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Psalms 29:5-6

Context

29:5 The Lord’s shout breaks 1  the cedars,

the Lord shatters 2  the cedars of Lebanon. 3 

29:6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf

and Sirion 4  like a young ox. 5 

Psalms 72:16

Context

72:16 May there be 6  an abundance 7  of grain in the earth;

on the tops 8  of the mountains may it 9  sway! 10 

May its 11  fruit trees 12  flourish 13  like the forests of Lebanon! 14 

May its crops 15  be as abundant 16  as the grass of the earth! 17 

Psalms 104:16-18

Context

104:16 The trees of the Lord 18  receive all the rain they need, 19 

the cedars of Lebanon which he planted,

104:17 where the birds make nests,

near the evergreens in which the herons live. 20 

104:18 The wild goats live in the high mountains; 21 

the rock badgers find safety in the cliffs.

1 tn The Hebrew participial form draws attention to the durative nature of the action being described.

2 tn The prefixed verbal forms with vav (ו) consecutive here and in v. 6a carry on the descriptive function of the preceding participle (see GKC 329 §111.u). The verb שָׁבַר (shavar) appears in the Qal in the first line of the verse, and in the Piel in the second line. The verb, which means “break” in the Qal, appears thirty-six times in the Piel, always with multiple objects (the object is either a collective singular or grammatically plural or dual form). The Piel may highlight the repetition of the pluralative action, or it may suggest an intensification of action, indicating repeated action comprising a whole, perhaps with the nuance “break again and again, break in pieces.” Another option is to understand the form as resultative: “make broken” (see IBHS 404-7 §24.3).

3 sn The cedars of the Lebanon forest were well-known in ancient Israel for their immense size. Here they may symbolize the arrogant enemies of God (see Isa 2:12-13).

4 sn Sirion is another name for Mount Hermon (Deut 3:9).

5 sn Lebanon and Sirion are compared to frisky young animals (a calf…a young ox) who skip and jump. The thunderous shout of the Lord is so powerful, one can see the very mountains shake on the horizon.

6 tn The prefixed verbal form is jussive, not imperfect. The translation assumes the subject is impersonal (rather than the king).

7 tn The Hebrew noun פִסַּה (pissah; which appears here in the construct form) occurs only here in the OT. Perhaps the noun is related to the verbal root פָּשָׂה (pasah, “to spread,” see BDB 832 s.v.; the root appears as פָּסָה [pasah] in postbiblical Hebrew), which is used in postbiblical Hebrew of the rising sun’s rays spreading over the horizon and a tree’s branches spreading out (see Jastrow 1194 s.v. פסי, פָּסָה, פָּשָׂה). In Ps 72:16 a “spreading of grain” would refer to grain fields extending out over the land. C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs (Psalms [ICC], 2:139) emend the form to סְפִיחַ (sÿfiakh, “second growth”).

8 tn Heb “top” (singular).

9 tn That is, the grain.

10 tn According to the traditional accentuation of the MT, this verb belongs with what follows. See the translator’s note at the end of the verse for a discussion of the poetic parallelism and interpretation of the verse.

11 tn The antecedent of the third masculine singular pronominal suffix is unclear. It is unlikely that the antecedent is אֶרֶץ (’erets, “earth”) because this noun is normally grammatically feminine. Perhaps רֹאשׁ (rosh, “top [of the mountains]”) is the antecedent. Another option is to understand the pronoun as referring to the king, who would then be viewed as an instrument of divine agricultural blessing (see v. 6).

12 tn Heb “fruit.”

13 tc According to the traditional accentuation of the MT, this verb belongs with what follows. See the note on the word “earth” at the end of the verse for a discussion of the poetic parallelism and interpretation of the verse. The present translation takes it with the preceding words, “like Lebanon its fruit” and emends the verb form from וְיָצִיצוּ (vÿyatsitsu; Qal imperfect third masculine plural with prefixed vav, [ו]) to יָצִיץ (yatsits; Qal imperfect third masculine singular). The initial vav is eliminated as dittographic (note the vav on the ending of the preceding form פִּרְיוֹ, piryo, “its/his fruit”) and the vav at the end of the form is placed on the following emended form (see the note on the word “crops”), yielding וַעֲמִיר (vaamir, “and [its] crops”).

14 tn Heb “like Lebanon.”

15 tc The MT has “from the city.” The translation assumes an emendation to עֲמִיר (’amir, “crops”).

16 tn The translation assumes that the verb צוץ (“flourish”) goes with the preceding line. The words “be as abundant” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

17 tc The traditional accentuation and vocalization of the MT differ from the text assumed by the present translation. The MT reads as follows: “May there be an abundance of grain in the earth, / and on the tops of the mountains! / May its [or “his”?] fruit [trees?] rustle like [the trees of] Lebanon! / May they flourish from the city, like the grass of the earth!” If one follows the MT, then it would appear that the “fruit” of the third line is a metaphorical reference to the king’s people, who flow out from the cities to populate the land (see line 4). Elsewhere in the OT people are sometimes compared to grass that sprouts up from the land (see v. 7, as well as Isa 27:6; Pss 92:7; 103:15). The translation understands a different poetic structural arrangement and, assuming the emendations mentioned in earlier notes, interprets each line of the verse to be a prayer for agricultural abundance.

18 sn The trees of the Lord are the cedars of Lebanon (see the next line), which are viewed as special because of their great size and grandeur. The Lebanon forest was viewed elsewhere in the OT as the “garden of God” (see Ezek 31:8).

19 tn Heb “are satisfied,” which means here that they receive abundant rain (see v. 13).

20 tn Heb “[the] heron [in the] evergreens [is] its home.”

sn The cedars and evergreens of the Lebanon forest are frequently associated (see, for example, 2 Chr 2:8; Isa 14:8; 37:24; Ezek 31:8).

21 tn Heb “the high mountains [are] for the goats.”



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