A psalm by Asaph.
and summons the earth to come from the east and west. 3
God comes in splendor. 5
consuming fire goes ahead of him
and all around him a storm rages. 7
50:4 He summons the heavens above,
as well as the earth, so that he might judge his people. 8
“Assemble my covenant people before me, 10
those who ratified a covenant with me by sacrifice!” 11
for God is judge. 13 (Selah)
“Listen my people! I am speaking!
Listen Israel! I am accusing you! 15
I am God, your God!
or because of your burnt sacrifices that you continually offer me. 17
or goats from your sheepfolds.
50:10 For every wild animal in the forest belongs to me,
as well as the cattle that graze on a thousand hills. 19
and the insects 21 of the field are mine.
50:12 Even if I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and all it contains belong to me.
50:13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats? 22
50:14 Present to God a thank-offering!
Repay your vows to the sovereign One! 23
I will deliver you, and you will honor me!” 25
“How can you declare my commands,
and talk about my covenant? 27
50:17 For you hate instruction
and reject my words. 28
you associate with men who are unfaithful to their wives. 30
and use your tongue to deceive. 32
you slander your own brother. 34
so you thought I was exactly like you. 36
But now I will condemn 37 you
and state my case against you! 38
Otherwise I will rip you to shreds 40
and no one will be able to rescue you.
To whoever obeys my commands, I will reveal my power to deliver.” 42
[50:1] 1 sn Psalm 50. This psalm takes the form of a covenant lawsuit in which the Lord comes to confront his people in a formal manner (as in Isa 1:2-20). The Lord emphasizes that he places priority on obedience and genuine worship, not empty ritual.
[50:1] 2 sn Israel’s God is here identified with three names: El (אֵל [’el], or “God”), Elohim (אֱלֹהִים [’elohim], or “God”), and Yahweh (יְהוָה [yÿhvah] or “the
[50:4] sn The personified heavens and earth (see v. 1 as well) are summoned to God’s courtroom as witnesses against God’s covenant people (see Isa 1:2). Long before this Moses warned the people that the heavens and earth would be watching their actions (see Deut 4:26; 30:19; 31:28; 32:1).
[50:5] 10 tn Or “Gather to me my covenant people.” The Hebrew term חָסִיד (khasid, “covenant people”) elsewhere in the psalms is used in a positive sense of God’s loyal followers (see the note at Ps 4:3), but here, as the following line makes clear, the term has a neutral sense and simply refers to those who have outwardly sworn allegiance to God, not necessarily to those whose loyalty is genuine.
[50:10] 19 tn Heb “[the] animals on a thousand hills.” The words “that graze” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The term בְּהֵמוֹה (bÿhemot, “animal”) refers here to cattle (see Ps 104:14).
[50:14] 23 tn Heb “Most High.” This divine title (עֶלְיוֹן, ’elyon) pictures God as the exalted ruler of the universe who vindicates the innocent and judges the wicked. See especially Pss 7:17; 9:2; 18:13; 21:7; 47:2.
[50:15] 25 sn In vv. 7-15 the Lord makes it clear that he was not rebuking Israel because they had failed to offer sacrifices (v. 8a). On the contrary, they had been faithful in doing so (v. 8b). However, their understanding of the essence of their relationship with God was confused. Apparently they believed that he needed/desired such sacrifices and that offering them would ensure their prosperity. But the Lord owns all the animals of the world and did not need Israel’s meager sacrifices (vv. 9-13). Other aspects of the relationship were more important to the Lord. He desired Israel to be thankful for his blessings (v. 14a), to demonstrate gratitude for his intervention by repaying the vows they made to him (v. 14b), and to acknowledge their absolute dependence on him (v. 15a). Rather than viewing their sacrifices as somehow essential to God’s well-being, they needed to understand their dependence on him.
[50:16] 26 tn Heb “evil [one].” The singular adjective is used here in a representative sense; it refers to those within the larger covenant community who have blatantly violated the
[50:16] 27 tn Heb “What to you to declare my commands and lift up my covenant upon your mouth?” The rhetorical question expresses sarcastic amazement. The
[50:21] 35 tn Heb “these things you did and I was silent.” Some interpret the second clause (“and I was silent”) as a rhetorical question expecting a negative answer, “[When you do these things], should I keep silent?” (cf. NEB). See GKC 335 §112.cc.
[50:21] sn The Lord was silent in the sense that he delayed punishment. Of course, God’s patience toward sinners eventually runs out. The divine “silence” is only temporary (see v. 3, where the psalmist, having described God’s arrival, observes that “he is not silent”).
[50:21] 36 tn The Hebrew infinitive construct (הֱיוֹת, heyot) appears to function like the infinitive absolute here, adding emphasis to the following finite verbal form (אֶהְיֶה, ’ehyeh). See GKC 339-40 §113.a. Some prefer to emend הֱיוֹת (heyot) to the infinitive absolute form הָיוֹ (hayo).
[50:23] 42 tn Heb “and [to one who] sets a way I will show the deliverance of God.” Elsewhere the phrase “set a way” simply means “to travel” (see Gen 30:36; cf. NRSV). The present translation assumes an emendation of וְשָׂם דֶּרֶךְ (vÿsam derekh) to וְשֹׁמֵר דְּרָכַּי (vÿshomer dÿrakhay, “and [the one who] keeps my ways” [i.e., commands, see Pss 18:21; 37:34). Another option is to read וְשֹׁמֵר דַּרְכּוֹ (vÿshomer darko, “and [the one who] guards his way,” i.e., “the one who is careful to follow a godly lifestyle”; see Ps 39:1).