Psalms 841How lovely is the place where you live, ▼
O Lord who rules over all! ▼
2 I desperately want to be ▼
▼ Heb “my soul longs, it even pines for.”
in the courts of the Lord’s temple. ▼
My heart and my entire being ▼
▼ Heb “my flesh,” which stands for his whole person and being.shout for joy
to the living God.
3 Even the birds find a home there,
and the swallow ▼ builds a nest,
where she can protect her young ▼
▼ Heb “even a bird finds a home, and a swallow a nest for herself, [in] which she places her young.”▼
▼ The psalmist here romanticizes the temple as a place of refuge and safety. As he thinks of the birds nesting near its roof, he envisions them finding protection in God’s presence.
near your altars, O Lord who rules over all,
my king and my God.
4 How blessed ▼ are those who live in your temple
and praise you continually! (Selah)
5 How blessed are those who ▼
▼ Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here was certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to in v. 5a is representative of followers of God, as the use of plural forms in vv. 5b–7 indicates.find their strength in you,
and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! ▼
6 As they pass through the Baca Valley, ▼
▼ The translation assumes that the Hebrew phrase עֵמֶק הַבָּכָא (’emeq habbakha’) is the name of an otherwise unknown arid valley through which pilgrims to Jerusalem passed. The term בָּכָא (bakha’) may be the name of a particular type of plant or shrub that grew in this valley. O. Borowski (Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 130) suggests it is the black mulberry. Some take the phrase as purely metaphorical and relate בָּכָא to the root בָּכָה (bakhah, “to weep”). In this case one might translate, “the valley of weeping” or “the valley of affliction.”
he provides a spring for them. ▼
▼ The MT reads “a spring they make it,” but this makes little sense. Many medieval Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX, understand God to be the subject and the valley to be the object, “he [God] makes it [the valley] [into] a spring.”
The rain ▼ even covers it with pools of water. ▼
▼ The MT reads בְּרָכוֹת (berakhot, “blessings”) but the preceding reference to a “spring” favors an emendation to בְּרֵכוֹת (berekhot, “pools”).▼
▼ Pools of water. Because water is so necessary for life, it makes an apt symbol for divine favor and blessing. As the pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem, God provided for their physical needs and gave them a token of his favor and of the blessings awaiting them at the temple.
7 They are sustained as they travel along; ▼
▼ Heb “they go from strength to strength.” The phrase “from strength to strength” occurs only here in the OT. With a verb of motion, the expression “from [common noun] to [same common noun]” normally suggests movement from one point to another or through successive points (see Num 36:7; 1 Chr 16:20; 17:5; Ps 105:13; Jer 25:32). Ps 84:7 may be emphasizing that the pilgrims move successively from one “place of strength” to another as they travel toward Jerusalem. All along the way they find adequate provisions and renewed energy for the trip.
each one appears ▼ before God in Zion.
8 O Lord, sovereign God, ▼
hear my prayer!
Listen, O God of Jacob! (Selah)
9 O God, take notice of our shield! ▼
Show concern for your chosen king! ▼
10 Certainly ▼
▼ Or “for.”spending just one day in your temple courts is better
than spending a thousand elsewhere. ▼
▼ Heb “better is a day in your courts than a thousand [spent elsewhere].”
I would rather stand at the entrance ▼
▼ Heb “I choose being at the entrance of the house of my God over living in the tents of the wicked.” The verb סָפַף (safaf) appears only here in the OT; it is derived from the noun סַף (saf, “threshold”). Traditionally some have interpreted this as a reference to being a doorkeeper at the temple, though some understand it to mean “lie as a beggar at the entrance to the temple” (see HALOT 765 s.v. ספף).to the temple of my God
than live ▼
▼ The verb דּוּר (dur, “to live”) occurs only here in the OT.in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is our sovereign protector. ▼
▼ Heb “[is] a sun and a shield.” The epithet “sun,” though rarely used of Israel’s God in the OT, was a well-attested royal title in the ancient Near East. For several examples from Ugaritic texts, the Amarna letters, and Assyrian royal inscriptions, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 131, n. 2.
The Lord bestows favor ▼
▼ Or “grace.”and honor;
he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity. ▼
▼ Heb “he does not withhold good to those walking in integrity.”
O Lord who rules over all ▼
▼ Traditionally “Lord of hosts.”
how blessed are those who trust in you! ▼
▼ Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man [who] trusts in you.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to here is representative of all followers of God, as the use of the plural form in v. 12b indicates.
▼ Psalm 85. God’s people recall how he forgave their sins in the past, pray that he might now restore them to his favor, and anticipate renewed blessings.
For the music director; written by the Korahites, a psalm.12
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