Psalm 69:10-20, 30-33

Psalm 69:10-20, 30-33
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 7


10 When I humbledA my soulB with fasting,C
    they insultedD me for doing so.

Notes on verse 10

A “humbled” = bakah. This is to weep, complain, or lament.
B “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.
C “fasting” = tsom. From tsum (properly, covering one’s mouth; by extension, abstaining from food). This is fasting or a fast.
D “insulted” = hayah + charaph. Literally, “that became my reproach.” Hayah is is to be or become, to happen. Charaph is from charaph (to expose and so figuratively to reproach, defame, carp at, defy; to spend the winter or betroth). This is reproach, shame, disgrace. It can also refer to genitalia.

11 When I madeE sackclothF my clothing,G
    I becameH a bywordI to them.

Notes on verse 11

E “made” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
F “sackcloth” = saq. Perhaps from shaqaq (to run, rush; by implication having an appetite, seeking greedily). This is sack or sackcloth used as bags for grain and so on. Also worn during times or mourning or when seeking humility. The word “sack” in English is derived from this Semitic root.
G “clothing” = lebush. From labash (to wrap around, which implies clothing oneself or someone else; wrapping around in a literal or figurative way). This is clothing literally or figuratively. It can be used as a euphemism for a wife.
H “became” = hayah. Same as “insulted” in v10. See note D above.
I “byword” = mashal. From mashal (to compare, speak in a proverb or riddle – to speak in allegory or liken). This is proverb, parable, taunt, discourse, maxim, adage, poem.

12 I am the subject of gossipJ for those who sitK in the gate,L
    and the drunkardsM make songsN about me.

Notes on verse 12

J “am the subject of gossip” = siach. From siach (musing, meditation, communication, babbling, prayer, contemplation). This is to muse, meditate, complain, sing, sigh, speak, or utter.
K “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.
L “gate” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
M “drunkards” = shathah + shekar. Shathah is to drink literally or figuratively. It could also be a drinker. Shekar is from shakar (to be filled with drink, merry, tipsy; satiated in a positive sense or drunken in a negative sense; also figuratively influence). This is a beverage that intoxicates, liquor, a strong wine. It could also be someone who is a drunk.
N “make songs” = neginah. 13x in OT. From nagan (to strike a stringed instrument, to pluck or play it). This is music, a song, a taunt, or a stringed instrument. It can also be a poem given a musical setting.

13 But as for me, my prayerO is to you, O Lord.P
    At an acceptableQ time,R O God,S

Notes on verse 13a

O “prayer” = tephillah. From palal (to judge for oneself or in an official capacity; to pray or make supplication, to entreat). This is prayer or intercession. It can also be a hymn.
P “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “insulted” in v10. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note D above). 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.
Q “acceptable” = ratson. From ratsah (to be pleased with, delight, take pleasure in, or accept with favor; to approve or consent regarding something; can be used specifically of satisfying debts or being pardoned). This is delight shown in favor, good will, something that is accepted or acceptable.
R “time” = et. Probably from anah (to answer, sing, announce); from ad (forever, all, old); from adah (to pass on, advance, decorate oneself). This is a period or season. It can also mean whenever or continually.
S “God” = Elohim.

    in the abundanceT of your steadfast love,U answerV me.

Notes on verse 13b

T “abundance” = rob. From rabab (to be or become much or many, multiply). This is any kind of abundance.
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 “answer” = anah. Related to “time” in v13. See note R above.

With your faithfulW helpX 14 rescueY me
    from sinkingZ in the mire;AA

Notes on verses 13c-14a

W “faithful” = 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.
X “help” = 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.
Y “rescue” = 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.
Z “sinking” = taba. 10x in OT. This is sink, drown, settle, or fasten.
AA “mire” = tit. 13x in OT. Root perhaps means being sticky. This is mud, clay, or mire. Figuratively, it can refer to calamity.

let me be deliveredBB from my enemiesCC
    and from the deepDD waters.EE

Notes on verse 14b

BB “delivered” = natsal. Same as “rescue” in v14. See note Y above.
CC “enemies” = sane. This is an enemy or foe. It is one that is hated with a personal hatred.
DD “deep” = maamaqqim. 5x in OT. From amoq (to be deep in a literal or figurative sense; profound). This is depths or deep.
EE “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.

15 Do not let the floodFF sweep overGG me
    or the deepHH swallow me upII
    or the PitJJ closeKK its mouthLL over me.

Notes on verse 15

FF “flood” = shibbol…mayim. Shibbol is 19x in OT. From the same as shobel (the train of a skirt that flows after a woman). This is an ear of grain or corn, a branch, a stream or flood. It was also a word the Gileadites used to test the fugitives in Judges 12:6. Mayim is the same as “waters” in v14. See note EE above.
GG “sweep over” = shataph. This is to overflow, rinse, overwhelm, run, drown, rush, flood, cleanse, gallop, conquer.
HH “deep” = metsolah. 11x in OT. From the same as tsulah (root may mean to sink; ocean depths, the abyss of the sea). This is depth, bottom, or otherwise somewhere deep that is watery or muddy.
II “swallow…up” = bala. This is to swallow, engulf, cover, or destroy.
JJ “Pit” = be’er. From baar (to make plain; to dig; can also mean to engrave or figuratively to explain). This is a well or pit.
KK “close” = atar. 1x in OT. This is to shut or bind.
LL “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.

16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;MM
    according to your abundant mercy,NN turnOO to me.

Notes on verse 16

MM “good” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). 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.
NN “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.
OO “turn” = panah. This is to turn, regard, appear, look, prepare.

17 Do not hidePP your faceQQ from your servant,RR
    for I am in distressSS—make hasteTT to answer me.

Notes on verse 17

PP “hide” = sathar. This is hide, conceal, or be absent. It is hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense.
QQ “face” = paneh. Related to “turn” in v16. From panah (see note OO above). 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.
RR “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
SS “am in distress” = tsarar. This is to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary.
TT “make haste” = maher. 18x in OT. From mahar (being liquid, which implies flowing; so, hurrying forward, whether in a positive or negative sense). This is speedy, quickly, soon, suddenly, or at once.

18 Draw nearUU to me;VV redeemWW me;
    set me freeXX because of my enemies.YY

Notes on verse 18

UU “draw near” = qarab. This is to come near, offer, make ready, approach, take.
VV “me” = nephesh. Same as “soul” in v10. See note B above.
WW “redeem” = gaal. This is to redeem someone or something according to kinship laws. So, it could be acting on a relative’s behalf to buy back their property, to marry one’s brother’s widow, etc. This could be more briefly translated as to redeem, acts as kinsman, or purchase. As a noun, it could be deliverer or avenger.
XX “set…free” = 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.
YY “enemies” = oyeb. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is a foe or enemy as one that you are hostile to.

19 You knowZZ the insults I receive
    and my shameAAA and dishonor;BBB
    my foesCCC are allDDD known to you.

Notes on verse 19

ZZ “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.
AAA “shame” = bosheth. From bosh (properly, to be pale, which implies shame, disappointment, or confusion). This is shame as a feeling and a thing that creates shame. It can also mean humiliation, confusion, or be used specifically for an idol.
BBB “dishonor” = kelimmah. From kalam (bearing shame, bringing dishonor or disgrace, humiliate insult, taunt, embarrass, reproach; properly to wound in a figurative sense). This is insult, disgrace, dishonor, humiliation, shame, or reproach.
CCC “foes” = tsarar. Same as “am in distress” in v17. See note SS above.
DDD “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.

20 Insults have brokenEEE my heart,FFF
    so that I am in despair.GGG

Notes on verse 20a

EEE “broken” = shabar. This is break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear. It is bursting in a literal or figurative sense.
FFF “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.
GGG “am in despair” = nush. 1x in OT. This is to be sick, heavy, in despair.

I lookedHHH for pity,III but there was none;
    and for comforters,JJJ but I foundKKK none.

Notes on verse 20b

HHH “looked” = 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, look, or tarry.
III “pity” = nud. This is to nod, waver, wander, flee, show grief, disappear. It can be nodding the head as a sign of sympathy or consolation. It could also be tossing one’s head to show contempt or to taunt.
JJJ “comforters” = nacham. Properly, this is a strong breath or a sigh. This can be to be sorry, to pity, console. Comfort, or repent. But, one can also comfort oneself with less righteous thoughts, so this can also mean to avenge oneself.
KKK “found” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.

30 I will praiseLLL the nameMMM of God with a song;NNN
    I will magnifyOOO him with thanksgiving.PPP

Notes on verse 30

LLL “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.
MMM “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.
NNN “song” = shir. From shir (to sing; one who is singing or leading others in song). This is song or singer.
OOO “magnify” = gadal. This is to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing.
PPP “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.

31 This will pleaseQQQ the Lord more than an oxRRR
    or a bullSSS with hornsTTT and hoofs.UUU

Notes on verse 31

QQQ “will please” = yatab. This is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.
RRR “ox” = shor. Perhaps from shur (to travel, turn, journey; travelling like a prostitute or a merchant). This is bull, ox, head of cattle, cow.
SSS “bull” = par. Perhaps related to parar (to break, defeat, frustrate, caste off, clean, cease). This is a young bull or ox.
TTT “horns” = qaran. 4x in OT– used 3x of Moses’s face shining upon coming from the presence of God. From qeren (horn or hill; a flask or cornet, ivory, altar corner, mountain peak, or figuratively power). This is something that gives off rays – it could be to shine or refer to horns. As horns, it could mean to gore.
UUU “hoofs” = paras. 14x in OT. To break in two, divide, to have hoofs (as divided feet). This is breaking in pieces, but it is generally not referring to violence. So, this would be to split, distribute, or share. This is the root verb that “Pharisee” comes from since they were separated or separatists to pursue lives of purity.

32 Let the oppressedVVV seeWWW it and be glad;XXX
    you who seekYYY God, let your heartsZZZ revive.AAAA

Notes on verse 32

VVV “oppressed” = 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.
WWW “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
XXX “be glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
YYY “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.
ZZZ “hearts” = lebab. Related to “heart” in v20. This is a form of the same word with the same meaning as “heart.” See note FFF above.
AAAA “revive” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it can be revive, nourish, or save.

33 For the Lord hearsBBBB the needyCCCC
    and does not despiseDDDD his own who are in bonds.EEEE

Notes on verse 33

BBBB “hears” = 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.
CCCC “needy” = ebyon. From abah (to consent, obey, want, yield, accept). This is needy, poor, beggar. Someone who is wanting.
DDDD “despise” = bazah. This is to despise, hold in contempt, disesteem, or a person who is vile.
EEEE “in bonds” = asir. 12x in OT. From asar (to tie, yoke, bind, or fasten; can mean to harness an animal, to join in fighting a battle, or to imprison someone). This is a prisoner or captive. It can also refer to a slave or someone otherwise bound.

Image credit: “The Triathlete’s Lament” by Jes, 2007.

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