New English Translation
10 Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you pay no attention during times of trouble?[b]
2 The wicked arrogantly chase the oppressed;[c]
the oppressed are trapped[d] by the schemes the wicked have dreamed up.[e]
3 Yes,[f] the wicked man[g] boasts because he gets what he wants;[h]
the one who robs others[i] curses[j] and[k] rejects the Lord.[l]
4 The wicked man is so arrogant he always thinks,
“God won’t hold me accountable; he doesn’t care.”[m]
5 He is secure at all times.[n]
He has no regard for your commands;[o]
he disdains all his enemies.[p]
6 He says to himself,[q]
“I will never[r] be shaken,
because I experience no calamity.”[s]
7 His mouth is full of curses and deceptive, harmful words;[t]
his tongue injures and destroys.[u]
8 He waits in ambush near the villages;[v]
in hidden places he kills the innocent.
His eyes look for some unfortunate victim.[w]
9 He lies in ambush in a hidden place, like a lion in a thicket.[x]
He lies in ambush, waiting to catch[y] the oppressed;
he catches the oppressed[z] by pulling in his net.[aa]
10 His victims are crushed and beaten down;
they are trapped in his sturdy nets.[ab]
11 He says to himself,[ac]
“God overlooks it;
he does not pay attention;
he never notices.”[ad]
12 Rise up, Lord![ae]
O God, strike him down.[af]
Do not forget the oppressed.
13 Why does the wicked man reject God?[ag]
He says to himself,[ah] “You[ai] will not hold me accountable.”[aj]
14 You have taken notice,[ak]
for[al] you always see[am] one who inflicts pain and suffering.[an]
The unfortunate victim entrusts his cause to you;[ao]
you deliver[ap] the fatherless.[aq]
15 Break the arm[ar] of the wicked and evil man.
Hold him accountable for his wicked deeds,[as]
which he thought you would not discover.[at]
16 The Lord rules forever![au]
The nations are driven out of his land.[av]
17 Lord, you have heard[aw] the request[ax] of the oppressed;
you make them feel secure because you listen to their prayer.[ay]
18 You defend[az] the fatherless and oppressed,[ba]
so that mere mortals may no longer terrorize them.[bb]
- Psalm 10:1 sn Psalm 10. Many Hebrew mss and the ancient Greek version (LXX) combine Psalms 9 and 10 into a single psalm. Taken in isolation, Psalm 10 is a petition for help in which the psalmist urges the Lord to deliver him from his dangerous enemies, whom he describes in vivid and terrifying detail. The psalmist concludes with confidence; he is certain that God’s justice will prevail.
- Psalm 10:1 tn Heb “you hide for times in trouble.” The interrogative “why” is understood by ellipsis; note the preceding line. The Hiphil verbal form “hide” has no expressed object. Some supply “your eyes” by ellipsis (see BDB 761 s.v. I עָלַם Hiph and HALOT 835 s.v. I עלם hif) or emend the form to a Niphal (“you hide yourself,” see BHS, note c; cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV).
- Psalm 10:2 tn Heb “because of the pride of [the] wicked he burns [i.e., hotly pursues] [the] oppressed.” The singular forms רָשָׁע (rashaʿ, “wicked”) and עָנִי (ʿani, “oppressed”) are collective and representative, as indicated in the next line, which uses plural verb forms to describe the actions of both.
- Psalm 10:2 tn The two imperfect verbal forms in v. 2 describe either what typically happens (from the psalmist’s perspective) or what the psalmist was experiencing at the time he offered this prayer.
- Psalm 10:2 tn Heb “they are trapped in the schemes which they have thought up.” The referents of the two pronominal suffixes on the verbs have been specified in the translation for clarity. The referent of the first suffix (“they”) is taken as the oppressed, while the referent of the second (“they”) is taken to be the wicked (cf. NIV, which renders “wicked” in the previous line as a collective singular). Others take the referent of both occurrences of “they” in the line to be the wicked (cf. NRSV, “let them be caught in the schemes they have devised”).
- Psalm 10:3 tn The translation assumes כִּי (ki) is asseverative: “indeed, certainly.” Another option is to translate “for,” understanding v. 3 as giving the reason why the wicked so arrogantly seek to destroy the helpless (so NASB, NRSV).
- Psalm 10:3 tn The representative or typical evildoer is described in vv. 3-11, 13, 15. Since the singular form predominates in these verses, it has been retained in the translation.
- Psalm 10:3 tn Heb “the wicked [one] boasts on account of the desire of his appetite.” The translation assumes that the preposition עַל (ʿal) introduces the reason why the wicked boasts (cf. this use of עַל with הָלַל (halal) in Ps 119:164 and Ezra 3:11). In this case, the “desire of his appetite” refers by metonymy to the object desired and acquired.
- Psalm 10:3 tn The translation assumes the active participle is substantival, referring to the wicked man mentioned in the preceding line. The substantival participle is then understood as the subject of the following verbs. For other examples of the participle of בָּצַע (batsaʿ) used of those who desire and/or acquire wealth through dishonest and/or violent means, see Prov 1:19; 15:27; Jer 6:13; 8:10; Hab 2:9.
- Psalm 10:3 tn The verb בָּרַךְ (barakh) normally means “to bless,” but in a few cases it exhibits the polarized meaning “to curse” (1 Kgs 21:10, 13; Job 1:5-11; 2:5-9). (Some regard this use of בָּרַךְ as a mere euphemism.) The verb refers to the act of pronouncing or calling down a formal curse upon the object of one’s anger.
- Psalm 10:3 tn The conjunction “and” is supplied in the translation; it does not appear in the Hebrew text.
- Psalm 10:3 tn Another option is to translate, “he blesses one who robs others, [but] he curses the Lord.” In this case the subject of the verbs is “the wicked man” mentioned in the previous line, and “the one who robs others” is the object of the verb בָּרַךְ (barakh), which is understood in its usual sense of “bless.”
- Psalm 10:4 tn Heb “the wicked [one], according to the height of his nose, he does not seek, there is no God, all his thoughts.” The phrase “height of his nose” probably refers to an arrogant or snooty attitude; it likely pictures one with his nose turned upward toward the sky in pride. One could take the “wicked” as the subject of the negated verb “seek,” in which case the point is that the wicked do not “seek” God. The translation assumes that this statement, along with “there is no God,” is what the wicked man thinks to himself. In this case God is the subject of the verb “seek,” and the point is that God will not hold the wicked man accountable for his actions. Verse 13 strongly favors this interpretation. The statement “there is no God” is not a philosophical assertion that God does not exist, but rather a confident affirmation that he is unconcerned about how men live morally and ethically (see v. 11).
- Psalm 10:5 tn Heb “they are firm, his ways, at every time.” The verb חַיִל (khayil, “be firm, be strong”) occurs only here and in Job 20:21, where it has the sense “endure.”
- Psalm 10:5 tc Heb “[on a] height, your judgments from before him.” If the MT is retained, then the idea may be that God’s “judgments” are high above (i.e., not recognized) by the wicked man. However, the syntax is awkward. The translation assumes an emendation of מָרוֹם (marom, “height”) to סָרוּ (saru, “[your judgments] are turned aside”), the final mem (ם) being dittographic (note the initial mem on the immediately following word [מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ, mishpatekha, “your judgments”). “Judgments” probably refers here to God’s laws or commands, rather than his judicial decisions or acts of judgment.
- Psalm 10:5 tn Heb “all his enemies, he snorts against them.” This may picture the wicked man defiantly challenging his enemies because he is confident of success. Another option is to take יָפִיחַ (yafiakh) from the root יָפַח (yafakh, “to testify”) and translate “he testifies against all his enemies,” implying that he gets the upper hand over them in legal battles. The noun יָפֵחַ (yafeakh, “witness”) is attested in biblical Hebrew (see Prov 6:19; 12:17; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9, and Hab 2:3). The verb, however, is not clearly attested.
- Psalm 10:6 tn Heb “he says in his heart/mind.”
- Psalm 10:6 tn Heb “not . . . for a generation and a generation.” The traditional accentuation of the MT understands the words “for a generation and a generation” with the following line.
- Psalm 10:6 tn Heb “who, not in calamity.” If אֲשֶׁר (ʾasher) is taken as a relative pronoun here, then one could translate, “[I] who [am] not in calamity.” Some emend אֲשֶׁר to אֹשֶׁר (ʾosher, “happiness”; see HALOT 99 s.v. אֹשֶׁר); one might then translate, “[I live in] happiness, not in calamity.” The present translation assumes that אֲשֶׁר functions here as a causal conjunction, “because, for.” For this use of אֲשֶׁר, see BDB 83 s.v. אֲשֶׁר 8.c (where the present text is not cited).
- Psalm 10:7 tn Heb “[with] a curse his mouth is full, and lies and injury.”
- Psalm 10:7 tn Heb “under his tongue are destruction and wickedness.” The words translated “destruction and wickedness” are also paired in Ps 90:10. They also appear in proximity in Pss 7:14 and 55:10.
- Psalm 10:8 tn Heb “he sits in the ambush of the villages.”
- Psalm 10:8 tn Heb “his eyes for an unfortunate person lie hidden.” The language may picture a lion (see v. 9) peering out from its hiding place in anticipation that an unsuspecting victim will soon come strolling along.
- Psalm 10:9 tn Or “in its den.”
- Psalm 10:9 tn The verb, which also appears in the next line, occurs only here and in Judg 21:21.
- Psalm 10:9 tn The singular form is collective (see v. 10) or refers to the typical or representative oppressed individual.
- Psalm 10:9 tn Or “when he [i.e., the wicked man] pulls in his net.”sn The background of the imagery is hunting, where the hunter uses a net to entrap an unsuspecting bird or wild animal.
- Psalm 10:10 tn Heb “he crushes, he is bowed down, and he falls into his strong [ones], [the] unfortunate [ones].” This verse presents several lexical and syntactical difficulties. The first word (יִדְכֶּה, yidkeh) is an otherwise unattested Qal form of the verb דָּכָה (dakhah, “crush”). (The Qere [marginal] form is imperfect; the consonantal text [Kethib] has the perfect with a prefixed conjunction vav [ו].) If the wicked man’s victim is the subject, which seems to be the case (note the two verbs which follow), then the form should be emended to a Niphal (יִדָּכֶה, yiddakheh). The phrase בַּעֲצוּמָיו (baʿatsumayv, “into his strong [ones]”), poses interpretive problems. The preposition ב (bet) follows the verb נָפַל (nafal, “fall”), so it may very well carry the nuance “into” here, with “his strong [ones]” then referring to something into which the oppressed individual falls. Since a net is mentioned in the preceding verse as the instrument used to entrap the victim, it is possible that “strong [ones]” here refers metonymically to the wicked man’s nets or traps. Ps 35:8 refers to a man falling into a net (רֶשֶׁת, reshet), as does Ps 141:10 (where the plural of מִכְמָר [mikhmar, “net”] is used). A hunter’s net (רֶשֶׁת), is associated with snares (פַּח [pakh], מֹקְשִׁים, [moqeshim]) and ropes (חֲבָלִים, khavalim) in Ps 140:5. The final word in the verse (חֶלְכָּאִים (khelkaʾim, “unfortunate [ones]”) may be an alternate form of חֵלְכָח (khelekhakh, “unfortunate [one]”; see vv. 8, 14). The Qere (marginal reading) divides the form into two words, חֵיל כָּאִים (khel kaʾim, “army/host of disheartened [ones]”). The three verb forms in v. 10 are singular because the representative “oppressed” individual is the grammatical subject (see the singular עָנִי [ʿani] in v. 9).
- Psalm 10:11 tn Heb “he says in his heart.” See v. 6.
- Psalm 10:11 tn Heb “God forgets, he hides his face, he never sees.”
- Psalm 10:12 sn Rise up, O Lord! The psalmist’s mood changes from lament to petition and confidence.
- Psalm 10:12 tn Heb “lift up your hand.” Usually the expression “lifting the hand” refers to praying (Pss 28:2; 134:2) or making an oath (Ps 106:26), but here it probably refers to “striking a blow” (see 2 Sam 18:28; 20:21). Note v. 15, where the psalmist asks the Lord to “break the arm of the wicked.” A less likely option is that the psalmist is requesting that the Lord declare by oath his intention to intervene.
- Psalm 10:13 tn The rhetorical question expresses the psalmist’s outrage that the wicked would have the audacity to disdain God.
- Psalm 10:13 tn Heb “he says in his heart” (see vv. 6, 11). Another option is to understand an ellipsis of the interrogative particle here (cf. the preceding line), “Why does he say in his heart?”
- Psalm 10:13 tn Here the wicked man addresses God directly.
- Psalm 10:13 tn Heb “you will not seek.” The verb דָרַשׁ (darash, “seek”) is used here in the sense of “seek an accounting.” One could understand the imperfect as generalizing about what is typical and translate, “you do not hold [people] accountable.”
- Psalm 10:14 tn Heb “you see.” One could translate the perfect as generalizing, “you do take notice.”
- Psalm 10:14 tn If the preceding perfect is taken as generalizing, then one might understand כִּי (ki) as asseverative: “indeed, certainly.”
- Psalm 10:14 tn Here the imperfect emphasizes God’s typical behavior.
- Psalm 10:14 tn Heb “destruction and suffering,” which here refers metonymically to the wicked, who dish out pain and suffering to their victims.
- Psalm 10:14 tn Heb “to give into your hand, upon you, he abandons, [the] unfortunate [one].” The syntax is awkward and the meaning unclear. It is uncertain who or what is being given into God’s hand. Elsewhere the idiom “give into the hand” means to deliver into one’s possession. If “to give” goes with what precedes (as the accentuation of the Hebrew text suggests), then this may refer to the wicked man being delivered over to God for judgment. The present translation assumes that “to give” goes with what follows (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV). The verb יַעֲזֹב (yaʿazov) here has the nuance “entrust” (see Gen 39:6; Job 39:11); the direct object (“[his] cause”) is implied.
- Psalm 10:14 tn Or “help.”
- Psalm 10:14 tn Heb “[for] one who is fatherless, you are a deliverer.” The noun יָתוֹם (yatom) refers to one who has lost his father (not necessarily his mother, see Ps 109:9).sn The fatherless. Because they were so vulnerable and were frequently exploited, fatherless children are often mentioned as epitomizing the oppressed (see Pss 68:5; 82:3; 94:6; 146:9; as well as Job 6:27; 22:9; 24:3, 9; 29:12; 31:17, 21).
- Psalm 10:15 sn The arm symbolizes the strength of the wicked, which they use to oppress and exploit the weak.
- Psalm 10:15 tn Heb “you seek his wickedness.” As in v. 13, the verb דָּרַשׁ (darash, “seek”) is used here in the sense of “seek an accounting.” One could understand the imperfect as describing a fact, “you hold him accountable,” or as anticipating divine judgment, “you will hold him accountable.” However, since the verb is in apparent parallelism with the preceding imperative (“break”), it is better to understand the imperfect as expressing the psalmist’s desire or request.
- Psalm 10:15 tn Heb “you will not find.” It is uncertain how this statement relates to what precedes. Some take בַּל (bal), which is used as a negative particle in vv. 10:4, 6, 11, 18, as asseverative here, “Indeed find (i.e., judge his wickedness).” The translation assumes that the final words are an asyndetic relative clause which refers back to what the wicked man boasted in God’s face (“you will not find [i.e., my wickedness]”). See v. 13.
- Psalm 10:16 tn Heb “the Lord is king forever and ever.”
- Psalm 10:16 tn Or “the nations perish from his land.” The perfect verb form may express what is typical or it may express rhetorically the psalmist’s certitude that God’s deliverance is “as good as done.”sn The nations may be the underlying reality behind the psalmist’s references to the “wicked” in the earlier verses. This reference to the nations may have motivated the combining of Ps 10 with Ps 9 (see Ps 9:5, 15, 19).
- Psalm 10:17 sn You have heard. The psalmist is confident that God has responded positively to his earlier petitions for divine intervention. The psalmist apparently prayed the words of vv. 16-18 after the reception of an oracle of deliverance (given in response to the confident petition of vv. 12-15) or after the Lord actually delivered him from his enemies.
- Psalm 10:17 tn Heb “desire.”
- Psalm 10:17 tn Heb “you make firm their heart, you cause your ear to listen.”
- Psalm 10:18 tn Heb “to judge (on behalf of),” or “by judging (on behalf of).”
- Psalm 10:18 tn Heb “crushed.” See v. 10.
- Psalm 10:18 tn Heb “he will not add again [i.e., “he will no longer”] to terrify, man from the earth.” The Hebrew term אֱנוֹשׁ (ʾenosh, “man”) refers here to the wicked nations (v. 16). By describing them as “from the earth,” the psalmist emphasizes their weakness before the sovereign, eternal king.