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Psalm 70

 

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Prayer for Help Against Persecutors
MT Intro
For the choir director. A Psalm of David; for a memorial.
Prayer for Relief From Adversaries A Prayer for Deliverance From Personal Enemies A Prayer For Help A Cry of Distress
70:1-3 70:1-3 70:1-3 70:1-3 70:1-2b
        70:2c-3
70:4-5 70:4 70:4-5 70:4 70:4
  70:5   70:5 70:5

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.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Notice the Qal imperative "hasten" (BDB 301, KB 300) opens (cf. Ps. 70:1b) and closes (cf. Ps. 70:5b) the Psalm (i.e., inclusio). This verb is repeated in Psalm 22:19; 38:22; 40:13,17; 71:12.

 

B. Notice the number of imperfects used as jussives (note the parallelism).

1. Negative

a. let those be ashamed, Ps. 70:2a — BDB 101, KB 116, Qal imperfect, cf. Ps. 35:4; 83:17

b. let those be humiliated, Ps. 70:2a — BDB 344, KB 340, Qal imperfect, cf. Ps. 40:14

c. let those be turned back, Ps. 70:2c — BDB 690, KB 744, Niphal imperfect

d. let those be dishonored, Ps. 70:2c — BDB 483, KB 480, Niphal imperfect

e. let those be turned back, Ps. 70:3a — BDB 996, KB 1427, Qal imperfect

2. Positive

a. let all who seek You rejoice, Ps. 70:4 — BDB 965, KB 1314, Qal imperfect

b. let all who seek You be glad, Ps. 70:4 — BDB 970, KB 1333, Qal imperfect

c. let those who love Your salvation say. . .," Ps. 70:4b — BDB 55, KB 65, Qal imperfect

d. God be magnified, Ps. 70:4c — BDB 152, KB 178, Qal imperfect

e. do not delay, Ps. 70:5d — BDB 28, KB 34, Piel imperfect

 

C. Notice the wonderful synonymous parallelism of the Psalm.

 

D. This Psalm is repeated with some differences in Psalm 40:13-17, except for verse 3a.

1. Psalm 70:3, "turn back" (BDB 690 I)

2. Psalm 40:15, "appalled" (BDB 1030)

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 70:1-3
 1O God, hasten to deliver me;
 O Lord, hasten to my help!
 2Let those be ashamed and humiliated
 Who seek my life;
 Let those be turned back and dishonored
 Who delight in my hurt.
 3Let those be turned back because of their shame
 Who say, "Aha, aha!"

70:1 The NASB assumes the Qal imperative is used twice (cf. Ps. 22:19; 38:22; 40:13; 71:12; 141:1) and has parallel objects (cf. Ps. 70:5).

1. deliver me

2. help me

Also notice that God (Elohim) is parallel to Lord (YHWH), as they are in verse 5. See Special Topic at Psalm 1:1.

70:2 "Let. . ." This is the English way to denote the jussive of request. See Contextual Insights, B.

▣ "seek" This verbal (BDB 134, KB 152, Piel participle) occurs in verses 2 and 4. It describes two kinds of people.

1. those who seek to kill others to get their way

2. those who seek God

 

70:2-3 "Who. . ." Those who oppose the psalmist are characterized in three parallel phrases.

1. who seek my life (lit. nephesh)

2. who delight in my hurt

3. who say, "Aha, aha"

This last one denotes a common OT literary technique called "reversal." What they wished to happen to the godly psalmist, happens to them!

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 70:4-5
 4Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
 And let those who love Your salvation say continually,
 "Let God be magnified."
 5But I am afflicted and needy;
 Hasten to me, O God!
 You are my help and my deliverer;
 O Lord, do not delay.

70:4 "seek You" This is an OT idiom for a personal faith relationship with God characterized by

1. temple worship

2. covenant obedience

The last line of verse 4 may be temple liturgy.

70:5 Notice that the two concepts of "deliver" and "help" of verse 1 are repeated (different but synonymous verb for "deliver").

▣ "I am afflicted and needy" The psalmist characterizes his own perceived situation. God is great (Ps. 70:4) but he is hurting. He entreats God to come to his aid quickly.

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. Why is Psalm 70 also found in Psalm 40:13-17?

2. Explain in your own words the literary concept of "reversal."

3. What do the names for Deity, Elohim and YHWH, imply?