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Psalms 10:11

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10:11 He says to himself, 
you deliver14 the fatherless.15
God overlooks it; 10:15 Break the arm16 of the wicked and
he does not pay attention; evil man!
he never notices. Hold him accountable for his wicked
10:12 Rise up, Lord! deeds,17
O God, strike him down! which he thought you would not dis-
Do not forget the oppressed! cover.18
10:13 Why does the wicked man reject 10:16 The Lord rules forever!19
God? The nations are driven out of his land.20
He says to himself, You will not hold 10:17 Lord, you have heard21 the request22
me accountable. of the oppressed;
10:14 You have taken notice, you make them feel secure because you
for10 you always see11 one who inflicts listen to their prayer.23
pain and suffering.12 10:18 You defend24 the fatherless and
The unfortunate victim entrusts his cause oppressed,25
to you;13
[ones]), poses interpretive problems. The preposition -( bet)
follows the verb ( 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] over to God for judgment. The present translation assumes
here refers metonymically to the wicked mans nets or traps. that to give goes with what follows (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV). The
Ps 35:8 refers to a man falling into a net ( , reshet), as verb ( yaazov) here has the nuance entrust (see Gen
does Ps 141:10 (where the plural of [ mikhmar, net] 39:6; Job 39:11); the direct object ([his] cause) is implied.
is used). A hunters net () , is associated with snares ( 14tn Or help.
[pakh], , [moqshim]) and ropes ( , khavalim) in Ps 15tn Heb [for] one who is fatherless, you are a deliverer.
140:5. The final word in the verse (( khelkaim, unfor- The noun ( yatom) refers to one who has lost his father
tunate [ones]) may be an alternate form of ( khelkhakh, (not necessarily his mother, see Ps 109:9).
unfortunate [one]; see vv. 8, 14). The Qere (marginal read- sn The fatherless. Because they were so vulnerable and
ing) divides the form into two words, ( khel kaim, were frequently exploited, fatherless children are often men-
army/host of disheartened [ones]). The three verb forms tioned as epitomizing the oppressed (see Pss 68:5; 82:3;
in v. 10 are singular because the representative oppressed 94:6; 146:9; as well as Job 6:27; 22:9; 24:3, 9; 29:12; 31:17,
individual is the grammatical subject (see the singular 21).
[aniy] in v. 9). 16sn The arm symbolizes the strength of the wicked, which
tn Heb he says in his heart. See v. 6.
they use to oppress and exploit the weak.
tn Heb God forgets, he hides his face, he never sees. 17tn Heb you seek his wickedness. As in v. 13, the verb
sn Rise up, O Lord! The psalmists mood changes from la- ( darash, seek) is used here in the sense of seek an ac-
ment to petition and confidence. counting. One could understand the imperfect as describing
tn Heb lift up your hand. Usually the expression lift- a fact, you hold him accountable, or as anticipating divine
ing the hand refers to praying (Pss 28:2; 134:2) or making judgment, you will hold him accountable. However, since
an oath (Ps 106:26), but here it probably refers to striking the verb is in apparent parallelism with the preceding impera-
a blow (see 2 Sam 18:28; 20:21). Note v. 15, where the tive (break), it is better to understand the imperfect as ex-
psalmist asks the Lord to break the arm of the wicked. A pressing the psalmists desire or request.
less likely option is that the psalmist is requesting that the 18tn Heb you will not find. It is uncertain how this state-
Lord declare by oath his intention to intervene. ment relates to what precedes. Some take ( bal), which is
tn The rhetorical question expresses the psalmists out- used as a negative particle in vv. 4, 6, 11, 18, as asseverative
rage that the wicked would have the audacity to disdain God. here, Indeed find (i.e., judge his wickedness). The transla-
tn Heb he says in his heart (see vv. 6, 11). Another op- tion assumes that the final words are an asyndetic relative
tion is to understand an ellipsis of the interrogative particle clause which refers back to what the wicked man boasted in
here (cf. the preceding line), Why does he say in his heart? Gods face (you will not find [i.e., my wickedness]). See v.
tn Here the wicked man addresses God directly. 13.
tn Heb you will not seek. The verb ( darash, seek) 19tn Heb the Lord is king forever and ever.
is used here in the sense of seek an accounting. One could 20tn Or the nations perish from his land. The perfect verb
understand the imperfect as generalizing about what is typi- form may express what is typical or it may express rhetorically
cal and translate, you do not hold [people] accountable. the psalmists certitude that Gods deliverance is as good as
tn Heb you see. One could translate the perfect as gen- done.
eralizing, you do take notice. sn The nations may be the underlying reality behind the
10tn If the preceding perfect is taken as generalizing, then psalmists references to the wicked in the earlier verses.
one might understand ( ki) as asseverative: indeed, cer- This reference to the nations may have motivated the com-
tainly. bining of Ps 10 with Ps 9 (see Ps 9:5, 15, 19).
11tn Here the imperfect emphasizes Gods typical behav- 21sn You have heard. The psalmist is confident that God
ior. has responded positively to his earlier petitions for divine in-
12tn Heb destruction and suffering, which here refers tervention. The psalmist apparently prayed the words of vv.
metonymically to the wicked, who dish out pain and suffering 16-18 after the reception of an oracle of deliverance (given
to their victims. in response to the confident petition of vv. 12-15) or after the
13tn Heb to give into your hand, upon you, he abandons, Lord actually delivered him from his enemies.
22tn Heb desire.
[the] unfortunate [one]. The syntax is awkward and the
meaning unclear. It is uncertain who or what is being given 23tn Heb you make firm their heart, you cause your ear
into Gods hand. Elsewhere the idiom give into the hand to listen.
means to deliver into ones possession. If to give goes with 24tn Heb to judge (on behalf of), or by judging (on behalf
what precedes (as the accentuation of the Hebrew text sug- of).
gests), then this may refer to the wicked man being delivered 25tn Heb crushed. See v. 10.