שׁוּבָה יְהוָה חַלְּצָה נַפְשִׁ֑י הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי לְמַעַן חַסְדֶּֽךָ׃ (BHS)
Turn, LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love. (NIV)
Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love. (ESV)
In my basically English2 way of thinking, these are very different.
- because of = on account of = due to; i.e. introducing the cause
- for the sake of = for the benefit of (noun) | in order to (verb) = (by extension) in order to demonstrate (noun); i.e. introducing the effect
The latter is how the common phrase לְמַעַן שְׁמוֹ “for his name’s sake” seems to be generally understood and translated (including NIV), but “because” is also a well-attested meaning of לְמַעַן. “Because” makes a little more sense to me in the immediate context of Psalm 6:5, his ḥesed (≈"steadfast love”) being cited as a motivation for the act of saving. On the other hand, I suppose the ESV rendering means something like “in order to demonstrate your ḥesed”, which is also conceivable and would be consistent with the sense of the “for your name’s sake” refrain.3
Is the intended meaning that God’s ḥesed will motivate him to deliver or that he will deliver in order to demonstrate his ḥesed? Or am I the only one who feels like those are different?
1. Basically the same issue applies in 44:27, with פדה for ישע.
2. And this is most likely the problem.
3. It’s also possible that I don’t understand what “for your name’s sake” means. For the most part in the Psalms it seems possible to construe it either way (due to the nature of your name=character | in order to demonstrate/advance your name=reputation/glory). There are a bunch of these in Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah (mostly "... my name") that are also very confusing to me.