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Psalms 89:38-45

Context

89:38 But you have spurned 1  and rejected him;

you are angry with your chosen king. 2 

89:39 You have repudiated 3  your covenant with your servant; 4 

you have thrown his crown to the ground. 5 

89:40 You have broken down all his 6  walls;

you have made his strongholds a heap of ruins.

89:41 All who pass by 7  have robbed him;

he has become an object of disdain to his neighbors.

89:42 You have allowed his adversaries to be victorious, 8 

and all his enemies to rejoice.

89:43 You turn back 9  his sword from the adversary, 10 

and have not sustained him in battle. 11 

89:44 You have brought to an end his splendor, 12 

and have knocked 13  his throne to the ground.

89:45 You have cut short his youth, 14 

and have covered him with shame. (Selah)

1 tn The Hebrew construction (conjunction + pronoun, followed by the verb) draws attention to the contrast between what follows and what precedes.

2 tn Heb “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; 84:9; 132:10, 17).

3 tn The Hebrew verb appears only here and in Lam 2:7.

4 tn Heb “the covenant of your servant.”

5 tn Heb “you dishonor [or “desecrate”] on the ground his crown.”

6 tn The king here represents the land and cities over which he rules.

7 tn Heb “all the passersby on the road.”

8 tn Heb “you have lifted up the right hand of his adversaries.” The idiom “the right hand is lifted up” refers to victorious military deeds (see Pss 89:13; 118:16).

9 tn The perfect verbal form predominates in vv. 38-45. The use of the imperfect in this one instance may be for rhetorical effect. The psalmist briefly lapses into dramatic mode, describing the king’s military defeat as if it were happening before his very eyes.

10 tc Heb “you turn back, rocky summit, his sword.” The Hebrew term צוּר (tsur, “rocky summit”) makes no sense here, unless it is a divine title understood as vocative, “you turn back, O Rocky Summit, his sword.” Some emend the form to צֹר (tsor, “flint”) on the basis of Josh 5:2, which uses the phrase חַרְבוֹת צֻרִים (kharvot tsurim, “flint knives”). The noun צֹר (tsor, “flint”) can then be taken as “flint-like edge,” indicating the sharpness of the sword. Others emend the form to אָחוֹר (’akhor, “backward”) or to מִצַּר (mitsar, “from the adversary”). The present translation reflects the latter, assuming an original reading תָּשִׁיב מִצָּר חַרְבּוֹ (tashiv mitsar kharbo), which was corrupted to תָּשִׁיב צָר חַרְבּוֹ (tashiv tsar kharbo) by virtual haplography (confusion of bet/mem is well-attested) with צָר (tsar, “adversary”) then being misinterpreted as צוּר in the later tradition.

11 tn Heb “and you have not caused him to stand in the battle.”

12 tc The Hebrew text appears to read, “you have brought to an end from his splendor,” but the form מִטְּהָרוֹ (mittÿharo) should be slightly emended (the daghesh should be removed from the tet [ת]) and read simply “his splendor” (the initial mem [מ] is not the preposition, but a nominal prefix).

13 tn The Hebrew verb מָגַר (magar) occurs only here and perhaps in Ezek 21:17.

14 tn Heb “the days of his youth” (see as well Job 33:25).



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