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Psalms 5:6-12

Context

5:6 You destroy 1  liars; 2 

the Lord despises 3  violent and deceitful people. 4 

5:7 But as for me, 5  because of your great faithfulness I will enter your house; 6 

I will bow down toward your holy temple as I worship you. 7 

5:8 Lord, lead me in your righteousness 8 

because of those who wait to ambush me, 9 

remove the obstacles in the way in which you are guiding me! 10 

5:9 For 11  they do not speak the truth; 12 

their stomachs are like the place of destruction, 13 

their throats like an open grave, 14 

their tongues like a steep slope leading into it. 15 

5:10 Condemn them, 16  O God!

May their own schemes be their downfall! 17 

Drive them away 18  because of their many acts of insurrection, 19 

for they have rebelled against you.

5:11 But may all who take shelter 20  in you be happy! 21 

May they continually 22  shout for joy! 23 

Shelter them 24  so that those who are loyal to you 25  may rejoice! 26 

5:12 Certainly 27  you reward 28  the godly, 29  Lord.

Like a shield you protect 30  them 31  in your good favor. 32 

1 tn The imperfect verbal form indicates God’s typical response to such individuals. Another option is to translate the verb as future (“You will destroy”); the psalmist may be envisioning a time of judgment when God will remove the wicked from the scene.

2 tn Heb “those who speak a lie.” In the OT a “lie” does not refer in a general philosophical sense to any statement that fails to correspond to reality. Instead it refers more specifically to a slanderous and/or deceitful statement that promotes one’s own selfish, sinful interests and/or exploits or harms those who are innocent. Note the emphasis on violence and deceit in the following line.

3 tn The imperfect verbal form highlights the Lord’s characteristic attitude toward such individuals.

4 tn Heb “a man of bloodshed and deceit.” The singular אִישׁ (’ish, “man”) is used here in a collective or representative sense; thus the translation “people” is appropriate here. Note the plural forms in vv. 5-6a.

5 sn But as for me. By placing the first person pronoun at the beginning of the verse, the psalmist highlights the contrast between the evildoers’ actions and destiny, outlined in the preceding verses, with his own.

6 sn I will enter your house. The psalmist is confident that God will accept him into his presence, in contrast to the evildoers (see v. 5).

7 tn Heb “in fear [of] you.” The Hebrew noun יִרְאָה (yirah, “fear”), when used of fearing God, is sometimes used metonymically for what it ideally produces: “worship, reverence, piety.”

8 tn God’s providential leading is in view. His צְדָקָה (tsÿdaqah, “righteousness”) includes here the deliverance that originates in his righteousness; he protects and vindicates the one whose cause is just. For other examples of this use of the word, see BDB 842 s.v.

9 tn Heb “because of those who watch me [with evil intent].” See also Pss 27:11; 56:2.

10 tn Heb “make level before me your way.” The imperative “make level” is Hiphil in the Kethib (consonantal text); Piel in the Qere (marginal reading). God’s “way” is here the way in which he leads the psalmist providentially (see the preceding line, where the psalmist asks the Lord to lead him).

11 tn Or “certainly.”

12 tn Heb “for there is not in his mouth truthfulness.” The singular pronoun (“his”) probably refers back to the “man of bloodshed and deceit” mentioned in v. 6. The singular is collective or representative, as the plural in the next line indicates, and so has been translated “they.”

13 tn Heb “their inward part[s] [is] destruction.” For a discussion of the extended metaphor in v. 9b, see the note on the word “it” at the end of the verse.

14 tn Heb “their throat is an open grave.” For a discussion of the extended metaphor in v. 9b, see the note on the word “it” at the end of the verse. The metaphor is suggested by the physical resemblance of the human throat to a deeply dug grave; both are dark chasms.

15 tn Heb “they make smooth their tongue.” Flattering, deceitful words are in view. See Ps 12:2. The psalmist’s deceitful enemies are compared to the realm of death/Sheol in v. 9b. Sheol was envisioned as a dark region within the earth, the entrance to which was the grave with its steep slopes (cf. Ps 88:4-6). The enemies’ victims are pictured here as slipping down a steep slope (the enemies’ tongues) and falling into an open grave (their throat) that terminates in destruction in the inner recesses of Sheol (their stomach). The enemies’ קרב (“inward part”) refers here to their thoughts and motives, which are destructive in their intent. The throat is where these destructive thoughts are transformed into words, and their tongue is what they use to speak the deceitful words that lead their innocent victims to their demise.

sn As the psalmist walks down the path in which God leads him, he asks the Lord to guide his steps and remove danger from the path (v. 8), because he knows his enemies have “dug a grave” for him and are ready to use their deceitful words to “swallow him up” like the realm of death (i.e., Sheol) and bring him to ruin.

16 tn Heb “declare/regard them as guilty.” Declaring the psalmist’s adversaries guilty is here metonymic for judging them or paying them back for their wrongdoing.

17 tn Heb “may they fall from their plans.” The prefixed verbal form is a jussive, expressing an imprecation. The psalmist calls judgment down on the evildoers. Their plans will be their downfall in that God will judge them for their evil schemes.

18 tn Or “banish them.”

19 tn The Hebrew noun used here, פֶּשַׁע (pesha’), refers to rebellious actions. The psalmist pictures his enemies as rebels against God (see the next line).

20 sn Take shelter. “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear and serve the Lord (Pss 5:11-12; 31:17-20; 34:21-22).

21 tn The prefixed verbal form is a jussive of wish or prayer. The psalmist calls on God to reward his faithful followers.

22 tn Or perhaps more hyperbolically, “forever.”

23 tn As in the preceding line, the prefixed verbal form is a jussive of wish or prayer.

24 tn Heb “put a cover over them.” The verb form is a Hiphil imperfect from סָכַךְ (sakhakh, “cover, shut off”). The imperfect expresses the psalmist’s wish or request.

25 tn Heb “the lovers of your name.” The phrase refers to those who are loyal to the Lord. See Pss 69:36; 119:132; Isa 56:6.

26 tn The vav (ו) with prefixed verbal form following the volitional “shelter them” indicates purpose or result (“so that those…may rejoice).

27 tn Or “For.”

28 tn Or “bless.” The imperfect verbal forms here and in the next line highlight how God characteristically rewards and protects the godly.

29 tn Or “innocent.” The singular form is used here in a collective or representative sense.

30 tn Heb “surround.” In 1 Sam 23:26 the verb describes how Saul and his men hemmed David in as they chased him.

31 tn Heb “him.” The singular form is used here in a collective or representative sense and is thus translated “them.”

32 tn Or “with favor” (cf. NRSV). There is no preposition before the noun in the Hebrew text, nor is there a pronoun attached. “Favor” here stands by metonymy for God’s defensive actions on behalf of the one whom he finds acceptable.



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