Dark Saturday ABC
Dark Saturday – A Women’s Lectionary
1 “A mortal,A born of woman,B few of days and fullC of trouble,D
Notes on verse 1
A “mortal” = adam. 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.
B “woman” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
C “full” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.
D “trouble” = rogez. 7x in OT. From ragaz (shaking from any strong emotion, particularly anger or fear; to be agitated, excited, perturbed, afraid, quaking, quivering). This is agitation, excitement, wrath, fear, or noise. It can be commotion, the sound of thunder, or disquiet.
2 comes up like a flowerE and withers,F
flees like a shadowG and does not last.H
Notes on verse 2
E “flower” = tsiyts. 15x in OT. From tsuts (to twinkle, shine, blossom; figuratively to flourish). This is a blossom or flower. In the sense of glistening, it could also be a polished plate or the wing of a bird.
F “withers” = namal. 5x in OT. From the same as mul (to cut off, destroy, blunt, or circumcise). This is to cut down, language, circumcise, wither, or fade.
G “shadow” = tsel. From tsalal (to be or become dark, shade; this is the shade as during twilight or shadow as associated with something opaque). This is shade in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be shadow, shade, protection, shelter, or defense.
H “last” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
3 Do you fixI your eyes on such a one?
Do you bring me into judgmentJ with you?
4 Who can bring a cleanK thing out of an unclean?L
No one can.
Notes on verses 3-4
I “fix” = paqach. This is open, as opening one’s senses, particularly eyes. So, figuratively this can refer to being watchful.
J “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.
K “clean” = tahor. 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 clean or pure in a literal, ritual, or ethical sense.
L “unclean” = tame. From tame (to defile, be unclean, pollute in a ritual or ethical sense). This is unclean, ill, or ritually impure.
5 Since their days are determined,M
and the number of their months is known to you,
and you have appointed the boundsN that they cannot pass,O
6 lookP away from them, and desist,Q
that they may enjoy,R like laborers, their days.
Notes on verses 5-6
M “determined” = charats. 12x in OT. This is to cut, sharpen, decree, wound, be alert, move. It can also be to decide or determine.
N “bounds” = choq. 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 statute, boundary, condition, custom, limit, ordinance It is something that is prescribed or something that is owed.
O “pass” = 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. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
P “look” = shaah. 15x in OT. This is to gaze at, gaze around, regard – to look to, especially for help. It is to consider or be compassionate. It could also be to look at in amazement or while confounded.
Q “desist” = chadal. This is properly to be flabby – it implies, to stop, fall, end, rest, leave alone, forsake, or desist. Figuratively this can be lacking or idle.
R “enjoy” = ratsah. This is to be pleased with, delight, take pleasure in, or accept with favor. It can mean to approve or consent regarding something. It can also be used specifically of satisfying debts or being pardoned.
7 “For there is hopeS for a tree,T
if it is cut down,U that it will sproutV again,
and that its shootsW will not cease.
Notes on verse 7
S “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.
T “tree” = 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.
U “cut down” = karath. 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.
V “sprout” = chalaph. This is to slide by or rush like a flood. It can mean to pass through, change, sprout, renew, break a promise, pierce, or violate.
W “shoots” = yoneqeth. 6x in OT. From yoneq (sapling, sucker); from yanaq (to suckle or to nurse; a nursing mother or for her suckling child.) This is a young shoot or twig.
8 Though its root grows oldX in the earth,
and its stump dies in the ground,Y
9 yet at the scentZ of water it will bud
and put forth branches like a young plant.
10 But mortalsAA die, and are laid low;
humans expire,BB and where are they?
Notes on verses 8-10
X “grows old” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is to be old or grow old.
Y “ground” = aphar. May be related to aphar (to throw dust, be dust). This is dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored. It could be ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish.
Z “scent” = reyach. From ruah (to blow, breath; smell, anticipate; figuratively, to perceive, understand). This is a scent or breath – a savor, ointment. It is also used for the odor of sacrifices that pleases God.
AA “mortals” = geber. From gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or to be insolent.) This is man, warrior, a person generally, or a valiant person.
BB “expire” = gava. This is to breathe out, which implies expire or die.
11 As waters failCC from a lake,DD
and a riverEE wastes awayFF and dries up,
Notes on verse 11
CC “fail” = azal. This is to go away, evaporate, fail, or disappear.
DD “lake” = 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.
EE “river” = 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.
FF “wastes away” = charab. This is to dry up because of drought, destroy, or make waste.
12 so mortalsGG lie down and do not riseHH again;
until the heavensII are no more, they will not awakeJJ
or be roused out of their sleep.
Notes on verse 12
GG “mortals” = ish. Related to “woman” in v1. See note B above.
HH “rise” = 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.
II “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.
JJ “awake” = quts. Related to qayits (fruit, harvest, dry season); from quts (summer, clip off). This is arise or watch. It is to awake in a literal or figurative sense.
13 O that you would hideKK me in Sheol,LL
that you would concealMM me until your wrathNN is past,OO
that you would appoint me a set time, and rememberPP me!
Notes on verse 13
KK “hide” = tsaphan. This is to hide something by covering it. It implies hoarding or keeping something in reserve. It can mean to protect or to lurk.
LL “Sheol” = sheol. Perhaps from sha’al (to ask, request). This is the place where the dead go, the grace, the underworld.
MM “conceal” = sathar. This is hide, conceal, or be absent. It is hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense.
NN “wrath” = aph. From anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.
OO “is past” = 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.”
PP “remember” = zakar. This is to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention.
14 If mortals die, will they live again?
All the days of my serviceQQ I would waitRR
until my releaseSS should come,
Notes on verse 14
QQ “service” = 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.
RR “wait” = yachal. This is to wait, which implies patience, hope, and trust. It can also be pained waiting.
SS “release” = chaliphah. Related to “sprout” in v7. 12x in OT. From chalaph (see note V above). This is change, course, or alternation.
Image Credit: Job in the Knesset Menorah