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Psalms: Chapter 62

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Text view alone

For the leader; on Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

1 2Truly my soul waits quietly for God; my deliverance comes from Him. 3Truly He is my rock and deliverance, my haven; I shall never be shaken. 4How long will all of you attack a Meaning of Heb. uncertain. a man, to crush a Meaning of Heb. uncertain. him, as though he were a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 5They lay plans to topple him from his rank; they delight in falsehood; they bless with their mouths, while inwardly they curse. Selah. 6Truly, wait quietly for God, O my soul, for my hope comes from Him. 7He is my rock and deliverance, my haven; I shall not be shaken. 8I rely on God, my deliverance and glory, my rock of strength; in God is my refuge. 9Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is our refuge. Selah. 10Men are mere breath; mortals, illusion; placed on a scale all together, they weigh even less than a breath. 11Do not trust in violence, or put false hopes in robbery; if force bears fruit pay it no mind. 12One thing God has spoken; two things have I heard: that might belongs to God, 13and faithfulness is Yours, O Lord, to reward each man according to his deeds.

Notes:

a Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

Text Commentary view alone

Ps. 62 :

This is an oblique form of an individual petition. It lacks that genre's usual pattern of invocation, imperatives, and motivation, but instead indirectly notes expected deliverance from God (vv. 2–3 ) and highlights God's great power. Except for the last v., it is addressed to the community rather than to God. The Heb is unique in its sixfold repetition of “’akh,” “truly” (vv. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10 ; NJPS does not translate all of them), expressing the petitioner's great certainty.

1 :

On Jeduthun, see 39.1 .

2–3 :

The repetition of deliverance and the surrounding imagery suggest persecution by enemies.

5 :

As in other contexts, this persecution is connected to false speech (see 10.7 n. ).

6 :

A slight variant of v. 2 , functioning as a refrain.

7 :

Nearly identical to v. 3 .

9 :

The psalmist moves from his personal trust, exhorting the listeners to do the same: God moves from being “my refuge” to becoming our refuge.

10 :

This may reflect the weighing of people's deeds or hearts, well attested in ancient Egypt, especially in illustrations accompanying the Book of the Dead.

12 :

Numbers are paralleled by X∣∣X+1; this explains why one is paralleled by two. Thus, God has spoken, perhaps via an oracle answering the psalmist, one thing only: that might belongs to God. This is a direct answer to the psalmist's indirect request for deliverance (see vv. 2–3 ). This parallelism is one of the classic texts expounded in rabbinic culture to mean that God's word is multivalent and needs to be interpreted in a variety of special ways (see, e.g., b. Sanh. 34a). It is also used to explain why the Decalogue versions in Exod. ch 20 and Deut. ch 5 differ: God spoke once, but people heard two different utterances (Mek., In the Month, section 7 and parallels, cited by Rashi).

13 :

This is the psalmist's response to the divine oracle; on divine faithfulness (“ḥesed”), see 5.8 n. It functions as an oblique request that he will be rewarded according to his deeds, in other words, saved from the enemies.

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