Psalms 54


לַמְנַצֵּחַ בִּנְגִינֹת מַשְׂכִּיל לְדָוִד׃   54:1

Psal. 54:1   A poem of David's for the leader with music of strings,

בְּבֹוא הַזִּיפִים וַיֹּאמְרוּ לְשָׁאוּל הֲלֹא דָוִד מִסְתַּתֵּר עִמָּנוּ׃   54:2

Psal. 54:2   on the coming of the Ziphites when they said to Saul, “Is David not hiding with us?”

The reference is to be found in 1Sam. 23:19.

אֱלֹהִים בְּשִׁמְךָ הֹושִׁיעֵנִי וּבִגְבוּרָתְךָ תְדִינֵנִי׃   54:3

Psal. 54:3   O God, because of Your name, save me,

                               as You would judge me with Your might.

אֱלֹהִים שְׁמַע תְּפִלָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה לְאִמְרֵי־פִי׃   54:4

Psal. 54:4   O God, hear my prayer;

                                listen to the words of my mouth.

כִּי זָרִים קָמוּ עָלַי וְעָרִיצִים בִּקְשׁוּ נַפְשִׁי לֹא שָׂמוּ אֱלֹהִים לְנֶגְדָּם סֶלָה׃   54:5

Psal. 54:5   For strangers have arisen against me

                               and ruthless ones seek my soul;

                      they do not set God before them.            Selah.

The mention of strangers here is a bit puzzling, as the term normally applies to foreigners.  Some believe it refers to the Ziphites mentioned in v. 2 above.  Others suppose it conflicts with the reference in v. 2 altogether, thinking it was added later by someone unknown.  I think the term strangers refers to enemies of David’s whom he denigrates by referring to them in this manner.  As far as I’m concerned, the strangers and the ruthless ones are the same people, as such is frequently the case in biblical poetry.

הִנֵּה אֱלֹהִים עֹזֵר לִי אֲדֹנָי בְּסֹמְכֵי נַפְשִׁי׃   54:5

Psal. 54:6   Behold, God is my Helper;

                               My Master is as the supporters of my soul.

The word that means supporters in the phrase is as the supporters of my soul seems peculiar.  In other translations the phrase is found in the singular with the word as missing, is the Supporter of my soul.  The Hebrew doesn’t say that; it says the words I have translated (the phrase could also be translated as is with the supporters of my soul).  The meaning may be that David’s supporters are to him as if they were the Lord’s helpers.  But David seldom, if ever, puts people on God’s level, so I doubt this meaning is correct.  The yad at the end of the next-to-last Hebrew  word makes the word plural, so it’s necessary to translate it as supporters to be accurate.  Thus the yad may be an error, which is highly unlikely (because the caph, the fourth letter, is not in its final letter form), and we still have to consider the beth prefix of the word, which needs to be translated as something like as or with.  This is a troubling puzzle that remains unsolved.

יָשֹׁוב) [יָשִׁיב] הָרַע לְשֹׁרְרָי בַּאֲמִתְּךָ הַצְמִיתֵם׃   54:6

Psal. 54:7   Let Him return this evil to my enemies.

                               In Your faithfulness put an end to them.

בִּנְדָבָה אֶזְבְּחָה־לָּךְ אֹודֶה שִּׁמְךָ יְהוָה כִּי־טֹוב׃   54:7

Psal. 54:8   I will sacrifice to You with a free-will offering;

                               I will give thanks to Your name, Lord, for it is good.

כִּי מִכָּל־צָרָה הִצִּילָנִי וּבְאֹיְבַי רָאֲתָה עֵינִי׃   54:8

Psal. 54:9   For He delivers me from every trouble,

                              as my eye looks on my enemies.


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