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Psalms 77:9-13

Context

77:9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?

Has his anger stifled his compassion?”

77:10 Then I said, “I am sickened by the thought

that the sovereign One 1  might become inactive. 2 

77:11 I will remember the works of the Lord.

Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago! 3 

77:12 I will think about all you have done;

I will reflect upon your deeds!”

77:13 4 O God, your deeds are extraordinary! 5 

What god can compare to our great God? 6 

1 tn Heb “Most High.” This divine title (עֶלְיוֹן, ’elyon) pictures God as the exalted ruler of the universe who vindicates the innocent and judges the wicked. See especially Pss 7:17; 9:2; 18:13; 21:7; 47:2.

2 tc Heb “And I said, ‘This is my wounding, the changing of the right hand of the Most High.’” The form חַלּוֹתִי (khallotiy) appears to be a Qal infinitive construct (with a first person singular pronominal suffix) from the verbal root חָלַל (khalal, “to pierce; to wound”). The present translation assumes an emendation to חֲלוֹתִי (khalotiy), a Qal infinitive construct (with a first person singular pronominal suffix) from the verbal root חָלָה (khalah, “be sick, weak”). The form שְׁנוֹת (shÿnot) is understood as a Qal infinitive construct from שָׁנָה (shanah, “to change”) rather than a plural noun form, “years” (see v. 5). “Right hand” here symbolizes by metonymy God’s power and activity. The psalmist observes that his real problem is theological in nature. His experience suggests that the sovereign Lord has abandoned him and become inactive. However, this goes against the grain of his most cherished beliefs.

3 tn Heb “yes, I will remember from old your wonders.”

sn The psalmist refuses to allow skepticism to win out. God has revealed himself to his people in tangible, incontrovertible ways in the past and the psalmist vows to remember the historical record as a source of hope for the future.

4 sn Verses 13-20 are the content of the psalmist’s reflection (see vv. 11-12). As he thought about God’s work in Israel’s past, he reached the place where he could confidently cry out for God’s help (see v. 1).

5 tn Heb “O God, in holiness [is] your way.” God’s “way” here refers to his actions. “Holiness” is used here in the sense of “set apart, unique,” rather than in a moral/ethical sense. As the next line and the next verse emphasize, God’s deeds are incomparable and set him apart as the one true God.

6 tn Heb “Who [is] a great god like God?” The rhetorical question assumes the answer, “No one!”



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