תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד שִׁמְעָה יְהוָה צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִׂפְתֵי מִרְמָה׃ 17:1
Psal. 17:1 A prayer of David's.
Regard, O Lord, the just; mark my cry,
hear my supplication by my lips not false.
מִלְּפָנֶיךָ מִשְׁפָּטִי יֵצֵא עֵינֶיךָ תֶּחֱזֶינָה מֵישָׁרִים׃ 17:2
Psal. 17:2 Out of Your countenance let my judgment proceed;
Let Your “eyes” behold equal things.
What does the second line of this verse mean? What is meant by the phrase equal things? Is David asking that the Lord cancel bad acts with equal good acts? If so, he would have to be assuming that he has performed many more good acts than bad acts of equal but opposite value.
בָּחַנְתָּ לִבִּי פָּקַדְתָּ לַּיְלָה צְרַפְתַּנִי בַל־תִּמְצָא זַמֹּתִי בַּל־יַעֲבָר־פִּי׃ 17:3
Psal. 17:3 You have tested my heart;
You have visited at night;
You have tried me, can find nothing.
I am sure my mouth will not transgress.
לִפְעֻלּוֹת אָדָם בִּדְבַר שְׂפָתֶיךָ אֲנִי שָׁמַרְתִּי אָרְחוֹת פָּרִיץ׃ 17:4
Psal. 17:4 As for the works of humans,
by the word of Your “lips” I have taken heed of the ways of a destroyer.
תָּמֹךְ אֲשֻׁרַי בְּמַעְגְּלֹותֶיךָ בַּל־נָמֹוטּוּ פְעָמָי׃ 17:5
Psal. 17:5 Uphold my going in Your pathways;
do not falter, my foot!
There’s an unacknowledged error in this verse. The next-to-last Hebrew word, translated as falter, is plural, but the
word translated as my foot is singular. I imagine the reason it is not flagged as an error, is that the sages often
translated many singular nouns as plural, as they have done with this word, in most, if not all bibles.
אֲנִי־קְרָאתִיךָ כִי־תַעֲנֵנִי אֵל הַט־אָזְנְךָ לִי שְׁמַע אִמְרָתִי׃ 17:6
Psal. 17:6 I cry to You, for You answer me, O God.
Incline Your “ear” to me,
hear my speech.
הַפְלֵה חֲסָדֶיךָ מֹושִׁיעַ חֹוסִים מִמִּתְקֹומְמִים בִּימִינֶךָ׃ 17:7
Psal. 17:7 Show Your marvelous loving kindness,
O Saver of seekers of refuge from rebels with Your right “hand!”
שָׁמְרֵנִי כְּאִישֹׁון בַּת־עָיִן בְּצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנִי׃ 17:8
Psal. 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye;
in the shadow of Your wings may You hide me
מִפְּנֵי רְשָׁעִים זוּ שַׁדּוּנִי אֹיְבַי בְּנֶפֶשׁ יַקִּיפוּ עָלָי׃ 17:9
Psal. 17:9 from the wicked who oppress me,
my sworn enemies;
they would compass about me.
חֶלְבָּמֹו סָּגְרוּ פִּימֹו דִּבְּרוּ בְגֵאוּת׃ 17:10
Psal. 17:10 They hold in their fat,
their mouths speak with pride.
אַשֻּׁרֵינוּ עַתָּה (סְבָבוּנִי) [סְבָבוּנוּ] עֵינֵיהֶם יָשִׁיתוּ לִנְטֹות בָּאָרֶץ׃ 17:11
Psal. 17:11 In our goings now they have surrounded us;
they would set their eyes inclined to the earth.
Some commentaries on this verse explain the meaning of the second line (the last three Hebrew words) as they, Saul’s men, are constantly looking down searching for the footprints of David and his men. I think it may be
explained differently. You’ll notice that the first line implies that David is already surrounded. So I imagine that the second line refers to their lack of looking up to the Lord. They are so intent on capturing and subduing David,
they have forgotten the Lord entirely. By the way, the error in the parentheses is corrected in the brackets, making
the first-person pronoun at the end of the first line plural instead of singular.
דִּמְיֹנֹו כְּאַרְיֵה יִכְסֹוף לִטְרֹוף וְכִכְפִיר יֹשֵׁב בְּמִסְתָּרִים׃ 17:12
Psal. 17:12 Resembling a lion, he becomes greedy to tear apart,
and like a young lion he lurks in secret places.
After talking about Saul’s men in the last three verses, it seems that David is now relating back to the destroyer who
is mentioned in v. 17:4 above.
קוּמָה יְהוָה קַדְּמָה פָנָיו הַכְרִיעֵהוּ פַּלְּטָה נַפְשִׁי מֵרָשָׁע חַרְבֶּךָ׃ 17:13
Psal. 17:13 Arise, O Lord, prevent his wrath,
deliver my soul from the condemned of Your sword,
מִמְתִים יָדְךָ יְהוָה מִמְתִים מֵחֶלֶד חֶלְקָם בַּחַיִּים (וּצְפִינְךָ) [וּצְפוּנְךָ] תְּמַלֵּא בִטְנָם יִשְׂבְּעוּ בָנִים 17:14
וְהִנִּיחוּ יִתְרָם לְעֹולְלֵיהֶם׃
Psal. 17:14 from men of Your “hand,” O Lord,
from men from the world;
their portion is in life,
and You are hidden.
Their bosom may be full,
they may be satisfied of children,
but they have to leave their substance to their infants.
The word in the parentheses is misspelled. The yad should be a vav. The correction is in the brackets.
אֲנִי בְּצֶדֶק אֶחֱזֶה פָנֶיךָ אֶשְׂבְּעָה בְהָקִיץ תְּמוּנָתֶךָ׃ 17:15
Psal. 17:15 I shall behold Your “face” in righteousness;
I shall be full of Your image in wakefulness.
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