77:2 In my time of trouble I sought 1 the Lord.
I kept my hand raised in prayer throughout the night. 2
I 3 refused to be comforted.
77:3 I said, “I will remember God while I groan;
I will think about him while my strength leaves me.” 4 (Selah)
77:4 You held my eyelids open; 5
I was troubled and could not speak. 6
77:5 I thought about the days of old,
about ancient times. 7
77:6 I said, “During the night I will remember the song I once sang;
I will think very carefully.”
I tried to make sense of what was happening. 8
77:7 I asked, 9 “Will the Lord reject me forever?
Will he never again show me his favor?
77:8 Has his loyal love disappeared forever?
Has his promise 10 failed forever?
77:9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has his anger stifled his compassion?”
77:10 Then I said, “I am sickened by the thought
that the sovereign One 11 might become inactive. 12
77:11 I will remember the works of the Lord.
Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago! 13
77:12 I will think about all you have done;
I will reflect upon your deeds!”
1 tn Here the psalmist refers back to the very recent past, when he began to pray for divine help.
2 tn Heb “my hand [at] night was extended and was not growing numb.” The verb נָגַר (nagar), which can mean “flow” in certain contexts, here has the nuance “be extended.” The imperfect form (תָפוּג, tafug, “to be numb”) is used here to describe continuous action in the past.
3 tn Or “my soul.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) with a pronominal suffix is often equivalent to a pronoun, especially in poetry (see BDB 660 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 4.a).
4 tn Heb “I will remember God and I will groan, I will reflect and my spirit will grow faint.” The first three verbs are cohortatives, the last a perfect with vav (ו) consecutive. The psalmist’s statement in v. 4 could be understood as concurrent with v. 1, or, more likely, as a quotation of what he had said earlier as he prayed to God (see v. 2). The words “I said” are supplied in the translation at the beginning of the verse to reflect this interpretation (see v. 10).
5 tn Heb “you held fast the guards of my eyes.” The “guards of the eyes” apparently refers to his eyelids. The psalmist seems to be saying that God would not bring him relief, which would have allowed him to shut his eyes and get some sleep (see v. 2).
6 tn The imperfect is used in the second clause to emphasize that this was an ongoing condition in the past.
7 tn Heb “the years of antiquity.”
8 tn Heb “I will remember my song in the night, with my heart I will reflect. And my spirit searched.” As in v. 4, the words of v. 6a are understood as what the psalmist said earlier. Consequently the words “I said” are supplied in the translation for clarification (see v. 10). The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive at the beginning of the final line is taken as sequential to the perfect “I thought” in v. 6.
9 tn As in vv. 4 and 6a, the words of vv. 7-9 are understood as a quotation of what the psalmist said earlier. Therefore the words “I asked” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
10 tn Heb “word,” which may refer here to God’s word of promise (note the reference to “loyal love” in the preceding line).
11 tn Heb “Most High.” This divine title (עֶלְיוֹן, ’elyon) pictures God as the exalted ruler of the universe who vindicates the innocent and judges the wicked. See especially Pss 7:17; 9:2; 18:13; 21:7; 47:2.
12 tc Heb “And I said, ‘This is my wounding, the changing of the right hand of the Most High.’” The form חַלּוֹתִי (khallotiy) appears to be a Qal infinitive construct (with a first person singular pronominal suffix) from the verbal root חָלַל (khalal, “to pierce; to wound”). The present translation assumes an emendation to חֲלוֹתִי (khalotiy), a Qal infinitive construct (with a first person singular pronominal suffix) from the verbal root חָלָה (khalah, “be sick, weak”). The form שְׁנוֹת (shÿnot) is understood as a Qal infinitive construct from שָׁנָה (shanah, “to change”) rather than a plural noun form, “years” (see v. 5). “Right hand” here symbolizes by metonymy God’s power and activity. The psalmist observes that his real problem is theological in nature. His experience suggests that the sovereign Lord has abandoned him and become inactive. However, this goes against the grain of his most cherished beliefs.
13 tn Heb “yes, I will remember from old your wonders.”
sn The psalmist refuses to allow skepticism to win out. God has revealed himself to his people in tangible, incontrovertible ways in the past and the psalmist vows to remember the historical record as a source of hope for the future.