Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Easter B


O give thanksA to the Lord,B for he is good;C

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 “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.

    his steadfast loveD endures forever!E
2 Let IsraelF say,G
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Notes on verses 1b-2

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).
F “Israel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). 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.
G {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”

14 The LordH is my strengthI and my might;J
    he has becomeK my salvation.L

Notes on verse 14

H “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.
I “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.
J “might” = zimrath. 3x in OT. From the same as zimrah (melody, psalm, or sound; sung to praise God or a song sung with an instrument); from zamar (making music; used specially of music to worship God; music with singing, singing praise, singing psalms); may be from zamar (to trim or prune). This is a song or instrumental music. It implies a song of praise.
K “become” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1 & “Lord” in v14. See note B above.
L “salvation” = yeshuah. From 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). This is salvation, deliverance, health, victory, prosperity.

15 There are glad songsM of victoryN in the tentsO of the righteous:P

Notes on verse 15a

M “glad songs” = qol + rinnah. Qol is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on. Rinnah is 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.
N “victory” = yeshuah. Same as “salvation” in v14. See note L above.
O “tents” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.
P “righteous” = tsaddiq. From the same as tsedeq (rightness, righteousness, just cause, vindication; that which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense; abstractly equity; figuratively prosperity). This is just, innocent, righteous, righteous one, or lawful.

“The right handQ of the LordR doesS valiantly;T
16     the right hand of the LordU is exalted;V
    the right hand of the LordW does valiantly.”

Notes on verses 15b-16

Q “right hand” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
R “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
S “does” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
T “valiantly” = chayil. From chul (to be firm, strong, prosperous; to endure). This is strength, wealth, ability, activity. It can refer to soldier or a company of soldiers as well as goods. It is a force of people, means, or goods. It can speak of valor, virtue, or strength.
U “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
V “is exalted” = ramam. 7x in OT. This is to rise in a literal or figurative sense. So, it can be to get up or exalt.
W “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.

17 I shall not die,X but I shall live,Y
    and recountZ the deedsAA of the Lord.BB

Notes on verse 17

X “die” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
Y “live” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it an be revive, nourish, or save.
Z “recount” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
AA “deeds” = maaseh. Related to “does” in v15. From asah (see note S above). This is a word – any action whether positive or negative. It can also be a transaction, construction, activity, property, or something that is produced.
BB “Lord” = Yah. Same as “Lord” in v14. See note H above.

18 The LordCC has punished me severely,DD
    but he did not give me overEE to death.FF

Notes on verse 18

CC “Lord” = Yah. Same as “Lord” in v14. See note H above.
DD “punished…severely” = yasar + yasar. This is to discipline, correct, train, teach, punish. Literally, itt is disciplining with blows, but figuratively using words. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
EE “give…over” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
FF “death” = mavet. Related to “die” in v17. From mut (see note X above). This can be death, deadliness, the dead, or the place where the dead go. It can be used figuratively for pestilence or ruin.

19 OpenGG to me the gatesHH of righteousness,II
    that I may enterJJ through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.KK
20 This is the gate of the Lord;LL
    the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answeredMM me
    and have become my salvation.

Notes on verses 19-21

GG “open” = 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.
HH “gates” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
II “righteousness” = tsedeq. Related to “righteous” in v15. See note P above.
JJ “enter” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
KK “Lord” = Yah. Same as “Lord” in v14. See note H above.
LL “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
MM “answered” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.

22 The stoneNN that the buildersOO rejectedPP
    has become the chiefQQ cornerstone.RR
23 This is the Lord’sSS doing;
    it is marvelousTT in our eyes.UU

Notes on verses 22-23

NN “stone” = eben. This is a stone, weight, or mason. It is part of the word “Ebenezer.”
OO “builders” = banah. This is to build, make, set up, restore, repair, or obtain children. It is to build literally or figuratively.
PP “rejected” = ma’as. This is to reject, refuse, despise, disdain, reject, or spurn. It can also be to disappear or melt away.
QQ “chief” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
RR “cornerstone” = pinnah. Perhaps from pen (corner, angle, street, wall). This is an angle, corner, cornerstone, tower, bulwark, pinnacle. Figuratively, it can be a chieftain.
SS “Lord’s” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
TT “marvelous” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
UU “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).

24 This is the dayVV that the LordWW has made;XX
    let us rejoiceYY and be gladZZ in it.

Notes on verse 24

VV “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
WW “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note B above.
XX “made” = asah. Same as “does” in v15. See note S above.
YY “rejoice” = gil. Properly, this is twirling around because of a strong feeling whether of rejoicing or from fear. This can be rejoice, be glad or joyful, or to cry.
ZZ “be glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.

Image credit: “Religious” by Ruizanglada, 1982.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply