Chapter 9

1To the conductor, to brighten the youth, a song of David.   אלַֽמְנַצֵּחַ עַל מ֥וּת לַ֜בֵּ֗ן מִזְמ֥וֹר לְדָוִֽד:
to brighten the youth: Heb. על מות לבן. Some interpret לבן על מות, on the death of Absalom, but this interpretation is not plausible because he [David] states: לבן; he does not state הבן. Others interpret על מות לבן [as referring to] Nabal. Neither is this plausible, to invert the name. Moreover, no mention is made of him in the psalm. (The preceding paragraph does not appear in most editions.) I saw in the Great Masorah that it is one word, judging by the fact that it is compared to (below 48:15): “He will lead us as in youth (על מות).” Menachem and Dunash interpreted what they interpreted, but it does not seem correct to me. I saw in the Pesikta (d’Rav Kahana, p. 25a) that the chapter deals with Amalek and Esau (as in verse 6): You rebuked nations; You destroyed a wicked man. But I say that this song, למנצח על מות לבן, is for the future, when the childhood and the youth of Israel will be brightened; their righteousness will be revealed and their salvation will draw near, that Esau and his seed will be erased, according to our Torah. (The last phrase does not appear in most editions.) על מות means childhood. לבן is like ללבן, to whiten. Menachem interpreted מות לבן על, melodies to teach, and this is its interpretation: To the conductor למנצח, to the conductor, melodies to teach, in which case לבן is equivalent to להבין ולבונן, to understand and to comprehend; על מות, named for a musical instrument called עלמות, as is stated (below 46:1): “on alamoth-shir.” Dunash (p. 15f) interpreted לבן as the name of a man whose name was Labben, who fought with David in those days, and the Psalmist’s statement, “You rebuked nations, You destroyed a wicked man” this wicked man is Labben, who slew innocent people. Although you do not come upon a man named Labben anywhere else but this place, you find the same with other names, which are found in Scripture only once. (This entire account of Dunash’s interpretation does not appear in early mss. Menachem’s interpretation is presented very briefly.)  
2I will thank the Lord with all my heart; I will tell all Your wonders.   באוֹדֶ֣ה יְ֖הֹוָה בְּכָל־לִבִּ֑י אֲ֜סַפְּרָ֗ה כָּל־נִפְלְאוֹתֶֽיךָ:
all your wonders: the final redemption, which is equal to all the miracles, as is stated (in Jer. 23:7): “when they shall no longer say, As the Lord lives, Who brought up, etc.”  
3I will rejoice and exult with You; I will sing praises to Your most high name.   גאֶשְׂמְחָ֣ה וְאֶֽעֶלְצָ֣ה בָ֑ךְ אֲזַמְּרָ֖ה שִׁמְךָ֣ עֶלְיֽוֹן:
4When my enemies draw backward, they stumble and are destroyed from before You.   דבְּשׁוּב־אֽוֹיְבַ֥י אָח֑וֹר יִכָּֽשְׁל֥וּ וְיֹֽאבְד֥וּ מִפָּנֶֽיךָ:
5For You have performed my judgment and my cause; You sat on the throne, O Judge of righteousness.   הכִּֽי־עָ֖שִׂיתָ מִשְׁפָּטִ֣י וְדִינִ֑י יָשַׁ֥בְתָּ לְ֜כִסֵּ֗א שׁוֹפֵ֥ט צֶֽדֶק:
my judgment and my cause: Heb. משפטי ודיני, words doubled in Scripture, for there is no difference between them, as (in Job 16: 19): “my Witness is in heaven, and He Who testifies for me is on high” ; (ibid. 40:18), “His limbs are as strong as copper, his bones as a load of iron.”  
my judgment and my cause: in heaven (?).  
You sat on the throne: The throne of judgment.  
6You rebuked nations, You destroyed a wicked man; You erased their name forever and ever.   וגָּעַ֣רְתָּ ג֖וֹיִם אִבַּ֣דְתָּ רָשָׁ֑ע שְׁמָ֥ם מָ֜חִ֗יתָ לְעוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד:
You rebuked nations: [This alludes to Amalek, described in Num. 24:20 as] “Amalek is the first of the nations.”  
You destroyed a wicked man: Esau.  
You erased their name: “For I will surely erase the remembrance of Amalek” (Exod. 17:14).  
7The enemy has been destroyed; swords exist forever, and You have uprooted the cities-their remembrance is lost.   זהָֽאוֹיֵ֨ב | תַּ֥מּוּ חֳרָב֗וֹת לָ֫נֶ֥צַח וְעָרִ֥ים נָתַ֑שְׁתָּ אָבַ֖ד זִכְרָ֣ם הֵֽמָּה:
The enemy has been destroyed: for the swords of hatred are perpetually upon him like a sharp sword. Another explanation: חרבות לנצח that enemy, the swords of whose hatred were upon us forever. That is the one concerning whom it is stated (in Amos 1:11): “and kept their fury forever.” Another explanation: חרבות is an expression of destruction, and this is its interpretation: The enemy has been destroyed; his ruins are perpetual. And so it is stated (in Ezek. 35:9): “I will make you perpetual desolations, and your cities shall not be restored.”  
and You have uprooted the cities: “Should Edom say, ‘We are poor, but we will return and build the ruins’? So said the Lord of Hosts: ‘They shall build, but I shall demolish’” (Malachi 1:4).  
their remembrance is lost: at that time.  
8But the Lord shall sit forever; He has established His throne for judgment.   חוַֽיהֹוָה לְעוֹלָ֣ם יֵשֵׁ֑ב כּוֹנֵ֖ן לַמִּשְׁפָּ֣ט כִּסְאֽוֹ:
But the Lord shall sit forever, etc.: The Name shall be complete and the throne shall be complete, as it is written כסאו, but before it is erased, it is written (in Exod. 17:16): “For a hand is on the throne (כס) of the Eternal (י-ה).” The throne is lacking [i.e., it is spelled defectively] and the Name is divided [i.e., the final two letters of the Tetragrammaton are missing].  
9But He judges the world with righteousness, kingdoms with equity.   טוְה֗וּא יִשְׁפֹּט־תֵּבֵ֥ל בְּצֶ֑דֶק יָדִ֥ין לְ֜אֻמִּ֗ים בְּמֵֽישָׁרִֽים:
But He judges the world with righteousness, kingdoms with equity: Until the coming of the end, He was wont to judge them with clemency according to the equity found in them. He would judge them at night, when they would sleep and commit no sins.  
10And the Lord shall be a fortress for the crushed, a fortress for times of distress.   יוִ֘יהִ֣י יְהֹוָ֣ה מִשְׂגָּ֣ב לַדָּ֑ךְ מִ֜שְׂגָּ֗ב לְעִתּ֥וֹת בַּצָּרָֽה:
And the Lord shall be a fortress for the crushed: Heb. לדך, an expression of crushed, amenuyze in Old French. In the future, when He establishes His throne for judgment, He will be a fortress for Israel, who are crushed.  
for times of distress: lit., for times in distress.  
11And those who know Your name shall trust in You, for You have not forsaken those who seek You, O Lord.   יאוְיִבְטְח֣וּ בְ֖ךָ יֽוֹדְעֵ֣י שְׁמֶ֑ךָ כִּ֚י לֹֽא־עָזַ֖בְתָּ דֹּֽרְשֶׁ֣יךָ יְהֹוָֽה:
12Sing praises to the Lord, Who dwells in Zion; relate His deeds among the peoples.   יבזַמְּר֗וּ לַ֖יהֹוָה יֹשֵׁ֣ב צִיּ֑וֹן הַגִּ֥ידוּ בָ֜עַמִּ֗ים עֲלִֽילוֹתָֽיו:
Sing praises to the Lord, Who dwells in Zion: When He restores His dwelling to Zion, they will praise Him in this manner.  
13For He Who avenges blood remembers them; He has not forgotten the cry of the humble.   יגכִּֽי־דֹרֵ֣שׁ דָּ֖מִים אוֹתָ֣ם זָכָ֑ר לֹֽא־שָׁ֜כַ֗ח צַֽעֲקַ֥ת עֲנָוִֽים (כתיב עֲנָיִֽים) :
remembers them: The blood that was shed in Israel.  
14Be gracious to me, O Lord, see my affliction from my enemies, You Who raise me up from the gates of death,   ידחָֽנְנֵ֬נִי יְהֹוָה֨ רְאֵ֣ה עָ֖נְיִי מִשּֽׂנְאָ֑י מְ֜רֽוֹמְמִ֗י מִשַּֽׁעֲרֵי מָֽוֶת:
Be gracious to me, O Lord: now in exile.  
You Who raise me up: with Your redemption.  
15in order that I tell all Your praises; in the gates of the daughter of Zion I will rejoice in Your salvation.   טולְמַ֥עַן אֲסַפְּרָ֗ה כָּל־תְּהִלָּ֫תֶ֥יךָ בְּשַֽׁעֲרֵ֥י בַת־צִיּ֑וֹן אָ֜גִ֗ילָה בִּישֽׁוּעָתֶֽךָ:
16Nations have sunk in the pit they have made; in this net that they have concealed, their foot has become trapped.   טזטָֽבְע֣וּ ג֖וֹיִם בְּשַׁ֣חַת עָשׂ֑וּ בְּרֶֽשֶׁת־ז֥וּ טָ֜מָ֗נוּ נִלְכְּדָ֥ה רַגְלָֽם:
Nations have sunk: This is the praise that I will tell.  
17The Lord is known for the judgment that He performed; with the act of His hand, the wicked man stumbles. Let us meditate over this forever.   יזנ֚וֹדַ֨ע | יְהֹוָה֘ מִשְׁפָּ֪ט עָ֫שָׂ֥ה בְּפֹ֣עַל כַּ֖פָּיו נוֹקֵ֣שׁ רָשָׁ֑ע הִגָּי֥וֹן סֶֽלָה:
The Lord is known: All this is part of the praise: The Lord is known to the creatures; [it is known] that He governs and rules and wreaks vengeance upon His enemies, for He performs justice upon them, “justice” in French.  
the wicked man stumbles: Heb. נוקש, the wicked man stumbles.  
Let us meditate over this forever: הגיון סלה, lit. a constant meditation. Let us meditate over this forever.  
18May the wicked return to the grave, all nations who forget God.   יחיָשׁ֣וּבוּ רְשָׁעִ֣ים לִשְׁא֑וֹלָה כָּל־גּ֜וֹיִ֗ם שְׁכֵחֵ֥י אֱלֹהִֽים:
to the grave: Said Rabbi Nehemiah: Every word that requires a “lammed” in the beginning, Scripture places a “hey” at the end, e.g. מצרימה, to Egypt (Gen. 12:10); מדברה, to the desert (I Kings 19:15). They asked him: Is it not written: May the wicked return to the grave (לשאולה) ? Replied Rabbi Abba bar Zavda: To the lowest level of Sheol. What does it mean that they will return? After they emerge from Gehinnom and stand in judgment and are found guilty, they return to the lowest level of Gehinnom.  
19For the needy shall not be forgotten forever, neither shall the hope of the poor be lost to eternity.   יטכִּ֚י לֹ֣א לָ֖נֶצַח יִשָּׁכַ֣ח אֶבְי֑וֹן תִּקְוַ֥ת עֲ֜נִיִּ֗ים (כתיב עֲ֜נִוִּ֗ים) תֹּאבַ֥ד לָעַֽד:
For the needy shall not be forgotten forever: [i.e.,] Israel, the needy, [shall not be forgotten] from visiting upon them as they [the wicked nations] enslaved them, neither shall the hope of the poor be forgotten to eternity.  
20Arise, O Lord; let man have no power. May the nations be judged for Your anger.   כקוּמָ֣ה יְ֖הֹוָה אַל־יָעֹ֣ז אֱנ֑וֹשׁ יִשָּׁפְט֥וּ ג֜וֹיִ֗ם עַל־פָּנֶֽיךָ:
Arise, O Lord: David was praying before the Holy One, blessed be He, that He rise and hasten to do this.  
let… have no power: [i.e., let] the wicked man [not] enjoy longevity in his greatness.  
for Your anger: Because of the anger with which they angered You in Your sanctuary.  
21O Lord, place mastery over them; let the nations know that they forever are mortal man.   כאשִׁ֘יתָ֚ה יְהֹוָ֨ה | מוֹרָ֗ה לָ֫הֶ֥ם יֵדְע֥וּ גוֹיִ֑ם אֱנ֖וֹשׁ הֵ֣מָּה סֶּֽלָה:
mastery: Heb. מורה, mastery and a yoke (Mid. Ps. 9:16). Another explanation: מורה is an expression of hurling, as (in Exod. 15: 4), “He hurled (ירה) into the sea.” Others say that מורה is an expression meaning a razor.  
let the nations know: that they are human and not deities, that their might should rule.