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Psalm 62

 

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
God Alone A Refuge From Treachery
MT Intro
For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
A Calm Resolve to Wait for the Salvation of God Confidence in God's Protection Confidence in God's Protection Hope in God Alone
62:1-2 62:1-2 62:1-2 62:1-2 62:1-2
62:3-4 62:3-4 62:3-4 62:3-4 62:3-4
62:5-8 62:5-7 62:5-7 62:5-7 62:5-7b
        62:7c-8
  62:8 62:8 62:8  
62:9-10 62:9-10 62:9-10 62:9-10 62:9
        62:10
62:11-12 62:11-12 62:11-12 62:11-12 62:11-12

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 62:1-2
 1My soul waits in silence for God only;
 From Him is my salvation.
 2He only is my rock and my salvation,
 My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

62:1-2 This strophe describes the God for whom the psalmist waits in silence (notice how Ps. 62:1-2 are almost the same as Ps. 62:5-6). He waits patiently for God to act on his behalf (cf. Ps. 131:2).

1. from God is his salvation (BDB 447), Ps. 62:1

2. God only is his rock (BDB 849), Ps. 62:2,6, see note at Ps. 61:2

3. God only is his salvation, Ps. 62:2,6

4. God is his stronghold, Ps. 62:2

Because of this God, he shall not be shaken (BDB 556, KB 555, Niphal imperfect, cf. Ps. 62:6). The phrase in verse 1 is repeated in verse 6 but verse 1 has added the term "greatly." The TEV, NRSV, and JPSOA translate it as "never."

62:1 "alone" This adverb (BDB 36) appears first in the MT in verses 1,2,4,5,6,10 for emphasis and a literary way to tie the Psalm together. There is exclusivism in a faithful lifestyle and a sinful lifestyle (cf. Ps. 62:4,9).

The JPSOA translates it as "truly." NKJV translates only the first occurrence as "truly."

▣ "soul" This is nephesh (BDB 659) which denotes the whole person. See notes at Ps. 13:2 and 16:9.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 62:3-4
 3How long will you assail a man,
 That you may murder him, all of you,
 Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
 4They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position;
 They delight in falsehood;
 They bless with their mouth,
 But inwardly they curse.  Selah.

62:3-4 This strophe describes the faithless adversaries.

1. they assail (lit. shout at) — BDB 223, KB 243, Polel imperfect, plural; this verb is found only here in the OT and the meaning is derived from an Arabic root

2. they attempt to murder (lit. scatter) — BDB 953, KB 1283, Pual imperfect; NET Bible thinks the verb should be Piel, "all of you are murderers" (p. 927)

3. they are like (several English translations have Ps. 62:3c refer to the psalmist; NRSV, TEV, NJB, JPSOA, REB)

a. a leaning wall — BDB 639, KB 692, Qal passive participle

b. a tottering fence — BDB 190, KB 218, Qal passive participle

4. they counsel (BDB 419, KB 421, Qal perfect) only to thrust another down from his high position — BDB 632, KB 673, Hiphil infinitive construct

5. they delight in falsehood — BDB 953, KB 1280, Qal imperfect

6. they bless (BDB 138, KB 159, Piel imperfect) with their mouth but inwardly curse — BDB 886, KB 1103, Piel imperfect; one wonders if James 3:10 comes from this Psalm

By their fruits (Matt. 7:16-20) and words (Matt. 12:34-37) you shall know them.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 62:5-8
 5My soul, wait in silence for God only,
 For my hope is from Him.
 6He only is my rock and my salvation,
 My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
 7On God my salvation and my glory rest;
 The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
 8Trust in Him at all times, O people;
 Pour out your heart before Him;
 God is a refuge for us.  Selah.

62:5-8 The first two verses are almost exactly like 62:1-2. The psalmist describes his actions as a faithful follower as compared to the faithless followers.

1. he rests in God's salvation and glory ("honor," BDB 458)

2. he rests (assumed) on God as his rock and strength

3. he makes God his refuge

Verse 8 changes from an individual focus to a corporate focus (several English translations make it a separate strophe). It starts out with two imperatives addressing the community of faithful followers.

1. trust in Him at all times — BDB 105, KB 120, Qal imperative, cf. Ps. 37:3,5; 52:8; Isa. 26:4. The hard part is the phrase, "at all times," but it is the key to real peace and confidence (cf. Ps. 34:1).

2. pour out your heart before Him — BDB 1049, KB 1629, Qal imperative, cf. 1 Sam.1:15; Lam. 2:19 (i.e., be honest about your feelings and problems when praying to God; this is quite different from "silence" of verses 1 and 5. Verses 1 and 5 are waiting for God to act after prayer and verse 8 is a call to prayer.)

3. God is our refuge — God is not only the individual's source/place of safety, He is the community of faith's source/place of safety!

 

▣ "Selah" See note at Ps. 3:2; also Intro. to Psalms, VII.

62:5 "for God" In verse 1 this translation is accurate but here there is an added initial lamed (not a preposition), which is emphatic, "God Himself."

The imperative of "be silent" (BDB 198, KB 226, Qal imperative) is used here where the noun (BDB 189) is used in verse 1.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 62:9-10
  9Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie;
 In the balances they go up;
 They are together lighter than breath.
 10Do not trust in oppression
 And do not vainly hope in robbery;
 If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.

62:9-10 This strophe addresses all humans from different levels of society (i.e., low degree. . .rank). Without faith/trust in God they are vanity (BDB 210 I) and lies (BDB 469). The MT has "sons of men" twice. The translations get "low degree" and "rank" from a similar phrase in Ps. 49:2. The JPSOA has "Men are mere breath; mortals (BDB 35), illusion," which rejects the link to Ps. 49:2 as a parallel and interpret the "sons of Adam" (BDB 9) and "sons of Ish" as parallel and referring to all humans. To me it does seem that Ps. 62:10 refers to the exploitation of the poor and powerless by the socially elite of Israel, and Psalm 49 would be a good parallel.

The second statement uses the imagery of commercial scales. In Hebrew that which is heavy is honorable/valuable; that which is light (i.e., breath, BDB 210 I used twice) is dishonorable.

Verse 10 has three jussives admonishing the faithless followers.

1. do not trust in oppression — BDB 105, KB 120, Qal imperfect negated used in a jussive sense

2. do not vainly hope in robbery — BDB 211, KB 236, Qal imperfect negated used in a jussive sense

3. do not set your heart on increasing wealth — BDB 1011, KB 1483, Qal imperfect negated used in a jussive sense

Based on this strophe and 62:4, the people being addressed are members of Israel's elite class (i.e., civil, military, commerce).

62:9 "vanity. . .breath" These are both translations of the Hebrew term (BDB 210 I). This is one of two key terms in Ecclesiastes. See my notes on the word at Eccl. 1:2 online at www.freebiblecommentary.org.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 62:11-12
 11Once God has spoken;
 Twice I have heard this:
 That power belongs to God;
 12And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
 For You recompense a man according to his work.

62:11-12 This last strophe addresses the theological issue of how it is that the unrighteous prosper (cf. Job; Psalms 37 and 73). The Mosaic law asserted wealth, health, and success to covenant obedience (cf. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 27-30). The "two ways" (cf. Psalm 1; Deut. 30:15,19) also asserts the same. However, in reality, often the wealthy are exploitative, greedy, ruthless, devious manipulators who embody the essence of the Fall: more and more for me at any cost!

We live in an unfair world. God has promised to set it straight. There is a judgment day. One day we will reap what we have sown (cf. Job 34:11; Ps. 28:4; Pro. 24:12; Eccl. 12:14; Jer. 17:10; 32:19; Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; Rom. 2:6; 14:12; 1 Cor. 3:8; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7-10; 2 Tim. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12)! A book that has helped me in this area is Hannah Whithall Smith's The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life."

62:11 This is an idiom for a well known, often expressed, truth in three parts (i.e., power, covenant loyalty, and recompense). Because of the Fall, some humans will experience YHWH's power; some His lovingkindness! Our actions show who our Father is!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. How are verses 1 and 5 different from verse 8?

2. Who is verse 3c referring to?

3. Why should verse 8 be a separate strophe?

4. Who does verse 9 address? How is it related to Ps. 49:2?

5. List the points of what God has spoken and the psalmist has heard several times.