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Psalms 106:1-48

Context
Psalm 106 1 

106:1 Praise the Lord!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

and his loyal love endures! 2 

106:2 Who can adequately recount the Lord’s mighty acts,

or relate all his praiseworthy deeds? 3 

106:3 How blessed are those who promote justice,

and do what is right all the time!

106:4 Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people!

Pay attention to me, when you deliver,

106:5 so I may see the prosperity 4  of your chosen ones,

rejoice along with your nation, 5 

and boast along with the people who belong to you. 6 

106:6 We have sinned like 7  our ancestors; 8 

we have done wrong, we have done evil.

106:7 Our ancestors in Egypt failed to appreciate your miraculous deeds,

they failed to remember your many acts of loyal love,

and they rebelled at the sea, by the Red Sea. 9 

106:8 Yet he delivered them for the sake of his reputation, 10 

that he might reveal his power.

106:9 He shouted at 11  the Red Sea and it dried up;

he led them through the deep water as if it were a desert.

106:10 He delivered them from the power 12  of the one who hated them,

and rescued 13  them from the power 14  of the enemy.

106:11 The water covered their enemies;

not even one of them survived. 15 

106:12 They believed his promises; 16 

they sang praises to him.

106:13 They quickly forgot what he had done; 17 

they did not wait for his instructions. 18 

106:14 In the wilderness they had an insatiable craving 19  for meat; 20 

they challenged God 21  in the desert.

106:15 He granted their request,

then struck them with a disease. 22 

106:16 In the camp they resented 23  Moses,

and Aaron, the Lord’s holy priest. 24 

106:17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;

it engulfed 25  the group led by Abiram. 26 

106:18 Fire burned their group;

the flames scorched the wicked. 27 

106:19 They made an image of a calf at Horeb,

and worshiped a metal idol.

106:20 They traded their majestic God 28 

for the image of an ox that eats grass.

106:21 They rejected 29  the God who delivered them,

the one who performed great deeds in Egypt,

106:22 amazing feats in the land of Ham,

mighty 30  acts by the Red Sea.

106:23 He threatened 31  to destroy them,

but 32  Moses, his chosen one, interceded with him 33 

and turned back his destructive anger. 34 

106:24 They rejected the fruitful land; 35 

they did not believe his promise. 36 

106:25 They grumbled in their tents; 37 

they did not obey 38  the Lord.

106:26 So he made a solemn vow 39 

that he would make them die 40  in the desert,

106:27 make their descendants 41  die 42  among the nations,

and scatter them among foreign lands. 43 

106:28 They worshiped 44  Baal of Peor,

and ate sacrifices offered to the dead. 45 

106:29 They made the Lord angry 46  by their actions,

and a plague broke out among them.

106:30 Phinehas took a stand and intervened, 47 

and the plague subsided.

106:31 This brought him a reward,

an eternal gift. 48 

106:32 They made him angry by the waters of Meribah,

and Moses suffered 49  because of them,

106:33 for they aroused 50  his temper, 51 

and he spoke rashly. 52 

106:34 They did not destroy the nations, 53 

as the Lord had commanded them to do.

106:35 They mixed in with the nations

and learned their ways. 54 

106:36 They worshiped 55  their idols,

which became a snare to them. 56 

106:37 They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. 57 

106:38 They shed innocent blood –

the blood of their sons and daughters,

whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.

The land was polluted by bloodshed. 58 

106:39 They were defiled by their deeds,

and unfaithful in their actions. 59 

106:40 So the Lord was angry with his people 60 

and despised the people who belong to him. 61 

106:41 He handed them over to 62  the nations,

and those who hated them ruled over them.

106:42 Their enemies oppressed them;

they were subject to their authority. 63 

106:43 Many times he delivered 64  them,

but they had a rebellious attitude, 65 

and degraded themselves 66  by their sin.

106:44 Yet he took notice of their distress,

when he heard their cry for help.

106:45 He remembered his covenant with them,

and relented 67  because of his great loyal love.

106:46 He caused all their conquerors 68 

to have pity on them.

106:47 Deliver us, O Lord, our God!

Gather us from among the nations!

Then we will give thanks 69  to your holy name,

and boast about your praiseworthy deeds. 70 

106:48 The Lord God of Israel deserves praise, 71 

in the future and forevermore. 72 

Let all the people say, “We agree! 73  Praise the Lord!” 74 

1 sn Psalm 106. The psalmist recalls Israel’s long history of rebellion against God, despite his mighty saving deeds on their behalf.

2 tn Heb “for forever [is] his loyal love.”

3 tn Heb “[or] cause to be heard all his praise.”

4 tn Heb “good.”

5 tn Heb “in order that [I may] rejoice with the rejoicing of your nation.”

6 tn Heb “with your inheritance.”

7 tn Heb “with.”

8 tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 7).

9 tn Heb “Reed Sea” (also in vv. 9, 22). “Reed Sea” (or “Sea of Reeds”) is a more accurate rendering of the Hebrew expression יָם סוּף (yam suf), traditionally translated “Red Sea.” See the note on the term “Red Sea” in Exod 13:18.

sn They rebelled. The psalmist recalls the people’s complaint recorded in Exod 14:12.

10 tn Heb “his name,” which here stands metonymically for God’s reputation.

11 tn Or “rebuked.”

12 tn Heb “hand.”

13 tn Or “redeemed.”

14 tn Heb “hand.”

15 tn Heb “remained.”

16 tn Heb “his words.”

17 tn Heb “his works.”

18 tn Heb “his counsel.”

19 sn They had an insatiable craving. This is described in Num 11:4-35.

20 tn Heb “they craved [with] a craving.”

21 tn Heb “they tested God.”

22 tn Heb “and he sent leanness into their being.”

sn Disease. See Num 11:33-34, where this plague is described.

23 tn Or “envied.”

24 tn Heb “the holy one of the Lord.”

25 tn Or “covered.”

26 tn Or “the assembly of Abiram.”

27 sn Verses 16-18 describe the events of Num 16:1-40.

28 tn Heb “their glory.” According to an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition, the text originally read “his glory” or “my glory.” In Jer 2:11 the Lord states that his people (Israel) exchanged “their glory” (a reference to the Lord) for worthless idols.

29 tn Heb “forgot.”

30 tn Or “awe-inspiring.”

31 tn Heb “and he said.”

32 tn Heb “if not,” that is, “[and would have] if [Moses] had not.”

33 tn Heb “stood in the gap before him.”

34 tn Heb “to turn back his anger from destroying.”

sn Verses 19-23 describe the events of Exod 32:1-35.

35 tn Heb “a land of delight” (see also Jer 3:19; Zech 7:14).

36 tn Heb “his word.”

37 sn They grumbled in their tents. See Deut 1:27.

38 tn Heb “did not listen to the voice of.”

39 tn Heb “and he lifted his hand to [or “concerning”] them.” The idiom “to lift a hand” here refers to swearing an oath. One would sometimes solemnly lift one’s hand when making such a vow (see Ezek 20:5-6, 15).

40 tn Heb “to cause them to fall.”

41 tn Or “offspring”; Heb “seed.”

42 tn Heb “and to cause their offspring to fall.” Some emend the verb to “scatter” to form tighter parallelism with the following line (cf. NRSV “disperse”).

43 tn Heb “among the lands.” The word “foreign” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

44 tn Heb “joined themselves to.”

sn They worshiped Baal of Peor. See Num 25:3, 5. Baal of Peor was a local manifestation of the Canaanite deity Baal located at Peor.

45 tn Here “the dead” may refer to deceased ancestors (see Deut 26:14). Another option is to understand the term as a derogatory reference to the various deities which the Israelites worshiped at Peor along with Baal (see Num 25:2 and L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 [WBC], 49).

46 tn Heb “They made angry [him].” The pronominal suffix is omitted here, but does appear in a few medieval Hebrew mss. Perhaps it was accidentally left off, an original וַיַּכְעִיסוּהוּ (vayyakhisuhu) being misread as וַיַּכְעִיסוּ (vayyakhisu). In the translation the referent of the pronominal suffix (the Lord) has been specified for clarity to avoid confusion with Baal of Peor (mentioned in the previous verse).

47 sn The intervention of Phinehas is recounted in Num 25:7-8.

48 tn Heb “and it was reckoned to him for righteousness, to a generation and a generation forever.” The verb חָשַׁב (khashav, “to reckon”) is collocated with צְדָקָה (tsÿdaqah, “righteousness”) only in Ps 106:31 and Gen 15:6, where God rewards Abram’s faith with a land grant.

sn Brought him a reward. See Num 25:12-13.

49 tn Heb “there was harm to Moses.”

50 tn The Hebrew text vocalizes the form as הִמְרוּ (himru), a Hiphil from מָרָה (marah, “to behave rebelliously”), but the verb fits better with the object (“his spirit”) if it is revocalized as הֵמֵרוּ (hemeru), a Hiphil from מָרַר (marar, “to be bitter”). The Israelites “embittered” Moses’ “spirit” in the sense that they aroused his temper with their complaints.

51 tn Heb “his spirit.”

52 tn The Hebrew text adds “with his lips,” but this has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

sn Verses 32-33 allude to the events of Num 20:1-13.

53 tn That is, the nations of Canaan.

54 tn Heb “their deeds.”

55 tn Or “served.”

56 sn Became a snare. See Exod 23:33; Judg 2:3.

57 tn The Hebrew term שֵׁדִים (shedim, “demons”) occurs only here and in Deut 32:17. Some type of lesser deity is probably in view.

58 sn Num 35:33-34 explains that bloodshed defiles a land.

59 tn Heb “and they committed adultery in their actions.” This means that they were unfaithful to the Lord (see Ps 73:27).

60 tn Heb “the anger of the Lord burned against his people.”

61 tn Heb “his inheritance.”

62 tn Heb “gave them into the hand of.”

63 tn Heb “they were subdued under their hand.”

64 tn The prefixed verbal form is either preterite or imperfect, in which case it is customary, describing repeated action in past time (“he would deliver”).

65 tn Heb “but they rebelled in their counsel.” The prefixed verbal form is either preterite or imperfect, in which case it is customary, describing repeated action in past time (“they would have a rebellious attitude”).

66 tn Heb “they sank down.” The Hebrew verb מָכַךְ (makhakh, “to lower; to sink”) occurs only here in the Qal.

67 tn The Niphal of נָחַם (nakham) refers here to God relenting from a punishment already underway.

68 tn Or “captors.”

69 tn Heb “to give thanks.” The infinitive construct indicates result after the imperative.

70 tn Heb “to boast in your praise.”

71 tn Heb “[be] blessed.” See Pss 18:46; 28:6; 31:21.

72 tn Heb “from everlasting to everlasting.”

73 tn Heb “surely” (אָמֵן, ’amen), traditionally transliterated “amen.”

74 sn The final verse (v. 48) is a conclusion to this fourth “book” (or major editorial division) of the Psalter. Similar statements appear at or near the end of each of the first, second and third “books” of the Psalter (see Pss 41:13; 72:18-19; 89:52, respectively).



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