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Psalms 87:4

Context

87:4 I mention Rahab 1  and Babylon to my followers. 2 

Here are 3  Philistia and Tyre, 4  along with Ethiopia. 5 

It is said of them, “This one was born there.” 6 

Psalms 87:6

Context

87:6 The Lord writes in the census book of the nations, 7 

“This one was born there.” 8  (Selah)

1 snRahab,” which means “proud one,” is used here as a title for Egypt (see Isa 30:7).

2 tn Heb “to those who know me” (see Ps 36:10). Apparently the Lord speaks here. The verbal construction (the Hiphil of זָכַר, zakhar, “remember” followed by the preposition -לְ [le] with a substantive) is rare, but the prepositional phrase is best understood as indicating the recipient of the announcement (see Jer 4:16). Some take the preposition in the sense of “among” and translate, “among those who know me” (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV). In this case these foreigners are viewed as the Lord’s people and the psalm is interpreted as anticipating a time when all nations will worship the Lord (see Ps 86:9) and be considered citizens of Zion.

3 tn Heb “Look.”

4 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

5 tn Heb “Cush.”

6 tn Heb “and this one was born there.” The words “It is said of them” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied for clarification and stylistic purposes (see v. 5). Those advocating the universalistic interpretation understand “there” as referring to Zion, but it seems more likely that the adverb refers to the nations just mentioned. The foreigners are identified by their native lands.

7 tn Heb “the Lord records in the writing of the nations.”

8 tn As noted in v. 4, the translation assumes a contrast between “there” (the various foreign lands) and “in her” (Zion). In contrast to foreigners, the citizens of Zion have special status because of their birthplace (v. 5). In this case vv. 4 and 6 form a structural frame around v. 5.



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