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Psalms 68:16-18

Context

68:16 Why do you look with envy, 1  O mountains 2  with many peaks,

at the mountain where God has decided to live? 3 

Indeed 4  the Lord will live there 5  permanently!

68:17 God has countless chariots;

they number in the thousands. 6 

The Lord comes from Sinai in holy splendor. 7 

68:18 You ascend on high, 8 

you have taken many captives. 9 

You receive tribute 10  from 11  men,

including even sinful rebels.

Indeed the Lord God lives there! 12 

1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew verb רָצַד (ratsad), translated here “look with envy,” is uncertain; it occurs only here in the OT. See BDB 952-53. A cognate verb occurs in later Aramaic with the meaning “to lie in wait; to watch” (Jastrow 1492 s.v. רְצַד).

2 tn Perhaps the apparent plural form should be read as a singular with enclitic mem (ם; later misinterpreted as a plural ending). The preceding verse has the singular form.

3 tn Heb “[at] the mountain God desires for his dwelling place.” The reference is to Mount Zion/Jerusalem.

4 tn The Hebrew particle אַף (’af) has an emphasizing function here.

5 tn The word “there” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

6 tn Heb “thousands of [?].” The meaning of the word שִׁנְאָן (shinan), which occurs only here in the OT, is uncertain. Perhaps the form should be emended to שַׁאֲנָן (shaanan, “at ease”) and be translated here “held in reserve.”

7 tc The MT reads, “the Lord [is] among them, Sinai, in holiness,” which is syntactically difficult. The present translation assumes an emendation to אֲדֹנָי בָּא מִסִּינַי (’adonay bamissinay; see BHS note b-b and Deut 33:2).

8 tn Heb “to the elevated place”; or “on high.” This probably refers to the Lord’s throne on Mount Zion.

9 tn Heb “you have taken captives captive.”

10 tn Or “gifts.”

11 tn Or “among.”

12 tn Heb “so that the Lord God might live [there].” Many take the infinitive construct with -לְ (lamed) as indicating purpose here, but it is unclear how the offering of tribute enables the Lord to live in Zion. This may be an occurrence of the relatively rare emphatic lamed (see HALOT 510-11 s.v. II לְ, though this text is not listed as an example there). If so, the statement corresponds nicely to the final line of v. 16, which also affirms emphatically that the Lord lives in Zion.



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