Ascension of the Lord – A Women’s Lectionary
Of David.A A Psalm.B
1 The earthC is the Lord’sD and all that is in it,E
the world,F and those who liveG in it;
A “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.”
B “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.
C “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
D “Lord’s” = 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 “all that is in it” = melo. From male (fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate; fill in a literal or figurative sense). This is fullness in a literal or figurative sense.
F “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.
G “live” = 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.
2 for he has foundedH it on the seas,I
and establishedJ it on the rivers.K
H “founded” = yasad. This is to establish, appoint, instruct. It is to set in a literal or figurative sense. Also means to sit down together and so to consult or take counsel.
I “seas” = 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.
J “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.
K “rivers” = 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.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall standL in his holyM place?N
L “stand” = 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.
M “holy” = 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.
N “place” = maqom. Related to “stand” in v3. From qum (see note L above). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.
4 Those who have cleanO handsP and pureQ hearts,R
O “clean” = naqiy. From naqah (to be empty, cleanse, acquit; to be clean in a literal or figurative sense). This is blameless, innocent, free from punishment, or clear.
P “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.
Q “pure” = bar. 7x in OT. From barar (to clarify, brighten, or polish; to examine, select, choose, purge, sharpen, or purify). This is pure, clean, or empty. It can also mean innocent or beloved.
R “hearts” = lebab. 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.
who do not lift upS their soulsT to what is false,U
and do not swearV deceitfully.W
S “lift up” = nasa. This to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
T “souls” = 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.
U “false” = shav. Perhaps from the same as sho (ruin, desolation, storm; from a root that means rushing over – hence a storm and hence devastation). This is emptiness, false, worthless, deceit. It can also refer to evil, guile, idolatry, or something being in vain.
V “swear” = sheba. From sheba (seven, by sevenfold; it can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number; symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection). This verb, properly means to be complete – literally, to seven yourself. In terms of oath taking, this is to swear with the same seriousness as if you had declared the thing seven times.
W “deceitfully” = mirmah. From ramah (to betray, deceive, beguile). This is deceit, treachery, guile, or fraud
5 They will receiveX blessingY from the Lord,
and vindicationZ from the GodAA of their salvation.BB
X “receive” = nasa. Same as “lift up” in v4. See note S above.
Y “blessing” = barakah. From barak (to kneel, bless; blessing God as part of worship and adoration; blessing humans to help them; can be used as a euphemism to say curse God). This is blessing, which implies prosperity or peace.
Z “vindication” = tsedaqah. From the same as tsedeq (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). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.
AA “God” = Elohim.
BB “salvation” = yesha. 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, rescue, safety, welfare, liberty.
6 Such is the companyCC of those who seekDD him,
who seekEE the faceFF of the God of Jacob.GG SelahHH
CC “company” = dor. 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.
DD “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.
EE “seek” = baqash. This is to seek, ask, desire, or request. It can be any kind of searching. It can also mean to worship or pray – implies a striving for.
FF “face” = 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.
GG “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.
HH “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.
7 Lift up your heads,II O gates!JJ
and be lifted up, O ancientKK doors!LL
that the King of gloryMM may come in.
II “heads” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
JJ “gates” = shaar. Perhaps 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.
KK “ancient” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
LL “doors” = pethach. From pathach (to open wide in a literal or figurative sense; to open, draw out, let something go free, break forth, to plow, engrave, or carve). This is any kind of opening – a door, entrance, gate.
MM “glory” = kabod. From kabad (to be heavy, weighty, burdensome). This is weighty. Figuratively, glorious, abundant, riches, honor, splendor – a reference to one’s reputation or character. This word is often used to describe God and God’s presence.
8 Who is the King of glory?
The Lord, strongNN and mighty,OO
the Lord, mighty in battle.PP
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,QQ
he is the King of glory. Selah
NN “strong” = izzuz. 2x in OT. From azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; it means to be stout literally or figuratively. A Late Hebrew word). This is mighty, powerful, strong. It could also be an army.
OO “mighty” = gibbor. From gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or be insolent). This is strong, mighty, or powerful. This can imply a warrior, hero, or tyrant.
PP “battle” = milchamah. From lacham (to eat or feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction). This is battle, war, fighting, or one who fights (i.e. a warrior).
QQ “hosts” = 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.
Image credit: “The Lord is My Light” by Mike Moyers, 2014.