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Psalms 86:1-17

Context
Psalm 86 1 

A prayer of David.

86:1 Listen 2  O Lord! Answer me!

For I am oppressed and needy.

86:2 Protect me, 3  for I am loyal!

O my God, deliver your servant, who trusts in you!

86:3 Have mercy on me, 4  O Lord,

for I cry out to you all day long!

86:4 Make your servant 5  glad,

for to you, O Lord, I pray! 6 

86:5 Certainly 7  O Lord, you are kind 8  and forgiving,

and show great faithfulness to all who cry out to you.

86:6 O Lord, hear my prayer!

Pay attention to my plea for mercy!

86:7 In my time of trouble I cry out to you,

for you will answer me.

86:8 None can compare to you among the gods, O Lord!

Your exploits are incomparable! 9 

86:9 All the nations, whom you created,

will come and worship you, 10  O Lord.

They will honor your name.

86:10 For you are great and do amazing things.

You alone are God.

86:11 O Lord, teach me how you want me to live! 11 

Then I will obey your commands. 12 

Make me wholeheartedly committed to you! 13 

86:12 O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks with my whole heart!

I will honor your name continually! 14 

86:13 For you will extend your great loyal love to me, 15 

and will deliver my life 16  from the depths of Sheol. 17 

86:14 O God, arrogant men attack me; 18 

a gang 19  of ruthless men, who do not respect you, seek my life. 20 

86:15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God.

You are patient 21  and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness. 22 

86:16 Turn toward me and have mercy on me!

Give your servant your strength!

Deliver your slave! 23 

86:17 Show me evidence of your favor! 24 

Then those who hate me will see it and be ashamed, 25 

for you, O Lord, will help me and comfort me. 26 

1 sn Psalm 86. The psalmist appeals to God’s mercy as he asks for deliverance from his enemies.

2 tn Heb “turn your ear.”

3 tn Heb “my life.”

4 tn Or “show me favor.”

5 tn Heb “the soul of your servant.”

6 tn Heb “I lift up my soul.”

7 tn Or “for.”

8 tn Heb “good.”

9 tn Heb “and there are none like your acts.”

10 tn Or “bow down before you.”

11 tn Heb “teach me your way.” The Lord’s “way” refers here to the moral principles he expects the psalmist to follow. See Pss 25:4; 27:11.

12 tn Heb “I will walk in your truth.” The Lord’s commandments are referred to as “truth” here because they are a trustworthy and accurate expression of the divine will. See Ps 25:5.

13 tn Heb “Bind my heart to the fearing of your name.” The verb translated “bind” occurs only here in the Piel stem. It appears twice in the Qal, meaning “be joined” in both cases (Gen 49:6; Isa 14:20). To “fear” God’s name means to have a healthy respect for him which in turn motivates one to obey his commands (see Pss 61:5; 102:15).

14 tn Or “forever.”

15 tn Heb “for your loyal love [is] great over me.”

16 tn Or “for he will have delivered my life.” The verb form indicates a future perfect here.

17 tn Or “lower Sheol.”

18 tn Heb “rise up against me.”

19 tn Or “assembly.”

20 tn Heb “seek my life and do not set you before them.” See Ps 54:3.

21 tn Heb “slow to anger.”

22 tn Heb “and great of loyal love and faithfulness.”

sn The psalmist’s confession of faith in this verse echoes Exod 34:6.

23 tn Heb “the son of your female servant.” The phrase “son of a female servant” (see also Ps 116:16) is used of a son born to a secondary wife or concubine (Exod 23:12). In some cases the child’s father is the master of the house (see Gen 21:10, 13; Judg 9:18). The use of the expression here certainly does not imply that the Lord has such a secondary wife or concubine! It is used metaphorically and idiomatically to emphasize the psalmist’s humility before the Lord and his status as the Lord’s servant.

24 tn Heb “Work with me a sign for good.” The expression “work a sign” also occurs in Judg 6:17.

25 tn After the imperative in the preceding line (“work”), the prefixed verb forms with prefixed vav (ו) conjunctive indicate purpose or result.

26 tn The perfect verbal forms are understood here as dramatic/rhetorical, expressing the psalmist’s certitude that such a sign from the Lord will be followed by his intervention. Another option is to understand the forms as future perfects (“for you, O Lord, will have helped me and comforted me”).



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