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Mazmur 35:15-16


35:15 But when I stumbled, they rejoiced and gathered together;

they gathered together to ambush me. 1 

They tore at me without stopping to rest. 2 

35:16 When I tripped, they taunted me relentlessly, 3 

and tried to bite me. 4 

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[35:15]  1 tn Heb “they gathered together against me, stricken [ones], and I did not know.” The Hebrew form נֵכִים (nekhim, “stricken ones” ?) is problematic. Some suggest an emendation to נָכְרִים[כְ] (kÿnokhÿrim, “foreigners”) or “like foreigners,” which would fit with what follows, “[like] foreigners that I do not recognize.” Perhaps the form should be read as a Qal active participle, נֹכִים (nokhim, “ones who strike”) from the verbal root נָכָה (nakhah, “to strike”). The Qal of this verb is unattested in biblical Hebrew, but the peal (basic) stem appears in Old Aramaic (J. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefire [BibOr], 114; DNWSI 1:730.) In this case one might translate, “attackers gathered together against me though I was not aware of it” (cf. NASB “smiters”; NEB, NRSV “ruffians”; NIV “attackers”).

[35:15]  2 tn Heb “they tore and did not keep quiet.” By using the verb “tear,” the psalmist likens his enemies to a wild animal (see Hos 13:8). In v. 17 he compares them to hungry young lions.

[35:16]  3 tc The MT reads “as profane [ones] of mockers of food,” which is nonsensical. The present translation assumes (1) an emendation of בְּחַנְפֵי (bÿkhanfey, “as profane men”) to בְּחַנְפִי (bekhanfiy, “when I tripped”; preposition + Qal infinitive construct from II חָנַף [“limp”] + first common singular pronominal suffix) and (2) an emendation of לַעֲגֵי מָעוֹג (laagey maog, “mockers of food”) to עָגוּ[ם]לַעְגָּ (lagamagu, “[with] taunting they taunted”; masculine plural noun with enclitic mem + Qal perfect third common plural from לַּעַג [laag, “taunt”]).

[35:16]  4 tn Heb “gnashing at me with their teeth.” The infinitive absolute adds a complementary action – they gnashed with their teeth as they taunted.

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