Psalm 47:1-2, 5-9

Psalm 47:1-2, 5-9
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 15


To the leader.A Of the Korahites.B A Psalm.C

Notes on superscript

A “leader” = natsach. Properly, something that glitters from a distance. So, something that stands out, excels, has status/standing (such as a chief musician or superintendent of Temple services). This can also mean to be permanent or enduring.
B “Korahites” = ben + Qorach. Literally “sons of Korah.” Ben is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Qorach is from qarach (to shave bald, perhaps freeze). This is Korah, perhaps meaning “ice.”
C “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.

ClapD your hands,E allF you peoples;G

Notes on verse 1a

D “clap” = taqa. This is to clap, clatter, thrust, sound an instrument, hammer a nail, be a bondsman.
E “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.
F “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
G “peoples” = 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.

    shoutH to GodI with loudJ songs of joy.K

Notes on verse 1b

H “shout” = rua. To break or destroy something so figuratively, an ear splitting sound such as a call of alarm or a joyful sound.
I “God” = Elohim.
J “loud” = 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.
K “songs of joy” = rinnah. From ranan (a cry of joy or a joyful song; properly, emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy). This is a song, shout, cry of joy, or proclamation. It could also be a shout of grief.

For the Lord,L the Most High,M is awesome,N

Notes on verse 2a

L “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.
M “Most High” = Elyon. From alah (to go up, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense). This is most high, upper. It refers to elevation – so, lofty.
N “awesome” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.

    a greatO kingP over all the earth.Q

Notes on verse 2b

O “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
P “king” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.
Q “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

God has gone upR with a shout,S
    the Lord with the soundT of a trumpet.U

Notes on verse 5

R “gone up” = alah. Related to “Most High” in v2. See note M above.
S “shout” = teruah. Related to “shout” in v1. From rua (see note H above). This is an alarm, trumpet sound, battle cry, rejoicing, joyful shout, or jubilee.
T “sound” = qol. Same as “loud” in v1. See note J above.
U “trumpet” = shophar. From shaphar (being beautiful or lovely). This is a ram’s horn, trumpet, or cornet. A shofar is still blown at Jewish festivals such as Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year celebration).

Sing praisesV to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
    sing praises with a psalm.W
God is kingX over the nations;Y

Notes on verses 6-8a

V “sing praises” = zamar. Related to “psalm” in superscript. See note C above.
W “psalm” = sakal. This is to consider or be prudent and so it can mean to instruct or be an expert. It can also mean dealing prudently, which implies success and prospering. This verb presumes intelligence of the subject. In one form of the verb, it can mean laying cross-wise.
X “is king” = malak. Related to “king” in v2. See note P above.
Y “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.

    God sitsZ on his holyAA throne.BB

Notes on verse 8b

Z “sits” = 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.
AA “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.
BB “throne” = kisse. From the same as kese (full moon); perhaps from kasah (to cover, conceal, overwhelm; to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret). This is throne – a seat that is covered or has a canopy. Thus, it is a seat that conveys authority.

The princesCC of the peoples gatherDD
    as the people of the God of Abraham.EE
For the shieldsFF of the earth belong to God;
    he is highlyGG exalted.HH

Notes on verse 9

CC “princes” = nadib. From nadab (to offer willingly, volunteer, freely give, be willing). Properly, this is voluntary and so it implies generous, noble, magnanimous, or a generous person.
DD “gather” = asaph. This is to gather, assemble, or bring. It can also mean to take away, destroy, or remove.
EE “Abraham” = Abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
FF “shields” = magen. From ganan (to surround, cover, defend, protect). This is a shield, defense, or figuratively a protector. It can also be used for a crocodile’s hide.
GG “highly” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
HH “exalted” = alah. Same as “gone up” in v5. See note R above.

Image credit: “Aigua escaldarium” by Marionapele, 2016.

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