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Psalms 73:1

Context

Book 3
(Psalms 73-89)

Psalm 73 1 

A psalm by Asaph.

73:1 Certainly God is good to Israel, 2 

and to those whose motives are pure! 3 

Psalms 73:24-26

Context

73:24 You guide 4  me by your wise advice,

and then you will lead me to a position of honor. 5 

73:25 Whom do I have in heaven but you?

I desire no one but you on earth. 6 

73:26 My flesh and my heart may grow weak, 7 

but God always 8  protects my heart and gives me stability. 9 

1 sn Psalm 73. In this wisdom psalm the psalmist offers a personal testimony of his struggle with the age-old problem of the prosperity of the wicked. As he observed evil men prosper, he wondered if a godly lifestyle really pays off. In the midst of his discouragement, he reflected upon spiritual truths and realities. He was reminded that the prosperity of the wicked is only temporary. God will eventually vindicate his people.

2 tn Since the psalm appears to focus on an individual’s concerns, not the situation of Israel, this introduction may be a later addition designed to apply the psalm’s message to the entire community. To provide a better parallel with the next line, some emend the Hebrew phrase לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֱלֹהִים (lÿyisraelelohim, “to Israel, God”) to אֱלֹהִים [or אֵל] לָיָּשָׁר (’elohim [or ’el] lÿyyashar, “God [is good] to the upright one”).

3 tn Heb “to the pure of heart.”

4 tn The imperfect verbal form here suggests this is the psalmist’s ongoing experience.

5 tn Heb “and afterward [to] glory you will take me.” Some interpreters view this as the psalmist’s confidence in an afterlife in God’s presence and understand כָּבוֹד (cavod) as a metonymic reference to God’s presence in heaven. But this seems unlikely in the present context. The psalmist anticipates a time of vindication, when the wicked are destroyed and he is honored by God for his godly life style. The verb לָקַח (laqakh, “take”) here carries the nuance “lead, guide, conduct,” as in Num 23:14, 27-28; Josh 24:3 and Prov 24:11.

6 tn Heb “Who [is there] for me in heaven? And besides you I do not desire [anyone] in the earth.” The psalmist uses a merism (heaven/earth) to emphasize that God is the sole object of his desire and worship in the entire universe.

7 tn The Hebrew verb כָלָה (khalah, “to fail; to grow weak”) does not refer here to physical death per se, but to the physical weakness that sometimes precedes death (see Job 33:21; Pss 71:9; 143:7; Prov 5:11).

8 tn Or “forever.”

9 tn Heb “is the rocky summit of my heart and my portion.” The psalmist compares the Lord to a rocky summit where one could go for protection and to landed property, which was foundational to economic stability in ancient Israel.



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