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Psalms 68:28-35

Context

68:28 God has decreed that you will be powerful. 1 

O God, you who have acted on our behalf, demonstrate your power,

68:29 as you come out of your temple in Jerusalem! 2 

Kings bring tribute to you.

68:30 Sound your battle cry 3  against the wild beast of the reeds, 4 

and the nations that assemble like a herd of calves led by bulls! 5 

They humble themselves 6  and offer gold and silver as tribute. 7 

God 8  scatters 9  the nations that like to do battle.

68:31 They come with red cloth 10  from Egypt,

Ethiopia 11  voluntarily offers tribute 12  to God.

68:32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God!

Sing praises to the Lord, (Selah)

68:33 to the one who rides through the sky from ancient times! 13 

Look! He thunders loudly. 14 

68:34 Acknowledge God’s power, 15 

his sovereignty over Israel,

and the power he reveals in the skies! 16 

68:35 You are awe-inspiring, O God, as you emerge from your holy temple! 17 

It is the God of Israel 18  who gives the people power and strength.

God deserves praise! 19 

1 tn Heb “God has commanded your strength.” The statement is apparently addressed to Israel (see v. 26).

2 tn Heb “Be strong, O God, [you] who have acted for us, from your temple in Jerusalem.”

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

3 tn The Hebrew verb גָּעַר (gaar) is often understood to mean “rebuke.” In some cases it is apparent that scolding or threatening is in view (see Gen 37:10; Ruth 2:16; Zech 3:2). However, in militaristic contexts such as Ps 68 this translation is inadequate, for the verb refers in this setting to the warrior’s battle cry, which terrifies and paralyzes the enemy. See A. Caquot, TDOT 3:53, and note the use of the verb in Ps 106:9 and Nah 1:4, as well as the related noun in Job 26:11; Pss 18:15; 76:6; 104:7; Isa 50:2; 51:20; 66:15.

4 sn The wild beast of the reeds probably refers to a hippopotamus, which in turn symbolizes the nation of Egypt.

5 tn Heb “an assembly of bulls, with calves of the nations.”

6 tn Heb “humbling himself.” The verb form is a Hitpael participle from the root רָפַס (rafas, “to trample”). The Hitpael of this verb appears only here and in Prov 6:3, where it seems to mean, “humble oneself,” a nuance that fits nicely in this context. The apparent subject is “wild beast” or “assembly,” though both of these nouns are grammatically feminine, while the participle is a masculine form. Perhaps one should emend the participial form to a masculine plural (מִתְרַפִּם, mitrapim) and understand “bulls” or “calves” as the subject.

7 tc Heb “with pieces [?] of silver.” The meaning of the Hebrew term רַצֵּי (ratsey) is unclear. It is probably best to emend the text to בֶּצֶר וְכָסֶף (betser vÿkhasef, “[with] gold and silver”).

8 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn The verb בָּזַר (bazar) is an alternative form of פָּזַר (pazar, “scatter”).

10 tn This noun, which occurs only here in the OT, apparently means “red cloth” or “bronze articles” (see HALOT 362 s.v. חַשְׁמַן; cf. NEB “tribute”). Traditionally the word has been taken to refer to “nobles” (see BDB 365 s.v. חַשְׁמַן; cf. NIV “envoys”). Another option would be to emend the text to הַשְׁמַנִּים (hashmannim, “the robust ones,” i.e., leaders).

11 tn Heb “Cush.”

12 tn Heb “causes its hands to run,” which must mean “quickly stretches out its hands” (to present tribute).

13 tc Heb “to the one who rides through the skies of skies of ancient times.” If the MT is retained, one might translate, “to the one who rides through the ancient skies.” (שְׁמֵי [shÿmey, “skies of”] may be accidentally repeated.) The present translation assumes an emendation to בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִקֶּדֶם (bashamayim miqqedem, “[to the one who rides] through the sky from ancient times”), that is, God has been revealing his power through the storm since ancient times.

14 tn Heb “he gives his voice a strong voice.” In this context God’s “voice” is the thunder that accompanies the rain (see vv. 8-9, as well as Deut 33:26).

15 tn Heb “give strength to God.”

16 sn The language of v. 34 echoes that of Deut 33:26.

17 tn Heb “awesome [is] God from his holy places.” The plural of מִקְדָּשׁ (miqdash, “holy places”) perhaps refers to the temple precincts (see Ps 73:17; Jer 51:51).

18 tn Heb “the God of Israel, he.”

19 tn Heb “blessed [be] God.”



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