Psalm 118:19-29

Psalm 118:19-29
Palm Sunday – A Women’s Lectionary


19 OpenA to me the gatesB of righteousness,C
    that I may enterD through them

Notes on verse 19a

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 “enter” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.

    and give thanksE to the Lord.F
20 This is the gate of the Lord;G
    the righteousH shall enter through it.

Notes on verses 19b-20

E “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.
F “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.
G “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v19. See note F above.
H “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.

21 I thankI you that you have answeredJ me
    and have becomeK my salvation.L

Notes on verse 21

I “thank” = yadah. Same as “give thanks” in v19. See note E above.
J “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.
K “become” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v19 & “Lord” in v20. See note F 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.

22 The stoneM that the buildersN rejectedO
    has become the chiefP cornerstone.Q

Notes on verse 22

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

23 This isR the Lord’sS doing;
    it is marvelousT in our eyes.U

Notes on verse 23

R “is” = hayah. Same as “become” in v21. See note K above.
S “Lord’s” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v20. See note G above.
T “marvelous” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
U “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 dayV that the LordW has made;X
    let us rejoiceY and be gladZ in it.

Notes on verse 24

V “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.
W “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v20. See note G above.
X “made” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
Y “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.
Z “be glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.

25 SaveAA us,BB we beseechCC you, O Lord!DD

Notes on verse 25a

AA “save” = yasha. Related to “salvation” in v21. See note L above.
BB {untranslated} = na. Related to “beseech” in v25. See note CC below.
CC “beseech” = annah. 13x in OT– 4x for beg, beseech, entreat; 9x for Alas, O, Ah. Perhaps from ahabah (love); {from aheb (to love, beloved, friend; to have affection for sexually or otherwise)} + na (I or we pray, now; used to ask for something). This word is oh, I ask you, now.
DD “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v20. See note G above.

    O Lord,EE we beseech you, give us success!FF, GG

Notes on verse 25b

EE “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v20. See note G above.
FF “give…success” = tsalach. This is pushing forward in a literal or figurative sense. So it could be to break out, to come mightily, to rush, to go over. Figuratively, it could mean to prosper.
GG {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v25. See note BB above.

26 Blessed isHH the one who comesII in the nameJJ of the Lord.KK

Notes on verse 26a

HH “blessed is” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
II “comes” = bo. Same as “enter” in v19. See note D above.
JJ “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.
KK “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v20. See note G above.

    We bless you from the houseLL of the Lord.MM
27 The LordNN is God,OO
    and he has given us light.PP

Notes on verses 26b-27a

LL “house” = bayit. Related to “builders” in v22. Probably from banah (see note N above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
MM “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v20. See note G above.
NN “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v20. See note G above.
OO “God” = El. This is God or a god.
PP “given…light” = or. From or (to be or become light). This is light, sun, sunshine, dawn, or daylight. Figuratively, it can refer to light from instruction, light of a face (that is to say one that is cheerful or finds favor). It can refer to prosperity or salvation; a light that guides, a light eternal from Zion.

BindQQ the festal processionRR with branches,SS

Notes on verse 27b

QQ “bind” = 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.
RR “festal procession” = chag. From chagag (feast, celebrating a festival, making a pilgrimage; properly, going in a circle or marching in sacred procession; implies giddiness and dancing; reeling to and fro). This is a feast, a sacrifice as part of a festival, or the gathering of the festival.
SS “branches” = aboth. From abath (to weave, wind, or interlace). This is a cord, string, band, wreath, branch, or foliage.

    up to the hornsTT of the altar.UU
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
    you are my God;VV I will extolWW you.

Notes on verses 27c-28

TT “horns” = qeren. This is horn or hill. It can be a flask or cornet, ivory, altar corner, mountain peak, or figuratively power.
UU “altar” = mizbeach. From zabach (to kill, slay, offer; slaughtering an animal to offer as a sacrifice). This is an altar.
VV “God” = Elohim. Related to “God” in v27. See note OO above.
WW “extol” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.

29 O give thanks to the Lord,XX for he is good,YY
    for his steadfast loveZZ endures forever.AAA

Notes on verse 29

XX “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v20. See note G above.
YY “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.
ZZ “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.
AAA “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

Image credit: “Creation” by John Paul Stanley of YoMinistry.

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