Psalm 74:13

Hebrew Bible

10 How long, O God, will the adversary hurl insults? Will the enemy blaspheme your name forever? 11 Why do you remain inactive? Intervene and destroy him. 12 But God has been my king from ancient times, performing acts of deliverance on the earth. 13 You destroyed the sea by your strength; you shattered the heads of the sea monster in the water. 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you fed him to the people who live along the coast. 15 You broke open the spring and the stream; you dried up perpetually flowing rivers.

Targum Psalm 74:13


10 How long, O God, will the oppressor show disdain? Will the enemy reject your name forever? 11 Why will you withdraw your hand, even your right hand, from redeeming? Take it out of your bosom and do away with oppression. 12 But God is the king, whose holy presence is from of old, one who carries out redemption in the midst of the land. 13 You cut off the waters of the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the sea serpents, and drowned the Egyptians at the sea. 14 You shattered the heads of Pharaoh’s warriors; you handed them over for destruction to the people of the house of Israel, and their corpses to jackals. 15 You split the spring from the rock and it became a stream; you dried up the ford of the streams of the Arnon and the ford of the Jabbok and the Jordan, which were so powerful.

 Notes and References

"... Psalm 74:12–17 is a hymn that interweaves themes of authority, combat, and creation. Elohim is described as a divine king who has divided Sea, shattered the heads of dragons, and crushed the heads of Leviathan (Psalm 74:13–14). The Targum of Psalm 74:13–14, however, states that the deity has drowned the Egyptians at the Reed Sea and crushed the heads of Pharaoh’s warriors. We see that the targumic reading adds several details that indicate a layering of exodus tradition ... By analyzing how the Targum clarifies, obscures, and comments on the Hebrew original, we may identify the creative exegetical work of those who retold biblical passages. In the case of Tg. Ps 74:12–17, the layering of exodus tradition within the hymn changes the narrative setting of Elohim’s activities, shifting from a primordial scene of combat and creation to an epic event from the story of the exodus. The exodus narrative was the foundational story of Israelite self-identification and provided the paradigm of the deity intervening in human affairs on behalf of the people. The final form of Psalm 74 is a hymn of national lament. The lament cites the deity’s past feats in order to provoke him to action within the current dismal situation. This provided a fitting literary context for later targumic transmitters to incorporate details from the paradigmatic story of delivery from distress through divine action ..."

Ballentine, Debra Scoggins "Revising a Myth: The Targum of Psalm 74 and the Exodus Tradition" in Hodge, Caroline Johnson, and Stanley Kent Stowers (eds.) The One Who Sows Bountifully: Essays in Honor of Stanley K. Stowers (pp. 107-117) Brown Judaic Studies, 2013

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