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Psalm 36[a]

For the music director, an oracle, written by the Lord’s servant David.[b]

36 An evil man is rebellious to the core.[c]
He does not fear God,[d]
for he is too proud
to recognize and give up his sin.[e]
The words he speaks are sinful and deceitful;
he does not care about doing what is wise and right.[f]

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  1. Psalm 36:1 sn Psalm 36. Though evil men plan to harm others, the psalmist is confident that the Lord is the just ruler of the earth who gives and sustains all life. He prays for divine blessing and protection and anticipates God’s judgment of the wicked.
  2. Psalm 36:1 tn In the Hebrew text the word נאם (“oracle”) appears at the beginning of the next verse (v. 2 in the Hebrew text because the superscription is considered v. 1). The resulting reading, “an oracle of rebellion for the wicked [is] in the midst of my heart” (cf. NIV) apparently means that the psalm, which foresees the downfall of the wicked, is a prophetic oracle about the rebellion of the wicked which emerges from the soul of the psalmist. One could translate, “Here is a poem written as I reflected on the rebellious character of evil men.” Another option, followed in the translation above, is to attach נאם (ne’um, “oracle”) with the superscription. For another example of a Davidic poem being labeled an “oracle,” see 2 Sam 23:1.
  3. Psalm 36:1 tn Heb “[the] rebellion of an evil man [is] in the midst of my heart.” The translation assumes a reading “in the midst of his heart” (i.e., “to the core”) instead of “in the midst of my heart,” a change which finds support in a few medieval Hebrew mss, the Hebrew text of Origen’s Hexapla, and the Syriac.
  4. Psalm 36:1 tn Heb “there is no dread of God before his eyes.” The phrase “dread of God” refers here to a healthy respect for God which recognizes that he will punish evil behavior.
  5. Psalm 36:2 tn Heb “for it causes to be smooth to him in his eyes to find his sin to hate.” The meaning of the Hebrew text is unclear. Perhaps the point is this: His rebellious attitude makes him reject any notion that God will hold him accountable. His attitude also prevents him from recognizing and repudiating his sinful ways.
  6. Psalm 36:3 tn Heb “he ceases to exhibit wisdom to do good.” The Hiphil forms are exhibitive, indicating the outward expression of an inner attitude.

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