New English Translation
For the music director, a psalm of David.
64 Listen to me,[b] O God, as I offer my lament!
Protect[c] my life from the enemy’s terrifying attacks.[d]
2 Hide me from the plots of evil men,
from the crowd of evildoers.[e]
3 They[f] sharpen their tongues like swords;
they aim their arrows, a slanderous charge,[g]
4 in order to shoot down the innocent[h] in secluded places.
They shoot at him suddenly and are unafraid of retaliation.[i]
5 They encourage one another to carry out their evil deed.[j]
They plan how to hide[k] snares,
and boast,[l] “Who will see them?”[m]
6 They devise[n] unjust schemes;
they disguise[o] a well-conceived plot.[p]
Man’s inner thoughts cannot be discovered.[q]
7 But God will shoot[r] at them;
suddenly they will be[s] wounded by an arrow.[t]
8 Their slander will bring about their demise.[u]
All who see them will shudder,[v]
9 and all people will fear.[w]
They will proclaim what God has done,[x]
and reflect on his deeds.
10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord
and take shelter in him.
All the morally upright[y] will boast.[z]
- Psalm 64:1 sn Psalm 64. The psalmist asks God to protect him from his dangerous enemies and then confidently affirms that God will destroy his enemies and demonstrate his justice in the sight of all observers.
- Psalm 64:1 tn Heb “my voice.”
- Psalm 64:1 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s request.
- Psalm 64:1 tn Heb “from the terror of [the] enemy.” “Terror” is used here metonymically for the enemy’s attacks that produce fear because they threaten the psalmist’s life.
- Psalm 64:2 tn Heb “workers of wickedness.”
- Psalm 64:3 tn Heb “who.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Psalm 64:3 tn Heb “a bitter word.”
- Psalm 64:4 tn The psalmist uses the singular because he is referring to himself here as representative of a larger group.
- Psalm 64:4 tn Heb “and are unafraid.” The words “of retaliation” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Psalm 64:5 tn Heb “they give strength to themselves, an evil matter [or “word”].”
- Psalm 64:5 tn Heb “they report about hiding.”
- Psalm 64:5 tn Heb “they say.”
- Psalm 64:5 tn If this is a direct quotation (cf. NASB, NIV), the pronoun “them” refers to the snares mentioned in the previous line. If it is an indirect quotation, then the pronoun may refer to the enemies themselves (cf. NEB, which is ambiguous). Some translations retain the direct quotation but alter the pronoun to “us,” referring clearly to the enemies (cf. NRSV).
- Psalm 64:6 tn Heb “search out, examine,” which here means (by metonymy) “devise.”
- Psalm 64:6 tc The MT has תַּמְנוּ (tamnu, “we are finished”), a Qal perfect first common plural form from the verbal root תָּמַם (tamam). Some understand this as the beginning of a quotation of the enemies’ words and translate, “we have completed,” but the Hiphil would seem to be required in this case. The present translation follows many medieval Hebrew mss in reading טָמְנוּ (tamenu, “they hide”), a Qal perfect third common plural form from the verbal root טָמַן (taman).
- Psalm 64:6 tn Heb “a searched-out search,” which is understood as referring here to a thoroughly planned plot to destroy the psalmist.
- Psalm 64:6 tn Heb “and the inner part of man, and a heart [is] deep.” The point seems to be that a man’s inner thoughts are incapable of being discovered. No one is a mind reader! Consequently the psalmist is vulnerable to his enemies’ well-disguised plots.
- Psalm 64:7 tn The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive is normally used in narrative contexts to describe completed past actions. It is possible that the conclusion to the psalm (vv. 7-10) was added to the lament after God’s judgment of the wicked in response to the psalmist’s lament (vv. 1-6). The translation assumes that these verses are anticipatory and express the psalmist’s confidence that God would eventually judge the wicked. The psalmist uses a narrative style as a rhetorical device to emphasize his certitude. See GKC 329-30 §111.w.
- Psalm 64:7 tn The perfect verbal form here expresses the psalmist’s certitude about the coming demise of the wicked.
- Psalm 64:7 tn The translation follows the traditional accentuation of the MT. Another option is to translate, “But God will shoot them down with an arrow, suddenly they will be wounded” (cf. NIV, NRSV).
- Psalm 64:8 tc The MT reads literally, “and they caused him [or it] to stumble upon them, their tongue.” Perhaps the third plural subject of the verb is indefinite with the third singular pronominal suffix on the verb being distributive (see Ps 63:10). In this case one may translate, “each one will be made to stumble.” The preposition עַל (ʿal) might then be taken as adversative, “against them [is] their tongue.” Many prefer to emend the text to וַיַּכְשִׁילֵמוֹ עֲלֵי לְשׁוֹנָם (vayyakhshilemo ʿale leshonam, “and he caused them to stumble over their tongue”). However, if this reading is original, it is difficult to see how the present reading of the MT arose. Furthermore, the preposition is not collocated with the verb כָּשַׁל (kashal) elsewhere. Perhaps a better option is that the third singular pronominal suffix “it” refers to the following noun “tongue” translated “they caused it, their tongue, to stumble on themselves” (see GKC 425-26 §131.m, o).
- Psalm 64:8 tn The Hitpolel verbal form is probably from the root נוּד (nud; see HALOT 678 s.v. נוד), which is attested elsewhere in the Hitpolel stem, not the root נָדַד (nadad, as proposed by BDB 622 s.v. I נָדַד), which does not occur elsewhere in this stem.
- Psalm 64:9 tc Many medieval Hebrew mss read וַיִּרְאוּ (vayyirʾu, “and they will see”) instead of וַיִּירְאוּ (vayyireʾu, “and they will fear”).
- Psalm 64:9 tn Heb “the work of God,” referring to the judgment described in v. 7.
- Psalm 64:10 tn Heb “upright in heart.”
- Psalm 64:10 tn That is, about the Lord’s accomplishments on their behalf.