Psalm 18

Psalm 18


To the leader.I A Psalm of DavidII the servantIII of the Lord,IV

Notes on superscript-a

I “leader” = natsach. Properly, something that glitters from a distance. So, something that stands out, excels, has status/standing (such as a chief musician or superintendent of Temple services). This can also mean to be permanent or enduring.
II “David” = david. From the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
III “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.
IV “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.

who addressedV the wordsVI of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord deliveredVII him from the handVIII of all his enemies, and from the handIX of Saul.X He said:

Notes on superscript-b

V “addressed” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
VI “words” = dabar. Related to “addressed” in v-Superscript. From dabar (see note V 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.
VII “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.
VIII “hand” = kaph. From kaphaph (to bend – from a root meaning curve or bend down). This is palm of the hand or sole of the foot, footstep, grasp. Figuratively, it can also mean power.
IX “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
X “Saul” = shaul. From shaal (to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request; can also mean demand). This is Saul or Shaul, meaning “asked of the Lord.”

I loveXI you, O Lord, my strength.XII

The Lord is my rock,XIII my fortress,XIV and my deliverer,XV

Notes on verses 1-2a

XI “love” = racham. From racham (compassion, tender love, womb, compassion; the womb as that which cherishes the fetus); from the same as rechem (womb). This is to love, fondle, have mercy, have or show compassion.
XII “strength” = chezeq. 1x in OT. From chazaq (to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden). This is strength or help.
XIII “rock” = sela. Root may mean being lofty. This is a rock, cliff, crag, mountain. It could be used figuratively for obstinance or to show God as a refuge. It can also more generally mean fortress or stronghold.
XIV “fortress” = matsud. From matsod (bulwark, siege works, net, snare); from tsud (to hunt, to lie in wait in order to catch an animal; used figuratively for capturing people). This is a castle, fortress, or stronghold. Also, a snare, net, or prey. It can abstractly mean capture.
XV “deliverer” = palat. This is to escape, slip out, deliver, carry away, or calve.

    my God,XVI my rockXVII in whom I take refuge,XVIII
my shield,XIX and the hornXX of my salvation,XXI my stronghold.XXII

Notes on verse 2b

XVI “God” = el. God, a god.
XVII “rock” = tsur. Perhaps from tsur (to confine, cramp, or bind in a literal or figurative sense; to besiege, assault, or distress). This is rock, tone, cliff, boulder, rocky. It can also be a refuge, a way to refer to God.
XVIII “take refuge” = chasah. This is to take refuge or flee for protection. Figuratively, it means to hope or trust in someone or something.
XIX “shield” = magen. From ganan (to surround, cover, defend, protect). This is a shield, defense, or figuratively a protector. It can also be used for a crocodile’s hide.
XX “horn” = qeren. This is horn or hill. It can be a flask or cornet, ivory, altar corner, mountain peak, or figuratively power.
XXI “salvation” = yesha. 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, rescue, safety, welfare, liberty.
XXII “stronghold” = misgab. 17x in OT. From sagab (raise, lifted, high, secure on high, excellent, strong; literal and figurative). This is a high or inaccessible location. Abstractly, it can be altitude. Concretely it is a cliff or height. Figuratively, it is a refuge or stronghold – a high fort or tower. There is also a place called Misgab in Moab.

I callXXIII upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,XXIV
    so I shall be savedXXV from my enemies.

Notes on verse 3

XXIII “call” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
XXXIV “praised” = 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.
XXV “saved” = yasha. Related to “salvation” in v2. See note XXI above.

The cordsXXVI of deathXXVII encompassed me;
    the torrentsXXVIII of perditionXXIX assailedXXX me;

Notes on verse 4

XXVI “cords” = chebel. From chabal (to bind, pledge, or wind tight; figuratively, can refer to perverting or destroying something; can also be used of writhing in pain, particularly in reference to childbirth). This is a band, rope, measuring line, noose. It can be a company, territory, or country. It can also refer to a throe of labor or ruin.
XXVII “death” = mavet. From muth (to die in a literal or figurative sense). This can be death, deadliness, the dead, or the place where the dead go. It can be used figuratively for pestilence or ruin.
XXVIII “torrents” = nachal. From nachal (to take as heritage, inherit, or distribute). This is a river or stream. It could be a wadi or arroyo – sometimes a narrow valley with no water at all, but in strong rains or when winter snow melts, it swells or floods with water.
XXIX “perdition” = beliyyaal. From beli (lack, nothing, without, wearing out, failure, destruction); {from balah (to grow old, wear out, waste away, consume, spend)} + yaal (to gain, profit, do good, ascend, be useful or valuable; benefitted). This is lacking profit i.e. worthlessness, destruction, evil, ungodly person, wickedness, or Belial.
XXX “assailed” = baath. 16x in OT. This is to terrify, startle, overwhelm, terrorize, or fall upon.

the cords of SheolXXXI entangledXXXII me;
    the snaresXXXIII of death confrontedXXXIV me.

Notes on verse 5

XXXI “Sheol” = sheol. Perhaps related to “Saul” in v-Superscript. Perhaps from sha’al (see note X above).
XXXII “entangled” = sabab. This is turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch. It is to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense.
XXXIII “snares” = moqesh. From yaqosh (ensnare, lay bait, lure, trapper; to snare literally or figuratively). This is bait, barb, snare, trap; a noose or hook to trap animals in a literal or figurative sense.
XXXIV “confronted” = qadam. Perhaps from qedem (front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity). This is to come in front or be in front and so meet, anticipate, confront, receive, or rise. It sometimes means to meet for help.

In my distressXXXV I called upon the Lord;
    to my GodXXXVI I cried for help.XXXVII

Notes on verse 6a

XXXV “distress” = tsar. 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.
XXXVI “God” = Elohim.
XXXVII “cried for help” = shava. This is crying or shouting aloud, generally seeking freedom from some kind of trouble.

From his templeXXXVIII he heardXXXIX my voice,XL
    and my cryXLI to himXLII reached his ears.

Notes on verse 6b

XXXVIII “temple” = hekal. Perhaps from yakol (to be able, endure, overcome, prevail). This is a large building with public access such as a palace or temple.
XXXIX “heard” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
XL “voice” = qol. This 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.
XLI “cry” = shava. Related to “cried for help” in v6. 11x in OT. From shava (see note XXXVII above). This is cry or a cry for help.
XLII “to him” = paneh. Literally “before his face.”

Then the earth reeledXLIII and rocked;XLIV
    the foundationsXLV also of the mountains trembledXLVI
    and quaked,XLVII because he was angry.XLVIII

Notes on verse 7

XLIII “reeled” = gaash. 9x in OT. This is to shake, quake, move, trouble, surge, or agitate violently.
XLIV “rocked” = raash. This is to quake, shake, tremble, shake from fear; leap like a locust.
XLV “foundations” = mocadah. 11x in OT. From mocad (foundation); from yasad (to establish, appoint, instruct; to set in a literal or figurative sense; also, to sit down together and so to consult or take counsel). This is a foundation.
XLVI “trembled” = ragaz. This is shaking from any strong emotion, particularly anger or fear. It can be agitated, excited, perturbed, afraid, quaking, quivering.
XLVII “quaked” = gaash. Same as “reeled” in v7. See note XLIII above.
XLVIII “was angry” = charah. Perhaps related to charar (to be hot, burn, glow, melt, be scorched; figuratively, to incite passion, be angry). This is to be displeased, burn with anger, glow, become warn. Figuratively it is a blaze of anger, zeal, or jealousy.

SmokeXLIX went up from his nostrils,L
    and devouring fire from his mouth;
    glowing coalsLI flamed forthLII from him.

Notes on verse 8

XLIX “smoke” = ashan. From ashan (to smoke or burn in a literal or figurative sense; to be angry). This is smoke, vapor, dust, or anger.
L “nostrils” = aph. From anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.
LI “coals” = gechel. 18x in OT. Roy may mean to glow or kindle. This is a cot or hot ember.
LII “flamed forth” = ba’ar. This is to burn, consume, heat, remove. It can also be to consume by a fire or through eating, being brutish or wasting.

He bowedLIII the heavens,LIV and came down;
    thick darknessLV was under his feet.

Notes on verse 9

LIII “bowed” = natah. This is to stretch or spread out, to extend, or bend. In can also imply moral deflection.
LIV “heavens” = 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.
LV “darkness” = araphel. 15x in OT. From araph (to droop, drip, drop). This is a cloud or deep darkness. It is gloom or gloomy as the sky being lowered.

10 He rodeLVI on a cherub,LVII and flew;
    he came swiftlyLVIII upon the wingsLIX of the wind.LX

Notes on verse 10

LVI “rode” = rakab. This is to ride an animal or in some vehicle. It can also mean bringing on a horse.
LVII “cherub” = kerub. Perhaps related to Akkadian (“to bless” or “one who blesses”). This is a cherub – perhaps a class of angels. See
LVIII “came swiftly” = daah. 4x in OT. This is to fly swiftly or swoop down.
LIX “wings” = kanaph. This is wing, edge, corner, extremity. It can also be a flap or fold of a garment or the pinnacle of a building.
LX “wind” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.

11 He made darknessLXI his coveringLXII aroundLXIII him,
    his canopyLXIV thick cloudsLXV darkLXVI with water.

Notes on verse 11

LXI “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.
LXII “covering” = sether. From sathar (hide, conceal, or be absent; hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense). This is covering, shelter, protection, hiding place. It can be hidden by a mountain, by clouds, in the womb, in a matter of secrecy, through slander, or of nations.
LXIII “around” = sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.
LXIV “canopy” = sukkah. From sok (lair, thicket, den, or hiding place; a den or pavilion as made of intertwined boughs); from sakak (to interweave, knit). This is a booth, canopy, shelter, tent, or tabernacle. This is also the “sukkah” from the Jewish holiday “sukkot,” which remembers the wilderness wanderings.
LXV “thick clouds” = ab + shachaq. Ab is perhaps from ub (to cover with a cloud, to be dark or dense). This is a dark cloud or a thicket or clay. It is something that envelopes like darkness. Shachaq is from shachaq (to pulverize, wear away, rub away). This is something beaten into a powder, dust, vapor, or the firmament.
LXVI “dark” = cheshkah. Related to “darkness” in v11. 1x in OT. From the same as chashekah (darkness; figurative for misery); from chashak (see note LXI above). This is dark or darkness.

12 Out of the brightnessLXVII before him
    there broke throughLXVIII his clouds
    hailstones and coals of fire.

13 The Lord also thunderedLXIX in the heavens,
    and the Most HighLXX uttered his voice.LXXI

Notes on verses 12-13

LXVII “brightness” = nogah. 19x in OT. From nagah (to shine – root may mean to glitter). This is light, radiance, being bright, sunshine.
LXVIII “broke through” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
LXIX “thundered” = raam. 13x in OT. From raam (thunder). This is to trouble, be agitated, irritated, angered. It is used specifically for a peal of thunder.
LXX “Most High” = elyon. From alah (to go up, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense). This is most high, upper. It refers to elevation – so, lofty.
LXXI {untranslated} = barad + gechel + esh. Some manuscripts add “hailstones and coals of fire.”

14 And he sent out his arrows,LXXII and scatteredLXXIII them;
    he flashed forthLXXIV lightnings,LXXV and routedLXXVI them.

Notes on verse 16

LXXII “arrows” = chets. From chatsats (to divide, chop, pierce, distribute, shoot an arrow, an archer). This is an arrow or archer, shaft, staff. Properly, it is someone or something that pierces, such as an arrow. It can imply a wound. Used figuratively of God’s thunder bolt.
LXXIII “scattered” = puts. This is to dash in pieces, scatter, disperse, drive.
LXXIV “flashed forth” = rabab. This is to shoot as one shoots an arrow.
LXXV “lightnings” = baraq. From baraq (to flash, a flash of lightning). This is lightning. Figuratively, it could be a gleaming or glittering. Concretely, it could be a flashing sword.
LXXVI “routed” = hamam. 14x in OT. This is being noisy, confused, thrown into confusion, trouble, cause a commotion, disturb, rout, damage, destroy.

15 Then the channelsLXXVII of the sea were seen,
    and the foundations of the worldLXXVIII were laid bareLXXIX
at your rebuke,LXXX O Lord,
    at the blastLXXXI of the breathLXXXII of your nostrils.

Notes on verse 15

LXXVII “channels” = aphiq. 19x in OT. From aphaq (to be strong, force, control, hold). This is a channel, brook, stream, tube, river. It is something that contains so it is a tube or valley where a stream is. It can also be something strong or a hero.
LXXVIII “world” = tebel. From yabal (to lead, bring, carry, conduct; properly, to flow; to bring or lead with fanfare). This is world, confusion, inhabited part of the earth, but also used for the whole world.
LXXIX “laid bare” = galah. This is to remove, bring, carry, lead, appear, advertise. It can mean to strip someone or something bare in a negative sense. Captives were typically stripped before they were sent into exile. Used figuratively, in a positive sense, this word means reveal, disclose, discover.
LXXX “rebuke” = gearah. 15x in OT. From gaar (to rebuke, corrupt, or chide). This is a rebuke, reproof, or threat.
LXXXI “blast” = neshamah. From nasham (to blow away, pant, gasp). This is a breath or blast – a puff like of wind. It is also a spirit or soul or divine inspiration or intellect. It could also be an animal. This is the word used for the breath of life when humanity was created in Genesis 2:7.
LXXXII “breath” = ruach. Same as “wind” in v10. See note LX above.

16 He reached downLXXXIII from on high,LXXXIV he took me;
    he drewLXXXV me out of mightyLXXXVI waters.

17 He delivered me from my strongLXXXVII enemy,
    and from those who hatedLXXXVIII me;
    for they were too mightyLXXXIX for me.

Notes on verses 16-17

LXXXIII “reached down” = shalach. Same as “sent out” in v14. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
LXXXIV “from on high” = marom. From rum (to be high, rise, exalted, become proud, display, offer, present, set apart, extol; to rise in a literal or figurative sense). This can be height, high place, or lofty. It can be either exalted or haughty/proud. It can refer to dignity or to heaven.
LXXXV “drew” = mashah. 3x in OT. This is to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out. It is the proposed root for Moses’s name.
LXXXVI “mighty” = rab. From rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status.
LXXXVII “strong” = az. 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 strong or mighty. It can also refer to power or vehemence or mean greedy.
LXXXVIII “those who hated” = sane. This is an enemy or foe. It is one that is hated with a personal hatred.
LXXXIX “were too mighty” = amets. This is to be strong, stout, alert, or bold. It can also mean harden, make firm, be courageous or mighty, fortify, or establish. It can refer to physical alertness or mental courage or steadfastness.

18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity;XC
    but the Lord was my support.XCI

19 He brought me out into a broad place;XCII
    he deliveredXCIII me, because he delightedXCIV in me.

Notes on verses 18-19

XC “calamity” = ed. From the same as odoth (turning, occasion, cause, concerning); from the same as ud (firebrand, a poker). This is distress, destruction, disaster, ruin, misfortune, or oppression.
XCI “support” = mish’en. 5x in OT. From sha’an (to lean or support oneself; to rely or trust). This is a support or staff. Figuratively, it can mean a protector or sustenance.
XCII “broad place” = merchab. 6x in OT. From rachab (to grow wide or enlarge in a literal or figurative sense; extend, relieve, rejoice, or speak boldly). This is a broad place, a large field, an open space. This is a wide open space, generally in a good sense. Figuratively, it can mean liberty.
XCIII “delivered” = chalats. This is to turn back or away in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be return, break, build, retreat. It doesn’t necessarily imply going back to the place you started.
XCIV “delighted” = chaphets. Properly, this means inclined towards or bending to. Figuratively, it means to desire, delight in, or be pleased with.

20 The Lord rewardedXCV me according to my righteousness;XCVI
    according to the cleannessXCVII of my handsXCVIII he recompensedXCIX me.

Notes on verse 20

XCV “rewarded” = gamal. This is how one deals with someone whether positively or negatively – so to reward, requite. It can also mean to wean or the work that goes into something ripening.
XCVI “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.
XCVII “cleanness” = bor. 6x in OT. From barar (to select, polish, cleanse, brighten, purify). This is cleanness or pureness.
XCVIII “hands” = yad. Same as “hand” in v-Superscript. See note IX above.
XCIX “recompensed” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”

21 For I have keptC the waysCI of the Lord,
    and have not wickedly departedCII from my God.CIII

Notes on verse 21

C “kept” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
CI “ways” = 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.
CII “wickedly departed” = rasha. This is to be wicked, guilty, make trouble, do wrong. It can also be condemn, guilty, inflict punishment. This verb implies disturbing or violating.
CIII “God” = Elohim.

22 For all his ordinancesCIV were before me,
    and his statutesCV I did not put awayCVI from me.

23 I was blamelessCVII before him,
    and I kept myself from guilt.CVIII

24 Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

Notes on verses 22-24

CIV “ordinances” = 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.
CV “statutes” = chuqqah. From choq (statute, boundary, condition, custom, limit, ordinance; something that is prescribed or something that is owed); 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 something prescribed such as a statue, custom, or ordinance.
CVI “put away” = sur. This is to turn aside in a literal or figurative sense – to depart, decline, rebel, remove, or withdraw.
CVII “blameless” = tamim. From tamam (to finish or accomplish; to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright; consume; to complete in a literal or figurative sense). This is entire in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be complete, full, intact, or without defect. Alternately, it could refer to being sound, having integrity, being sincere or perfect.
CVIII “guilt” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.

25 With the loyalCIX you show yourself loyal;CX
    with the blamelessCXI you show yourself blameless;CXII

Notes on verse 25

CIX “loyal” = chasid. 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 faithful, kind, pious, merciful, or gracious. It can also refer to godly or pious people. This is where Chasidic Jews take their name from.
CX “show yourself loyal” = chasad. Related to “loyal” in v25. See note CIX above.
CXI “blameless” = gebar + tamim. Gebar is 1x in OT. From the same as geber (man, warrior, a person generally, or a valiant person); from gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or to be insolent). This is a man or person. Tamim is the same as “blameless” in v23. See note CVII above.
CXII “show yourself blameless” = tamam. Related to “blameless” in v23. See note CVII above.

26 with the pureCXIII you show yourself pure;CXIV
    and with the crookedCXV you show yourself perverse.CXVI

Notes on verse 26

CXIII “pure” = barar. Related to “cleanness” in v20. 18x in OT. See note XCVII above.
CXIV “show yourself pure” = barar. Same as “pure” in v26. See note CXIII above.
CXV “crooked” = iqqesh. 11x in OT. From aqash (to twist, knot, distort; to act in a perverse manner). This is twisted, distorted, crooked, or perverted.
CXVI “show yourself perverse” = pathal. 5x in OT. This is to twist or twine. It can mean to struggle, be cunning, wily, or astute, or to wrestle.

27 For you deliverCXVII a humbleCXVIII people,CXIX
    but the haughtyCXX eyes you bring down.CXXI

Notes on verse 27

CXVII “deliver” = yasha. Same as “saved” in v3. See note XXV above.
CXVIII “humble” = ani. From anah (to be bowed down; humility or being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is humble, lowly, poor, or afflicted.
CXIX “people” = 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.
CXX “haughty” = rum. Related to “from on high” in v16. See note LXXXIV above.
CXXI “bring down” = shaphel. This is to be low, sink, be cast down, put down, humble, or humiliate.

28 It is you who lightCXXII my lamp;CXXIII
    the Lord, my God,CXXIV lights upCXXV my darkness.CXXVI

Notes on verse 28

CXXII “light” = or. This is to light, shine, set on fire – to be luminous in a literal or figurative sense.
CXXIII “lamp” = ner. This is to glisten. It is used for a lamp, candle, or light in a literal or figurative sense.
CXXIV “God” = Elohim.
CXXV “lights up” = nagah. Related to “brightness” in v12. 6x in OT. See note LXVII above.
CXXVI “darkness” = choshek. Same as “darkness” in v11. See note LXI above.

29 By you I can crushCXXVII a troop,CXXVIII
    and by my GodCXXIX I can leap overCXXX a wall.CXXXI

Notes on verse 29

CXXVII “crush” = ruts. This is to run or rush, divide quickly, bring swiftly. It can also refer to a footman or guard.
CXXVIII “troop” = gedud. From gadad (to cut, gather, assemble, crowd; also, to gash as pushing in). This is a crowd, but generally used to refer to soldiers. So, it is a band, troop, or company. It can also be a group of robbers.
CXXIX “God” = Elohim.
CXXX “leap over” = dalag. 5x in OT. This is to leap or spring over, to climb.
CXXXI “wall” = shur. 4x in OT. From the same as shor (bull, ox, head of cattle); perhaps from shur (to travel, turn, journey; travelling like a prostitute or a merchant). This is a wall as something that goes around something else.

30 This GodCXXXII—his way is perfect;CXXXIII
    the promiseCXXXIV of the Lord proves true;CXXXV
    he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

Notes on verse 30

CXXXII “God” = el.
CXXXIII “perfect” = tamim. Same as “blameless” in v23. See note CVII above.
CXXXIV “promise” = imrah. From emer (speech, thing, utterance, promise, argument, command); from amar (to speak, say, answer, command, promise, report). This is any kind of utterance, a word or commandment.
CXXXV “proves true” = tsaraph. This is to refine, smalt, or fuse metal. It can also refer to the smelter (goldsmith or silversmith). Figuratively, this is refine in a literal or figurative sense – to test or try, make pure.

31 For who is GodCXXXVI except the Lord?
    And who is a rock besides our God?CXXXVII

32 the GodCXXXVIII who girdedCXXXIX me with strength,CXL
    and made my way safe.CXLI

Notes on verses 31-32

CXXXVI “God” = eloah.
CXXXVII “God” = Elohim.
CXXXVIII “God” = el.
CXXXIX “girded” = azar. 16x in OT. This is to encircle, bind, encompass, to belt or gird.
CXL “strength” = 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.
CXLI “safe” = tamim. Same as “blameless” in v23. See note CVII above.

33 He madeCXLII my feet like the feet of a deer,CXLIII
    and set me secureCXLIV on the heights.CXLV

Notes on verse 33

CXLII “made” = shavah. This is to equalize, resemble, agree with, compare, adjust, compose, place, or yield.
CXLIII “deer” = ayyalah. 8x in OT. From ayyal (deer, stag); from the same as ulam (porch, hall); from the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power); from alam (to bind or tie fast; to be silent or speechless, whether voluntary or involuntary) or from ayil (strength; things that are strong or powerful: political chiefs, rams, posts, trees, oaks). This is a doe, female deer.
CXLIV “sets…secure” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
CXLV “heights” = bamah. The root might mean being high. This is height, wave, or elevation.

34 He trainsCXLVI my hands for war,CXLVII
    so that my armsCXLVIII can bendCXLIX a bowCL of bronze.CLI

Notes on verse 34

CXLVI “trains” = lamad. Properly, this refers to goading (using a pointed stick to guide or prod one’s flock). By implication, it means teaching or instructing.
CXLVII “war” = milchamah. From lacham (to eat or feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).
CXLVIII “arms” = zeroa. Perhaps from zara (to sow, scatter seed, conceive). This is the arm, shoulder, or foreleg of an animal. It is figuratively used for power, force, might, or help.
CXLIX “bend” = nacheth. 11x in OT. This is to sink or descend, settle, press down, be broken.
CL “bow” = qeshet. Perhaps from qush (to set a trap, lure, ensnare) OR from qashah (to be fierce, cruel, dense, tough, severe). This is a bow, arrow, or archer. Bow can be used figuratively for strength.  
CLI “bronze” = nechushah. 10x in OT. From nachush (made of bronze or brass, coppery; figuratively, hard); from the same as nechosheth (copper, bronze, brass – something made from this metal – a coin or fetter; something considered base in contrast to gold or silver) or nachash (to divine, interpret omens, learn from experience, observe; to hiss) or nachash (a serpent or snake). This is copper, bronze, brass, or steel.

35 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
    and your right handCLII has supportedCLIII me;
    your helpCLIV has made me great.CLV

Notes on verse 35

CLII “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.
CLIII “supported” = saad. 12x in OT. This is to support, uphold, or sustain. It can mean refresh or comfort.
CLIV “help” = anvah. 2x in OT. From the same as anavah (humility, gentleness, modesty, help, meekness); from anav (poor, needy, afflicted as well as humble or meek); from anah (to be bowed down; can refer to a sense of humility or to a sense of being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is gentleness, meekness, or oppressed.
CLV “made…great” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.

36 You gave me a wide placeCLVI for my stepsCLVII under me,
    and my feetCLVIII did not slip.CLIX

Notes on verse 36

CLVI “gave…a wide place” = rachab. Related to “broad place” in v19. See note XCII above.
CLVII “steps” = tsaad. 14x in OT. From tsaad (to step, go, run, walk, to pace; to march with a regular step, climb up, hurl down). This is a step, pace, or stride.
CLVIII “feet” = qarsol. 2x in OT. From qaras (to stoop, crouch, protrude; to be hunchbacked). This is an ankle or foot.
CLIX “slip” = maad. 6x in OT. This is to slip, totter, shake, or waver.

37 I pursuedCLX my enemies and overtookCLXI them;
    and did not turn backCLXII until they were consumed.CLXIII

Notes on verse 37

CLX “pursued” = radaph. This is to chase after, pursue, hunt, or persecute. It is running after someone or something, generally with hostile motives.
CLXI “overtook” = nasag. This is to reach in a literal or figurative sense. It is to overtake, catch, or be able to.
CLXII “turn back” = shub. Same as “recompensed” in v20. See note XCIX above.
CLXIII “consumed” = kalah. This is to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed.

38 I struck them down,CLXIV so that they were not ableCLXV to rise;CLXVI
    they fell under my feet.

39 For you girded me with strength for the battle;
    you made my assailantsCLXVII sinkCLXVIII under me.

Notes on verses 38-39

CLXIV “struck…down” = machats. 14x in OT.  This is to dash asunder, severely wound, strike, crush. Figuratively, it is to subdue or destroy.
CLXV “were…able” = yakol. This is to be able, endure, overcome, prevail.
CLXVI “rise” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
CLXVII “assailants” = qum. Same as “rise” in v38. See note CLXVI above. Literally “those who rise up against me.”
CLXVIII “made…sink” = kara. This is to bow, crouch, kneel down, subdue. It is to bend the knee in many senses. It can also mean to smite, a woman crouching in childbirth, or bowing to worship God.

40 You made my enemies turnCLXIX their backsCLXX to me,
    and those who hated me I destroyed.CLXXI

41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them;
    they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.

Notes on verses 40-41

CLXIX “turn” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer; to give literally or figuratively.
CLXX “backs” = oreph. This is to back of the neck – also used for stiff-necked. It is also used for the back more generally in a literal or figurative sense.
CLXXI “destroyed” = tsamath. 15x in OT. This is to destroy, cut off, silence, or vanish. It is to put an end to in a literal or figurative sense.

42 I beat them fine,CLXXII like dustCLXXIII before the wind;CLXXIV
    I cast them outCLXXV like the mireCLXXVI of the streets.CLXXVII

Notes on verse 42

CLXXII “beat them fine” = shachaq. Related to “thick clouds” in v11. 4x in OT. See note LXV above.
CLXXIII “dust” = aphar. Perhaps related to aphar (to throw dust, be dust). This is dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored. It could be ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish.
CLXXIV “before the wind” = al + paneh + ruach. Literally “upon the face of the wind.” See note LX above.
CLXXV “cast…out” = ruq. 19x in OT. This is to pour out in a literal or figurative sense. It can mean to arm, draw out, cast out, or empty.
CLXXVI “mire” = tit. 13x in OT. Root perhaps means being sticky. This is mud, clay, or mire. Figuratively, it can refer to calamity.
CLXXVII “streets” = chuts. Root may mean to sever. So, this is something that is separated by a wall – the outside, the street, a field, highway, or abroad.

43 You delivered me from strifeCLXXVIII with the peoples;
    you made me headCLXXIX of the nations;CLXXX
    people whom I had not knownCLXXXI servedCLXXXII me.

Notes on verse 43

CLXXVIII “strife” = rib. From rib (properly to toss or grapple; used figuratively to mean wrangling and so for arguments, complaints, or disputes; used in a legal setting for pleading or defending a case). This is strife or dispute – whether a personal one or one in a court of law.
CLXXIX “head” = 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).
CLXXX “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.
CLXXXI “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.
CLXXXII “served” = abad. Related to “servant” in v-Superscript. See note III above.

44 As soon asCLXXXIII they heard of me they obeyedCLXXXIV me;
    foreignersCLXXXV came cringingCLXXXVI to me.

Notes on verse 44

CLXXXIII “as soon as” = shema. Related to “heard” in v6. 18x in OT. From shama (see note XXXIX above). This is something that one hears like a report, news, speech, tidings, fame. It can also refer to an audience.
CLXXXIV “obeyed” = shama. Same as “heard” in v6. See note XXXIX above.
CLXXXV “foreigners” = ben + nekar. Literally “the children of foreignness.” Nekar is from neker (misfortune, calamity, disaster). This is something foreign or strange.
CLXXXVI “came cringing” = kachash. This is deceive, fail, or deny. It can be lying or disappointing. It can also mean becoming lean or cringe.

45 Foreigners lost heart,CLXXXVII
    and came tremblingCLXXXVIII out of their strongholds.CLXXXIX

Notes on verse 45

CLXXXVII “lost heart” = nabel. This is to fall away, faint, wither, languish, sink. Figuratively, it can mean being senseless, foolish, or wicked. Further, it can be to despise, disgrace, or fall to nothing, to be seen with contempt.
CLXXXVIII “came trembling” = charag. 1x in OT. Properly, this is sudden leaping. It is to quake or tremble – to be afraid.
CLXXXIX “strongholds” = misgereth. 17x in OT. From sagar (to shut up, imprison, lock, hand over, or figuratively surrender). This is something that encloses – a margin, panel, rim, hole, stronghold.

46 The Lord lives!CXC BlessedCXCI be my rock,
    and exaltedCXCII be the GodCXCIII of my salvation,

Notes on verse 46

CXC “lives” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
CXCI “blessed” = 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.
CXCII “exalted” = rum. Same as “haughty” in v27. See note CXX above.
CXCIII “God” = eloah.

47 the GodCXCIV who gave me vengeanceCXCV
    and subduedCXCVI peoples under me;

48 who delivered me from my enemies;
    indeed, you exalted me above my adversaries;
    you deliveredCXCVII me from the violent.CXCVIII

Notes on verses 47-48

CXCIV “God” = el.
CXCV “vengeance” = neqamah. From naqam (a quarrel or vengeance); from naqam (to avenge, punish, have a grudge, execute). This is vengeance, or revenge – whether the act of vengeance or the drive towards vengeance.
CXCVI “subdued” = dabar. Same as “addressed” in v-Superscript. See note V above.
CXCVII “delivered” = natsal. Same as “delivered” in v-Superscript. See note VII above.
CXCVIII “violent” = ish + chamas. Literally “violent man.” Ish is perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind. Chamas is from chamas (to violate, do violence, to wrong; implies mistreatment). This is violence, cruelty, damage, wrong, injustice, or unrighteous. Violence implies a wrong done. The term is also used to describe unjust gain.

49 For this I will extolCXCIX you, O Lord, among the nations,
    and sing praisesCC to your name.CCI

Notes on verse 49

CXCIX “extol” = 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.
CC “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.
CCI “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.

50 GreatCCII triumphsCCIII he gives to his king,
    and shows steadfast loveCCIV to his anointed,CCV
    to David and his descendantsCCVI forever.CCVII

Notes on verse 50

CCII “great” = zamar. Same as “sing praises” in v49. See note CC above.
CCIII “triumphs” = yeshuah. Related to “salvation” in v2 & “saved” in v3. From yasha (see note XXI above). This is salvation, deliverance, health, victory, prosperity.
CCIV “steadfast love” = chesed. Related to “loyal” and “show yourself loyal” in v25. From chasad (see note CIX above). 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.
CCV “anointed” = mashiach. From mashach (to smear or anoint; to run oil on, to consecrate). This is the anointed or consecrated one. So, it could refer to a king, priest, or saint. It is also the root of the word “messiah.”
CCVI “descendants” = zera. Perhaps related to “arms” in v34. From zara (see note CXLVIII above). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
CCVII “forever” = ad + olam. Literally “until always.” Olam is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

Image credit: Mosaic of David at the Chester Cathedral in England.

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