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Psalms 64:6-8

Context

64:6 They devise 1  unjust schemes;

they disguise 2  a well-conceived plot. 3 

Man’s inner thoughts cannot be discovered. 4 

64:7 But God will shoot 5  at them;

suddenly they will be 6  wounded by an arrow. 7 

64:8 Their slander will bring about their demise. 8 

All who see them will shudder, 9 

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

2 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).

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

4 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.

5 tn The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive is normally used in narrative contexts to describe completed past actions. It is possible that the conclusion to the psalm (vv. 7-10) was added to the lament after God’s judgment of the wicked in response to the psalmist’s lament (vv. 1-6). The translation assumes that these verses are anticipatory and express the psalmist’s confidence that God would eventually judge the wicked. The psalmist uses a narrative style as a rhetorical device to emphasize his certitude. See GKC 329-30 §111.w.

6 tn The perfect verbal form here expresses the psalmist’s certitude about the coming demise of the wicked.

7 tn The translation follows the traditional accentuation of the MT. Another option is to translate, “But God will shoot them down with an arrow, suddenly they will be wounded” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

8 tc The MT reads literally, “and they caused him to stumble, upon them, their tongue.” Perhaps the third plural subject of the verb is indefinite with the third singular pronominal suffix on the verb being distributive (see Ps 63:10). In this case one may translate, “each one will be made to stumble.” The preposition עַל (’al) might then be taken as adversative, “against them [is] their tongue.” Many prefer to emend the text to וַיַּכְשִׁילֵמוֹ עֲלֵי לְשׁוֹנָם (vayyakhshilemoaley lÿshonam, “and he caused them to stumble over their tongue”). However, if this reading is original, it is difficult to see how the present reading of the MT arose. Furthermore, the preposition is not collocated with the verb כָּשַׁל (kashal) elsewhere. It is likely that the MT is corrupt, but a satisfying emendation has not yet been proposed.

9 tn The Hitpolel verbal form is probably from the root נוּד (nud; see HALOT 678 s.v. נוד), which is attested elsewhere in the Hitpolel stem, not the root נָדַד (nadad, as proposed by BDB 622 s.v. I נָדַד), which does not occur elsewhere in this stem.



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