Psalms 7


שִׁגָּיוֹן לְדָוִד אֲשֶׁר־שָׁר לַיהוָה עַל־דִּבְרֵי־כוּשׁ בֶּן־יְמִינִי׃   7:1

Psal. 7:1   A shiggaion of David's that he sang to the Lord, concerning Cush, a Benjamite.

The Hebrew word transliterated as shiggaion is thought to refer to a “song of irregular structure and impassioned character” as quoted from “the Psalms, a volume of the Soncino Books of the Bible.”  The individual Cush is unknown and is not mentioned elsewhere in the bible.  Because he was a Benjamite, as was king Saul (see 1Sam. 9:1,2), scholars imagine he may have been loyal to Saul, and therefore a potential enemy of David’s.

יְהוָה אֱלֹהַי בְּךָ חָסִיתִי הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי מִכָּל־רֹדְפַי וְהַצִּילֵנִי׃   7:2

Psal. 7:2   O Lord, my God, in You do I put my trust.

                            Save me from all my pursuers and deliver me!

פֶּן־יִטְרֹף כְּאַרְיֵה נַפְשִׁי פֹּרֵק וְאֵין מַצִּיל׃   7:3

Psal. 7:3   Lest he rend, like a lion, my soul,

                             tearing in pieces so there is nothing to recover.

The antecedent to the pronoun he is Cush.

יְהוָה אֱלֹהַי אִם־עָשִׂיתִי זֹאת אִם־יֶשׁ־עָוֶל בְּכַפָּי׃   7:4

Psal. 7:4   O Lord, my God, if I have caused this,

                             if there is iniquity in my hands,

אִם־גָּמַלְתִּי שׁוֹלְמִי רָע וָאֲחַלְּצָה צוֹרְרִי רֵיקָם׃   7:5

Psal. 7:5   if I have bestowed evil on my friends,

                            or strengthened my enemies undeservedly,

יִרַדֹּף אוֹיֵב נַפְשִׁי וְיַשֵּׂג וְיִרְמֹס לָאָרֶץ חַיָּי וּכְבוֹדִי לֶעָפָר יַשְׁכֵּן סֶלָה׃   7:6

Psal. 7:6   may the enemy pursue and overtake my soul,

                            and trample my life to the earth,

                    and may he lay my glory to the dust.            Selah.

I have some difficulty interpreting David’s motivation behind these last three verses, 7:4 to 7:6.  Is he being humble, questioning his self-image, his belief in his righteousness?  Or is he being self-righteous and vindictive, thinking of the times he has spared Saul, assuming therefore that he doesn’t deserve this threat to his life.  You be the judge.

קוּמָה יְהוָה בְּאַפֶּךָ הִנָּשֵׂא בְּעַבְרוֹת צוֹרְרָי וְעוּרָה אֵלַי מִשְׁפָּט צִוִּיתָ׃   7:7

Psal. 7:7   Arise, O Lord, because of Your “anger!”

                            Lift Yourself up because of the wrath of my enemies,

                    and lift up the judgment You have appointed to me!

וַעֲדַת לְאֻמִּים תְּסוֹבְבֶךָּ וְעָלֶיהָ לַמָּרוֹם שׁוּבָה׃   7:8

Psal. 7:8   Then let the congregation of the peoples compass about You,

                             and loftily return over her.

The pronoun I translate as her is almost universally translated as them.  But the Hebrew is explicit and has to be strictly translated as her.  The presumed reason for the mistranslation is the mistaken belief that the pronoun’s antecedent is the peoples.  However, it’s embarrassingly obvious that the antecedent is the congregation, which is singular and feminine, matching the pronoun.  Thus I believe the second line is saying ”and [You, Lord,] loftily return over her (the congregation).”  It’s really rather puzzling to me that this kind of liberty (which is apparently copied by others) is taken with a language that has been held as sacred for millenia.

יְהוָה יָדִין עַמִּים שָׁפְטֵנִי יְהוָה כְּצִדְקִי וּכְתֻמִּי עָלָי׃   7:9

Psal. 7:9   The Lord will judge the peoples.

                             Judge me, O Lord, by my righteousness

                    and by my integrity about me.

יִגְמָר־נָא רַע רְשָׁעִים וּתְכוֹנֵן צַדִּיק וּבֹחֵן לִבּוֹת וּכְלָיוֹת אֱלֹהִים צַדִּיק׃   7:10

Psal. 7:10   Behold, He will put an end to the evil of the wicked beings

                              and establish the righteous one

                     when the righteous God examines hearts and minds.

מָגִנִּי עַל־אֱלֹהִים מוֹשִׁיעַ יִשְׁרֵי־לֵב׃   7:11

Psal. 7:11   My Shield is the God on high,

                              Who saves the upright of heart.

אֱלֹהִים שׁוֹפֵט צַדִּיק וְאֵל זֹעֵם בְּכָל־יוֹם׃   7:12

Psal. 7:12   God is a righteous Judge,

                               and a God of indignation every day.

אִם־לֹא יָשׁוּב חַרְבּוֹ יִלְטוֹשׁ קַשְׁתּוֹ דָרַךְ וַיְכוֹנְנֶהָ׃   7:13

Psal. 7:13   If one will not repent,

                              He will sharpen His sword;

                     His bow is bent and is made ready,

וְלוֹ הֵכִין כְּלֵי־מָוֶת חִצָּיו לְדֹלְקִים יִפְעָל׃   7:14

Psal. 7:14   And He has prepared weapons of death for him.

                              He will make His burning arrows.

The antecedent to the pronoun him is again Cush.

הִנֵּה יְחַבֶּל־אָוֶן וְהָרָה עָמָל וְיָלַד שָׁקֶר׃   7:15

Psal. 7:15   Behold, he will bring forth iniquity:

                              Yes, he will conceive mischief and bear falsehood.

The antecedent to the two pronouns he is again Cush.  The same is true for the two instances of he in the next verse as well.  In v. 7:17, the four instances of his also refer to Cush.

בּוֹר כָּרָה וַיַּחְפְּרֵהוּ וַיִּפֹּל בְּשַׁחַת יִפְעָל׃   7:16

Psal. 7:16   A pit he has dug and he hollowed it;

                              now he will fall into the trap he will have wrought.

יָשׁוּב עֲמָלוֹ בְרֹאשׁוֹ וְעַל קָדְקֳדוֹ חֲמָסוֹ יֵרֵד׃   7:17

Psal. 7:17   His mischief will turn on his own head,

                              and upon his scalp his violence shall come down.

אוֹדֶה יְהוָה כְּצִדְקוֹ וַאֲזַמְּרָה שֵׁם־יְהוָה עֶלְיוֹן׃   7:18

Psal. 7:18   I will worship the Lord according to His righteousness

                              and I will praise the name of the most high Lord.


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