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Psalms 7:4-5

Context

7:4 or have wronged my ally, 1 

or helped his lawless enemy, 2 

7:5 may an enemy relentlessly chase 3  me 4  and catch me; 5 

may he trample me to death 6 

and leave me lying dishonored in the dust. 7  (Selah)

1 tn Heb “if I have repaid the one at peace with me evil.” The form שׁוֹלְמִי (sholÿmi, “the one at peace with me”) probably refers to a close friend or ally, i.e., one with whom the psalmist has made a formal agreement. See BDB 1023 s.v. שָׁלוֹם 4.a.

2 tn Heb “or rescued my enemy in vain.” The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive (the verb form is pseudo-cohortative; see IBHS 576-77 §34.5.3) carries on the hypothetical nuance of the perfect in the preceding line. Some regard the statement as a parenthetical assertion that the psalmist is kind to his enemies. Others define חָלַץ (khalats) as “despoil” (cf. NASB, NRSV “plundered”; NIV “robbed”), an otherwise unattested nuance for this verb. Still others emend the verb to לָחַץ (lakhats, “oppress”). Most construe the adverb רֵיקָם (reqam, “emptily, vainly”) with “my enemy,” i.e., the one who is my enemy in vain.” The present translation (1) assumes an emendation of צוֹרְרִי (tsorÿriy, “my enemy”) to צוֹרְרוֹ (tsorÿro, “his [i.e., the psalmist’s ally’s] enemy”) following J. Tigay, “Psalm 7:5 and Ancient Near Eastern Treaties,” JBL 89 (1970): 178-86, (2) understands the final mem (ם) on רֵיקָם as enclitic, and (3) takes רִיק (riq) as an adjective modifying “his enemy.” (For other examples of a suffixed noun followed by an attributive adjective without the article, see Pss 18:17 (“my strong enemy”), 99:3 (“your great and awesome name”) and 143:10 (“your good spirit”). The adjective רִיק occurs with the sense “lawless” in Judg 9:4; 11:3; 2 Chr 13:7. In this case the psalmist affirms that he has not wronged his ally, nor has he given aid to his ally’s enemies. Ancient Near Eastern treaties typically included such clauses, with one or both parties agreeing not to lend aid to the treaty partner’s enemies.

3 tn The vocalization of the verb form seems to be a mixture of Qal and Piel (see GKC 168 §63.n). The translation assumes the Piel, which would emphasize the repetitive nature of the action. The translation assumes the prefixed verbal form is a jussive. The psalmist is so certain that he is innocent of the sins mentioned in vv. 3-4, he pronounces an imprecation on himself for rhetorical effect.

4 tn Heb “my life.” The pronominal suffix attached to נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is equivalent to a personal pronoun. See Ps 6:3.

5 tn Heb “and may he overtake.” The prefixed verbal form is distinctly jussive. The object “me,” though unexpressed, is understood from the preceding statement.

6 tn Heb “and may he trample down to the earth my life.”

7 tn Heb “and my honor in the dust may he cause to dwell.” The prefixed verbal form is distinctly jussive. Some emend כְבוֹדִי (khÿvodiy, “my honor”) to כְבֵדִי (khÿvediy, “my liver” as the seat of life), but the term כְבוֹדִי (khÿvodiy) is to be retained since it probably refers to the psalmist’s dignity or honor.



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