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Psalms 79:8-12

Context

79:8 Do not hold us accountable for the sins of earlier generations! 1 

Quickly send your compassion our way, 2 

for we are in serious trouble! 3 

79:9 Help us, O God, our deliverer!

For the sake of your glorious reputation, 4  rescue us!

Forgive our sins for the sake of your reputation! 5 

79:10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”

Before our very eyes may the shed blood of your servants

be avenged among the nations! 6 

79:11 Listen to the painful cries of the prisoners! 7 

Use your great strength to set free those condemned to die! 8 

79:12 Pay back our neighbors in full! 9 

May they be insulted the same way they insulted you, O Lord! 10 

1 tn Heb “do not remember against us sins, former.” Some understand “former” as an attributive adjective modifying sins, “former [i.e., chronologically prior] sins” (see BDB 911 s.v. רִאשׁוֹן). The present translation assumes that ראשׁנים (“former”) here refers to those who lived formerly, that is, the people’s ancestors (see Lam 5:7). The word is used in this way in Lev 26:45; Deut 19:14 and Eccl 1:11.

2 tn Heb “may your compassion quickly confront us.” The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive, indicating a tone of prayer.

3 tn Heb “for we are very low.”

4 tn Heb “the glory of your name.” Here and in the following line “name” stands metonymically for God’s reputation.

5 tn Heb “your name.”

6 tn Heb “may it be known among the nations, to our eyes, the vengeance of the shed blood of your servants.”

7 tn Heb “may the painful cry of the prisoner come before you.”

8 tn Heb “according to the greatness of your arm leave the sons of death.” God’s “arm” here symbolizes his strength to deliver. The verbal form הוֹתֵר (hoter) is a Hiphil imperative from יָתַר (yatar, “to remain; to be left over”). Here it must mean “to leave over; to preserve.” However, it is preferable to emend the form to הַתֵּר (hatter), a Hiphil imperative from נָתַר (natar, “be free”). The Hiphil form is used in Ps 105:20 of Pharaoh freeing Joseph from prison. The phrase “sons of death” (see also Ps 102:21) is idiomatic for those condemned to die.

9 tn Heb “Return to our neighbors sevenfold into their lap.” The number seven is used rhetorically to express the thorough nature of the action. For other rhetorical/figurative uses of the Hebrew phrase שִׁבְעָתַיִם (shivatayim, “seven times”) see Gen 4:15, 24; Ps 12:6; Prov 6:31; Isa 30:26.

10 tn Heb “their reproach with which they reproached you, O Lord.”



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