Psalms 107:39-40

107:39 As for their enemies, they decreased in number and were beaten down,

because of painful distress and suffering.

107:40 He would pour contempt upon princes,

and he made them wander in a wasteland with no road.

tn The words “As for their enemies” are not included in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. Without such clarification, one might think that v. 39 refers to those just mentioned in v. 38 as objects of divine blessing, which would contradict the point just emphasized by the psalmist. The structure of vv. 33-42 is paneled (A-B-A-B). In vv. 33-34 the psalmist describes God’s judgment upon his enemies (perhaps those who had enslaved his people). In vv. 35-38 he contrasts this judgment with the divine blessing poured out on God’s people. (See the note on the word “people” in v. 35.) In vv. 39-40 he contrasts this blessing with the judgment experienced by enemies, before returning in vv. 41-42 to the blessing experienced by God’s people.

tn Heb “from the oppression of calamity.”

tn The active participle is understood as past durative here, drawing attention to typical action in a past time frame. However, it could be taken as generalizing (in which case one should translate using the English present tense), in which case the psalmist moves from narrative to present reality. Perhaps the participial form appears because the statement is lifted from Job 12:21.