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Psalms 74:2-8


74:2 Remember your people 1  whom you acquired in ancient times,

whom you rescued 2  so they could be your very own nation, 3 

as well as Mount Zion, where you dwell!

74:3 Hurry and look 4  at the permanent ruins,

and all the damage the enemy has done to the temple! 5 

74:4 Your enemies roar 6  in the middle of your sanctuary; 7 

they set up their battle flags. 8 

74:5 They invade like lumberjacks

swinging their axes in a thick forest. 9 

74:6 And now 10  they are tearing down 11  all its engravings 12 

with axes 13  and crowbars. 14 

74:7 They set your sanctuary on fire;

they desecrate your dwelling place by knocking it to the ground. 15 

74:8 They say to themselves, 16 

“We will oppress all of them.” 17 

They burn down all the places where people worship God in the land. 18 

1 tn Heb “your assembly,” which pictures God’s people as an assembled community.

2 tn Heb “redeemed.” The verb “redeem” casts God in the role of a leader who protects members of his extended family in times of need and crisis (see Ps 19:14).

3 tn Heb “the tribe of your inheritance” (see Jer 10:16; 51:19).

4 tn Heb “lift up your steps to,” which may mean “run, hurry.”

5 tn Heb “everything [the] enemy has damaged in the holy place.”

6 tn This verb is often used of a lion’s roar, so the psalmist may be comparing the enemy to a raging, devouring lion.

7 tn Heb “your meeting place.”

8 tn Heb “they set up their banners [as] banners.” The Hebrew noun אוֹת (’ot, “sign”) here refers to the enemy army’s battle flags and banners (see Num 2:12).

9 tn Heb “it is known like one bringing upwards, in a thicket of wood, axes.” The Babylonian invaders destroyed the woodwork in the temple.

10 tn This is the reading of the Qere (marginal reading). The Kethib (consonantal text) has “and a time.”

11 tn The imperfect verbal form vividly describes the act as underway.

12 tn Heb “its engravings together.”

13 tn This Hebrew noun occurs only here in the OT (see H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 49-50).

14 tn This Hebrew noun occurs only here in the OT. An Akkadian cognate refers to a “pickaxe” (cf. NEB “hatchet and pick”; NIV “axes and hatchets”; NRSV “hatchets and hammers”).

15 tn Heb “to the ground they desecrate the dwelling place of your name.”

16 tn Heb “in their heart.”

17 tc Heb “[?] altogether.” The Hebrew form נִינָם (ninam) is problematic. It could be understood as the noun נִין (nin, “offspring”) but the statement “their offspring altogether” would make no sense here. C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs (Psalms [ICC], 2:159) emends יָחַד (yakhad, “altogether”) to יָחִיד (yakhid, “alone”) and translate “let their offspring be solitary” (i.e., exiled). Another option is to understand the form as a Qal imperfect first common plural from יָנָה (yanah, “to oppress”) with a third masculine plural pronominal suffix, “we will oppress them.” However, this verb, when used in the finite form, always appears in the Hiphil. Therefore, it is preferable to emend the form to the Hiphil נוֹנֵם (nonem, “we will oppress them”).

18 tn Heb “they burn down all the meeting places of God in the land.”

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