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Psalms 64:1-6

Psalm 64 1 

For the music director; a psalm of David.

64:1 Listen to me, 2  O God, as I offer my lament!

Protect 3  my life from the enemy’s terrifying attacks. 4 

64:2 Hide me from the plots of evil men,

from the crowd of evildoers. 5 

64:3 They 6  sharpen their tongues like a sword;

they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge, 7 

64:4 in order to shoot down the innocent 8  in secluded places.

They shoot at him suddenly and are unafraid of retaliation. 9 

64:5 They encourage one another to carry out their evil deed. 10 

They plan how to hide 11  snares,

and boast, 12  “Who will see them?” 13 

64:6 They devise 14  unjust schemes;

they disguise 15  a well-conceived plot. 16 

Man’s inner thoughts cannot be discovered. 17 

1 sn Psalm 64. The psalmist asks God to protect him from his dangerous enemies and then confidently affirms that God will destroy his enemies and demonstrate his justice in the sight of all observers.

2 tn Heb “my voice.”

3 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s request.

4 tn Heb “from the terror of [the] enemy.” “Terror” is used here metonymically for the enemy’s attacks that produce fear because they threaten the psalmist’s life.

5 tn Heb “workers of wickedness.”

6 tn Heb “who.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

7 tn Heb “a bitter word.”

8 tn The psalmist uses the singular because he is referring to himself here as representative of a larger group.

9 tn Heb “and are unafraid.” The words “of retaliation” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

10 tn Heb “they give strength to themselves, an evil matter [or “word”].”

11 tn Heb “they report about hiding.”

12 tn Heb “they say.”

13 tn If this is a direct quotation (cf. NASB, NIV), the pronoun “them” refers to the snares mentioned in the previous line. If it is an indirect quotation, then the pronoun may refer to the enemies themselves (cf. NEB, which is ambiguous). Some translations retain the direct quotation but alter the pronoun to “us,” referring clearly to the enemies (cf. NRSV).

14 tn Heb “search out, examine,” which here means (by metonymy) “devise.”

15 tc The MT has תַּמְנוּ (tamnu, “we are finished”), a Qal perfect first common plural form from the verbal root תָּמַם (tamam). Some understand this as the beginning of a quotation of the enemies’ words and translate, “we have completed,” but the Hiphil would seem to be required in this case. The present translation follows many medieval Hebrew mss in reading טָמְנוּ (tomnu, “they hide”), a Qal perfect third common plural form from the verbal root טָמַן (taman).

16 tn Heb “a searched-out search,” which is understood as referring here to a thoroughly planned plot to destroy the psalmist.

17 tn Heb “and the inner part of man, and a heart [is] deep.” The point seems to be that a man’s inner thoughts are incapable of being discovered. No one is a mind reader! Consequently the psalmist is vulnerable to his enemies’ well-disguised plots.

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