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Psalms 89:3-4


89:3 The Lord said, 1 

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;

I have made a promise on oath to David, my servant:

89:4 ‘I will give you an eternal dynasty 2 

and establish your throne throughout future generations.’” 3  (Selah)

Psalms 89:19-29


89:19 Then you 4  spoke through a vision to your faithful followers 5  and said:

“I have energized a warrior; 6 

I have raised up a young man 7  from the people.

89:20 I have discovered David, my servant.

With my holy oil I have anointed him as king. 8 

89:21 My hand will support him, 9 

and my arm will strengthen him.

89:22 No enemy will be able to exact tribute 10  from him; 11 

a violent oppressor will not be able to humiliate him. 12 

89:23 I will crush his enemies before him;

I will strike down those who hate him.

89:24 He will experience my faithfulness and loyal love, 13 

and by my name he will win victories. 14 

89:25 I will place his hand over the sea,

his right hand over the rivers. 15 

89:26 He will call out to me,

‘You are my father, 16  my God, and the protector who delivers me.’ 17 

89:27 I will appoint him to be my firstborn son, 18 

the most exalted of the earth’s kings.

89:28 I will always extend my loyal love to him,

and my covenant with him is secure. 19 

89:29 I will give him an eternal dynasty, 20 

and make his throne as enduring as the skies above. 21 

1 tn The words “the Lord said” are supplied in the translation for clarification. It is clear that the words of vv. 3-4 are spoken by the Lord, in contrast to vv. 1-2, which are spoken by the psalmist.

2 tn Heb “forever I will establish your offspring.”

3 tn Heb “and I will build to a generation and a generation your throne.”

4 tn The pronoun “you” refers to the Lord, who is addressed here. The quotation that follows further develops the announcement of vv. 3-4.

5 tc Many medieval mss read the singular here, “your faithful follower.” In this case the statement refers directly to Nathan’s oracle to David (see 2 Sam 7:17).

6 tn Heb “I have placed help upon a warrior.”

7 tn Or perhaps “a chosen one.”

8 tn The words “as king” are supplied in the translation for clarification, indicating that a royal anointing is in view.

9 tn Heb “with whom my hand will be firm.”

10 tn Heb “an enemy will not exact tribute.” The imperfect is understood in a modal sense, indicating capability or potential.

11 tn The translation understands the Hiphil of נָשַׁא (nasha’) in the sense of “act as a creditor.” This may allude to the practice of a conqueror forcing his subjects to pay tribute in exchange for “protection.” Another option is to take the verb from a homonymic verbal root meaning “to deceive,” “to trick.” Still another option is to emend the form to יִשָּׂא (yisa’), a Qal imperfect from נָאַשׂ (naas, “rise up”) and to translate “an enemy will not rise up against him” (see M. Dahood, Psalms [AB], 2:317).

12 tn Heb “and a son of violence will not oppress him.” The imperfect is understood in a modal sense, indicating capability or potential. The reference to a “son of violence” echoes the language of God’s promise to David in 2 Sam 7:10 (see also 1 Chr 17:9).

13 tn Heb “and my faithfulness and my loyal love [will be] with him.”

14 tn Heb “and by my name his horn will be lifted up.” The horn of an ox underlies the metaphor (see Deut 33:17; 1 Kgs 22:11; Ps 92:10). The horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “exalt/lift up the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 75:10; 92:10; Lam 2:17).

15 tn Some identify “the sea” as the Mediterranean and “the rivers” as the Euphrates and its tributaries. However, it is more likely that “the sea” and “the rivers” are symbols for hostile powers that oppose God and the king (see v. 9, as well as Ps 93:3-4).

16 sn You are my father. The Davidic king was viewed as God’s “son” (see 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 2:7). The idiom reflects ancient Near Eastern adoption language associated with covenants of grant, by which a lord would reward a faithful subject by elevating him to special status, referred to as “sonship.” Like a son, the faithful subject received an “inheritance,” viewed as an unconditional, eternal gift. Such gifts usually took the form of land and/or an enduring dynasty. See M. Weinfeld, “The Covenant of Grant in the Old Testament and in the Ancient Near East,” JAOS 90 (1970): 184-203, for general discussion and some striking extra-biblical parallels.

17 tn Heb “the rocky summit of my deliverance.”

18 sn The firstborn son typically had special status and received special privileges.

19 tn Heb “forever I will keep for him my loyal love and will make my covenant secure for him.”

20 tn Heb “and I will set in place forever his offspring.”

21 tn Heb “and his throne like the days of the heavens.”

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