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Psalms 64:1-10

Context
Psalm 64 1 

For the music director; a psalm of David.

64:1 Listen to me, 2  O God, as I offer my lament!

Protect 3  my life from the enemy’s terrifying attacks. 4 

64:2 Hide me from the plots of evil men,

from the crowd of evildoers. 5 

64:3 They 6  sharpen their tongues like a sword;

they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge, 7 

64:4 in order to shoot down the innocent 8  in secluded places.

They shoot at him suddenly and are unafraid of retaliation. 9 

64:5 They encourage one another to carry out their evil deed. 10 

They plan how to hide 11  snares,

and boast, 12  “Who will see them?” 13 

64:6 They devise 14  unjust schemes;

they disguise 15  a well-conceived plot. 16 

Man’s inner thoughts cannot be discovered. 17 

64:7 But God will shoot 18  at them;

suddenly they will be 19  wounded by an arrow. 20 

64:8 Their slander will bring about their demise. 21 

All who see them will shudder, 22 

64:9 and all people will fear. 23 

They will proclaim 24  what God has done,

and reflect on his deeds.

64:10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord

and take shelter in him.

All the morally upright 25  will boast. 26 

1 sn Psalm 64. The psalmist asks God to protect him from his dangerous enemies and then confidently affirms that God will destroy his enemies and demonstrate his justice in the sight of all observers.

2 tn Heb “my voice.”

3 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s request.

4 tn Heb “from the terror of [the] enemy.” “Terror” is used here metonymically for the enemy’s attacks that produce fear because they threaten the psalmist’s life.

5 tn Heb “workers of wickedness.”

6 tn Heb “who.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

7 tn Heb “a bitter word.”

8 tn The psalmist uses the singular because he is referring to himself here as representative of a larger group.

9 tn Heb “and are unafraid.” The words “of retaliation” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

10 tn Heb “they give strength to themselves, an evil matter [or “word”].”

11 tn Heb “they report about hiding.”

12 tn Heb “they say.”

13 tn If this is a direct quotation (cf. NASB, NIV), the pronoun “them” refers to the snares mentioned in the previous line. If it is an indirect quotation, then the pronoun may refer to the enemies themselves (cf. NEB, which is ambiguous). Some translations retain the direct quotation but alter the pronoun to “us,” referring clearly to the enemies (cf. NRSV).

14 tn Heb “search out, examine,” which here means (by metonymy) “devise.”

15 tc The MT has תַּמְנוּ (tamnu, “we are finished”), a Qal perfect first common plural form from the verbal root תָּמַם (tamam). Some understand this as the beginning of a quotation of the enemies’ words and translate, “we have completed,” but the Hiphil would seem to be required in this case. The present translation follows many medieval Hebrew mss in reading טָמְנוּ (tomnu, “they hide”), a Qal perfect third common plural form from the verbal root טָמַן (taman).

16 tn Heb “a searched-out search,” which is understood as referring here to a thoroughly planned plot to destroy the psalmist.

17 tn Heb “and the inner part of man, and a heart [is] deep.” The point seems to be that a man’s inner thoughts are incapable of being discovered. No one is a mind reader! Consequently the psalmist is vulnerable to his enemies’ well-disguised plots.

18 tn The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive is normally used in narrative contexts to describe completed past actions. It is possible that the conclusion to the psalm (vv. 7-10) was added to the lament after God’s judgment of the wicked in response to the psalmist’s lament (vv. 1-6). The translation assumes that these verses are anticipatory and express the psalmist’s confidence that God would eventually judge the wicked. The psalmist uses a narrative style as a rhetorical device to emphasize his certitude. See GKC 329-30 §111.w.

19 tn The perfect verbal form here expresses the psalmist’s certitude about the coming demise of the wicked.

20 tn The translation follows the traditional accentuation of the MT. Another option is to translate, “But God will shoot them down with an arrow, suddenly they will be wounded” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

21 tc The MT reads literally, “and they caused him to stumble, upon them, their tongue.” Perhaps the third plural subject of the verb is indefinite with the third singular pronominal suffix on the verb being distributive (see Ps 63:10). In this case one may translate, “each one will be made to stumble.” The preposition עַל (’al) might then be taken as adversative, “against them [is] their tongue.” Many prefer to emend the text to וַיַּכְשִׁילֵמוֹ עֲלֵי לְשׁוֹנָם (vayyakhshilemoaley lÿshonam, “and he caused them to stumble over their tongue”). However, if this reading is original, it is difficult to see how the present reading of the MT arose. Furthermore, the preposition is not collocated with the verb כָּשַׁל (kashal) elsewhere. It is likely that the MT is corrupt, but a satisfying emendation has not yet been proposed.

22 tn The Hitpolel verbal form is probably from the root נוּד (nud; see HALOT 678 s.v. נוד), which is attested elsewhere in the Hitpolel stem, not the root נָדַד (nadad, as proposed by BDB 622 s.v. I נָדַד), which does not occur elsewhere in this stem.

23 tc Many medieval Hebrew mss read וַיִּרְאוּ (vayyiru, “and they will see”) instead of וַיִּירְאוּ (vayyirÿu, “and they will proclaim”).

24 tn Heb “the work of God,” referring to the judgment described in v. 7.

25 tn Heb “upright in heart.”

26 tn That is, about the Lord’s accomplishments on their behalf.



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