Psalm 71

Psalm 71


In you, O Lord,I I take refuge;II
    let me neverIII be put to shame.IV

Notes on verse 1

I “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.
II “take refuge” = chasah. This is to take refuge or flee for protection. Figuratively, it means to hope or trust in someone or something.
III “never” = alolam. Olam is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
IV “be put to shame” = bosh. Properly, this means to be pale, which implies shame, disappointment, or confusion.

In your righteousnessV deliverVI me and rescueVII me;

Notes on verse 2a

V “righteousness” = 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.
VI “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.
VII “rescue” = palat. This is to escape, slip out, deliver, carry away, or calve.

    inclineVIII your earIX to me and saveX me.

Notes on verse 2b

VIII “incline” = natah. This is to stretch or spread out, to extend, or bend. In can also imply moral deflection.
IX “ear” = ozen. This is ear, hearing, audience, show. Properly, it is broadness – applied to its ear in reference to its shape.
X “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.

BeXI to me a rockXII of refuge,XIII, XIV
    a strong fortress, to save me,
    for you are my rockXV and my fortress.XVI

Notes on verse 3

XI “be” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note I above.
XII “rock” = tsur. From tsur (to confine, cramp, or bind in a literal or figurative sense; to besiege, assault, or distress). This is rock, stone, cliff, boulder, rocky. It can also be a refuge, a way to refer to God.
XIII “refuge” = maon + bo + tamid. Literally “a dwelling place to which I resort continually.” Maon is 17x in OT. From anah (to answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify; to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk; singing, shouting, testifying, etc.) OR from the same as onah (marriage, living together, marital duty). This is dwelling, den, haunt, retreat. It can refer to the Tabernacle or Temple. It can also be used for homes or animal lairs. Bo is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation. Tamid is 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.
XIV Alternately, “to come continually you have commanded.” This would include the words detailed above + tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).
XV “rock” = sela. Root may mean being lofty. This is a rock, cliff, crag, mountain. It could be used figuratively for obstinance or to show God as a refuge. It can also more generally mean fortress or stronghold.
XVI “fortress” = matsud. From matsod (bulwark, siege works, net, snare); from tsud (to hunt, to lie in wait in order to catch an animal; used figuratively for capturing people). This is a castle, fortress, or stronghold. Also, a snare, net, or prey. It can abstractly mean capture.

4 Rescue me, O my God,XVII from the handXVIII of the wicked,XIX

Notes on verse 4a

XVII “God” = Elohim.
XVIII “hand” = 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.
XIX “wicked” = rasha. This is to be wicked, guilty, make trouble, do wrong. It can also be condemn, guilty, inflict punishment. This verb implies disturbing or violating.

    from the graspXX of the unjustXXI and cruel.XXII

Notes on verse 4b

XX “grasp” = kaph. From kaphaph (to bend – from a root meaning curve or bend down). This is palm of the hand or sole of the foot, footstep, grasp. Figuratively, it can also mean power.
XXI “unjust” = aval. 2x in OT. From evel (injustice, wrong, moral evil, acts of violence, or unrighteousness). This is to do injustice, to distort ethics. It can also be a wrongdoer.
XXII “cruel” = chamets. 6x in OT. This is to be or taste sour, fermented, harsh. It can also mean dyed or of a dazzling color. It can also refer to cruelty.

For you, O Lord,XXIII are my hope,XXIV
    my trust,XXV O Lord,XXVI from my youth.XXVII

Notes on verse 5

XXIII “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.
XXIV “hope” = tiqvah. From qavah (to wait, look, gather together, bind together, collect; figuratively, to expect). This is literally a cord used to attach things. Figuratively, it’s expectation, hope, what you long for.
XXV “trust” = mibtach. 15x in OT. From batach (to hide for refuge, be secure or sure; figuratively, it refers to trust, being confident, or hoping). This is trust, hope, confidence. It is a refuge or assurance.
XXVI “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note I above.
XXVII “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.

Upon you I have leanedXXVIII from my birth;XXIX
    it was you who tookXXX me from my mother’sXXXI womb.XXXII
My praiseXXXIII is continuallyXXXIV of you.

Notes on verse 6

XXVIII “leaned” = samak. This is to lean, rest, support, brace, uphold, sustain, or establish. It is to lean on in a positive or negative sense.
XXIX “birth” = beten. Root may mean to be hollow. This is the belly or womb. It can also refer to a body more broadly.
XXX “took” = gazah. 1x in OT. This is to cut, to remove a portion.
XXXI “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.
XXXII “womb” = meeh. This is inward parts, belly, heart, womb, intestines, vastness. It can also be figurative for sympathy.
XXXIII “praise” = tehillah. From halal (to praise, be boastful). 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.”
XXXIV “continually” = tamid. Same as “refuge” in v3. See note XIII above.

I have been like a portentXXXV to many,XXXVI
    but you are my strongXXXVII refuge.XXXVIII

Notes on verse 7

XXXV “portent” = mopheth. Perhaps from yaphah (to be beautiful, decorate; root means being bright, which implies being beautiful). This is a wonder, miracle, symbol, sign, or omen.
XXXVI “many” = 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.
XXXVII “strong” = 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.
XXXVIII “refuge” = machaseh. Related to “take refuge” in v1. From chasah (see note II above). This is a shelter in a literal or figurative sense. It is refuge or place of refuge. It could also be hope or trust.

My mouthXXXIX is filledXL with your praise,
    and with your gloryXLI all dayXLII long.

Notes on verse 8

XXXIX “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.
XL “is filled” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
XLI “glory” = tipharah. From paar (to beautify or adorn, to gleam; can refer to showing honor or glorifying someone; also to boast or to shake a tree for harvest). This is beautiful, splendor, adornment, honor, bravery.
XLII “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.

Do not cast me offXLIII in the timeXLIV of old age;XLV

Notes on verse 9a

XLIII “cast…off” = shalak. This is to throw, fling, or hurl. It can also be to throw away in a literal or figurative sense.
XLIV “time” = eth. 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.
XLV “old age” = ziqnah. 6x in OT. From zoqen (old age); from the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age); from zaqen (to be old or grow old). This is old or old age through the analogy of being bearded.

    do not forsakeXLVI me when my strengthXLVII is spent.XLVIII

Notes on verse 9b

XLVI “forsake” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
XLVII “strength” = 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.
XLVIII “is spent” = kalah. This is to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed.

10 For my enemiesXLIX speak concerning me,
    and those who watchL for my lifeLI consultLII together.LIII

Notes on verse 10

XLIX “enemies” = oyeb. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is a foe or enemy as one that you are hostile to.
L “watch” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
LI “life” = 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.
LII “consult” = yaats. This is to advise, counsel, consult, decide, plan, purpose, or determine. It can also have a negative sense of conspire or devise.
LIII “together” = yachad. From yachad (to join, be united). This is a unit, both, altogether, unitedness, alike.

11 They say, “PursueLIV and seizeLV that person
    whom God has forsaken,
    for there is no one to deliver.”

12 O God, do not be farLVI from me;
    O my God, make hasteLVII to helpLVIII me!

Notes on verses 11-12

LIV “pursue” = radaph. This is to chase after, pursue, hunt, or persecute. It is running after someone or something, generally with hostile motives.
LV “seize” = taphas. This is to catch, seize, wield, capture. It can also mean to use unwarrantably.
LVI “be far” = rachaq. This is to widen, become distant, cast, or remove. It can be in a literal or figurative sense.
LVII “make haste” = chush. This is to hurry, be eager.
LVIII “help” = 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.

13 Let my accusersLIX be put to shame and consumed;
    let those who seekLX to hurt meLXI

Notes on verse 13a

LIX “accusers” = satan + nephesh. Literally “who are adversaries of my life.” Satan is 6x in OT. From satan (adversary, Satan). This is to be an adversary, attack, accuse, resist. This is the root that “Satan” is taken from. Nephesh is the same as “life” in v10. See note LI above.
LX “seek” = baqash. This is to seek, ask, desire, or request. It can be any kind of searching. It can also mean to worship or pray – implies a striving for.
LXI “to hurt me” = ra’. Literally “my hurt.” 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.

    be coveredLXII with scornLXIII and disgrace.LXIV

14 But I will hopeLXV continually,
    and will praise you yet more and more.LXVI

Notes on verses 13b-14

LXII “be covered” = atah. 17x in OT. This is to wrap, cover, veil, be clad, turn aside.
LXIII “scorn” = cherpah. From charaph (to expose and so figuratively to reproach, defame, carp at, defy). This is reproach, rebuke, shame, or disgrace. It can also refer to genitals.
LXIV “disgrace” = 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.
LXV “hope” = yachal. This is to wait, which implies patience, hope, and trust. It can also be pained waiting.
LXVI “more and more” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.

15 My mouth will tellLXVII of your righteous acts,LXVIII
    of your deeds of salvationLXIX all day long,
    though their numberLXX is past my knowledge.LXXI

Notes on verse 15

LXVII “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.
LXVIII “righteous acts” = tsedaqah. Same as “righteousness” in v2. See note V above.
LXIX “deeds of salvation” = teshuah. Related to “save” in v2. From yasha (see note X above). This is deliverance or salvation.
LXX “number” = sephorah. Related to “tell” in v15. 1x in OT. From the same as sepher (see note LXVII above)
LXXI “is past my knowledge” = lo + yada. Literally “I do not know.” Yada 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.

16 I will comeLXXII praising the mighty deedsLXXIII of the LordLXXIV God,LXXV
    I will praiseLXXVI your righteousness, yours alone.LXXVII

Notes on verse 16

LXXII “come” = bo. Same as “refuge” in v3. See note XIII above.
LXXIII “mighty deeds” = geburah. From gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or be insolent). This is force in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be strength, power, courage, triumph, victory, or mastery.
LXXIV “Lord” = Adonai. Same as “Lord” in v5. See note XXIII above.
LXXV “God” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v1 & “be” in v3. See note I above. It has the same meaning as “Lord” from v1 with a slightly different vowel pointing.
LXXVI “praise” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
LXXVII “alone” = bad. From badad (to divide or be separated; alone, solitary, lonely, isolated, straggler). This is apart, alone, separation, body part, tree branch, except. It can also be a city’s chief.

17 O God,LXXVIII from my youth you have taughtLXXIX me,
    and I stillLXXX proclaimLXXXI your wondrous deeds.LXXXII

Notes on verse 17

LXXVIII “God” = Elohim. Same as “God” in v4. See note XVII above.
LXXIX “taught” = lamad. Properly, this refers to goading (using a pointed stick to guide or prod one’s flock). By implication, it means teaching or instructing.
LXXX {untranslated} = hennah. Perhaps from hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is here in a location or here in a time, i.e. now.
LXXXI “proclaim” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
LXXXII “wondrous deeds” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.

18 So even to old age and gray hairs,LXXXIII
    O God,LXXXIV do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your mightLXXXV
    to all the generationsLXXXVI to come.

Notes on verse 18a

LXXXIII “gray hairs” = sebah. 19x in OT. From sib (to have gray hair, become old). This is being gray or old.
LXXXIV “God” = Elohim. Same as “God” in v4. See note XVII above.
LXXXV “might” = zeroa. Perhaps from zara (to sow, scatter seed, conceive). This is the arm, shoulder, or foreleg of an animal. It is figuratively used for power, force, might, or help.
LXXXVI “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.

Your powerLXXXVII 19 and your righteousness, O God,LXXXVIII
    reachLXXXIX the highXC heavens.

Notes on verses 18b-19a

LXXXVII “power” = geburah. Same as “mighty deeds” in v16. See note LXXIII above.
LXXXVIII “God” = Elohim. Same as “God” in v4. See note XVII above.
LXXXIX “reach” = ad. Literally “as far as.”
XC “high” = marom. From rum (to be high, rise, exalted, become proud, display, offer, present, set apart, extol; to rise in a literal or figurative sense). This can be height, high place, or lofty. It can be either exalted or haughty/proud. It can refer to dignity or to heaven.

You who have doneXCI great things,XCII
    O God,XCIII who is like you?

Notes on verse 19b

XCI “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
XCII “great things” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
XCIII “God” = Elohim. Same as “God” in v4. See note XVII above.

20 You who have made me seeXCIV many troublesXCV and calamitiesXCVI
    will reviveXCVII me again;XCVIII

Notes on verse 20a

XCIV “made…see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
XCV “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.
XCVI “calamities” = ra’. Same as “to hurt me” in v7. See note LXI above.
XCVII “revive” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it an be revive, nourish, or save.
XCVIII “again” = 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.”

from the depthsXCIX of the earthC
    you will bring me upCI again.

Notes on verse 20b

XCIX “depths” = tehom. Perhaps from hum (to roar, murmur, cause an uproar, agitate; to defeat in battle, destroy). This is the deep or the abyss. Either understood as a formless empty place of nothingness or as a place of confusion filled with water – the deep the feeds the waters of the earth.
C “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
CI “bring…up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.

21 You will increaseCII my honor,CIII
    and comfortCIV me once again.CV

Notes on verse 21

CII “will increase” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.
CIII “honor” = gedullah. Related to “great things” in v19. 12x in OT. From gadal (see note XCII above). This is greatness. It could be dignity or a mighty deed.
CIV “comfort” = 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.
CV “once again” = sabab. This is turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch. It is to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense.

22 I will also praiseCVI you withCVII the harpCVIII
    for your faithfulness,CIX O my God;CX

Notes on verse 22a

CVI “praise” = yadah. From yad (hand). This is to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise. So, it is to praise, give thanks, or make a confession.
CVII “with” = keli. Related to “is spent” in v9. From kalah (see note XLVIII above). This is something that was prepared – any implement, utensil, article, vessel, weapon, or instrument. Also includes jewels, weapons, bags, carriages, and furniture.
CVIII “harp” = nebel. From nabel (to fall away, faint, wither, languish, sink; figuratively, being senseless, foolish, or wicked; to despise, disgrace, or fall to nothing, to be seen with contempt). This is a vessel, perhaps made of skins for holding liquids. It could be a skin, vase, or lyre as having a similar shape.
CIX “faithfulness” = 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.
CX “God” = Elohim. Same as “God” in v4. See note XVII above.

I will sing praisesCXI to you with the lyre,CXII
    O Holy OneCXIII of Israel.CXIV

Notes on verse 22b

CXI “sing praises” = zamar. Perhaps from zamar (to trim or prune). This is making music. It is used specially of music to worship God. So, music with singing, singing praise, or singing psalms.
CXII “lyre” = kinnor. Root may be to twang. This is a lyre or harp.
CXIII “Holy One” = qadosh. From 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); related to qadash (set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified; something or someone set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean). This is sacred or holy in a ritual or moral sense. As a noun, it refers to a holy one (like a saint or angel), a holy place (the sanctuary), or God (the Holy One).
CXIV “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “God” in v4. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note XVII above). 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.

23 My lipsCXV will shout for joyCXVI
    when I sing praises to you;
    my soulCXVII also, which you have rescued.CXVIII

Notes on verse 23

CXV “lips” = saphah. This is lip, edge, border, bank – used for a boundary. It can also be speech or language.
CXVI “shout for joy” = ranan. This is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.
CXVII “soul” = nephesh. Same as “life” in v10. See note LI above.
CXVIII “rescued” = 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.

24 All day long my tongueCXIX will talkCXX of your righteous help,CXXI
for those who tried to doCXXII me harmCXXIII
    have been put to shame, and disgraced.CXXIV

Notes on verse 24

CXIX “tongue” = lashon. This is tongue, talker, language, or wedge. It can also be a tongue of flame or a water cove.
CXX “talk” = hagah. This is to speak, declare, make a sound, imagine, or mutter. It could be a murmur, moan, or growl, whether from delight or anger. It can also mean to study, ponder, or meditate.
CXXI “righteous help” = tsedaqah. Same as “righteousness” in v2. See note V above.
CXXII “tried to do” = baqash. Same as “seek” in v13. See note LX above.
CXXIII “harm” = ra’. Same as “to hurt me” in v13. See note LXI above.
CXXIV “disgraced” = chapher. 17x in OT. Perhaps from the same as chaphar (properly to pry into; to dig search for, sink, or explore). This is to be ashamed, disgraced, embarrassed, confounded – to blush.

Image credit: “Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. Grandfather and grandson of Japanese ancestry at this War Relocation Authority center” by Dorothea Lange of the Department of the Interior. War Relocation Authority, 1942.

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