Psalm 118:19-23

Psalm 118:19-23
Narrative Lectionary 336


19 OpenA to me the gatesB of righteousness,C
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanksD to the Lord.E

Notes on verse 19

A “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.
B “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.
C “righteousness” = tsedeq. This is rightness, righteousness, vindication. It is everything that is just or ethical. That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity.
D “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.
E “Lord” = Yah. From YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (to be, become, happen)}. This is Lord or God – a shortened form of God’s most holy name.

20 This is the gate of the Lord;F
    the righteousG shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answeredH me
    and have become my salvation.I

Notes on verses 20-21

F “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v19. See note E above.
G “righteous” = tsaddiq. Related to “righteousness” in v19. From the same as tsedeq (see note C above). This is just, innocent, righteous, righteous one, or lawful.
H “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.
I “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.

22 The stoneJ that the buildersK rejectedL
    has become the chiefM cornerstone.N

Notes on verse 22

J “stone” = eben. This is a stone, weight, or mason. It is part of the word “Ebenezer.”
K “builders” = banah. This is to build, make, set up, restore, repair, or obtain children. It is to build literally or figuratively.
L “rejected” = ma’as. This is to reject, refuse, despise, disdain, reject, or spurn. It can also be to disappear or melt away.
M “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).
N “cornerstone” = pinnah. Perhaps from pen (corner, angle, street, wall). This is an angle, corner, cornerstone, tower, bulwark, pinnacle. Figuratively, it can be a chieftan.

23 This is the Lord’s doing;
    it is marvelousO in our eyes.P

Notes on verse 23

O “marvelous” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
P “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).

Image credit: “Ezekiel’s Vision of the Temple: Part 4” by Biblia Prints.

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