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Psalms 24:3-6

Context

24:3 Who is allowed to ascend 1  the mountain of the Lord? 2 

Who may go up to his holy dwelling place?

24:4 The one whose deeds are blameless

and whose motives are pure, 3 

who does not lie, 4 

or make promises with no intention of keeping them. 5 

24:5 Such godly people are rewarded by the Lord, 6 

and vindicated by the God who delivers them. 7 

24:6 Such purity characterizes the people who seek his favor,

Jacob’s descendants, who pray to him. 8  (Selah)

1 tn The imperfects in v. 3 are modal, expressing potential or permission.

2 sn In this context the Lord’s mountain probably refers to Zion/Jerusalem (see Isa 2:2-3).

3 tn Heb “the innocent of hands and the pure of heart.” The “hands” allude to one’s actions, the “heart” to one’s thought life and motives.

4 tn Heb “who does not lift up for emptiness my life.” The first person pronoun on נַפְשִׁי (nafshiy, “my life”) makes little sense here; many medieval Hebrew mss support the ancient versions in reading a third person pronoun “his.” The idiom “lift the life” here means to “long for” or “desire strongly.” In this context (note the reference to an oath in the following line) “emptiness” probably refers to speech (see Ps 12:2).

5 tn Heb “and does not swear an oath deceitfully.”

6 tn Heb “he (the righteous individual described in v. 4) lifts up a blessing from the Lord.” The singular subject is representative here, as v. 6 makes clear. The referent (godly people like the individual in v. 4) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The imperfect verbal form is generalizing; such people are typically rewarded for their deeds.

7 tn “and vindication from the God of his deliverance.”

8 tn Heb “this [is the] generation of the ones seeking him, the ones seeking your face, Jacob.” To “seek the Lord’s face” means to seek his favor through prayer (see 2 Sam 21:1; Pss 27:8; 105:4).

sn This verse presents a somewhat idealized view of Jacobs descendants as devoted worshipers of the Lord.



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