Psalm 9

Psalm 9
Ordinary B30


To the leader:A according to Muth-labben.B A PsalmC of David.D

Notes on superscript

A “leader” = natsach. Properly, something that glitters from a distance. So, something that stands out, excels, has status/standing (such as a chief musician or superintendent of Temple services). This can also mean to be permanent or enduring.
B “Muth-labben” = muth labben. 2x in OT. From muth (to die in a literal or figurative sense; destroyer) + ben (son, age; son in a literal or figurative sense such as grandson, subject, condition, youth); {perhaps from banah (to build)}. This is Muth-labben, literally “to die for the son.” It is perhaps the name of a song.
C “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.
D “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 give thanksE to the LordF with my whole heart;G
    I will tellH of all your wonderful deeds.I

Notes on verse 1

E “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.
F “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.
G “heart” = leb. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.
H “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.
I “wonderful deeds” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.

2 I will be gladJ and exultK in you;
    I will sing praiseL to your name,M O Most High.N

Notes on verse 2

J “be glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
K “exult” = alats. 8x in OT. This is to jump for joy, rejoice, triumph, or exult.
L “sing praise” = zamar. Related to “psalm” in the Superscript verse. See note C above.
M “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.
N “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.

3 When my enemies turnedO back,
    they stumbledP and perishedQ before you.R

Notes on verse 3

O “turned” = 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.”
P “stumbled” = kashal. This is to stumble, fail, be weak or decayed, be overthrown, to totter. It can refer to weak legs or ankles so it is falter, faint, or fall.
Q “perished” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.
R “before you” = paneh. Literally “at your face.”

4 For you have maintained my justS cause;T
    you have satU on the throneV giving righteousW judgment.X

Notes on verse 4

S “just” = 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.
T “cause” = din. From din (to judge). This is judgment – it can include a lawsuit, a sentence, the place where judgment takes place, or justice itself. It can also imply strife or rights.
U “sat” = 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.
V “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.
W “righteous” = 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.
X “giving…judgment” = shaphat. Related to “just” in v4. See note S above.

5 You have rebukedY the nations,Z you have destroyedAA the wicked;BB
    you have blotted outCC their name foreverDD and ever.EE

Notes on verse 5

Y “rebuked” = gaar. 14x in OT. This is to rebuke, corrupt, or chide.
Z “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.
AA “destroyed” = abad. Same as “perished” in v3. See note Q above.
BB “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 we wickedness, evil, wicked deeds, or something that is ill-gotten.
CC “blotted out” = machah. This is to rub, which implies to erase. It can also be making something smooth with grease or oil. So, this could we wipe out, blot out, or destroy. Also, to touch or reach.
DD “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
EE “ever” = 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.

6 The enemies have vanishedFF in everlastingGG ruins;HH
    their citiesII you have rooted out;JJ
    the very memoryKK of them has perished.

Notes on verse 6

FF “vanished” = tamam. This is to finish or accomplish. It is to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright, consume or cease. It is to complete in a literal or figurative sense, positive or negative.
GG “everlasting” = netsach. Related to “leader” in superscript. From natsach (see note A above). 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.
HH “ruins” = chorbah. From chareb (to be waste or desolate, destroyer). This is ruin, desert, waste place. Properly, it is a drought, which implies a desolated or decayed place.
II “cities” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
JJ “rooted out” = nathash. This is 21x in OT – 13 in Jeremiah. It is to pull up or pluck out, destroy, or tear away.
KK “memory” = zeker. From zakar (to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention). This is remembrance, renown, memento, recollection, or commemoration.

7 But the Lord sits enthroned forever,
    he has establishedLL his throne for judgment.MM

8 He judges the worldNN with righteousness;
    he judgesOO the peoplesPP with equity.QQ

Notes on verses 7-8

LL “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.
MM “judgment” = mishpat. Same as “just” in v4. See note S above.
NN “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.
OO “judges” = din. Related to “cause” in v4.
PP “peoples” = leom. Root may refer to gathering. This is people, a community, or a nation.
QQ “equity” = meshar. 19x in OT. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, agreeable). This is evenness, straightness, prosperity, or uprightness.

9 The Lord is a strongholdRR for the oppressed,SS
    a stronghold in timesTT of trouble.UU

Notes on verse 9

RR “stronghold” = misgab. 17x in OT. 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.
SS “oppressed” = dak. 4x in OT. This is crushed so figuratively it refers to the injured or afflicted.
TT “times” = et. 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
UU “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 knowVV your name put their trustWW in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsakenXX those who seekYY you.

Notes on verse 10

VV “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.
WW “put…trust” = batach. This is to hide for refuge, be secure or sure. Figuratively, it refers to trust, being confident, or hoping.
XX “forsaken” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
YY “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 praises to the Lord, who dwellsZZ in Zion.AAA
    Declare his deedsBBB among the peoples.CCC

Notes on verse 11

ZZ “dwells” = yashab. Same as “sat” in v4. See note U above.
AAA “Zion” = tsiyyon. The word is 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.
BBB “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.
CCC “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 avengesDDD bloodEEE is mindfulFFF of them;
    he does not forgetGGG the cryHHH of the afflicted.III

Notes on verse 12

DDD “avenges” = darash. Same as “seek” in v10. See note YY above.
EEE “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.
FFF “is mindful” = zakar. Related to “memory” in v6. See note KK above.
GGG “forget” = shakach. This is to forget or mislay – it is not knowing because of forgetfulness or inattentiveness.
HHH “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.
III “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 graciousJJJ to me, O Lord.
    See what I sufferKKK from those who hateLLL me;
    you are the one who lifts me upMMM from the gates of death,

Notes on verse 13

JJJ “be gracious” = chanan. This is to beseech, show favor, be gracious. Properly, it is to bend in kindness to someone with less status.
KKK “what I suffer” = oniy. Related to “afflicted” in v12. From anah (see note III above). This is misery, affliction, or poverty.
LLL “those who hate” = sane. This is an enemy or foe. It is one that is hated with a personal hatred.
MMM “who lifts…up” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it an also mean to exalt or extol.

14 so that I may recount all your praises,NNN
    and, in the gates of daughter Zion,
    rejoiceOOO in your deliverance.PPP

Notes on verse 14

NNN “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.”
OOO “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.
PPP “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 nations have sunkQQQ in the pitRRR that they made;
    in the netSSS that they hidTTT has their own foot been caught.UUU

Notes on verse 15

QQQ “sunk” = taba. 10x in OT. This is sink, drown, settle, or fasten.
RRR “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.
SSS “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.
TTT “hid” = taman. This is to hide, bury, keep in reserve. It is hiding something by covering it.
UUU “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.

16 The Lord has made himself known, he has executed judgment;
    the wicked are snaredVVV in the workWWW of their own hands.XXX Higgaion.YYY SelahZZZ

Notes on verse 16

VVV “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.
WWW “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.
XXX “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.
YYY “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.
ZZZ “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 departAAAA to Sheol,BBBB
    all the nations that forgetCCCC God.DDDD

Notes on verse 17

AAAA “depart” = shub. Same as “turned” in v3. See note O above
BBBB “Sheol” = sheol. Perhaps from sha’al (to ask, request). This is the place where the dead go, the grace, the underworld.
CCCC “forget” = shakeach. Related to “forget” in v12. 1x in OT. From shakach (see note GGG above). This is forgetting or forgetful or oblivious to.
DDDD “God” = Elohim.

18 For the needyEEEE shall not alwaysFFFF be forgotten,
    nor the hopeGGGG of the poorHHHH perish forever.

Notes on verse 18

EEEE “needy” = ebyon. From abah (to consent, obey, want, yield, accept). This is needy, poor, beggar. Someone who is wanting.
FFFF “always” = netsach. Same as “everlasting” in v12. See note GG above.
GGGG “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.
HHHH “poor” = anav. Related to “afflicted” in v12 & “what I suffer” in v13. From anah (see note III above). This is poor, needy, afflicted as well as humble or meek.

19 Rise up,IIII O Lord! Do not let mortalsJJJJ prevail;KKKK
    let the nations be judged before you.LLLL

20 Put them in fear,MMMM O Lord;
    let the nations know that they are only human.NNNN Selah

Notes on verses 19-20

IIII “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.
JJJJ “mortals” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
KKKK “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.
LLLL “before you” = al + paneh. Literally “in your sight.”
MMMM “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.
NNNN “human” = enosh. This is human or humankind – mortal.

Image credit: “Singing Windows” by Katherine Lamb Taite, J & R Lamb Studios, at the University Chapel in Tuskegee, Alabama, 1932.

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