Psalm 98:1-9

Psalm 98:1-9
Christmas Day ABC


A Psalm.A

O singB to the LordC a newD song,E

Notes on verse 1a

A “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.
B “sing” = shir. From shir (song, singer). This is to sing. It could also refer to one who is singing or leading others in song.
C “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.
D “new” = chadash. From chadash (to renew or restore, to repair or rebuild). This is something fresh or new.
E “song” = shir. Related to “sing” in v1. See note B above.

    for he has doneF marvelous things.G
His right handH and his holyI armJ
    have gotten him victory.K

Notes on verse 1b

F “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
G “marvelous things” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
H “right hand” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
I “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.
J “arm” = zeroa. Perhaps from zara (to sow, scatter seed, conceive). This is the arm, shoulder, or foreleg of an animal. It is figuratively used for power, force, might, or help.
K “gotten…victory” = 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.

2 The Lord has made knownL his victory;M
    he has revealedN his vindicationO in the sightP of the nations.Q

Notes on verse 2

L “made known” = 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.
M “victory” = yeshuah. Related to “gotten…victory” in v1. From yasha (see note K above). This is salvation, deliverance, health, victory, prosperity.
N “revealed” = galah. This is to remove, bring, carry, lead, appear, advertise. It can mean to strip someone or something bare in a negative sense. Captives were typically stripped before they were sent into exile. Used figuratively, in a positive sense, this word means reveal, disclose, discover.
O “vindication” = tsedaqah. From the same as tsedeq (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). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.
P “sight” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
Q “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.

He has rememberedR his steadfast loveS and faithfulnessT
    to the houseU of Israel.V

Notes on verse 3a

R “remembered” = zakar. From the same as tsedeq (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). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.
S “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.
T “faithfulness” = emunah. 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 word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. This word shares a root with the word “Amen.”
U “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
V “Israel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

AllW the endsX of the earthY have seenZ
    the victory of our God.AA

Notes on verse 3b

W “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
X “ends” = ephes. From aphes (to finish, fail, stop, come to nothing, disappear). This is an end, ceasing, no further. It is often used to refer to the ends of the earth.
Y “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
Z “seen” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
AA “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israel” in v3. See note V above.

Make a joyful noiseBB to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous songCC and sing praises.DD

5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,EE
    with the lyre and the soundFF of melody.GG

Notes on verses 4-5

BB “make a joyful noise” = rua. To break or destroy something so figuratively, an ear splitting sound such as a call of alarm or a joyful sound.
CC “break forth into joyous song” = patsach + ranan. Parsach is 8x in OT. This is to burst forth with in joy or with a loud sound. Ranan is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.
DD “sing praises” = zamar. Related to “Psalm” in superscript. See note A above.
EE “lyre” = kinnor. Root may be to twang. This is a lyre or harp.
FF “sound” = 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.
GG “melody” = zimrah. Related to “Psalm” in superscript & “sing praises” in v4. 4x in OT. From zamar (see note A above). This is a melody, psalm, or sound. It is sung to praise God or it might be a song sung with an instrument.

With trumpetsHH and the sound of the hornII
    make a joyful noise beforeJJ the King,KK the Lord.

Notes on verse 6

HH “trumpets” = chatsotsrah. Perhaps from chatsar (to blow a trumpet, trumpeter, to surround). This is an ancient trumpet or someone who plays a trumpet.
II “horn” = 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).
JJ “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.
KK “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.

7 Let the seaLL roar,MM and all that fills it;NN
    the worldOO and those who livePP in it.

Notes on verse 7

LL “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.
MM “roar” = raam. 13x in OT. From raam (thunder). This is to trouble, be agitated, irritated, angered. It is used specifically for a peal of thunder.
NN “all that fills it” = melo. From male (fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate; fill in a literal or figurative sense). This is fullness in a literal or figurative sense.
OO “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.
PP “live” = 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.

8 Let the floodsQQ clapRR their hands;SS
    let the hillsTT sing togetherUU for joyVV

Notes on verse 8

QQ “floods” = nahar. From nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful). This is a stream, river, or flood. Particularly used for the Nile or Euphrates. Figuratively, this can mean prosperity.
RR “clap” = macha. 3x in OT. This is to clap or rub one’s hands in celebration.
SS “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.
TT “hills” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.
UU “together” = yachad. From yachad (to join, be united). This is a unit, both, altogether, unitedness, alike.
VV “sing…for joy” = ranan. Same as “break forth into joyous song” in v4. See note CC above.

9 at the presenceWW of the Lord, for he is comingXX
    to judgeYY the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,ZZ
    and the peoplesAAA with equity.BBB

Notes on verse 9

WW “presence” = paneh. Same as “before” in v6. See note JJ above.
XX “coming” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
YY “judge” = shaphat. This is to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, or govern. It can refer to God judging or to human judges. This is pronouncing a verdict in favor or against so it implies consequences or punishment. It can also mean to litigate or govern as one with authority.
ZZ “righteousness” = tsedeq. Related to “vindication” in v2. See note R above.
AAA “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.
BBB “equity” = meshar. 19x in OT. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, agreeable). This is evenness, straightness, prosperity, or uprightness.

Image credit: “christmas is coming” by Alice Popkorn, 2007.

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