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Psalms 64:4-6

Context

64:4 in order to shoot down the innocent 1  in secluded places.

They shoot at him suddenly and are unafraid of retaliation. 2 

64:5 They encourage one another to carry out their evil deed. 3 

They plan how to hide 4  snares,

and boast, 5  “Who will see them?” 6 

64:6 They devise 7  unjust schemes;

they disguise 8  a well-conceived plot. 9 

Man’s inner thoughts cannot be discovered. 10 

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

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

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

4 tn Heb “they report about hiding.”

5 tn Heb “they say.”

6 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).

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

8 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).

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

10 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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