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Psalms 69:20-29

Context

69:20 Their insults are painful 1  and make me lose heart; 2 

I look 3  for sympathy, but receive none, 4 

for comforters, but find none.

69:21 They put bitter poison 5  into my food,

and to quench my thirst they give me vinegar to drink. 6 

69:22 May their dining table become a trap before them!

May it be a snare for that group of friends! 7 

69:23 May their eyes be blinded! 8 

Make them shake violently! 9 

69:24 Pour out your judgment 10  on them!

May your raging anger 11  overtake them!

69:25 May their camp become desolate,

their tents uninhabited! 12 

69:26 For they harass 13  the one whom you discipline; 14 

they spread the news about the suffering of those whom you punish. 15 

69:27 Hold them accountable for all their sins! 16 

Do not vindicate them! 17 

69:28 May their names be deleted from the scroll of the living! 18 

Do not let their names be listed with the godly! 19 

69:29 I am oppressed and suffering!

O God, deliver and protect me! 20 

1 tn Heb “break my heart.” The “heart” is viewed here as the origin of the psalmist’s emotions.

2 tn The verb form appears to be a Qal preterite from an otherwise unattested root נוּשׁ (nush), which some consider an alternate form of אָנַשׁ (’anash, “be weak; be sick”; see BDB 60 s.v. I אָנַשׁ). Perhaps the form should be emended to a Niphal, וָאֵאָנְשָׁה (vaeonshah, “and I am sick”). The Niphal of אָנַשׁ occurs in 2 Sam 12:15, where it is used to describe David’s sick child.

3 tn Heb “wait.”

4 tn Heb “and I wait for sympathy, but there is none.” The form נוּד (nud) is an infinitive functioning as a verbal noun:, “sympathizing.” Some suggest emending the form to a participle נָד (nad, “one who shows sympathy”). The verb נוּד (nud) also has the nuance “show sympathy” in Job 2:11; 42:11 and Isa 51:19.

5 tn According to BDB 912 s.v. II רֹאשׁ the term can mean “a bitter and poisonous plant.”

6 sn John 19:28-30 appears to understand Jesus’ experience on the cross as a fulfillment of this passage (or Ps 22:15). See the study note on the word “thirsty” in John 19:28.

7 tc Heb “and to the friends for a snare.” The plural of שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”) is used in Ps 55:20 of one’s “friends.” If the reading of the MT is retained here, the term depicts the psalmist’s enemies as a close-knit group of friends who are bound together by their hatred for the psalmist. Some prefer to revocalize the text as וּלְשִׁלּוּמִים (ulÿshillumim, “and for retribution”). In this case the noun stands parallel to פַּח (pakh, “trap”) and מוֹקֵשׁ (moqesh, “snare”), and one might translate, “may their dining table become a trap before them, [a means of] retribution and a snare” (cf. NIV).

8 tn Heb “may their eyes be darkened from seeing.”

9 tn Heb “make their hips shake continually.”

10 tn Heb “anger.” “Anger” here refers metonymically to divine judgment, which is the practical effect of God’s anger.

11 tn Heb “the rage of your anger.” The phrase “rage of your anger” employs an appositional genitive. Synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the single idea. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971), 17-81.

12 tn Heb “in their tents may there not be one who dwells.”

sn In Acts 1:20 Peter applies the language of this verse to Judas’ experience. By changing the pronouns from plural to singular, he is able to apply the ancient curse, pronounced against the psalmist’s enemies, to Judas in particular.

13 tn Or “persecute”; Heb “chase.”

14 tn Heb “for you, the one whom you strike, they chase.”

15 tn Heb “they announce the pain of your wounded ones” (i.e., “the ones whom you wounded,” as the parallel line makes clear).

sn The psalmist is innocent of the false charges made by his enemies (v. 4), but he is also aware of his sinfulness (v. 5) and admits that he experiences divine discipline (v. 26) despite his devotion to God (v. 9). Here he laments that his enemies take advantage of such divine discipline by harassing and slandering him. They “kick him while he’s down,” as the expression goes.

16 tn Heb “place sin upon their sin.”

17 tn Heb “let them not come into your vindication.”

18 tn Heb “let them be wiped out of the scroll of the living.”

sn The phrase the scroll of the living occurs only here in the OT. It pictures a scroll or census list containing the names of the citizens of a community. When an individual died, that person’s name was removed from the list. So this curse is a very vivid way of asking that the enemies die.

19 tn Heb “and with the godly let them not be written.”

sn Do not let their names be listed with the godly. This curse pictures a scroll in which God records the names of his loyal followers. The psalmist makes the point that his enemies have no right to be included in this list of the godly.

20 tn Heb “your deliverance, O God, may it protect me.”



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