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Psalms 77:2-6

Context

77:2 In my time of trouble I sought 1  the Lord.

I kept my hand raised in prayer throughout the night. 2 

I 3  refused to be comforted.

77:3 I said, “I will remember God while I groan;

I will think about him while my strength leaves me.” 4  (Selah)

77:4 You held my eyelids open; 5 

I was troubled and could not speak. 6 

77:5 I thought about the days of old,

about ancient times. 7 

77:6 I said, “During the night I will remember the song I once sang;

I will think very carefully.”

I tried to make sense of what was happening. 8 

1 tn Here the psalmist refers back to the very recent past, when he began to pray for divine help.

2 tn Heb “my hand [at] night was extended and was not growing numb.” The verb נָגַר (nagar), which can mean “flow” in certain contexts, here has the nuance “be extended.” The imperfect form (תָפוּג, tafug, “to be numb”) is used here to describe continuous action in the past.

3 tn Or “my soul.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) with a pronominal suffix is often equivalent to a pronoun, especially in poetry (see BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.a).

4 tn Heb “I will remember God and I will groan, I will reflect and my spirit will grow faint.” The first three verbs are cohortatives, the last a perfect with vav (ו) consecutive. The psalmist’s statement in v. 4 could be understood as concurrent with v. 1, or, more likely, as a quotation of what he had said earlier as he prayed to God (see v. 2). The words “I said” are supplied in the translation at the beginning of the verse to reflect this interpretation (see v. 10).

5 tn Heb “you held fast the guards of my eyes.” The “guards of the eyes” apparently refers to his eyelids. The psalmist seems to be saying that God would not bring him relief, which would have allowed him to shut his eyes and get some sleep (see v. 2).

6 tn The imperfect is used in the second clause to emphasize that this was an ongoing condition in the past.

7 tn Heb “the years of antiquity.”

8 tn Heb “I will remember my song in the night, with my heart I will reflect. And my spirit searched.” As in v. 4, the words of v. 6a are understood as what the psalmist said earlier. Consequently the words “I said” are supplied in the translation for clarification (see v. 10). The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive at the beginning of the final line is taken as sequential to the perfect “I thought” in v. 6.



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