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Psalms 76:3-6

Context

76:3 There he shattered the arrows, 1 

the shield, the sword, and the rest of the weapons of war. 2  (Selah)

76:4 You shine brightly and reveal your majesty,

as you descend from the hills where you killed your prey. 3 

76:5 The bravehearted 4  were plundered; 5 

they “fell asleep.” 6 

All the warriors were helpless. 7 

76:6 At the sound of your battle cry, 8  O God of Jacob,

both rider 9  and horse “fell asleep.” 10 

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

2 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).

3 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.

4 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).

5 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”).

6 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.”

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

8 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.

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

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



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