New English Translation
For the music director, according to the gittith style;[b] written by the Korahites, a psalm.
84 How lovely is the place where you live,[c]
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies![d]
2 I desperately want to be[e]
in the courts of the Lord’s temple.[f]
My heart and my entire being[g] shout for joy
to the living God.
3 Even the birds find a home there,
and the swallow[h] builds a nest,
where she can protect her young[i]
near your altars, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
my King and my God.
4 How blessed[j] are those who live in your temple
and praise you continually. (Selah)
5 How blessed are those who[k] find their strength in you,
and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple.[l]
6 As they pass through the Baca Valley,[m]
he provides a spring for them.[n]
The rain[o] even covers it with pools of water.[p]
7 They are sustained as they travel along;[q]
each one appears[r] before God in Zion.
8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies,[s]
hear my prayer.
Listen, O God of Jacob. (Selah)
9 O God, take notice of our shield.[t]
Show concern for your chosen king.[u]
10 Certainly[v] spending just one day in your temple courts is better
than spending a thousand elsewhere.[w]
I would rather stand at the entrance[x] to the temple of my God
than live[y] in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is our sovereign protector.[z]
The Lord bestows favor[aa] and honor;
he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity.[ab]
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,[ac]
how blessed are those who trust in you.[ad]
- Psalm 84:1 sn Psalm 84. The psalmist expresses his desire to be in God’s presence in the Jerusalem temple, for the Lord is the protector of his people.
- Psalm 84:1 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew term הַגִּתִּית (haggittit) is uncertain; it probably refers to a musical style or instrument.
- Psalm 84:1 tn Or “your dwelling place[s].” The plural form of the noun may indicate degree or quality; this is the Lord’s special dwelling place (see Pss 43:3; 46:4; 132:5, 7).
- Psalm 84:1 tn Traditionally, “Lord of hosts.” The title draws attention to God’s sovereign position (see Ps 69:6).
- Psalm 84:2 tn Heb “my soul longs, it even pines for.”
- Psalm 84:2 tn Heb “the courts of the Lord” (see Ps 65:4).
- Psalm 84:2 tn Heb “my flesh,” which stands for his whole person and being.
- Psalm 84:3 tn The word translated “swallow” occurs only here and in Prov 26:2.
- Psalm 84:3 tn Heb “even a bird finds a home, and a swallow a nest for herself, [in] which she places her young.”sn The psalmist here romanticizes the temple as a place of refuge and safety. As he thinks of the birds nesting near its roof, he envisions them finding protection in God’s presence.
- Psalm 84:4 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see v. 12 and Pss 1:1; 2:12; 34:9; 41:1; 65:4; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).
- Psalm 84:5 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here was certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to in v. 5a is representative of followers of God, as the use of plural forms in vv. 5b-7 indicates.
- Psalm 84:5 tn Heb “roads [are] in their heart[s].” The roads are here those that lead to Zion (see v. 7).
- Psalm 84:6 tn The translation assumes that the Hebrew phrase עֵמֶק הַבָּכָא (ʿemeq habbakhaʾ) is the name of an otherwise unknown arid valley through which pilgrims to Jerusalem passed. The term בָּכָא (bakhaʾ) may be the name of a particular type of plant or shrub that grew in this valley. O. Borowski (Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 130) suggests it is the black mulberry. Some take the phrase as purely metaphorical and relate בָּכָא to the root בָּכָה (bakhah, “to weep”). In this case one might translate, “the valley of weeping” or “the valley of affliction.”
- Psalm 84:6 tc The MT reads “a spring they make it,” but this makes little sense. Many medieval Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX, understand God to be the subject and the valley to be the object, “he [God] makes it [the valley] [into] a spring.”
- Psalm 84:6 tn This rare word may refer to the early (or autumn) rains (see Joel 2:23).
- Psalm 84:6 tc The MT reads בְּרָכוֹת (berakhot, “blessings”) but the preceding reference to a “spring” favors an emendation to בְּרֵכוֹת (berekhot, “pools”).sn Pools of water. Because water is so necessary for life, it makes an apt symbol for divine favor and blessing. As the pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem, God provided for their physical needs and gave them a token of his favor and of the blessings awaiting them at the temple.
- Psalm 84:7 tn Heb “they go from strength to strength.” The phrase “from strength to strength” occurs only here in the OT. With a verb of motion, the expression “from [common noun] to [same common noun]” normally suggests movement from one point to another or through successive points (see Num 36:7; 1 Chr 16:20; 17:5; Ps 105:13; Jer 25:32). Ps 84:7 may be emphasizing that the pilgrims move successively from one “place of strength” to another as they travel toward Jerusalem. All along the way they find adequate provisions and renewed energy for the trip.
- Psalm 84:7 tn The psalmist returns to the singular (see v. 5a), which he uses in either a representative or distributive (“each one”) sense.
- Psalm 84:8 tn Heb “Lord, God, hosts.” One expects the construct form אֱלֹהֵי before צְבָאוֹת (tsevaʾot, “hosts”; see Ps 89:9) but יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים (yehvah ʾelohim) precedes צְבָאוֹת in Pss 59:5 and 80:4, 19 as well.
- Psalm 84:9 tn The phrase “our shield” refers metaphorically to the Davidic king, who, as God’s vice-regent, was the human protector of the people. Note the parallelism with “your anointed one” here and with “our king” in Ps 89:18.
- Psalm 84:9 tn Heb “look [on] the face of your anointed one.” The Hebrew phrase מְשִׁיחֶךָ (meshikhekha, “your anointed one”) refers here to the Davidic king (see Pss 2:2; 18:50; 20:6; 28:8; 89:38, 51; 132:10, 17).
- Psalm 84:10 tn Or “for.”
- Psalm 84:10 tn Heb “better is a day in your courts than a thousand [spent elsewhere].”
- Psalm 84:10 tn Heb “I choose being at the entrance of the house of my God over living in the tents of the wicked.” The verb סָפַף (safaf) appears only here in the OT; it is derived from the noun סַף (saf, “threshold”). Traditionally some have interpreted this as a reference to being a doorkeeper at the temple, though some understand it to mean “lie as a beggar at the entrance to the temple” (see HALOT 765 s.v. ספף).
- Psalm 84:10 tn The verb דּוּר (dur, “to live”) occurs only here in the OT.
- Psalm 84:11 tn Heb “[is] a sun and a shield.” The epithet “sun,” though rarely used of Israel’s God in the OT, was a well-attested royal title in the ancient Near East. For several examples from Ugaritic texts, the Amarna letters, and Assyrian royal inscriptions, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 131, n. 2.
- Psalm 84:11 tn Or “grace.”
- Psalm 84:11 tn Heb “he does not withhold good to those walking in integrity.”
- Psalm 84:12 tn Traditionally “Lord of hosts.”
- Psalm 84:12 tn Heb “[Oh] the happiness [of] the man [who] trusts in you.” Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle stated here is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the plural “those.” The individual referred to here is representative of all followers of God, as the use of the plural form in v. 12b indicates.