Psalm 107:1-9, 19-22

Psalm 107:1-9, 19-22
Proper 5 – A Women’s Lectionary


O give thanksA to the Lord,B for he is good,C
    for his steadfast loveD endures forever.E

Notes on verse 1

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 “good” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
D “steadfast love” = chesed. From chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here). This is favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed. When done by God to humanity, this is mercy/loving kindness. When done by humanity to God, it is piety.
E “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

Let the redeemedF of the Lord say so,
    those he redeemed from troubleG
and gatheredH in from the lands,I

Notes on verses 2-3a

F “redeemed” = gaal. This is to redeem someone or something according to kinship laws. So, it could be acting on a relative’s behalf to buy back their property, to marry one’s brother’s widow, etc. This could be more briefly translated as to redeem, acts as kinsman, or purchase. As a noun, it could be deliverer or avenger.
G “trouble” = yad + tsar. Literally, “from the hand of the enemy.” Yad is related to “give thanks” in v1. See note A above. Tsar is 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.
H “gathered” = qabats. This is to collect, assemble, heap, grasp, or gather.
I “lands” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

    from the eastJ and from the west,K
    from the northL and from the south.M

Notes on verse 3b

J “east” = mizrach. From zarach (to rise, shine, or dawn; can also describe symptoms of leprosy). This is the east as the place where the sun rises. It can also refer to the sunrise itself.
K “west” = maarab. 14x in OT. From the same as ereb (evening, night, twilight); perhaps from arab (to become dark or become evening). This is the west as the place where the sun sets. It can also refer to the setting itself.
L “north” = tsaphon. From tsaphan (to hide, hoard, reserve; to cover over or figuratively to deny; also to lurk). This is properly hidden, dark, or gloomy. It can also be used to refer to the north.
M “south” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.

Some wanderedN in desertO wastes,P

Notes on verse 4a

N “wandered” = taah. This is to wander, deceive, seduce, vacillate. It is to stray in a literal or figurative sense.
O “desert” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
P “wastes” = yeshimon. 13x in OT. From yasham (to be stripped, destroyed, desolate). This is a wilderness or desert. It can also refer to a place called Jeshimon. It means “wasteland” or “wilderness.” See

    findingQ no wayR to an inhabitedS town;T

Notes on verse 4b

Q “finding” = 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.
R “way” = 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.
S “inhabited” = moshab. From yashab (to sit and so to remain and so to dwell; sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly; can mean settling or marrying; continue, endure, or establish). This is dwelling, seat, assembly, settlement, population.
T “town” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.

hungryU and thirsty,V
    their soulW faintedX within them.

Notes on verse 5

U “hungry” = raeb. 16x in OT. From raeb (to be hungry or famished). This is hungry, a person who is hungry.
V “thirsty” = tsame. 9x in OT. From tsame (to thirst in a literal or figurative sense). This is dry, thirsty, or someone who is thirsty in a literal or figurative sense.
W “soul” = 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.
X “fainted” = ataph. 16x in OT. This is to turn, faint, hide, be overwhelmed, cover, fail.

Then they criedY to the LordZ in their trouble,
    and he deliveredAA them from their distress;BB

Notes on verse 6

Y “cried” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.
Z “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v1. From the same as YHVH (see note B above). It has a different vowel pointing, but the same meaning as “Lord.” See note B above.
AA “delivered” = natsal. This is to snatch someone or something away in a good sense – as rescue, defend, or deliver – or in a bad sense – as strip or plunder.
BB “distress” = metsuqah. 7x in OT. From tsuq (to press on, compress; figuratively, to oppress or bring distress). This is straits or narrowness. Figuratively, it is stress, trouble, or anguish.

he ledCC them by a straightDD way,
    until they reachedEE an inhabited town.

Notes on verse 7

CC “led” = darak. Related to “way” in v4. See note R above.
DD “straight” = yashar. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, smooth, or agreeable; figuratively, to make something pleasant or prosperous). This is straight, right, level. Also, it is pleasing, whether pleasing God or pleasing other people. So, it is upright or righteous.
EE “reached” = 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.

Let them thankFF the LordGG for his steadfast love,
    for his wonderful worksHH to humankind.II

Notes on verse 8

FF “thank” = yadah. Same as “give thanks” in v1. See note A above.
GG “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
HH “wonderful works” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
II “humankind” = ben + adam. Literally, “children of humanity.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Adam is 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.

For he satisfiesJJ theKK thirsty,LL
    and theMM hungry he fillsNN with good things.

Notes on verse 9

JJ “satisfies” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.
KK {untranslated} = nephesh. Same as “soul” in v5. See note W above.
LL “thirsty” = shaqaq. 6x in OT. This is to run, rush, thirst. By implication of having an appetite, it can mean seeking greedily.
MM {untranslated} = nephesh. Same as “soul” in v5. See note W above.
NN “fills” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.

19 Then they criedOO to the LordPP in their trouble,
    and he savedQQ them from their distress;

Notes on verse 19

OO “cried” = zaaq. This is to cry or call out. It can be a call to assemble or gather together. By analogy, this could refer to a herald who announces a public gathering. It could also be a shriek from pain or danger.
PP “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” In v6. See note Z above.
QQ “saved” = yasha. To deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe. Properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. Used causatively, it means to free.

20 he sentRR out his wordSS and healedTT them

Notes on verse 20a

RR “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
SS “word” = dabar. Related to “desert” in v4. From dabar (see note O above). 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.
TT “healed” = rapha. Properly, this is to repair by stitching – figuratively this means to heal or cure. It can also mean to make whole.

    and deliveredUU them from destruction.VV
21 Let them thank the LordWW for his steadfast love,
    for his wonderful works to humankind.

Notes on verses 20b-21

UU “delivered” = malat. This is to be smooth, which implies to escape as slipping away from. It can also be release, rescue, deliver, or preserve. It can be used specifically to meaning giving birth or making sparks.
VV “destruction” = shechith. 2x in OT. From shachah (to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God). This is a pit in a literal or figurative sense. It could mean destruction.
WW “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.

22 And let them offerXX thanksgivingYY sacrificesZZ

Notes on verse 22a

XX “offer” = zabach. This is slaughtering an animal, generally for the purpose of sacrifice. It can mean kill or offer.
YY “thanksgiving” = todah. Related to “give thanks” in v1. From yadah (see note A above). This is properly extending one’s hand, which implies affirmation and adoration. It can be a song of thanksgiving, a choir of thanksgiving, confession, or praise. It can also be a thank offering.
ZZ “sacrifices” = zebach. Related to “offer” in v22. From zabach (see note XX above). This is a slaughter – literally of an animal. So, it implies the act or the animals used in sacrifice. Further, it can mean offering.

    and tellAAA of his deedsBBB with songs of joy.CCC

Notes on verse 22b

AAA “tell” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
BBB “deeds” = maaseh. From asah (to do, make, accomplish, become). This is a work – any action whether positive or negative. It can also be a transaction, construction, activity, property, or something that is produced.
CCC “songs of joy” = 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.

Image credit: “Fright” by Eissa Moussa, 2015.

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