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Psalms 99:6-8

Context

99:6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests;

Samuel was one of those who prayed to him. 1 

They 2  prayed to the Lord and he answered them.

99:7 He spoke to them from a pillar of cloud; 3 

they obeyed his regulations and the ordinance he gave them.

99:8 O Lord our God, you answered them.

They found you to be a forgiving God,

but also one who punished their sinful deeds. 4 

1 tn Heb “among those who called on his name.”

2 tn Heb “those who.” The participle is in apposition to the phrase “those who called on his name” in the preceding line.

3 sn A pillar of cloud. The psalmist refers to the reality described in Exod 33:9-10; Num 12:5; and Deut 31:15.

4 tn Heb “a God of lifting up [i.e., forgiveness] you were to them, and an avenger concerning their deeds.” The present translation reflects the traditional interpretation, which understands the last line as qualifying the preceding one. God forgave Moses and Aaron, but he also disciplined them when they sinned (cf. NIV, NRSV). Another option is to take “their deeds” as referring to harmful deeds directed against Moses and Aaron. In this case the verse may be translated, “and one who avenged attacks against them.” Still another option is to emend the participial form נֹקֵם (noqem, “an avenger”) to נֹקָם (noqam), a rare Qal participial form of נָקַה (naqah, “purify”) with a suffixed pronoun. In this case one could translate, “and one who purified them from their [sinful] deeds” (cf. NEB “and held them innocent”).



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