New English Translation
5 The Lord approves of[a] the godly,[b]
but he[c] hates[d] the wicked and those who love to do violence.[e]
6 May he rain down[f] burning coals[g] and brimstone[h] on the wicked!
A whirlwind is what they deserve.[i]
7 Certainly[j] the Lord is just;[k]
he rewards godly deeds.[l]
The upright will experience his favor.[m]
- Psalm 11:5 tn Heb “examines,” the same verb used in v. 4b. But here it is used in a metonymic sense of “examine and approve” (see Jer 20:12).
- Psalm 11:5 tn The singular form is used here in a collective or representative sense. Note the plural form “pure (of heart)” in v. 2.
- Psalm 11:5 tn Heb “his [very] being.” A נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “being, soul”) is also attributed to the Lord in Isa 1:14, where a suffixed form of the noun appears as the subject of the verb “hate.” Both there and here the term is used of the seat of one’s emotions and passions.
- Psalm 11:5 sn He hates the wicked. The Lord “hates” the wicked in the sense that he despises their wicked character and deeds, and actively opposes and judges them for their wickedness. See Ps 5:5.
- Psalm 11:5 tn Heb “the wicked [one] and the lover of violence.” The singular form is used here in a collective or representative sense. Note the plural form רְשָׁעִים (reshaʿim, “wicked [ones]”) in vv. 2 and 6.
- Psalm 11:6 tn The verb form is a jussive, indicating that the statement is imprecatory (“May the Lord rain down”), not indicative (“The Lord rains down”; see also Job 20:23). The psalmist appeals to God to destroy the wicked, rather than simply stating his confidence that God will do so. In this way the psalmist seeks to activate divine judgment by appealing to God’s just character. For an example of the power of such a curse, see Judg 9:7-57.
- Psalm 11:6 tc The MT reads “traps, fire, and brimstone,” but the image of God raining traps, or snares, down from the sky is bizarre and does not fit the fire and storm imagery of this verse. The noun פַּחִים (pakhim, “traps, snares”) should be emended to פַּחֲמֵי (pakhame, “coals of [fire]”). The rare noun פֶּחָם (pekham, “coal”) occurs in Prov 26:21 and Isa 44:12; 54:16.
- Psalm 11:6 sn The image of God “raining down” brimstone on the objects of his judgment also appears in Gen 19:24 and Ezek 38:22.
- Psalm 11:6 tn Heb “[may] a wind of rage [be] the portion of their cup.” The precise meaning of the rare noun זִלְעָפוֹת (zilʿafot) is uncertain. It may mean “raging heat” (BDB 273 s.v. זַלְעָפָה) or simply “rage” (HALOT 272 s.v. זַלְעָפָה). If one understands the former sense, then one might translate “hot wind” (cf. NEB, NRSV). The present translation assumes the latter nuance, “a wind of rage” (the genitive is attributive) referring to a “whirlwind” symbolic of destructive judgment. In this mixed metaphor, judgment is also compared to an allotted portion of a beverage poured into one’s drinking cup (see Hab 2:15-16).
- Psalm 11:7 tn Or “for.”
- Psalm 11:7 tn Or “righteous.”
- Psalm 11:7 tn Heb “he loves righteous deeds.” The “righteous deeds” are probably those done by godly people (see v. 5). The Lord “loves” such deeds in the sense that he rewards them. Another option is to take צְדָקוֹת (tsedaqot) as referring to God’s acts of justice (see Ps 103:6). In this case one could translate, “he loves to do just deeds.”
- Psalm 11:7 tn Heb “the upright will see his face.” The singular subject (“upright”) does not agree with the plural verb. However, collective singular nouns can be construed with a plural predicate (see GKC 462 §145.b). Another possibility is that the plural verb יֶחֱזוּ (yekhezu) should be emended to an original singular form. To “see” God’s “face” means to have access to his presence and to experience his favor (see Ps 17:15 and Job 33:26 [where רָאָה (raʾah), not חָזָה (khazah), is used]). On the form פָנֵימוֹ (fanemo, “his face”) see GKC 300-301 §103.b, n. 3.