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Psalms 10:4-5

Context

10:4 The wicked man is so arrogant he always thinks,

“God won’t hold me accountable; he doesn’t care.” 1 

10:5 He is secure at all times. 2 

He has no regard for your commands; 3 

he disdains all his enemies. 4 

1 tn Heb “the wicked [one], according to the height of his nose, he does not seek, there is no God, all his thoughts.” The phrase “height of his nose” probably refers to an arrogant or snooty attitude; it likely pictures one with his nose turned upward toward the sky in pride. One could take the “wicked” as the subject of the negated verb “seek,” in which case the point is that the wicked do not “seek” God. The translation assumes that this statement, along with “there is no God,” is what the wicked man thinks to himself. In this case God is the subject of the verb “seek,” and the point is that God will not hold the wicked man accountable for his actions. Verse 13 strongly favors this interpretation. The statement “there is no God” is not a philosophical assertion that God does not exist, but rather a confident affirmation that he is unconcerned about how men live morally and ethically (see v. 11).

2 tn Heb “they are firm, his ways, at every time.” The verb חַיִל (khayil, “be firm, be strong”) occurs only here and in Job 20:21, where it has the sense “endure.”

3 tc Heb “[on a] height, your judgments from before him.” If the MT is retained, then the idea may be that God’s “judgments” are high above (i.e., not recognized) by the wicked man. However, the syntax is awkward. The translation assumes an emendation of מָרוֹם (marom, “height”) to סָרוּ (saru, “[your judgments] are turned aside”), the final mem (ם) being dittographic (note the initial mem on the immediately following word [מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ, mishÿfatekha, “your judgments”). “Judgments” probably refers here to God’s laws or commands, rather than his judicial decisions or acts of judgment.

4 tn Heb “all his enemies, he snorts against them.” This may picture the wicked man defiantly challenging his enemies because he is confident of success. Another option is to take יָפִיחַ (yafiakh) from the root יָפַח (yafakh, “to testify”) and translate “he testifies against all his enemies,” implying that he gets the upper hand over them in legal battles. The noun יָפֵחַ (yafeakh, “witness”) is attested in biblical Hebrew (see Prov 6:19; 12:17; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9, and Hab 2:3). The verb, however, is not clearly attested.



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