A PsalmA of thanksgiving.B
1 Make a joyful noiseC to the Lord,D all the earth.E
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 “thanksgiving” = todah. From yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise, to give thanks, or make a confession); from yad (hand, ability, power; hand in a literal sense; what one can do or the means by which one does it). This is properly extending one’s hand, which implies affirmation and adoration. It can be a song of thanksgiving, a choir of thanksgiving, confession, or praise. It can also be a thank offering.
C “make a joyful noise” = rua. To break or destroy something so figuratively, an ear splitting sound such as a call of alarm or a joyful sound.
D “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.
E “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
2 WorshipF the Lord with gladness;G
comeH into his presenceI with singing.J
F “worship” = abad. This is to work, serve, or compel. It can describe any kind of work or service (including religious devotion). Also, till or cultivate. Used causatively, it can mean to enslave or keep in bondage.
G “gladness” = simchah. From samach (to rejoice, be glad; properly, to brighten up; also used figuratively). This is joy, rejoicing, pleasure, or glee.
H “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
I “presence” = 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.
J “singing” = renanah. 4x in OT. From ranan (a cry of joy or a joyful song; properly, emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy). This is a joyful cry, singing, triumph.
3 KnowK that the Lord is God.L
It is he that madeM us, and we are his;N
K “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.
L “God” = Elohim.
M “made” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
N Or, perhaps “and not we ourselves.”
we are his people,O and the sheepP of his pasture.Q
O “people” = 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.
P “sheep” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.
Q “pasture” = marit. 10x in OT. From ra’ah (to graze, tend a flock, keep company with; to pasture in a literal or figurative sense). This is shepherding, pasturage, a flock.
4 EnterR his gatesS with thanksgiving,
and his courtsT with praise.U
R “enter” = bo. Same as “come” in v2. See note H above.
S “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.
T “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.
U “praise” = 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.”
Give thanksV to him, blessW his name.X
V “give thanks” = yadah. Related to “thanksgiving” in superscript. See note B above.
W “bless” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
X “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.
5 For the Lord is good;Y
his steadfast loveZ endures forever,AA
and his faithfulnessBB to all generations.CC
Y “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.
Z “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.
AA “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
BB “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.”
CC “all generations” = dor + dor. Literally “generation and generation.” From dur (to move in a circle, which implies living somewhere or remaining there; it can also be the sense of piling or heaping up). This is a revolution of time, which is to say, an age or generation. It can also be a dwelling or one’s posterity.
Image credit: “Landscape with Shepherd and Sheep” by Anton Mauve, circa 1880.