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Psalm 34:20-22 New English Translation (NET Bible)

20 He protects[a] all his bones;[b]
not one of them is broken.[c]
21 Evil people self-destruct;[d]
those who hate the godly are punished.[e]
22 The Lord rescues his servants;[f]
all who take shelter in him escape punishment.[g]

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 34:20 tn The Hebrew participial form suggests such protection is characteristic.
  2. Psalm 34:20 tn That is, he protects the godly from physical harm.
  3. Psalm 34:20 sn Not one of them is broken. The author of the Gospel of John saw a fulfillment of these words in Jesus’ experience on the cross (see John 19:31-37), for the Roman soldiers, when they saw that Jesus was already dead, did not break his legs as was customarily done to speed the death of crucified individuals. John’s use of the psalm seems strange, for the statement in its original context suggests that the Lord protects the godly from physical harm. Jesus’ legs may have remained unbroken, but he was brutally and unjustly executed by his enemies. John seems to give the statement a literal sense that is foreign to its original literary context by applying a promise of divine protection to a man who was seemingly not saved by God. However, John saw in this incident a foreshadowing of Jesus’ ultimate deliverance and vindication. His unbroken bones were a reminder of God’s commitment to the godly and a sign of things to come. Jesus’ death on the cross was not the end of the story; God vindicated him, as John goes on to explain in the following context (John 19:38-20:18).
  4. Psalm 34:21 tn Heb “evil kills the wicked [one].” The singular form is representative; the typical evil person is envisioned. The Hebrew imperfect verbal form draws attention to the typical nature of the action.
  5. Psalm 34:21 tn Heb “are guilty,” but the verb is sometimes used metonymically with the meaning “to suffer the consequences of guilt,” the effect being substituted for the cause.
  6. Psalm 34:22 tn Heb “redeems the life of his servants.” The Hebrew participial form suggests such deliverance is characteristic.
  7. Psalm 34:22 tn “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear, and serve the Lord (Pss 2:12; 5:11-12; 31:19).
New English Translation (NET)

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