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Psalm 56:11-12 (NASB)

11 In God I have put my [a]trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You.

Psalm 56:11-12 (KJV)

11 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

12 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

Psalm 56:11-12 (NET)

11 in God I trust; I am not afraid. What can mere men[a] do to me?[b] 12 I am obligated to fulfill the vows I made to you, O God;[c] I will give you the thank offerings you deserve,[d]

Psalm 56:11-12 (NLT)

11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

12 I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.

Psalm 56:11-12 (WLC) תהילים 56:11-12

11 בֵּֽ֭אלֹהִים אֲהַלֵּ֣ל דָּבָ֑ר בַּ֝יהוָ֗ה אֲהַלֵּ֥ל דָּבָֽר׃ 12 בֵּֽאלֹהִ֣ים בָּ֭טַחְתִּי לֹ֣א אִירָ֑א מַה־יַּעֲשֶׂ֖ה אָדָ֣ם לִֽי׃

Some Bible translations emphasize God's vows to the author of Psalm 56 while it's vice versa for the other Bible translation.

Is Psalm 56:12 talking about God's vows to the author of said Psalm?

Or

Is Psalm 56:12 talking about the Author's vows to God?

Or

Is Psalm 56:12 in the Hebrew(WLC) something that suggests a 2-way agreement(or vow) between God and the author of the Psalm?

Would a more "dynamic equivalence" translation be something like the following?

Our 2-way agreement will be fulfilled, O God, and I will Thank You.

Update: @nigel-j brings up a good point about No such '2-way' agreements existing. It's probably a poor choice of wording on my part to use the word "agreement" in this case. However, I feel that the various Psalm 56:11-12 English translations probably poorly translate the original Hebrew.

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    The vows of the psalmist(s) are all voluntary. There is no 'negotiated' agreement between two parties. The person vowing makes a promise and then fulfills the promise. The other party is not contracted into the activity. No such '2-way' agreements exist. God's promises to his people are also personal promises which are then personally fulfilled. (This is how love works.) – Nigel J Aug 7 '20 at 2:03
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The vows of the psalmist(s) are all voluntary. There is no 'negotiated' agreement between two parties. The person vowing makes a promise and then fulfills the promise.

The other party is not contracted into the activity. No such '2-way' agreements exist.

God's promises to his people are also personal promises which are then personally fulfilled.

(This is how love works.)

It is the law that is based on a contracted agreement of two parties. That's why there are two copies, one on each table of stone at Sinai. Two parties, a contract, and a copy to each of the contracted, to keep and to document what was agreed. The stone tables were a contract. And Israel demonstrably failed in their part of the bargain, witness the Assyrian captivity and the Babylonian captivity and many, many other examples of faithless behaviour.

For 'the law made nothing perfect'. But a better hope did, Hebrews 7:19.

And 'love is the fulfilling' of all law, Romans 13:10.

And 'we love him, because he first loved us', 1 John 4:19.

And thus, 'the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit', Romans 5:5.

And now, we are not required to make any vows. But if we choose to do so, then love would require us to fulfill what we have promised, even if it is to our own detriment to actually fulfill it.

He sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. [Psalm 15:4, KJV]

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Contracts in the Bible are of three types:

  1. Those initiated by God, eg, with Noah and all mankind, Abrahamic covenant, Israelite covenant, Levitical covenant, etc. This type is usually called a "Covenant".
  2. Those contracted between equal parties, eg, the agreement between Israel and the Gibeonites. This is usually called a Treaty (between nations), or a simply an agreement, eg, between David and Jonathon.
  3. Those initiated by a human to demonstrate piety toward God. These are usually called a vow; eg, the Nazarite vow (eg, Samson and others), Paul's vow to shave his head in Acts 21:24, etc.

The "vow" alluded to in Ps 56:11, 12 are definitely of the third variety. Such vows are entirely voluntary, but once made it was mandatory to fulfill the vow.

Now, while vows were entirely voluntary, David's vows to God were made on the basis of God's promise of protection as per the Israelite covenant promises as recorded in the "Book of the Covenant" (Ex 24:7) and listed in Ex 23:20-33. Here God promises protection from enemies and secure borders.

David's vows, (which are not stated) were a voluntary act of devotion and here he promises to fulfill those vows. The pulpit commentary observes:

Thy vows are upon me, O God. The psalmist, under his affliction, has made vows to God; i.e. promises of thank offerings if God would come to his aid, and save him from his enemies. These vows he considers to be now due, and himself to be under the obligation of paying them. Accordingly, he announces his intention of speedily discharging his obligation - I will render praises (rather, thank offerings) unto thee.

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The actual Hebrew verses are in [Tehillim (Psalms) 56:12-13].

[56:12] “In God I trusted, I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (בֵּֽאלֹהִ֣ים בָּ֖טַחְתִּי לֹ֣א אִירָ֑א מַה־יַּֽעֲשֶׂ֖ה אָדָ֣ם לִֽי)

[56:13] “Upon me, God, are Your vows; I will pay thanksgiving offerings to You.” (עָלַ֣י אֱלֹהִ֣ים נְדָרֶ֑יךָ אֲשַׁלֵּ֖ם תּוֹד֣וֹת לָֽךְ)

  • David states in line [56:11] that his offering is “praise”.

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