Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
A “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.
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 “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.
D “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.
E “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
F “redeemed” = gaal. This is to redeem someone or something according to kinship laws. So, it could be acting on a relative’s behalf to buy back their property, to marry one’s brother’s widow, etc. This could be more briefly translated as to redeem, acts as kinsman, or purchase. As a noun, it could be deliverer or avenger.
G “trouble” = yad + tsar. Literally “from the hand of the enemy.” Yad is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it. Tsar from tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). Properly, this is a narrow or constricted place. Figuratively, it can be trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress.
H “gathered” = qabats. This is to collect, assemble, heap, grasp, or gather.
I “lands” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
J “east” = mizrach. From zarach (to rise, shine, or dawn; can also describe symptoms of leprosy). This is the east as the place where the sun rises. It can also refer to the sunrise itself.
K “west” = maarab. 14x in OT. From the same as ereb (evening, night, twilight); perhaps from arab (to become dark or become evening). This is the west as the place where the sun sets. It can also refer to the setting itself.
L “north” = tsaphon. From tsaphan (to hide, hoard, reserve; to cover over or figuratively to deny; also to lurk). This is properly hidden, dark, or gloomy. It can also be used to refer to the north.
M “south” = 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.
N “went down” = yarad. This is to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense. It can be going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy.
O “sea” = yam. Same as “south” in v3. See note M above.
P “ships” = oniyyah. From the same as oni (ships, a fleet); probably from anah (to meet, happen, approach). This is ships or sailors.
Q “doing” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
R “business” = melakah. From the same as malak (messenger, an angel, or a deputy; human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God; also supernatural messengers i.e. angels). Properly, this is a deputyship or some kind of work. It can also be the product that comes from labor.
S “mighty” = rab. From rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status.
T “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
U “saw” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
V “deeds” = maaseh. Related to “doing” in v23. From asah (see note Q above). This is a word – any action whether positive or negative. It can also be a transaction, construction, activity, property, or something that is produced.
W “wondrous works” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
X “deep” = metsolah. 11x in OT. From the same as tsulah (root may mean to sink; ocean depths, the abyss of the sea). This is depth, bottom, or otherwise somewhere deep that is watery or muddy.
Y “raised” = 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.
Z “stormy” = saar. From sa’ar (to storm, scattered by a storm, blow away, rage, storm tossed; this is to toss in a literal or figurative sense). This is a storm or whirlwind. It can also be stormy.
AA “wind” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
BB “lifted up” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
CC “waves” = gal. From galal (to roll, roll away, wallow, commit, remove; rolling in a literal or figurative sense). This is a wave, billow, rock pile, something rolled, a spring of water.
DD “mounted up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
EE “heaven” = 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.
FF “depths” = tehom. Perhaps from hum (to roar, murmur, cause an uproar, agitate; to defeat in battle, destroy). This is the deep or the abyss. Either understood as a formless empty place of nothingness or as a place of confusion filled with water – the deep the feeds the waters of the earth.
GG “courage” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
HH “melted away” = mug. 17x in OT. This is to let, dissolve, soften, flow. It can also mean to fear, dishearten, be faint, or disappear.
II “calamity” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
JJ “reeled” = chagag. 16x in OT. This is feast, celebrating a festival, making a pilgrimage. Properly, it means going in a circle or marching in sacred procession. It implies giddiness and dancing. It can also mean reeling to and fro.
KK “staggered” = nua. This is to waver in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be to tremble, quiver, totter. It could also refer to a fugitive.
LL “drunkards” = shikkor. 13x in OT. From shakar (to be filled with drink, merry, tipsy; satiated in a positive sense or drunken in a negative sense; also figuratively influence). This is being in an intoxicated state or being a habitual drunkard.
MM “wits’” = chokmah. From chakam (to be wise or teach wisdom; this is wisdom in thought, word, or action). This is wisdom, wit, or skillfulness.
NN “were at…end” = bala. This is to swallow, engulf, cover, or destroy.
OO “cried” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.
PP “brought…out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
QQ “distress” = metsuqah. 7x in OT. From tsuq (to press on, compress; figuratively, to oppress or bring distress). This is straits or narrowness. Figuratively, it is stress, trouble, or anguish.
RR “made” = 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.
SS “still” = demamah. 3x in OT. From damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, or die). This is silence, calm, quiet, whisper, or blowing.
TT “were hushed” = chashah. 15x in OT. This is silent or not doing anything.
UU “were glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
VV “had quiet” = shathaq. 4x in OT – 3x of the sea and 1x of quarreling. This is to be quiet, subside, cease, or calm.
WW “brought” = nachah. This is lead, guide, or bring. It can be used for transporting into exile or coming in as colonists. This is the word used in Psalm 23 “he leads me in the paths of righteousness.”
XX “desired” = chephets. From chaphets (properly, inclined towards or bending to; figuratively, to desire, delight in, or be pleased with). This is a delight, care, or pleasure. It is what you desire or what is acceptable. It can also be used concretely for a precious thing or something that one is thinking about.
YY “haven” = machoz. 1x in OT. Borrowed from an Assyrian root – to enclose. This is a haven, harbor or city.
ZZ “humankind” = ben + adam. Literally “children of humanity.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Adam is 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.
AAA “extol” = rum. Same as “lifted up” in v25. See note BB above.
BBB “congregation” = qahal. This is an assembly, congregation, or multitude.
CCC “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.
DDD “praise” = halal. This is to be clear – it originally referred to a sound, then a color. It was to shine and then make a show or boast then to rave. In a causative sense it came to mean celebrate, give glory, sing praise, or be worth of praise. Because of the celebratory nature of the word, it could also mean to give in marriage. This is where Hallelujah comes from.
EEE “assembly” = moshab. From yashab (to sit and so to remain and so to dwell; sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly; can mean settling or marrying; continue, endure, or establish). This is dwelling, seat, assembly, settlement, population.
FFF “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
Image credit: “Waiting for the Storm” by curiosul in Tel Aviv, Israel, 2011.