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Psalm 11:2-4 New English Translation (NET Bible)

For look, the wicked[a] prepare[b] their bows,[c]
they put their arrows on the strings,
to shoot in the darkness[d] at the morally upright.[e]
When the foundations[f] are destroyed,
what can the godly[g] accomplish?”[h]
The Lord is in his holy temple;[i]
the Lord’s throne is in heaven.[j]
His eyes[k] watch;[l]
his eyes[m] examine[n] all people.[o]


  1. Psalm 11:2 tn In the psalms the “wicked” (רְשָׁעִים, reshaʿim) are typically proud, practical atheists (Ps 10:2, 4, 11) who hate God’s commands, commit sinful deeds, speak lies and slander (Ps 50:16-20), and cheat others (Ps 37:21). They oppose God and threaten his people (Ps 3:8).
  2. Psalm 11:2 tn The Hebrew imperfect verbal form depicts the enemies’ hostile action as underway.
  3. Psalm 11:2 tn Heb “a bow.”
  4. Psalm 11:2 sn In the darkness. The enemies’ attack, the precise form of which is not indicated, is compared here to a night ambush by archers; the psalmist is defenseless against this deadly attack.
  5. Psalm 11:2 tn Heb “pure of heart.” The “heart” is here viewed as the seat of one’s moral character and motives. The “pure of heart” are God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a result, experience his deliverance (see Pss 7:10; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10; 94:15; 97:11).
  6. Psalm 11:3 tn The precise meaning of this rare word is uncertain. An Ugaritic cognate is used of the “bottom” or “base” of a cliff or mountain (see G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 47, 159). The noun appears in postbiblical Hebrew with the meaning “foundation” (see Jastrow 1636 s.v. שָׁת).
  7. Psalm 11:3 tn The singular form is used here in a collective or representative sense. Note the plural form “pure [of heart]” in the previous verse.
  8. Psalm 11:3 sn The quotation of the advisers’ words (which begins in 11:1c) ends at this point. They advise the psalmist to flee because the enemy is poised to launch a deadly attack. In such a lawless and chaotic situation godly people like the psalmist can accomplish nothing, so they might as well retreat to a safe place.
  9. Psalm 11:4 tn Because of the royal imagery involved here, one could translate “lofty palace.” The Lord’s heavenly temple is in view here (see Mic 1:2-4).
  10. Psalm 11:4 sn The Lords throne is in heaven. The psalmist is confident that the Lord reigns as sovereign king, “keeps an eye on” all people, and responds in a just manner to the godly and wicked.
  11. Psalm 11:4 sn His eyes. The anthropomorphic language draws attention to God’s awareness of and interest in the situation on earth. Though the enemies are hidden by the darkness (v. 2), the Lord sees all.
  12. Psalm 11:4 tn The two Hebrew imperfect verbal forms in this verse describe the Lord’s characteristic activity.
  13. Psalm 11:4 tn Heb “eyelids.”
  14. Psalm 11:4 tn For other uses of the verb in this sense, see Job 7:18; Pss 7:9; 26:2; 139:23.
  15. Psalm 11:4 tn Heb “test the sons of men.”
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.


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