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Psalms 63

Psalm 63 1 

A psalm of David, written when he was in the Judean wilderness. 2 

63:1 O God, you are my God! I long for you! 3 

My soul thirsts 4  for you,

my flesh yearns for you,

in a dry and parched 5  land where there is no water.

63:2 Yes, 6  in the sanctuary I have seen you, 7 

and witnessed 8  your power and splendor.

63:3 Because 9  experiencing 10  your loyal love is better than life itself,

my lips will praise you.

63:4 For this reason 11  I will praise you while I live;

in your name I will lift up my hands. 12 

63:5 As if with choice meat 13  you satisfy my soul. 14 

My mouth joyfully praises you, 15 

63:6 whenever 16  I remember you on my bed,

and think about you during the nighttime hours.

63:7 For you are my deliverer; 17 

under your wings 18  I rejoice.

63:8 My soul 19  pursues you; 20 

your right hand upholds me.

63:9 Enemies seek to destroy my life, 21 

but they will descend into the depths of the earth. 22 

63:10 Each one will be handed over to the sword; 23 

their corpses will be eaten by jackals. 24 

63:11 But the king 25  will rejoice in God;

everyone who takes oaths in his name 26  will boast,

for the mouths of those who speak lies will be shut up. 27 

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1 sn Psalm 63. The psalmist expresses his intense desire to be in God’s presence and confidently affirms that God will judge his enemies.

2 sn According to the psalm superscription David wrote the psalm while in the “wilderness of Judah.” Perhaps this refers to the period described in 1 Sam 23-24 or to the incident mentioned in 2 Sam 15:23.

3 tn Or “I will seek you.”

4 tn Or “I thirst.”

5 tn Heb “faint” or “weary.” This may picture the land as “faint” or “weary,” or it may allude to the effect this dry desert has on those who are forced to live in it.

6 tn The Hebrew particle כֵּן (ken) is used here to stress the following affirmation (see Josh 2:4).

7 tn The perfect verbal form is understood here as referring to a past experience which the psalmist desires to be repeated. Another option is to take the perfect as indicating the psalmist’s certitude that he will again stand in God’s presence in the sanctuary. In this case one can translate, “I will see you.”

8 tn Heb “seeing.” The preposition with the infinitive construct here indicates an accompanying circumstance.

9 tn This line is understood as giving the basis for the praise promised in the following line. Another option is to take the Hebrew particle כִּי (ki) as asseverative/emphasizing, “Indeed, your loyal love is better” (cf. NEB, which leaves the particle untranslated).

10 tn The word “experiencing” is supplied in the translation for clarification. The psalmist does not speak here of divine loyal love in some abstract sense, but of loyal love revealed and experienced.

11 tn Or perhaps “then.”

12 sn I will lift up my hands. Lifting up one’s hands toward God was a gesture of prayer (see Ps 28:2; Lam 2:19) or respect (Ps 119:48).

13 tn Heb “like fat and fatness.”

14 tn Or “me.”

15 tn Heb “and [with] lips of joy my mouth praises.”

16 tn The Hebrew term אִם (’im) is used here in the sense of “when; whenever,” as in Ps 78:34.

17 tn Or “[source of] help.”

18 tn Heb “in the shadow of your wings.”

19 tn Or “I.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) with a pronominal suffix is often equivalent to a pronoun, especially in poetry (see BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.a).

20 tn Heb “clings after.” The expression means “to pursue with determination” (see Judg 20:45; 1 Sam 14:22; 1 Chr 10:2; Jer 42:16).

21 tn Heb “but they for destruction seek my life.” The pronoun “they” must refer here to the psalmist’s enemies, referred to at this point for the first time in the psalm.

22 sn The depths of the earth refers here to the underworld dwelling place of the dead (see Ezek 26:20; 31:14, 16, 18; 32:18, 24). See L. I. J. Stadelmann, The Hebrew Conception of the World, 167.

23 tn Heb “they will deliver him over to the sword.” The third masculine plural subject must be indefinite (see GKC 460 §144.f) and the singular pronominal suffix either representative or distributive (emphasizing that each one will be so treated). Active verbs with indefinite subjects may be translated as passives with the object (in the Hebrew text) as subject (in the translation).

24 tn Heb “they will be [the] portion of jackals”; traditionally, “of foxes.”

25 sn The psalmist probably refers to himself in the third person here.

26 tn Heb “who swears [an oath] by him.”

27 tn The Niphal of this verb occurs only here and in Gen 8:2, where it is used of God “stopping” or “damming up” the great deep as he brought the flood to an end.

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