Psalm 10

Psalm 10


Why, O Lord,A do you standB far off?
    Why do you hideC yourself in timesD of trouble?E

Notes on verse 1

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “stand” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
C “hide” = alam. 9x in OT. This is to bind or tie fast. When applied to the mouth, it means to be silent or speechless. This can be voluntary or involuntary.
D “times” = eth. Probably from anah (to answer, sing, announce); from ad (forever, all, old); from adah (to pass on, advance, decorate oneself). This is a period or season. It can also mean whenever or continually.
E “trouble” = tsarah. From tsar (properly, a narrow or constricted place; figuratively, trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress); from tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). This is tightness, distress, affliction, trouble, or adversary.

In arroganceF the wickedG persecuteH the poorI
    let them be caughtJ in the schemesK they have devised.L

Notes on verse 2

F “arrogance” = gaavah. 19x in OT. From gaah (to rise up, be exalted, triumph; figuratively, be majestic). This is majesty, excellency, pride, or arrogance. It can also mean ornament.
G “wicked” = rasha. This is morally wrong so it refers to someone who is actively bad as wicked, criminal, an evil person, offender, condemned, or ungodly.
H “persecute” = dalaq. 9x in OT. This is to burn or flame in a literal or figurative sense. It can also be to chase or hotly pursue.
I “poor” = ani. From anah (to be bowed down; humility or being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is humble, lowly, poor, or afflicted.
J “caught” = taphas. This is to catch, seize, wield, capture. It can also mean to use unwarrantably.
K “schemes” = mezimmah. 19x in OT. From zamam (to devise, plot, imagine, intend, scheme, think evil; usually in an evil sense). This is generally an evil plan like a machination. It could also refer to goodness, wisdom.
L “devised” = chashab. This is properly to braid or interpenetrate. Literally it is to create or to wear. Figuratively, it can mean plotting – generally in a negative sense. More broadly, this can also mean think, consider, or make account of.

For the wicked boastM of the desiresN of their heart,O
    those greedy for gainP curseQ and renounceR the Lord.

Notes on verse 3

M “boast” = halal. This is to be clear – it originally referred to a sound, then a color. It was to shine and then make a show or boast then to rave. In a causative sense it came to mean celebrate, give glory, sing praise, or be worth of praise. Because of the celebratory nature of the word, it could also mean to give in marriage. This is where Hallelujah comes from.
N “desires” = taavah. From the same as avah (to desire, crave, wish for, lust after). This is what is desirable, a delight, greedy, satisfaction, a charm.
O “heart” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
P “greedy for gain” = batsa. 17x in OT. This is to break or cut off, to acquire violently, break ranks, greedy, fulfill. Usually, it means to plunder.
Q “curse” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
R “renounce” = naats. This is to spurn, reject, provoke, abhor, treat with contempt. It can also mean bloom or flourish.

4 In the prideS of their countenanceT the wicked say, “God will notU seekV it out”;
    all their thoughtsW are, “There is no God.”X

Notes on verse 4

S “pride” = gobah. 17x in OT. From gabah (to be tall, high, exalted, proud, haughty). This is height, high, raised platform, or elevation. It can also be loftiness, grandeur, or dignity in the positive sense or arrogance, pride, or haughty in the negative.
T “countenance” = aph. From anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.
U “not” = bal. From balah (to grow old, wear out, consume, waste, enjoy, fail, decay). This is not, lest, neither. Properly, it refers to a failure, so it implies nothing or not at all.
V “seek” = darash. This is seek, ask, inquire, care for. Generally it means following in pursuit or following as part of a search, which implies seeking or asking. Also used specially to mean worship.
W “thoughts” = mezimmah. Same as “schemes” in v2. See note K above.
X “God” = Elohim.

Their waysY prosperZ at all times;
    your judgmentsAA are on high,BB out of their sight;
    as for their foes,CC they scoffDD at them.

Notes on verse 5

Y “ways” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
Z “prosper” = chul. This is whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain. It is used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear. It can also be falling in pain or waiting.
AA “judgments” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
BB “on high” = marom. From rum (to be high, rise, exalted, become proud, display, offer, present, set apart, extol; to rise in a literal or figurative sense). This can be height, high place, or lofty. It can be either exalted or haughty/proud. It can refer to dignity or to heaven.
CC “foes” = tsarar. Related to “trouble” in v1. See note E above.
DD “scoff” = puach. 14x in OT. This is to puff, breathe or blow, whether the breath or air. It can also mean to light a fire, utter, speak, snore, hasten, or scoff.

They think in their heart,EE “We shall notFF be moved;GG
    throughout all generationsHH we shall not meet adversity.”II

Notes on verse 6

EE “heart” = leb. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.
FF “not” = bal. Same as “not” in v4. See note U above.
GG “be moved” = mot. This is to shake, slip, falter, stagger, move, fall, give way, waver, be carried.
HH “all generations” = dor + dor. Literally “generation and generation.” From dur (to move in a circle, which implies living somewhere or remaining there; it can also be the sense of piling or heaping up). This is a revolution of time, which is to say, an age or generation. It can also be a dwelling or one’s posterity.
II “adversity” = ra. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.

Their mouths are filledJJ with cursingKK and deceitLL and oppression;MM
    under their tonguesNN are mischiefOO and iniquity.PP

Notes on verse 7

JJ “filled” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
KK “cursing” = alah. From alah (to swear, take an oath, curse – usually negative). This is oath, curse, swearing.
LL “deceit” = mirmah. From ramah (to betray, deceive, beguile). This is deceit, treachery, guile, or fraud
MM “oppression” = tok. 3x in OT. Perhaps from tavek (among, middle, in the midst, center; perhaps properly to sever). This is injury, deceit, or oppression.
NN “tongues” = lashon. This is tongue, talker, language, or wedge. It can also be a tongue of flame or a water cove.
OO “mischief” = amal. From amal (to work – hard labor). This is trouble, toil, labor as well as misery, sorrow, or iniquity. It is word that wearies through effort so hence worry – can refer to body or mind.
PP “iniquity” = aven. Root may mean panting as one does when expending a lot of energy, especially when it comes to nothing. This is nothingness, trouble, sorrow, distress, wickedness, evil, harm, sorrow, misfortune, and mischief. It is also used specifically to refer to idols.

8 They sitQQ in ambushRR in the villages;SS
    in hiding placesTT they murderUU the innocent.VV

Notes on verse 8a

QQ “sit” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
RR “ambush” = maarab. 5x in OT. From arab (to ambush, lurk, lie in wait). This is ambush or a place where one lurks. This could refer to the trap itself, the place of ambush, or the troops involved in the ambush.
SS “villages” = chatser. From chatsar (to blow a trumpet, trumpeter, to surround); from chatsotsrah (trumpet). This is an enclosure or court – a yard that is fenced in. It could also be a village or hamlet that is walled in.
TT “hiding places” = mistar. 10x in OT. From sathar (hide, conceal, or be absent; hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense). This is a secret or a hiding place. Properly, it is something or somewhere that conceals like a covert.
UU “murder” = harag. This is to strike with deadly intent so it can be kill, destroy, murder, or put to death.
VV “innocent” = naqiy. From naqah (to be empty, cleanse, acquit; to be clean in a literal or figurative sense). This is blameless, innocent, free from punishment, or clear.

Their eyes stealthily watchWW for the helpless;XX
    they lurkYY in secretZZ like a lionAAA in its covert;BBB

Notes on verses 8b-9a

WW “stealthily watch” = tsaphan. This is to hide something by covering it. It implies hoarding or keeping something in reserve. It can mean to protect or to lurk.
XX “helpless” = chelekah. 3x in OT. Root may mean to be dark. This is someone who is unfortunate, poor, or unhappy.
YY “lurk” = arab. Related to “ambush” in v8. See note RR above.
ZZ “secret” = mistar. Same as “hiding places” in v8. See note TT above.
AAA “lion” = ari. From arah (to gather or pluck). This is a young lion.
BBB “covert” = sok. 4x in OT. From sakak (to interweave, knit). This is a lair, thicket, den, or hiding place. It could also be a den or pavilion as made of intertwined boughs.

they lurk that they may seizeCCC the poor;
    they seize the poor and drag them offDDD in their net.EEE

Notes on verse 9b

CCC “seize” = chataph. 3x in OT. This is to catch or seize as one captures a prisoner.
DDD “drag…off” = mashak. This is to draw, drag, or pull. It can mean sow, march, remove, draw along, continue, extend, or prolong.
EEE “net” = resheth. From yarash (inheriting or dispossessing; refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them; by implication, to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish). This is a net used to capture animals.

10 They stoop,FFF they crouch,GGG
    and the helpless fallHHH by their might.III

Notes on verse 10

FFF “stoop” = dakah. 5x in OT. This is to crush or break. It is collapse whether in the body or in the mind. It can also mean to crouch or be contrite (asin Psalm 51:17 “a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise”).
GGG “crouch” = shachach. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
HHH “fall” = naphal. This is to fall, whether by accident, to fall prostrate, or to fall in violent death. Figuratively, it can refer to personal ruin or calamity, a city falling, an attack or a falling away. It can also be a deep sleep or wasting away.
III “might” = atsum. From atsom (to be many or mighty; could also refer to breaking bones). This is mighty or mighty one. It means powerful, which implies large numbers.

11 They think in their heart, “GodJJJ has forgotten,KKK
    he has hiddenLLL his face, he will neverMMM see it.”

Notes on verse 11

JJJ “God” = el.
KKK “forgotten” = shakach. This is to forget or mislay – it is not knowing because of forgetfulness or inattentiveness.
LLL “hidden” = sathar. Related to “hiding places” in v8. See note TT above.
MMM “never” = balnetsach. Literally “not continually.” Bal is the same as “not” in v4. See note U above. Netsach is from natsach (something that glitters from a distance or stands out, excels, has status/standing; also to be permanent or enduring). This is properly a goal or destination as the bright focus to which one journeys. It can be splendor, truthfulness, or confidence. Most often, it refers to everlastingness, always, continually.

12 Rise up,NNN O Lord; O God,OOO lift upPPP your hand;QQQ
    do not forget the oppressed.RRR

Notes on verse 12

NNN “rise up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
OOO “God” = el.
PPP “lift up” = nasa. This to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
QQQ “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
RRR “oppressed” = ani. Same as “poor” in v2. See note I above.

13 Why do the wicked renounce God,SSS
    and say in their hearts, “You will not call us to account”?TTT

14 But you do see! Indeed you noteUUU troubleVVV and grief,WWW
    that you may take it into your hands;

Notes on verses 13-14a

SSS “God” = Elohim.
TTT “call us to account” = darash. Same as “seek” in v4. See note V above.
UUU “note” = nabat. This is to behold, look at intently, consider, or scan. It can mean to have respect or regard someone favorably.
VVV “trouble” = amal. Same as “mischief” in v7. See note OO above.
WWW “grief” = ka’as. From ka’as (to be angry, trouble, provoke, spite, grieve, have sorrow). This is vexation or anger.

the helpless commitXXX themselves to you;
    you have been the helperYYY of the orphan.ZZZ

Notes on verse 14b

XXX “commit” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
YYY “helper” = azar. This is to surround, which implies encircling to protect someone or help them out. It can also be help, ally, or support.
ZZZ “orphan” = yathom. This is a child without a father or more generally a person who is bereaved.

15 BreakAAAA the armBBBB of the wicked and evildoers;CCCC
    seek out their wickednessDDDD until you findEEEE none.FFFF

Notes on verse 15

AAAA “break” = shabar. This is break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear. It is bursting in a literal or figurative sense.
BBBB “arm” = zeroa. Perhaps from zara (to sow, scatter seed, conceive). This is the arm, shoulder, or foreleg of an animal. It is figuratively used for power, force, might, or help.
CCCC “evildoers” = ra. Same as “adversity” in v6. See note II above.
DDDD “wickedness” = resha. Related to “wicked” in v2. From the same as rasha (see note G above). This is wrong, particularly moral wrong. It can we wickedness, evil, wicked deeds, or something that is ill-gotten.
EEEE “find” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.
FFFF “none” = bal. Same as “not” in v4. See note U above.

16 The Lord is king foreverGGGG and ever;HHHH
    the nationsIIII shall perishJJJJ from his land.

Notes on verse 16

GGGG “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
HHHH “ever” = ad. From adah (to advance or continue; to take away or remove; adorning oneself with ornaments). This is old, perpetuity, eternity. It is a duration going back or forward.
IIII “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
JJJJ “perish” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.

17 O Lord, you will hearKKKK the desire of the meek;LLLL
    you will strengthenMMMM their heart, you will inclineNNNN your ear

Notes on verse 17

KKKK “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
LLLL “meek” = anav. Related to “poor” in v2. From anah (see note I above). This is poor, needy, afflicted as well as humble or meek.
MMMM “strengthen” = kun. Properly, this means in a perpendicular position. So, it is set up in a literal sense – establish, fix, fasten, prepare. In a figurative sense, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous.
NNNN “incline” = qashab. To listen, pay attention to, incline – used in the phrase incline the ears.

18 to do justiceOOOO for the orphan and the oppressed,PPPP
    so that those from earth may strike terrorQQQQ noRRRR more.

Notes on verse 18

OOOO “do justice” = shaphat. Related to “judgments” n v5. See note above.
PPPP “oppressed” = dak. 4x in OT. This is crushed so figuratively it refers to the injured or afflicted.
QQQQ “strike terror” = arats. 15x in OT. This is to tremble, dread, stand in awe, oppress, harass.
RRRR “no” = bal. Same as “not” in v4. See note U above.

Image credit: “King Saul” by Lidia Kozenitzky

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