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Psalms 76:1-12

Context
Psalm 76 1 

For the music director; to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a psalm of Asaph, a song.

76:1 God has revealed himself in Judah; 2 

in Israel his reputation 3  is great.

76:2 He lives in Salem; 4 

he dwells in Zion. 5 

76:3 There he shattered the arrows, 6 

the shield, the sword, and the rest of the weapons of war. 7  (Selah)

76:4 You shine brightly and reveal your majesty,

as you descend from the hills where you killed your prey. 8 

76:5 The bravehearted 9  were plundered; 10 

they “fell asleep.” 11 

All the warriors were helpless. 12 

76:6 At the sound of your battle cry, 13  O God of Jacob,

both rider 14  and horse “fell asleep.” 15 

76:7 You are awesome! Yes, you!

Who can withstand your intense anger? 16 

76:8 From heaven you announced what their punishment would be. 17 

The earth 18  was afraid and silent

76:9 when God arose to execute judgment,

and to deliver all the oppressed of the earth. (Selah)

76:10 Certainly 19  your angry judgment upon men will bring you praise; 20 

you reveal your anger in full measure. 21 

76:11 Make vows to the Lord your God and repay them!

Let all those who surround him 22  bring tribute to the awesome one!

76:12 He humbles princes; 23 

the kings of the earth regard him as awesome. 24 

1 sn Psalm 76. The psalmist depicts God as a mighty warrior who destroys Israel’s enemies.

2 tn Or “God is known in Judah.”

3 tn Heb “name,” which here stands metonymically for God’s reputation.

4 sn Salem is a shorter name for Jerusalem (see Gen 14:18).

5 tn Heb “and his place of refuge is in Salem, and his lair in Zion.” God may be likened here to a lion (see v. 4).

6 tn Heb “flames of the bow,” i.e., arrows.

7 tn Heb “shield and sword and battle.” “Battle” probably here stands by metonymy for the weapons of war in general.

sn This verse may allude to the miraculous defeat of the Assyrians in 701 b.c. (see Isa 36-37).

8 tn Heb “radiant [are] you, majestic from the hills of prey.” God is depicted as a victorious king and as a lion that has killed its victims.

9 tn Heb “strong of heart.” In Isa 46:12, the only other text where this phrase appears, it refers to those who are stubborn, but here it seems to describe brave warriors (see the next line).

10 tn The verb is a rare Aramaized form of the Hitpolel (see GKC 149 §54.a, n. 2); the root is שָׁלַל (shalal, “to plunder”).

11 tn Heb “they slept [in] their sleep.” “Sleep” here refers to the “sleep” of death. A number of modern translations take the phrase to refer to something less than death, however: NASB “cast into a deep sleep”; NEB “fall senseless”; NIV “lie still”; NRSV “lay stunned.”

12 tn Heb “and all the men of strength did not find their hands.”

13 tn Heb “from your shout.” The noun is derived from the Hebrew verb גָּעַר (gaar), which is often understood to mean “rebuke.” In some cases it is apparent that scolding or threatening is in view (see Gen 37:10; Ruth 2:16; Zech 3:2). However, in militaristic contexts this translation is inadequate, for the verb refers in this setting to the warrior’s battle cry, which terrifies and paralyzes the enemy. See A. Caquot, TDOT 3:53, and note the use of the verb in Pss 68:30; 106:9; Nah 1:4, as well as the related noun in Job 26:11; Pss 9:5; 18:15; 104:7; Isa 50:2; 51:20; 66:15.

14 tn Or “chariot,” but even so the term is metonymic for the charioteer.

15 tn Heb “he fell asleep, and [the] chariot and [the] horse.” Once again (see v. 5) “sleep” refers here to the “sleep” of death.

16 tc Heb “and who can stand before you from the time of your anger?” The Hebrew expression מֵאָז (meaz, “from the time of”) is better emended to מֵאֹז (meoz, “from [i.e., “because of”] the strength of your anger”; see Ps 90:11).

17 tn Heb “a [legal] decision,” or “sentence.”

18 tn “The earth” stands here by metonymy for its inhabitants.

19 tn Or “for.”

20 tn Heb “the anger of men will praise you.” This could mean that men’s anger (subjective genitive), when punished by God, will bring him praise, but this interpretation does not harmonize well with the next line. The translation assumes that God’s anger is in view here (see v. 7) and that “men” is an objective genitive. God’s angry judgment against men brings him praise because it reveals his power and majesty (see vv. 1-4).

21 tn Heb “the rest of anger you put on.” The meaning of the statement is not entirely clear. Perhaps the idea is that God, as he prepares for battle, girds himself with every last ounce of his anger, as if it were a weapon.

22 tn The phrase “all those who surround him” may refer to the surrounding nations (v. 12 may favor this), but in Ps 89:7 the phrase refers to God’s heavenly assembly.

23 tn Heb “he reduces the spirit of princes.” According to HALOT 148 s.v. II בצר, the Hebrew verb בָּצַר (batsar) is here a hapax legomenon meaning “reduce, humble.” The statement is generalizing, with the imperfect tense highlighting God’s typical behavior.

24 tn Heb “[he is] awesome to the kings of the earth.”



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