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Psalms 95:7-11

Context

95:7 For he is our God;

we are the people of his pasture,

the sheep he owns. 1 

Today, if only you would obey him! 2 

95:8 He says, 3  “Do not be stubborn like they were at Meribah, 4 

like they were that day at Massah 5  in the wilderness, 6 

95:9 where your ancestors challenged my authority, 7 

and tried my patience, even though they had seen my work.

95:10 For forty years I was continually disgusted 8  with that generation,

and I said, ‘These people desire to go astray; 9 

they do not obey my commands.’ 10 

95:11 So I made a vow in my anger,

‘They will never enter into the resting place I had set aside for them.’” 11 

1 tn Heb “of his hand.”

2 tn Heb “if only you would listen to his voice.” The Hebrew particle אִם (’im, “if”) and following prefixed verbal form here express a wish (cf. Ps 81:8). Note that the apodosis (the “then” clause of the conditional sentence) is suppressed.

3 tn The words “he says” are supplied in the translation to clarify that the following words are spoken by the Lord (see vv. 9-11).

4 sn The name Meribah means “strife.” Two separate but similar incidents at Meribah are recorded in the Pentateuch (Exod 17:1-7; Num 20:1-13, see also Pss 81:7; 106:32). In both cases the Israelites complained about lack of water and the Lord miraculously provided for them.

5 sn The name Massah means “testing.” This was another name (along with Meribah) given to the place where Israel complained following the Red Sea Crossing (see Exod 17:1-7, as well as Deut 6:16; 9:22; 33:8).

6 tn Heb “do not harden your heart[s] as [at] Meribah, as [in] the day of Massah in the wilderness.”

7 tn Heb “where your fathers tested me.”

8 tn The prefixed verbal form is either a preterite or an imperfect. If the latter, it emphasizes the ongoing nature of the condition in the past. The translation reflects this interpretation of the verbal form.

9 tn Heb “a people, wanderers of heart [are] they.”

10 tn Heb “and they do not know my ways.” In this context the Lord’s “ways” are his commands, viewed as a pathway from which his people, likened to wayward sheep (see v. 7), wander.

11 tn Heb “my resting place.” The promised land of Canaan is here viewed metaphorically as a place of rest for God’s people, who are compared to sheep (see v. 7).



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