Psalm 92:1-5, 12-15

Psalm 92:1-5, 12-15
A Women’s Lectionary – Second Sunday in Lent


A Psalm.A A SongB for the SabbathC Day.D

Notes on superscript

A “psalm” = mizmor. From zamar (making music; used specially of music to worship God; music with singing, singing praise, singing psalms); may be from zamar (to trim or prune). This is a melody or a psalm.
B “song” = shir. From shir (to sing; one who is singing or leading others in song). This is song or singer.
C “sabbath” = shabbat. From shabath (to rest, stop, repose, cease working; by implication, to celebrate). This is sabbath, literally meaning rest or intermission.
D “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.

1 It is goodE to give thanksF to the Lord,G

Notes on verse 1a

E “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.
F “give thanks” = 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.
G “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.

    to sing praisesH to your name,I O Most High;J

Notes on verse 1b

H “sing praises” = zamar. Related to “psalm” in Superscript. See note A above.
I “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.
J “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.

to declareK your steadfast loveL in the morning,M
    and your faithfulnessN by night,O

Notes on verse 2

K “declare” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
L “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.
M “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
N “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.”
O “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.

to the music of the luteP and the harp,Q
    to the melodyR of the lyre.S

Notes on verse 3

P “lute” = asor. 16x in OT. From the same as eser (teen or -teen). This is ten or tenth. Here, a ten-stringed instrument like the lute.
Q “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.
R “melody” = higgayon. 4x in OT. From hagah (to speak, declare, make a sound, imagine, or mutter; a murmur, moan, or growl, whether from delight or anger; to study, ponder, or meditate). This is meditation, musing, or whispering. It could also be some kind of resounding music or other musical notation like play with feeling.
S “lyre” = kinnor. Root may be to twang. This is a lyre or harp.

For you, O Lord, have made me gladT by your work;U
    at the worksV of your handsW I sing for joy.X

Notes on verse 4

T “made…glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
U “work” = poal. From paal (to do, make, work, or accomplish; generally refers to regularly repeated or systematic action – to practice). This is an action or deed, conduct. It is the act of working or the work itself. It can also be wages or maker.
V “works” = maaseh. From asah (to do, make, accomplish, become). This is a word – any action whether positive or negative. It can also be a transaction, construction, activity, property, or something that is produced.
W “hands” = yad. Perhaps related to “give thanks” in v1. See note F above.
X “sing for joy” = ranan. This is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.

How great areY your works,Z O Lord!
    Your thoughtsAA are veryBB deep!CC

Notes on verse 5

Y “great are” = 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.
Z “works” = maaseh. Same as “works” in v4. See note V above.
AA “thoughts” = machashabah. From chashab (literally to weave; figuratively to think or plot something malicious). This is thought, scheme, imagination, purpose, or a plan either good or evil.
BB “very” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
CC “deep” = amoq. 9x in OT. This is to be deep in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean profound.

12 The righteousDD flourishEE like the palm tree,FF

Notes on verse 12a

DD “righteous” = tsaddiq. From the same as tsedeq (rightness, righteousness, just cause, vindication; that which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense; abstractly equity; figuratively prosperity). This is just, innocent, righteous, righteous one, or lawful.
EE “flourish” = parach. This is to sprout, blossom, bloom, spread, flourish.
FF “palm tree” = tamar. 12x in OT. From the same as tomer (palm tree, the trunk of that tree, a post). The root may mean being erect. This is a date palm or other palm tree. This is also the root of Tamar’s name in the Bible.

    and growGG like a cedarHH in Lebanon.II

Notes on verse 12b

GG “grow” = sagah. 4x in OT. To enlarge, grow, grow up.
HH “cedar” = erez. Perhaps from araz (made from cedar; to be firm, strong). This is cedar or a cedar tree as strong.
II “Lebanon” = Lebanon. From laben (to be white, make white, make bricks) OR form Aramaic lebab (heart); corresponding to Hebrew lebab (heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will). This is Lebanon. The sense of “white” comes from the snow on the top of its mountains. See

13 They are plantedJJ in the houseKK of the Lord;
    they flourish in the courtsLL of our God.MM

Notes on verse 13

JJ “planted” = shathal. 10x in OT. This is to plant or transplant.
KK “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
LL “courts” = chatser. From chatsar (to blow a trumpet, trumpeter, to surround); from chatsotsrah (trumpet). This is an enclosure or court – a yard that is fenced in. It could also be a village or hamlet that is walled in.
MM “God” = Elohim.

14 In old ageNN they still produce fruit;OO
    they arePP always greenQQ and full of sap,RR

Notes on verse 14

NN “old age” = sebah. 19x in OT. From sib (to have gray hair, become old). This is being gray or old.
OO “produce fruit” = nub. 4x in OT. This is to bear fruit, increase, flourish. It can also be used for speaking words.
PP “are” = hayah. Perhaps related to “Lord” in v1. See note G above.
QQ “green” = dashen. 3x in OT. From dashen (to be fat or anointed, to be fattened; to remove ashes from; figuratively, to enrich, satisfy). This is fat, rich, or fertile.
RR “full of sap” = raanan. Form raan (to grow luxuriant, grow green). This is to be fresh, green, flourish, be new or prosperous.

15 showingSS that the Lord is upright;TT
    he is my rock,UU and there is no unrighteousnessVV in him.

Notes on verse 15

SS “showing” = nagad. Same as “declare” in v2. See note K above.
TT “upright” = yashar. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, smooth, or agreeable; figuratively, to make something pleasant or prosperous). This is straight, right, level. Also, it is pleasing, whether pleasing God or pleasing other people. So, it is upright or righteous.
UU “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.
VV “unrighteousness” = evel. Perhaps from aval (to deal unjustly, act in a wrongful way, a wrongdoer). This is injustice, wrong, moral evil, acts of violence, or unrighteousness.

Image credit: “Old in Salduvė Park. Šiauliai” in Lithuania by ZwieRys, 2010.

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