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Psalms 21:8-12


21:8 You 1  prevail over 2  all your enemies;

your power is too great for those who hate you. 3 

21:9 You burn them up like a fiery furnace 4  when you appear; 5 

the Lord angrily devours them; 6 

the fire consumes them.

21:10 You destroy their offspring 7  from the earth,

their descendants 8  from among the human race. 9 

21:11 Yes, 10  they intend to do you harm; 11 

they dream up a scheme, 12  but they do not succeed. 13 

21:12 For you make them retreat 14 

when you shoot your arrows at them. 15 

1 tn The king is now addressed. One could argue that the Lord is still being addressed, but v. 9 militates against this proposal, for there the Lord is mentioned in the third person and appears to be distinct from the addressee (unless, of course, one takes “Lord” in v. 9 as vocative; see the note on “them” in v. 9b). Verse 7 begins this transition to a new addressee by referring to both the king and the Lord in the third person (in vv. 1-6 the Lord is addressed and only the king referred to in the third person).

2 tn Heb “your hand finds.” The idiom pictures the king grabbing hold of his enemies and defeating them (see 1 Sam 23:17). The imperfect verbal forms in vv. 8-12 may be translated with the future tense, as long as the future is understood as generalizing.

3 tn Heb “your right hand finds those who hate you.”

4 tn Heb “you make them like a furnace of fire.” Although many modern translations retain the literal Hebrew, the statement is elliptical. The point is not that he makes them like a furnace, but like an object burned in a furnace (cf. NEB, “at your coming you shall plunge them into a fiery furnace”).

5 tn Heb “at the time of your face.” The “face” of the king here refers to his angry presence. See Lam 4:16.

6 tn Heb “the Lord, in his anger he swallows them, and fire devours them.” Some take “the Lord” as a vocative, in which case he is addressed in vv. 8-9a. But this makes the use of the third person in v. 9b rather awkward, though the king could be the subject (see vv. 1-7).

7 tn Heb “fruit.” The next line makes it clear that offspring is in view.

8 tn Heb “seed.”

9 tn Heb “sons of man.”

10 tn Or “for.”

11 tn Heb “they extend against you harm.” The perfect verbal forms in v. 11 are taken as generalizing, stating factually what the king’s enemies typically do. Another option is to translate with the past tense (“they intended…planned”).

12 sn See Ps 10:2.

13 tn Heb “they lack ability.”

14 tn Heb “you make them a shoulder,” i.e., “you make them turn and run, showing the back of their neck and shoulders.”

15 tn Heb “with your bowstrings you fix against their faces,” i.e., “you fix your arrows on the bowstrings to shoot at them.”

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