Psalm 86:8-13

Psalm 86:8-13
Easter Friday – A Women’s Lectionary


There is none like you among the gods,A O Lord,B
    nor are there any worksC like yours.

Notes on verse 8

A “gods” = elohim. From eloah (God, a god); from el (God, a god). This is most commonly used as a name for God. Technically, it’s in the plural, i.e. gods. It can also mean great, mighty, judge, or ruler.
B “Lord” = Adonai. From adon (lord, master, owner); root means to rule or be sovereign. This is the actual Hebrew word for Lord used (in a different form) of humans and (in the present form) of God. It means someone who is in control.
C “works” = maaseh. From asah (to do, make, accomplish, become). This is a word – any action whether positive or negative. It can also be a transaction, construction, activity, property, or something that is produced.

AllD the nationsE you have madeF shall comeG

Notes on verse 9a

D “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
E “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.
F “made” = asah. Related to “works” in v8. See note C above.
G “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.

    and bow downH beforeI you, O Lord,
    and shall glorifyJ your name.K

Notes on verse 9b

H “bow down” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
I “before” = 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.
J “glorify” = kabad. To be heavy, weighty, or severe. It can also be positive abounding in, rich, or honorable. The Hebrew word for “glory,” kabod, is taken from this root.
K “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

10 For you are greatL and doM wondrous things;N
    you aloneO are God.P

Notes on verse 10

L “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.
M “do” = asah. Same as “made” in v9. See note F above.
N “wondrous things” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
O “alone” = bad. From badad (to divide or be separated; alone, solitary, lonely, isolated, straggler). This is apart, alone, separation, body part, tree branch, except. It can also be a city’s chief.
P “God” = Elohim. Same as “gods” in v8. See note A above.

11 TeachQ me your way,R O Lord,S
    that I may walkT in your truth;U

Notes on verse 11a

Q “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.   
R “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.
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.
T “walk” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
U “truth” = emet. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.

    give me an undividedV heartW to revereX your name.

Notes on verse 11b

V “give…undivided” = yachad. 3x in NT. This is to be one, to be united.
W “heart” = 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.
X “revere” = 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.

12 I give thanksY to you, O LordZ my God, with my wholeAA heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.BB

Notes on verse 12

Y “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.
Z “Lord” = Adonai. Same as “Lord” In v8. See note B above.
AA “whole” = kol. Same as “all” in v9. See note D above.
BB “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).

13 For great is your steadfast loveCC toward me;
    you have deliveredDD my soulEE from the depthsFF of Sheol.GG

Notes on verse 13

CC “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.
DD “delivered” = natsal. This is to snatch someone or something away in a good sense – as rescue, defend, or deliver – or in a bad sense – as strip or plunder.
EE “soul” = 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.
FF “depths” = tachti. 19x in OT. From tachat (underneath, below, the bottom, instead of). This is beneath, the depths, foot of a mountain, a pit, the womb.
GG “Sheol” = Sheol. Perhaps from sha’al (to ask, request). This is the place where the dead go, the grace, the underworld.

Image credit: “Ungaran Mountain 03” in Indonesia by Fathanfadhillah, 2018.

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