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Psalms 74:4-8

Context

74:4 Your enemies roar 1  in the middle of your sanctuary; 2 

they set up their battle flags. 3 

74:5 They invade like lumberjacks

swinging their axes in a thick forest. 4 

74:6 And now 5  they are tearing down 6  all its engravings 7 

with axes 8  and crowbars. 9 

74:7 They set your sanctuary on fire;

they desecrate your dwelling place by knocking it to the ground. 10 

74:8 They say to themselves, 11 

“We will oppress all of them.” 12 

They burn down all the places where people worship God in the land. 13 

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

2 tn Heb “your meeting place.”

3 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).

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

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

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

7 tn Heb “its engravings together.”

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

9 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”).

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

11 tn Heb “in their heart.”

12 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”).

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



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