Psalm 25

Psalm 25
Lent B13


Of David.A

To you, O Lord,B I lift upC my soul.D

Notes on superscript-verse 1

A “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.”
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 “lift up” = nasa. This to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
D “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.

O my God,E in you I trust;F
    do not let me be put to shame;G
    do not let my enemies exultH over me.

Notes on verse 2

E “God” = Elohim.
F “trust” = batach. This is to hide for refuge, be secure or sure. Figuratively, it refers to trust, being confident, or hoping.
G “be put to shame” = bosh. Properly, this means to be pale, which implies shame, disappointment, or confusion.
H “exult” = alats. 8x in OT. This is to jump for joy, rejoice, triumph, or exult.

Do not let those who waitI for you be put to shame;
    let them be ashamed who are wantonlyJ treacherous.K

Notes on verse 3

I “wait” = qavah. It can mean to bind or gather together, especially in the sense of twisting together. In that light, it can mean collect. Figuratively, this can mean to wait, await, expect, or tarry
J “wantonly” = reqam. 16x in OT. From riq (this is to be empty or to make empty; also vanity, emptiness, something worthily, in vain); from ruq (to pour out in a literal or figurative sense, hence, to be or make empty). This is emptily, empty-handed, without cause, in vain, ineffectually, or undeservedly.
K “are…treacherous” = bagad. This is to cover or conceal. Figuratively, it is to act in a covert or treacherous way, to transgress or pillage.

Make me to knowL your ways,M O Lord;
    teachN me your paths.O

Notes on verse 4

L “know” = 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.
M “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.
N “teach” = lamad. Properly, this refers to goading (using a pointed stick to guide or prod one’s flock). By implication, it means teaching or instructing.
O “paths” = orach. From arach (to go, travel, wander). This is a road that is widely used, highway, caravan, traveler, troop.

LeadP me in your truth,Q and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;R
    for you I wait all day long.

Notes on verse 5

P “lead” = darak. Related to “ways” in v4. See note M above.
Q “truth” = emet. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.
R “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.

Be mindfulS of your mercy,T O Lord, and of your steadfast love,U
    for they have been from of old.V

Notes on verse 6

S “be mindful” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
T “mercy” = racham. From the same as rechem (womb); from racham (to love, have compassion, have mercy); from racham (compassion, tender love, womb, compassion; the womb as that which cherishes the fetus). This is compassion, mercy, or tender love.
U “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.
V “old” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

Do not remember the sinsW of my youthX or my transgressions;Y
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for your goodness’Z sake, O Lord!

Notes on verse 7

W “sins” = chatta’ah. From chata’ (to miss or go wrong and so to sin, bear the blame; it can also include the sense of forfeiting or lacking). This is sin itself as well as punishment for sin. It is sometimes used specifically to refer to sin that is habitual.
X “youth” = naur. From naar (child or a servant; a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence); perhaps from naar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is youth or childhood.
Y “transgressions” = pesha. From pasha (to rebel, offend, quarrel; making a break from proper authority so can also refer to an apostate). This is transgression, rebellion, or sin. It could be a revolt on a national scale or an individual moral one.
Z “goodness’” = tub. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is goodness, gladness, something that is good. It can also be beauty, welfare, or joy.

GoodAA and uprightBB is the Lord;
    therefore he instructsCC sinnersDD in the way.
He leads the humbleEE in what is right,FF
    and teaches the humble his way.

Notes on verses 8-9

AA “good” = tob. Relate to “goodness’” in v7. From tob (see note Z above). 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.
BB “upright” = 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.
CC “instructs” = yarah. This is to throw, shoot, be stunned. It is to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach. This is the same root that “Jerusalem” and “Torah” draw from.
DD “sinners” = chatta. Related to “sins” in v7. 19x in OT. From chata (see note W above). This is sinful or sinner. It is a criminal or someone who is seen as guilty.
EE “humble” = anav. 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 poor, needy, afflicted as well as humble or meek.
FF “what is right” = 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.

10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,GG
    for those who keepHH his covenantII and his decrees.JJ

Notes on verse 10

GG “faithfulness” = emet. Same as “truth” in v5. See note Q above.
HH “keep” = natsar. This is to watch, guard, protect. It can be positive – preserve or obey. It can be negative as conceal.
II “covenant” = berit. Perhaps from barah (to eat, choose, make clear); perhaps from bar (grain, wheat); from bara (to select, purify, cleanse, test, brighten, polish). This is a compact, covenant, alliance, treaty, or league.
JJ “decrees” = edah. From ed (witness, testimony, recorder); from ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is testimony or witness.

11 For your name’sKK sake, O Lord,
    pardonLL my guilt,MM for it is great.NN

Notes on verse 11

KK “name’s” = 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.
LL “pardon” = salach. This is to forgive or spare.
MM “guilt” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.
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.

12 Who are theyOO that fearPP the Lord?
    He will teach them the way that they should choose.QQ

Notes on verse 12

OO “they” = zeh + ish. Literally “this man.” Ish is perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
PP “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.
QQ “choose” = bachar. This is to choose, appoint, try, excellent.

13 TheyRR will abideSS in prosperity,TT
    and their childrenUU shall possessVV the land.

Notes on verse 13

RR “they” = nephesh. Same as “soul” in v1. See note D above.
SS “abide” = luwn. This is to stay somewhere, usually for the night. It can mean abide, dwell, or endure. By implication, it can mean staying somewhere permanently. Taken in a negative sense, this would mean obstinance, particularly verbal. So, it can also mean murmur, grudge, or complaining.
TT “prosperity” = tob. Same as “good” in v8. See note AA above.
UU “children” = 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.
VV “possess” = yarash. This is inheriting or dispossessing. It refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them. By implication, it can mean to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish.

14 The friendshipWW of the Lord is for those who fear him,
    and he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are everXX toward the Lord,
    for he will pluck my feet out of the net.YY

Notes on verses 14-15

WW “friendship” = sod. Perhaps 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 session, counsel, or assembly. It can also mean a consultation.
XX “ever” = tamid. May come from a word that means to stretch. This word means an indefinite period of time. So, it could be regular or daily. It could also be constantly, continually, always, or perpetually.
YY “net” = resheth. Related to “possess” in v13. From yarash (see note VV above). This is a net used to capture animals.

16 TurnZZ to me and be graciousAAA to me,
    for I am lonelyBBB and afflicted.CCC, DDD

Notes on verse 16

ZZ “turn” = panah. This is to turn, face, or appear.
AAA “be gracious” = chanan. This is to beseech, show favor, be gracious. Properly, it is to bend in kindness to someone with less status.
BBB “lonely” = 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.
CCC “afflicted” = ani. Related to “humble” in v9. From anah (see note EE above). This is humble, lowly, poor, or afflicted.
DDD In this sentence, the word order goes “afflicted I” and those two words sound alike – “ve’ani ani.”

17 RelieveEEE the troublesFFF of my heart,GGG
    and bring me out of my distress.HHH

Notes on verse 17

EEE “relieve” = rachab. This is to grow wide or enlarge in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean extend, relieve, rejoice, or speak boldly. This is the verb that Rahab comes from.
FFF “troubles” = tsarah. From tsar (properly, a narrow or constricted place; figuratively, trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress); from tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). This is tightness, distress, affliction, trouble, or adversary.
GGG “heart” = 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.
HHH “distress” = metsuqah. 7x in OT. From tsuq (to press on, compress; figuratively, to oppress or bring distress). This is straits or narrowness. Figuratively, it is stress, trouble, or anguish.

18 ConsiderIII my afflictionJJJ and my trouble,KKK
    and forgiveLLL all my sins.

Notes on verse 18

III “consider” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
JJJ “affliction” = oniy. Related to “humble” in v9 & “afflicted” in v16. From anah (see note EE above). This is misery, poverty, or affliction.
KKK “trouble” = amal. From amal (to work – hard labor). This is trouble, toil, labor as well as misery, sorrow, or iniquity. It is work that wearies through effort so hence worry – can refer to body or mind.
LLL “forgive” = nasa. Same as “lift up” in v1. See note C above.

19 Consider how manyMMM are my foes,
    and with what violentNNN hatredOOO they hatePPP me.

Notes on verse 19

MMM “many are” = rabab. Related to “great” in v11. 13x in OT. See note NN above.
NNN “violent” = chamas. 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.
OOO “hatred” = sinah. Related to “hatred” in v19. 16x in OT. From sane (see note PPP below). This is hatred – hating on a personal level.
PPP “hate” = sane. This is an enemy or foe. It is one that is hated with a personal hatred.

20 O guardQQQ my life,RRR and deliverSSS me;
    do not let me be put to shame, for I take refugeTTT in you.

Notes on verse 20

QQQ “guard” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
RRR “life” = nephesh. Same as “soul” in v1. See note D above.
SSS “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.
TTT “take refuge” = chasah. This is to take refuge or flee for protection. Figuratively, it means to hope or trust in someone or something.

21 May integrityUUU and uprightnessVVV preserveWWW me,
    for I wait for you.

22 RedeemXXX Israel,YYY O God,
    out of all its troubles.

Notes on verses 21-22

UUU “integrity” = tom. 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 completeness or full measure. So, it can be blameless, moral innocence, prosperity, or integrity. Also used to refer to a portion of the high priest’s breastplate.
VVV “uprightness” = yosher. Related to “upright” in v8. 14x in OT. From yashar (see note BB above). This is uprightness, integrity, honesty, equity, right.
WWW “preserve” = natsar. Same as “keep” in vv10. See note HH above.
XXX “redeem” = padah. This is to sever, which is to say to ransom. To secure someone’s release (by paying their debt to free them from slavery) and thus redeem, rescue, deliver, preserve. Can also be the redemption price.
YYY “Israel” = yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is 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.

Image credit: “A Refuge from Reality” by William Blamire Young, circa 1926.

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