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Psalms 44:9-26

Context

44:9 But 1  you rejected and embarrassed us!

You did not go into battle with our armies. 2 

44:10 You made us retreat 3  from the enemy.

Those who hate us take whatever they want from us. 4 

44:11 You handed us 5  over like sheep to be eaten;

you scattered us among the nations.

44:12 You sold 6  your people for a pittance; 7 

you did not ask a high price for them. 8 

44:13 You made us 9  an object of disdain to our neighbors;

those who live on our borders taunt and insult us. 10 

44:14 You made us 11  an object of ridicule 12  among the nations;

foreigners treat us with contempt. 13 

44:15 All day long I feel humiliated 14 

and am overwhelmed with shame, 15 

44:16 before the vindictive enemy

who ridicules and insults me. 16 

44:17 All this has happened to us, even though we have not rejected you 17 

or violated your covenant with us. 18 

44:18 We have not been unfaithful, 19 

nor have we disobeyed your commands. 20 

44:19 Yet you have battered us, leaving us a heap of ruins overrun by wild dogs; 21 

you have covered us with darkness. 22 

44:20 If we had rejected our God, 23 

and spread out our hands in prayer to another god, 24 

44:21 would not God discover it,

for he knows 25  one’s thoughts? 26 

44:22 Yet because of you 27  we are killed all day long;

we are treated like 28  sheep at the slaughtering block. 29 

44:23 Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?

Wake up! 30  Do not reject us forever!

44:24 Why do you look the other way, 31 

and ignore 32  the way we are oppressed and mistreated? 33 

44:25 For we lie in the dirt,

with our bellies pressed to the ground. 34 

44:26 Rise up and help us!

Rescue us 35  because of your loyal love!

1 tn The particle אַף (’af, “but”) is used here as a strong adversative contrasting the following statement with what precedes.

2 tn Heb “you did not go out with our armies.” The prefixed verbal form is a preterite (without vav [ו] consecutive).

3 tn Heb “you caused us to turn backward.”

4 tn Heb “plunder for themselves.” The prepositional phrase לָמוֹ (lamo, “for themselves”) here has the nuance “at their will” or “as they please” (see Ps 80:6).

5 tn The prefixed verbal form is a preterite (without vav [ו] consecutive).

6 tn The prefixed verbal form is a preterite (without vav [ו] consecutive).

7 tn Heb “for what is not wealth.”

8 tn Heb “you did not multiply their purchase prices.”

9 tn The prefixed verbal form is a preterite (without vav [ו] consecutive).

10 tn Heb “an [object of] taunting and [of] mockery to those around us.”

11 tn The prefixed verbal form is a preterite (without vav [ו] consecutive).

12 tn Heb “a proverb,” or “[the subject of] a mocking song.”

13 tn Heb “a shaking of the head among the peoples.” Shaking the head was a derisive gesture (see Jer 18:16; Lam 2:15).

14 tn Heb “all the day my humiliation [is] in front of me.”

15 tn Heb “and the shame of my face covers me.”

16 tn Heb “from the voice of one who ridicules and insults, from the face of an enemy and an avenger.” See Ps 8:2.

17 tn Heb “we have not forgotten you.” To “forget” God refers here to worshiping false gods and thereby refusing to recognize his sovereignty (see v. 20, as well as Deut 8:19; Judg 3:7; 1 Sam 12:9; Isa 17:10; Jer 3:21; Ps 9:17).Thus the translation “we have not rejected you” has been used.

18 tn Heb “and we did not deal falsely with your covenant.”

19 tn Heb “our heart did not turn backward.” Cf. Ps 78:57.

20 tn Heb “and our steps did [not] turn aside from your path.” The negative particle is understood by ellipsis (see the preceding line). God’s “path” refers to his commands, i.e., the moral pathway he has prescribed for the psalmist. See Pss 17:5; 25:4.

21 tn Heb “yet you have battered us in a place of jackals.”

22 tn The Hebrew term צַלְמָוֶת (tsalmavet) has traditionally been understood as a compound noun meaning “shadow of death” (צֵל+מָוֶת [mavet + tsel]; see BDB 853 s.v. צַלְמָוֶת; cf. NASB). Other scholars prefer to vocalize the form צַלְמוּת (tsalmut) and understand it as an abstract noun (from the root צלם) meaning “darkness” (cf. NIV, NRSV). An examination of the word’s usage favors the latter derivation. It is frequently associated with darkness/night and contrasted with light/morning (see Job 3:5; 10:21-22; 12:22; 24:17; 28:3; 34:22; Ps 107:10, 14; Isa 9:1; Jer 13:16; Amos 5:8). In some cases the darkness described is associated with the realm of death (Job 10:21-22; 38:17), but this is a metaphorical application of the word and does not reflect its inherent meaning. In Ps 44:19 darkness symbolizes defeat and humiliation.

23 tn Heb “If we had forgotten the name of our God.” To “forget the name” here refers to rejecting the Lord’s authority (see Jer 23:27) and abandoning him as an object of prayer and worship (see the next line).

24 tn Heb “and spread out your hands to another god.” Spreading out the hands was a prayer gesture (see Exod 9:29, 33; 1 Kgs 8:22, 38; 2 Chr 6:12-13, 29; Ezra 9:15; Job 11:13; Isa 1:15). In its most fundamental sense זר (“another; foreign; strange”) refers to something that is outside one’s circle, often making association with it inappropriate. A “strange” god is an alien deity, an “outside god” (see L. A. Snijders, TDOT 4:54-55).

25 tn The active participle describes what is characteristically true.

26 tn Heb “would not God search out this, for he knows the hidden things of [the] heart?” The expression “search out” is used metonymically here, referring to discovery, the intended effect of a search. The “heart” (i.e., mind) is here viewed as the seat of one’s thoughts. The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course he would!” The point seems to be this: There is no way the Israelites who are the speakers in the psalm would reject God and turn to another god, for the omniscient God would easily discover such a sin.

27 tn The statement “because of you” (1) may simply indicate that God is the cause of the Israelites’ defeat (see vv. 9-14, where the nation’s situation is attributed directly to God’s activity, and cf. NEB, NRSV), or (2) it may suggest they suffer because of their allegiance to God (see Ps 69:7 and Jer 15:15). In this case one should translate, “for your sake” (cf. NASB, NIV). The citation of this verse in Rom 8:36 follows the LXX (Ps 43:23 LXX), where the Greek term ἕνεκεν (Jeneken; LXX ἕνεκα) may likewise mean “because of” or “for the sake of” (BDAG 334 s.v. ἕνεκα 1).

28 tn Or “regarded as.”

29 tn Heb “like sheep of slaughtering,” that is, sheep destined for slaughter.

30 sn Wake up! See Ps 35:23.

31 tn Heb “Why do you hide your face?” The idiom “hide the face” can mean “ignore” (see Pss 10:11; 13:1; 51:9) or carry the stronger idea of “reject” (see Pss 30:7; 88:14).

32 tn Or “forget.”

33 tn Heb “our oppression and our affliction.”

34 tn Heb “for our being/life sinks down to the dirt, our belly clings to the earth.” The suffixed form of נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “being, life”) is often equivalent to a pronoun in poetic texts.

35 tn Or “redeem us.” See Pss 25:22; 26:11; 69:18; 119:134.



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