Psalm 96:10-13

Psalm 96:10-13
Narrative Lectionary 117


10 Say among the nations,A “The LordB is king!C

Notes on verse 10a

A “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
B “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.
C “is king” = malak. To be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned. By implication, to take counsel. This word may be from the Hebrew word for king “melek” or vice versa.

    The worldD is firmly established;E it shall neverF be moved.G

Notes on verse 10b

D “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.
E “is firmly established” = 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.
F “never” = bal. From balah (to grow old, wear out, consume, waste, enjoy, fail, decay). This is not, lest, neither. Properly, it refers to a failure, so it implies nothing or not at all.
G “be moved” = mot. This is to shake, slip, falter, stagger, move, fall, give way, waver, be carried.

    He will judgeH the peoplesI with equity.”J

Notes on verse 10c

H “judge” = din. This is to judge, defend, dispute, govern, quarrel, plead.
I “peoples” = 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.
J “equity” = meshar. 19x in OT. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, agreeable). This is evenness, straightness, prosperity, or uprightness.

11 Let the heavensK be glad,L and let the earthM rejoice;N

Notes on verse 11a

K “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.
L “be glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
M “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
N “rejoice” = 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.

    let the seaO roarP and all that fills it;Q

Notes on verse 11b

O “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.
P “roar” = raam. 13x in OT. From raam (thunder). This is to trouble, be agitated, irritated, angered. It is used specifically for a peal of thunder.
Q “all that fills it” = 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.

12     let the fieldR exultS and everythingT in it.
Then shall allU the treesV of the forestW sing for joyX

Notes on verse 12

R “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It can be used to mean wild like a wild animal.
S “exult” = alaz. 16x in OT. This is to jump for joy, rejoice, triumph, or be jubilant.
T “everything” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
U “all” = kol. Same as “everything” in v12. See note T above.
V “trees” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.
W “forest” = ya’ar. This is honeycomb, forest, thicket. Root may mean thick with green growth. It is a forest as a place where one would find honeycomb.
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.

13     beforeY the Lord, for he is coming,Z
    for he is coming to judgeAA the earth.

Notes on verse 13a

Y “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.
Z “coming” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
AA “judge” = shaphat. This is to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, or govern. It can refer to God judging or to human judges. This is pronouncing a verdict in favor or against so it implies consequences or punishment. It can also mean to litigate or govern as one with authority.

He will judgeBB the world with righteousnessCC
    and the peoples with his truth.DD

Notes on verse 13b

BB “judge” = shaphat. Same as “judge” in v13. See note AA above.
CC “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.
DD “truth” = 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.”

Image credit: “The Last Trump” from Penholm by G. Howell-Baker, 1901. Photo by Pigsonthewing, 2021.

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