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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 17

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 17

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 17

1. A prayer of David; Hearken, O Lord, to righteousness, listen to my cry, lend an ear to my prayer, [which is] without deceitful lips.   א. תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד שִׁמְעָה יְהֹוָה | צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִׂפְתֵי מִרְמָה:
2. May my judgment come forth from before You; may Your eyes see [my] upright acts.   ב. מִלְּפָנֶיךָ מִשְׁפָּטִי יֵצֵא עֵינֶיךָ תֶּחֱזֶינָה מֵּישָׁרִים:
May my judgment come forth from before You: May the sins for which I deserve to be judged with torments, go forth from before You and not come before You in judgment.  
may Your eyes see [my] upright acts: If I have merits, may Your eyes see the upright acts.  
3. You have tried my heart; You have visited [upon me] at night. You have refined me and not found; If I think, let it not pass my mouth.   ג. בָּחַנְתָּ לִבִּי | פָּקַדְתָּ לַּיְלָה צְרַפְתַּנִי בַל תִּמְצָא זַמֹּתִי בַּל יַעֲבָר פִּי:
You have tried my heart, etc.: I know that I am guilty of a transgression, and, if the judgment of its punishment comes before You, I will not be declared innocent in the judgment, for You have already tried my heart.  
You have visited [upon me] at night: at eventide for the iniquity of Bathsheba, concerning which it is stated (in II Sam. 11:2) “And it came to pass at the time of evening, that David arose, etc.”  
You have refined me: You have tested me.  
and not found: You have not found in me Your desire.  
If I think, let it not pass my mouth: If it enters my thoughts again to be tried before You, let it not pass my mouth to say again, “Try me, O Lord, and test me,” as I have already said, as is written (26: 2) “ Try me, O Lord, and test me,” for David asked the Holy One, blessed be He, “Why do they say, ‘the God of Abraham,’ yet they do not say, ‘the God of David’?” He replied, “I tested him with ten tests, and he was found perfect.” He [David] said, “Try me and test me,” as appears in tractate Shabbath (?).  
4. As for man's deeds, because of the word of Your lips, I kept [myself] from the ways of the profligate.   ד. לִפְעֻלּוֹת אָדָם בִּדְבַר שְׂפָתֶיךָ אֲנִי שָׁמַרְתִּי אָרְחוֹת פָּרִיץ:
As for man’s deeds, because of the word of Your lips, etc. To support my feet, etc.: From then on, for every deed of man that I came to perform, I watched myself because of the word of Your lips; [I watched] the ways of the profligate, to turn away from them, so that I should not walk in them, but [would] support my feet constantly in Your paths, that my feet should not falter from them. Another explanation:  
For the deeds of man according to the word of Your lips, etc.: Since a person must use his deeds according to the uprightness (decre - early editions) of the word of Your lips, as You said, “You shall not commit adultery,” I kept myself from the ways of the profligate although I behaved unseemly according to the good You have done.  
5. To support my feet in Your paths, lest my feet falter.   ה. תָּמֹךְ אֲשֻׁרַי בְּמַעְגְּלוֹתֶיךָ בַּל נָמוֹטוּ פְעָמָי:
To support my feet: From then on, for every deed of man that I did improperly, may Your eyes see the upright deeds, but my judgment shall go forth from before you.  
6. I called to You because You shall answer me, O God. Bend Your ear to me; hearken to my saying.   ו. אֲנִי קְרָאתִיךָ כִּי תַעֲנֵנִי אֵל הַט אָזְנְךָ לִי שְׁמַע אִמְרָתִי:
because You shall answer me, O God: Because I am confident that You will answer me.  
7. Distinguish Your kind acts to save, with Your right hand, those who take refuge [in You] from those who rise up [against them].   ז. הַפְלֵה חֲסָדֶיךָ מוֹשִׁיעַ חוֹסִים מִמִּתְקוֹמְמִים בִּימִינֶךָ:
Distinguish Your kind acts: Heb. הפלה, esevre in Old French, to separate, as (in Exod. 33:16): “and I and my people will be distinguished (ונפלינו).” With Your right hand You save those who take refuge in You from those who rise up against them. (This does not appear in manuscripts or in most early editions.) [The literal meaning is:] Distinguish Your kind acts, You Who save those who take refuge, etc. This is a transposed verse, meaning: Distinguish Your kind acts to save with Your right hand those who take refuge, etc.  
8. Guard me as the apple of the eye; in the shadow of Your wings You shall hide me.   ח. שָׁמְרֵנִי כְּאִישׁוֹן בַּת עָיִן בְּצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנִי:
as the apple: Heb. (כאישון). That is the pupil (lit. the black) of the eye, on which the vision depends. Because it is black, it is called אישון, an expression of darkness, and the Holy One, blessed be He, prepared a guard for it, viz. the eyelids, which constantly cover it.  
9. Because of the wicked who have robbed me; my mortal enemies who encompass me.   ט. מִפְּנֵי רְשָׁעִים זוּ שַׁדּוּנִי אֹיְבַי בְּנֶפֶשׁ יַקִּיפוּ עָלָי:
who have robbed me: Because of this: my enemies, who encompass me to take my life, rob me.  
10. [With] their fat, they closed themselves up; their mouths spoke with haughtiness.   י. חֶלְבָּמוֹ סָגְרוּ פִּימוֹ דִּבְּרוּ בְגֵאוּת:
[With] their fat, they closed themselves up: With their fat, they closed their heart and their eyes from looking at Your deeds, in fear of You.  
11. [By] our footsteps they surround us now, they set their eyes roaming over the land.   יא. אַשֻּׁרֵנוּ עַתָּה סְבָבוּנוּ עֵינֵיהֶם יָשִׁיתוּ לִנְטוֹת בָּאָרֶץ:
[By] our footsteps they surround us now: By our footsteps, the enemies surround us now, and they set their eyes roaming over the land, to raid the land. It appears to me that David prayed this prayer after the incident of Uriah and Joab had happened to him, and the Israelites were in the land of the children of Ammon besieging Rabbah (II Sam. 11), and David feared that they would be defeated there because of the sin that he had committed, and the Philistines, Moab, Edom, and all the evil neighbors of Eretz Israel, who looked forward to the day of their misfortune, would hear and march against them.  
12. His likeness is like a lion, which yearns for prey, and as a young lion, which lurks in hidden places.   יב. דִּמְיֹנוֹ כְּאַרְיֵה יִכְסוֹף לִטְרֹף וְכִכְפִיר יֹשֵׁב בְּמִסְתָּרִים:
which yearns: Heb. יכסף, yearns, as (in Gen. 31:30): “for you yearned (נכסף נכספתי).”  
13. Arise, O Lord, confront him; bring him down to his knees; rescue my soul from the wicked, Your sword.   יג. קוּמָה יְהֹוָה קַדְּמָה פָנָיו הַכְרִיעֵהוּ פַּלְּטָה נַפְשִׁי מֵרָשָׁע חַרְבֶּךָ:
confront him: The enemy.  
bring him down to his knees: Beat his legs, and he will kneel and fall.  
rescue my soul: from every wicked man who is Your sword, for You give him the power to rule, to requite those who are bound to You.  
14. Of those who die by Your hand, O Lord, of those who die of old age, whose share is in life, and whose belly You will fill with Your hidden treasure, who have children in plenty and leave their abundance to their babes.   יד. מִמְתִים יָדְךָ | יְהֹוָה מִמְתִים מֵחֶלֶד חֶלְקָם בַּחַיִּים וּצְפוּנְךָ תְּמַלֵּא בִטְנָם יִשְׂבְּעוּ בָנִים וְהִנִּיחוּ יִתְרָם לְעוֹלְלֵיהֶם:
Of those who die by Your hand: I choose to be one of those who die by Your hand on their bed.  
of those who die of old age: Heb. מחלד. Of those who die of old age, after they have “rusted” (חלודה) , rodijjl in Old French, [rouille in Modern French] rust, and of the righteous, whose share is in life.  
and whose belly You will fill with Your hidden treasure: And of those whose innards You will fill with Your good, which You have hidden for those who fear You.  
their abundance: Their property that they leave over when they die.  
15. I will see Your face with righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your image upon the awakening.   טו. אֲנִי בְּצֶדֶק אֶחֱזֶה פָנֶיךָ אֶשְׂבְּעָה בְהָקִיץ תְּמוּנָתֶךָ:
I will see Your face with righteousness: in the future (Mid. Ps. 17:13), or  
I will see Your face with righteousness: Take my judgment away from before You and grasp the righteous deeds that I have performed, and through them I will see Your face. In other editions, this is one interpretation:  
I will see Your face with righteousness: In the future, take my judgment away from before You and grasp the righteous deeds that I have performed, and through them I will see Your face.  
I will be satisfied with Your image upon the awakening: I will be satisfied with the vision of Your image when the dead awaken from their sleep. In many editions, the following appears at this point: Another explanation: I will be satisfied from seeing Your face when the dead awaken from their sleep, for they are in the likeness of Your image, for so it is stated (in Gen. 9: 6): “For in the image of God, He made man.”  
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