2 Chronicles 14-16
Asa’s Religious and Military Accomplishments
2 (14:1) Asa did what the Lord his God desired and approved.[e] 3 He removed the pagan altars[f] and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles.[g] 4 He ordered Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors[h] and to observe his law and commands.[i] 5 He removed the high places and the incense altars from all the towns of Judah. The kingdom had rest under his rule.[j]
6 He built fortified cities throughout Judah, for the land was at rest and there was no war during those years; the Lord gave him peace. 7 He said to the people of Judah:[k] “Let’s build these cities and fortify them with walls, towers, and barred gates.[l] The land remains ours because we have followed[m] the Lord our God; we have followed him, and he has made us secure on all sides.”[n] So they built the cities[o] and prospered.
8 Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, equipped with large shields and spears. He also had 280,000 men from Benjamin who carried small shields and were adept archers; they were all skilled warriors. 9 Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of 1,000,000 men[p] and 300 chariots . He arrived at Mareshah, 10 and Asa went out to oppose him. They deployed for battle in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
11 Asa prayed[q] to the Lord his God: “O Lord, there is no one but you who can help the weak when they are vastly outnumbered.[r] Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you and have marched on your behalf against this huge army.[s] O Lord, you are our God; don’t let men prevail against you!”[t] 12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army chased them as far as Gerar. The Cushites were wiped out;[u] they were shattered before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah[v] carried off a huge amount of plunder. 14 They defeated all the towns surrounding Gerar, for the Lord caused them to panic.[w] The men of Judah[x] looted all the towns, for they contained a huge amount of goods.[y] 15 They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen in charge of the livestock.[z] They carried off many sheep and camels and then returned to Jerusalem.
15 God’s Spirit came upon Azariah son of Oded. 2 He met[aa] Asa and told him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you when you are loyal to him.[ab] If you seek him, he will respond to you,[ac] but if you reject him, he will reject you. 3 For a long time[ad] Israel had not sought the one true God, or a priest to instruct them, or the law. 4 Because of their distress, they turned back to the Lord God of Israel. They sought him and he responded to them.[ae] 5 In those days[af] no one could travel safely,[ag] for total chaos had overtaken all the people of the surrounding lands.[ah] 6 One nation was crushed by another, and one city by another, for God caused them to be in great turmoil.[ai] 7 But as for you, be strong and don’t get discouraged,[aj] for your work will be rewarded.”[ak]
8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he was encouraged.[al] He removed the detestable idols from the entire land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had seized in the Ephraimite hill country. He repaired the altar of the Lord in front of the porch of the Lord’s temple.[am]
9 He assembled all Judah and Benjamin, as well as the settlers[an] from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had come to live with them. Many people from Israel had come there to live[ao] when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11 At that time[ap] they sacrificed to the Lord some of the plunder they had brought back, including 700 head of cattle and 7,000 sheep.[aq] 12 They solemnly agreed[ar] to seek the Lord God of their ancestors[as] with their whole heart and being. 13 Anyone who would not seek the Lord God of Israel would be executed, whether they were young or old,[at] male or female. 14 They swore their allegiance to the Lord, shouting their approval loudly and sounding trumpets and horns.[au] 15 All Judah was happy about the oath, because they made the vow with their whole heart. They willingly sought the Lord and he responded to them.[av] He made them secure on every side.[aw]
16 King Asa also removed Maacah his grandmother[ax] from her position as queen mother[ay] because she had made a loathsome Asherah pole. Asa cut down her loathsome pole and crushed and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17 The high places were not eliminated from Israel, yet Asa was wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord throughout his lifetime.[az] 18 He brought the holy items that his father and he had made into God’s temple, including the silver, gold, and other articles.[ba]
19 There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign. 16 1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel attacked Judah, and he established Ramah as a military outpost to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the land of King Asa of Judah.[bb] 2 Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of the royal palace and sent it to King Ben Hadad of Syria, ruler in Damascus, along with this message: 3 “I want to make a treaty with you, like the one our fathers made.[bc] See, I have sent you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel, so he will retreat from my land.”[bd] 4 Ben Hadad accepted King Asa’s offer and ordered his army commanders to attack the cities of Israel.[be] They conquered[bf] Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim,[bg] and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5 When Baasha heard the news, he stopped fortifying[bh] Ramah and abandoned the project.[bi] 6 King Asa ordered all the men of Judah to carry away the stones and wood that Baasha had used to build Ramah.[bj] He used the materials to build up[bk] Geba and Mizpah.
7 At that time Hanani the prophet[bl] visited King Asa of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Syria and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. 8 Did not the Cushites and Libyans have a huge army with chariots and a very large number of horsemen? But when you relied on the Lord, he handed them over to you! 9 Certainly[bm] the Lord watches the whole earth carefully[bn] and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to him.[bo] You have acted foolishly in this matter; from now on you will have war.” 10 Asa was so angry at the prophet, he put him in jail.[bp] Asa also oppressed some of the people at that time.
Asa’s Reign Ends
11 The events of Asa’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in the Scroll of the Kings of Judah and Israel.[bq] 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a foot disease and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease, he did not seek the Lord, but only the doctors. 13 Asa passed away[br] in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 He was buried in the tomb he had carved out in the City of David.[bs] They laid him to rest on a platform[bt] covered with spices and assorted mixtures of ointments. They made a huge bonfire to honor him.[bu]
- 2 Chronicles 14:1 sn Beginning with 14:1, the verse numbers through 14:15 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 14:1 ET = 13:23 HT, 14:2 ET = 14:1 HT, 14:3 ET = 14:2 HT, etc., through 14:15 ET = 14:14 HT. Beginning with 15:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.
- 2 Chronicles 14:1 tn Heb “lay down with his fathers.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:1 sn The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.
- 2 Chronicles 14:1 tn Heb “in his days.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:2 tn Heb “and Asa did the good and the right in the eyes of the Lord his God.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:3 tn Heb “the altars of the foreigner.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:3 sn Asherah poles. A leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon was Asherah, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles (Hebrew אֲשֵׁרִים [ʾasherim], as here). They were to be burned or cut down (Deut 7:5; 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4).
- 2 Chronicles 14:4 tn Heb “fathers.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:4 tn Heb “the law and the command.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:5 tn Heb “before him.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah.
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn Heb “and we will surround [them] with wall[s] and towers, doors, and bars.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn Heb “sought.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn Heb “we sought him, and he has given us rest all around.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn The words “the cities” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
- 2 Chronicles 14:9 tn Heb “a thousand thousands.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:11 tn Heb “called out.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:11 tn Heb “there is not except you to help between many with regard to [the one] without strength.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:11 tn Heb “and in your name we have come against this multitude.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:11 tn Heb “let not man retain [strength] with you.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:13 tn Heb “and there fell from the Cushites so that there was not to them preservation of life.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:13 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Chronicles 14:14 tn Heb “for the terror of the Lord was upon them.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:14 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Chronicles 14:14 tn Heb “for great plunder was in them.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:15 tn Heb “and also they struck down the tents of the livestock.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:2 tn Heb “went out before.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:2 tn Heb “when you are with him.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:2 tn Heb “he will allow himself to be found by you.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:3 tn Heb “Many days.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:4 tn Heb “and he allowed himself to be found by them.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:5 tn Heb “times.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:5 tn Heb “there was no peace for the one going out or the one coming in.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:5 tn Heb “for great confusion was upon all the inhabitants of the lands.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:6 tn Heb “threw them into confusion with all distress.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:7 tn Heb “and let not your hands drop.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:7 tn Heb “for there is payment for your work.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:8 tn Heb “strengthened himself.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:8 tn Heb “the porch of the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:9 tn Or “foreign residents.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:9 tn Heb “had fallen upon him.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:11 tn Or “In that day.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:11 tn The Hebrew term צֹאן (tsoʾn) denotes smaller livestock in general; depending on context it can refer to sheep only or goats only, but their is nothing in the immediate context here to specify one or the other.
- 2 Chronicles 15:12 tn Heb “entered into a covenant.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:12 tn Heb “fathers.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:13 tn Heb “whether small or great.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:14 tn Heb “with a loud voice and with a shout of joy and with trumpets and with horns.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:15 tn Heb “and with all their desire they sought him and he allowed himself to be found by them.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:15 tn Heb “and the Lord gave them rest all around.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:16 tn Heb “mother,” but Hebrew often uses “father” and “mother” for grandparents and even more remote ancestors.
- 2 Chronicles 15:16 tn The Hebrew term גְּבִירָה (gevirah) can denote “queen” or “queen mother” depending on the context. Here the latter is indicated, since Maacah was the wife of Rehoboam and mother of Abijah.
- 2 Chronicles 15:17 tn Heb “yet the heart of Asa was complete all his days.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:18 tn Heb “and he brought the holy things of his father and his holy things [into] the house of God, silver, gold, and items.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:1 tn Heb “and he built up Ramah so as to not permit going out or coming in to Asa king of Judah.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:3 tn Heb “[May there be] a covenant between me and you [as there was] between my father and your father.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:3 tn Heb “so he will go up from upon me.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:4 tn Heb “and Ben Hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of the armies which belonged to him against the cities of Israel.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:4 tn Heb “They struck down.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:4 sn In the parallel passage in 1 Kgs 15:20, this city’s name appears as Abel Beth Maacah. These appear to be variant names for the same place.
- 2 Chronicles 16:5 tn Heb “building.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:5 tn Heb “and he caused his work to cease.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:6 tn Heb “and King Asa took all Judah and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its wood which Baasha had built.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:6 tn Heb “and he built with them.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:7 tn Heb “the seer.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:9 tn Or “for.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:9 tn Heb “the eyes of the Lord move quickly through all the earth.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:9 tn Heb “to strengthen himself with their heart, [the one] complete toward him.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:10 tn Heb “and Asa was angry at the seer, and he put him [in] the house of stocks, because of his rage with him over this.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:11 tn Heb “Look, the events of Asa, the former and the latter, look, they are written on the scroll of the kings of Judah and Israel.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:13 tn Heb “lay down with his fathers, and he died.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:14 sn The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.
- 2 Chronicles 16:14 tn The Hebrew term מִשְׁכָּב (mishkav) most often refers to a bed. In this setting it was most likely a raised platform within the tomb where the body was laid to rest, technically similar to a bier.
- 2 Chronicles 16:14 tn Heb “and they burned for him a large fire, very great.”
Israel’s Rejection Considered
9 [a] I am telling the truth in Christ (I am not lying!), for my conscience assures me[b] in the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.[c] 3 For I could wish[d] that I myself were accursed—cut off from Christ—for the sake of my people,[e] my fellow countrymen,[f] 4 who are Israelites. To them belong[g] the adoption as sons,[h] the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple worship,[i] and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs,[j] and from them,[k] by human descent,[l] came the Christ,[m] who is God over all, blessed forever![n] Amen.
6 It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel,[o] 7 nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.”[p] 8 This means[q] it is not the children of the flesh[r] who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise are counted as descendants. 9 For this is what the promise declared:[s] “About a year from now[t] I will return and Sarah will have a son.”[u] 10 Not only that, but when Rebekah had conceived children by one man,[v] our ancestor Isaac— 11 even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election[w] would stand, not by works but by[x] his calling)[y]— 12 [z] it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,”[aa] 13 just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[ab]
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[ac] 16 So then,[ad] it does not depend on human desire or exertion,[ae] but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh:[af] “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”[ag] 18 So then,[ah] God[ai] has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden.[aj]
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?” 20 But who indeed are you—a mere human being[ak]—to talk back to God?[al] Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?”[am] 21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay[an] one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use?[ao] 22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects[ap] of wrath[aq] prepared for destruction?[ar] 23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects[as] of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
- Romans 9:1 sn Rom 9:1-11:36. These three chapters are among the most difficult and disputed in Paul’s Letter to the Romans. One area of difficulty is the relationship between Israel and the church, especially concerning the nature and extent of Israel’s election. Many different models have been constructed to express this relationship. For a representative survey, see M. Barth, The People of God (JSNTSup), 22-27. The literary genre of these three chapters has been frequently identified as a diatribe, a philosophical discussion or conversation evolved by the Cynic and Stoic schools of philosophy as a means of popularizing their ideas (E. Käsemann, Romans, 261 and 267). But other recent scholars have challenged the idea that Rom 9-11 is characterized by diatribe. Scholars like R. Scroggs and E. E. Ellis have instead identified the material in question as midrash. For a summary and discussion of the rabbinic connections, see W. R. Stegner, “Romans 9.6-29—A Midrash,” JSNT 22 (1984): 37-52.
- Romans 9:1 tn Or “my conscience bears witness to me.”
- Romans 9:2 tn Grk “my sorrow is great and the anguish in my heart is unceasing.”
- Romans 9:3 tn Or “For I would pray.” The implied condition is “if this could save my fellow Jews.”
- Romans 9:3 tn Grk “brothers.” See BDAG 18-19 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.b.
- Romans 9:3 tn Grk “my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
- Romans 9:4 tn Grk “of whom.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Romans 9:4 tn The Greek term υἱοθεσία (huiothesia) was originally a legal technical term for adoption as a son with full rights of inheritance. BDAG 1024 s.v. notes, “a legal t.t. of ‘adoption’ of children, in our lit., i.e., in Paul, only in a transferred sense of a transcendent filial relationship between God and humans (with the legal aspect, not gender specificity, as major semantic component).” Although some modern translations remove the filial sense completely and render the term merely “adoption” (cf. NAB, ESV), the retention of this component of meaning was accomplished in the present translation by the phrase “as sons.”
- Romans 9:4 tn Or “cultic service.”
- Romans 9:5 tn Grk “of whom are the fathers.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Romans 9:5 tn Grk “from whom.” Here the relative pronoun has been replaced by a personal pronoun.
- Romans 9:5 tn Grk “according to the flesh.”
- Romans 9:5 tn Or “Messiah.” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed.”)
- Romans 9:5 tn Or “the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever,” or “the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever!” or “the Messiah who is over all. God be blessed forever!” The translational difficulty here is not text-critical in nature, but is a problem of punctuation. Since the genre of these opening verses of Romans 9 is a lament, it is probably best to take this as an affirmation of Christ’s deity (as the text renders it). Although the other renderings are possible, to see a note of praise to God at the end of this section seems strangely out of place. But for Paul to bring his lament to a crescendo (that is to say, his kinsmen had rejected God come in the flesh), thereby deepening his anguish, is wholly appropriate. This is also supported grammatically and stylistically: The phrase ὁ ὢν (ho ōn, “the one who is”) is most naturally taken as a phrase which modifies something in the preceding context, and Paul’s doxologies are always closely tied to the preceding context. For a detailed examination of this verse, see B. M. Metzger, “The Punctuation of Rom. 9:5, ” Christ and the Spirit in the New Testament, 95-112; and M. J. Harris, Jesus as God, 144-72.
- Romans 9:6 tn Grk “For not all those who are from Israel are Israel.”
- Romans 9:7 tn Grk “be called.” The emphasis here is upon God’s divine sovereignty in choosing Isaac as the child through whom Abraham’s lineage would be counted as opposed to Ishmael.sn A quotation from Gen 21:12.
- Romans 9:8 tn Grk “That is,” or “That is to say.”
- Romans 9:8 tn Because it forms the counterpoint to “the children of promise” the expression “children of the flesh” has been retained in the translation.sn The expression the children of the flesh refers to the natural offspring.
- Romans 9:9 tn Grk “For this is the word of promise.”
- Romans 9:9 tn Grk “About this time I will return.” Since this refers to the time when the promised child would be born, it would be approximately a year later.
- Romans 9:9 sn A quotation from Gen 18:10, 14.
- Romans 9:10 tn Or possibly “by one act of sexual intercourse.” See D. Moo, Romans (NICNT), 579.
- Romans 9:11 tn Grk “God’s purpose according to election.”
- Romans 9:11 tn Or “not based on works but based on…”
- Romans 9:11 tn Grk “by the one who calls.” sn The entire clause is something of a parenthetical remark.
- Romans 9:12 sn Many translations place this verse division before the phrase “not by works but by his calling” (NA28/UBS5, NIV, NRSV, NLT, NAB). Other translations place this verse division in the same place that the translation above does (NASB, KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV). The translation has followed the latter to avoid breaking the parenthetical statement.
- Romans 9:12 sn A quotation from Gen 25:23.
- Romans 9:13 sn A quotation from Mal 1:2-3.
- Romans 9:15 sn A quotation from Exod 33:19.
- Romans 9:16 sn There is a double connective here that cannot be easily preserved in English: “consequently therefore,” emphasizing the conclusion of what he has been arguing.
- Romans 9:16 tn Grk “So then, [it does] not [depend] on the one who desires nor on the one who runs.”
- Romans 9:17 sn Paul uses a typical rabbinic formula here in which the OT scriptures are figuratively portrayed as speaking to Pharaoh. What he means is that the scripture he cites refers (or can be applied) to Pharaoh.
- Romans 9:17 sn A quotation from Exod 9:16.
- Romans 9:18 sn There is a double connective here that cannot be easily preserved in English: “consequently therefore,” emphasizing the conclusion of what he has been arguing.
- Romans 9:18 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Romans 9:18 tn Grk “So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires.”
- Romans 9:20 tn Grk “O man.”
- Romans 9:20 tn Grk “On the contrary, O man, who are you to talk back to God?”
- Romans 9:20 sn A quotation from Isa 29:16; 45:9.
- Romans 9:21 tn Grk “Or does not the potter have authority over the clay to make from the same lump.”
- Romans 9:21 tn Grk “one vessel for honor and another for dishonor.”
- Romans 9:22 tn Grk “vessels.” This is the same Greek word used in v. 21.
- Romans 9:22 tn Or “vessels destined for wrath.” The genitive ὀργῆς (orgēs) could be taken as a genitive of destination.
- Romans 9:22 tn Or possibly “objects of wrath that have fit themselves for destruction.” The form of the participle could be taken either as a passive or middle (reflexive). ExSyn 417-18 argues strongly for the passive sense (which is followed in the translation), stating that “the middle view has little to commend it.” First, καταρτίζω (katartizō) is nowhere else used in the NT as a direct or reflexive middle (a usage which, in any event, is quite rare in the NT). Second, the lexical force of this verb, coupled with the perfect tense, suggests something of a “done deal” (against some commentaries that see these vessels as ready for destruction yet still able to avert disaster). Third, the potter-clay motif seems to have one point: The potter prepares the clay.
- Romans 9:23 tn Grk “vessels.” This is the same Greek word used in v. 21.
For the music director, a psalm of David.
19 The heavens declare the glory of God;[b]
the sky displays his handiwork.[c]
2 Day after day it speaks out;[d]
night after night it reveals his greatness.[e]
3 There is no actual speech or word,
nor is its[f] voice literally heard.
4 Yet its voice[g] echoes[h] throughout the earth;
its[i] words carry[j] to the distant horizon.[k]
In the sky[l] he has pitched a tent for the sun.[m]
5 Like a bridegroom it emerges[n] from its chamber;[o]
like a strong man it enjoys[p] running its course.[q]
6 It emerges from the distant horizon,[r]
and goes from one end of the sky to the other;[s]
nothing can escape[t] its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect
and preserves one’s life.[u]
The rules set down by the Lord[v] are reliable[w]
and impart wisdom to the inexperienced.[x]
8 The Lord’s precepts are fair[y]
and make one joyful.[z]
The Lord’s commands[aa] are pure[ab]
and give insight for life.[ac]
9 The commands to fear the Lord are right[ad]
and endure forever.[ae]
The judgments given by the Lord are trustworthy
and absolutely just.[af]
10 They are of greater value[ag] than gold,
than even a great amount of pure gold;
they bring greater delight[ah] than honey,
than even the sweetest honey from a honeycomb.
11 Yes, your servant finds moral guidance there;[ai]
those who obey them receive a rich reward.[aj]
12 Who can know all his errors?[ak]
Please do not punish me for sins I am unaware of.[al]
13 Moreover, keep me from committing flagrant sins;[am]
do not allow such sins to control me.[an]
Then I will be blameless,
and innocent of blatant[ao] rebellion.
14 May my words and my thoughts
be acceptable in your sight,[ap]
O Lord, my sheltering rock[aq] and my redeemer.[ar]
- Psalm 19:1 sn Psalm 19. The psalmist praises God for his self-revelation in the heavens and in the Mosaic law. The psalmist concludes with a prayer, asking the Lord to keep him from sinning and to approve of his thoughts and words.
- Psalm 19:1 sn God’s glory refers here to his royal majesty and power.
- Psalm 19:1 tn Heb “and the work of his hands the sky declares.” The participles emphasize the ongoing testimony of the heavens/sky.
- Psalm 19:2 tn Heb “it gushes forth a word.” The “sky” (see v. 1b) is the subject of the verb. Though not literally speaking (see v. 3), it clearly reveals God’s royal majesty. The sun’s splendor and its movement across the sky is in view (see vv. 4-6).
- Psalm 19:2 tn Heb “it [i.e., the sky] declares knowledge,” i.e., knowledge about God’s royal majesty and power (see v. 1). This apparently refers to the splendor and movements of the stars. The imperfect verbal forms in v. 2, like the participles in the preceding verse, combine with the temporal phrases (“day after day” and “night after night”) to emphasize the ongoing testimony of the sky.
- Psalm 19:3 tn Heb “their.” The antecedent of the plural pronoun is “heavens” (v. 1).
- Psalm 19:4 tc The MT reads, “their measuring line” (קוּם, qum). The noun קַו (qav, “measuring line”) makes no sense in this context. The reading קוֹלָם (qolam, “their voice”) which is supported by the LXX, is preferable.
- Psalm 19:4 tn Heb “goes out,” or “proceeds forth.”
- Psalm 19:4 tn Heb “their” (see the note on the word “its” in v. 3).
- Psalm 19:4 tn The verb is supplied in the translation. The Hebrew text has no verb; יָצָא (yatsaʾ, “goes out”) is understood by ellipsis.
- Psalm 19:4 tn Heb “to the end of the world.”
- Psalm 19:4 tn Heb “in them” (i.e., the heavens).
- Psalm 19:4 sn He has pitched a tent for the sun. The personified sun emerges from this “tent” in order to make its daytime journey across the sky. So the “tent” must refer metaphorically to the place where the sun goes to rest during the night.
- Psalm 19:5 tn The participle expresses the repeated or regular nature of the action.
- Psalm 19:5 tn The Hebrew noun חֻפָּה (khufah, “chamber”) occurs elsewhere only in Isa 4:5 and Joel 2:16 (where it refers to the bedroom of a bride and groom).sn Like a bridegroom. The metaphor likens the sun to a bridegroom who rejoices on his wedding night.
- Psalm 19:5 tn The imperfect verbal form draws attention to the regularity of the action.
- Psalm 19:5 tn Heb “[on] a path.”sn Like a strong man. The metaphorical language reflects the brilliance of the sunrise, which attests to the sun’s vigor.
- Psalm 19:6 tn Heb “from the end of the heavens [is] its going forth.”
- Psalm 19:6 tn Heb “and its circuit [is] to their ends.”
- Psalm 19:6 tn Heb “is hidden from.”
- Psalm 19:7 tn Heb “[it] restores life.” Elsewhere the Hiphil of שׁוּב (shuv, “return”) when used with נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “life”) as object, means to “rescue or preserve one’s life” (Job 33:30; Ps 35:17) or to “revive one’s strength” (emotionally or physically; cf. Ruth 4:15; Lam 1:11, 16, 19). Here the point seems to be that the law preserves the life of the one who studies it by making known God’s will. Those who know God’s will know how to please him and can avoid offending him. See v. 11a.
- Psalm 19:7 tn Traditionally, “the testimony of the Lord.” The noun עֵדוּת (ʿedut) refers here to the demands of God’s covenant law.
- Psalm 19:7 tn God’s covenant contains a clear, reliable witness to his moral character and demands.
- Psalm 19:7 tn Or “the [morally] naive,” that is, the one who is young and still in the process of learning right from wrong and distinguishing wisdom from folly.
- Psalm 19:8 tn Or “just.” Perhaps the idea is that they impart a knowledge of what is just and right.
- Psalm 19:8 tn Heb “[they] make happy [the] heart.” Perhaps the point is that they bring a sense of joyful satisfaction to the one who knows and keeps them, for those who obey God’s law are richly rewarded. See v. 11b.
- Psalm 19:8 tn Heb “command.” The singular here refers to the law as a whole.
- Psalm 19:8 tn Because they reflect God’s character, his commands provide a code of moral and ethical purity.
- Psalm 19:8 tn Heb [they] enlighten [the] eyes.
- Psalm 19:9 tn Heb “the fear of the Lord is clean.” The phrase “fear of the Lord” probably refers here to the law, which teaches one how to demonstrate proper reverence for the Lord. See Ps 111:10 for another possible use of the phrase in this sense.
- Psalm 19:9 tn Heb “[it] stands permanently.”
- Psalm 19:9 sn Trustworthy and absolutely just. The Lord’s commands accurately reflect God’s moral will for his people and are an expression of his just character.
- Psalm 19:10 tn Heb “more desirable.”
- Psalm 19:10 tn Heb “are sweeter.” God’s law is “sweet’ in the sense that, when obeyed, it brings a great reward (see v. 11b).
- Psalm 19:11 tn Heb “moreover your servant is warned by them.”
- Psalm 19:11 tn Heb “in the keeping of them [there is] a great reward.”
- Psalm 19:12 tn Heb “Errors who can discern?” This rhetorical question makes the point that perfect moral discernment is impossible to achieve. Consequently it is inevitable that even those with good intentions will sin on occasion.
- Psalm 19:12 tn Heb “declare me innocent from hidden [things],” i.e., sins. In this context (see the preceding line) “hidden” sins are not sins committed in secret, but sins which are not recognized as such by the psalmist.
- Psalm 19:13 tn Or “presumptuous sins.”
- Psalm 19:13 tn Heb “let them not rule over me.”
- Psalm 19:13 tn Heb “great.”
- Psalm 19:14 tn Heb “may the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart be acceptable before you.” The prefixed verbal form at the beginning of the verse is understood as a jussive of prayer. Another option is to translate the form as an imperfect continuing the thought of v. 14b: “[Then] the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart will be acceptable before you.”
- Psalm 19:14 tn Heb “my rocky cliff,” which is a metaphor for protection; thus the translation “sheltering rock.”
- Psalm 19:14 tn Heb “and the one who redeems me.” The metaphor casts the Lord in the role of a leader who protects members of his extended family in times of need and crisis.
- Proverbs 20:1 sn The drinks are wine and barley beer (e.g., Lev 10:9; Deut 14:26; Isa 28:7). These terms here could be understood as personifications, but better as metonymies for those who drink wine and beer. The inebriated person mocks and brawls.
- Proverbs 20:1 tn The two participles לֵץ (lets, “mocker”) and הֹמֶה (homeh, “brawler”) are substantives; they function as predicates in the sentence. Excessive use of intoxicants excites the drinker to boisterous behavior and aggressive attitudes—it turns them into mockers and brawlers.
- Proverbs 20:1 sn The proverb does not prohibit the use of wine or beer; in fact, strong drink was used at festivals and celebrations. But intoxication was considered out of bounds for a member of the covenant community (e.g., 23:20-21, 29-35; 31:4-7). To be led astray by their use is not wise.