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Psalms 68:12-14

Context

68:12 Kings leading armies run away – they run away! 1 

The lovely lady 2  of the house divides up the loot.

68:13 When 3  you lie down among the sheepfolds, 4 

the wings of the dove are covered with silver

and with glittering gold. 5 

68:14 When the sovereign judge 6  scatters kings, 7 

let it snow 8  on Zalmon!

1 tn The verbal repetition draws attention to the statement.

2 tn The Hebrew form appears to be the construct of נוּה (nuh, “pasture”) but the phrase “pasture of the house” makes no sense here. The translation assumes that the form is an alternative or corruption of נצוה (“beautiful woman”). A reference to a woman would be appropriate in light of v. 11b.

3 tn Or “if.”

4 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word translated “sheepfolds” is uncertain. There may be an echo of Judg 5:16 here.

5 tn Heb “and her pinions with the yellow of gold.”

sn The point of the imagery of v. 13 is not certain, though the reference to silver and gold appears to be positive. Both would be part of the loot carried away from battle (see v. 12b).

6 tn The divine name used here is שַׁדַּי (“Shaddai”). Shaddai/El Shaddai is the sovereign king/judge of the world who grants life, blesses and kills, and judges. In Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses (protects) and takes away life and/or happiness.

7 tn The Hebrew text adds “in it.” The third feminine singular pronominal suffix may refer back to God’s community/dwelling place (v. 10).

8 tn The verb form appears to be a Hiphil jussive from שָׁלַג (shalag), which is usually understood as a denominative verb from שֶׁלֶג (sheleg, “snow”) with an indefinite subject. The form could be taken as a preterite, in which case one might translate, “when the sovereign judge scattered kings, it snowed on Zalmon” (cf. NIV, NRSV). The point of the image is unclear. Perhaps “snow” suggests fertility and blessing (see v. 9 and Isa 55:10), or the image of a snow-capped mountain suggests grandeur.

sn Zalmon was apparently a mountain in the region, perhaps the one mentioned in Judg 9:46 as being in the vicinity of Shechem.



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