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Psalms 73:7-9

Context

73:7 Their prosperity causes them to do wrong; 1 

their thoughts are sinful. 2 

73:8 They mock 3  and say evil things; 4 

they proudly threaten violence. 5 

73:9 They speak as if they rule in heaven,

and lay claim to the earth. 6 

1 tc The MT reads “it goes out from fatness their eye,” which might be paraphrased, “their eye protrudes [or “bulges”] because of fatness.” This in turn might refer to their greed; their eyes “bug out” when they see rich food or produce (the noun חֵלֶב [khelev, “fatness”] sometimes refers to such food or produce). However, when used with the verb יָצָא (yatsa’, “go out”) the preposition מִן (“from”) more naturally indicates source. For this reason it is preferable to emend עֵינֵמוֹ (’enemo, “their eye”) to עֲוֹנָמוֹ, (’avonamo, “their sin”) and read, “and their sin proceeds forth from fatness,” that is, their prosperity gives rise to their sinful attitudes. If one follows this textual reading, another interpretive option is to take חֵלֶב (“fatness”) in the sense of “unreceptive, insensitive” (see its use in Ps 17:10). In this case, the sin of the wicked proceeds forth from their spiritual insensitivity.

2 tn Heb “the thoughts of [their] heart [i.e., mind] cross over” (i.e., violate God’s moral boundary, see Ps 17:3).

3 tn The verb מוּק (muq, “mock”) occurs only here in the OT.

4 tn Heb “and speak with evil.”

5 tn Heb “oppression from an elevated place they speak.” The traditional accentuation of the MT places “oppression” with the preceding line. In this case, one might translate, “they mock and speak with evil [of] oppression, from an elevated place [i.e., “proudly”] they speak.” By placing “oppression” with what follows, one achieves better poetic balance in the parallelism.

6 tn Heb “they set in heaven their mouth, and their tongue walks through the earth.” The meaning of the text is uncertain. Perhaps the idea is that they lay claim to heaven (i.e., speak as if they were ruling in heaven) and move through the earth declaring their superiority and exerting their influence. Some take the preposition -בְּ (bet) the first line as adversative and translate, “they set their mouth against heaven,” that is, they defy God.



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