Psalm 76#sn Psalm 76. The psalmist depicts God as a mighty warrior who destroys Israel’s enemies.
For the music director; to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a psalm of Asaph, a song.
1 God has revealed himself in Judah;#tn Or “God is known in Judah.”
in Israel his reputation#tn Heb “name,” which here stands metonymically for God’s reputation. is great.
2 He lives in Salem;#sn Salem is a shorter name for Jerusalem (see Gen 14:18).
he dwells in Zion.#tn Heb “and his place of refuge is in Salem, and his lair in Zion.” God may be likened here to a lion (see v. 4).
3 There he shattered the arrows,#tn Heb “flames of the bow,” i.e., arrows.
the shield, the sword, and the rest of the weapons of war.#tn Heb “shield and sword and battle.” “Battle” probably here stands by metonymy for the weapons of war in general.sn This verse may allude to the miraculous defeat of the Assyrians in 701 b.c. (see Isa 36-37). (Selah)
4 You shine brightly and reveal your majesty,
as you descend from the hills where you killed your prey.#tn Heb “radiant [are] you, majestic from the hills of prey.” God is depicted as a victorious king and as a lion that has killed its victims.
5 The bravehearted#tn Heb “strong of heart.” In Isa 46:12, the only other text where this phrase appears, it refers to those who are stubborn, but here it seems to describe brave warriors (see the next line). were plundered;#tn The verb is a rare Aramaized form of the Hitpolel (see GKC 149 §54.a, n. 2); the root is שָׁלַל (shalal, “to plunder”).
they “fell asleep.”#tn Heb “they slept [in] their sleep.” “Sleep” here refers to the “sleep” of death. A number of modern translations take the phrase to refer to something less than death, however: NASB “cast into a deep sleep”; NEB “fall senseless”; NIV “lie still”; NRSV “lay stunned.”
All the warriors were helpless.#tn Heb “and all the men of strength did not find their hands.”
6 At the sound of your battle cry,#tn Heb “from your shout.” The noun is derived from the Hebrew verb גָּעַר (ga’ar), which is often understood to mean “rebuke.” In some cases it is apparent that scolding or threatening is in view (see Gen 37:10; Ruth 2:16; Zech 3:2). However, in militaristic contexts this translation is inadequate, for the verb refers in this setting to the warrior’s battle cry, which terrifies and paralyzes the enemy. See A. Caquot, TDOT 3:53, and note the use of the verb in Pss 68:30; 106:9; Nah 1:4, as well as the related noun in Job 26:11; Pss 9:5; 18:15; 104:7; Isa 50:2; 51:20; 66:15. O God of Jacob,
both rider#tn Or “chariot,” but even so the term is metonymic for the charioteer. and horse “fell asleep.”#tn Heb “he fell asleep, and [the] chariot and [the] horse.” Once again (see v. 5) “sleep” refers here to the “sleep” of death.
7 You are awesome! Yes, you!
Who can withstand your intense anger?#tc Heb “and who can stand before you from the time of your anger?” The Hebrew expression מֵאָז (me’az, “from the time of”) is better emended to מֵאֹז (me’oz, “from [i.e., “because of”] the strength of your anger”; see Ps 90:11).
8 From heaven you announced what their punishment would be.#tn Heb “a [legal] decision,” or “sentence.”
The earth#tn “The earth” stands here by metonymy for its inhabitants. was afraid and silent
9 when God arose to execute judgment,
and to deliver all the oppressed of the earth. (Selah)
10 Certainly#tn Or “for.” your angry judgment upon men will bring you praise;#tn Heb “the anger of men will praise you.” This could mean that men’s anger (subjective genitive), when punished by God, will bring him praise, but this interpretation does not harmonize well with the next line. The translation assumes that God’s anger is in view here (see v. 7) and that “men” is an objective genitive. God’s angry judgment against men brings him praise because it reveals his power and majesty (see vv. 1-4).
you reveal your anger in full measure.#tn Heb “the rest of anger you put on.” The meaning of the statement is not entirely clear. Perhaps the idea is that God, as he prepares for battle, girds himself with every last ounce of his anger, as if it were a weapon.
11 Make vows to the Lord your God and repay them!
Let all those who surround him#tn The phrase “all those who surround him” may refer to the surrounding nations (v. 12 may favor this), but in Ps 89:7 the phrase refers to God’s heavenly assembly. bring tribute to the awesome one!
12 He humbles princes;#tn Heb “he reduces the spirit of princes.” According to HALOT 148 s.v. II בצר, the Hebrew verb בָּצַר (batsar) is here a hapax legomenon meaning “reduce, humble.” The statement is generalizing, with the imperfect tense highlighting God’s typical behavior.
the kings of the earth regard him as awesome.#tn Heb “[he is] awesome to the kings of the earth.”