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Psalm 52-55 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Psalm 52[a]

For the music director, a well-written song[b] by David. It was written when Doeg the Edomite went and informed Saul: “David has arrived at the home of Ahimelech.”[c]

52 Why do you boast about your evil plans,[d] O powerful man?
God’s loyal love protects me all day long.[e]
Your tongue carries out your destructive plans;[f]
it is as effective as a sharp razor, O deceiver.[g]
You love evil more than good,
lies more than speaking the truth.[h] (Selah)
You love to use all the words that destroy,[i]
and the tongue that deceives.
Yet[j] God will make you a permanent heap of ruins.[k]
He will scoop you up[l] and remove you from your home;[m]
he will uproot you from the land of the living. (Selah)
When the godly see this, they will be filled with awe,
and will mock the evildoer, saying:[n]
“Look, here is the man who would not make[o] God his protector.
He trusted in his great wealth
and was confident about his plans to destroy others.”[p]
But I[q] am like a flourishing[r] olive tree in the house of God;
I continually[s] trust in God’s loyal love.
I will continually[t] thank you when[u] you execute judgment;[v]
I will rely on[w] you,[x] for your loyal followers know you are good.[y]

Psalm 53[z]

For the music director, according to the machalath style;[aa] a well-written song[ab] by David.

53 Fools say to themselves,[ac] “There is no God.”[ad]
They sin and commit evil deeds;[ae]
none of them does what is right.[af]
God looks down from heaven[ag] at the human race,[ah]
to see if there is anyone who is wise[ai] and seeks God.[aj]
Everyone rejects God;[ak]
they are all morally corrupt.[al]
None of them does what is right,[am]
not even one!
All those who behave wickedly[an] do not understand[ao]
those who devour my people as if they were eating bread,
and do not call out to God.
They are absolutely terrified,[ap]
even by things that do not normally cause fear.[aq]
For God annihilates[ar] those who attack you.[as]
You are able to humiliate them because God has rejected them.[at]
I wish the deliverance[au] of Israel would come from Zion!
When God restores the well-being of his people,[av]
may Jacob rejoice,[aw]
may Israel be happy![ax]

Psalm 54[ay]

For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a well-written song[az] by David. It was written when the Ziphites came and informed Saul: “David is hiding with us.”[ba]

54 O God, deliver me by your name.[bb]
Vindicate me[bc] by your power.
O God, listen to my prayer.
Pay attention to what I say.[bd]
For foreigners[be] attack me;[bf]
ruthless men, who do not respect God, seek my life.[bg] (Selah)
Look, God is my deliverer.[bh]
The Lord is among those who support me.[bi]
May those who wait to ambush me[bj] be repaid for their evil.[bk]
As a demonstration of your faithfulness,[bl] destroy them.
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice[bm] to you.
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
Surely[bn] he rescues me from all trouble,[bo]
and I triumph over my enemies.[bp]

Psalm 55[bq]

For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a well-written song[br] by David.

55 Listen, O God, to my prayer.
Do not ignore[bs] my appeal for mercy.
Pay attention to me and answer me.
I am so upset[bt] and distressed,[bu] I am beside myself,[bv]
because of what the enemy says,[bw]
and because of how the wicked[bx] pressure me,[by]
for they hurl trouble[bz] down upon me[ca]
and angrily attack me.
My heart beats violently[cb] within me;
the horrors of death overcome me.[cc]
Fear and panic overpower me;[cd]
terror overwhelms[ce] me.
I say,[cf] “I wish I had wings like a dove.
I would fly away and settle in a safe place.
Look, I will escape to a distant place;
I will stay in the wilderness. (Selah)
I will hurry off to a place that is safe
from the strong wind[cg] and the gale.”
Confuse them,[ch] O Lord.
Frustrate their plans.[ci]
For I see violence and conflict in the city.
10 Day and night they walk around on its walls,[cj]
while wickedness and destruction[ck] are within it.
11 Disaster is within it;
violence[cl] and deceit do not depart from its public square.
12 Indeed,[cm] it is not an enemy who insults me,
or else I could bear it;
it is not one who hates me who arrogantly taunts me,[cn]
or else I could hide from him.
13 But it is you,[co] a man like me,[cp]
my close friend in whom I confided.[cq]
14 We would share personal thoughts with each other;[cr]
in God’s temple we would walk together among the crowd.
15 May death destroy them.[cs]
May they go down alive into Sheol.[ct]
For evil is in their dwelling place and in their midst.
16 As for me, I will call out to God,
and the Lord will deliver me.
17 During the evening, morning, and noontime
I will lament and moan,[cu]
and he will hear[cv] me.[cw]
18 He will rescue[cx] me and protect me from those who attack me,[cy]
even though[cz] they greatly outnumber me.[da]
19 God, the one who has reigned as king from long ago,
will hear and humiliate them.[db] (Selah)
They refuse to change,
and do not fear God.[dc]
20 He[dd] attacks[de] his friends;[df]
he breaks his solemn promises to them.[dg]
21 His words are as smooth as butter,[dh]
but he harbors animosity in his heart.[di]
His words seem softer than oil,
but they are really like sharp swords.[dj]
22 Throw your burden[dk] upon the Lord,
and he will sustain you.[dl]
He will never allow the godly to be shaken.[dm]
23 But you, O God, will bring them[dn] down to the deep Pit.[do]
Violent and deceitful people[dp] will not live even half a normal lifespan.[dq]
But as for me, I trust in you.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 52:1 sn Psalm 52. The psalmist confidently confronts his enemy and affirms that God will destroy evildoers and vindicate the godly.
  2. Psalm 52:1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. The word is derived from a verb meaning “to be prudent; to be wise.” Various options are: “a contemplative song,” “a song imparting moral wisdom,” or “a skillful [i.e., well-written] song.” The term occurs in the superscriptions of Pss 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142, as well as in Ps 47:7.
  3. Psalm 52:1 tn Heb “when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul and said to him, ‘David has come to the house of Ahimelech.’”sn According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm during the period when Saul was seeking his life. On one occasion Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s head shepherd (1 Sam 21:7), informed Saul of David’s whereabouts (see 1 Sam 21-22).
  4. Psalm 52:1 tn Heb “Why do you boast in evil?”
  5. Psalm 52:1 tn Heb “the loyal love of God [is] all the day.” In this context, where the psalmist is threatened by his enemy, the point seems to be that the psalmist is protected by God’s loyal love at all times.
  6. Psalm 52:2 tn Heb “destruction your tongue devises.”
  7. Psalm 52:2 tn Heb “like a sharpened razor, doer of deceit.” The masculine participle עָשָׂה (ʿasah) is understood as a substantival vocative, addressed to the powerful man.
  8. Psalm 52:3 tn Or “deceit more than speaking what is right.”
  9. Psalm 52:4 tn Heb “you love all the words of swallowing.” Traditionally בַּלַּע (balaʿ) has been taken to mean “swallowing” in the sense of “devouring” or “destructive” (see BDB 118 s.v. בָּלַע). HALOT 135 s.v. III *בֶּלַע proposes a homonym here, meaning “confusion.” This would fit the immediate context nicely and provide a close parallel to the following line, which refers to deceptive words.
  10. Psalm 52:5 tn The adverb גַּם (gam, “also; even”) is translated here in an adversative sense (“yet”). It highlights the contrastive correspondence between the evildoer’s behavior and God’s response.
  11. Psalm 52:5 tn Heb “will tear you down forever.”
  12. Psalm 52:5 tn This rare verb (חָתָה, khatah) occurs only here and in Prov 6:27; 25:22; Isa 30:14.
  13. Psalm 52:5 tn Heb “from [your] tent.”
  14. Psalm 52:6 tn Heb “and the godly will see and will fear and at him will laugh.”
  15. Psalm 52:7 tn The imperfect verbal form here draws attention to the ongoing nature of the action. The evildoer customarily rejected God and trusted in his own abilities. Another option is to take the imperfect as generalizing, “[here is the man who] does not make.”
  16. Psalm 52:7 tn Heb “he was strong in his destruction.” “Destruction” must refer back to the destructive plans mentioned in v. 2. The verb (derived from the root עָזַז, ʿazaz, “be strong”) as it stands is either an imperfect (if so, probably used in a customary sense) or a preterite (without vav [ו] consecutive). However the form should probably be emended to וַיָּעָז (vayyaʿaz), a Qal preterite (with vav [ו] consecutive) from עָזַז. Note the preterite form without vav (ו) consecutive in the preceding line (וַיִּבְטַח, vayyivtakh, “and he trusted”). The prefixed vav (ו) was likely omitted by haplography (note the suffixed vav [ו] on the preceding עָשְׁרוֹ, ʿoshro, “his wealth”).
  17. Psalm 52:8 tn The disjunctive construction (vav [ו] + subject) highlights the contrast between the evildoer’s destiny (vv. 5-7) and that of the godly psalmist’s security.
  18. Psalm 52:8 tn Or “luxuriant, green, leafy.”
  19. Psalm 52:8 tn Or, hyperbolically, “forever and ever.”
  20. Psalm 52:9 tn Or, hyperbolically, “forever.”
  21. Psalm 52:9 tn Or “for.”
  22. Psalm 52:9 tn Heb “you have acted.” The perfect verbal form (1) probably indicates a future perfect here. The psalmist promises to give thanks when the expected vindication has been accomplished. Other options include (2) a generalizing (“for you act”) or (3) rhetorical (“for you will act”) use.
  23. Psalm 52:9 tn Or “wait on.”
  24. Psalm 52:9 tn Heb “your name.” God’s “name” refers here to his reputation and revealed character.
  25. Psalm 52:9 tn Heb “for it is good in front of your loyal followers.”
  26. Psalm 53:1 sn Psalm 53. This psalm is very similar to Ps 14. The major difference comes in v. 5, which corresponds to, but differs quite a bit from, Ps 14:5-6, and in the use of the divine name. Ps 14 uses “the Lord” (יְהוָה, yehvah, “Yahweh”) in vv. 2a, 4, 6, and 7, while Ps 53 employs “God” (אֱלֹהִים, ’elohim) throughout, as one might expect in Pss 42-83, where the name “Yahweh” is relatively infrequent. The psalmist observes that the human race is morally corrupt. Evildoers oppress God’s people, but the psalmist is confident of God’s protection and anticipates a day when God will vindicate Israel.
  27. Psalm 53:1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מָחֲלַת (makhalat, “machalath”) is uncertain; perhaps it refers to a particular style of music, a tune title, or a musical instrument. The term also appears in the heading of Ps 88.
  28. Psalm 53:1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. See the note on the phrase “well-written song” in the superscription of Ps 52.
  29. Psalm 53:1 tn Heb “a fool says in his heart.” The singular is used here in a collective or representative sense; the typical fool is envisioned.
  30. Psalm 53:1 sn There is no God. This statement is probably not a philosophical assertion that God does not exist, but rather a confident affirmation that he is unconcerned about how men live morally and ethically (see Ps 10:4, 11).
  31. Psalm 53:1 tn Heb “they act corruptly, they do evil [with] injustice.” Ps 14:1 has עֲלִילָה (ʿalilah, “a deed”) instead of עָוֶל (ʿaval, “injustice”). The verbs describe the typical behavior of the wicked. The subject of the plural verbs is “sons of man” (v. 2). The entire human race is characterized by sinful behavior. This practical atheism—living as if there is no God who will hold them accountable for their actions—makes them fools, for one of the earmarks of folly is to fail to anticipate the long range consequences of one’s behavior.
  32. Psalm 53:1 tn Heb “there is none that does good.”
  33. Psalm 53:2 sn The picture of the Lord looking down from heaven draws attention to his sovereignty over the world.
  34. Psalm 53:2 tn Heb “upon the sons of man.”
  35. Psalm 53:2 tn Or “acts wisely.” The Hiphil is exhibitive.
  36. Psalm 53:2 tn That is, who seeks to have a relationship with God by obeying and worshiping him.
  37. Psalm 53:3 tn Heb “all of it turns away.” Ps 14:1 has הָכֹּל (hakkol, “the whole/all”) instead of כֻּלּוֹ (kullo, “all of it”) and סָר (sar, “turn aside”) instead of סָג (sag, “turn away”).
  38. Psalm 53:3 tn Heb “together they are corrupt.”
  39. Psalm 53:3 tn Heb “there is none that does good.”
  40. Psalm 53:4 tn Heb “the workers of wickedness.” See Pss 5:5; 6:8. Ps 14:4 adds כֹּל (kol, “all of”) before “workers of wickedness.”
  41. Psalm 53:4 tn Heb “Do they not understand?” The rhetorical question expresses the psalmist’s amazement at their apparent lack of understanding. This may refer to their lack of moral understanding, but it more likely refers to their failure to anticipate God’s defense of his people (see vv. 5-6).
  42. Psalm 53:5 tn Heb “there they are afraid [with] fear.” The perfect verbal form is probably used in a rhetorical manner; the psalmist describes the future demise of the oppressors as if it were already occurring. The adverb שָׁם (sham, “there”) is also used here for dramatic effect, as the psalmist envisions the wicked standing in fear at a spot that is this vivid in his imagination (BDB 1027 s.v.). The cognate accusative following the verb emphasizes the degree of their terror (“absolutely”).
  43. Psalm 53:5 tn Heb “there is no fear.” Apparently this means the evildoers are so traumatized with panic (see v. 5b) that they now jump with fear at everything, even those things that would not normally cause fear. Ps 14:5 omits this line.
  44. Psalm 53:5 tn Heb “scatters the bones.” The perfect is used in a rhetorical manner, describing this future judgment as if it were already accomplished. Scattering the bones alludes to the aftermath of a battle. God annihilates his enemies, leaving their carcasses spread all over the battlefield. As the bodies are devoured by wild animals and decay, the bones of God’s dead enemies are exposed. See Ps 141:7.
  45. Psalm 53:5 tn Heb “[those who] encamp [against] you.” The second person masculine singular pronominal suffix probably refers to God’s people viewed as a collective whole. Instead of “for God scatters the bones of those who encamp against you,” Ps 14:5 reads, “for God is with a godly generation.”
  46. Psalm 53:5 tn Once again the perfect is used in a rhetorical manner, describing this future judgment as if it were already accomplished. As in the previous line, God’s people are probably addressed. The second person singular verb form is apparently collective, suggesting that the people are viewed here as a unified whole. Ps 14:6 reads here “the counsel of the oppressed you put to shame, even though God is his shelter,” the words being addressed to the wicked.
  47. Psalm 53:6 tn This refers metonymically to God, the one who lives in Zion and provides deliverance for Israel.
  48. Psalm 53:6 tn Heb “turns with a turning [toward] his people.” The Hebrew term שְׁבוּת (shevut) is apparently a cognate accusative of שׁוּב (shuv).
  49. Psalm 53:6 tn The verb form is jussive.
  50. Psalm 53:6 tn Because the parallel verb is jussive, this verb, which is ambiguous in form, should be taken as a jussive as well.
  51. Psalm 54:1 sn Psalm 54. The psalmist asks God for protection against his enemies, confidently affirms that God will vindicate him, and promises to give thanks to God for his saving intervention.
  52. Psalm 54:1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. See the note on the phrase “well-written song” in the superscription of Ps 52.
  53. Psalm 54:1 tn Heb “Is not David hiding with us?”sn According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm during the period when Saul was seeking his life. On one occasion the Ziphites informed Saul that David was hiding in their territory (see 1 Sam 23:19-20).
  54. Psalm 54:1 tn God’s “name” refers here to his reputation and revealed character, which would instill fear in the psalmist’s enemies (see C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs, Psalms [ICC], 2:17).
  55. Psalm 54:1 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request.
  56. Psalm 54:2 tn Heb “to the words of my mouth.”
  57. Psalm 54:3 tc Many medieval Hebrew mss read זֵדִים (zedim, “proud ones”) rather than זָרִים (zarim, “foreigners”). This is a case of confusing ד (dalet) and ר (resh). The term זֵדִים (zedim) occurs in parallelism with עָרִיצִים (ʿaritsim, “violent ones”) in Ps 86:14 and Isa 13:11. However, זָרִים (zarim) is parallel to עָרִיצִים in Isa 25:5; 29:5; Ezek 28:7; 31:12.
  58. Psalm 54:3 tn Heb “rise against me.”
  59. Psalm 54:3 tn Heb “and ruthless ones seek my life, they do not set God in front of them.”
  60. Psalm 54:4 tn Or “my helper.”
  61. Psalm 54:4 tn Or “sustain my life.”
  62. Psalm 54:5 tn Heb “to those who watch me [with evil intent].” See also Pss 5:8; 27:11; 56:2.
  63. Psalm 54:5 tn The Kethib (consonantal text) reads a Qal imperfect, “the evil will return,” while the Qere (marginal reading) has a Hiphil imperfect, “he will repay.” The parallel line has an imperative (indicating a prayer/request), so it is best to read a jussive form יָשֹׁב (yashov, “let it [the evil] return”) here.
  64. Psalm 54:5 tn Heb “in [or “by”] your faithfulness.”
  65. Psalm 54:6 tn The cohortative verbal form expresses the psalmist’s resolve/vow to praise.
  66. Psalm 54:7 tn Or “for,” indicating a more specific reason why he will praise the Lord’s name (cf. v. 6).
  67. Psalm 54:7 tn The perfects in v. 7 are probably rhetorical, indicating the psalmist’s certitude and confidence that God will intervene. The psalmist is so confident of God’s positive response to his prayer, he can describe God’s deliverance and his own vindication as if they were occurring or had already occurred.
  68. Psalm 54:7 tn Heb “and on my enemies my eyes look.”
  69. Psalm 55:1 sn Psalm 55. The suffering and oppressed author laments that one of his friends has betrayed him, but he is confident that God will vindicate him by punishing his deceitful enemies.
  70. Psalm 55:1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. See the note on the phrase “well-written song” in the superscription of Ps 52.
  71. Psalm 55:1 tn Heb “hide yourself from.”
  72. Psalm 55:2 tn Or “restless” (see Gen 27:40). The Hiphil is intransitive-exhibitive, indicating the outward display of an inner attitude.
  73. Psalm 55:2 tn Heb “in my complaint.”
  74. Psalm 55:2 tn The verb is a Hiphil cohortative from הוּם (hum), which means “to confuse someone” in the Qal and “to go wild” in the Niphal. An Arabic cognate means “to be out of one’s senses, to wander about.” With the vav (ו) conjunctive prefixed to it, the cohortative probably indicates the result or effect of the preceding main verb. Some prefer to emend the form to וְאֵהוֹמָה (veʾehomah), a Niphal of הוּם (hum), or to וְאֶהַמֶה (veʾehameh), a Qal imperfect from הָמָה (hamah, “to moan”). Many also prefer to take this verb with what follows (see v. 3).
  75. Psalm 55:3 tn Heb “because of [the] voice of [the] enemy.”
  76. Psalm 55:3 tn The singular forms “enemy” and “wicked” are collective or representative, as the plural verb forms in the second half of the verse indicate.
  77. Psalm 55:3 tn Heb “from before the pressure of the wicked.” Some suggest the meaning “screech” (note the parallel “voice”; cf. NEB “shrill clamour”; NRSV “clamor”) for the rare noun עָקָה (ʿaqah, “pressure”).
  78. Psalm 55:3 tn Heb “wickedness,” but here the term refers to the destructive effects of their wicked acts.
  79. Psalm 55:3 tc The verb form in the MT appears to be a Hiphil imperfect from the root מוֹט (mot, “to sway”), but the Hiphil occurs only here and in the Kethib (consonantal text) of Ps 140:10, where the form יַמְטֵר (yamter, “let him rain down”) should probably be read. Here in Ps 55:3 it is preferable to read יַמְטִירוּ (yamtiru, “they rain down”). It is odd for “rain down” to be used with an abstract object like “wickedness,” but in Job 20:23 God “rains down” anger (unless one emends the text there; see BHS).
  80. Psalm 55:4 tn Heb “shakes, trembles.”
  81. Psalm 55:4 tn Heb “the terrors of death have fallen on me.”
  82. Psalm 55:5 tn Heb “fear and trembling enter into me.”
  83. Psalm 55:5 tn Heb “covers.” The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive carries on the descriptive (present progressive) force of the preceding imperfect.
  84. Psalm 55:6 tn The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive carries on the descriptive (present progressive) force of the verbs in v. 5.
  85. Psalm 55:8 tn Heb “[the] wind [that] sweeps away.” The verb סָעָה (saʿah, “sweep away”) occurs only here in the OT (see H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 120).
  86. Psalm 55:9 tn Traditionally בַּלַּע (balaʿ) has been taken to mean “swallow” in the sense of “devour” or “destroy” (cf. KJV), but this may be a homonym meaning “confuse” (see BDB 118 s.v. בַּלַּע; HALOT 135 s.v. III *בֶּלַע). “Their tongue” is the understood object of the verb (see the next line).
  87. Psalm 55:9 tn Heb “split their tongue,” which apparently means “confuse their speech,” or, more paraphrastically, “frustrate the plans they devise with their tongues.”
  88. Psalm 55:10 tn Heb “day and night they surround it, upon its walls.” Personified “violence and conflict” are the likely subjects. They are compared to watchmen on the city’s walls.
  89. Psalm 55:10 sn Wickedness and destruction. These terms are also closely associated in Ps 7:14.
  90. Psalm 55:11 tn Or “injury, harm.”
  91. Psalm 55:12 tn Or “for.”
  92. Psalm 55:12 tn Heb “[who] magnifies against me.” See Pss 35:26; 38:16.
  93. Psalm 55:13 sn It is you. The psalmist addresses the apparent ringleader of the opposition, an individual who was once his friend.
  94. Psalm 55:13 tn Heb “a man according to my value,” i.e., “a person such as I.”
  95. Psalm 55:13 tn Heb “my close friend, one known by me.”
  96. Psalm 55:14 tn Heb “who together we would make counsel sweet.” The imperfect verbal forms here and in the next line draw attention to the ongoing nature of the actions (the so-called customary use of the imperfect). Their relationship was characterized by such intimacy and friendship. See IBHS 502-3 §31.2b.
  97. Psalm 55:15 tc The meaning of the MT is unclear. The Kethib (consonantal text) reads יַשִּׁימָוֶת עָלֵימוֹ (yashimavet ʿalemo, “May devastation [be] upon them.”). The proposed noun יַשִּׁימָוֶת occurs only here and perhaps in the place name Beth Jeshimoth in Num 33:49. The Qere (marginal text) has יַשִּׁי מָוֶת עָלֵימוֹ (yashi mavet ʿalemo). The verbal form יַשִּׁי is apparently an alternate form of יַשִּׁיא (yashiʾ), a Hiphil imperfect from נָשַׁא (nashaʾ, “deceive”). In this case one might read “death will come deceptively upon them.” This reading has the advantage of reading מָוֶת (mavet, “death”) which forms a natural parallel with “Sheol” in the next line. The present translation is based on the following reconstruction of the text: יְשִׁמֵּם מָוֶת (yeshimmem mavet). The verb assumed in the reconstruction is a Hiphil jussive third masculine singular from שָׁמַם (shamam, “be desolate”) with a third masculine plural pronominal suffix attached. This reconstruction assumes that (1) haplography has occurred in the traditional text (the original sequence of three mems [מ] was lost with only one mem remaining), resulting in the fusion of originally distinct forms in the Kethib, and (2) that עָלֵימוֹ (ʿalemo, “upon them”) is a later scribal addition attempting to make sense of a garbled text. The preposition עַל (ʿal) does occur with the verb שָׁמַם (shamam), but in such cases the expression means “be appalled at/because of” (see Jer 49:20; 50:45). If one were to retain the prepositional phrase here, one would have to read the text as follows: יַשִּׁים מָוֶת עָלֵימוֹ (yashim mavet ʿalemo, “Death will be appalled at them”). The idea seems odd, to say the least. Death is not collocated with this verb elsewhere.
  98. Psalm 55:15 sn Go down alive. This curse imagines a swift and sudden death for the psalmist’s enemies.
  99. Psalm 55:17 tn The first verb is clearly a cohortative form, expressing the psalmist’s resolve. The second verb, while formally ambiguous, should also be understood as cohortative here.
  100. Psalm 55:17 tn The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive normally appears in narrational contexts to indicate past action, but here it continues the anticipatory (future) perspective of the preceding line. In Ps 77:6 one finds the same sequence of cohortative + prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive. In this case as well, both forms refer to future actions.
  101. Psalm 55:17 tn Heb “my voice.”
  102. Psalm 55:18 tn The perfect verbal form is here used rhetorically to indicate that the action is certain to take place (the so-called perfect of certitude).
  103. Psalm 55:18 tn Heb “he will redeem in peace my life from [those who] draw near to me.”
  104. Psalm 55:18 tn Or “for.”
  105. Psalm 55:18 tn Heb “among many they are against me.” For other examples of the preposition עִמָּד (ʿimmad) used in the sense of “at, against,” see HALOT 842 s.v.; BDB 767 s.v.; IBHS 219 §11.2.14b.
  106. Psalm 55:19 tc Heb “God will hear and answer them, even [the] one who sits [from] ancient times.” The prefixed verbal from with vav (ו) consecutive carries on the anticipatory force of the preceding imperfect. The verb appears to be a Qal form from עָנָה (ʿanah, “to answer”). If this reading is retained, the point would be that God “answered” them in judgment. The translation assumes an emendation to the Piel וַיְעַנֵּם (vayeʿannem; see 2 Kgs 17:20) and understands the root as עָנָה (ʿanah, “to afflict”; see also 1 Kgs 8:35).
  107. Psalm 55:19 tn Heb “[the ones] for whom there are no changes, and they do not fear God.”
  108. Psalm 55:20 sn He. This must refer to the psalmist’s former friend, who was addressed previously in vv. 12-14.
  109. Psalm 55:20 tn Heb “stretches out his hand against.”
  110. Psalm 55:20 tc The form should probably be emended to an active participle (שֹׁלְמָיו, sholemayv) from the verbal root שָׁלַם (shalam, “be in a covenant of peace with”). Perhaps the translation “his friends” suggests too intimate a relationship. Another option is to translate, “he attacks those who made agreements with him.”
  111. Psalm 55:20 tn Heb “he violates his covenant.”
  112. Psalm 55:21 tn Heb “the butter-like [words] of his mouth are smooth.” The noun מַחְמָאֹת (makhmaʾot, “butter-like [words]”) occurs only here. Many prefer to emend the form to מֵחֶמְאָה (mekhemʾah, from [i.e., “than”] butter”), cf. NEB, NRSV “smoother than butter.” However, in this case “his mouth” does not agree in number with the plural verb חָלְקוּ (khalequ, “they are smooth”). Therefore some further propose an emendation of פִּיו (piv, “his mouth”) to פָּנָיו (panayv, “his face”). In any case, the point seems to that the psalmist’s former friend spoke kindly to him and gave the outward indications of friendship.
  113. Psalm 55:21 tn Heb “and war [is in] his heart.”
  114. Psalm 55:21 tn Heb “his words are softer than oil, but they are drawn swords.”
  115. Psalm 55:22 tn The Hebrew noun occurs only here.
  116. Psalm 55:22 tn The pronoun is singular; the psalmist addresses each member of his audience individually.
  117. Psalm 55:22 tn Heb “he will never allow swaying for the righteous.”
  118. Psalm 55:23 tn The pronominal suffix refers to the psalmist’s enemies (see v. 19).
  119. Psalm 55:23 tn Heb “well of the pit.” The Hebrew term שַׁחַת (shakhat, “pit”) is often used as a title for Sheol (see Pss 16:10; 30:9; 49:9; 103:4).
  120. Psalm 55:23 tn Heb “men of bloodshed and deceit.”
  121. Psalm 55:23 tn Heb “will not divide in half their days.”
New English Translation (NET)

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