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Psalms 99:1-4

Context
Psalm 99 1 

99:1 The Lord reigns!

The nations tremble. 2 

He sits enthroned above the winged angels; 3 

the earth shakes. 4 

99:2 The Lord is elevated 5  in Zion;

he is exalted over all the nations.

99:3 Let them praise your great and awesome name!

He 6  is holy!

99:4 The king is strong;

he loves justice. 7 

You ensure that legal decisions will be made fairly; 8 

you promote justice and equity in Jacob.

1 sn Psalm 99. The psalmist celebrates the Lord’s just rule and recalls how he revealed himself to Israel’s leaders.

2 tn The prefixed verbal forms in v. 1 are understood here as indicating the nations’ characteristic response to the reality of the Lord’s kingship. Another option is to take them as jussives: “let the nations tremble…let the earth shake!”

3 sn Winged angels (Heb “cherubs”). Cherubs, as depicted in the OT, possess both human and animal (lion, ox, and eagle) characteristics (see Ezek 1:10; 10:14, 21; 41:18). They are pictured as winged creatures (Exod 25:20; 37:9; 1 Kgs 6:24-27; Ezek 10:8, 19) and serve as the very throne of God when the ark of the covenant is in view (Ps 99:1; see Num 7:89; 1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; 2 Kgs 19:15). The picture of the Lord seated on the cherubs suggests they might be used by him as a vehicle, a function they carry out in Ezek 1:22-28 (the “living creatures” mentioned here are identified as cherubs in Ezek 10:20). In Ps 18:10 the image of a cherub serves to personify the wind.

4 tn The Hebrew verb נוּט (nut) occurs only here in the OT, but the meaning can be determined on the basis of the parallelism with רָגַז (ragaz, “tremble”) and evidence from the cognate languages (see H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 121).

5 tn Heb “great.”

6 tn The pronoun refers to the Lord himself (see vv. 5, 9).

7 tn Heb “and strength, a king, justice he loves.” The syntax of the Hebrew text is difficult here. The translation assumes that two affirmations are made about the king, the Lord (see v. 1, and Ps 98:6). The noun עֹז (’oz, “strength”) should probably be revocalized as the adjective עַז (’az, “strong”).

8 tn Heb “you establish fairness.”



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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