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Psalms 78:36-38


78:36 But they deceived him with their words, 1 

and lied to him. 2 

78:37 They were not really committed to him, 3 

and they were unfaithful to his covenant.

78:38 Yet he is compassionate.

He forgives sin and does not destroy.

He often holds back his anger,

and does not stir up his fury. 4 

1 tn Heb “with their mouth.”

2 tn Heb “and with their tongue they lied to him.”

3 tn Heb “and their heart was not firm with him.”

4 tn One could translate v. 38 in the past tense (“he was compassionate…forgave sin and did not destroy…held back his anger, and did not stir up his fury”), but the imperfect verbal forms are probably best understood as generalizing. Verse 38 steps back briefly from the narrational summary of Israel’s history and lays the theological basis for v. 39, which focuses on God’s mercy toward sinful Israel.

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