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Mazmur 31:9-24


31:9 Have mercy on me, for I am in distress!

My eyes grow dim 1  from suffering. 2 

I have lost my strength. 3 

31:10 For my life nears its end in pain;

my years draw to a close as I groan. 4 

My strength fails me because of 5  my sin,

and my bones become brittle. 6 

31:11 Because of all my enemies, people disdain me; 7 

my neighbors are appalled by my suffering 8 

those who know me are horrified by my condition; 9 

those who see me in the street run away from me.

31:12 I am forgotten, like a dead man no one thinks about; 10 

I am regarded as worthless, like a broken jar. 11 

31:13 For I hear what so many are saying, 12 

the terrifying news that comes from every direction. 13 

When they plot together against me,

they figure out how they can take my life.

31:14 But I trust in you, O Lord!

I declare, “You are my God!”

31:15 You determine my destiny! 14 

Rescue me from the power of my enemies and those who chase me.

31:16 Smile 15  on your servant!

Deliver me because of your faithfulness!

31:17 O Lord, do not let me be humiliated,

for I call out to you!

May evil men be humiliated!

May they go wailing to the grave! 16 

31:18 May lying lips be silenced –

lips 17  that speak defiantly against the innocent 18 

with arrogance and contempt!

31:19 How great is your favor, 19 

which you store up for your loyal followers! 20 

In plain sight of everyone you bestow it on those who take shelter 21  in you. 22 

31:20 You hide them with you, where they are safe from the attacks 23  of men; 24 

you conceal them in a shelter, where they are safe from slanderous attacks. 25 

31:21 The Lord deserves praise 26 

for he demonstrated his amazing faithfulness to me when I was besieged by enemies. 27 

31:22 I jumped to conclusions and said, 28 

“I am cut off from your presence!” 29 

But you heard my plea for mercy when I cried out to you for help.

31:23 Love the Lord, all you faithful followers 30  of his!

The Lord protects those who have integrity,

but he pays back in full the one who acts arrogantly. 31 

31:24 Be strong and confident, 32 

all you who wait on the Lord!

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[31:9]  1 tn Or perhaps, “are swollen.”

[31:9]  2 tn Cf. Ps 6:7, which has a similar line.

[31:9]  3 tn Heb “my breath and my stomach [grow weak].” Apparently the verb in the previous line (“grow dim, be weakened”) is to be understood here. The Hebrew term נפשׁ can mean “life,” or, more specifically, “throat, breath.” The psalmist seems to be lamenting that his breathing is impaired because of the physical and emotional suffering he is forced to endure.

[31:10]  4 tn Heb “and my years in groaning.”

[31:10]  5 tn Heb “stumbles in.”

[31:10]  6 tn Heb “grow weak.”

[31:11]  7 tn Heb “because of all my enemies I am a reproach.”

[31:11]  8 tc Heb “and to my neighbors, exceedingly.” If the MT is retained, then these words probably go with what precedes. However the syntactical awkwardness of the text suggests it is textually corrupt. P. C. Craigie (Psalms 1-50 [WBC], 258) suggests that the initial mem (מ) on מְאֹד (meod, “exceedingly”) be understood as an enclitic mem (ם) which was originally suffixed to the preceding form and then later misinterpreted. The resulting form אֵד (’ed) can then be taken as a defectively written form of אֵיד (’ed, “calamity”). If one follows this emendation, then the text reads literally, “and to my neighbors [I am one who experiences] calamity.” The noun פַחַד (fakhad, “[object of] horror”) occurs in the next line; אֵיד and פַחַד appear in parallelism elsewhere (see Prov 1:26-27).

[31:11]  9 tn Heb “and [an object of ] horror to those known by me.”

[31:12]  10 tn Heb “I am forgotten, like a dead man, from [the] heart.” The “heart” is here viewed as the center of one’s thoughts.

[31:12]  11 tn Heb “I am like a broken jar.” One throws away a broken jar without a second thought because it is considered worthless and useless.

[31:13]  12 tn Heb “the report of many.”

[31:13]  13 tn Heb “the terror from all around.”

[31:15]  14 tn Heb “in your hand [are] my times.”

[31:16]  15 tn Heb “cause your face to shine.”

[31:17]  16 tn The verb יִדְּמוּ (yiddÿmu) is understood as a form of דָּמַם (damam, “wail, lament”). Another option is to take the verb from דָּמַם (“be quiet”; see BDB 198-99 s.v. I דָּמַם), in which case one might translate, “May they lie silent in the grave.”

[31:18]  17 tn Heb “the [ones which].”

[31:18]  18 tn Or “godly.”

[31:19]  19 tn Or “How abundant are your blessings!”

[31:19]  20 tn Heb “for those who fear you.”

[31:19]  21 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; 34:21-22).

[31:19]  22 tn Heb “you work [your favor] for the ones seeking shelter in you before the sons of men.”

[31:20]  23 tn The noun רֹכֶס (rokhes) occurs only here. Its meaning is debated; some suggest “snare,” while others propose “slander” or “conspiracy.”

[31:20]  24 tn Heb “you hide them in the hiding place of your face from the attacks of man.” The imperfect verbal forms in this verse draw attention to God’s typical treatment of the faithful.

[31:20]  25 tn Heb “you conceal them in a shelter from the strife of tongues.”

[31:21]  26 tn Heb “blessed [be] the Lord.”

[31:21]  27 tn Heb “for he caused his faithfulness to be amazing to me in a besieged city.” The psalmist probably speaks figuratively here. He compares his crisis to being trapped in a besieged city, but the Lord answered his prayer for help. Verses 19-24 were apparently written after the Lord answered the prayer of vv. 1-18.

[31:22]  28 tn Heb “and I, I said in my haste.”

[31:22]  29 tn Heb “from before your eyes.”

[31:23]  30 tn A “faithful follower” (חָסִיד, khasid) is one who does what is right in God’s eyes and remains faithful to God (see Pss 4:3; 12:1; 16:10; 31:23; 37:28; 86:2; 97:10).

[31:23]  31 tn The participial forms in the second and third lines characterize the Lord as one who typically protects the faithful and judges the proud.

[31:24]  32 tn Heb “be strong and let your heart[s] be confident.”

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