Psalm 105

Psalm 105


1 O give thanksI to the Lord,II callIII on his name,IV

Notes on verse 1a

I “give thanks” = yadah. From yad (hand). This is to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise. So, it is to praise, give thanks, or make a confession.
II “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.
III “call” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
IV “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

    make knownV his deedsVI among the peoples.VII

Notes on verse 1b

V “make known” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
VI “deeds” = alilah. From alal (to affect, do, practice, mock, overdo, glean, abuse, pain). This is a deed or action – something that causes an effect. It could be a wanton or shameful deed or an opportunity.
VII “peoples” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.

SingVIII to him, sing praisesIX to him;
    tellX of allXI his wonderful works.XII

Notes on verse 2

VIII “sing” = shir. From shir (song, singer). This is to sing. It could also refer to one who is singing or leading others in song.
IX “sing praises” = zamar. Perhaps from zamar (to trim or prune). This is making music. It is used specially of music to worship God. So, music with singing, singing praise, or singing psalms.
X “tell” = siach. From siach (musing, meditation, communication, babbling, prayer, contemplation). This is to muse, meditate, complain, sing, sigh, speak, or utter.
XI “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
XII “wonderful works” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.

3 GloryXIII in his holyXIV name;
    let the heartsXV of those who seekXVI the Lord rejoice.XVII

Notes on verse 3

XIII “glory” = 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.
XIV “holy” = qodesh. This is set apart and so sacred. God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart. Things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.
XV “hearts” = 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.
XVI “seek” = baqash. This is to seek, ask, desire, or request. It can be any kind of searching. It can also mean to worship or pray – implies a striving for.
XVII “rejoice” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.

SeekXVIII the Lord and his strength;XIX
    seekXX his presenceXXI continually.XXII

Notes on verse 4

XVIII “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.
XIX “strength” = oz. From azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; it means to be stout literally or figuratively. A Late Hebrew word). This is strength in the sense of force, majesty, praise, material and physical strength, the abstract notion of security. It can also speak of social or political power.
XX “seek” = baqash. Same as “seek” in v3. See note XVI above.
XXI “presence” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
XXII “continually” = tamid. May come from a word that means to stretch. This word means an indefinite period of time. So, it could be regular or daily. It could also be constantly, continually, always, or perpetually.

5 RememberXXIII the wonderful works he has done,XXIV
    his miracles,XXV and the judgmentsXXVI he has uttered,XXVII

Notes on verse 5

XXIII “remember” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
XXIV “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
XXV “miracles” = mopheth. Perhaps from yaphah (to be beautiful, decorate; root means being bright, which implies being beautiful). This is a wonder, miracle, symbol, sign, or omen.
XXVI “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.
XXVII “uttered” = peh. Literally, “of his mouth.” This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.

6 O offspringXXVIII of his servantXXIX Abraham,XXX
    childrenXXXI of Jacob,XXXII his chosen ones.XXXIII

Notes on verse 6

XXVIII “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
XXIX “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
XXX “Abraham” = Abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
XXXI “children” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
XXXII “Jacob” = Yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
XXXIII “chosen ones” = bachir. From bachar (to choose, appoint, try, excellent). This is chosen or choice. So, it implies excellence.

7 He is the Lord our God;XXXIV
    his judgments are in all the earth.XXXV
8 He is mindfulXXXVI of his covenantXXXVII forever,XXXVIII

Notes on verses 7-8a

XXXIV “God” = Elohim.
XXXV “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
XXXVI “is mindful” = zakar. Same as “remember” in v5. See note XXIII above.
XXXVII “covenant” = berit. Perhaps from barah (to eat, choose, make clear); perhaps from bar (grain, wheat); from bara (to select, purify, cleanse, test, brighten, polish). This is a compact, covenant, alliance, treaty, or league.
XXXVIII “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

    of the wordXXXIX that he commanded,XL for a thousandXLI generations,XLII

Notes on verses 7-8a

XXXIX “word” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
XL “commanded” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).
XLI “thousand” = eleph. Perhaps from the same as eleph (herd, cattle); from alaph (to learn, speak, associate with). This is thousand.
XLII “generations” = dor. 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.

the covenant that he madeXLIII with Abraham,
    his sworn promiseXLIV to Isaac,XLV

Notes on verse 9

XLIII “made” = karat. This is to cut down, cut off, or make a covenant (idiom for making a covenant is “to cut a covenant”). It can also mean to destroy, fail, or consume.
XLIV “sworn promise” = shebuah. From sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness); from shaba (to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant; properly, to be complete; this is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times). This is oath or curse.
XLV “Isaac” = Yischaq. 4x in OT. From Yitschaq (Isaac; a name meaning “he laughs”); from tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way).  This is an alternate spelling of Isaac, meaning “he will laugh.”

10 which he confirmedXLVI to Jacob as a statute,XLVII
    to IsraelXLVIII as an everlastingXLIX covenant,

Notes on verse 10

XLVI “confirmed” = 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.
XLVII “statute” = choq. From chaqaq (to inscribe, carve, or decree; a lawmaker; literally, this is engraving, but it implies enacting a law because laws were carved into stone or metal). This is statute, boundary, condition, custom, limit, ordinance It is something that is prescribed or something that is owed.
XLVIII “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “God” in v7. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note XXXIV above). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
XLIX “everlasting” = olam. Same as “forever” in v8. See note XXXVIII above.

11 saying,L “To you I will giveLI the landLII of CanaanLIII
    as your portionLIV for an inheritance.”LV

Notes on verse 11

L “saying” = amar. This is to say, answer, or call.
LI “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
LII “land” = erets. Same as “earth” in v7. See note XXXV above.
LIII “Canaan” = Kna’an. From kana’ (to be humble, subdue; properly, bend the knee). This is Canaan, his descendants, and the land where they settled. This could mean lowlands, describing their land or subjugated in reference to being conquered by Egypt. See
LIV “portion” = chebel. From chabal (to bind, pledge, or wind tight; figuratively, can refer to perverting or destroying something; can also be used of writhing in pain, particularly in reference to childbirth). This is a band, rope, measuring line, noose. It can be a company, territory, or country. It can also refer to a throe of labor or ruin.
LV “inheritance” = nachalah. Related to nachal (to inherit, occupy, distribute, take as heritage). This is properly something that was inherited. It can mean occupancy generally or, more particularly, an heirloom or an estate. This can be an inheritance, gift, possession, or portion.

12 When they wereLVI fewLVII in number,LVIII
    of little account,LIX and strangersLX in it,

Notes on verse 12

LVI “were” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note II above.
LVII “few” = math. Perhaps from the same as mathay (when, how, length of time). This is a man, associate, friend, number. It is an adult or mortal.
LVIII “number” = mispar. From the same as sepher (writing itself or something that is written like a document, book, letter, evidence, bill, scroll, or register); from saphar (to tally or record something; to enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare). This is a number, whether definite or symbolic – could be innumerable, few, abundance. It can also be a tally or account – or a narration.
LIX “of little account” = me’at. From ma’at (being or becoming small, decrease, diminish, pare off). This is a little or few, lightly little while, very small matter.
LX “strangers” = gur. Properly, this is the act of turning off the road for any reason. So, it means sojourning, becoming a guest. It can mean being fearful since one is outside of home territory. It can also mean dwelling, living, or inhabiting if one has turned off the root to encamp for a longer duration. This word is where the Hebrew “ger” comes from, which is the word translated “stranger” or “resident alien.”

13 wanderingLXI from nationLXII to nation,
    from one kingdomLXIII to another people,

Notes on verse 13

LXI “wandering” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
LXII “nation” = 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.
LXIII “kingdom” = mamlakah. From the same as melek (king, royal). This is kingdom, dominion, sovereignty, rule. It can also refer to the realm.

14 he allowedLXIV no oneLXV to oppressLXVI them;
    he rebukedLXVII kingsLXVIII on their account,
15 saying, “Do not touchLXIX my anointed ones;LXX
    do my prophetsLXXI no harm.”LXXII

Notes on verses 14-15

LXIV “allowed” = yanach. Perhaps from the same as nuach (to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait; implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense). This is to lay down, let alone, pacify, cast down, or deposit. It can also mean to allow something or someone to stay.
LXV “one” = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
LXVI “oppress” = ashaq. This is to wrong, deceive, violate, or use oppression.
LXVII “rebuked” = yakach. This is to decide, be right, argue, or convince. It can also be to decide, convict, reason together, or reprove.
LXVIII “kings” = melek. Related to “kingdom” in v13. See note LXIII above.
LXIX “touch” = naga. This is touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike. This is touching for any reason including sexual or violent.
LXX “anointed ones” = mashiach. From mashach (to smear or anoint; to run oil on, to consecrate). This is the anointed or consecrated one. So, it could refer to a king, priest, or saint. It is also the root of the word “messiah.”
LXXI “prophets” = nabi. This is prophet, prophecy, speaker, or someone inspired.
LXXII “do…harm” = ra’a’. This is to be evil, bad, afflict. Properly, it means to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces. Figuratively, it is to cause something to be worthless. It is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense – something that displeases, does harm or mischief, punishes or vexes.

16 When he summonedLXXIII famineLXXIV against the land,
    and brokeLXXV everyLXXVI staffLXXVII of bread,LXXVIII

Notes on verse 16

LXXIII “summoned” = qara. Same as “call” in v1. See note III above.
LXXIV “famine” = raab. From raeb (to be hungry). This is hunger, death, or hunger from famine.
LXXV “broke” = shabar. This is break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear. It is bursting in a literal or figurative sense.
LXXVI “every” = kol. Same as “all” in v2. See note XI above.
LXXVII “staff” = matteh. From natah (to stretch or spread out, extend, bend). This is a staff, rod, branch, or tribe. It could be a rod for discipline or correction. It could be a scepter to indicate authority, a throwing lance, or a walking staff. Figuratively, it could also be something that supports life (like bread).
LXXVIII “bread” = lechem. From lacham (to eat, feed on). This is bread, food, loaf. It can refer to food more generally for people or for animals.

17 he had sentLXXIX a manLXXX aheadLXXXI of them,
    Joseph,LXXXII who was soldLXXXIII as a slave.LXXXIV

Notes on verse 17

LXXIX “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
LXXX “man” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
LXXXI “ahead” = paneh. Same as “presence” in v4. See note XXI above.
LXXXII “Joseph” = Yoseph. From yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases” or “let him add.”
LXXXIII “sold” = makar. This is to sell – could be commerce/trade, a daughter to be married, someone into slavery. Figuratively, it can mean to surrender.
LXXXIV “slave” = ebed. Same as “servant” in v6. See note XXIX above.

18 His feetLXXXV were hurtLXXXVI with fetters,LXXXVII
    his neckLXXXVIII was putLXXXIX in a collar of iron;XC

Notes on verse 18

LXXXV “feet” = regel. This is foot, endurance, or journey. It is a foot as the means of walking and so it implies a step or a greater journey. It can be used euphemistically for private parts.
LXXXVI “were hurt” = anah. This is to be bowed down. It can refer to a sense of humility or to a sense of being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed. This can be literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance.
LXXXVII “fetters” = kebel. 2x in OT. Root may mean to braid together. This is a fetter.
LXXXVIII “neck” = 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.
LXXXIX “put” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XC “iron” = barzel. From the same as Birzoth (a name meaning holes). Root may mean to pierce. This is iron as something used as a cutting implement. It can also specifically mean ax head.

19 until what he had saidXCI came to pass,XCII
    the wordXCIII of the Lord kept testingXCIV him.
20 The king sent and releasedXCV him;
    the rulerXCVI of the peoples set him free.XCVII

Notes on verses 19-20

XCI “what he had said” = dabar. Same as “word” in v8. See note XXXIX above.
XCII “came to pass” = bo. Same as “put” in v18. See note LXXXIX above.
XCIII “word” = imrah. Related to “saying” in v11. From emer (speech, thing, utterance, promise, argument, command); from amar (see note L above). This is any kind of utterance, a word or commandment.
XCIV “kept testing” = tsaraph. This is to refine, smalt, or fuse metal. It can also refer to the smelter (goldsmith or silversmith). Figuratively, this is refine in a literal or figurative sense – to test or try, make pure.
XCV “released” = nathar. 8x in OT. This is to jump, spring, undo, be greatly agitated, untie, or terrify.
XCVI “ruler” = mashal. This is to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield.
XCVII “set…free” = patach. This is to open wide in a literal or figurative sense. So, it is open, draw out, let something go free, break forth. It can also mean to plow, engrave, or carve.

21 He madeXCVIII him lordXCIX of his house,C
    and ruler of all his possessions,CI
22 to instructCII his officialsCIII at his pleasure,CIV
    and to teach his eldersCV wisdom.CVI

Notes on verses 21-22

XCVIII “made” = sum. Related to “name” in v1. See note IV above.
XCIX “lord” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
C “house” = bayit. Related to “children” in v6. Probably from banah (see note XXXI above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
CI “possessions” = qinyan. 10x in OT. From qanah (to get, acquire, purchase, move to jealousy, buyer, keep cattle). This is possession, substance, creation, wealth.
CII “instruct” = asar. This is to tie, yoke, bind, or fasten. It can mean to harness an animal, to join in fighting a battle, or to imprison someone.
CIII “officials” = sar. This is chief, leader, ruler, lord, official, governor, prince, military leader. It refers to someone at the top of a rank or class.
CIV “pleasure” = nephesh. Same as “neck” in v18. See note LXXXVIII above.
CV “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
CVI “teach…wisdom” = chakam. This is to be wise or teach wisdom. It is wisdom in thought, word, or action.

23 Then Israel cameCVII to Egypt;CVIII
    Jacob lived as an alienCIX in the land of Ham.CX

Notes on verse 23

CVII “came” = bo. Same as “put” in v18. See note LXXXIX above.
CVIII “Egypt” = Mitsrayim. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egypt.
CIX “lived as an alien” = gur. Same as “strangers” in v12. See note LX above.
CX “Ham” = Cham. 16x in OT. Perhaps from the same as cham (hot, warm); from chamam (to be warm, heat; to be hot in a literal or figurative sense; to mate). This is Ham, meaning “hot” or “protective wall.” See

24 And the Lord made his people veryCXI fruitful,CXII
    and made them strongerCXIII than their foes,CXIV
25 whose hearts he then turnedCXV to hateCXVI his people,
    to deal craftilyCXVII with his servants.

Notes on verses 24-25

CXI “very” = meod.  Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
CXII “made…fruitful” = parah. This is to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase. It is bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense.
CXIII “made…stronger” = atsam. This is vast, numerous, strong. It can be to close one’s eyes, to make powerful, or to break bones.
CXIV “foes” = tsar. From tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). Properly, this is a narrow or constricted place. Figuratively, it can be trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress.
CXV “turned” = haphak. This is to turn, overturn, change, return, turn over, pervert.
CXVI “hate” = sane. This is to hate, an enemy. It is a personal hatred and not an abstract one.
CXVII “deal craftily” = nakal. 4x in OT. This is to deceive, defraud, be crafty or treacherous. It can also mean to conspire.

26 He sent his servant Moses,CXVIII
    and AaronCXIX whom he had chosen.CXX
27 They performedCXXI, CXXII his signsCXXIII among them,
    and miracles in the land of Ham.

Notes on verses 26-27

CXVIII “Moses” = Mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
CXIX “Aaron” = Aharon. Derivation uncertain. May mean “bearer of martyrs” OR be related to Ancient Egyptian ꜥḥꜣ rw (warrior lion) OR elevated, exalted, high mountain. This is Aaron. See
CXX “chosen” = bachar. Related to “chosen ones” in v6. See note XXXIII above.
CXXI “performed” = sum. Same as “made” in v21. See note XCVIII above.
CXXII {untranslated} = dabar. Same as “word” in v8. See note XXXIX above.
CXXIII “signs” = ot. From avah (to mark, sign, point out); OR from uth (to agree). This is a sign in a literal or figurative sense. It could be a flag or monument. It could be evidence or a mark. It could also be an omen or a miracle. 

28 He sent darkness,CXXIV and made the land dark;CXXV
    they rebelledCXXVI against his words.
29 He turned their watersCXXVII into blood,CXXVIII
    and caused their fishCXXIX to die.CXXX

Notes on verses 28-29

CXXIV “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.
CXXV “made…dark” = chashak. Related to “darkness” in v28. 18x in OT. See note CXXIV above.
CXXVI “rebelled” = marah. This is to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient. It can be to be or make bitter or unpleasant. Figuratively, it is to rebel or resist and causatively to provoke. This is the root of “Miriam.”
CXXVII “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
CXXVIII “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
CXXIX “fish” = dagah. 15x in OT. From dag (fish, fishing); perhaps from da’ag (to fear, be worried, sorrow, be concerned, be anxious, be sorry). This is fish – perhaps as creatures that move by squirming.
CXXX “caused…to die” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.

30 Their land swarmedCXXXI with frogs,CXXXII
    even in the chambersCXXXIII of their kings.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,CXXXIV
    and gnatsCXXXV throughoutCXXXVI their country.CXXXVII

Notes on verses 30-31

CXXXI “swarmed” = sharats. 14x in OT. This is to swarm, creep, abound, breed a lot, wriggle.
CXXXII “frogs” = tsephardea. 13x in OT – used of the second plague of Egypt in Exodus 8 and twice in the Psalms referring to that event. Perhaps from tsaphar (to skip about, maybe to depart) + a word for swamp. This is frog. It is perhaps as one who jumps from a marsh.
CXXXIII “chambers” = cheder. From chadar (to surround or enclose; a room as enclosed; also, by analogy, besieging). This is a chamber or room that is private. Can mean the innermost chamber of a house.
CXXXIV “swarms of flies” = arob. 9x in OT– used of the fourth plague of Egypt in Exodus 8 and twice in the Psalms referring to that event. From the same as ereb (mixed company, woof of a cloth, mixture); from arab (to bargain, barter, give or take in pledge; to braid or intermingle). This is a swarm – perhaps of flies or mosquitos.
CXXXV “gnats” = ken. 6x in OT. Perhaps from kanan (vineyard, to plant); related to kannah (shoot). This is many gnats or lice. It can also mean manner.
CXXXVI “throughout” = kol. Same as “all” in v2. See note XI above.
CXXXVII “country” = gebul. Perhaps from gabal (to border, twist like rope). This is boundary, limit, coast, space. Properly, it is a line that is twisted, which implies a boundary and, by extension, the boundaries of a territory or other enclosed space.

32 He gave them hail for rain,CXXXVIII
    and lightningCXXXIX that flashedCXL through their land.
33 He struckCXLI their vinesCXLII and fig trees,
    and shatteredCXLIII the treesCXLIV of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locustsCXLV came,
    and young locustsCXLVI without number;

Notes on verses 32-34

CXXXVIII “rain” = geshem. Perhaps from gasham (to rain). This is rain, shower, or rainy. It can be used figuratively for blessing or for destruction.
CXXXIX “lightning” = esh. This is fire, burning, flaming, hot. It is fire in a literal or figurative sense.
CXL “flashed” = lehabah. 19x in OT. From lahab (flame, flashing, bright; figuratively, a blade or the point of a spear). This is a flame, blazing, head of a spear.
CXLI “struck” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
CXLII “vines” = gephen. Root may mean to twine or bend. So, it is a vine, particularly referring to grapes.
CXLIII “shattered” = shabar. Same as “broke” in v16. See note LXXV above.
CXLIV “trees” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.
CXLV “locusts” = arbeh. From rabah (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is a locust from its abundance – a swarming locust or grasshopper.
CXLVI “young locusts” = yeleq. 9x in OT. Root may mean to lick up. So, this is one that devours, a young locust or caterpillar.

35 they devouredCXLVII all the vegetationCXLVIII in their land,
    and ate upCXLIX the fruitCL of their ground.CLI
36 He struck down all the firstbornCLII in their land,
    the first issueCLIII of all their strength.CLIV

Notes on verses 35-36

CXLVII “devoured” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
CXLVIII “vegetation” = eseb. Root may mean to be green or to glisten. This is grass or some other tender shoot.
CXLIX “ate up” = akal. Same as “devoured” in v35. See note CXLVII above.
CL “fruit” = peri. Related to “made…fruitful” in v24. From parah (see note CXII above). This is fruit or reward.
CLI “ground” = adamah. Related to “one” in v14. From the same as adam (see note LXV above). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.
CLII “firstborn” = bekor. From bakar (to bear fruit, be firstborn, firstling, that which opens the womb, give the birthright to). This is firstborn or chief.
CLIII “first issue” = reshith. From rosh (head, captain, or chief; excellent or the forefront; first in position or in statue or in time). This is beginning, first place, highest rank, chief thing.
CLIV “strength” = on. 12x in OT. Perhaps from aven (root may mean panting as one does when expending a lot of energy, especially when it comes to nothing; nothingness, trouble, sorrow, distress, wickedness, evil, harm, sorrow, misfortune, and mischief.; used specifically to refer to idols). This is strength, power, ability, wealth, substance, or vigor.

37 Then he brought Israel outCLV with silverCLVI and gold,CLVII
    and there was no one among their tribesCLVIII who stumbled.CLIX

Notes on verse 37

CLV “brought…out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
CLVI “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
CLVII “gold” = zahab. Root may mean to shimmer. This is gold or something that has the color of gold like oil. It can also refer to a clear sky – to good weather.
CLVIII “tribes” = shebet. This is a rod, staff, club, scepter, dart, or tribe. Literally a stick that can be used for punishing, writing, fighting, walking, ruling; thus, used figuratively for a clan.
CLIX “stumbled” = kashal. This is to stumble, fail, be weak or decayed, be overthrown, to totter. It can refer to weak legs or ankles so it is falter, faint, or fall.

38 Egypt was gladCLX when they departed,CLXI
    for dreadCLXII of them had fallenCLXIII upon it.

Notes on verse 38

CLX “was glad” = samach. Same as “rejoice” in v3. See note XVII above.
CLXI “departed” = yatsa. Same as “brought…out” in v37. See note CLV above.
CLXII “dread” = pachad. From pachad (to dread, be afraid, thrill, be in awe; feeling startled from a sudden sound or alarm). This is dread, fear, awe, panic. It can also refer to what someone fears or dreads.
CLXIII “fallen” = 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.

39 He spreadCLXIV a cloudCLXV for a covering,CLXVI
    and fireCLXVII to give lightCLXVIII by night.CLXIX

Notes on verse 39

CLXIV “spread” = paras. This is to spread or stretch out, extend, break up, chop to pieces, disperse, display.
CLXV “cloud” = anan. May be from anan (cover, cloud over; figuratively, acting in a secret way, practicing magic or soothsaying). This is a cloud as something that covers the sky.
CLXVI “covering” = masak. From sakak (to cover or overshadow; to hedge or fence in; figuratively, to defend, protect, or join together). This is a covering, curtain, screen, or veil.
CLXVII “fire” = esh. Same as “lightning” in v32. See note CXXXIX above.
CLXVIII “give light” = or. This is to light, shine, set on fire – to be luminous in a literal or figurative sense.
CLXIX “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.

40 They asked,CLXX and he broughtCLXXI quails,CLXXII
    and gave them foodCLXXIII from heavenCLXXIV in abundance.CLXXV

Notes on verse 40

CLXX “asked” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
CLXXI “brought” = bo. Same as “put” in v18. See note LXXXIX above.
CLXXII “quails” = selav. 4x in OT– all in reference to the quails in the wilderness wanderings. Perhaps related to Arabic (“to be fat”) OR related to shalah (to be quiet, safe, tranquil; can imply success or happiness; could also mean to deceive or be negligent). This is a quail as a slow-moving bird. See
CLXXIII “food” = lechem. Same as “bread” in v16. See note LXXVIII above.
CLXXIV “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.
CLXXV “gave…in abundance” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.

41 He openedCLXXVI the rock,CLXXVII and water gushed out;CLXXVIII
    it flowedCLXXIX through the desertCLXXX like a river.CLXXXI
42 For he remembered his holy promise,CLXXXII
    and Abraham, his servant.

Notes on verses 41-42

CLXXVI “opened” = patach. Same as “set…free” in v20. See note XCVII above.
CLXXVII “rock” = tsur. Related to “Egypt” in v23. Perhaps from tsur (see note CVIII above). This is rock, stone, cliff, boulder, rocky. It can also be a refuge, a way to refer to God.
CLXXVIII “gushed out” = zub. This is to flow or gush. It is to flow like water or overflow. It can also be discharge, pine, waste away, or have a sexual flow.
CLXXIX “flowed” = halak. Same as “wandering” in v13. See note LXI above.
CLXXX “desert” = tsiyyah. 16x in OT. This is dryness or parched. So, it can also mean drought or dry places. By extension, it can mean a solitary place or a wilderness.
CLXXXI “river” = nahar. From nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful). This is a stream, river, or flood. Particularly used for the Nile or Euphrates. Figuratively, this can mean prosperity.
CLXXXII “promise” = dabar. Same as “word” in v8. See note XXXIX above.

43 So he brought his people out with joy,CLXXXIII
    his chosen ones with singing.CLXXXIV
44 He gave them the lands of the nations,
    and they took possessionCLXXXV of the wealthCLXXXVI of the peoples,CLXXXVII

Notes on verses 43-44

CLXXXIII “joy” = sason. From sus (to rejoice, be glad; properly, to be bright or cheerful). This is rejoicing, cheerfulness, and welcome.
CLXXXIV “singing” = rinnah. From ranan (a cry of joy or a joyful song; properly, emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy). This is a song, shout, cry of joy, or proclamation. It could also be a shout of grief.
CLXXXV “took possession” = yarash. This is inheriting or dispossessing. It refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them. By implication, it can mean to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish.
CLXXXVI “wealth” = amal. From amal (to work – hard labor). This is trouble, toil, labor as well as misery, sorrow, or iniquity. It is work that wearies through effort so hence worry – can refer to body or mind.
CLXXXVII “peoples” = leom. Root may refer to gathering. This is people, a community, or a nation.

45 that they might keepCLXXXVIII his statutes
    and observeCLXXXIX his laws.CXC
PraiseCXCI the Lord!CXCII

Notes on verse 45

CLXXXVIII “keep” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
CLXXXIX “observe” = natsar. This is to watch, guard, protect. It can be positive – preserve or obey. It can be negative as conceal.
CXC “laws” = torah. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach). This is law, instruction, teaching, or statute. It can also refer to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah.
CXCI “praise” = halal. Same as “glory” in v3. See note XIII above.
CXCII “Lord” = Yah. Related to “Lord” in v1 & “were” in v12. From YHVH (see note II above). This is Lord or God – a shortened form of God’s most holy name.

Image credit: “Nahal Prat (Wadi Kelt)” in Israel. Photo by arie tennbaum, 2015.

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