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Psalms 85:1-13

Context
Psalm 85 1 

For the music director; written by the Korahites, a psalm.

85:1 O Lord, you showed favor to your land;

you restored the well-being of Jacob. 2 

85:2 You pardoned 3  the wrongdoing of your people;

you forgave 4  all their sin. (Selah)

85:3 You withdrew all your fury;

you turned back from your raging anger. 5 

85:4 Restore us, O God our deliverer!

Do not be displeased with us! 6 

85:5 Will you stay mad at us forever?

Will you remain angry throughout future generations? 7 

85:6 Will you not revive us once more?

Then your people will rejoice in you!

85:7 O Lord, show us your loyal love!

Bestow on us your deliverance!

85:8 I will listen to what God the Lord says. 8 

For he will make 9  peace with his people, his faithful followers. 10 

Yet they must not 11  return to their foolish ways.

85:9 Certainly his loyal followers will soon experience his deliverance; 12 

then his splendor will again appear in our land. 13 

85:10 Loyal love and faithfulness meet; 14 

deliverance and peace greet each other with a kiss. 15 

85:11 Faithfulness grows from the ground,

and deliverance looks down from the sky. 16 

85:12 Yes, the Lord will bestow his good blessings, 17 

and our land will yield 18  its crops.

85:13 Deliverance goes 19  before him,

and prepares 20  a pathway for him. 21 

1 sn Psalm 85. God’s people recall how he forgave their sins in the past, pray that he might now restore them to his favor, and anticipate renewed blessings.

2 tn Heb “you turned with a turning [toward] Jacob.” The Hebrew term שְׁבוּת (shÿvut) is apparently a cognate accusative of שׁוּב (shuv). See Pss 14:7; 53:6.

3 tn Heb “lifted up.”

4 tn Heb “covered over.”

5 tn Heb “the rage of your anger.” The phrase “rage of your anger” employs an appositional genitive. Synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the single idea. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81. See Pss 69:24; 78:49.

6 tn Heb “break your displeasure with us.” Some prefer to emend הָפֵר (hafer, “break”) to הָסֵר (haser, “turn aside”).

7 tn Heb “Will your anger stretch to a generation and a generation?”

8 sn I will listen. Having asked for the Lord’s favor, the psalmist (who here represents the nation) anticipates a divine word of assurance.

9 tn Heb “speak.” The idiom “speak peace” refers to establishing or maintaining peaceful relations with someone (see Gen 37:4; Zech 9:10; cf. Ps 122:8).

10 tn Heb “to his people and to his faithful followers.” The translation assumes that “his people” and “his faithful followers” are viewed as identical here.

11 tn Or “yet let them not.” After the negative particle אֵל (’el), the prefixed verbal form is jussive, indicating the speaker’s desire or wish.

12 tn Heb “certainly his deliverance [is] near to those who fear him.”

13 tn Heb “to dwell, glory, in our land.” “Glory” is the subject of the infinitive. The infinitive with -לְ (lÿ), “to dwell,” probably indicates result here (“then”). When God delivers his people and renews his relationship with them, he will once more reveal his royal splendor in the land.

14 tn The psalmist probably uses the perfect verbal forms in v. 10 in a dramatic or rhetorical manner, describing what he anticipates as if it were already occurring or had already occurred.

15 sn Deliverance and peace greet each other with a kiss. The psalmist personifies these abstract qualities to emphasize that God’s loyal love and faithfulness will yield deliverance and peace for his people.

16 sn The psalmist already sees undeniable signs of God’s faithfulness and expects deliverance to arrive soon.

17 tn Heb “what is good.”

18 tn Both “bestow” and “yield” translate the same Hebrew verb (נָתַן, natan). The repetition of the word emphasizes that agricultural prosperity is the direct result of divine blessing.

19 tn Or “will go.”

20 tn Or “will prepare.”

21 tn Heb “and it prepares for a way his footsteps.” Some suggest emending וְיָשֵׂם (vÿyasem, “and prepares”) to וְשָׁלוֹם (vÿshalom, “and peace”) since “deliverance” and “peace” are closely related earlier in v. 13. This could be translated, “and peace [goes ahead, making] a pathway for his footsteps” (cf. NEB).



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