Psalm 9:1-2, 7-11, 13-14

Psalm 9:1-2, 7-11, 13-14
Christmastide C6


To the leader:A according to Muth-labben.B A PsalmC of David.D

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 “Muth-labben” = muth labben. 2x in OT. From muth (to die in a literal or figurative sense; destroyer) + ben (son, age; son in a literal or figurative sense such as grandson, subject, condition, youth); {perhaps from banah (to build)}. This is Muth-labben, literally “to die for the son.” It is perhaps the name of a song.
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.
D “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.”

I will give thanksE to the LordF with my wholeG heart;H
    I will tellI of allJ your wonderful deeds.K

Notes on verse 1

E “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.
F “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.
G “whole” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
H “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.
I “tell” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
J “all” = kol. Same as “whole” in v1. See note G above.
K “wonderful deeds” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.

2 I will be gladL and exultM in you;
    I will sing praiseN to your name,O O Most High.P

Notes on verse 2

L “be glad” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
M “exult” = alats. 8x in OT. This is to jump for joy, rejoice, triumph, or exult.
N “sing praise” = zamar. Related to “psalm” in superscript. See note C above.
O “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.
P “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.

7 But the Lord sits enthronedQ forever,R
    he has establishedS his throneT for judgment.U

Notes on verse 7

Q “sits enthroned” = 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.
R “forever” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
S “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.
T “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.
U “judgment” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.

He judgesV the worldW with righteousness;X
    he judgesY the peoplesZ with equity.AA

Notes on verse 8

V “judges” = shaphat. Related to “judgement” in v7. See note U above.
W “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.
X “righteousness” = tsedeq. This is 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.
Y “judges” = din. This is to judge, defend, dispute, govern, quarrel, plead.
Z “peoples” = leom. Root may refer to gathering. This is people, a community, or a nation.
AA “equity” = meshar. 19x in OT. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, agreeable). This is evenness, straightness, prosperity, or uprightness.

9 The Lord isBB a strongholdCC for the oppressed,DD
    a stronghold in timesEE of trouble.FF

Notes on verse 9

BB “is” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note F above.
CC “stronghold” = misgab. 17x in OT. From sagab (raise, lifted, high, secure on high, excellent, strong; literal and figurative). This is a high or inaccessible location. Abstractly, it can be altitude. Concretely it is a cliff or height. Figuratively, it is a refuge or stronghold – a high fort or tower. There is also a place called Misgab in Moab.
DD “oppressed” = dak. 4x in OT. This is crushed so figuratively it refers to the injured or afflicted.
EE “times” = et. Probably from anah (to answer, sing, announce); from ad (forever, all, old); from adah (to pass on, advance, decorate oneself). This is a period or season. It can also mean whenever or continually.
FF “trouble” = tsarah. From tsar (properly, a narrow or constricted place; figuratively, trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress); from tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). This is tightness, distress, affliction, trouble, or adversary.

10 And those who knowGG your name put their trustHH in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsakenII those who seekJJ you.

Notes on verse 10

GG “know” = 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.
HH “put…trust” = batach. This is to hide for refuge, be secure or sure. Figuratively, it refers to trust, being confident, or hoping.
II “forsaken” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
JJ “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.

11 Sing praises to the Lord, who dwellsKK in Zion.LL
    DeclareMM his deedsNN among the peoples.OO

Notes on verse 11

KK “dwells” = yashab. Same as “sits enthroned” in v7. See note Q above.
LL “Zion” = Tsiyyon. Related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.
MM “declare” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
NN “deeds” = alilah. From alal (to affect, do, practice, mock, overdo, glean, abuse, pain). This is a deed or action – something that causes an effect. It could be a wanton or shameful deed or an opportunity.
OO “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.

13 Be graciousPP to me, O Lord.
    SeeQQ what I sufferRR from those who hateSS me;
    you are the one who lifts me upTT from the gatesUU of death,VV

Notes on verse 13

PP “be gracious” = chanan. This is to beseech, show favor, be gracious. Properly, it is to bend in kindness to someone with less status.
QQ “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
RR “what I suffer” = oniy. From anah (to be bowed down; humility or being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is misery, poverty, or affliction.
SS “those who hate” = sane. This is to hate, an enemy. It is a personal hatred and not an abstract one.
TT “who lifts…up” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
UU “gates” = shaar. May be 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.
VV “death” = mavet. Related to “Muth-Labben” in superscript. From muth (see note B above). This can be death, deadliness, the dead, or the place where the dead go. It can be used figuratively for pestilence or ruin.

14 so that I may recountWW all your praises,XX
    and, in the gates of daughterYY Zion,
    rejoiceZZ in your deliverance.AAA

Notes on verse 14

WW “recount” = saphar. Same as “tell” in v1. See note I above.
XX “praises” = tehillah. From halal (to praise, be boastful). This is praise or a song of praise. It is to offer God a hymn, to boast in God. This shares a root with “hallelujah.”
YY “daughter” = bat. From ben (see note B above). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
ZZ “rejoice” = gil. Properly, this is twirling around because of a strong feeling whether of rejoicing or from fear. This can be rejoice, be glad or joyful, or to cry.
AAA “deliverance” = yeshuah. 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, health, victory, prosperity.

Image credit: “Free Abstract Cloudy Sky Bright Orange Peel Background” by webtreats, 2011.

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