New English Translation
16 Why do you look with envy,[a] O mountains[b] with many peaks,
at the mountain where God has decided to live?[c]
Indeed[d] the Lord will live there[e] permanently.
17 God has countless chariots;
they number in the thousands.[f]
The Lord comes from Sinai in holy splendor.[g]
18 You ascend on high;[h]
you have taken many captives.[i]
You receive tribute[j] from[k] men,
including even sinful rebels.
Indeed, the Lord God lives there.[l]
- Psalm 68:16 tn The meaning of the Hebrew verb רָצַד (ratsad), translated here “look with envy,” is uncertain; it occurs only here in the OT. See BDB 952-53. A cognate verb occurs in later Aramaic with the meaning “to lie in wait; to watch” (Jastrow 1492 s.v. רְצַד).
- Psalm 68:16 tn Perhaps the apparent plural form should be read as a singular with enclitic mem (ם; later misinterpreted as a plural ending). The preceding verse has the singular form.
- Psalm 68:16 tn Heb “[at] the mountain God desires for his dwelling place.” The reference is to Mount Zion/Jerusalem.
- Psalm 68:16 tn The Hebrew particle אַף (ʾaf) has an emphasizing function here.
- Psalm 68:16 tn The word “there” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Psalm 68:17 tn Heb “thousands of [?].” The meaning of the word שִׁנְאָן (shinʾan), which occurs only here in the OT, is uncertain. Perhaps the form should be emended to שַׁאֲנָן (shaʾanan, “at ease”) and be translated here “held in reserve.”
- Psalm 68:17 tc The MT reads, “the Lord [is] among them, Sinai, in holiness,” which is syntactically difficult. The present translation assumes an emendation to אֲדֹנָי בָּא מִסִּינַי (ʾadonay baʾ missinay; see BHS note b-b and Deut 33:2).
- Psalm 68:18 tn Heb “to the elevated place”; or “on high.” This probably refers to the Lord’s throne on Mount Zion.
- Psalm 68:18 tn Heb “you have taken captives captive.”
- Psalm 68:18 tn Or “gifts.”
- Psalm 68:18 tn Or “among.”
- Psalm 68:18 tn Heb “so that the Lord God might live [there].” Many take the infinitive construct with ל (lamed) as indicating purpose here, but it is unclear how the offering of tribute enables the Lord to live in Zion. This may be an occurrence of the relatively rare emphatic lamed (see HALOT 510-11 s.v. II לְ, though this text is not listed as an example there). If so, the statement corresponds nicely to the final line of v. 16, which also affirms emphatically that the Lord lives in Zion.