Psalm 29

Psalm 29
Baptism of the Lord B


A PsalmA of David.B

Notes on superscript

A “psalm” = mizmor. From zamar (making music; used specially of music to worship God; music with singing, singing praise, singing psalms); may be from zamar (to trim or prune). This is a melody or a psalm.
B “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.”

AscribeC to the Lord,D O heavenly beings,E
    ascribe to the Lord gloryF and strength.G

Notes on verse 1

C “ascribe” = yahab. This is give, put, bring, take. It is to give in a literal or figurative sense.
D “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.
E “heavenly beings” = ben + el. Literally “sons of gods.” Ben is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. El can be God or gods, an idol. It can also refer to one of power or strength.
F “glory” = kabod. From kabad (to be heavy, weighty, burdensome). This is weighty. Figuratively, glorious, abundant, riches, honor, splendor – a reference to one’s reputation or character. This word is often used to describe God and God’s presence.
G “strength” = oz. 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 strength in the sense of force, majesty, praise, material and physical strength, the abstract notion of security. It can also speak of social or political power.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;H
    worshipI the Lord in holyJ splendor.K

Notes on verse 2

H “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.
I “worship” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
J “holy” = qodesh. This is set apart and so sacred. God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart. Things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.
K “splendor” = hadarah. 5x in OT – 2x in Psalms, 2x in Chronicles, and 1x in Proverbs. From hadar (ornament, splendor, beauty, dignity, majesty, magnificence, and glory); from hadar (to honor or adorn; majestic, respected, glorious; to favor or honor; to be proud). This is beauty, honor, decoration.

The voiceL of the Lord is over the waters;
    the GodM of glory thunders,N
    the Lord, over mightyO waters.

Notes on verse 3

L “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.
M “God” = el. Same as “heavenly” in v1. See note E above.
N “thunders” = raam. 13x in OT. From raam (thunder). This is to trouble, be agitated, irritated, angered. It is used specifically for a peal of thunder.
O “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.

The voice of the Lord is powerful;P
    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.Q

The voice of the Lord breaksR the cedars;S
    the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.T

Notes on verses 4-5

P “powerful” = koach. Root may mean to be firm. This is power, strength, force. It can be literal or figurative, positive or negative. It can also mean capacity or means – what something produces. Additionally, it could refer to some kind of small reptile.
Q “majesty” = hadar. Related to “splendor” in v2. From hadar (see note K above). This is ornament, splendor, beauty, dignity, majesty, magnificence, and glory.
R “breaks” = shabar. This is break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear. It is bursting in a literal or figurative sense.
S “cedars” = erez. Perhaps from araz (made from cedar; to be firm, strong). This is cedar or a cedar tree as strong.
T “Lebanon” = Lebanon. From laben (to be white, make white, make bricks) OR form Aramaic lebab (heart); corresponding to Hebrew lebab (heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will). This is Lebanon. The sense of “white” comes from the snow on the top of its mountains. See

He makes Lebanon skipU like a calf,V
    and SirionW like a youngX wild ox.Y

Notes on verse 6

U “skip” = raqad. 9x in OT – 4x of dancing, 3x of animals skipping, 2x of chariots leaping/bounding. This is to skip, spring around, leap, frolic, dance. Properly, it means to stamp.
V “calf” = egel. May be from the same as agol (round, circular – root meaning revolve). This is a male calf as one that frisks about. Often used for one that is almost grown up. This is also the word used for the molten calf in Ex 32.
W “Sirion” = siryon. 2x in OT. Perhaps from the same as serayah (Seraiah, meaning “the Lord persists” or “the Lord has prevailed); {from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {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 Sirion, a named given to Mount Hermon by the Sidonions.
X “young” = ben. Same as “beings” in v1. See note E above.
Y “wild ox” = reem. 9x in OT. From raam (to lift up). This is a wild bull or ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forthZ flamesAA of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakesBB the wilderness;CC
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.DD

Notes on verses 7-8

Z “flashes forth” = chatsab. This is to hew or cut material like wood or stone. It can also be to dig, quarry, split, or engrave.
AA “flames” = lehabah. 19x in OT. From lahab (flame, flashing, bright; figuratively, a blade or the point of a spear). This is a flame, blazing, head of a spear.
BB “shakes” = chul. This is whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain. It is used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear. It can also be falling in pain or waiting.
CC “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
DD “Kadesh” = qadesh. 18x in OT. From the same as qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.) This is Kadesh, a place whose name means sacred or sanctuary.

The voice of the Lord causes the oaksEE to whirl,FF
    and strips the forestGG bare;HH
    and in his templeII all say, “Glory!”

Notes on verse 9

EE “oaks” = 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.
FF “whirl” = chul. Same as “shakes” in v8. See note BB above.
GG “forest” = yarah. 2x in OT. From yaar (honeycomb) OR from ya’ar (honeycomb, forest, thicket). This is a honeycomb or a forest as a place where beehives would be.
HH “strips…bare” = chasaph. 11x in OT. This is to strip off, uncover, scoop, make bare. It is to strip off in order to exert oneself, or to make naked for shame. It can also mean to drain off a liquid or to skim it from the surface.
II “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.

10 The Lord sits enthronedJJ over the flood;KK
    the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.LL
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
    May the Lord blessMM his people with peace!NN

Notes on verses 10-11

JJ “sits enthroned” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
KK “flood” = mabbul. 13x in OT. Perhaps from yabal (to bring, carry, flow, lead forth). This is a flood or deluge.
LL “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
MM “bless” = 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.
NN “peace” = shalom. From shalam (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 completeness, soundness, welfare, favor, friend, good health. It is to be safe and figuratively well, happy, at peace, friendly. Abstractly, it includes the ideas of welfare and prosperity (not in excessive wealth, but in having enough).

Image credit: “Maligne Meets Maligne” in Alberta, Canada by Kurt Bauschardt, 2017.

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