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Psalms 75:4-9

Context

75:4 1 I say to the proud, “Do not be proud,”

and to the wicked, “Do not be so confident of victory! 2 

75:5 Do not be so certain you have won! 3 

Do not speak with your head held so high! 4 

75:6 For victory does not come from the east or west,

or from the wilderness. 5 

75:7 For God is the judge! 6 

He brings one down and exalts another. 7 

75:8 For the Lord holds in his hand a cup full

of foaming wine mixed with spices, 8 

and pours it out. 9 

Surely all the wicked of the earth

will slurp it up and drink it to its very last drop.” 10 

75:9 As for me, I will continually tell what you have done; 11 

I will sing praises to the God of Jacob!

1 tn The identity of the speaker in vv. 4-6 is unclear. The present translation assumes that the psalmist, who also speaks in vv. 7-9 (where God/the Lord is spoken of in the third person) here addresses the proud and warns them of God’s judgment. The presence of כִּי (ki, “for”) at the beginning of both vv. 6-7 seems to indicate that vv. 4-9 are a unit. However, there is no formal indication of a new speaker in v. 4 (or in v. 10, where God appears to speak). Another option is to see God speaking in vv. 2-6 and v. 10 and to take only vv. 7-9 as the words of the psalmist. In this case one must interpret כִּי at the beginning of v. 7 in an asseverative or emphatic sense (“surely; indeed”).

2 tn Heb “do not lift up a horn.” The horn of an ox underlies the metaphor (see Deut 33:17; 1 Kgs 22:11; Ps 92:10). The horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “exalt/lift up the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 89:17, 24; 92:10; Lam 2:17). Here the idiom seems to refer to an arrogant attitude that assumes victory has been achieved.

3 tn Heb “do not lift up on high your horn.”

4 tn Heb “[do not] speak with unrestrained neck.” The negative particle is understood in this line by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

sn The image behind the language of vv. 4-5 is that of a powerful wild ox that confidently raises its head before its enemies.

5 tn Heb “for not from the east or from the west, and not from the wilderness of the mountains.” If one follows this reading the sentence is elliptical. One must supply “does help come,” or some comparable statement. However, it is possible to take הָרִים (harim) as a Hiphil infinitive from רוּם (rum), the same verb used in vv. 4-5 of “lifting up” a horn. In this case one may translate the form as “victory.” In this case the point is that victory does not come from alliances with other nations.

6 tn Or “judges.”

7 tn The imperfects here emphasize the generalizing nature of the statement.

8 tn Heb “for a cup [is] in the hand of the Lord, and wine foams, it is full of a spiced drink.” The noun מֶסֶךְ (mesekh) refers to a “mixture” of wine and spices.

9 tn Heb “and he pours out from this.”

10 tn Heb “surely its dregs they slurp up and drink, all the wicked of the earth.”

sn The psalmist pictures God as forcing the wicked to gulp down an intoxicating drink that will leave them stunned and vulnerable. Divine judgment is also depicted this way in Ps 60:3; Isa 51:17-23; and Hab 2:16.

11 tn Heb “I will declare forever.” The object needs to be supplied; God’s just judgment is in view.



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