Psalm 9:9-20

Psalm 9:9-20
Proper 7B


The LordA isB a strongholdC for the oppressed,D
    a stronghold in timesE of trouble.F

Notes on verse 9

A “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “is” in v9. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note B below). 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.
B “is” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
C “stronghold” = misgab. 17x in NT. From sagab (raise, lifted, high, secure on high, excellent, strong; literal and figurative). This is a high or inaccessible location. Abstractly, it can be altitude. Concretely it is a cliff or height. Figuratively, it is a refuge or stronghold – a high fort or tower. There is also a place called Misgab in Moab.
D “oppressed” = dak. 4x in NT. This is crushed so figuratively it refers to the injured or afflicted.
E “times” = 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.
F “trouble” = 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.

10 And those who knowG your nameH put their trustI in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsakenJ those who seekK you.

Notes on verse 10

G “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.
H “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.
I “put…trust” = batach. This is to hide for refuge, be secure or sure. Figuratively, it refers to trust, being confident, or hoping.
J “forsaken” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
K “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.

11 Sing praisesL to the Lord, who dwellsM in Zion.N

Notes on verse 11a

L “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.
M “dwells” = 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.
N “Zion” = Tsiyyon. Related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness, drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.

    DeclareO his deedsP among the peoples.Q

Notes on verse 11b

O “declare” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
P “deeds” = alilah. From alal (to affect, do, practice, mock, overdo, glean, abuse, pain). This is a deed or action – something that causes an effect. It could be a wanton or shameful deed or an opportunity.
Q “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.

12 For he who avengesR bloodS is mindfulT of them;
    he does not forgetU the cryV of the afflicted.W

Notes on verse 12

R “avenges” = darash. Same as “seek” in v10. See note K above.
S “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
T “is mindful” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
U “forget” = shakach. This is to forget because of not remembering something or not paying attention to it. It can also mean to mislay.
V “cry” = tseaqah. From tsaaq (to cry out or call together, to shriek; by implication, calling for an assembly). This is a cry for help, shriek or outcry.
W “afflicted” = ani. From anah (to be bowed down; humility or being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is humble, lowly, poor, or afflicted.

13 Be graciousX to me, O Lord.
    SeeY what I sufferZ from those who hateAA me;
    you are the one who lifts me upBB from the gatesCC of death,DD

Notes on verse 13

X “be gracious” = chanan. This is to beseech, show favor, be gracious. Properly, it is to bend in kindness to someone with less status.
Y “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
Z “what I suffer” = oniy. Related to “afflicted” in v12. From anah (see note W above). This is misery, poverty, or affliction.
AA “hate” = sane. This is to hate, an enemy. It is a personal hatred and not an abstract one.
BB “lifts…up” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
CC “gates” = 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.
DD “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.

14 so thatEE I may recountFF allGG your praisesHH

Notes on verse 14a

EE “so that” = maan. Related to “times” in v9. From anah (see note E above). This is because of, occurring because of a motive or purpose.
FF “recount” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
GG “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
HH “praises” = 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.”

    and, in the gates of daughterII Zion,
    rejoiceJJ in your deliverance.KK

Notes on verse 14b

II “daughter” = bat. From ben (son literal or figurative; also, grandson, subject, nation); from banah (to build or obtain children). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
JJ “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.
KK “deliverance” = 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.

15 The nationsLL have sunkMM in the pitNN that they made;OO

Notes on verse 15a

LL “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.
MM “sunk” = taba. 10x in NT. This is sink, drown, settle, or fasten.
NN “pit” = shachath. From shuach (to bow or sink down in a literal or figurative sense, humble). This is ditch, trap, grave, or hole. Figuratively, it could be destruction or corruption.
OO “made” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.

    in the netPP that they hidQQ has their own footRR been caught.SS
16 The Lord has made himself known; he has executedTT judgment;UU

Notes on verses 15b-16a

PP “net” = resheth. From yarash (inheriting or dispossessing; refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them; by implication, to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish). This is a net used to capture animals.
QQ “hid” = taman. This is to hide, bury, keep in reserve. It is hiding something by covering it.
RR “foot” = regel. This is foot, endurance, or journey. It is a foot as the means of walking and so it implies a step or a greater journey. It can be used euphemistically for private parts.
SS “caught” = lakad. This is to capture, seize, or imprison. It is to catch something in a snare or net or trap. It can also mean to occupy of select something by casting lots.
TT “executed” = asah. Same as “made” in v15. See note OO above.
UU “judgment” = 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.

    the wickedVV are snaredWW in the workXX of their own hands.YY Higgaion.ZZ SelahAAA

Notes on verse 16b

VV “wicked” = resha. From rasha (to be wicked, guilty, make trouble, do wrong; can also be condemn, guilty, inflict punishment; this verb implies disturbing or violating). This is wrong, particularly moral wrong. It can be wickedness, evil, wicked deeds, or something that is ill-gotten.
WW “snared” = naqash. 5x in OT. This is to hit or bring down. It can also be to snare something using a noose in a literal or figurative sense.
XX “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.
YY “hands” = 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.
ZZ “Higgaion” = 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.
AAA “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.

17 The wicked shall departBBB to Sheol,CCC
    all the nations that forgetDDD God.EEE

Notes on verse 17

BBB “depart” = 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.”
CCC “Sheol” = Sheol. Perhaps from sha’al (to ask, request). This is the place where the dead go, the grace, the underworld.
DDD “forget” = shakeach. Related to “forget” in v12. 1x in OT. From shakach (see note U above). This is forgetting or forgetful or oblivious to.
EEE “God” = Elohim.

18 For the needyFFF shall not alwaysGGG be forgotten,HHH

Notes on verse 18a

FFF “needy” = ebyon. From abah (to consent, obey, want, yield, accept). This is needy, poor, beggar. Someone who is wanting.
GGG “always” = 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.
HHH “forgotten” = shakach. Same as “forget” in v12. See note U above.

    nor the hopeIII of the poorJJJ perishKKK forever.LLL

Notes on verse 18b

III “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.
JJJ “poor” = anav. Related to “afflicted” in v12 & “what I suffer” in v13. From anah (see note W above). This is poor, needy, afflicted as well as humble or meek.
KKK “perish” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.
LLL “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.

19 Rise up,MMM O Lord!NNN Do not let mortalsOOO prevail;PPP
    let the nations be judgedQQQ beforeRRR you.

Notes on verse 19

MMM “rise up” = 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.
NNN “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “is” and “Lord” in v9. From the same as YHVH (see note A above). This is a secondary spelling of the Lord, the name of the God of Israel. It has the same meaning.
OOO “mortals” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
PPP “prevail” = azaz. 12x in OT. This is to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent. It means to be stout literally or figuratively.
QQQ “judged” = shaphat. Related to “judgment” in v16. See note UU above.
RRR “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.

20 PutSSS them in fear,TTT O Lord;UUU
    let the nations know that they are only human.VVV Selah

Notes on verse 20

SSS “put” = shith. This is to place, set, bring, appoint, consider, bring, array or look.
TTT “fear” = mora. 12x in OT. From yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.). This is fear, dread, respect, or reverence. It can also be a fearful thing or action.
UUU “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v19. See note NNN above.
VVV “human” = enosh. Related to “mortals” in v19. See note OOO above.

Image credit: ““Among the services I offer to white boyfriends: a built-in comfort with whiteness; skillful code-switching; and free lessons in what W.E.B. Du Bois called “double consciousness”.” ―Namwali Serpell.” Photo by anokarina, 2017.

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