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Psalms 40:11-17

Context

40:11 O Lord, you do not withhold 1  your compassion from me.

May your loyal love and faithfulness continually protect me! 2 

40:12 For innumerable dangers 3  surround me.

My sins overtake me

so I am unable to see;

they outnumber the hairs of my head

so my strength fails me. 4 

40:13 Please be willing, O Lord, to rescue me!

O Lord, hurry and help me! 5 

40:14 May those who are trying to snatch away my life

be totally embarrassed and ashamed! 6 

May those who want to harm me

be turned back and ashamed! 7 

40:15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”

be humiliated 8  and disgraced! 9 

40:16 May all those who seek you be happy and rejoice in you!

May those who love to experience 10  your deliverance say continually, 11 

“May the Lord be praised!” 12 

40:17 I am oppressed and needy! 13 

May the Lord pay attention to me! 14 

You are my helper and my deliverer!

O my God, do not delay!

1 tn Some (cf. NIV, NRSV) translate the verb as a request (“do not withhold”), but elsewhere in the psalms the second masculine singular prefixed form, when addressed to God and preceded by לֹא (lo’), is always indicative in mood and never has the force of a prayer (see Pss 16:10; 22:2; 44:9 51:16-17; 60:10; 108:11; cf. NEB, NASB).

2 tn In this line the psalmist makes the transition from confidence to petition (see v. 13). Since the prefixed verbal form in the preceding line is imperfect/indicative, one could take the verb in this line as imperfect as well and translate, “your loyal love and faithfulness continually protect me” (cf. NEB). However, the כִּי (ki) at the beginning of the next verse, if causal (“because”), is best understood as introducing a motivating argument in support of a petition. For this reason v. 11b is best taken as a prayer with the prefixed form being understood as jussive (cf. NIV, NRSV). For parallels to the proposed construction (jussive followed by כִּי + perfect introducing motivating argument), see Ps 25:21, as well as Pss 10:2-3; 22:8.

3 tn Or “sinful deeds.” The Hebrew term used here can have a nonmoral nuance (“dangers”) or a moral one (“sinful deeds”) depending on the context. The next line (see “my sins”) seems to favor the moral sense, but the psalmist also speaks of enemies shortly after this (v. 14).

4 tn Heb “and my heart abandons me.” The “heart” is here viewed as the seat of emotional strength and courage. For a similar idea see Ps 38:10.

5 tn Heb “hurry to my help.” See Pss 22:19; 38:22.

6 tn Heb “may they be embarrassed and ashamed together, the ones seeking my life to snatch it away.”

7 tn The four prefixed verbal forms in this verse (“may those…be…embarrassed and ashamed…may those…be turned back and ashamed”) are understood as jussives. The psalmist is calling judgment down on his enemies.

sn See Ps 35:4 for a similar prayer.

8 tn The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive in this imprecation.

9 tn Heb “May they be humiliated according to their shame, those who say to me, ‘Aha! Aha!’”

10 tn Heb “those who love,” which stands metonymically for its cause, the experience of being delivered by the Lord.

11 tn The three prefixed verbal forms prior to the quotation are understood as jussives. The psalmist balances out his imprecation against his enemies with a prayer of blessing upon the godly.

12 tn The prefixed verbal form is taken as a jussive, “may the Lord be magnified [in praise].” Another option is to take the verb as an imperfect, “the Lord is great” (cf. NRSV). See Ps 35:27.

13 sn See Pss 35:10; 37:14.

14 tn The prefixed verbal form may be taken as a jussive of prayer (as in the present translation; cf. NIV) or as an imperfect, “The Lord will pay attention to me” (cf. NRSV). The parallel in Ps 70:5 has, “O God, hurry to me!” For this reason some prefer to emend יַחֲשָׁב (yakhashav, “may he pay attention”) to חוּשָׁה (khushah, “hurry!”). The syntax of the Hebrew text is awkward; elsewhere when the Qal of חָשַׁב (khashav, “reckon; consider”) is collocated with the preposition -ל (lamed) and a pronominal suffix there is an accompanying direct object or additional prepositional phrase/adverbial accusative (see Gen 15:6; 2 Sam 19:19; Job 13:24; 19:11; 33:10; Pss 32:2; 41:7; Amos 6:5).



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