Psalm 19:7-10

Psalm 19:7-10
NL 231


The lawA of the LordB is perfect,C
    revivingD the soul;E

Notes on verse 7a

A “law” = torah. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach). This is law, instruction, teaching, or statute. It can also refer to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah.
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 “perfect” = 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.
D “reviving” = 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.”
E “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.

the decreesF of the Lord are sure,G
    making wiseH the simple;I

Notes on verse 7b

F “decrees” = eduth. From ed (witness, testimony, recorder); from ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is testimony, ordinance, decree, warning, or witness.
G “are sure” = aman. This is to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful. It is to put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid. This is where the word “amen” comes from.
H “making wise” = chakam. This is to be wise or teach wisdom. It is wisdom in thought, word, or action.
I “simple” = pthiy. 19x in OT. From pathah (to be simple, entice, deceive, persuade, allure, be silly); from pethi (simple, silly, foolish, easily deceived); from pathah (to be wide open, deceive, entice, persuade, to be simple, delude). This is open-minded, simple, silly, foolish, or seducible.

the preceptsJ of the Lord are right,K
    rejoicingL the heart;M

Notes on verse 8a

J “precepts” = piqqud. From paqad (to attend to or visit – can be used for a friendly or violent encounter; to oversee, care for, avenge, or charge). This is something that is appointed or decreed by God. It can refer to the Law as a whole or a commandment individually.
K “right” = 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.
L “rejoicing” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
M “heart” = leb. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.

the commandmentN of the Lord is clear,O
    enlighteningP the eyes;Q

Notes on verse 8b

N “commandment” = mitsvah. From tsavah (to charge, command, order, enjoin). This is a commandment, law, ordinance obligation, or tradition. It is something commanded whether by God or by a human authority. This term is sometimes used collectively to refer to the Law.
O “clear” = bar. 7x in OT. From barar (to clarify, brighten, or polish; to examine, select, choose, purge, sharpen, or purify). This is pure, clean, or empty. It can also mean innocent or beloved.
P “enlightening” = or. This is to light, shine, set on fire – to be luminous in a literal or figurative sense.
Q “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).

the fearR of the Lord is pure,S
    enduringT forever;U

Notes on verse 9a

R “fear” = yirah. From yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fear or reverence.
S “pure” = tahor. From taher (bright, which implies being pure or clean; to purge, cleanse, or purify; clean in a ritual sense or a moral one (i.e. moral or holy)). This is clean or pure in a literal, ritual, or ethical sense.
T “enduring” = 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.
U “forever” = ad. From adah (to advance or continue; to take away or remove; adorning oneself with ornaments). This is old, perpetuity, eternity. It is a duration going back or forward.

the ordinancesV of the Lord are trueW
    and righteousX altogether.Y

Notes on verse 9b

V “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.
W “true” = emet. Related to “sure” in v7. From aman (see note G above). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.
X “righteous” = tsadeq. From tsedeq (rightness, righteousness, just cause, vindication; that which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense; abstractly equity; figuratively prosperity). This is being just or righteousness. It refers to right in a moral or legal sense. So, it can be doing justice, clearing oneself, or turning to righteousness.
Y “altogether” = yachad. From yachad (to join, be united). This is a unit, both, altogether, unitedness, alike.

10 More to be desiredZ are they than gold,AA
    even muchBB fine gold;CC

Notes on verse 10a

Z “more to be desired” = chamad. This is to desire, covet, see something as precious, lust.
AA “gold” = zahab. Root may mean to shimmer. This is gold or something that has the color of gold like oil. It can also refer to a clear sky – to good weather.
BB “much” = 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.
CC “fine gold” = paz.  9x in OT. From pazaz (being refined; gold as refined). This is refined or pure gold.

sweeterDD also than honeyEE
    and drippingsFF of the honeycomb.GG

Notes on verse 10b

DD “sweeter” = mathoq. 12x in OT. From mathoq (to be sweet, sweeten, become pleasant, cover, to suck, to relish). This is something that is sweet or pleasant.
EE “honey” = debash. Root may mean being gummy. This is honey or honeycomb because it is so sticky. It can also refer to syrup.
FF “drippings” = nopheth. 5x in OT. Perhaps from nuph (to rock back and forth, wave, sprinkle, quiver, beckon, offer, present). This is dripping as honey flowing from a honeycomb.
GG “honeycomb” = tsuph. 2x in OT. From tsuph (to flow, float, engulf, swim). This is comb or honeycomb.

Image credit: “Organic Honey” by Skrissh2013, 2014..

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