Psalms 64

1Listen to me,
Heb “my voice.”
O God, as I offer my lament!
The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s request.
my life from the enemy’s terrifying attacks.
Heb “from the terror of [the] enemy.” “Terror” is used here metonymically for the enemy’s attacks that produce fear because they threaten the psalmist’s life.

2 Hide me from the plots of evil men,
from the crowd of evildoers.
Heb “workers of wickedness.”

3 They
Heb “who.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
sharpen their tongues like a sword;
they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge,
Heb “a bitter word.”

4 in order to shoot down the innocent
The psalmist uses the singular because he is referring to himself here as representative of a larger group.
in secluded places.
They shoot at him suddenly and are unafraid of retaliation.
Heb “and are unafraid.” The words “of retaliation” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

5 They encourage one another to carry out their evil deed.
Heb “they give strength to themselves, an evil matter [or “word”].”

They plan how to hide
Heb “they report about hiding.”
and boast,
Heb “they say.”
“Who will see them?”
If this is a direct quotation (cf. NASB, NIV), the pronoun “them” refers to the snares mentioned in the previous line. If it is an indirect quotation, then the pronoun may refer to the enemies themselves (cf. NEB, which is ambiguous). Some translations retain the direct quotation but alter the pronoun to “us,” referring clearly to the enemies (cf. NRSV).

6 They devise
Heb “search out, examine,” which here means (by metonymy) “devise.”
unjust schemes;
they disguise
The MT has תַּמְנוּ (tamnu, “we are finished”), a Qal perfect first common plural form from the verbal root תָּמַם (tamam). Some understand this as the beginning of a quotation of the enemies’ words and translate, “we have completed,” but the Hiphil would seem to be required in this case. The present translation follows many medieval Hebrew mss in reading טָמְנוּ (tomnu, “they hide”), a Qal perfect third common plural form from the verbal root טָמַן (taman).
a well-conceived plot.
Heb “a searched-out search,” which is understood as referring here to a thoroughly planned plot to destroy the psalmist.

Man’s inner thoughts cannot be discovered.
Heb “and the inner part of man, and a heart [is] deep.” The point seems to be that a man’s inner thoughts are incapable of being discovered. No one is a mind reader! Consequently the psalmist is vulnerable to his enemies’ well-disguised plots.

7 But God will shoot
The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive is normally used in narrative contexts to describe completed past actions. It is possible that the conclusion to the psalm (vv. 7–10) was added to the lament after God’s judgment of the wicked in response to the psalmist’s lament (vv. 1–6). The translation assumes that these verses are anticipatory and express the psalmist’s confidence that God would eventually judge the wicked. The psalmist uses a narrative style as a rhetorical device to emphasize his certitude. See GKC 329-30 #111.w.
at them;
suddenly they will be
The perfect verbal form here expresses the psalmist’s certitude about the coming demise of the wicked.
wounded by an arrow.
The translation follows the traditional accentuation of the MT. Another option is to translate, “But God will shoot them down with an arrow, suddenly they will be wounded” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

8 Their slander will bring about their demise.
The MT reads literally, “and they caused him to stumble, upon them, their tongue.” Perhaps the third plural subject of the verb is indefinite with the third singular pronominal suffix on the verb being distributive (see Ps 63:10). In this case one may translate, “each one will be made to stumble.” The preposition עַל (’al) might then be taken as adversative, “against them [is] their tongue.” Many prefer to emend the text to וַיַּכְשִׁילֵמוֹ עֲלֵי לְשׁוֹנָם (vayyakhshilemo aley leshonam, “and he caused them to stumble over their tongue”). However, if this reading is original, it is difficult to see how the present reading of the MT arose. Furthermore, the preposition is not collocated with the verb כָּשַׁל (kashal) elsewhere. It is likely that the MT is corrupt, but a satisfying emendation has not yet been proposed.

All who see them will shudder,
The Hitpolel verbal form is probably from the root נוּד (nud; see HALOT 678 s.v. נוד), which is attested elsewhere in the Hitpolel stem, not the root נָדַד (nadad, as proposed by BDB 622 s.v. I נָדַד), which does not occur elsewhere in this stem.

9 and all people will fear.
Many medieval Hebrew mss read וַיִּרְאוּ (vayyiru, “and they will see”) instead of וַיִּירְאוּ (vayyireu, “and they will proclaim”).

They will proclaim
Heb “the work of God,” referring to the judgment described in v. 7.
what God has done,
and reflect on his deeds.
The godly will rejoice in the Lord
and take shelter in him.
All the morally upright
Heb “upright in heart.”
will boast.
That is, about the Lord’s accomplishments on their behalf.

Psalm 65

Psalm 65. The psalmist praises God because he forgives sin and blesses his people with an abundant harvest.

For the music director; a psalm of David, a song.

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