Psalms 86

Heb “turn your ear.”
O Lord! Answer me!
For I am oppressed and needy.
2 Protect me,
Heb “my life.”
for I am loyal!
O my God, deliver your servant, who trusts in you!
3 Have mercy on me,
Or “show me favor.”
O Lord,
for I cry out to you all day long!
4 Make your servant
Heb “the soul of your servant.”
for to you, O Lord, I pray!
Heb “I lift up my soul.”

5 Certainly
Or “for.”
O Lord, you are kind
Heb “good.”
and forgiving,
and show great faithfulness to all who cry out to you.
6 O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my plea for mercy!
7 In my time of trouble I cry out to you,
for you will answer me.
8 None can compare to you among the gods, O Lord!
Your exploits are incomparable!
Heb “and there are none like your acts.”

9 All the nations, whom you created,
will come and worship you,
Or “bow down before you.”
O Lord.
They will honor your name.
10 For you are great and do amazing things.
You alone are God.
11 O Lord, teach me how you want me to live!
Heb “teach me your way.” The Lord’s “way” refers here to the moral principles he expects the psalmist to follow. See Pss 25:4; 27:11.

Then I will obey your commands.
Heb “I will walk in your truth.” The Lord’s commandments are referred to as “truth” here because they are a trustworthy and accurate expression of the divine will. See Ps 25:5.

Make me wholeheartedly committed to you!
Heb “Bind my heart to the fearing of your name.” The verb translated “bind” occurs only here in the Piel stem. It appears twice in the Qal, meaning “be joined” in both cases (Gen 49:6; Isa 14:20). To “fear” God’s name means to have a healthy respect for him which in turn motivates one to obey his commands (see Pss 61:5; 102:15).

12 O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks with my whole heart!
I will honor your name continually!
Or “forever.”

13 For you will extend your great loyal love to me,
Heb “for your loyal love [is] great over me.”

and will deliver my life
Or “for he will have delivered my life.” The verb form indicates a future perfect here.
from the depths of Sheol.
Or “lower Sheol.”

14 O God, arrogant men attack me;
Heb “rise up against me.”

a gang
Or “assembly.”
of ruthless men, who do not respect you, seek my life.
Heb “seek my life and do not set you before them.” See Ps 54:3.

15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God.
You are patient
Heb “slow to anger.”
and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness.
Heb “and great of loyal love and faithfulness.”
The psalmist’s confession of faith in this verse echoes Exod 34:6.

16 Turn toward me and have mercy on me!
Give your servant your strength!
Deliver your slave!
Heb “the son of your female servant.” The phrase “son of a female servant” (see also Ps 116:16) is used of a son born to a secondary wife or concubine (Exod 23:12). In some cases the child’s father is the master of the house (see Gen 21:10, 13; Judg 9:18). The use of the expression here certainly does not imply that the Lord has such a secondary wife or concubine! It is used metaphorically and idiomatically to emphasize the psalmist’s humility before the Lord and his status as the Lord’s servant.

Show me evidence of your favor!
Heb “Work with me a sign for good.” The expression “work a sign” also occurs in Judg 6:17.

Then those who hate me will see it and be ashamed,
After the imperative in the preceding line (“work”), the prefixed verb forms with prefixed vav (ו) conjunctive indicate purpose or result.

for you, O Lord, will help me and comfort me.
The perfect verbal forms are understood here as dramatic/rhetorical, expressing the psalmist’s certitude that such a sign from the Lord will be followed by his intervention. Another option is to understand the forms as future perfects (“for you, O Lord, will have helped me and comforted me”).

Psalm 87

Psalm 87. The psalmist celebrates the Lord’s presence in Zion and the special status of its citizens.

Written by the Korahites; a psalm, a song.

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