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Psalm 12:4-6 New English Translation (NET Bible)

They say,[a] “We speak persuasively;[b]
we know how to flatter and boast.[c]
Who is our master?”[d]
“Because of the violence done to the oppressed,[e]
because of the painful cries[f] of the needy,
I will spring into action,”[g] says the Lord.
“I will provide the safety they so desperately desire.”[h]
The Lord’s words are absolutely reliable.[i]
They are as untainted as silver purified in a furnace on the ground,
where it is thoroughly refined.[j]

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 12:4 tn Heb “which say.” The plural verb after the relative pronoun indicates a plural antecedent for the pronoun, probably “lips” in v. 3.
  2. Psalm 12:4 tn Heb “to our tongue we make strong.” The Hiphil of גָבַר (gavar) occurs only here and in Dan 9:27, where it refers to making strong, or confirming, a covenant. Here in Ps 12 the evildoers “make their tongue strong” in the sense that they use their tongue to produce flattering and arrogant words to accomplish their purposes. The preposition ל (lamed) prefixed to “our tongue” may be dittographic.
  3. Psalm 12:4 tn Heb “our lips [are] with us.” This odd expression probably means, “our lips are in our power,” in the sense that they say what they want, whether it be flattery or boasting. For other cases where אֵת (ʾet, “with”) has the sense “in the power of,” see Ps 38:10 and other texts listed by BDB 86 s.v. 3.a.
  4. Psalm 12:4 sn The rhetorical question expresses the arrogant attitude of these people. As far as they are concerned, they are answerable to no one for how they speak.
  5. Psalm 12:5 tn The term translated “oppressed” is an objective genitive; the oppressed are the recipients/victims of violence.
  6. Psalm 12:5 tn Elsewhere in the psalms this noun is used of the painful groans of prisoners awaiting death (79:11; 102:20). The related verb is used of the painful groaning of those wounded in combat (Jer 51:52; Ezek 26:15) and of the mournful sighing of those in grief (Ezek 9:4; 24:17).
  7. Psalm 12:5 tn Heb “I will rise up.”
  8. Psalm 12:5 tn Heb “I will place in deliverance, he pants for it.” The final two words in Hebrew (יָפִיחַ לוֹ, yafiakh lo) comprise an asyndetic relative clause, “the one who pants for it.” “The one who pants” is the object of the verb “place” and the antecedent of the pronominal suffix (in the phrase “for it”) is “deliverance.” Another option is to translate, “I will place in deliverance the witness for him,” repointing יָפִיחַ (a Hiphil imperfect from פּוּחַ, puakh, “pant”) as יָפֵחַ (yafeakh), a noun meaning “witness.” In this case the Lord would be promising protection to those who have the courage to support the oppressed in the court of law. However, the first part of the verse focuses on the oppressed, not their advocates.
  9. Psalm 12:6 tn Heb “the words of the Lord are pure words,” i.e., untainted by falsehood or deception (in contrast to the flattery of the evildoers, v. 2).
  10. Psalm 12:6 tn Heb “[like] silver purified in a furnace of [i.e., “on”] the ground, refined seven times.” The singular participle מְזֻקָּק (mezuqqaq, “refined”) modifies “silver.” The number seven is used rhetorically to express the thorough nature of the action. For other rhetorical/figurative uses of שִׁבְעָתָיִם (shivʿatayim, “seven times”), see Gen 4:15, 24; Ps 79:12; Prov 6:31; Isa 30:26.
New English Translation (NET)

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