Psalm 22:19-31

Psalm 22:19-31
Monday of Holy Week – A Women’s Lectionary


19 But you, O Lord,A do not be far away!B
    O my help,C come quicklyD to my aid!E

Notes on verse 19

A “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.
B “be far away” = rachaq. This is to widen, become distant, cast, or remove. It can be in a literal or figurative sense.
C “help” = eyaluth. 1x in OT. From eyal (help, strength); from ayil (strength; things that are strong or powerful: political chiefs, rams, posts, trees, oaks); related to ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power). This is my help, power with the sense of protection or might.
D “come quickly” = chush. This is to hurry, be eager.
E “aid” = ezrah. From ezer (help, aid, helper); from azar (to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid). This is help, helper, support.

20 DeliverF my soulG from the sword,H
    my lifeI from the powerJ of the dog!K

Notes on verse 20

F “deliver” = 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.
G “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.
H “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.
I “life” = yachid. 12x in OT. From yachad (to join, be united). This is united, sole, solitary, only, or desolate. It can also mean beloved or darling.
J “power” = 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.
K “dog” = keleb. This is yelping or attacking. It can also refer to a dog or it can be a term used for a male prostitute.

21     SaveL me from the mouthM of the lion!N
From the hornsO of the wild oxenP you have rescuedQ me.

Notes on verse 21

L “save” = 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.
M “mouth” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
N “lion” = ari. From arah (to gather or pluck). This is a young lion.
O “horns” = qeren. This is horn or hill. It can be a flask or cornet, ivory, altar corner, mountain peak, or figuratively power.
P “wild oxen” = reem. 9x in OT. From raam (to lift up). This is a wild bull or ox.
Q “rescued” = 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 I will tellR of your nameS to my brothersT and sisters;

Notes on verse 22a

R “tell” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
S “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.
T “brothers” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.

    in the midstU of the congregationV I will praiseW you:

Notes on verse 22b

U “midst” = tavek. This is among, middle, in the midst, the center. Perhaps, properly, to sever.
V “congregation” = qahal. This is an assembly, congregation, or multitude.
W “praise” = 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.

23 You who fearX the Lord, praise him!
    AllY you offspringZ of Jacob,AA glorifyBB him;
    stand in aweCC of him, all you offspring of Israel!DD

Notes on verse 23

X “fear” = yare. From the same as yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fearful or morally reverent.
Y “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
Z “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
AA Jacob” = Yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
BB “glorify” = kabad. To be heavy, weighty, or severe. It can also be positive abounding in, rich, or honorable. The Hebrew word for “glory,” kabod, is taken from this root.
CC “stand in awe” = guwr. Properly, this is the act of turning off the road for any reason. So, it means sojourning, becoming a guest. It can mean being fearful since one is outside of home territory. It can also mean dwelling, living, or inhabiting if one has turned off the root to encamp for a longer duration. This word is where the Hebrew “ger” comes from, which is the word translated “stranger” or “resident alien.”
DD “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.

24 For he did not despiseEE or abhorFF
    the afflictionGG of the afflicted;HH

Notes on verse 24a

EE “despise” = bazah. This is to despise, hold in contempt, disesteem, or a person who is vile.
FF “abhor” = shaqats. 7x in OT– 4x for regarding as detestable unclean foods or things, 2x of making yourself detestable with unclean animals, 1x for God not abhorring the affliction of the afflicted. From sheqets (detestable thing, filth; an idol). This is to detest, abhor, be filth.
GG “affliction” = enuth. 1x in OT. From anah (to be bowed down; humility or being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is affliction.
HH “afflicted” = ani. Related to “affliction” in v24. From anah (see note GG above). This is humble, lowly, poor, or afflicted.

he did not hideII his faceJJ from me,
    but heardKK when I criedLL to him.

Notes on verse 24b

II “hide” = sathar. This is hide, conceal, or be absent. It is hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense.
JJ “face” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
KK “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.
LL “cried” = shava. This is crying or shouting aloud, generally seeking freedom from some kind of trouble.

25 From you comes my praiseMM in the greatNN congregation;
    my vowsOO I will payPP before those who fear him.

Notes on verse 25

MM “praise” = tehillah. Related to “praise” in v22. From halal (see note W 6951above). This is praise or a song of praise. It is to offer God a hymn, to boast in God. This shares a root with “hallelujah.”
NN “great” = 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.
OO “vows” = neder. From nadar (to vow or promise). This is a vow – literally, that which was promised.
PP “pay” = shalam. This is to be complete or sound – to have safety mentally, physically, or extending to one’s estate. So, if these things are safe and complete, the implication is that one would be friendly; and, if being friendly, one would make amends and that friendship would be reciprocated. This is the root verb that “shalom” comes from, the Hebrew word for peace.

26 The poorQQ shall eatRR and be satisfied;SS

Notes on verse 26a

QQ “poor” = anav. Related to “affliction” and “afflicted” in v24. From anah (see note GG above). This is poor, needy, afflicted as well as humble or meek.
RR “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
SS “satisfied” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.

    those who seekTT him shall praiseUU the Lord.
    May your heartsVV liveWW forever!XX

Notes on verse 26b

TT “seek” = darash. This is seek, ask, inquire, care for. Generally it means following in pursuit or following as part of a search, which implies seeking or asking. Also used specially to mean worship.
UU “praise” = halal. Same as “praise” in v22. See note W above.
VV “hearts” = lebab. 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.
WW “live” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it an be revive, nourish, or save.
XX “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.

27 All the endsYY of the earthZZ shall rememberAAA
    and turnBBB to the Lord;

Notes on verse 27a

YY “ends” = ephes. From aphes (to finish, fail, stop, come to nothing, disappear). This is an end, ceasing, no further. It is often used to refer to the ends of the earth.
ZZ “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
AAA “remember” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
BBB “turn” = 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.”

and all the familiesCCC of the nationsDDD
    shall worshipEEE beforeFFF him.

Notes on verse 27b

CCC “families” = mishpachah. From the same as shiphcah (maid, maidservant); root means to spread out. This is one’s circle of relatives – clan, family, kindred.
DDD “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.
EEE “worship” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
FFF “before” = paneh. Same as “face” in v24. See note JJ above.

28 For dominionGGG belongs to the Lord,
    and he rulesHHH over the nations.
29 To him, indeed, shall allIII who sleepJJJ in the earth bow down;KKK

Notes on verses 28-29a

GGG “dominion” = melukah. From the same as melek (king). This is kingship, kingdom, reign. It can also mean royalty.
HHH “rules” = mashal. This is to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield.
III {untranslated} = dashen. 3x in OT. From dashen (to be fat or anointed, to be fattened; to remove ashes from; figuratively, to enrich, satisfy). This is fat, rich, or fertile.
JJJ “sleep” = akal. Same as “eat” in v26. See note RR above.
KKK “bow down” = shachah. Same as “worship” in v27. See note EEE above.

    before him shall bowLLL all who go downMMM to the dust,NNN
    and IOOO shall live for him.

Notes on verse 29b

LLL “bow” = 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.
MMM “go down” = yarad. This is to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense. It can be going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy.
NNN “dust” = aphar. May be 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.
OOO “I” = nephesh. Same as “soul” in v20. See note G above.

30 PosterityPPP will serveQQQ him;
    future generationsRRR will be told about the Lord,SSS

Notes on verse 30

PPP “posterity” = zera. Same as “offspring” in v23. See note Z above.
QQQ “serve” = abad. This is to work, serve, or compel. It can describe any kind of work or service (including religious devotion).  Also, till or cultivate. Used causatively, it can mean to enslave or keep in bondage.
RRR “future generations” = dor. From dur (to move in a circle, which implies living somewhere or remaining there; it can also be the sense of piling or heaping up). This is a revolution of time, which is to say, an age or generation. It can also be a dwelling or one’s posterity.
SSS “Lord” = Adonai. From adon (lord, master, owner); root means to rule or be sovereign. This is the actual Hebrew word for Lord used (in a different form) of humans and (in the present form) of God. It means someone who is in control.

31 andTTT proclaimUUU his deliveranceVVV to a peopleWWW yet unborn,XXX
    saying that he has done it.YYY

Notes on verse 31

TTT {untranslated} = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
UUU “proclaim” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
VVV “deliverance” = tsedaqah. From the same as tsedeq (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). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.
WWW “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.
XXX “unborn” = yalad. This is to bear or bring forth. It can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage. This is often used for birth or begetting.
YYY “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.

Image credit: “Military Dog Barking” by Josh Plueger, 2007.

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