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Psalms 40:1-3

Context
Psalm 40 1 

For the music director; By David, a psalm.

40:1 I relied completely 2  on the Lord,

and he turned toward me

and heard my cry for help.

40:2 He lifted me out of the watery pit, 3 

out of the slimy mud. 4 

He placed my feet on a rock

and gave me secure footing. 5 

40:3 He gave me reason to sing a new song, 6 

praising our God. 7 

May many see what God has done,

so that they might swear allegiance to him and trust in the Lord! 8 

1 sn Psalm 40. The psalmist combines a song of thanksgiving for a recent act of divine deliverance (vv. 1-11) with a confident petition for renewed divine intervention (vv. 12-17).

2 tn Heb “relying, I relied.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verbal form to emphasize the verbal idea. The emphasis is reflected in the translation through the adverb “completely.” Another option is to translate, “I waited patiently” (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV).

3 tn Heb “cistern of roaring.” The Hebrew noun בּוֹר (bor, “cistern, pit”) is used metaphorically here of Sheol, the place of death, which is sometimes depicted as a raging sea (see Ps 18:4, 15-16). The noun שָׁאוֹן (shaon, “roaring”) refers elsewhere to the crashing sound of the sea’s waves (see Ps 65:7).

4 tn Heb “from the mud of mud.” The Hebrew phrase translated “slimy mud” employs an appositional genitive. Two synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the single idea. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81.

5 tn Heb “he established my footsteps.”

6 sn A new song was appropriate because the Lord had intervened in the psalmist’s experience in a fresh and exciting way.

7 tn Heb “and he placed in my mouth a new song, praise to our God.”

8 tn Heb “may many see and fear and trust in the Lord.” The translation assumes that the initial prefixed verbal form is a jussive (“may many see”), rather than an imperfect (“many will see”). The following prefixed verbal forms with vav (ו) conjunctive are taken as indicating purpose or result (“so that they might swear allegiance…and trust”) after the introductory jussive.



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