He undoes the chains of kings, and puts his band on them;
He divests kings of their royal garments, then ties a rag around their waists.
He loosens the bonds of kings, And binds their waist with a belt.
He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a belt.
He loosens kings' belts and strips them of their pants.
He loosens* the bonds* of kings and binds a loincloth* around their waist.
12:18 He loosens916
tn The verb may be classified as a gnomic perfect, or possibly a potential perfect – “he can loosen.” The Piel means “to untie; to unbind” (Job 30:11; 38:31; 39:5).
tc There is a potential textual difficulty here. The MT has מוּסַר (musar, “discipline”), which might have replaced מוֹסֵר (moser, “bond, chain”) from אָסַר (’asar,“to bind”). Or מוּסַר might be an unusual form of אָסַר (an option noted in HALOT 557 s.v. *מוֹסֵר). The line is saying that if the kings are bound, God can set them free, and in the second half, if they are free, he can bind them. Others take the view that this word “bond” refers to the power kings have over others, meaning that God can reduce kings to slavery.
and binds a loincloth918
tn Some commentators want to change אֵזוֹר (’ezor, “girdle”) to אֵסוּר (’esur, “bond”) because binding the loins with a girdle was an expression for strength. But H. H. Rowley notes that binding the king’s loins this way would mean so that he would do servitude, menial tasks. Such a reference would certainly indicate troubled times.