; NRSV “my tossings.”

2 tn Traditionally “your bottle.” Elsewhere the Hebrew word נֹאד (nod, “leather container”) refers to a container made from animal skin which is used to hold wine or milk (see Josh 9:4, 13; Judg 4:19; 1 Sam 16:20). If such a container is metaphorically in view here, then the psalmist seems to be asking God to store up his tears as a reminder of his suffering.

3 tn The word “recorded” is supplied in the translation for clarification. The rhetorical question assumes a positive response (see the first line of the verse).

4 tn Heb “then my enemies will turn back in the day I cry out.” The Hebrew particle אָז (’az, “then”) is probably used here to draw attention to the following statement.

5 tn Heb “this I know, that God is for me.”

6 tn Heb “in God I praise a word.” The syntax of the Hebrew text is difficult. The statement is similar to that of v. 4, except that the third person pronominal suffix is omitted here, where the text has simply “a word” instead of “his word.” (1) One could translate, “in God I will boast [with] a word.” In this case, the “word” refers to a song of praise. (2) If one assumes that God’s word is in view, as in v. 4, then one option is to translate, “in God I boast, [in] his word.” In this case the prepositional phrase “in God” goes with the following verb “I boast” (see Ps 44:8) and “[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. (3) The present translation reflects another option: 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 v. 11, with the prepositional phrase being repeated after the parenthesis.

7 tn The phrase “in the Lord” parallels “in God” in the first line. Once again the psalmist parenthetically remarks “I boast in [his] word” before completing the sentence in v. 11.

8 tn The statement is similar to that of v. 4, except “flesh” is used there instead of “man.”

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



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