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Psalms 83:16-18

Context

83:16 Cover 1  their faces with shame,

so they might seek 2  you, 3  O Lord.

83:17 May they be humiliated and continually terrified! 4 

May they die in shame! 5 

83:18 Then they will know 6  that you alone are the Lord, 7 

the sovereign king 8  over all the earth.

1 tn Heb “fill.”

2 tn After the preceding imperative, the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose or result (“then they will seek”).

3 tn Heb “your name,” which stands here for God’s person.

4 tn Heb “and may they be terrified to perpetuity.” The Hebrew expression עֲדֵי־עַד (’adey-ad, “to perpetuity”) can mean “forevermore” (see Pss 92:7; 132:12, 14), but here it may be used hyperbolically, for the psalmist asks that the experience of judgment might lead the nations to recognize (v. 18) and even to seek (v. 16) God.

5 tn Heb “may they be ashamed and perish.” The four prefixed verbal forms in this verse are understood as jussives. The psalmist concludes his prayer with an imprecation, calling severe judgment down on his enemies. The strong language of the imprecation seems to run contrary to the positive outcome of divine judgment envisioned in v. 16b. Perhaps the language of v. 17 is overstated for effect. Another option is that v. 16b expresses an ideal, while the strong imprecation of vv. 17-18 anticipates reality. It would be nice if the defeated nations actually pursued a relationship with God, but if judgment does not bring them to that point, the psalmist asks that they be annihilated so that they might at least be forced to acknowledge God’s power.

6 tn After the preceding jussives (v. 17), the prefixed verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose (“so that they may know”) or result.

7 tn Heb “that you, your name [is] the Lord, you alone.”

8 tn Traditionally “the Most High.”



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