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Psalms 71:1-24

Context
Psalm 71 1 

71:1 In you, O Lord, I have taken shelter!

Never let me be humiliated!

71:2 Vindicate me by rescuing me! 2 

Listen to me! 3  Deliver me! 4 

71:3 Be my protector and refuge, 5 

a stronghold where I can be safe! 6 

For you are my high ridge 7  and my stronghold.

71:4 My God, rescue me from the power 8  of the wicked,

from the hand of the cruel oppressor!

71:5 For you give me confidence, 9  O Lord;

O Lord, I have trusted in you since I was young. 10 

71:6 I have leaned on you since birth; 11 

you pulled me 12  from my mother’s womb.

I praise you continually. 13 

71:7 Many are appalled when they see me, 14 

but you are my secure shelter.

71:8 I praise you constantly

and speak of your splendor all day long. 15 

71:9 Do not reject me in my old age! 16 

When my strength fails, do not abandon me!

71:10 For my enemies talk about me;

those waiting for a chance to kill me plot my demise. 17 

71:11 They say, 18  “God has abandoned him.

Run and seize him, for there is no one who will rescue him!”

71:12 O God, do not remain far away from me!

My God, hurry and help me! 19 

71:13 May my accusers be humiliated and defeated!

May those who want to harm me 20  be covered with scorn and disgrace!

71:14 As for me, I will wait continually,

and will continue to praise you. 21 

71:15 I will tell about your justice,

and all day long proclaim your salvation, 22 

though I cannot fathom its full extent. 23 

71:16 I will come and tell about 24  the mighty acts of the sovereign Lord.

I will proclaim your justice – yours alone.

71:17 O God, you have taught me since I was young,

and I am still declaring 25  your amazing deeds.

71:18 Even when I am old and gray, 26 

O God, do not abandon me,

until I tell the next generation about your strength,

and those coming after me about your power. 27 

71:19 Your justice, O God, extends to the skies above; 28 

you have done great things. 29 

O God, who can compare to you? 30 

71:20 Though you have allowed me to experience much trouble and distress, 31 

revive me once again! 32 

Bring me up once again 33  from the depths of the earth!

71:21 Raise me to a position of great honor! 34 

Turn and comfort me! 35 

71:22 I will express my thanks to you with a stringed instrument,

praising 36  your faithfulness, O my God!

I will sing praises to you accompanied by a harp,

O Holy One of Israel! 37 

71:23 My lips will shout for joy! Yes, 38  I will sing your praises!

I will praise you when you rescue me! 39 

71:24 All day long my tongue will also tell about your justice,

for those who want to harm me 40  will be embarrassed and ashamed. 41 

1 sn Psalm 71. The psalmist prays for divine intervention and expresses his confidence that God will protect and vindicate him. The first three verses are very similar to Ps 31:1-3a.

2 tn Heb “in your vindication rescue me and deliver me.” Ps 31:1 omits “and deliver me.”

3 tn Heb “turn toward me your ear.”

4 tn Ps 31:2 adds “quickly” before “deliver.”

5 tc Heb “become for me a rocky summit of a dwelling place.” The Hebrew term מָעוֹן (maon, “dwelling place”) should probably be emended to מָעוֹז (maoz, “refuge”; see Ps 31:2).

6 tc Heb “to enter continually, you commanded to deliver me.” The Hebrew phrase לָבוֹא תָּמִיד צִוִּיתָ (lavotamid tsivvita, “to enter continually, you commanded”) should be emended to לְבֵית מְצוּדוֹת (lÿvet mÿtsudot, “a house of strongholds”; see Ps 31:2).

7 sn You are my high ridge. This metaphor pictures God as a rocky, relatively inaccessible summit, where one would be able to find protection from enemies. See 1 Sam 23:25, 28.

8 tn Heb “hand.”

9 tn Heb “for you [are] my hope.”

10 tn Heb “O Lord, my source of confidence from my youth.”

11 tn Heb “from the womb.”

12 tc The form in the MT is derived from גָזָה (gazah, “to cut off”), perhaps picturing God as the one who severed the psalmist’s umbilical cord. Many interpreters and translators prefer to emend the text to גֹחִי (gokhiy), from גוּח (gukh) or גִיח, (gikh, “pull out”; see Ps 22:9; cf. the present translation) or to עוּזִּי (’uzziy, “my strength”; cf. NEB “my protector since I left my mother’s womb”).

13 tn Heb “in you [is] my praise continually.”

14 tn Heb “like a sign [i.e., portent or bad omen] I am to many.”

15 tn Heb “my mouth is filled [with] your praise, all the day [with] your splendor.”

16 tn Heb “do not cast me away at the time of old age.”

17 tn Heb “those who watch for my life consult together.”

18 tn Heb “saying.”

19 tn Heb “hurry to my help.”

20 tn Heb “those who seek my harm.”

21 tn Heb “and I add to all your praise.”

22 tn Heb “my mouth declares your vindication, all the day your deliverance.”

23 tn Heb “though I do not know [the] numbers,” that is, the tally of God’s just and saving acts. HALOT 768 s.v. סְפֹרוֹת understands the plural noun to mean “the art of writing.”

24 tn Heb “I will come with.”

25 tn Heb “and until now I am declaring.”

26 tn Heb “and even unto old age and gray hair.”

27 tn Heb “until I declare your arm to a generation, to everyone who comes your power.” God’s “arm” here is an anthropomorphism that symbolizes his great strength.

28 tn Heb “your justice, O God, [is] unto the height.” The Hebrew term מָרוֹם (marom, “height”) is here a title for the sky/heavens.

sn Extends to the skies above. Similar statements are made in Pss 36:5 and 57:10.

29 tn Heb “you who have done great things.”

30 tn Or “Who is like you?”

31 tn Heb “you who have caused me to see many harmful distresses.”

32 tn Heb “you return, you give me life.” The Hebrew term שׁוּב (shuv, “return”) is used here in an adverbial sense, indicating repetition of the action described by the following verb. The imperfects are understood here as expressing the psalmist’s prayer or wish. (Note the use of a distinctly jussive form at the beginning of v. 21.) Another option is to understand this as a statement of confidence, “you will revive me once again” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

33 tn Heb “you return, you bring me up.” The Hebrew term שׁוּב (shuv, “return”) is used here in an adverbial sense, indicating repetition of the action described by the following verb. The imperfects are understood here as expressing the psalmist’s prayer or wish. (Note the use of a distinctly jussive form at the beginning of v. 21.) Another option is to understand this as a statement of confidence, “you will bring me up once again” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

34 tn Heb “increase my greatness.” The prefixed verbal form is distinctly jussive, indicating this is a prayer or wish. The psalmist’s request for “greatness” (or “honor”) is not a boastful, self-serving prayer for prominence, but, rather, a request that God would vindicate by elevating him over those who are trying to humiliate him.

35 tn The imperfects are understood here as expressing the psalmist’s prayer or wish. (Note the use of a distinctly jussive form at the beginning of v. 21.)

36 tn The word “praising” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

37 sn The basic sense of the word “holy” is “set apart from that which is commonplace, special, unique.” The Lord’s holiness is first and foremost his transcendent sovereignty as the ruler of the world. He is “set apart” from the world over which he rules. At the same time his holiness encompasses his moral authority, which derives from his royal position. As king he has the right to dictate to his subjects how they are to live; indeed his very own character sets the standard for proper behavior.

38 tn Or “when.” The translation assumes that כִּי (ki) has an emphasizing (asseverative) function here.

39 tn Heb “and my life [or “soul”] which you will have redeemed.” The perfect verbal form functions here as a future perfect. The psalmist anticipates praising God, for God will have rescued him by that time.

40 tn Heb “those who seek my harm.”

41 tn Heb “will have become embarrassed and ashamed.” The perfect verbal forms function here as future perfects, indicating future actions which will precede chronologically the action expressed by the main verb in the preceding line.



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