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Psalms 64:2-7


64:2 Hide me from the plots of evil men,

from the crowd of evildoers. 1 

64:3 They 2  sharpen their tongues like a sword;

they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge, 3 

64:4 in order to shoot down the innocent 4  in secluded places.

They shoot at him suddenly and are unafraid of retaliation. 5 

64:5 They encourage one another to carry out their evil deed. 6 

They plan how to hide 7  snares,

and boast, 8  “Who will see them?” 9 

64:6 They devise 10  unjust schemes;

they disguise 11  a well-conceived plot. 12 

Man’s inner thoughts cannot be discovered. 13 

64:7 But God will shoot 14  at them;

suddenly they will be 15  wounded by an arrow. 16 

1 tn Heb “workers of wickedness.”

2 tn Heb “who.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

3 tn Heb “a bitter word.”

4 tn The psalmist uses the singular because he is referring to himself here as representative of a larger group.

5 tn Heb “and are unafraid.” The words “of retaliation” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

6 tn Heb “they give strength to themselves, an evil matter [or “word”].”

7 tn Heb “they report about hiding.”

8 tn Heb “they say.”

9 tn If this is a direct quotation (cf. NASB, NIV), the pronoun “them” refers to the snares mentioned in the previous line. If it is an indirect quotation, then the pronoun may refer to the enemies themselves (cf. NEB, which is ambiguous). Some translations retain the direct quotation but alter the pronoun to “us,” referring clearly to the enemies (cf. NRSV).

10 tn Heb “search out, examine,” which here means (by metonymy) “devise.”

11 tc The MT has תַּמְנוּ (tamnu, “we are finished”), a Qal perfect first common plural form from the verbal root תָּמַם (tamam). Some understand this as the beginning of a quotation of the enemies’ words and translate, “we have completed,” but the Hiphil would seem to be required in this case. The present translation follows many medieval Hebrew mss in reading טָמְנוּ (tomnu, “they hide”), a Qal perfect third common plural form from the verbal root טָמַן (taman).

12 tn Heb “a searched-out search,” which is understood as referring here to a thoroughly planned plot to destroy the psalmist.

13 tn Heb “and the inner part of man, and a heart [is] deep.” The point seems to be that a man’s inner thoughts are incapable of being discovered. No one is a mind reader! Consequently the psalmist is vulnerable to his enemies’ well-disguised plots.

14 tn The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive is normally used in narrative contexts to describe completed past actions. It is possible that the conclusion to the psalm (vv. 7-10) was added to the lament after God’s judgment of the wicked in response to the psalmist’s lament (vv. 1-6). The translation assumes that these verses are anticipatory and express the psalmist’s confidence that God would eventually judge the wicked. The psalmist uses a narrative style as a rhetorical device to emphasize his certitude. See GKC 329-30 §111.w.

15 tn The perfect verbal form here expresses the psalmist’s certitude about the coming demise of the wicked.

16 tn The translation follows the traditional accentuation of the MT. Another option is to translate, “But God will shoot them down with an arrow, suddenly they will be wounded” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

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