in the courts of the Lord’s temple. 2
My heart and my entire being 3 shout for joy
to the living God.
84:3 Even the birds find a home there,
and the swallow 4 builds a nest,
where she can protect her young 5
near your altars, O Lord who rules over all,
my king and my God.
and praise you continually! (Selah)
and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! 8
he provides a spring for them. 10
each one appears 14 before God in Zion.
hear my prayer!
Listen, O God of Jacob! (Selah)
Show concern for your chosen king! 17
than spending a thousand elsewhere. 19
I would rather stand at the entrance 20 to the temple of my God
than live 21 in the tents of the wicked.
The Lord bestows favor 23 and honor;
he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity. 24
1 tn Heb “my soul longs, it even pines for.”
3 tn Heb “my flesh,” which stands for his whole person and being.
5 tn Heb “even a bird finds a home, and a swallow a nest for herself, [in] which she places her young.”
sn The psalmist here romanticizes the temple as a place of refuge and safety. As he thinks of the birds nesting near its roof, he envisions them finding protection in God’s presence.
6 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see v. 12 and Pss 1:1; 2:12; 34:9; 41:1; 65:4; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).
7 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here was certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to in v. 5a is representative of followers of God, as the use of plural forms in vv. 5b-7 indicates.
9 tn The translation assumes that the Hebrew phrase עֵמֶק הַבָּכָא (’emeq habbakha’) is the name of an otherwise unknown arid valley through which pilgrims to Jerusalem passed. The term בָּכָא (bakha’) may be the name of a particular type of plant or shrub that grew in this valley. O. Borowski (Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 130) suggests it is the black mulberry. Some take the phrase as purely metaphorical and relate בָּכָא to the root בָּכָה (bakhah, “to weep”). In this case one might translate, “the valley of weeping” or “the valley of affliction.”
10 tc The MT reads “a spring they make it,” but this makes little sense. Many medieval Hebrew
12 tc The MT reads בְּרָכוֹת (bÿrakhot, “blessings”) but the preceding reference to a “spring” favors an emendation to בְּרֵכוֹת (bÿrekhot, “pools”).
sn Pools of water. Because water is so necessary for life, it makes an apt symbol for divine favor and blessing. As the pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem, God provided for their physical needs and gave them a token of his favor and of the blessings awaiting them at the temple.
13 tn Heb “they go from strength to strength.” The phrase “from strength to strength” occurs only here in the OT. With a verb of motion, the expression “from [common noun] to [same common noun]” normally suggests movement from one point to another or through successive points (see Num 36:7; 1 Chr 16:20; 17:5; Ps 105:13; Jer 25:32). Ps 84:7 may be emphasizing that the pilgrims move successively from one “place of strength” to another as they travel toward Jerusalem. All along the way they find adequate provisions and renewed energy for the trip.
15 tn Heb “
16 tn The phrase “our shield” refers metaphorically to the Davidic king, who, as God’s vice-regent, was the human protector of the people. Note the parallelism with “your anointed one” here and with “our king” in Ps 89:18.
17 tn Heb “look [on] the face of your anointed one.” The Hebrew phrase מְשִׁיחֶךָ (mÿshikhekha, “your anointed one”) refers here to the Davidic king (see Pss 2:2; 18:50; 20:6; 28:8; 89:38, 51; 132:10, 17).
18 tn Or “for.”
19 tn Heb “better is a day in your courts than a thousand [spent elsewhere].”
20 tn Heb “I choose being at the entrance of the house of my God over living in the tents of the wicked.” The verb סָפַף (safaf) appears only here in the OT; it is derived from the noun סַף (saf, “threshold”). Traditionally some have interpreted this as a reference to being a doorkeeper at the temple, though some understand it to mean “lie as a beggar at the entrance to the temple” (see HALOT 765 s.v. ספף).
21 tn The verb דּוּר (dur, “to live”) occurs only here in the OT.
22 tn Heb “[is] a sun and a shield.” The epithet “sun,” though rarely used of Israel’s God in the OT, was a well-attested royal title in the ancient Near East. For several examples from Ugaritic texts, the Amarna letters, and Assyrian royal inscriptions, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 131, n. 2.
23 tn Or “grace.”
24 tn Heb “he does not withhold good to those walking in integrity.”