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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on Psalms

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Ps. 25 :

An individual's petition in acrostic form: the first line begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the first word of the second line with the second letter of the alphabet, and so on to the final letter (see Pss. 9–10 n. ). Two letters are missing and two are doubled, likely reflecting changes that the psalm has undergone in its transmission. The psalm is made up of alternating petitions and expressions of trust. It resembles wisdom literature in its concern with learning and finding the right path, but has the religious concerns of Psalms in its hope for forgiveness and for deliverance from distress.

1 :

Set my hope on You, lit. “lift my soul to You” (cf. 86.4; 143.8 ), i.e., “turn to You for protection.”

2–3 :

The plea for the “shaming” of one's enemies is frequent in complaints ( 6.11; 35.4, 26; 40.15–16 ).

4–5 :

Prayer for (moral) guidance, with a wisdom cast; cf. vv. 8–10, 12 .

6–7 :

Prayer for divine mercy and forgiveness of sins. A key word is “z‐k‐r,” “remember,” translated as be mindful and consider. God should remember that He is merciful and not remember (take into account) the psalmist's sins. Youthful sins: Since God's mercy dates from the beginning of time, the psalmist mentions sins that date from the beginning of his life.

11 :

The request for forgiveness of sins closes the first half of the psalm; name here means essence. Pardon my iniquity echoes Moses' words in Exod. 34.9 .

12–13 :

Those who fear the LORD and their children shall be blessed (Ps. 37.28–29 ). Possession of the land is a major theme of Ps. 37 .

17 :

Increases, Heb “broadens,” the opposite of distress and straits, with their meaning of narrowness.

19 :

Here as elsewhere, enemies need not be literal but stands for trouble in general.

21 :

Integrity and uprightness, characteristics of Job ( 1.1 ), here personified as protecting guardians.

22 :

As in many psalms, the end of a prayer of an individual becomes a prayer for the community. A v. beginning with the letter “pe” follows the acrostic (see also Ps. 34.23 ). It has been suggested that this arrangement makes the first letter “alef,” the middle letter “lamed,” and the last letter “pe”—spelling the word “to learn, teach” and thereby emphasizing the instructional nature of the psalm.

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