Psalms 68:3-4

68:3 But the godly are happy;

they rejoice before God

and are overcome with joy.

68:4 Sing to God! Sing praises to his name!

Exalt the one who rides on the clouds!

For the Lord is his name!

Rejoice before him!

tn By placing the subject first the psalmist highlights the contrast between God’s ecstatic people and his defeated enemies (vv. 1-2).

tn Heb “and they are happy with joy” (cf. NEB). Some translate the prefixed verbal forms of v. 3 as jussives, “Let the godly be happy, let them rejoice before God, and let them be happy with joy!” (Cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV; note the call to praise in v. 4.)

tn Traditionally the Hebrew term עֲרָבוֹת (’aravot) is taken as “steppe-lands” (often rendered “deserts”), but here the form is probably a homonym meaning “clouds.” Verse 33, which depicts God as the one who “rides on the sky” strongly favors this (see as well Deut 33:26), as does the reference in v. 9 to God as the source of rain. The term עֲרָבָה (’aravah, “cloud”) is cognate with Akkadian urpatu/erpetu and with Ugaritic ’rpt. The phrase rkbrpt (“one who rides on the clouds”) appears in Ugaritic mythological texts as an epithet of the storm god Baal. The nonphonemic interchange of the bilabial consonants b and p is attested elsewhere in roots common to Hebrew and Ugaritic, though the phenomenon is relatively rare.

tc Heb “in the Lord his name.” If the MT is retained, the preposition -בְ (bet) is introducing the predicate (the so-called bet of identity), “the Lord is his name.” However, some prefer to emend the text to כִּי יָהּ שְׁמוֹ (ki yah shÿmo, “for Yah is his name”). This emendation, reflected in the present translation, assumes a confusion of bet (ב) and kaf (כ) and haplography of yod (י).