Psalm 89

Psalm 89


A MaskilI of EthanII the Ezrahite.III

Notes on superscript

I “Maskil” = maskiyl. 13x in OT. From sakal (to consider or be prudent; to instruct, be an expert; dealing prudently, which implies success and prospering; can mean laying cross-wise). This is maskil or maschil. It is a poem used for instruction.
II “Ethan” = Ethan. 8x in OT. From the same as ethan (root might mean to continue; mighty, strong, ever-flowing, enduring, or permanence). This is Ethan, a name meaning “permanence” or “permanent” or “perpetuity” or “perennial” or “firmness.” See
III “Ezrahite” = Ezrachi. 3x n OT. From zarach (to rise, shine, or dawn; can also describe symptoms of leprosy). This is Ezrahite, one whose ancestor is Zerah. It may mean “born of the native” or “son of dawn” or “sprung up” or “of the family of Zerah.” See

I will sing of your steadfast love,IV O Lord,V forever;VI

Notes on verse 1a

IV “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 “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.
VI “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

    with my mouthVII I will proclaimVIII your faithfulnessIX to all generations.X

Notes on verse 1b

VII “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.
VIII “proclaim” = 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.
IX “faithfulness” = emunah. 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 word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. This word shares a root with the word “Amen.”
X “to all generations” = dor + dor. Literally, “from generation and generation.” 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.

I declare that your steadfast love is establishedXI forever;
    your faithfulness is as firmXII as the heavens.XIII

Notes on verse 2

XI “established” = banah. This is to build, make, set up, restore, repair, or obtain children. It is to build literally or figuratively.
XII “is as firm” = kun. Properly, this means in a perpendicular position. So, it is set up in a literal sense – establish, fix, fasten, prepare. In a figurative sense, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous.
XIII “heavens” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.

You said, “I have madeXIV a covenantXV with my chosenXVI one,

Notes on verse 3a

XIV “made” = karat. This is to cut down, cut off, or make a covenant (idiom for making a covenant is “to cut a covenant”). It can also mean to destroy, fail, or consume.
XV “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.
XVI “chosen” = bachir. From bachar (to choose, appoint, try, excellent). This is chosen or choice. So, it implies excellence.

    I have swornXVII to my servantXVIII David:XIX

Notes on verse 3b

XVII “sworn” = shaba. Perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant. Properly, it can mean to be complete. This is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times.
XVIII “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.
XIX “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.”

‘I will establishXX your descendantsXXI forever,XXII
    and buildXXIII your throneXXIV for all generations.’” SelahXXV

Notes on verse 4

XX “establish” = kun. Same as “is as firm” in v2. See note XII above.
XXI “descendants” = 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.
XXII “forever” = ad + olam. Literally, “even to forever.” Olam is the same as “forever” in v1. See note VI above.
XXIII “build” = banah. Same as “established” in v2. See note XI above.
XXIV “throne” = kisse. From the same as kese (full moon); perhaps from kasah (to cover, conceal, overwhelm; to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret). This is throne – a seat that is covered or has a canopy. Thus, it is a seat that conveys authority.
XXV “Selah” = selah. From salal (to lift up, build, pile, extol, exalt; can also be used for opposing as a dam holds back water). This is to lift up or exalt. Also, “selah” in the psalms where its precise meaning is uncertain. It could be a pause in the music, a moment of silence. It could signal a change in the service or mean something akin to amen.

Let the heavens praiseXXVI your wonders,XXVII O Lord,
    XXVIIIyour faithfulness in the assemblyXXIX of the holy ones.XXX

Notes on verse 5

XXVI “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.
XXVII “wonders” = pele. 13x in OT. This is a wonder, marvelous thing, or a miracle.
XXVIII {untranslated} = aph. This is also, furthermore, even.
XXIX “assembly” = qahal. This is an assembly, congregation, or multitude.
XXX “holy ones” = 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).

For who in the skiesXXXI can be comparedXXXII to the Lord?
    Who among the heavenlyXXXIII beingsXXXIV is likeXXXV the Lord,

Notes on verse 6

XXXI “skies” = shachaq. From shachaq (to rub off, wear away, pulverize). This is powder, dust, vapor. It can also refer to the sky or a cloud.
XXXII “compared” = arak. This is to arrange by setting in a row. It can also mean to set a battle, estimate, put in order, or compare.
XXXIII “heavenly” = el. This can refer to God of a god. It can also refer to power, an idol, or one that is powerful.
XXXIV “beings” = ben. Related to “established” in v2. From banah (see note XI above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
XXXV “is like” = damah. This is to be like, resemble, devise. It can be to think using analogies.

a GodXXXVI fearedXXXVII in the councilXXXVIII of the holy ones,

Notes on verse 7a

XXXVI “God” = El. Same as “heavenly” in v6. See note XXXIII above.
XXXVII “feared” = arats. 15x in OT. This is to fear, terrify, be in awe, oppress, make one tremble, harass, shock.
XXXVIII “council” = 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.

    greatXXXIX and awesomeXL above allXLI that are aroundXLII him?

Notes on verse 7b

XXXIX “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.
XL “awesome” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
XLI “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
XLII “around” = sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.

O LordXLIII GodXLIV of hosts,XLV
    who is as mightyXLVI as you, O Lord?
    Your faithfulness surroundsXLVII you.

Notes on verse 8

XLIII “Lord” = Yah. Related to “Lord” In v1. From YHVH (see note V above). This is Lord or God – a  shortened form of God’s most holy name.
XLIV “God” = Elohim. Related to “heavenly” in v6. From eloah (God, a god); from el (see note XXXVI above). This is most commonly used as a name for God. Technically, it’s in the plural, i.e. gods. It can also mean great, mighty, judge, or ruler.
XLV “hosts” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.
XLVI “mighty” = chasin. 1x in OT. From the same as chosen (wealth, strength); from chasan (to hoard, store, be compact). This is firm or strong.
XLVII “surrounds” = sabib. Same as “around” in v7. See note XLII above.

9 You ruleXLVIII the ragingXLIX of the sea;L

Notes on verse 9a

XLVIII “rule” = mashal. This is to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield.
XLIX “raging” = geuth. 8x in OT. From gaah (to rise up, be exalted, triumph; figuratively, be majestic). This is majesty, something excellent, pride. It can also be swelling, raging, or a column.
L “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.

    when its wavesLI rise,LII you stillLIII them.

Notes on verse 9b

LI “waves” = gal. From galal (to roll, roll away, wallow, commit, remove; rolling in a literal or figurative sense). This is a wave, billow, rock pile, something rolled, a spring of water.
LII “rise” = so. 1x in OT. From the same as nasa (to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively; to carry, take, or arise; to bring forth, advance, accept). This is rise or arise.
LIII “still” = shabach. 11x in OT. This is to glory, praise, triumph. It can also mean still or soothe. Properly, it is speaking to loudly or to calm through speech.

10 You crushedLIV RahabLV like a carcass;LVI

Notes on verse 10a

LIV “crushed” = daka. 18x in OT. This is to crush or break into pieces. It can also mean bruise, being contrite or oppressed, to destroy, or be humble.
LV “Rahab” = Rahab. 3x in OT. From rahab (to act arrogantly, storm, be bold, capture). This is Rahab, a name which means storm or boaster. It can refer to Egypt.
LVI “carcass” = chalal. From chalal (to pierce, to wound; figuratively, making someone or something profane or breaking your word; to begin as though one opened a wedge; to eat something as a common thing). This is to pierce, profane or pollute. It can also refer to slain or deadly.

    you scatteredLVII your enemiesLVIII with your mightyLIX arm.LX

Notes on verse 10b

LVII “scattered” = pazar. 10x in OT. This is to scatter or disperse – whether in a positive sense of sharing abundance or negatively as scattering through force.
LVIII “enemies” = oyeb. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is a foe or enemy as one that you are hostile to.
LIX “mighty” = 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.
LX “arm” = zeroa. Related to “descendants” in v4. Perhaps from zara (see note XXI above). This is the arm, shoulder, or foreleg of an animal. It is figuratively used for power, force, might, or help.

11 The heavens are yours, the earthLXI alsoLXII is yours;
    the worldLXIII and allLXIV that is in it—you have foundedLXV them.

Notes on verse 11

LXI “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
LXII “also” = aph. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XXVIII above.
LXIII “world” = tebel. From yabal (to lead, bring, carry, conduct; properly, to flow; to bring or lead with fanfare). This is world, confusion, inhabited part of the earth, but also used for the whole world.
LXIV “all” = melo. From male (fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate; fill in a literal or figurative sense). This is fullness in a literal or figurative sense.
LXV “founded” = yasad. Related to “council” in v7. See note XXXVIII above.

12 The northLXVI and the southLXVII—you createdLXVIII them;

Notes on verse 12a

LXVI “north” = tsaphon. From tsaphan (to hide, hoard, reserve; to cover over or figuratively to deny; also to lurk). This is properly hidden, dark, or gloomy. It can also be used to refer to the north.
LXVII “south” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
LXVIII “created” = bara. This is to create, shape, choose, or select. It is the word used in Genesis 1:1 when God created the heavens and the earth.

    TaborLXIX and HermonLXX joyously praiseLXXI your name.LXXII

Notes on verse 12b

LXIX “Tabor” = Tabor. 10x in OT. Perhaps Aramaic tebar (to break, be fragile); related to Hebrew shabar (break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear; bursting in a literal or figurative sense). This is Tabor, meaning “broken region.”
LXX “Hermon” = Chermon. 13x in OT. From charam (to ban, destroy, devote, seclude; to dedicate to a religious purpose, often for destruction). This is Hermon, meaning “sacred mountain” or “abrupt.” It is in southern Syria and northern Israel.
LXXI “joyously praise” = ranan. This is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.
LXXII “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.

13 You have a mightyLXXIII arm;
    strong isLXXIV your hand,LXXV highLXXVI your right hand.LXXVII

Notes on verse 13

LXXIII “mighty” = 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 “strong is” = azaz. Related to “mighty” in v10. 12x in OT. See note LIX above.
LXXV “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.
LXXVI “high” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
LXXVII “right hand” = yamin. Same as “south” in v12. See note LXVII above.

14 RighteousnessLXXVIII and justiceLXXIX are the foundationLXXX of your throne;

Notes on verse 14a

LXXVIII “righteousness” = tsedeq. This is 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.
LXXIX “justice” = 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.
LXXX “foundation” = makon. Related to “is as firm” in v2. 17x in OT. From kun (see note XII above). This is a foundation, fixture, basis. It can also be a place or abode as somewhere that is established.

    steadfast love and faithfulnessLXXXI goLXXXII beforeLXXXIII you.

Notes on verse 14b

LXXXI “faithfulness” = emet. Related to “faithfulness” in v1. From aman (see note IX above). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.
LXXXII “go” = qadam. May be from qedem (front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity). This is to come in front or be in front and so meet, anticipate, confront, receive, or rise. It sometimes means to meet for help.
LXXXIII “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). 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.

15 HappyLXXXIV are the peopleLXXXV who knowLXXXVI the festal shout,LXXXVII

Notes on verse 15a

LXXXIV “happy” = esher. From ashar (to go straight, lead, guide; to be level and so to be right, blessed, honest, happy). This is happy or blessedness.
LXXXV “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
LXXXVI “know” = yada. Same as “proclaim” in v1. See note VIII above.
LXXXVII “festal shout” = teruah. From rua (to break or destroy something so figuratively, an ear splitting sound such as a call of alarm or a joyful sound). This is an alarm, trumpet sound, battle cry, rejoicing, joyful shout, or jubilee.

    who walk,LXXXVIII O Lord,LXXXIX in the lightXC of your countenance;XCI

Notes on verse 15b

LXXXVIII “walk” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
LXXXIX “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note V above.
XC “light” = or. From or (to be or become light). This is light, sun, sunshine, dawn, or daylight. Figuratively, it can refer to light from instruction, light of a face (that is to say one that is cheerful or finds favor). It can refer to prosperity or salvation; a light that guides, a light eternal from Zion.
XCI “countenance” = paneh. Same as “before” in v14. See note LXXXIII above.

16 they exultXCII in your name all dayXCIII long,
    and extolXCIV your righteousness.XCV

Notes on verse 16

XCII “exult” = gil. Properly, this is twirling around because of a strong feeling whether of rejoicing or from fear. This can be rejoice, be glad or joyful, or to cry.
XCIII “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.
XCIV “extol” = rum. Same as “high” in v13. See note LXXVI above.
XCV “righteousness” = tsedaqah. Related to “righteousness” in v14. From the same as tsedeq (see note LXXVIII above). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.

17 For you are the gloryXCVI of their strength;XCVII
    by your favorXCVIII our hornXCIX is exalted.C

Notes on verse 17

XCVI “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.
XCVII “strength” = oz. Same as “mighty” in v10. See note LIX above.
XCVIII “favor” = 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.
XCIX “horn” = qeren. This is horn or hill. It can be a flask or cornet, ivory, altar corner, mountain peak, or figuratively power.
C “exalted” = rum. Same as “high” in v13. See note LXXVI above.

18 For our shieldCI belongs to the Lord,CII
    our kingCIII to the Holy One of Israel.CIV

Notes on verse 18

CI “shield” = magen. From ganan (to surround, cover, defend, protect). This is a shield, defense, or figuratively a protector. It can also be used for a crocodile’s hide.
CII “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note V above.
CIII “king” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.
CIV “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “heavenly” in v6 & “God” in v8. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note XXXVI 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.

19 Then you spokeCV in a visionCVI to your faithful one,CVII and said:

Notes on verse 19a

CV “spoke” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
CVI “vision” = chazon. From chazah (to gaze at – to see or behold; perceiving as a mental process or looking at something with pleasure; seeing a vision). This is a vision or a sight. It could be a dream, oracle, or revelation.
CVII “faithful one” = chasid. Related to “steadfast love” in v1. From chasad (see note IV above). This is faithful, kind, pious, merciful, or gracious. It can also refer to godly or pious people. This is where Chasidic Jews take their name from.

   “I have setCVIII the crownCIX on one who is mighty,CX
    I have exalted one chosenCXI from the people.

Notes on verse 19b

CVIII “set” = shavah. This is to equalize, resemble, agree with, compare, adjust, compose, place, or yield.
CIX “crown” = ezer. From azar (to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid). This is help, aid, or helper. This word is used in Genesis 2:18 when God decides to make for Adam, “a helper as his partner.” If the same word can be used of God’s help (as in Psalm 121:1), then we should not downplay the significance of this formulation of “help.”
CX “mighty” = gibbor. Related to “mighty” in v13. From gabar (see note LXXIII above). This is strong, mighty, or powerful. This can imply a warrior, hero, or tyrant.
CXI “chosen” = bachur. Related to “chosen” in v3. From bachar (see note XVI above). This is choice, chosen, selected. It is a youth or young man.

20 I have foundCXII my servant David;
    with my holyCXIII oilCXIV I have anointedCXV him;
21 my hand shall always remainCXVI with him;
    my arm also shall strengthenCXVII him.

Notes on verses 20-21

CXII “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.
CXIII “holy” = qodesh. Related to “holy ones” in v5. See note XXX above.
CXIV “oil” = shemen. From shamen (to shine, which implies being oily, growing fat). This is fat, oil, grease, olive oil – often with perfume. Used figuratively for fertile, lavish, rich.
CXV “anointed” = mashach. This is smear, paint, spread, or paint. It can also be to rub with oil or, otherwise stated, to anoint. This implies a consecration. This root verb is where the word “messiah” comes from.
CXVI “remain” = kun. Same as “is as firm” in v2. See note XII above.
CXVII “strengthen” = amets. This is to be strong, stout, alert, or bold, It can also mean harden, make firm, be courageous or mighty, fortify, or establish. It can refer to physical alertness or mental courage or steadfastness.

22 The enemy shall not outwitCXVIII him,
    the wickedCXIX shall not humbleCXX him.

Notes on verse 22

CXVIII “outwit” = nasha. 5x in OT. Perhaps from nasha (to deceive, lend with interest, debtor, delude, seduce). This is to deceive, lend with interest, or debt.
CXIX “wicked” = ben + evel. Literally, “child of wickedness.” Ben is the same as “beings” in v6. See note XXXIV above. Evel is perhaps from aval (to deal unjustly, act in a wrongful way, a wrongdoer). This is injustice, wrong, moral evil, acts of violence, or unrighteousness.
CXX “humble” = anah. This is to be bowed down. It can refer to a sense of humility or to a sense of being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed. This can be literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance.

23 I will crushCXXI his foesCXXII beforeCXXIII him
    and strike downCXXIV those who hateCXXV him.
24 My faithfulnessCXXVI and steadfast love shall be with him;
    and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
25 I will setCXXVII his hand on the sea
    and his right hand on the rivers.CXXVIII

Notes on verses 23-25

CXXI “crush” = kathath. 17x in OT. This is to crush into pieces, to beat with a hammer, smash, bruise.
CXXII “foes” = tsar. From tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). Properly, this is a narrow or constricted place. Figuratively, it can be trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress.
CXXIII “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v14. See note LXXXIII above.
CXXIV “strike down” = nagaph. This is to strike, beat, hurt, stumble, defeat, inflict disease.
CXXV “hate” = sane. This is to hate, an enemy. It is a personal hatred and not an abstract one.
CXXVI “faithfulness” = emunah. Same as “faithfulness” in v1. See note IX above.
CXXVII “set” = sum. Related to “name” in v12. See note LXXII above.
CXXVIII “rivers” = nahar. From nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful). This is a stream, river, or flood. Particularly used for the Nile or Euphrates. Figuratively, this can mean prosperity.

26 He shall cryCXXIX to me, ‘You are my Father,CXXX
    my God,CXXXI and the RockCXXXII of my salvation!’CXXXIII

Notes on verse 26

CXXIX “cry” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
CXXX “Father” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
CXXXI “God” = El. Same as “heavenly” in v6. See note XXXIII above.
CXXXII “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.
CXXXIII “salvation” = yeshuah. 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, health, victory, prosperity.

27 CXXXIVI will makeCXXXV him the firstborn,CXXXVI
    the highestCXXXVII of the kings of the earth.

Notes on verse 27

CXXXIV {untranslated} = aph. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XXVIII above.
CXXXV “make” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
CXXXVI “firstborn” = bekor. From bakar (to bear fruit, be firstborn, firstling, that which opens the womb, give the birthright to). This is firstborn or chief.
CXXXVII “highest” = 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.

28 Forever I will keepCXXXVIII my steadfast love for him,
    and my covenant with him will stand firm.CXXXIX
29 I will establishCXL his lineCXLI forever,CXLII
    and his throne as long as the heavens endure.CXLIII

Notes on verses 28-29

CXXXVIII “keep” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
CXXXIX “stand firm” = aman. Related to “faithfulness” in v1 & “faithfulness” in v14. See note IX above.
CXL “establish” = sum. Same as “set” in v25. See note CXXVII above.
CXLI “line” = zera. Same as “descendants” in v4. See note XXI above.
CXLII “forever” = ad. From adah (to advance or continue; to take away or remove; adorning oneself with ornaments). This is old, perpetuity, eternity. It is a duration going back or forward.
CXLIII “as long as the heavens endure” = yom + shamayim. Literally, “as the days of heaven.” Yom is the same as “day” in v16. See note XCIII above. Shamayim is the same as “heavens” in v2. See note XIII above.

30 If his childrenCXLIV forsakeCXLV my lawCXLVI
    and do not walk according to my ordinances,CXLVII

Notes on verse 30

CXLIV “children” = ben. Same as “beings” in v6. See note XXXIV above.
CXLV “forsake” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
CXLVI “law” = torah. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach). This is law, instruction, teaching, or statute. It can also refer to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah.
CXLVII “ordinances” = mishpat. Same as “justice” in v14. Se note LXXIX above.

31 if they violateCXLVIII my statutesCXLIX
    and do not keep my commandments,CL

Notes on verse 31

CXLVIII “violate” = chalal. Related to “carcass” in v10. See note LVI above.
CXLIX “statutes” = chuqqah. From choq (statute, boundary, condition, custom, limit, ordinance; something that is prescribed or something that is owed); 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 something prescribed such as a statue, custom, or ordinance.
CL “commandments” = mitsvah. From tsavah (to charge, command, order, enjoin). This is a commandment, law, ordinance obligation, or tradition. It is something commanded whether by God or by a human authority. This term is sometimes used collectively to refer to the Law.

32 then I will punishCLI their transgressionCLII with the rodCLIII
    and their iniquityCLIV with scourges;CLV

Notes on verse 32

CLI “punish” = paqad. This is to attend to or visit – can be used for a friendly or violent encounter. So, it can be to oversee, care for, avenge, or charge.
CLII “transgression” = 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.
CLIII “rod” = shebet. This is a rod, staff, club, scepter, dart, or tribe. Literally a stick that can be used for punishing, writing, fighting, walking, ruling; thus, used figuratively for a clan.
CLIV “iniquity” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.
CLV “scourges” = nega. From naga (touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike; touching for any reason including sexual or violent). This is a blow or stroke, wound, sore, mark plague. It can refer to someone with leprosy or to dress.

33 but I will not removeCLVI from him my steadfast love,
    or be falseCLVII to my faithfulness.CLVIII
34 I will not violate my covenant,
    or alterCLIX the word that went forthCLX from my lips.CLXI

Notes on verses 33-34

CLVI “remove” = pur. 3x in OT. From parar (to break, defeat, frustrate, caste off, clean, cease). This is to break, crush, or take utterly.
CLVII “be false” = shaqar. 6x in OT. From sheqer (deception, lie, disappointment, or thing that is vain). This is to deal falsely, generally to lie. It can be to cheat, but it usually refer to lying words.
CLVIII “faithfulness” = emunah. Same as “faithfulness” in v1. See note IX above.
CLIX “alter” = shanah. This is to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise.
CLX “word that went forth” = motsa. From yatsa (to go or come out, bring forth, appear; to go out in a literal or figurative sense). This is going forth as an act or the site from which something goes forth. It could mean exiting a place or the place where one exits. It can also be a source or a produce. Specifically, it can be a spring or fountain, the dawn as the rising of the sin, an export, gate mine, and so on.
CLXI “lips” = saphah. This is lip, edge, border, bank – used for a boundary. It can also be speech or language.

35 OnceCLXII and for all I have sworn by my holiness;CLXIII
    I will not lieCLXIV to David.
36 His line shall continueCLXV forever,CLXVI
    and his throne endure beforeCLXVII me like the sun.CLXVIII

Notes on verses 35-36

CLXII “once” = echad. Perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few.
CLXIII “holiness” = qodesh. Same as “holy” in v20. See note CXIII above.
CLXIV “lie” = kazab. 18x in OT. This is to lie, be false or in vain, to fail. It is to deceive in a literal or figurative sense.
CLXV “continue” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1 & “Lord” in v8. See note V above.
CLXVI “forever” = olam. Same as “forever” in v1. See note VI above.
CLXVII “before” = neged. From nagad (to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain). This is in front of, opposite to. It can refer to a counterpart or partner, one corresponding to or in the sight of.
CLXVIII “sun” = shemesh. This is sun or toward the east. Its root may mean being brilliant. Figuratively, this could be a ray or an arch.

37 It shall be establishedCLXIX foreverCLXX like the moon,CLXXI
    an enduringCLXXII witnessCLXXIII in the skies.” Selah

Notes on verse 37

CLXIX “established” = kun. Same as “is as firm” in v2. See note XII above.
CLXX “forever” = olam. Same as “forever” in v1. See note VI above.
CLXXI “moon” = yareach. Perhaps from the same as yerach (month). This is moon.
CLXXII “enduring” = aman. Same as “stand firm” in v28. See note CXXXIX above.
CLXXIII “witness” = ed. From ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a witness, testimony, or one who records testimony. It can also refer to a prince.

38 But now you have spurnedCLXXIV and rejectedCLXXV him;
    you are full of wrathCLXXVI against your anointed.CLXXVII

Notes on verse 38

CLXXIV “spurned” = zanach. This is to cast aside, reject, remove, forsake.
CLXXV “rejected” = ma’as. This is to reject, refuse, despise, disdain, reject, or spurn. It can also be to disappear or melt away.
CLXXVI “are full of wrath” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. It is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn. Here, it is in Hitpael, meaning to be arrogant or become furious.
CLXXVII “anointed” = mashiach. Related to “anointed” in v20. From mashach (see note CXV above). This is the anointed or consecrated one. So, it could refer to a king, priest, or saint. It is also the root of the word “messiah.”

39 You have renouncedCLXXVIII the covenant with your servant;
    you have defiledCLXXIX his crownCLXXX in the dust.CLXXXI

Notes on verse 39

CLXXVIII “renounced” = naar. 2x in OT. This is to renounce, disown, abhor, or make void.
CLXXIX “defiled” = chalal. Same as “violate” in v31. See note CXLVIII above.
CLXXX “crown” = nezer. From nazar (to dedicate, set apart, fast, keep self from impurity, refrain from worship; to consecrate for a holy purpose). This is something set apart, so it is a consecration. It could be used for one who takes the Nazirite vow or a priest. In reference to the Nazirite vow, it can also refer to uncut hair. It can also refer to a crown, as of a king.
CLXXXI “dust” = erets. Same as “earth” in v11. See note LXI above.

40 You have broken throughCLXXXII all his walls;CLXXXIII
    you have laidCLXXXIV his strongholdsCLXXXV in ruins.CLXXXVI

Notes on verse 40

CLXXXII “broken through” = parats. This is to make a breach, burst out, compel, disperse. It is to break out literally or figuratively.
CLXXXIII “walls” = gederah. 10x in OT. From gadar (to build a wall or wall off, mason, repair, hedge, enclose; to wall in or wall around). This is a wall, hedge, or enclosure. It is often used for a sheepfold.
CLXXXIV “laid” = sum. Same as “set” in v25. See note CXXVII above.
CLXXXV “strongholds” = mibtsar. From batsar (to enclose, wall up, or make something inaccessible, impenetrable, isolated to fortify, something mighty, to gather grapes). This is fortification, castle, besiege, or defender.
CLXXXVI “ruins” = mechittah. 11x in OT. From chathath (to be shattered, crack, terrify, discourage, break down; it could be beaten down violently or from confusion or terror). This is ruin, destruction, dismay, terror, dissolution, consternation.

41 All who pass byCLXXXVII, CLXXXVIII plunderCLXXXIX him;

Notes on verse 41a

CLXXXVII “pass by” = abar. Same as “are full of wrath” in v38. See note CLXXVI above.
CLXXXVIII {untranslated} = 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.
CLXXXIX “plunder” = shasas. 5x in OT. This is to rifle, loot, or spoil.

    he has becomeCXC the scornCXCI of his neighbors.CXCII
42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
    you have made all his enemies rejoice.CXCIII

Notes on verses 41b-42

CXC “become” = hayah. Same as “continue” in v36. See note CLXV above.
CXCI “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.
CXCII “neighbors” = shaken. From shakan (to settle down in the sense of residing somewhere or staying there permanently; to abide or continue). This is resident or neighbor. It is related to mishkan, the Hebrew word for “tabernacle.”
CXCIII “rejoice” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.

43 Moreover,CXCIV you have turned backCXCV the edgeCXCVI of his sword,CXCVII
    and you have not supportedCXCVIII him in battle.CXCIX

Notes on verse 43

CXCIV “moreover” = aph. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XXVIII above.
CXCV “turned back” = 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.”
CXCVI “edge” = tsur. Same as “Rock” in v26. See note CXXXII above.
CXCVII “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.
CXCVIII “supported” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
CXCIX “battle” = milchamah. From lacham (to eat or feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).

44 You have removedCC the scepterCCI from his hand,
    and hurledCCII his throne to the ground.CCIII

Notes on verse 44

CC “removed” = shabat. This is to rest, stop, repose, cease working, take away. By implication, it is to celebrate.
CCI “scepter” = tohar. 2x in OT. From taher (bright, which implies being pure or clean; to purge, cleanse, or purify; clean in a ritual sense or a moral one (i.e. moral or holy)). This is clearness or brightness. It can also refer to ritual purity.
CCII “hurled” = magar. 2x in OT. This is to throw, deliver, precipitate.
CCIII “ground” = erets. Same as “earth” in v11. See note LXI above.

45 You have cut shortCCIV the days of his youth;CCV
    you have coveredCCVI him with shame.CCVII Selah

Notes on verse 45

CCIV “cut short” = qatsar. This is to cut down, be short, reap, curtail. It is used especially for harvesting grass or grain. Figuratively, it can mean to be discouraged or grieve.
CCV “youth” = alumim. 4x in OT. From the same as elem (youth, lad, stripling; something that remains out of view); perhaps from alam (to hide, conceal, a dissembler; to conceal in a literal or figurative sense). This is youthful, adolescence, or the vigor of the young.
CCVI “covered” = atah. 17x in OT. This is to wrap, cover, veil, be clad, turn aside.
CCVII “shame” = bushah. 4x in OT. From bosh (properly, to be pale, which implies shame, disappointment, or confusion). This is shame.

46 How long, O Lord?CCVIII Will you hideCCIX yourself forever?CCX
    How long will your wrathCCXI burnCCXII like fire?CCXIII

Notes on verse 46

CCVIII “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note V above.
CCIX “hide” = sathar. This is hide, conceal, or be absent. It is hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense.
CCX “forever” = netsach. From natsach (something that glitters from a distance or stands out, excels, has status/standing; also to be permanent or enduring). This is properly a goal or destination as the bright focus to which one journeys. It can be splendor, truthfulness, or confidence. Most often, it refers to everlastingness, always, continually.
CCXI “wrath” = chemah. From yacham (to be hot, mate; figuratively, to conceive). This is heat – figuratively it can be anger or fury. It can also refer to poison or venom as they can cause fever.
CCXII “burn” = ba’ar. This is to burn, consume, heat, remove. It can also be to consume by a fire or through eating, being brutish or wasting.
CCXIII “fire” = esh. This is fire, burning, flaming, hot. It is fire in a literal or figurative sense.

47 RememberCCXIV how shortCCXV my time is—
    for what vanityCCXVI you have created all mortals!CCXVII

Notes on verse 47

CCXIV “remember” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
CCXV “short” = cheled. 5x in OT. Root may mean to glide along quickly. This is life or a lifetime as a short length of time. It can also be an age, duration, or the world – all as transient.
CCXVI “vanity” = shav. Perhaps from the same as sho (ruin, desolation, storm; from a root that means rushing over – hence a storm and hence devastation). This is emptiness, false, worthless, deceit. It can also refer to evil, guile, idolatry, or something being in vain.
CCXVII “mortals” = ben + adam. Literally, “children of humanity.” Ben is the same as “beings” in v6. See note XXXIV above. Adam is perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.

48 WhoCCXVIII can liveCCXIX and never seeCCXX death?CCXXI

Notes on verse 48a

CCXVIII {untranslated} = geber. Related to “mighty” in v13 & “mighty” in v19. From gabar (see note LXXIII above). This is man, warrior, a person generally, or a valiant person.
CCXIX “live” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it an be revive, nourish, or save.
CCXX “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
CCXXI “death” = mavet. From muth (to die in a literal or figurative sense). This can be death, deadliness, the dead, or the place where the dead go. It can be used figuratively for pestilence or ruin.

    WhoCCXXII can escapeCCXXIII the powerCCXXIV of Sheol?CCXXV Selah

Notes on verse 48b

CCXXII {untranslated} = 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.
CCXXIII “escape” = malat. This is to be smooth, which implies to escape as slipping away from. It can also be release, rescue, deliver, or preserve. It can be used specifically to meaning giving birth or making sparks.
CCXXIV “power” = yad. Same as “hand” in v13. See note LXXV above.
CCXXV “Sheol” = sheol. Perhaps from sha’al (to ask, request). This is the place where the dead go, the grace, the underworld.

49 Lord,CCXXVI where is your steadfast love of old,CCXXVII
    which by your faithfulnessCCXXVIII you swore to David?
50 Remember, O Lord,CCXXIX how your servant is taunted;CCXXX

Notes on verses 49-50a

CCXXVI “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.
CCXXVII “of old” = rishon. From rishah (beginning or early time); from rosh (head, captain, or chief; excellent or the forefront; first in position or in statue or in time). This is first, former, ancestor, beginning, ranked first.
CCXXVIII “faithfulness” = emunah. Same as “faithfulness” in v1. See note IX above.
CCXXIX “Lord” = Adonai. Same as “Lord” in v49. See note CCXXVI above.
CCXXX “taunted” = cherpah. Same as “scorn” in v41. See note CXCI above.

    how I bearCCXXXI in my bosomCCXXXII the insults ofCCXXXIII the peoples,
51 with which your enemies taunt,CCXXXIV O Lord,CCXXXV
    with which they taunted the footstepsCCXXXVI of your anointed.

Notes on verses 50b-51

CCXXXI “bear” = nasa. Related to “rise” in v9. See note LII above.
CCXXXII “bosom” = cheq. Root may mean to enclose. This is bosom in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be arms, lap, or midst. It can also be care or cherish.
CCXXXIII {untranslated} = kol + rab. Literally, “all the many.” Kol is the same as “all” in v7. See note XLI above. Rab is the same as “great” in v7. See note XXXIX above.
CCXXXIV “taunt” = charaph. Related to “scorn” in v41. See note CXCI above.
CCXXXV “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note V above.
CCXXXVI “footsteps” = aqeb. 13x in OT. This is heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, or usurper.

52 Blessed beCCXXXVII the LordCCXXXVIII forever.CCXXXIX
AmenCCXL and Amen.

Notes on verse 52

CCXXXVII “blessed be” = 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.
CCXXXVIII “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v1. See note V above.
CCXXXIX “forever” = olam. Same as “forever” in v1. See note VI above.
CCXL “amen” = amen. Related to “faithfulness” in v1 & “faithfulness” in v14 & “stand firm” in v28. From aman (see note IX above). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.

Image credit: “Leviathan” from Codex Gr. 749, Folio 238; from 850-900 CE.

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