Psalm 50:14-23

Psalm 50:14-23
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 23


14 OfferA to GodB a sacrifice of thanksgiving,C

Notes on verse 14a

A “offer” = zabach. This is slaughtering an animal, generally for the purpose of sacrifice. It can mean kill or offer.
B “God” = Elohim.
C “sacrifice of thanksgiving” = todah. From yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise, to give thanks, or make a confession); from yad (hand, ability, power; hand in a literal sense; what one can do or the means by which one does it). This is properly extending one’s hand, which implies affirmation and adoration. It can be a song of thanksgiving, a choir of thanksgiving, confession, or praise. It can also be a thank offering.

    and payD your vowsE to the Most High.F

Notes on verse 14b

D “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.
E “vows” = neder. From nadar (to vow or promise). This is a vow – literally, that which was promised.
F “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.

15 Call onG me in the dayH of trouble;I
    I will deliverJ you, and you shall glorifyK me.”

Notes on verse 15

G “call on” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
H “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
I “trouble” = 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.
J “deliver” = 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.
K “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.

16 But to the wickedL God says,
    “What right have you to reciteM my statutesN

Notes on verse 16a

L “wicked” = rasha. This is morally wrong so it refers to someone who is actively bad as wicked, criminal, an evil person, offender, condemned, or ungodly.
M “recite” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
N “statutes” = choq. 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 statute, boundary, condition, custom, limit, ordinance It is something that is prescribed or something that is owed.

    or takeO my covenantP on your lips?Q

Notes on verse 16b

O “take” = nasa. This is 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.
P “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.
Q “lips” = 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.

17 For you hateR discipline,S
    and you castT my wordsU behindV you.

Notes on verse 17

R “hate” = sane. This is to hate, an enemy. It is a personal hatred and not an abstract one.
S “discipline” = musar. From yasar (to discipline, correct, train, teach, punish; literally with blows, but figuratively using words). This is discipline, a correction a warning, or an instruction.
T “cast” = shalak. This is to throw, fling, or hurl. It can also be to throw away in a literal or figurative sense.
U “words” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). 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.
V “behind” = achar. From achar (to remain behind, linger, continue, be behind, or delay; can also imply procrastination). This is after or the last part, following.

18 You make friendsW with a thiefX when you seeY one,
    and you keep companyZ with adulterers.AA

Notes on verse 18

W “make friends” = ratsah. This is to be pleased with, delight, take pleasure in, or accept with favor. It can mean to approve or consent regarding something. It can also be used specifically of satisfying debts or being pardoned.
X “thief” = gannab. 16x in OT. From ganab (to steal in a stealthy way rather than through violence; to deceive). This is a thief or one who steals by stealth. It is the root of a Yiddish word for thief ganef.
Y “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
Z “keep company” = cheleq. From chalaq (to be smooth in a figurative sense; can refer to the stones that were part of casting lots – hence, apportion, share, distribute; figuratively, it can also mean to flatter). This is a division, lot, inheritance, legacy, or portion. It can also refer to a smooth tongue.
AA “adulterers” = naaph. This is to commit adultery or, figuratively, to be an apostate.

19 You giveBB your mouthCC free rein for evil,DD
    and your tongueEE framesFF deceit.GG

Notes on verse 19

BB “give” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
CC “mouth” = peh. Same as “lips” in v16. See note Q above.
DD “evil” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
EE “tongue” = lashon. This is tongue, talker, language, or wedge. It can also be a tongue of flame or a water cove.
FF “frames” = tsamad. 5x in OT. This is to bind, attach, frame, serve, or contrive.
GG “deceit” = mirmah. From ramah (to betray, deceive, beguile). This is deceit, treachery, guile, or fraud

20 You sitHH and speakII against your kin;JJ
    you slanderKK your own mother’sLL child.MM

Notes on verse 20

HH “sit” = 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.
II “speak” = dabar. Related to “words” in v17. See note U above.
JJ “kin” = 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.
KK “slander” = natan + dophi. Natan is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively. Dophi is 1x in OT. Root may be to knock over. It is a fault, slander, or a stumbling block.
LL “mother’s” = em. This is a mother as binding a family together or a breeding female animal. It could be mother in a literal or figurative sense.
MM “child” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.

21 These things you have done,NN and I have been silent;OO
    you thoughtPP that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebukeQQ you and lay the chargeRR beforeSS you.

Notes on verse 21

NN “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
OO “been silent” = charash. This is to scratch, which implies etching or plowing. It can mean to manufacture regardless of materials used. Figuratively, it can be to devise or conceal. It can also have a sense of secrecy. Hence, being silent or left alone. It can also be speechless.
PP “thought” = damah. This is to be like, resemble, devise. It can be to think using analogies.
QQ “rebuke” = yakach. This is to decide, be right, argue, or convince. It can also be to decide, convict, reason together, or reprove.
RR “lay the charge” = arak. This is to arrange by setting in a row. It can also mean to set a battle, estimate, put in order, or compare.
SS “before” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).

22 MarkTT, UU this, then, you who forgetVV God,WW
    orXX I will tear you apart,YY and there will be no one to deliver.ZZ

Notes on verse 22

TT “mark” = bin. This is to discern, consider, attend to. It refers to distinguishing things in one’s mind or, more generally, to understand.
UU {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
VV “forget” = shakach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
WW “God” = Eloah. Related to “God” in v14. From el (see note B above). This is God or a god.
XX “or” = pen. Perhaps from panah (to turn, face, appear). This is lest, if, or.
YY “tear…apart” = taraph. This is to tear or pluck off into pieces, to rend or catch. It can also mean supply with food.
ZZ “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.

23 Those who bringAAA thanksgiving as their sacrifice honorBBB me;
    to those who goCCC the right way,DDD
    I will showEEE the salvationFFF of God.”GGG

Notes on verse 23

AAA “bring” = zabach. Same as “offer” in v14. See note A above.
BBB “honor” = kabad. Same as “glorify” in v15. See note K above.
CCC “go” = sim. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
DDD “way” = 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.
EEE “show” = raah. Same as “see” in v18. See note Y above.
FFF “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.
GGG “God” = Elohim. Same as “God” in v14. See note B above.

Image credit: “Morning Glory” by Riccardo Maria Mantero, 2015.

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