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Psalms 68:4

Context

68:4 Sing to God! Sing praises to his name!

Exalt the one who rides on the clouds! 1 

For the Lord is his name! 2 

Rejoice before him!

Psalms 68:32-35

Context

68:32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God!

Sing praises to the Lord, (Selah)

68:33 to the one who rides through the sky from ancient times! 3 

Look! He thunders loudly. 4 

68:34 Acknowledge God’s power, 5 

his sovereignty over Israel,

and the power he reveals in the skies! 6 

68:35 You are awe-inspiring, O God, as you emerge from your holy temple! 7 

It is the God of Israel 8  who gives the people power and strength.

God deserves praise! 9 

1 tn Traditionally the Hebrew term עֲרָבוֹת (’aravot) is taken as “steppe-lands” (often rendered “deserts”), but here the form is probably a homonym meaning “clouds.” Verse 33, which depicts God as the one who “rides on the sky” strongly favors this (see as well Deut 33:26), as does the reference in v. 9 to God as the source of rain. The term עֲרָבָה (’aravah, “cloud”) is cognate with Akkadian urpatu/erpetu and with Ugaritic ’rpt. The phrase rkbrpt (“one who rides on the clouds”) appears in Ugaritic mythological texts as an epithet of the storm god Baal. The nonphonemic interchange of the bilabial consonants b and p is attested elsewhere in roots common to Hebrew and Ugaritic, though the phenomenon is relatively rare.

2 tc Heb “in the Lord his name.” If the MT is retained, the preposition -בְ (bet) is introducing the predicate (the so-called bet of identity), “the Lord is his name.” However, some prefer to emend the text to כִּי יָהּ שְׁמוֹ (ki yah shÿmo, “for Yah is his name”). This emendation, reflected in the present translation, assumes a confusion of bet (ב) and kaf (כ) and haplography of yod (י).

3 tc Heb “to the one who rides through the skies of skies of ancient times.” If the MT is retained, one might translate, “to the one who rides through the ancient skies.” (שְׁמֵי [shÿmey, “skies of”] may be accidentally repeated.) The present translation assumes an emendation to בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִקֶּדֶם (bashamayim miqqedem, “[to the one who rides] through the sky from ancient times”), that is, God has been revealing his power through the storm since ancient times.

4 tn Heb “he gives his voice a strong voice.” In this context God’s “voice” is the thunder that accompanies the rain (see vv. 8-9, as well as Deut 33:26).

5 tn Heb “give strength to God.”

6 sn The language of v. 34 echoes that of Deut 33:26.

7 tn Heb “awesome [is] God from his holy places.” The plural of מִקְדָּשׁ (miqdash, “holy places”) perhaps refers to the temple precincts (see Ps 73:17; Jer 51:51).

8 tn Heb “the God of Israel, he.”

9 tn Heb “blessed [be] God.”



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