Psalm 114

Psalm 114
Easter Evening C21


When IsraelA went outB from Egypt,C

Notes on verse 1a

A “Israel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
B “went out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
C “Egypt” = Mitsrayim. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egypt.

    the houseD of JacobE from a peopleF of strange language,G

Notes on verse 1b

D “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
E “Jacob” = Yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
F “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.
G “strange language” = laaz. 1x in OT. This is speaking indistinctly or in a foreign language.

JudahH becameI God’s sanctuary,J
    Israel his dominion.K

Notes on verse 2

H “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”
I “became” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
J “sanctuary” = qodesh. This is set apart and so sacred. God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart. Things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.
K “dominion” = memshalah. 14x in OT. From mimshal (dominion, ruler, authority); from mashal (to rule, reign, govern, have authority, wield). This is to rule, govern, a ream, ruler, authority, dominion, forces.

The seaL lookedM and fled;N
    JordanO turnedP back.

Notes on verse 3

L “sea” = 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.
M “looked” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
N “fled” = nus. This is to flee, vanish away, hide, escape, be displayed.
O “Jordan” = Yarden. From yarad (to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense; going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy). This is the Jordan River, meaning “descending.”
P “turned” = sabab. This is turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch. It is to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense.

The mountainsQ skippedR like rams,S
    the hillsT like lambs.U
Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
    O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
    O hills, like lambs?

Notes on verses 4-6

Q “mountains” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.
R “skipped” = raqad. 9x in OT– 4x of dancing, 3x of animals skipping, 2x of chariots leaping/bounding. This is to skip, spring around, leap, frolic, dance. Properly, it means to stamp.
S “rams” = ayil. From the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power). This is strength so it is used to indicate things that are strong or powerful: political chiefs, rams, posts, trees, oaks.
T “hills” = gibah. From the same as Geba (Geba or Gibeah; hillock); from the same as gabia (cup, bowl, flower; root might mean being convex). This is hill or little hill.
U “lambs” = ben + tson. Ben is related to “house” in v1. From banah (see note D above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Tson is a flock of sheep and goats.

Tremble,V O earth,W at the presenceX of the Lord,Y
    at the presence of the GodZ of Jacob,

Notes on verse 7

V “tremble” = chul. This is whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain. It is used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear. It can also be falling in pain or waiting.
W “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
X “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.
Y “Lord” = Adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
Z “God” = Eloah. Related to “Israel” in v1. From el (see note A above). This is God or a god.

8 who turnsAA the rockBB into a poolCC of water,DD
    the flintEE into a springFF of water.

Notes on verse 8

AA “turns” = haphak. This is to turn, overturn, change, return, turn over, pervert.
BB “rock” = tsur. Related to “Egypt” in v1. Perhaps from tsur (see note C above). This is rock, stone, cliff, boulder, rocky. It can also be a refuge, a way to refer to God.
CC “pool” = agam. 9x in OT. This is a marsh, pool, pond, or swamp. Its root may refer to an area that holds standing water. It can also refer to reeds as grow in marshes.
DD “water” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
EE “flint” = challamish. 5x in OT. Perhaps from chalam (properly, to bind solidly and so to be plump; to be healthy or strong, to recover; figuratively, to dream). This is flint or a flint rock.
FF “spring” = mayan. From ayin (eye, appearance; eye in a literal or figurative sense; a fountain). This is a spring, well, or fountain. Figuratively, this is a source of contentment.

Image credit: “Untitled” by sunshinecity, 2012.

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