Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People? – 10

3. The Minions (Followers) of the Wicked. In the ESV, it says, “Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them” (Ps. 73:10). But in the NKJV, “And waters of a full cup are drained by them.” How come that both literal translations differ here? In the Hebrew, there are the words, “waters,” from mayim,” and “full” from male’. “Drained” here is from matsah, “to be drained out” in the Niphal stem (BDB); “to suck out; to squeeze out” (Strong). Thus, the Heb. literally reads, “waters of fullness are drained out to them.” It seems that the NKJV got it right here, literally; but in meaning, both got it right. Why did the ESV translate it, “and find no fault in them”? What does it mean?

When the powerful wicked speak their evil words, their followers drink from their words, like it is the water of life.[1]

I remember an anecdote about a general in former President Ferdinand Marcos’ army. One day, Pres. Marcos called him and said, “Are you loyal to me?” He said, “Yes, sir!” Then Pres. Marcos said, “Okay, jump.” The general answered, “Yes, sir. How high, sir?”

When the wicked speak, their followers accept it without question. When the proud wicked announce bad things, their followers follow it without finding fault. That’s how powerful they are!

Isn’t that how the followers of powerful people behave? They believe everything their “bossing says.” I don’t know if the armed men of a powerful political and tribal family in Maguindanao (Southern Philippines) questioned in their conscience the rightness or wrongness of the orders to kill all 57 men and women last November. But they did carry out the orders. Asaph said that the followers of the wicked accept every evil thing their boss does. They drain everything from their bosses, like draining water from a full cup. And they don’t find anything wrong with what their lords tell them.

4. The Might of the Wicked.Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches” (Ps. 73:12, ESV). Notice the word, “riches,” here in the ESV/NKJV. But the Hebrew for this is chayil, “Strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army” (BDB); “a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength” (Strong). Chayil can mean “riches” here or “strength.” I think “strength” fits well in the context. Psalm 73:6-10 talks about their pride and power. In this context, chayil should be translated, “strength.” Thus, the wicked increase in strength.

[1] Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, Bible Speak CD.


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