Psalms 281 To you, O Lord, I cry out!
My protector, ▼ do not ignore me! ▼
▼ Heb “do not be deaf from me.”
If you do not respond to me, ▼
▼ Heb “lest [if] you are silent from me.”
I will join ▼
▼ Heb “I will be equal with.”those who are descending into the grave. ▼
▼ Heb “the pit.” The noun בּוֹר (bor, “pit, cistern”) is sometimes used of the grave and/or the realm of the dead.
2 Hear my plea for mercy when I cry out to you for help,
when I lift my hands ▼
▼ I lift my hands. Lifting one’s hands toward God was a gesture of prayer.toward your holy temple! ▼
▼ The Hebrew term דְּבִיר (devir, “temple”) actually refers to the most holy place within the sanctuary.
3 Do not drag me away with evil men,
with those who behave wickedly, ▼
▼ Heb “workers of wickedness.”
who talk so friendly to their neighbors, ▼
▼ Heb “speakers of peace with their neighbors.”
while they plan to harm them! ▼
▼ Heb “and evil [is] in their heart[s].”
4 Pay them back for their evil deeds!
Pay them back for what they do!
Punish them! ▼
▼ Heb “Give to them according to their work, and according to the evil of their deeds. According to the work of their hands give to them. Return their due to them.” The highly repetitive style reflects the psalmist’s agitated emotional state and draws attention to his yearning for justice.
5 For they do not understand the Lord’s actions,
or the way he carries out justice. ▼
▼ Heb “or the work of his hands.” In this context “the Lord’s actions” and “the work of his hands” probably refer to the way he carries out justice by vindicating the godly and punishing the wicked. (Note the final line of the verse, which refers to divine judgment. See also Ps 92:4–7.) Evil men do not “understand” God’s just ways; they fail to realize he will protect the innocent. Consequently they seek to harm the godly, as if they believe they will never be held accountable for their actions.
The Lord ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord, who is referred to in the two immediately preceding lines) has been specified in the translation for clarity.will permanently demolish them. ▼
▼ Heb “will tear them down and not rebuild them.” The ungodly are compared to a structure that is permanently demolished.
6 The Lord deserves praise, ▼
▼ Heb “blessed [be] the Lord.”
for he has heard my plea for mercy! ▼
▼ He has heard my plea for mercy. The psalmist’s mood abruptly changes at this point, because the Lord responded positively to his petition and assured him that he would deliver him.
7 The Lord strengthens and protects me; ▼
▼ Heb “The Lord [is] my strength and my shield.”
I trust in him with all my heart. ▼
▼ Heb “in him my heart trusts.”
I am rescued ▼
▼ Or “I am helped.”and my heart is full of joy; ▼
▼ Heb “and my heart exults.”
I will sing to him in gratitude. ▼
▼ Heb “and from my song I will thank him.” As pointed in the Hebrew text, מִשִּׁירִי (mishiri) appears to be “from my song,” but the preposition “from” never occurs elsewhere with the verb “to thank” (Hiphil of יָדָה, yadah). Perhaps משׁיר is a noun form meaning “song.” If so, it can be taken as an adverbial accusative, “and [with] my song I will thank him.” See P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1–50 (WBC), 236.
8 The Lord strengthens his people; ▼
▼ Heb “the Lord [is] strength to them” (or perhaps, “to him”). The form לָמוֹ (lamo, “to them/him”) is probably a corruption of an original לְעַמוֹ (le’amo, “to his people”; see P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1–50 [WBC], 236), perhaps due to quiescence of the letter ayin (ע; see P. McCarter, Textual Criticism [GBS], 55). Note the reference to the Lord’s “people” in the next verse.
he protects and delivers his chosen king. ▼
Deliver your people!
▼ Or “bless.”the nation that belongs to you! ▼
▼ Heb “your inheritance.” The parallelism (note “your people”) indicates that Israel is in view.
Care for them like a shepherd and carry them in your arms ▼
▼ Heb “shepherd them and lift them up.”▼ at all times! ▼
▼ Or “forever.”
▼ Psalm 29. In this hymn of praise the psalmist calls upon the heavenly assembly to acknowledge the royal splendor of the Lord. He describes the Lord’s devastating power as revealed in the thunderstorm and affirms that the Lord exerts this awesome might on behalf of his people. In its original context the psalm was a bold polemic against the Canaanite storm god Baal, for it affirms that the Lord is the real king who controls the elements of the storm, contrary to pagan belief. See R. B. Chisholm, Jr., “The Polemic against Baalism in Israel’s Early History and Literature,” BSac 150 (1994): 280-82.
A psalm of David.9
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