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1For the leader;* with stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
2Answer me when I call, my saving God.
When troubles hem me in, set me free;
take pity on me, hear my prayer.a
3How long, O people, will you be hard of heart?
4Know that the LORD works wonders for his faithful one;
the LORD hears when I call out to him.
5Tremble* and sin no more;
weep bitterly* within your hearts,
wail upon your beds,c
6Offer fitting sacrifices
and trust in the LORD.d
7Many say, “May we see better times!
LORD, show us the light of your face!”e
8But you have given my heart more joy
than they have when grain and wine abound.
for you alone, LORD, make me secure.
* [Psalm 4] An individual lament emphasizing trust in God. The petition is based upon the psalmist’s vivid experience of God as savior (Ps 4:2). That experience of God is the basis for the warning to the wicked: revere God who intervenes on the side of the faithful (Ps 4:3–6). The faithful psalmist exemplifies the blessings given to the just (Ps 4:7–8).
* [4:1] For the leader: many Psalm headings contain this rubric. Its exact meaning is unknown but may signify that such Psalms once stood together in a collection of “the choirmaster,” cf. 1 Chr 15:21.
* [4:3] Love what is worthlessâ€¦lies: these expressions probably refer to false gods worshiped by those the psalmist is addressing.
* [4:5] Tremble: be moved deeply with fear for failing to worship the true God. The Greek translation understood the emotion to be anger, and it is so cited in Eph 4:26. Weep bitterlyâ€¦wail: weeping within one’s heart and wailing upon one’s bed denote sincere repentance because these actions are not done in public or with the community but in the privacy of one’s heart and one’s home. The same idiom is found in Hos 7:14.
* [4:9] In peace I willâ€¦fall asleep: the last verse repeats two themes in the Psalm. One is the security of one who trusts in the true God; the other is the interior peace of those who sincerely repent (“on [their] beds”), whose sleep is not disturbed by a guilty conscience.
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