Psalm 27:5-7, 10-14
Easter Vigil – A Women’s Lectionary
5 For he will hideA me in his shelterB
in the dayC of trouble;D
A “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.
B “shelter” = sok. 4x in OT. From sakak (to interweave, knit). This is a lair, thicket, den, or hiding place. It could also be a den or pavilion as made of intertwined boughs.
C “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
D “trouble” = 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.
he will concealE me under the coverF of his tent;G
he will set me highH on a rock.I
E “conceal” = sathar. This is hide, conceal, or be absent. It is hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense.
F “cover” = sether. Related to “conceal” in v5. From sathar (see note E above). This is covering, shelter, protection, hiding place. It can be hidden by a mountain, by clouds, in the womb, in a matter of secrecy, through slander, or of nations.
G “tent” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.
H “set…high” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
I “rock” = tsur. From tsur (to confine, cramp, or bind in a literal or figurative sense; to besiege, assault, or distress). This is rock, stone, cliff, boulder, rocky. It can also be a refuge, a way to refer to God.
6 Now my headJ is lifted upK
above my enemiesL all aroundM me,
J “head” = 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).
K “lifted up” = rum. Same as “set…high” in v5. See note H above.
L “enemies” = oyeb. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is a foe or enemy as one that you are hostile to.
M “all around” = sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.
and I will offerN in his tent
sacrificesO with shouts of joy;P
N “offer” = zabach. This is slaughtering an animal, generally for the purpose of sacrifice. It can mean kill or offer.
O “sacrifices” = zebach. Related to “offer” in v6. From zabach (see note N above). This is a slaughter – literally of an animal. So, it implies the act or the animals used in sacrifice. Further, it can mean offering.
P “shouts of joy” = teruah. From rua (to break or destroy something so figuratively, an ear splitting sound such as a call of alarm or a joyful sound). This is an alarm, trumpet sound, battle cry, rejoicing, joyful shout, or jubilee.
I will singQ and make melodyR to the Lord.S
Q “sing” = shir. From shir (song, singer). This is to sing. It could also refer to one who is singing or leading others in song.
R “make melody” = zamar. Perhaps from zamar (to trim or prune). This is making music. It is used specially of music to worship God. So, music with singing, singing praise, or singing psalms.
S “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.
7 Hear,T O Lord, when I cryU aloud,V
be graciousW to me and answerX me!
T “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
U “cry” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
V “aloud” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
W “be gracious” = chanan. This is to beseech, show favor, be gracious. Properly, it is to bend in kindness to someone with less status.
X “answer” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
10 If my fatherY and motherZ forsakeAA me,
the Lord will take me up.BB
Y “father” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
Z “mother” = em. This is a mother as binding a family together or a breeding female animal. It could be mother in a literal or figurative sense.
AA “forsake” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
BB “take…up” = asaph. This is to gather, assemble, or bring. It can also mean to take away, destroy, or remove.
11 TeachCC me your way,DD O Lord,
and leadEE me on a levelFF pathGG
because of my enemies.HH
CC “teach” = yarah. This is to throw, shoot, be stunned. It is to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach. This is the same root that “Jerusalem” and “Torah” draw from.
DD “way” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
EE “lead” = 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.”
FF “level” = mishor. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, smooth, or agreeable; figuratively, to make something pleasant or prosperous) This is a level place like a plain. It can also be the proper name of a level place. Figuratively, it can refer to straightness in the sense of justice, equity, fairness, righteousness, or uprightness. It can also refer to a concord.
GG “path” = orach. From arach (to go, travel, wander). This is a road that is widely used, highway, caravan, traveler, troop.
HH “enemies” = sharar. 5x in OT. Related to shorer (foe, a treacherous watcher); from shur (to behold, see, watch, perceive; to spy out, lie in wait, lurk for; can also be to care for). This is an enemy or watcher.
12 Do not give me upII to the willJJ of my adversaries,KK
II “give…up” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
JJ “will” = 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.
KK “adversaries” = 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.
for falseLL witnessesMM have risenNN against me,
and they are breathing outOO violence.PP
LL “false” = sheqer. This is deception, lie, or disappointment. It can also be something that is vain or wrongfully.
MM “witnesses” = ed. From ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a witness, testimony, or one who records testimony. It can also refer to a prince.
NN “risen” = 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.
OO “breathing out” = yapheach. 1x in OT. From yaphach (to breath, gasp, sigh, bewail). This is puffing, breathing, or meditating.
PP “violence” = chamas. From chamas (to violate, do violence, to wrong; implies mistreatment). This is violence, cruelty, damage, wrong, injustice, or unrighteous. Violence implies a wrong done. The term is also used to describe unjust gain.
13 I believeQQ that I shall seeRR the goodnessSS of the Lord
in the landTT of the living.UU
QQ “believe” = aman. This is to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful. It is to put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid. This is where the word “amen” comes from.
RR “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
SS “goodness” = tub. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is goodness, gladness, something that is good. It can also be beauty, welfare, or joy.
TT “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
UU “living” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
14 WaitVV for the Lord;
be strong,WW and let your heartXX take courage;YY
wait for the Lord!
VV “wait” = qavah. It can mean to bind or gather together, especially in the sense of twisting together. In that light, it can mean collect. Figuratively, this can mean to wait, await, expect, or tarry.
WW “be strong” = chazaq. This is to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden.
XX “heart” = leb. 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.
YY “take courage” = amets. This is to be strong, stout, alert, or bold, It can also mean harden, make firm, be courageous or mighty, fortify, or establish. It can refer to physical alertness or mental courage or steadfastness.
Image credit: “MADEMOISELLE – LE BAISER” by Danor Shtruzman, 2017.