Psalms 351O Lord, fight ▼
▼ Or “contend.”those who fight with me!
Attack those who attack me!
2 Grab your small shield and large shield, ▼
▼ Two different types of shields are mentioned here. See also Ezek 38:4. Many modern translations render the first term (translated here “small shield”) as “buckler” (cf. NASB “buckler and shield”; the order is often reversed in the translation, apparently for stylistic reasons: cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV “shield and buckler”). The English term “buckler,” referring to a small round shield held on the arm to protect the upper body, is unfamiliar to many modern readers, so the term “small shield” was used in the present translation for clarity.
and rise up to help me!
3 Use your spear and lance ▼
▼ Or “javelin.” On the meaning of this word, which occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible, see M. Dahood, Psalms (AB), 1:210–11.against ▼
▼ Heb “draw out spear and lance to meet.”those who chase me!
Assure me with these words: ▼
▼ Heb “say to me,” or “say to my soul.”“I am your deliverer!”
4 May those who seek my life be embarrassed and humiliated!
May those who plan to harm me be turned back and ashamed! ▼
5 May they be ▼ like wind-driven chaff,
as the Lord’s angel ▼ attacks them! ▼
▼ Heb “as the Lord’s angel pushes [them].”
6 May their path be ▼
▼ The prefixed verbal form is distinctly jussive, indicating this is a prayer.dark and slippery,
as the Lord’s angel chases them!
7 I did not harm them, but they hid a net to catch me
and dug a pit to trap me. ▼
▼ Heb “for without cause they hid for me a pit of their net, without cause they dug for my life.” It appears that the words “pit” and “net” have been transposed. “Net” goes with the verb “hid” in the first line (see v. 8, as well as Pss 9:15; 31:4), while “pit” goes with the verb “dug” in the second line (see Ps 7:15).
8 Let destruction take them by surprise! ▼
Let the net they hid catch them!
Let them fall into destruction! ▼
9 Then I will rejoice in the Lord
and be happy because of his deliverance. ▼
▼ Heb “then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and be happy in his deliverance.”
10 With all my strength I will say, ▼
▼ Heb “all my bones will say.”
“O Lord, who can compare to you?
You rescue ▼
▼ Heb “[the one who] rescues.” The substantival participle in the Hebrew text characterizes God as one who typically rescues the oppressed.the oppressed from those who try to overpower them; ▼
▼ Heb “from [the one who is] too strong for him.” The singular forms are used in a representative sense. The typical oppressed individual and typical oppressor are in view.
the oppressed and needy from those who try to rob them.” ▼
▼ Heb “the oppressed [one] and needy [one] from [the one who] robs him.” As in the previous line, the singular forms are used in a representative sense.
11 Violent men perjure themselves, ▼
▼ Heb “witnesses of violence rise up.”
and falsely accuse me. ▼
▼ Heb “[that] which I do not know they ask me.”
12 They repay me evil for the good I have done; ▼
▼ Heb “they repay me evil instead of good.”
I am overwhelmed with sorrow. ▼
▼ Heb “[there is] bereavement to my soul.”
13 When they were sick, I wore sackcloth, ▼
▼ Heb “as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth.” Sackcloth was worn by mourners. When the psalmist’s enemies were sick, he was sorry for their misfortune and mourned for them.
and refrained from eating food. ▼
▼ Fasting was also a practice of mourners. By refraining from normal activities, such as eating food, the mourner demonstrated the sincerity of his sorrow.
(If I am lying, may my prayers go unanswered!) ▼
14 I mourned for them as I would for a friend or my brother. ▼
▼ Heb “like a friend, like a brother to me I walked about.”
I bowed down ▼ in sorrow as if I were mourning for my mother. ▼
▼ Heb “like mourning for a mother [in] sorrow I bowed down.”
15 But when I stumbled, they rejoiced and gathered together;
they gathered together to ambush me. ▼
▼ Heb “they gathered together against me, stricken [ones], and I did not know.” The Hebrew form נֵכִים (nekhim, “stricken ones” ?) is problematic. Some suggest an emendation to נָכְרִים[כְ] (kenokherim, “foreigners”) or “like foreigners,” which would fit with what follows, “[like] foreigners that I do not recognize.” Perhaps the form should be read as a Qal active participle, נֹכִים (nokhim, “ones who strike”) from the verbal root נָכָה (nakhah, “to strike”). The Qal of this verb is unattested in biblical Hebrew, but the peal (basic) stem appears in Old Aramaic (J. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefire [BibOr], 114; DNWSI 1:730.) In this case one might translate, “attackers gathered together against me though I was not aware of it” (cf. NASB “smiters”; NEB, NRSV “ruffians”; NIV “attackers”).
They tore at me without stopping to rest. ▼
16 When I tripped, they taunted me relentlessly, ▼
▼ The MT reads “as profane [ones] of mockers of food,” which is nonsensical. The present translation assumes (1) an emendation of בְּחַנְפֵי (bekhanfey, “as profane men”) to בְּחַנְפִי (bekhanfiy, “when I tripped”; preposition + Qal infinitive construct from II חָנַף [“limp”] + first common singular pronominal suffix) and (2) an emendation of לַעֲגֵי מָעוֹג (la’agey ma’og, “mockers of food”) to עָגוּ[ם]לַעְגָּ (la’gam ’agu, “[with] taunting they taunted”; masculine plural noun with enclitic mem + Qal perfect third common plural from לַּעַג [la’ag, “taunt”]).
and tried to bite me. ▼
▼ Heb “gnashing at me with their teeth.” The infinitive absolute adds a complementary action – they gnashed with their teeth as they taunted.
17 O Lord, how long are you going to just stand there and watch this? ▼
▼ Heb “O Lord, how long will you see?”
▼ Heb “bring back, restore.”me ▼
▼ Or “my life.”from their destructive attacks;
guard my life ▼ from the young lions!
18 Then I will give you thanks in the great assembly; ▼
I will praise you before a large crowd of people! ▼
▼ Heb “among numerous people.”
19 Do not let those who are my enemies for no reason ▼ gloat ▼
▼ Heb “rejoice.”over me!
Do not let those who hate me without cause carry out their wicked schemes! ▼
20 For they do not try to make peace with others, ▼
▼ Heb “for they do not speak peace.”
but plan ways to deceive those who are unsuspecting. ▼
21 They are ready to devour me; ▼
▼ Heb “and they cause their mouth to be wide against me.” The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here carries on the generalizing mood of the previous verse. For other examples of this use of the prefixed verbal form with vav consecutive, see GKC 329 #111.t.
they say, “Aha! Aha! We’ve got you!” ▼
22 But you take notice, ▼ Lord!
O Lord, do not remain far away from me!
23 Rouse yourself, wake up ▼ and vindicate me! ▼
▼ Heb “for my justice.”
My God and Lord, defend my just cause! ▼
▼ Heb “for my cause.”
24 Vindicate me by your justice, O Lord my God!
Do not let them gloat ▼
▼ Heb “rejoice.”over me!
25 Do not let them say to themselves, ▼
▼ Heb “in their heart[s].”“Aha! We have what we wanted!” ▼
▼ Heb “Aha! Our desire!” The “desire” of the psalmist’s enemies is to triumph over him.
Do not let them say, “We have devoured him!”
26 May those who want to harm me be totally embarrassed and ashamed! ▼
▼ Heb “may they be embarrassed and ashamed together, the ones who rejoice over my harm.”
May those who arrogantly taunt me be covered with shame and humiliation! ▼
▼ Heb “may they be clothed with shame and humiliation, the ones who magnify [themselves] against me.” The prefixed verbal forms in v. 26 are understood as jussives (see vv. 24b–25, where the negative particle אַל (’al) appears before the prefixed verbal forms, indicating they are jussives). The psalmist is calling down judgment on his enemies.
27 May those who desire my vindication shout for joy and rejoice!
May they continually say, ▼ “May the Lord be praised, ▼
▼ The prefixed verbal form is taken as a jussive, “may the Lord be magnified [in praise].” Another option is to take the verb as an imperfect, “the Lord is great.”for he wants his servant to be secure.” ▼
▼ Heb “the one who desires the peace of his servant.”
Then I will tell others about your justice, ▼
▼ Heb “and my tongue will proclaim your justice.”
and praise you all day long. ▼
▼ Heb “all the day your praise.” The verb “proclaim” is understood by ellipsis in the second line (see the previous line).
▼ Psalm 36. Though evil men plan to harm others, the psalmist is confident that the Lord is the just ruler of the earth who gives and sustains all life. He prays for divine blessing and protection and anticipates God’s judgment of the wicked.
For the music director; written by the Lord’s servant, David; an oracle.28 ▼
▼ In the Hebrew text the word נאם (“oracle”) appears at the beginning of the next verse (v. 2 in the Hebrew text because the superscription is considered v. 1). The resulting reading, “an oracle of rebellion for the wicked [is] in the midst of my heart” (cf. NIV) apparently means that the psalm, which foresees the downfall of the wicked, is a prophetic oracle about the rebellion of the wicked which emerges from the soul of the psalmist. One could translate, “Here is a poem written as I reflected on the rebellious character of evil men.” Another option, followed in the translation above, is to attach נאם (ne’um, “oracle”) with the superscription. For another example of a Davidic poem being labeled an “oracle,” see 2 Sam 23:1.
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