Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45

Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Proper 20A


O give thanksA to the Lord;B callC on his name;D

Notes on verse 1a

A “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.
B “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.
C “call” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
D “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 knownE his deedsF among the peoples.G

Notes on verse 1b

E “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.
F “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.
G “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.

SingH to him, sing praisesI to him;
    tellJ of allK his wonderful works.L

Notes on verse 2

H “sing” = shir. From shir (song, singer). This is to sing. It could also refer to one who is singing or leading others in song.
I “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.
J “tell” = siach. From siach (musing, meditation, communication, babbling, prayer, contemplation). This is to muse, meditate, complain, sing, sigh, speak, or utter.
K “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
L “wonderful works” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.

GloryM in his holyN name;
    let the heartsO of those who seekP the Lord rejoice.Q

Notes on verse 3

M “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.
N “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.
O “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.
P “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.
Q “rejoice” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.

SeekR the Lord and his strength;S
    seekT his presenceU continually.V

Notes on verse 4

R “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.
S “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.
T “seek” = baqash. Same as “seek” in v3. See note P above.
U “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.
V “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.

RememberW the wonderful works he has done,X
    his miraclesY and the judgmentsZ he has uttered,AA

Notes on verse 5

W “remember” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
X “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
Y “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.
Z “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.
AA “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.

O offspringBB of his servantCC Abraham,DD

Notes on verse 6a

BB “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.
CC “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.
DD “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.

    childrenEE of Jacob,FF his chosen ones.GG

Notes on verse 6b

EE “children” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
FF “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.
GG “chosen ones” = bachir. From bachar (to choose, appoint, try, excellent). This is chosen or choice. So, it implies excellence.

37 Then he brought Israel outHH with silverII and gold,JJ
    and there was no one among their tribesKK who stumbled.LL

Notes on verse 37

HH “brought…out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
II “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
JJ “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.
KK “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.
LL “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 EgyptMM was gladNN when they departed,OO
    for dreadPP of them had fallenQQ upon it.

Notes on verse 38

MM “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.
NN “was glad” = samach. Same as “rejoice” in v3. See note Q above.
OO “departed” = yatsa. Same as “brought…out” in v37. See note HH above.
PP “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.
QQ “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 spreadRR a cloudSS for a coveringTT
    and fireUU to give lightVV by night.WW

Notes on verse 39

RR “spread” = paras. This is to spread or stretch out, extend, break up, chop to pieces, disperse, display.
SS “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.
TT “covering” = masak. From sakak (to cover or overshadow; to hedge or fence in; figuratively, to defend, protect, or join together). This is a covering, screen, or curtain. It could also refer to some kind of defense.
UU “fire” = esh. This is fire, burning, flaming, hot. It is fire in a literal or figurative sense.
VV “give light” = or. This is to light, shine, set on fire – to be luminous in a literal or figurative sense.
WW “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.

40 They asked,XX and he broughtYY quailsZZ

Notes on verse 40a

XX “asked” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
YY “brought” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
ZZ “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

    and gave them foodAAA from heavenBBB in abundance.CCC

Notes on verse 40b

AAA “food” = lechem. From lacham (to eat, feed on). This is bread, food, loaf. It can refer to food more generally for people or for animals.
BBB “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.
CCC “gave…in abundance” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.

41 He openedDDD the rock,EEE and waterFFF gushed out;GGG

Notes on verse 41a

DDD “opened” = pathach. 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.
EEE “rock” = tsur. Related to “Egypt” in v38. From tsur (see note MM above). This is rock, stone, cliff, boulder, rocky. It can also be a refuge, a way to refer to God.
FFF “water” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
GGG “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.

    it flowedHHH through the desertIII like a river.JJJ
42 For he remembered his holy promiseKKK
    and Abraham, his servant.

Notes on verses 41b-42

HHH “flowed” = 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.
III “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.
JJJ “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.
KKK “promise” = 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.

43 So he brought his people outLLL with joy,MMM
    his chosen ones with singing.NNN
44 He gaveOOO them the landsPPP of the nations,QQQ

Notes on verses 43-44a

LLL “brought…out” = yatsa. Same as “brought…out” in v37. See note HH above.
MMM “joy” = sason. From sus (to rejoice, be glad; properly, to be bright or cheerful). This is rejoicing, cheerfulness, and welcome.
NNN “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.
OOO “gave” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
PPP “lands” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
QQQ “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.

    and they took possessionRRR of the wealthSSS of the peoples,TTT

Notes on verse 44b

RRR “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.
SSS “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.
TTT “peoples” = leom. Root may refer to gathering. This is people, a community, or a nation.

45 thatUUU they might keepVVV his statutesWWW

Notes on verse 45a

UUU “that” = abur. From abar (to pass over, pass through, or pass by; cross over or to alienate; used for transitions). This is for, so that, on account of. Properly, it means crossed.
VVV “keep” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
WWW “statutes” = 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.

    and observeXXX his laws.YYY
PraiseZZZ the Lord!AAAA

Notes on verse 45b

XXX “observe” = natsar. This is to watch, guard, protect. It can be positive – preserve or obey. It can be negative as conceal.
YYY “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.
ZZZ “praise” = halal. Same as “glory” in v3. See note M above.
AAAA “Lord” = Yah. Related to “Lord” in v1. From YHVH (see note B above). This is Lord or God – a shortened form of God’s most holy name.

Image credit: Painting by Alexej Jawlenski, title unknown.

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