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Psalms 94

Psalm 94 1 

94:1 O Lord, the God who avenges!

O God who avenges, reveal your splendor! 2 

94:2 Rise up, O judge of the earth!

Pay back the proud!

94:3 O Lord, how long will the wicked,

how long will the wicked celebrate? 3 

94:4 They spew out threats 4  and speak defiantly;

all the evildoers boast. 5 

94:5 O Lord, they crush your people;

they oppress the nation that belongs to you. 6 

94:6 They kill the widow and the one residing outside his native land,

and they murder the fatherless. 7 

94:7 Then they say, “The Lord does not see this;

the God of Jacob does not take notice of it.” 8 

94:8 Take notice of this, 9  you ignorant people! 10 

You fools, when will you ever understand?

94:9 Does the one who makes the human ear not hear?

Does the one who forms the human eye not see? 11 

94:10 Does the one who disciplines the nations not punish?

He is the one who imparts knowledge to human beings!

94:11 The Lord knows that

peoples’ thoughts are morally bankrupt. 12 

94:12 How blessed is the one 13  whom you instruct, O Lord,

the one whom you teach from your law,

94:13 in order to protect him from times of trouble, 14 

until the wicked are destroyed. 15 

94:14 Certainly 16  the Lord does not forsake his people;

he does not abandon the nation that belongs to him. 17 

94:15 For justice will prevail, 18 

and all the morally upright 19  will be vindicated. 20 

94:16 Who will rise up to defend me 21  against the wicked?

Who will stand up for me against the evildoers? 22 

94:17 If the Lord had not helped me,

I would have laid down in the silence of death. 23 

94:18 If I say, “My foot is slipping,”

your loyal love, O Lord, supports me.

94:19 When worries threaten to overwhelm me, 24 

your soothing touch makes me happy. 25 

94:20 Cruel rulers 26  are not your allies,

those who make oppressive laws. 27 

94:21 They conspire against 28  the blameless, 29 

and condemn to death the innocent. 30 

94:22 But the Lord will protect me, 31 

and my God will shelter me. 32 

94:23 He will pay them back for their sin. 33 

He will destroy them because of 34  their evil;

the Lord our God will destroy them.

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1 sn Psalm 94. The psalmist asks God to judge the wicked and affirms his confidence in God’s justice.

2 tn Heb “shine forth” (see Pss 50:2; 80:1).

3 tn Or “exult.”

4 tn Heb “they gush forth [words].”

5 tn The Hitpael of אָמַר (’amar) occurs only here (and perhaps in Isa 61:6).

6 tn Or “your inheritance.”

7 tn The Hebrew noun יָתוֹם (yatom) refers to one who has lost his father (not necessarily his mother, see Ps 109:9). Because they were so vulnerable and were frequently exploited, fatherless children are often mentioned as epitomizing the oppressed (see Pss 10:14; 68:5; 82:3; 146:9; as well as Job 6:27; 22:9; 24:3, 9; 29:12; 31:17, 21).

8 tn Heb “does not understand.”

9 tn Heb “understand.” The verb used in v. 7 is repeated here for rhetorical effect. The people referred to here claim God is ignorant of their actions, but the psalmist corrects their faulty viewpoint.

10 tn Heb “[you] brutish among the people.”

11 tn Heb “The one who plants an ear, does he not hear? The one who forms an eye, does he not see?”

12 tn Heb “the Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are emptiness.” The psalmist thinks specifically of the “thoughts” expressed in v. 7.

13 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man.” Hebrew wisdom literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle of the psalm is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the more neutral “one.” The generic masculine pronoun is used in v. 2.

14 tn Heb “to give him rest from the days of trouble.”

15 tn Heb “until a pit is dug for the wicked.”

16 tn Or “for.”

17 tn Or “his inheritance.”

18 tn Heb “for judgment will return to justice.”

19 tn Heb “all the pure of heart.” The “heart” is here viewed as the seat of one’s moral character and motives. The “pure of heart” are God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a result, experience his deliverance (see Pss 7:10; 11:2; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10; 97:11).

20 tn Heb “and after it [are] the pure of heart.”

21 tn Heb “for me.”

22 sn Who will stand up for me…? The questions anticipate the answer, “No one except God” (see v. 17).

23 tn Heb “If the Lord [were] not my help, quickly my life would have lain down in silence.” The psalmist, perhaps speaking as the nation’s representative, recalls God’s past intervention. For other examples of conditional sentences with the term לוּלֵי (luley, “if not”) in the protasis and a perfect verbal form in the apodosis, see Pss 119:92 and 124:2-5.

24 tn Heb “when my worries are many within me.”

25 tn Heb “your comforts cause my soul to delight.”

26 tn Heb “a throne of destruction.” “Throne” stands here by metonymy for rulers who occupy thrones.

27 tn Heb “Is a throne of destruction united to you, one that forms trouble upon a statute?” The rhetorical question anticipates the answer, “Of course not!” The translation, while not preserving the interrogative form of the statement, reflects its rhetorical force.

28 tn Or “attack.”

29 tn Heb “the life of the blameless.”

30 tn Heb “and the blood of the innocent they declare guilty.”

31 tn Heb “and the Lord has become my elevated place.” The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive is used in a rhetorical sense, describing an anticipated development as if it were already reality.

32 tn Heb “and my God [has become] a rocky summit of my safety.”

33 tn The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive is used in a rhetorical sense, describing an anticipated development as if it were already reality.

34 tn Or “in.”

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