Psalm 90:12-17

Psalm 90:12-17
Ordinary B46


12 SoA teachB us to countC our daysD

Notes on verse 12a

A “so” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
B “teach” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
C “count” = manah. To weigh out, reckon, count, number, set, tell. By implication, it is allotting or providing something officially.
D “days” = 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.

    that we may gainE a wiseF heart.G

Notes on verse 12b

E “gain” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
F “wise” = chokmah. From chakam (to be wise or teach wisdom; this is wisdom in thought, word, or action). This is wisdom, wit, or skillfulness.
G “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.

13 Turn,H O Lord!I How long?
    Have compassionJ on your servants!K

Notes on verse 13

H “turn” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
I “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.
J “have compassion” = nacham. Properly, this is a strong breath or a sigh. This can be to be sorry, to pity, console. Comfort, or repent. But, one can also comfort oneself with less righteous thoughts, so this can also mean to avenge oneself.
K “servants” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.

14 SatisfyL us in the morningM with your steadfast love,N
    so that we may rejoiceO and be gladP all our days.

Notes on verse 14

L “satisfy” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.
M “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
N “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.
O “rejoice” = ranan. This is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.
P “be glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.

15 Make us glad as many days as you have afflictedQ us,
    and as many yearsR as we have seenS evil.T

Notes on verse 15

Q “afflicted” = anah. This is to be bowed down. It can refer to a sense of humility or to a sense of being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed. This can be literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance.
R “years” = shanah. From shana (to change, alter). This is a year, age, old. It can also mean yearly.
S “seen” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
T “evil” = 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.

16 Let your workU be manifestV to your servants,
    and your glorious powerW to their children.X

Notes on verse 16

U “work” = poal. From paal (to do, make, work, or accomplish; generally refers to regularly repeated or systematic action – to practice). This is an action or deed, conduct. It is the act of working or the work itself. It can also be wages or maker.
V “be manifest” = raah. Same as “seen” in v15. See note S above.
W “glorious power” = hadar. From hadar (to honor or adorn; majestic, respected, glorious; to favor or honor; to be proud). This is ornament, splendor, beauty, dignity, majesty, magnificence, and glory.
X “children” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.

17 Let the favorY of the LordZ our GodAA beBB upon us,

Notes on verse 17a

Y “favor” = noam. 7x in OT. From naem (to be pleasant, beautiful, sweet, or agreeable in a literal or figurative sense) This is pleasantness, beauty, favor, agreeableness, delight, splendor, or grace.
Z “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.
AA “God” = Elohim.
BB “be” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v13. See note I above.

    and prosperCC for us the workDD of our handsEE
    O prosper the workFF of our hands!

Notes on verse 17b

CC “prosper” = kun. Related to “so” in v12. See note A above.
DD “work” = 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.
EE “hands” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
FF “work” = maaseh. Same as “work” in v17. See note DD above.

Image credit: “Rake Art on Écrevière Bank” at the Écréhous island of Jersey off the coast of France. Photo by Jersey Tourism, 2011.

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