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Psalm 68:3-6 New English Translation (NET Bible)

But the godly[a] are happy;
they rejoice before God
and are overcome with joy.[b]
Sing to God! Sing praises to his name.
Exalt the one who rides on the clouds.[c]
For the Lord is his name.[d]
Rejoice before him.
He is a father to the fatherless
and an advocate for widows.[e]
God rules from his holy dwelling place.[f]
God settles in their own homes those who have been deserted;[g]
he frees prisoners and grants them prosperity.[h]
But sinful rebels live in the desert.[i]


  1. Psalm 68:3 tn By placing the subject first the psalmist highlights the contrast between God’s ecstatic people and his defeated enemies (vv. 1-2).
  2. Psalm 68:3 tn Heb “and they are happy with joy” (cf. NEB). Some translate the prefixed verbal forms of v. 3 as jussives, “Let the godly be happy, let them rejoice before God, and let them be happy with joy!” (Cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV; note the call to praise in v. 4.)
  3. Psalm 68:4 tn Traditionally the Hebrew term עֲרָבוֹת (ʿaravot) is taken as “steppe-lands” (often rendered “deserts”), but here the form is probably a homonym meaning “clouds.” Verse 33, which depicts God as the one who “rides on the sky” strongly favors this (see as well Deut 33:26), as does the reference in v. 9 to God as the source of rain. The term עֲרָבָה (ʿaravah, “cloud”) is cognate with Akkadian urpatu/erpetu and with Ugaritic ʿrpt. The phrase rkb ʿrpt (“one who rides on the clouds”) appears in Ugaritic mythological texts as an epithet of the storm god Baal. The nonphonemic interchange of the bilabial consonants b and p is attested elsewhere in roots common to Hebrew and Ugaritic, though the phenomenon is relatively rare.
  4. Psalm 68:4 tc Heb “in the Lord his name.” If the MT is retained, the preposition ב (bet) is introducing the predicate (the so-called bet of identity), “the Lord is his name.” However, some prefer to emend the text to כִּי יָהּ שְׁמוֹ (ki yah shemo, “for Yah is his name”). This emendation, reflected in the present translation, assumes a confusion of ב (bet) and כ (kaf) and haplography of י (yod).
  5. Psalm 68:5 sn God is depicted here as a just ruler. In the ancient Near Eastern world a king was responsible for promoting justice, including caring for the weak and vulnerable, epitomized by the fatherless and widows.
  6. Psalm 68:5 tn Heb “God [is] in his holy dwelling place.” He occupies his throne and carries out his royal responsibilities.
  7. Psalm 68:6 tn Heb “God causes the solitary ones to dwell in a house.” The participle suggests this is what God typically does.
  8. Psalm 68:6 tn Heb “he brings out prisoners into prosperity.” Another option is to translate, “he brings out prisoners with singing” (cf. NIV). The participle suggests this is what God typically does.
  9. Psalm 68:6 tn Or “in a parched [land].”sn God delivers the downtrodden and oppressed, but sinful rebels who oppose his reign are treated appropriately.
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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