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Psalms

Psalms front

Introduction to Psalms

Part 1: General Introduction

Outline of Psalms
  1. Book One (Psalms 1-41)
  2. Book Two (Psalms 42-72)
  3. Book Three (Psalms 73-89)
  4. Book Four (Psalms 90-106)
  5. Book Five (Psalms 107-150)
What is the Book of Psalms?

The Book of Psalms is a collection of songs. People called psalmists wrote them for different reasons. In some psalms, the psalmists expressed their praise for God. In other psalms, they asked God for help and expressed confidence in his love and power. In others, they confessed their sins and begged for mercy. The Israelites wrote some psalms to ask Yahweh to defeat their enemies. Other psalms celebrated the event of a new king beginning his reign. Psalmists also wrote to praise the city of Jerusalem. They wrote some psalms to instruct people on how to be wise by honoring Yahweh and obeying his law. Also, pilgrims sang some of the psalms while traveling to Jerusalem to worship there. Some psalms became songs of praise in the temple worship of Yahweh.

How should the title of this book be translated?

Translators can use the traditional title of this book, “The Book of Psalms” or just “Psalms.” Another title of this book is “Songs of Praise.” Translators may express this meaning in their own languages, or they may choose to use or transliterate the name from another language version if it is well known. For example, the French title “Les Psaumes” might be understood by everyone in a project language, if French is the language of wider communication in the region. (See: Copy or Borrow Words)

When was the Book of Psalms written?

The Psalms were written over a long period of time. Moses probably wrote the earliest psalm around 1400 B.C. David and Asaph wrote their psalms between 1020 and 975 B.C. The Korahites may have written their psalms before Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were exiled to Babylon in 587 B.C. Psalm 126 appears to come from the period after the exile, which ended in 538 B.C.

What are the Messianic psalms?

Some psalms are called “Messianic psalms.” New Testament writers considered these psalms to prophesy about the Messiah, Jesus Christ. They cited Psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 34, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 89, 102, 109, 110, and 118 at least one time each in the New Testament.

What are superscriptions in the Psalms?

Many psalms give some information called superscriptions before the beginning of the psalm. Some of the expressions in the superscriptions are difficult to understand, so modern versions often have different interpretations of them.

Seventy-three psalms are called “A psalm of David.” This may mean they were written by King David. Or, it could mean someone wrote them for David or in the style that David used when he composed poetry. The superscriptions of some psalms give the historical situations in which they were written.

Some superscriptions give instructions about how they should be played and sung. They tell which instruments, singers, or melodies that should be used for that psalm. Fifty-five psalms are addressed “to the choirmaster” or “chief musician.” The psalmists seem to have meant them to be used in temple worship.

Traditionally, English versions do not give verse numbers to the superscriptions. But many versions in other languages do. Whether or not translators give them verse numbers, they should consider the superscriptions in the Psalms as part of the divinely inspired biblical text.

Part 2: Important Religious and Cultural Concepts

What are some important ways in which Yahweh is pictured in the Book of Psalms?

The psalmists often pictured Yahweh as:

  • a king who rules over the nation of Israel and over all the nations
  • a shepherd who leads the people of Israel and also the individual psalm writers
  • a “rock,” that is, a high rocky mountain on which people can be completely safe from their enemies
  • a strong warrior who always defeats his enemies.
What is the importance of honor and shame in the Book of Psalms?

When people honor someone, they think well of him and may even admire him. On the other hand, if people shame someone, that person loses honor and is disgraced.

Psalmists often expressed a great desire that Yahweh would be honored by the Israelites and also by the rest of the world.

Also, psalmists often expressed fear that they would be shamed by their enemies. When they felt this way, the psalmists wrote of their trust that Yahweh would not allow this to happen.

Part 3: Important Translation Issues

Why do the ULT and UST display the Book of Psalms as poetry, but some modern versions do not?

The psalmists wrote the Psalms as Hebrew poetry. The ULT and UST set each line farther to the right on the page than regular text is placed to show that the writing is poetry rather than prose.

This style typically uses pairs of poetic lines that relate to each other in different ways. Usually, poetic lines are said to be “parallel” to each other. A line that is indented farther to the right is paired with the line above it. (See: Parallelism)

Translators will have to decide whether to present the Psalms as poetry or as prose in their own language. Translators will need to consider whether their language has poetic forms that are suitable for expressing the Psalms.

Why do some versions number the Psalms differently than others?

From ancient times, people have numbered the Psalms in different ways. The Jews numbered the Psalms in Hebrew in one way. When they translated the Psalms into Greek, they numbered them in a different way. As a result, the Hebrew numbering and the Greek numbering of Psalms were both passed down through the centuries. They are both still in use today. Translators will probably want to number the Psalms in the same way that most versions in their own country do.

How should the translator view the terms Selah and Higgaion that occur in various psalms?

“Selah” and “Higgaion” seem to be musical terms inserted as directions for singers and musicians. Scholars do not agree as to their meaning. For this reason, translators may decide to transliterate them or leave them out but not try to translate them.

Psalms 1

Psalm 001 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 1 is usually considered to be a “wisdom psalm,” which gives advice to those who hear it read or sung. (See: wise, wisdom)

Special concepts in this chapter

Blessed

A main theme in this psalm is what it means to be blessed. Here “blessed” refers to anyone who is well off because of a good relationship to God. The contrasting theme is that there are ungodly people, those who refuse to honor God. (See: bless, blessed, blessing and godly, godliness, ungodly, godless, ungodliness, godlessness)

People who opposed Yahweh

There are several words in this psalm for those who oppose God: “the wicked” (those who do evil), “sinners” (those who ignore God’s law), and “mockers” (those who mock God and the righteous people). (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant, sin, sinful, sinner, sinning and law, law of Moses, law of Yahweh, law of God and righteous, righteousness, unrighteous, unrighteousness, upright, uprightness)

Psalms 1:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The “advice of the wicked” is spoken of as if it were a path to follow. Alternate translation: “who does not follow the advice of the wicked” or “who does not do what wicked people advise” (See: Metaphor)

Here the word “pathway” represents the way people live. The word “stand” is in parallel with “walk.” Alternate translation: “imitate the behavior of sinful people” (See: Metaphor)

Sitting with people who mock God represents joining people who mock God. Alternate translation: “or join those who mock God” or “or mock God with others who mock him” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 1:2

The word “delight” is an abstract noun that can be stated as a verb. A person who can “delight…in the law” is happy because the law is good and because one is obeying it. Alternate translation: “what makes him truly happy is the law of Yahweh” or “what makes him truly happy is to know that he is obeying the law of Yahweh” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This is the name of God that he revealed to his people in the Old Testament. See the translationWord page about Yahweh concerning how to translate this.

Psalms 1:3

This passage introduces an elaborate image in which a righteous person is thought of in terms of a flourishing tree.

In the Bible, people are often spoken of as trees. People who delight in Yahweh’s law can do all God wants them to do just as a tree that is planted by water produces good fruit. Alternate translation: “He will be prosperous like a tree…fruit in its season” (See: Simile)

A tree that is planted by a stream can get enough water to be healthy.

Healthy trees produce good fruit at the right time.

If a tree gets enough water, its leaves do not dry out and die.

“He will be successful at whatever he does”

Psalms 1:4

How they are not like that can be stated clearly. “The wicked are not prosperous” or “The wicked do not prosper” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

How they are like chaff can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “but instead they are worthless like the chaff” (See: Simile)

Psalms 1:5

Possible meanings are (1) not standing in the judgment is a metonym for being judged by God and having to leave his presence. Alternate translation: “will not continue to stay before God when he judges them” or “will have to leave God’s presence when he judges them as guilty” or (2) not standing in the judgment is a metaphor for being condemned in the judgment. “Alternate translation: “will be condemned in the judgment” or “will be condemned when God judges them” (See: Metaphor)

The noun judgment can be expressed as a verb. This probably refers to the final judgment when God judges all people. Alternate translation: “when God judges everyone”

Translators can supply the verb “stand.” Alternate translation: “neither will sinners stand in the assembly of the righteous” or “and sinners will not stand in the assembly of the righteous” (See: Ellipsis)

Being accepted by God as righteous is spoken of as standing with the group of righteous people. Alternate translation: “and God will not accept sinners along with the righteous people” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 1:6

These two clauses contrast what happens to righteous people with what happens to wicked people. (See: Parallelism)

How people live is spoken of as if it were a “way” or “road” that they are walking on. Alternate translation: “how the righteous live” (See: Metaphor)

How people live and what they do is spoken of as if it were a “way” or “road” that they walk on. Possible meanings are (1) the way perishing represents the wicked perishing because of how they live. Alternate translation: “The wicked will die because of how they live” or (2) the way perishing is a metaphor for no longer being able to live the way they do. Alternate translation: “the wicked will no longer be able to live the way they live” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Psalms 2

Psalm 002 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 2 is usually considered a royal psalm because it is about the king. It was probably first sung when a new person became the king. It is often thought to be about the Messiah because of verse 6 and 7 reference the Son of God. (See: Christ, Messiah and Son of God, the Son)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s protection

The main theme of this psalm is that God is protecting and empowering the king he has appointed and that it is useless for the foreign nations to oppose God and his king.

Important figures of speech in this chapter

Metaphor

“Today I have begotten you” here is a metaphor meaning that God acknowledges the king as his special person. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 2:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

These questions are used to show surprise that the people are doing things that are so wrong and foolish. Alternate translation: “The nations are in turmoil and the peoples are making plots that will fail.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

This probably means that the nations were making a noisy and angry commotion.

This represents either the leaders or the people of the nations. (See: Metonymy)

These are probably plots against God and his people.

Psalms 2:2

These two clauses have similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

These phrases mean the same thing, implying that the leaders stand together in order to fight against Yahweh and his Messiah. This can be stated explicitly. Alternate translation: “gather to fight…plan together to revolt” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 2:3

The people of other nations speak of Yahweh and the Messiah’s rule over them as if it were shackles and chains. Alternate translation: “We should free ourselves from their control; we should not let them rule over us any longer” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 2:4

These phrases refer to Yahweh. Yahweh is often called “the Lord” but the words for “Yahweh” and “the Lord” are different.

Here sitting represents ruling. What he sits on can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “rules in the heavens” or “sits on his throne in heaven” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Metonymy)

“the Lord mocks those people.” Why he mocks them can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “The Lord mocks them for their foolish plans” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 2:5

The abstract noun “rage” can be stated as “furious.” Alternate translation: “he will be furious and terrify them” (See: Abstract Nouns)

greatly frighten

Psalms 2:6

Yahweh is emphasizing that he, and not someone else, has anointed his king.

“appointed my king to rule”

Psalms 2:7

The person saying this is the king. This can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “The king says, ‘I will announce a decree of Yahweh.’ He” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“Yahweh said to me”

Among many peoples in that part of the world then, men could decide to legally adopt children, who would become their heirs. Here Yahweh adopts a man and makes him king of Israel. Alternate translation: “I make you my son. This day I have become your father” or “Now you are my son and am your father”

Psalms 2:8

Yahweh continues speaking to the new king of Israel.

These phrases express very similar ideas. (See: Parallelism)

“the lands that are very far away”

Psalms 2:9

These phrases express very similar ideas. (See: Parallelism)

Defeating the nations is spoken of as breaking them, and his power is spoken of as an iron rod. Alternate translation: “You will defeat them completely by your power” (See: Metaphor)

Destroying nations is spoken of as if they could be smashed like a clay jar. Alternate translation: you will completely destroy them like a clay pot” (See: Metaphor and Simile)

A potter is a person who makes clay pots and jars. These are fragile and can be broken easily. Alternate translation: “a clay jar” or “a clay pot” (See: Translate Unknowns)

Psalms 2:10

These two phrases have similar meanings. Alternate translation: “So now, you kings and rulers of the earth, be warned and corrected” (See: Parallelism)

This can be stated with an active form. Alternate translation: “listen to this warning” or “be wise” (See: Active or Passive)

This can be stated with an active form. Alternate translation: “listen to this correction” or “take this correction” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 2:12

People would show their king that they were loyal to him by kissing him, perhaps on the feet. Alternate translation: “Show the son that you are truly loyal to him” or “Bow down humbly before his son” (See: Symbolic Action)

This may refer to dying right there, before the person has a chance to go away. Alternate translation: “you will die immediately”

The king’s anger is spoken of as if it were a fire that could burn. Alternate translation: “when he suddenly becomes very angry” (See: Metaphor)

Asking the king for protection is spoken of as seeking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “ask the king to protect them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 3

Psalm 003 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 3 is a psalm of deliverance. It is a morning song intended to be sung in the temple accompanied by musical instruments during morning worship. (See: temple, house, house of God)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s protection

Although the psalmist has many enemies and is saying he is without help, God is protecting him and delivering him from danger.

Psalms 3:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

This exclamation shows that David is afraid of his enemies. Alternate translation: “Oh Yahweh, I have so many enemies!” (See: Exclamations)

Fighting against someone is spoken of as rising against him. Alternate translation: “come against me” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 3:3

A shield protects a soldier. David speaks as if God were a shield protecting him. Alternate translation: “you, Yahweh, protect me like a shield” (See: Metaphor)

“you are my glory.” By calling God his glory, David says that God is the one who gives him glory. Since David has just spoken about his enemies and God being his protector, he probably meant that God gives him glory by giving him victory over his enemies. Alternate translation: “you are the one who gives me glory” or “you are the one who gives me victory” (See: Metonymy)

“you are the one who lifts up my head.” Giving someone courage is spoken of as lifting up his head. Alternate translation: “the one who encourages me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 3:4

Using one’s voice to cry out is spoken of as lifting up his voice. Alternate translation: “I cry out” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 3:6

“have surrounded me to destroy me”

Psalms 3:7

David speaks of starting to do something as getting up. Alternate translation: “Take action” or “Do something” (See: Metonymy)

These phrases say very similar things. The phrases “my enemies” and “the wicked” refer to the same group of people. (See: Parallelism)

This was a way of insulting people. David speaks as if Yahweh would come and physically hit his enemies. Alternate translation: “For you will insult all my enemies like someone hitting them on the jaw” (See: Symbolic Action and Metaphor)

Animals attack with their teeth. Breaking their teeth takes away their power to attack. David speaks as if Yahweh would come and physically fight against the wicked. Alternate translation: “you will make the wicked unable to harm me like someone breaking the teeth of a ferocious animal” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 3:8

The abstract noun “salvation” can be expressed with the verb “save.” Alternate translation: “Yahweh saves his people” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 4

Psalm 004 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 4 is a psalm of deliverance. It is an evening song, intended to be sung in the temple accompanied by musical instruments during evening worship. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and temple, house, house of God)

Special concepts in this chapter

Trust

God protects all those who truly trust in him for protection. (See: trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Psalms 4:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

“people should play stringed instruments with this song”

“Respond to me when I call” or “Help me when I call”

“God, who shows that I am righteous”

Being in danger is spoken of as being in a narrow space. Alternate translation: “rescue me when I am in danger” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 4:2

David sings this part of the song as if he is speaking to his enemies.

David uses this question to rebuke his enemies. Alternate translation: “You people continually turn my honor into shame!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Shaming him instead of honoring him is spoken of as making his honor become shame. Alternate translation: “shame me instead of honoring me” or “bring me shame when you should be honoring me”

David uses this question to rebuke his enemies. Alternate translation: “You continue to love things that are worthless and seek after lies.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

These two phrases are very similar in meaning. The lies are worthless. Alternate translation: “love worthless lies” (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 4:3

“Yahweh chooses godly people for himself”

Psalms 4:4

The relationship between “tremble” and “fear” and who people should fear can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “Fear Yahweh so much that you tremble” or “Stand in awe of Yahweh” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

shake from fear

The heart represents a person’s thoughts. Thinking carefully is spoken of as meditating in one’s heart. Alternate translation: “Think carefully” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 4:5

“Offer the right sacrifices”

Here “trust” is spoken of as if it were an object that could be put somewhere. The abstract noun “trust” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “trust in Yahweh” or “trust Yahweh” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 4:6

This question is used either to ask for something or to express a wish about something that has not happened. Alternate translation: “Please show us something good!” or “We wish someone would show us something good!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Possible meanings are (1) showing something good represents bringing good things. Alternate translation: “Who will bring good things to us?” or (2) showing something good represents saying that good things have happened. Alternate translation: “Who will say that anything good has happened?” (See: Metonymy)

The writer speaks of Yahweh acting favorably towards them as if Yahweh’s face shone a light on them. Alternate translation: “act favorably towards us” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 4:7

The heart represents the person. Alternate translation: “You have given me more gladness” (See: Synecdoche)

Here “gladness” is spoken of as if it is an object that can be given. The abstract noun “gladness” can be stated as “glad.” Alternate translation: “You have made me more glad than others are” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

“New wine” may represent grapes. Alternate translation: “when they reap plentiful harvests of grain and grapes” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 4:8

Peace is spoken of as if it were a place. This can be restated to remove the abstract noun “peace.” Alternate translation: “I will be peaceful when I lie down and sleep” or “I will not be afraid of danger when I lie down and sleep” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The words “safe” and “secure” mean basically the same thing and emphasize complete safety. Alternate translation: “make me completely safe” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 5

Psalm 005 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 5 is a psalm of deliverance. Notice how the psalmist both praises God and asks Him for help in defeating the wicked. It was intended to be sung accompanied by flutes. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s help

God does not help people who do evil but he blesses those who are good and trust in him. (See: bless, blessed, blessing and trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Psalms 5:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

“This song should be accompanied by people who play wind instruments.”

This is a call for help. Alternate translation: “Listen to me as I call to you for help” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

low sounds that people make with the voice when they are suffering

Psalms 5:3

These two phrases are very similar in meaning. (See: Parallelism)

“I will make my request” or “I will ask you for what I need”

“wait, expecting you to do what I ask you to do”

Psalms 5:6

Since David is speaking to God in this psalm, this sentence can be stated with the word “you.” Alternate translation: “Yahweh, you despise violent and deceitful men” or “Yahweh, you hate men who do violent acts and deceive others” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 5:7

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “because you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This refers to God’s temple. Alternate translation: “your temple”

Psalms 5:8

David speaks of righteousness as if it were a path and of teaching as leading. The phrase “your righteousness” means that God is righteous Alternate translation: “teach me to do what is righteous as you do” (See: Metaphor)

David speaks of righteousness as if it were a path. A straight path is easy to see or walk on. Alternate translation: “show me clearly how to live in the right way” or “make it easy for me to do what is right” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 5:9

David talks about his enemies.

Truth being in the mouth represents speaking truthfully. Alternate translation: “For they never say what is true” (See: Metonymy)

The inward being represents people’s thoughts and desires. Alternate translation: “their thoughts and desires are wicked” (See: Metonymy)

The throat represents people’s speech. Alternate translation: “their speech” or “what they say” (See: Metonymy)

Their throat is spoken of as if it were an open tomb, ready for dead bodies to put into it. Possible meanings are (1) “they say that they will kill people” or (2) “What they say kills people” (See: Metaphor)

“they say nice things about people without really meaning it”

The tongue represents what people say. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 5:10

“may their schemes cause them to experience disasters” or “may they become less important because of their schemes”

plans to harm people

This is something that causes a person to experience disasters or to lose power. Experiencing disaster or becoming less important is spoken of as falling. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 5:11

God is spoken of as if he were a refuge, a place where people can be protected. Alternate translation: “May all those who go to you for protection rejoice” (See: Metaphor)

These two clauses express similar thoughts. (See: Parallelism)

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to you for protection” (See: Metaphor)

God’s name represents him. Alternate translation: “those who love you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 5:12

God’s favor is spoken of as if it were a shield. Alternate translation: “you will favor them and protect them as a soldier protects himself with his shield” or “because you are kind to them, you will protect them (See: Simile)

Psalms 6

Psalm 006 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 6 is a deliverance psalm: a call to God for help. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Trouble

He is in deep trouble and needs God to help him in his difficult situation. But then God hears his prayer and scatters his enemies.

First Person

This psalm is written using first person making its perspective very personal. There are many uses of the first person in this Psalm.

Psalms 6:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

“people should play stringed instruments with this song”

This may refer to a style of music.

Psalms 6:2

The bones represent the whole body. His body may have been shaking because he was sick or extremely tired. Alternate translation: “my whole body is shaking” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 6:3

“terrified” or “worried”

David uses this question to show that he does not want to continue feeling weak and troubled. Alternate translation: please, do not let this continue!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 6:4

David speaks of God being kind to him as God returning to him. Alternate translation: “Yahweh, come back to me” or “Have mercy on me, Yahweh” (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “Save me because you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 6:5

These two sentences express similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

The abstract noun “remembrance” represents praise. Alternate translation: “For when people die, they no longer praise you” (See: Metonymy and Abstract Nouns)

David uses this question to emphasize that no one in Sheol thanks God. Alternate translation: “No one in Sheol will give you thanks!” or “The dead cannot praise you!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 6:6

His groaning represents the pain or distress that he feels. Alternate translation: “I am very tired because of my pain” (See: Metonymy)

These two sentences express the same meaning. (See: Parallelism)

“I make my bed wet with my tears” or “My bed is very wet because of my tears”

“I make my couch wet with my tears”

Psalms 6:7

The ability to see is spoken of in terms of the eyes. Alternate translation: “My vision is blurry” or “I cannot see clearly” (See: Metonymy)

Grief here represents crying. Alternate translation: “from crying” or “because I cry so much” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 6:9

These two lines have very similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

Being willing to do what David has prayed for is spoken of as accepting his prayer. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will respond to my prayer” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 7

Psalm 007 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 7 is a deliverance psalm. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s protection

The author had not wronged anyone, yet his enemy was trying to attack him. But he knew that God would protect him.

Cush the Benjamite

Note the superscription and the specific circumstances. There is no other reference to this incident in the Scriptures. But there are references to David being opposed by those of the tribe of Benjamin during the time he was serving King Saul.

Psalms 7:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is a song that David wrote”

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to you for protection!” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 7:2

David speaks of his enemies attacking him as if they would rip his body apart and tear it in pieces as a lion would. Alternate translation: “they will violently kill me like a lion ripping apart its victim’s body and tearing it in pieces” or “they will violently kill me” (See: Simile)

“and no one else will be able to save me”

Psalms 7:5

The life represents the person. Alternate translation: “me” (See: Metonymy)

This represents capturing him. Alternate translation: “capture me” (See: Metonymy)

Here “my life” represents the writer. Alternate translation: “allow him to destroy me” (See: Metonymy)

This refers to lying dead and unburied in disgrace.

Psalms 7:6

Arising represents doing something or taking action. Alternate translation: “Do something in your anger” or “Be angry at my enemies and take action: (See: Metonymy)

Fighting against people is spoken of as standing up against them. Alternate translation: “fight against the rage of my enemies” or “attack my enemies who rage against me” (See: Metonymy)

Their rage represents their attacks. Alternate translation: “the attacks of my enemies” or “my enemies who attack me” (See: Metonymy)

Waking up represents starting to do something or take action. Alternate translation: “Take action” or “Do something” (See: Metaphor)

“for me” or “to help me”

Psalms 7:7

Here the word “countries” represents all of the armies that have gathered to attack. (See: Synecdoche)

Ruling people is spoken of as being over them. Yahweh’s rightful place refers either to heaven or to ruling in general. Alternate translation: “Rule over them from heaven” or “Rule over them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 7:8

“show them that I am not guilty”

Psalms 7:9

“make the righteous people strong” or “make the righteous people prosper”

The hearts and minds represent people’s desires and thoughts. Alternate translation: “you who know our inner thoughts” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 7:10

The word “shield” represents God’s protection. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 7:11

Who God is angry with can be stated explicitly. Alternate translation: “a God who is angry with the wicked every day” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 7:12

In verses 12 and 13, David speaks of God deciding to punish the wicked as if God were a warrior preparing to fight against them with weapons. Alternate translation: “God will take action against him like a warrior who sharpens his sword and prepares his bow for battle” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 7:14

David speaks of the things that a wicked person does as if the person were pregnant and wickedness was the baby. Alternate translation: “the wicked person. He makes plans to destroy people and produces harmful lies” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 7:16

Destruction and violence are spoken of as if they hit a person’s head or fall down on it. Alternate translation: “His own destructive plans destroy him, for his violence attacks him” or “When he plans to destroy others, others destroy him; when he attacks others, others attack him” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 8

Psalm 008 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 8 is a psalm of worship and praise to God. This was to be sung by a choir.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s creation

God has made awesome things in the universe and has exalted humans to be rulers over this creation. (See: exalt, exalted, exaltation)

A Little Lower than the Heavenly Beings

Psalms Psalm 8:4-6 is quoted in Hebrews 2:6-8, where it is applied to Jesus. (See: heaven, sky, heavens, heavenly and glory, glorious, glorify)

Psalms 8:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music.

God’s “name” represents his whole being. Alternate translation: “people all over the world know that you are very great” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 8:2

Possible meanings are (1) praise is spoken of as a solid object that God takes out of babies’ mouths and sets up as a defensive wall or (2) God has created the world so that true praise comes to him from babies. Alternate translation: “You have given babies and infants the ability to praise you” or “It is babies and infants who truly praise you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 8:3

God’s fingers represent him. Alternate translation: “the heavens which you have made” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 8:4

These remarks have been expressed in the form of a question to add emphasis. Alternate translation: “It is amazing that you think about people and are concerned about them!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Both of these phrases refer to people in general.

Psalms 8:5

Glory and honor are spoken of as if they were crowns. The words “glory” and “honor” are similar in meaning. Alternate translation: “have given them glory and honor” or “have caused them to be like kings” (See: Metaphor and Doublet)

Psalms 8:6

These two clauses express similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

“you make them…under their feet.” The words “him” and “his” here refer to people.

The hands represent what God has done. Alternate translation: “the things that you made” (See: Metonymy)

Having authority to rule others or control things is spoken of as having them under one’s feet. This means God gave people authority over all that he created. Alternate translation: “you have given him authority over all things” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 8:9

With this exclamation, David shows his joy and awe about how great God is. Alternate translation: “your name is wonderfully magnificent in all the earth” or “people in all the earth know how magnificent you are” (See: Exclamations)

God’s “name” represents him or his reputation. Alternate translation: “your reputation” (See: Metonymy)

excellent, great

Psalms 9

Psalm 009 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 9 is a psalm of praise.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s protection

God is a protector. He is all-powerful and his enemies cannot withstand him.

Acrostic Psalm

This psalm along with Psalm 10 form an acrostic. Which means that each unit begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

One Psalm or two

This psalm has a superscription but Psalm 10 doesn’t. This fact and the acrostic nature of the two psalms has lead some scholars to believe these two psalms may have originally been written as one psalm.

Psalms 9:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music.

Since this song is addressed to Yahweh, Yahweh can be referred to as “you.” Alternate translation: “Yahweh, I will give thanks to you with all my heart” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

The noun “deeds” can be expressed with the verb “do.” Alternate translation: “all the marvelous things you do” or “all the marvelous things you have done” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 9:2

Here God’s name represents God. Alternate translation: “I will sing praise to you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 9:3

“retreat” or “flee in fear”

Psalms 9:4

Kings had authority to judge people, and they would sit on their throne when they judged. David speaks as if God were an earthly king. Alternate translation: “you judge like a king who sits on his throne, and you are righteous” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 9:5

Causing people to be forgotten is spoken of as blotting out their name. Alternate translation: “you have caused them to be forgotten as if their name was blotted out” or “no one will ever remember them again” (See: Metaphor)

“erased”

Psalms 9:6

The enemy is spoken of as if it were a city full of broken down buildings. Alternate translation: “Our enemies were destroyed” (See: Simile)

“when you destroyed their cities”

Here “remembrance” is spoken of as if it were a living being that could die. Alternate translation: “All remembrance of them has stopped” or “There is no longer any remembrance of them” (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “remembrance” can be expressed with the verb “remember.” Alternate translation: “No one remembers them at all” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 9:7

“Remain” probably represents sitting on the throne as king. Alternate translation: “Yahweh sits on his throne forever” or “Yahweh rules forever” (See: Metonymy)

The phrase “his throne” represents God’s rule. Possible meanings are (1) “He rules in order to judge people” or (2) “He rules over people justly” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 9:8

These two clauses express the same meaning. (See: Parallelism)

Here “the world” refers to all the people in the world. Alternate translation: “He will judge all the people of the world righteously” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 9:9

God is spoken of as if he were a place that people could go to for safety. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will also protect the oppressed” or “Yahweh will also provide safety for those who are oppressed” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 9:10

Here the words “your name” represent God. Alternate translation: “Those who know you” (See: Metonymy)

“do not forsake” or “do not leave”

Psalms 9:11

“who lives in Jerusalem”

Here “the nations” represents the people of the nations. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 9:12

What he remembers can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “For the God who avenges bloodshed remembers those who were killed” or “For God remembers those who were killed and he punishes the killers” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“He does not ignore the cry”

Psalms 9:13

This can be expressed in active form. Alternate translation: “see how those who hate me oppress me” or “see how badly my enemies treat me” (See: Active or Passive)

Death is spoken of as if it were a city that had gates through which people enter it. If someone is near the gates of death, it means that he will die soon. Keeping someone from dying is spoken of as taking him away from the gates of that city. Alternate translation: “you who can rescue me from death” or “you who can keep me from dying” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 9:15

People dig pits so they can catch animals that fall into them. Here digging a pit represents making plans to destroy people. Alternate translation: “The nations are like people who dig a pit for others and then fall into it” (See: Metaphor)

People hide nets so they can catch animals that get caught in them. Here hiding a net represents making plans to destroy people. Alternate translation: “they are like people who hide a net and get trapped in it” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 9:16

Here “wicked” is a nominal adjective that refers to any wicked person. A wicked person acting to harm other people is spoken of as if the wicked person had made a trap and then fallen into it and been unable to escape. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “when a wicked person tries to harm other people, his actions will end up harming him” (See: Nominal Adjectives and Metaphor)

“is trapped”

Psalms 9:17

“rejected”

This refers to “the wicked.”

Psalms 9:18

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God will not always forget the needy” or “God will remember the needy” (See: Active or Passive)

Hopes are spoken of as if they were objects that could be broken or destroyed. Hopes being destroyed represents the things that people hope for never happening. Alternate translation: “and the oppressed will not hope forever without results” or “and someday what the oppressed hope for will happen” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 9:19

Getting up represents starting to do something. Alternate translation: “Do something” or “Take action” (See: Metonymy)

people

Here judging represents punishing. Alternate translation: “be punished” (See: Metonymy)

Here sight represents presence. Alternate translation: “in your presence” (See: Metonymy)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “judge the nations in your presence” or “take the nations into your presence and punish them” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 10

Psalm 010 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 10 is a psalm of deliverance. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Evil people

The wicked people are prospering and think that God does not care. They think that he is not involved in these affairs. They destroy the innocent. The godly need God to come to their rescue and to punish the wicked people for the evil that they are doing to the good people. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant, innocent and godly, godliness, ungodly, godless, ungodliness, godlessness and good, right, pleasant, better, best)

Second half of Psalm 9

As noted in the intro to the last psalm, this one is part of an acrostic poem. This psalm covers the last half on the Hebrew alphabet. It also does not have a superscription to introduce it. However, the psalms do separate well on the subjects they address. One addresses thanksgiving and praise whereas Psalm 10 is a lament. (See: lament, lamentation)

Psalms 10:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The speaker uses these questions to express his distress that God has not helped him. Alternate translation: “Yahweh, it seems as though you are far away from me and you hide from me whenever I am in trouble” (See: Rhetorical Question and Metaphor)

Psalms 10:2

evil plans

Psalms 10:3

This refers to wicked people in general. Alternate translation: “wicked people” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

The noun “desires” can be expressed with the verb “want. “Alternate translation: “the things that he wants very much to do” (See: Abstract Nouns)

“greedy people”

Psalms 10:4

This refers here to wicked people in general. Alternate translation: “the wicked person” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

A raised face represents pride or arrogance. Alternate translation: “has an arrogant attitude” or “is proud” (See: Metaphor)

Seeking God represents either (1) asking God for help or (2) thinking about God and obeying him. Alternate translation: “he does not ask God for help” or “he does not think about God” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 10:5

“He is safe at all times.” He is not really safe, but he thinks that he is.

Something that is hard to understand is spoken of as if it were too high to reach. Alternate translation: “he cannot understand your righteous decrees” (See: Metaphor)

People snort at their enemies when they think that their enemies are weak and worthless. Alternate translation: “he thinks that all his enemies are weak and worthless” or “he sneers at all his enemies” (See: Symbolic Action)

This means that he blows air out noisily through his nose.

Psalms 10:6

“The wicked man says”

This probably simply means “forever.”

Experiencing adversity is spoken of as meeting it. Alternate translation: “I will not have any troubles” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 10:7

What people say is spoken of as being in their mouth. Alternate translation: “He always curses people, tells lies, and threatens to harm people” (See: Metonymy)

Here the tongue represents speaking. Alternate translation: or “what he says injures and destroys people” or “he speaks words that threaten and hurt people” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 10:8

The word “he” refers to the wicked man.

The eyes represent him. Alternate translation: “he looks for some helpless victim” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 10:9

This speaks of the wicked person as if he were a lion. Alternate translation: “He hides while he waits for the weak to walk near him, the same way a lion quietly waits in the bush for the animal it wants to attack” (See: Simile)

This means to hide or wait with intent to harm or kill.

“lies down waiting” or “he hides and waits”

The writer speaks of the wicked person catching people as if he were a hunter using a net to catch animals. Alternate translation: “He catches the oppressed like a hunter that catches an animal in a net and drags it away” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 10:10

The writer continues to speak of the wicked person catching people as if he were a hunter, his plans were nets, and the people were animals that fall into his net. Alternate translation: “his victims are caught by his plans like animals that fall into a hunter’s strong nets” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 10:11

The word “He” refers to the wicked person, and to wicked people in general. (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

Refusing to pay attention to what people do is spoken of as forgetting. Alternate translation: “God does not pay attention” or “God does not care about what I do” (See: Metaphor)

Refusing to pay attention to what someone does is spoken of as covering one’s face. Alternate translation: “God refuses to see what is happening” (See: Metaphor)

Paying attention to what someone does is spoken of as looking at it. Alternate translation: “he will not bother to pay attention” or “he will not care” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 10:12

Starting to do something is spoken of as getting up. Alternate translation: “Do something” (See: Metaphor)

Here lifting the hand to hit someone represents punishing him. Alternate translation: “Hit him hard” or “Punish the wicked person” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 10:13

The speaker uses this question to show that he is very sad that wicked people do these things. Alternate translation: “Wicked people are always rejecting God and saying…‘You will not hold me accountable.’” (See: Rhetorical Question)

“You will not require me to tell you why I do what I do.” Holding someone accountable here represents punishing him. Alternate translation: “You will not punish me” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 10:15

Here “arm” represents power. Alternate translation: “Destroy the power of the wicked and evil man” or “Make the wicked and evil man weak” (See: Metonymy)

These words have the same meaning. You can use one word to express both concepts. (See: Doublet)

Making someone account for his evil deeds represents punishing him. Alternate translation: “Punish him for the evil things he has done” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 10:16

This can be stated in active form. “Yahweh forces the people of other nations to leave his land” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 10:17

It is implied that the oppressed people cried out to God. Alternate translation: “when oppressed people cried out to you, you listened to them tell you what they need” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

A strong heart represents courage, and making people’s hearts strong represents encouraging them. Alternate translation: “you encourage them” or “you make them confident” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 10:18

“no one…will cause people to be afraid again”

Psalms 11

Psalm 011 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 11 is a worship psalm. It tells how great God is and that God delivers the good people from the evil people. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and good, right, pleasant, better, best and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Justice

The wicked people try to destroy the good people but God knows everything that is being done and he saves the good people and destroys the evil people. (See: just, justice, unjust, injustice, justify, justification and save, saved, safe, salvation)

Psalms 11:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to Yahweh for protection” (See: Metaphor)

This question is asked to provide emphasis. It can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “So do not ask me to run away!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 11:2

“Look! the wicked are preparing to attack upright people”

Here “upright in heart” refers to godly or righteous people.

Psalms 11:3

Here “the foundations” may refer to law and order. This rhetorical question is asked to add emphasis. It can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “Righteous people cannot do anything when evil people are not punished when they disobey the laws!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 11:4

Here Yahweh is represented by his “eyes.” Yahweh is aware of everything that happens. Alternate translation: “He examines all that humanity does” (See: Synecdoche)

“humanity”

Psalms 11:5

“Yahweh watches carefully”

“hurt others”

Psalms 11:6

God’s punishment is described as if it were burning coals and brimstone from a volcano. Alternate translation: “He punishes the wicked; there will be no relief for them!” (See: Metaphor)

sulphur

Psalms 11:7

“be in his presence”

Psalms 12

Psalm 012 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 12 is a judgment psalm, where the author asks God to judge and punish the wicked people. (See: judge, judgment and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh saves

There are so many wicked people now and they are proud of their evil. But God will save the poor who call out to him. (See: save, saved, safe, salvation and call, call out)

Words

This relatively short psalm focuses on the words people use.

Psalms 12:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 6:1.

“Yahweh, come to my aid”

“faithful people have all vanished”

Psalms 12:2

The two occurrences of “everyone” are exaggerations, used to emphasize that this is true of very many people. (See: Hyperbole)

Here “lips” is a metonym for what people say, and “a double heart” is a metaphor for deception. Alternate translation: “everyone speaks with flattering words and deception” or “everyone praises people falsely and tells lies” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 12:3

Here “flattering lips” is a metonym for people who flatter others. Possible meanings are (1) “cut off” is a metaphor for killing. Alternate translation: “kill all who flatter others” or (2) “cut off” is a metaphor for stopping something. Alternate translation: “stop all those who flatter others” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Here “every tongue” represents every person who declares great things. Alternate translation: “every person who boasts” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 12:4

Here the word “tongues” represents what people say. Alternate translation: “We will prevail because of what we say” (See: Metonymy)

“we will succeed” or “we will win” or “we will be victorious”

Here the “lips” represents the people who speak. Alternate translation: “When we speak” (See: Synecdoche)

This rhetorical question is asked to emphasize that they believed no one could rule over them. It can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “no one can rule over us!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 12:5

These are deep sounds that people make because of pain or some strong emotion.

This means Yahweh will do something to help the people.

Psalms 12:6

Yahweh’s words are compared to silver that has been purified. Alternate translation: “they are without any imperfection” (See: Simile)

Psalms 12:7

“You keep the righteous people safe”

Psalms 12:8

“surround us”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “when people everywhere are praising evil” (See: Active or Passive)

“human beings” or “people”

Psalms 13

Psalm 013 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 13 is a psalm of deliverance because the psalmist is calling on God to deliver him from death and his enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and call, call out)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s help

The author needs God to help him because his enemies will rejoice if they are able to defeat him. The string of rhetorical questions is very effective at heightening the fear David is feeling. (See: Rhetorical Question and fear, afraid, dread, frighten)

Psalms 13:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

This question is asked to get the reader’s attention and to add emphasis. It can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “Yahweh, it seems that you have forgotten about me!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The words “your face” represent God’s whole being. This rhetorical question is asked to add emphasis. It can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “It seems like you are hiding from me!” (See: Synecdoche and Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 13:2

This rhetorical question is asked to add emphasis. It can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “Surely my enemies will not always defeat me!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 13:3

“Give me your attention and listen to me”

This is a way of asking for strength. Alternate translation: “Make me strong again” (See: Idiom)

To “sleep in death” means to die. (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 13:4

“Do not let my enemy say about me…so that my enemy may not say about me”

“when I fall” or “when they defeat me”

Psalms 13:5

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “I have trusted that you are faithful to your covenant” or “I have trusted you because you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “my heart” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I will rejoice because you have rescued me” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 14

Psalm 014 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 14 is a deliverance psalm because he is trusting God to deliver the poor. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Special concepts in this chapter

Evil people

Wicked people do not even consider God when they make their plans. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Psalms 14:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

This is an idiom that means to say to oneself or to think to oneself. Alternate translation: “A foolish person says to himself” (See: Idiom)

The word “they” refers to all foolish human beings who say there is no God.

Psalms 14:2

This phrase refers to all humans.

This describes those who desire to know God as if they were actually following him on a path. Alternate translation: “who desire to know him” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 14:3

This describes people who have rejected God as if they had stopped walking on the right path and had gone in another direction. Alternate translation: “They have all turned away from Yahweh” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 14:4

This rhetorical question is asked to add emphasis. It can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “They act as if they do not know anything…who do not call on Yahweh. But they know what they are doing!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The abstract nouns “iniquity” can be stated as “evil deeds.” Alternate translation: “those who do evil deeds” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This refers to those who do evil things and destroy God’s people as if they were eating food. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 14:5

The word “they” refers to those who do evil things.

To say that “God is with” those who are righteous means that he helps them. This can be stated clearly in the translation. Alternate translation: “God helps those who act righteously” or “God helps those who do the right things” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 14:6

The word “you” here refers to the wicked people.

“to make the person who is poor feel ashamed”

This speaks of the protection that Yahweh provides as if he were a shelter that one might seek in a storm. Alternate translation: “Yahweh is like a shelter of protection to him” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 14:7

This is an exclamation. The writer is saying what he wishes or longs for God to do. Alternate translation: “I wish so much that the salvation of Israel would come from Zion!” (See: Exclamations)

Here “the salvation of Israel” is a metonym for Yahweh, the one who saves Israel. Alternate translation: “Oh, that Yahweh would come from Zion and save Israel!” or “I wish that Yahweh would come from Zion and rescue his people Israel!” (See: Metonymy)

These two phrases mean the same thing. Here both “Jacob” and “Israel” represent the people of Israel. The two phrases can be combined in the translation. Alternate translation: “then all the people of Israel will rejoice greatly” (See: Parallelism and Synecdoche)

Psalms 15

Psalm 015 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 15 is a wisdom psalm telling how people who honor God should live. (See: wise, wisdom and life, live, living, alive)

Special concepts in this chapter

Godliness

This psalm outlines a person who is godly and sees others from a godly perspective. There are several good actions mentioned. Such a person treats his neighbor right, does not slander him, does not take a bribe or interest from him, and keeps his promises even when it is difficult to do so. (See: godly, godliness, ungodly, godless, ungodliness, godlessness and good, right, pleasant, better, best and promise, promised)

Moral Conditions for Worship

Scholars have noted that this psalm contains a list of ten different conditions for those who want to participate in worship at the temple. The list consists of three positives in verse 2, 3 negatives in verse 3, two positives in verse 4, followed by two negatives in verse 5. (See: temple, house, house of God)

Psalms 15:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

God’s “holy hill” represents God’s temple, which was on Mount Zion. Alternate translation: “Who may live in your holy place?” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 15:2

“speaks honestly”

Psalms 15:3

Here “tongue” represents what a person says. The word “he” refers to the “righeous person” (Psalms 15:2). Alternate translation: “He does not slander people with his speech” or “He does not say evil things about innocent people” (See: Metonymy)

hurt

Psalms 15:4

“Righteous people hate those who have rejected God, but they honor those who respect God”

“The wicked person” or “The person who has rejected Yahweh”

Psalms 15:5

Here “to be shaken” represents not living safely any longer. This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “will live in safety” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 16

Psalm 016 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 16 is a psalm of praise, thanking God for all his mercies. The New Testament considers this psalm to be a messianic psalm: a psalm about Christ. (See: mercy, merciful and Christ, Messiah)

Special concepts in this chapter

Messiah

God has been so good to the psalmist, who will worship no other god. The New Testament considers the tenth verse to be about Christ’s resurrection when it says that he is God’s anointed one, and that God will not leave his body in the grave to decay. (See: good, right, pleasant, better, best, god, false god, goddess, idol, idolater, idolatrous, idolatry and resurrection and anoint, anointed, anointing)

Superscription

The term “Michtam” is used in the superscription for this psalm. There is much discussion about this term, but in the end no one is certain what it means. So it is easiest to transliterate this word into your language, or you are welcome to translate it as “psalm.”

Psalms 16:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to you for protection” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 16:3

Here “holy people” refers to God’s own people who trust him. Alternate translation: “your people who live in this land” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 16:4

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “The troubles of those who seek other gods will increase” (See: Active or Passive)

“pour out blood as a sacrifice to their gods”

Lifting up their names is a metaphor for praising them, and “lips” is a metonym for what one says. Alternate translation: “or praise them with my words” or “and I will not praise their gods” (See: Biblical Imagery – Extended Metaphors and Metonymy)

Psalms 16:5

Here David speaks of Yahweh as if he were a portion of land that has been given to him. (See: Metaphor)

Here David speaks of Yahweh as if he were a cup that contains many blessings. Alternate translation: “the one who blesses me” (See: Metaphor)

“You determine my future” or “You control what will happen to me”

Psalms 16:6

Here laying down measuring lines is a metonym for measuring land and giving it to someone, and here this is a metaphor for God blessing David in many great ways. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “You have measured off land for me in pleasant places” or “You have given me land in pleasant places” or “You bless me like one who gives land in pleasant places” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor and Active or Passive)

These are ropes that people use to measure a plot of land and mark its boundaries.

Here David speaks of Yahweh’s blessings as if they were an inheritance that he has received. Alternate translation: “I am delighted with all the things that he has given me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 16:8

“I always remember that Yahweh is with me”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “nothing will take me away from his side” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 16:9

David continues to speak to God.

Here the “heart” represents the speaker’s thoughts and emotions. Alternate translation: “Therefore I am glad” (See: Metonymy)

Possible meanings are (1) the word “glory” represents the honor a person feels. Alternate translation: “I am honored to rejoice in God” or (2) the word translated “glory” really means “liver” and represents the speaker’s emotions. Alternate translation: “I am rejoicing”

Psalms 16:11

“great joy” or “a large amount of joy”

The writer speaks of “joy” as if it were a person. (See: Personification)

The words “right hand” indicate being in God’s special presence. Alternate translation: “when I am near you” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 17

Psalm 017 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 17 is a prayer for deliverance from all his enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Innocence

The psalmist is innocent and needs God to rescue him from these enemies. (See: innocent)

Psalms 17:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The phrase “give ear” is a metaphor for listening, and “lips without deceit” is synecdoche for a person who does not lie. Alternate translation: “Listen to my prayer for I speak without deceit” (See: Metaphor and Synecdoche)

Psalms 17:2

Vindication coming from God represents God judging someone and declaring him innocent. God’s “presence” is a metonym for God himself. Alternate translation: “Let my vindication come from you” or “Declare that I am innocent” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Here “your eyes” is synecdoche for God himself, and “see” is a metaphor for paying attention and firmly deciding to do something. Alternate translation: “please see what is right” or “do what is right” (See: Synecdoche and Metaphor)

Psalms 17:3

Here “test my heart” means to examine my thoughts and motives. Alternate translation: “If you examine my thoughts in the night” (See: Idiom)

Here the mouth is spoken of as if it were capable of acting on its own. It also represents the words that a person speaks. Alternate translation: “I will not tell lies or sin with my words” (See: Personification and Synecdoche)

Psalms 17:4

Here “the word of your lips” is a metonym for God’s instruction, and “the ways of the lawless” is a metaphor for the things that lawless people do. Alternate translation: “it is by obeying your instruction that I have kept myself from doing the things that lawless people do” or “your instruction has caused me to avoid doing wicked things” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 17:5

Both of these clauses mean the same thing. The repetition adds emphasis. (See: Parallelism)

The writer speaks of his obedience to God as if he were walking on a path. Alternate translation: “I am determined to follow your ways” (See: Metaphor and Litotes)

Psalms 17:6

These phrases mean the same thing. Here “your ear” refers to God’s willingness to hear someone who prays to him. Alternate translation: “pay attention to me…listen when I speak” (See: Parallelism and Metonymy)

Psalms 17:7

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “Show in a wonderful way that you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The “right hand” refers to God’s power. Alternate translation: “your mighty power” (See: Metonymy)

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to you for protection” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 17:8

The “apple of your eye” refers to something that is valuable. Alternate translation: “Protect me as you would something most valuable and precious” (See: Simile)

David speaks of God’s protection as if he were a bird protecting its young under its wings. Alternate translation: “Keep me safe as a mother bird protects her babies by gathering them under her wing” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 17:10

Here “their mouths speak” represents his enemies when they speak. Alternate translation: “they speak with pride” or “they are always boasting” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 17:11

Here “surrounded my steps” represents how David’s enemies have followed him everywhere he goes in order to capture him. Alternate translation: “My enemies have surrounded me” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 17:12

These two phrases express very similar ideas. The repetition adds intensity. (See: Parallelism)

The writer feels pursued the way a lion hunts its prey (See: Simile)

Psalms 17:13

This is a metaphor for Yahweh’s power and for violent death in war. Alternate translation: “by having them die in war” or “by killing them in battle” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 17:14

This clause adds intensity to the words “Rescue my life from the wicked by your sword” (Psalms 17:13). (See: Parallelism)

These words represent the power of Yahweh and add intensity to the words “by your sword” (Psalms 17:13). (See: Metonymy)

The ancient text is hard to understand. Possible meanings are (1) “treasured” is a metaphor for loved, and “your treasured ones” refers to the people whom God loves. Alternate translation: “you will fill the bellies of the people you love with riches” or (2) “your treasured ones” refers to treasures that God gives to people, the “men of this world” Alternate translation: “you will fill their bellies with rich treasures” (See: Metaphor)

Here “fill the bellies…with riches” is a metaphor for giving them many valuable things. Possible meanings are (1) “You will give many riches to the people you love” or (2) “you will give the men of this world many riches” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 17:15

Here “face” represents Yahweh in all of his being. David is confident he will see Yahweh. Alternate translation: “because I act in the right way, I will be with you one day” (See: Synecdoche)

David believes that after he dies, he will be with Yahweh. This can be made clear in the translation. Alternate translation: “After I die, I will be happy to wake up in your presence” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 18

Psalm 018 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 18 is a psalm of praise to God for his strengthening David for war.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s power

God has tremendous power and he enabled David to prosper in war. This psalm, and its superscription, also appears in 1 Samuel 22 with some minor differences.

Psalms 18:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

“he sang this song to Yahweh”

“after Yahweh had rescued him”

Here “hand” stands for the power of Saul. Alternate translation: “from Saul’s power” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 18:2

David speaks of Yahweh as if he were a rock. The word “rock” is a picture of a safe place. (See: Metaphor)

Here the words “rock” and “fortress” share similar meanings and emphasize that Yahweh provides safety from enemies. (See: Doublet and Metaphor)

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to him for protection” (See: Metaphor)

David speaks of Yahweh as if he were a “shield,” “the horn” of his salvation, and his “stronghold.” Yahweh is the one who protects him from harm. Here a similar idea is repeated three ways for emphasis. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 18:3

“I will be rescued from my enemies”

Psalms 18:4

David speaks of death as if it were a person who could capture him and bind him with ropes. Alternate translation: “I was about to be killed” (See: Metaphor and Personification)

David is as helpless as if he were being carried away by a rushing flood of waters. Alternate translation: “I felt completely helpless” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 18:5

Here “Sheol,” the place of the dead, and “death” are spoken of as if they were people who could surround and trap him. These two clauses have similar meanings and the idea is repeated for emphasis. Alternate translation: “I felt trapped and thought I was going to die” (See: Personification and Metaphor and Parallelism)

Psalms 18:6

“In my great need” or “In my despair”

Here David speaks of his “call for help” as if it were a person who could come into the presence of Yahweh. Alternate translation: “I prayed to him” (See: Personification)

Here David speaks of how Yahweh heard his cry for help. The idea is repeated for emphasis. Alternate translation: “he heard my appeal” (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 18:7

God’s being angry is spoken of as if the there was a terrible earthquake. Alternate translation: “God was so angry that it was as if the earth…shaken” (See: Metaphor)

The words “shook” and “trembled” mean basically the same thing and emphasize how greatly the earth shook. Alternate translation: “the land moved back and forth” or “the ground moved up and down” or “there was a violent earthquake” (See: Doublet)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “the foundations of the mountains also trembled and shook” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 18:8

David speaks of Yahweh as if he were breathing fire. This is a picture of how angry God was. (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “blazing fire came out of his mouth and ignited coals” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 18:9

The word “He” refers to Yahweh.

Though Yahweh does not actually have feet, the Psalmist gives him human characteristics. Alternate translation: “thick darkness was beneath him” (See: Personification)

Psalms 18:10

Here the Psalmist speaks of the wind as if it had wings like an angel. (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Psalms 18:11

Here the words “He” and “him” refer to Yahweh.

Here darkness is spoken of as if it were a tent. Alternate translation: “He made darkness a covering” or “He made darkness a hiding place” (See: Metaphor)

“clouds heavy with rain” or “thick, dark rainclouds”

Psalms 18:12

stones made of ice

Psalms 18:13

Yahweh’s voice sounded like thunder. (See: Simile)

“the Most High” refers to Yahweh.

Psalms 18:14

Both of these clauses have similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

Here lighting strikes are being spoken of as if they were arrows (See: Metaphor)

“sent them in different directions”

Psalms 18:15

The writer continues to speak of Yaweh’s great power.

These two clauses have similar meanings. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Then the water channels appeared and the bottom of the ocean became visible; you exposed the foundations of the world” (See: Parallelism and Active or Passive)

Though God does not have human physical characteristics as described here, this pictures his mighty strength. The wind is spoken of here as if it came as a mighty blast from God’s nostrils. (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Psalms 18:16

The word “He” in these verses refers to Yahweh.

Here the Psalmist speaks of the dangers of his enemies as if they were huge waves or forceful waters, from which Yahweh has rescued him. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 18:18

Here “They” refers to the strong enemies in verse 17.

The abstract noun “distress” can be stated as an adjective. The abstract noun “support” can be stated as “protected.” Alternate translation: “Strong enemies attacked me on a day when I was distressed, but Yahweh protected me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 18:20

Here having clean hands represents being innocent of wrongdoing. Alternate translation: “I was innocent” or “my actions were right” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 18:21

The laws of Yahweh are spoken of as if they were the paths on which one should walk. Alternate translation: “I have obeyed Yahweh’s laws” (See: Metaphor)

Here being wicked is spoken of as if one left the right path and took the wrong path. Alternate translation: “have not done wickedly by turning away from my God” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 18:22

Both of these clauses have similar meanings. The writer repeats these ideas for emphasis. (See: Parallelism)

“have guided me” or “I have remembered”

Psalms 18:23

“innocent according to him”

“I have not sinned”

Psalms 18:24

To have “clean hands” means that one is innocent of wrongdoing. See how you translated this in Psalms 18:20: Alternate translation: “I was innocent” or “my actions were right” (See: Metonymy)

This refers to God’s presence. Alternate translation: “before him” or “according to him” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 18:25

The writer speaks to Yahweh.

Here “faithful” means to do what God commands one to do. You can state this clearly. Alternate translation: “to those who faithfully obey your commandments” or “to those who faithfully do your covenant” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 18:26

“you outwit anyone who is not honest”

Psalms 18:27

“you humiliate”

This idiom refers to those who are proud. Alternate translation: “who are proud” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 18:28

The writer speaks of Yahweh’s presence as if he were a light. These clauses have similar meanings. (See: Metaphor and Parallelism)

Psalms 18:29

“For with your help I can cross any obstacle”

Psalms 18:30

A shield protects a soldier. David speaks as if God were a shield protecting him. See how you translated this in Psalms 3:3. Alternate translation: “You, Yahweh, protect like a shield everyone who takes refuge in you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 18:31

The implied answer is no one. Alternate translation: “Only Yahweh is God! Only our God is a rock!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

David speaks of Yahweh as if he were a rock that he could climb to get away from his enemies. See how you translated this in Psalms 18:2. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 18:32

God gives strength to David as if it were a piece of clothing. (See: Simile)

Here David speaks of living a life that is pleasing to God as if he were being placed on the right path. Alternate translation: “causes the blameless person to live a righteous life” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 18:33

This refers to enabling a person to run fast. Alternate translation: “makes me run very fast” (See: Synecdoche)

The deer is especially quick and stable in the mountains. (See: Simile)

Psalms 18:34

Here “my hands” refers to the person. Alternate translation: “He trains me” (See: Synecdoche)

This refers to the person. Alternate translation: “me” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 18:35

Here the writer speaks of God’s protection as if it were a shield. The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated with the verb “save.” Alternate translation: “your protection and saved me” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Here God’s right hand represents his power. Alternate translation: “Your power has supported me” or “You have supported me by your power” (See: Metonymy)

Here God’s favor represents him acting according to his favor. Alternate translation: “You have made me great according to your favor” or “By your kindness, you have made me great” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 18:36

The writer speaks of the safety that God has provided as if it were a wide place for him to stand. Here “my feet” represent the person. Alternate translation: “a safe place for me” (See: Metaphor and Synecdoche)

Here “my feet” refers to the person. The writer refers to the safety of God’s protection as if he were standing on a place where he will not slip or fall. Alternate translation: “I have not slipped” or “I am doing well” (See: Synecdoche and Metaphor)

Psalms 18:38

“I crushed them” or “I broke them to pieces”

“unable to stand”

This idiom means the Psalmist has defeated his enemies. Alternate translation: “I have defeated all of them” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 18:39

The Psalmist says that Yahweh has given him strength that surrounds and supports him like a belt. See how you translated this in Psalms 18:32. (See: Simile)

Here the Psalmist speaks of the defeat of his enemies as if he were standing on them. Alternate translation: “you defeat for me” (See: Idiom)

This refers to those who oppose the Psalmist. Alternate translation: “those who are my enemies” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 18:40

This represents God giving David victory over his enemies. Alternate translation: “You gave me victory over my enemies” (See: Metonymy)

This represents God giving David victory over his enemies. Possible images are (1) David could cut his enemies’ heads off at the neck or (2) David could put his foot down on his enemies’ necks or (3) David could see his enemies’ backs when they ran away from him. (See: Metonymy)

“I defeated those who hated me” or “I destroyed completely those who hated me”

Psalms 18:41

This means Yahweh did not provide any help. Alternate translation: “but he did not help them” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 18:42

The psalmists enemies are compared to dust to show how defeated they are. (See: Simile)

The psalmist’s enemies are compared to mud in the streets to show how defeated they are. (See: Simile)

Psalms 18:43

disagreements, arguments

Here “head” represents the ruler. Alternate translation: “appointed me to be the ruler over many nations” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 18:44

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God forced foreigners to bow” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 18:45

Here “trembling” shows that they were very afraid. This can be stated clearly in the translation. Alternate translation: “foreigners came shaking, showing that they were very afraid” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 18:46

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “he is my rock and he should be praised” or “may people praise my rock” (See: Active or Passive)

Here the writer speaks of Yahweh’s protection as if he were a rock that prevented his enemies from reaching him. See how you translated this in Psalms 18:2. (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May people exalt the God of my salvation” (See: Active or Passive)

The abstract nouns “salvation” can be stated as “saved” or “rescued.” Alternate translation: “the God who rescued me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 18:47

To “execute vengeance” means to punish people for their evil actions. This can be restated to remove the abstract noun “vengeance.” Alternate translation: “the God who punishes people for the evil things they have done to me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 18:48

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God has set me free” (See: Active or Passive)

Yahweh’s protection of the writer is spoken of as if he lifted the writer up so high that his enemies could not reach him to harm him. Alternate translation: “you put me in a safe place high above” (See: Metaphor)

“who attacked me” or “who rebelled against me”

“cruel men” or “savage men”

Psalms 18:49

Here the writer means that he will give thanks to Yahweh so that all people will hear of Yahweh’s greatness. Alternate translation: “so all the nations will hear about it” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “name” represents God himself. Alternate translation: “in honor of your name” or “to you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 18:50

By using the words “his king,” David is referring to himself as king. (See: First, Second or Third Person)

“he faithfully loves me as he promised in his covenant, and he will love my descendants forever”

Psalms 19

Psalm 019 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 19 is a praise psalm, praising God for his creation and for his law.

Special concepts in this chapter

God’s law

God’s law keeps people from sinning. There are two distinct themes in this psalm. Verses 1-6 are God’s glory in the heavens and the second is praising God for his law. (See: law, law of Moses, law of Yahweh, law of God and glory, glorious, glorify and heaven, sky, heavens, heavenly)

Psalms 19:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

The heavens are described as if they were a person. Alternate translation: “The heavens show” or “The heavens look like they declare”

The skies are described as if they were a teacher. Alternate translation: “The skies seem to make God’s handiwork known to us” (See: Personification)

“his creation” or “the world that he has made”

Psalms 19:2

What is beautiful about creation is compared to speaking, as if creation were a person. Then those words are compared to water that flows everywhere. Alternate translation: “creation is like a person speaking to everyone” (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Psalms 19:3

These phrases express clearly that the first two verses were a metaphor. Alternate translation: “There is no real speech or spoken words; no one hears an actual voice with their ears”

Other translations read “where their voice is not heard,” emphasizing that creation’s “speech” is available everywhere.

Psalms 19:4

David has just said that creation shows God’s glory.

This refers to the unspoken “words” of creation that show God’s glory.

The words are described as if they were people who go out with a message. Alternate translation: “the words that creation speaks are like people who go out” (See: Personification)

The implied words can be included in the translation. Alternate translation: “their speech goes out to the end of the world” (See: Ellipsis)

Here the writer speaks of the place that Yahweh created for the sun as if it were a tent. Alternate translation: “He created a place for the sun” (See: Metaphor)

The word “them” probably refers to the heavens.

Psalms 19:5

The writer speaks of the sun’s coming out as if it were a bridegroom. Alternate translation: “The sun is like a bridegroom walking joyfully toward his bride” (See: Simile)

This compares the sun to an athlete to emphasize the strength and brightness of the sun. (See: Simile)

“a fast runner”

Psalms 19:6

the line where the earth and the sky meet

Here “other” refers to the other horizon. This can be stated clearly in the translation. Alternate translation: “to the other horizon” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “everything feels its heat” (See: Double Negatives)

Psalms 19:7

The words “the soul” refer to the whole person. Alternate translation: “making a person strong again” (See: Synecdoche)

“those who have no experience” or “those who have not learned”

Psalms 19:8

These words refer to the whole person. Alternate translation: “a person” (See: Synecdoche)

“are true” or “are correct”

Possible meanings are (1) “bringing understanding to a person” or (2) “making a person healthy again”

Psalms 19:9

“completely right”

Psalms 19:10

Yahweh’s decrees are spoken of as if they could be bought and tasted. Alternate translation: “If you could buy them, they would be of greater value than gold…if you could taste them, they would be sweeter than honey” (See: Metaphor)

The word “valuable” is understood from the previous phrase and can be repeated. Alternate translation: “even more valuable than a lot of fine gold” (See: Ellipsis)

“pure gold” or “expensive gold”

Psalms 19:11

This word marks that there is more to the truth than what has just been said. Alternate translation: “Moreover”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “they warn your servant” or “they are a warning for your servant” (See: Active or Passive)

The word “them” refers to Yahweh’s righteous decrees.

David calls himself “your servant” when speaking to God as a sign of respect. Alternate translation: “I am warned” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 19:12

This appears in the form of a question to add emphasis and can be translated as a strong statement. Alternate translation: No one can be aware of his own errors!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

“from secret mistakes I have made”

Psalms 19:13

This idiom pictures the servant as being removed from the sins he does not wish to commit. Alternate translation: “Also, protect your servant from doing” or “Also, make sure that I do not commit” (See: Idiom)

David calls himself “your servant” when speaking to God as a sign of respect. See how you translated this in Psalms 19:11. Alternate translation: “I” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Sins are described as if they were a king that could rule over someone. Alternate translation: “do not let my sins become like a king who rules over me” (See: Personification)

“innocent of rebelling against you” or “innocent of committing many sins”

Psalms 19:14

These expressions taken together describe everything a person says and thinks. Alternate translation: “the things I say and the things I think about” (See: Metonymy)

“receive approval in your sight” or “be pleasing to you”

Here sight represents judgment or evaluation. Alternate translation: “in your judgment” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of God as if he were a rock that one could climb and be protected from his enemies. Alternate translation: “Yahweh, you are like my rock” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 20

Psalm 020 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 20 is a royal psalm. It is probably a prayer for the king, perhaps when he first became king.

Special concepts in this chapter

Trust

Trusting God is much better than trusting in military might. (See: trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Psalms 20:1

This Psalm begins with a group of people speaking to the king of Israel. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

The word “you” in this Psalm is singular and refers to the king.

“in times of trouble” or “when you are in trouble”

Possible meanings are (1) here “name” is a metonym for God’s power. Alternate translation: “may the power of the God of Jacob protect you” or “may the God of Jacob protect you by his power” or (2) here “name” is a metonym for God himself. Alternate translation: “may the God of Jacob protect you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 20:2

God helping from his holy place is spoken of as if God were sending help. Alternate translation: “may Yahweh help you from his holy place” (See: Metaphor)

Both of these refer to God’s temple in Jerusalem. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 20:3

The phrase “call to mind” is a way of saying “remember.” It does not mean God forgot. It means to consider or think about. Alternate translation: “May he remember” (See: Idiom)

The word “he” refers to Yahweh.

Psalms 20:4

“May he give”

Here “heart” stands for the entire person. The abstract noun “desire” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “what you desire” or “what you want” (See: Synecdoche and Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “plans” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “may he help you to accomplish everything that you plan to do” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 20:5

Here “we” refers to the people. They will rejoice in the king’s victory. (See: Exclusive and Inclusive ‘We’)

Here “name” represents honor or reputation. Alternate translation: “in honor of our God” or “for the reputation of our God” (See: Metonymy)

“we will raise victory flags.” They would do this to show that they were praising God because he gave their king victory over his enemies. (See: Symbolic Action)

“give you everything you request from him”

Psalms 20:6

This word is used here to mark a break in the psalm. It transitions from the people speaking to the king speaking.

The word “I” probably refers to the king who is speaking in this section.

The king is speaking about himself in the third person. This can be stated in first person. Alternate translation: “me, his anointed one…answer me…rescue me” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

God dwells in heaven as well as in the temple in Jerusalem (Psalms 20:2).

God’s right hand represents his power. Alternate translation: “with his great strength he will rescue him” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 20:7

Here “chariots” and “horses” represent a king’s army. (See: Metonymy)

The word “trust” is understood. Alternate translation: “other trust in horses” (See: Ellipsis)

Here “we” refers to the writer and the readers. (See: Inclusive and Exclusive “We”)

Psalms 20:8

Here “we” refers to the writer and the readers. (See: Inclusive and Exclusive “We”)

The word “They” refers to the people who trust in chariots and horses. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God will bring them down and make them fall” (See: Active or Passive)

Both these verbs mean basically the same thing. Both of these stand for losing in battle. (See: Doublet)

“we will get up and stand up straight.” These two phrases mean basically the same thing. Both of these stand for victory in battle. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 20:9

Possible interpretations are (1) the people ask God to protect the king or (2) the king continues to speak about himself in the third person.

Some translations understand the Hebrew differently. Some translate it as the people speaking to Yahweh their king. Alternate translation: “King, help us when we call you”

Psalms 21

Psalm 021 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 21 is a royal psalm. The king is praying for victory. Victory in war comes from the power and help from God.

Special concepts in this chapter

Pronouns

There is a shift in pronouns in this psalm. In verses 1-6 the psalm addresses Yahweh in second person but in verse 7 the psalmist uses third person before moving back to second person in the latter part.

Psalms 21:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

It is implied that this is strength Yahweh has given the king to defeat his enemies. Alternate translation: because you, Yahweh, have made him strong enough to defeat his enemies”

“He rejoices greatly”

It is implied that God has saved the king from his enemies. The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “because you have saved him from his enemies” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 21:2

“his heart’s wish.” Here “heart” stands for the whole person. Alternate translation: “his desire” or “what he wished for” (See: Synecdoche)

“have not refused him.” This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “you have given him” (See: Double Negatives)

Here “lips” stands for the whole person. Alternate translation: “his request” or “what he requested of you” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 21:3

The abstract noun “blessings” can be stated as “bless” or “good things.” Alternate translation: “you bless him greatly” or “you give him many good things” (See: Abstract Nouns)

To place a crown on a person’s head is a symbol of making him a king. (See: Symbolic Action)

Here “purest gold” represents the great honor given to the king.

Psalms 21:4

The abstract noun “life” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “He asked that you cause him to live for a long time; you caused it to happen” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The idiom “the length of his days” refers to the duration of his life. Alternate translation: “a long life that lasts forever” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 21:5

“The king’s honor” or “The king’s fame”

“you have placed on him splendor and majesty.” Causing the king to be wealthy and powerful is spoken of as if splendor and majesty are objects that are placed on him. Alternate translation: “you have made him wealthy and powerful” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 21:6

“you allow him to have” or “you agree to give him”

“a blessings that will last” or “a blessings that will stay”

“the joy of being in your presence” or “the joy that comes from you being near to you”

Psalms 21:7

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “because the Most High is faithful to his covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “no one will remove him as king” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 21:8

Here “hand” represents power. Alternate translation: “Your power will seize” or “You will powerfully seize” (See: Metonymy)

Possible meaning of all occurrences of “your” and “you” are (1) they refer to the king or (2) they refer to God.

This means the same thing as the first part of the sentence. It emphasizes that God will give the king the power to stop his enemies. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 21:9

“When you are angry and begin to act”

The words “your” and “you” refers to either (1) God or (2) the king.

Yahweh or the king destroying their enemies is spoken of as if their enemies are wood and Yahweh or the king will throw them into a furnace. (See: Metaphor)

Both clauses mean basically the same thing. Yahweh completely destroying his enemies is spoken of as if his wrath is a fire that completely burns up his enemies. (See: Parallelism and Metaphor)

Psalms 21:10

The word “you” refers to either (1) God or (2) the king.

Both phrases mean the same thing. They emphasize that absolutely none of their enemies will survive. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 21:11

“they planned.” The word “they” refers to the enemies of God and the king.

“to do evil things to you”

“they made a plan” or “they created a scheme”

Psalms 21:12

Possible meanings for “you” and “your” are (1) they refer to the king or (2) they refer to God and speak about him as if he were a warrior with a bow and arrows. (See: Metaphor)

This is a way of saying that God and the king will defeat their enemies in battle. (See: Idiom)

This implies that he actually shoots his arrows at his enemies. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 21:13

Possible meanings are (1) “Yahweh, show us that you are very strong” or (2) “Yahweh, because you are strong we will exalt you”

The words “sing” and “praise” share similar meanings. Here the word “power” represents God and his power. Alternate translation: “with singing we will praise you because you are powerful” (See: Doublet and Metonymy)

Psalms 22

Psalm 022 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 22 is a messianic psalm. It contains references to events during the crucifixion of Christ. It is also a psalm of individual lament and praise. (See: Christ, Messiah and crucify, crucified and lament, lamentation)

Special concepts in this chapter

Messiah

Christ was despised and taunted by his enemies; but finally people all over the earth will bow down to him.

New Testament usage

This psalm is quoted in different places in the New Testament. Verse 1a is cited in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 as the words of Christ on the cross. Many of the events in the narratives of the crucifixion are mentioned in this psalm. (See: cross)

Psalms 22:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music.

The writer repeats “My God” to emphasize that he is desperate for God to hear him.

The writer uses a question to emphasize that he feels like God has abandoned him. It may be best to leave this as a question. It can also be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “my God, I feel like you have abandoned me!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

“you left me all alone”

Again the writer uses a question to emphasize that he feels like God is far away from him. It may be best to leave this as a question. It can also be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “You are far from saving me and far from the words of my anguish!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The writer feeling like God is not listening to him is spoken of as if God were far from his words of anguish. Alternate translation: “why do you not listen when I speak to you about the anguish I feel” or “I have told you about my suffering but you do not come to me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 22:2

The writer uses the words “daytime” and “night” to mean he prays to God all the time. (See: Merism)

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “I still speak” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 22:3

“the praises of Israel are the throne on which you sit as king.” The praises of Israel are described as if they are a throne upon which God can sit and rule, or as a house in which God can live. Alternate translation: “you are king and the people of Israel praise you” (See: Metaphor)

Here “Israel” represents the people of Israel. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 22:5

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “you did not disappoint them” or “you did not fail them” (See: Active or Passive)

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “you saved them” or “you did for them what they needed you to do” (See: Double Negatives)

Psalms 22:6

The writer speaks of himself as if he were a worm. This emphasizes that he feels worthless or that the people treat him as if he were worthless. Alternate translation: “But it is like I am a worm and not a man” (See: Metaphor)

Both of these phrase mean basically the same thing. The phrase “despised by the people” can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “everyone thinks I am worthless and the people hate me” (See: Parallelism and Active or Passive)

Psalms 22:7

These three phrases share similar meanings and emphasize how much people disrespect him. (See: Parallelism)

This describes an action used to mock someone. (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 22:8

The people are saying this to mock the writer. They do not really believe Yahweh will rescue him. (See: Irony)

“Let Yahweh rescue him”

Possible meanings are (1) “for Yahweh delights in him” or (2) “for he delights in Yahweh”

Psalms 22:9

The writer uses the word “For” to begin explaining why he is confused and asking God why he is not coming to help. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This is a way of saying “you caused me to be born.” (See: Idiom)

This means that he has been trusting in Yahweh since he was very young. Alternate translation: “even from the time that I drank milk from my mother’s breasts” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 22:10

The phrase “have been thrown on” is a way of saying that Yahweh has taken care of him as if Yahweh had adopted him as his own child. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “It was as though you had adopted me right when I was born” (See: Idiom and Active or Passive)

This implies that Yahweh has always taken care of the writer. Alternate translation: “you, God, have taken care of me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“since before I was born”

Psalms 22:11

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “Come close to me” (See: Litotes)

The writer speaks about “trouble” as if it were an object that is near him. Alternate translation: “for my enemies are near me” (See: Metaphor)

“there is no helper”

Psalms 22:12

The writer speaks about his enemies as if they were bulls. This emphasizes how dangerous and powerful his enemies are. Alternate translation: “I have many enemies and they are like bulls that surround me; they are like strong bulls from Bashan that surround me” (See: Metaphor and Parallelism)

Psalms 22:13

The writer speaks about his enemies as if they were lions with the mouths open ready to eat him. His enemies may be speaking lies to discredit him. Or they may be threatening him and attacking him. (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks about his enemies as if they were lions. This emphasizes how powerful and dangerous his enemies are. (See: Simile)

Psalms 22:14

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “It is like someone is pouring me out like water” (See: Active or Passive)

The writer speaks about feeling completely exhausted and weak as if he were water being poured out of a jar. (See: Simile)

“all my bones are out of place.” It is possible the writer is in some kind of physical pain. Or he may be speaking of his emotional pain as if it were physical pain. (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks about no longer having courage as if his heart melted like wax. Here “heart” represents “courage.” (See: Simile and Metonymy)

a soft substance that melts at a relatively low temperature

“inside of me”

Psalms 22:15

The writer speaks about feeling weak as if his strength were like a dry piece of pottery that can easily break. (See: Simile)

an object made of baked clay that can be used in the house

“my tongue sticks to the top of my mouth.” The writer may be describing his extreme thirst. Or he may be continuing to speak about being weak as if he were completely dry. (See: Metaphor)

Possible meanings for “dust of death” are (1) it refers to a person turning to dust after they die. Alternate translation: “You are about to let me die and become dust” or (2) it is a way of speaking about the grave, which would mean God is causing the writer to die. Alternate translation: “You have laid me in my grave” (See: Metaphor)

The “you” is singular and refers to God. (See: Forms of You)

Psalms 22:16

The writer speaks about his enemies as if they were dogs. His enemies are coming close to him like wild dogs do to a dying animal. Alternate translation: “my enemies are like dogs that have surrounded me” (See: Metaphor)

“a group of evildoers” or “a gang of evildoers”

stood in a circle

This continues the dog metaphor. The writer speaks about his enemies as if they were dogs that are biting and piercing his hands and feet with their teeth. (See: Metaphor)

stabbed through something with a sharp object

Psalms 22:17

Possible meanings are (1) the writer is so thin that he can see his bones. Alternate translation: “I can see all of my bones” or “I can feel each of my bones” or (2) this continues the dog metaphor and the writer can see his bones after the dogs have ripped his flesh. (See: Metaphor)

The words “look” and “stare” mean basically the same thing and emphasize that people look at him awkwardly and make fun of him. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 22:18

“my clothes”

Psalms 22:19

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “Be very close” (See: Litotes)

Here “strength” represents Yahweh who gives him strength. Alternate translation: “you who give me strength” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 22:20

Here “soul” stands for the whole person. Alternate translation: “Rescue me” (See: Synecdoche)

The sword is a common way of referring to a violent enemy. Alternate translation: “those who want to kill me” or “my enemies” (See: Metonymy)

“my precious life” or “the only life I have”

The writer speaks about his enemies as if they were dogs to emphasize how dangerous his enemies are. Also, the claws stand for the animals as a whole in a synecdoche. The writer emphasizes this part of the animal because it is what the animals would use to kill someone. (See: Metaphor and Synecdoche)

The word “wild” here means that no one has captured and tamed the animal.

Psalms 22:21

The writer speaks about his enemies as if they were lions and wild oxen to emphasize how dangerous his enemies are. Also, the mouth and horns stand for the animals as a whole in a synecdoche. The writer emphasizes these parts of the animals because they are what the animals would use to kill someone. (See: Metaphor and Synecdoche)

The word “wild” here means that no one has captured and tamed the animal.

Psalms 22:22

“I will make known your name.” Here “name” stands for God’s character or reputation. Alternate translation: “I will talk about your character” (See: Metonymy)

Here “brothers” means “my fellow Israelites” or “my fellow worshipers of Yahweh”

“when my fellow Israelites and I gather together” or “when I am surrounded by my fellow worshipers of Yahweh”

Psalms 22:23

Here “You” is plural. (See: Forms of You)

Both of these refer to the same group of people. (See: Parallelism)

“Be full of awe for him” or “Let God’s power amaze you”

Psalms 22:24

Possible meanings are (1) he has not despised the afflicted one because he is suffering or (2) he has not belittled the suffering of the afflicted one

These two words mean basically the same thing and emphasize that God has not forgotten the one who is afflicted and suffering. (See: Doublet)

strongly disliked or hated

Here, suffering is a metonym for the person who suffers. To abhor something is to think of it as horrible. Alternate translation: “he has not…thought of the afflicted one who suffers as horrible” (See: Metonymy)

Possible meanings are (1) the author was speaking about how God treats people who are suffering. Alternate translation: “those who suffer…from them…those who are suffering cried” or (2) the author was speaking specifically about how God treated him. Alternate translation: “my suffering because of my affliction…from me…I cried” (See: Generic Noun Phrases and First, Second or Third Person)

Hiding one’s face from someone represents ignoring him. Alternate translation: “has not turned his attention away from him” or “has not ignored him” (See: Metaphor)

“he listened.” It is implied that he responded when he heard their cry. Alternate translation: “he answered” or “he helped” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 22:25

Here “you” refers to Yahweh. (See: Forms of You)

This refers to sacrifices the writer promised to offer to God. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “him” refers to Yahweh. It can be stated as “you.” Alternate translation: “in the presence of those who fear you” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 22:26

This refers to the fellowship meal which occurs after the writer offers to God the sacrifices that he promised. He will invite those who were suffering to eat a part of the animal he sacrificed. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Those who want to know Yahweh and please him are spoken of as if they are literally seeking to find Yahweh. (See: Metaphor)

Here “hearts” represent the whole person. Alternate translation: “May you live forever” (See: Synecdoche)

Here “your” is plural and refers to the oppressed people. (See: Forms of You)

Psalms 22:27

Starting to obey Yahweh is spoken of as if the people physically turn toward Yahweh. Alternate translation: “will remember Yahweh and obey him” (See: Metaphor)

This means the same thing as the first part of the sentence. The writer is emphasizing that everyone from every place will worship and obey Yahweh. (See: Parallelism)

This is a sign of giving honor and respect to someone. (See: Symbolic Action)

Here “you” refers to Yahweh. It can be translated in the third person to match the first part of the sentence. Alternate translation: “before him” (See: Forms of You and First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 22:28

“For the kingdom belongs to Yahweh.” Here “kingdom” represents God’s rule as king. Alternate translation: “For Yahweh is king” (See: Metonymy)

Here “nations” represents the people of the nations. Alternate translation: “he rules the people of the nations” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 22:29

The people will eat together at the feast. Alternate translation: “will eat together” or “will eat a festive meal together”

Both phrases refers to the same group. They both refer to all people because all people will die. (See: Parallelism)

Here “dust” represents the grave. The phrase “descending into the dust” is a way of referring to someone dying. Alternate translation: “those who are dying” or “those who die” (See: Metonymy and Idiom)

“those who cannot save their own lives” or “those who cannot keep themselves from dying”

Psalms 22:30

Here “A generation” represents the people of a generation. The phrase “to come” speaks about a future time as if it were something that travels and arrives somewhere. Alternate translation: “People in the future generations” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Here “generation” represents the people of that generation. Alternate translation: “the people of the next generation” or “their children” (See: Metonymy)

“about the Lord” or “about what the Lord has done”

Psalms 22:31

The abstract noun “righteousness” can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “tell of the righteous things he has done” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 23

Psalm 023 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 23 is a psalm of praise to God for his continued care and protection. The psalmist praises God for always being with him and for caring for him.

Important figures of speech in this chapter

Metaphor

Psalm 23 is an extended metaphor speaking of God as if he were a shepherd, and of the psalmist as if he were a sheep. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 23:1

In much of this psalm, David writes as if he were a sheep and the Lord were his shepherd. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism and Biblical Imagery – Extended Metaphors)

The writer speaks about Yahweh as if he were a shepherd. This emphasizes how God cares for people as a shepherd cares for his sheep. Alternate translation: “Yahweh is like a shepherd to me” or “Yahweh cares for me as a shepherd cares for his sheep” (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “I have everything that I need” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 23:2

The writer speaks about himself as if he were a sheep, and he speaks about Yahweh as if he were a shepherd. Alternate translation: He gives me rest like a shepherd who leads his sheep to lie down in green pastures” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks about himself as if he were a sheep, and he speaks about Yahweh as if he were a shepherd. Alternate translation: “he provides what I need like a shepherd who leads his sheep beside tranquil water” (See: Metaphor)

“calm water” or “water that flows gently.” This water is safe to drink.

Psalms 23:3

This psalm continues to tell about how God cares for us as a shepherd cares for his sheep. (See: Biblical Imagery – Extended Metaphors)

This means God makes a person who is weak and tired to be strong and rested again.

Showing a person how to live in a way that pleases God is spoken of as if it were a shepherd showing a sheep the right path to take. Alternate translation: “He shows me how to live right” (See: Metaphor)

The phrase “his name” here refers to his reputation. Alternate translation: “for his reputation” or “so that people will honor him” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 23:4

This psalm continues to tell about how God cares for us as a shepherd cares for his sheep. (See: Biblical Imagery – Extended Metaphors)

The writer describes a person experiencing terrible trouble as if he were a sheep walking through a dark and dangerous valley. There a sheep could get lost or attacked by a wild animal. Alternate translation: “Though my life is like walking through a dark and dangerous valley” (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “harm” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “I will not be afraid of something harming me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “you” refers to Yahweh. (See: Forms of You)

The rod and staff represent protection because shepherds use them to protect their sheep from danger. Alternate translation: “I am not afraid because you protect me like a shepherd who protects his sheep with his rod and staff” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 23:5

Now the writer tells how God is like someone who welcomes a guest into his home and protects him. (See: Biblical Imagery – Extended Metaphors)

A table represents a feast because people would put all the food on a table. (See: Metonymy)

The meaning here is that the writer is not worried about his enemies because he is an honored guest of the Lord and therefore protected from harm. Alternate translation: “despite the presence of my enemies”

People sometimes put oil on their guests’ heads in order to honor them.

Here a cup of wine that overflows represents many blessings. Alternate translation: “You fill my cup so much that it overflows” or “You give me many blessings” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 23:6

Yahweh being good and faithful to a person is spoken of as if goodness and covenant faithfulness are things that pursue after a person. The abstract nouns “goodness” and “faithfulness” can be translated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “Surely you will be good and faithful to me” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “life” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “as long as I live” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Possible meanings are that (1) this refers to Yahweh’s eternal home, or (2) this refers to Yahweh’s temple in Jerusalem. If possible, translate it so that both meanings could be understood.

This idiom refers to the duration of his life. Alternate translation: “as long as I live” or “forever” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 24

Psalm 024 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 24 is a psalm of praise to God as the almighty God. (See: Almighty)

Special concepts in this chapter

Righteous people

Only the righteous come to worship God. (See: righteous, righteousness, unrighteous, unrighteousness, upright, uprightness)

Important figures of speech in this chapter

Rhetorical Questions

The psalmists uses several rhetorical questions. Each question forms a unit with a response. (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 24:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The abstract noun “fullness” can be stated with the verb “fills.” Alternate translation: “everything that fills it” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 24:2

Here “founded it upon the seas” and “established it on the rivers” mean basically the same thing. The Hebrews of that time believed their land was supported by the oceans and deep underground rivers. Alternate translation: For he formed its foundation on the seas and built it on the deep waters” (See: Parallelism and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

These phrases are used together to refer to the huge deep ocean below the earth.

“the water that is deep below”

Psalms 24:3

Both of these questions mean basically the same thing. The speaker is asking about who is allowed to go and worship Yahweh. (See: Parallelism)

“will go up” or “will climb”

This refers to Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

This refers Yahweh’s temple. His temple is on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

Psalms 24:4

Here “He” does not refer to a specific person. Alternate translation: “Those who have…who have…and have not” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

The word “hands” represents what a person does. For his “hands” to be clean means he does what is right. Alternate translation: “who does what is right” (See: Metonymy)

Here “heart” represents a person’s thoughts or motives. Alternate translation: “thinks good thoughts” or “does not think about doing what is wrong” (See: Metonymy)

Here “falsehood” represents a false idol. To “lift up” means to worship. Alternate translation: “who has not worshiped an idol” (See: Metonymy and Idiom)

Psalms 24:5

The word “he” does not refer to a specific person. It refers to the ones with pure hearts mentioned in previous verse. The abstract noun “blessing” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will bless them” (See: Generic Noun Phrases and Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “righteousness” can be stated as “righteously.” And, “salvation” can be stated as “save.” Alternate translation: “God will deal righteously with him and save him” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 24:6

Here “generation” represents people in general. Alternate translation: “The people who seek him are like this” (See: Metonymy)

Both statements mean the same thing. They both refer to those who go to the temple to worship God. Alternate translation: “the ones who approach God, they are the ones who may worship God, the one we Israelites worship” (See: Parallelism)

Going to the temple to worship Yahweh is spoken of as if the person is literally seeking to find him. (See: Metaphor)

Here “face” stands for the whole person. Alternate translation: “the God of Jacob” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 24:7

The two phases are very similar in meaning. The words “gates” and “doors” refer to the gates of the temple. The writer is speaking to the gates as if they were a person. A gatekeeper would be the one to open the gates. Alternate translation: “Open up, you ancient gates” or “Open these ancient gates” (See: Parallelism and Personification)

It is uncertain what specific part of the gate is the “head.” But, it stands for the gate as a whole. (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 24:8

The writer speaks about Yahweh as if he were a mighty warrior who fights in battles. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 24:9

The two phases are very similar in meaning. The words “gates” and “doors” refer to the gates of the temple. The writer is speaking to the gates as if they were a person. A gatekeeper would be the one to open the gates. See how you translated this in Psalms 24:7. Alternate translation: “Open up, you ancient gates” or “Open these ancient gates” (See: Parallelism and Personification)

It is uncertain what specific part of the gate is the “head.” But, it stands for the gate as a whole. (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 25

Psalm 025 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 25 is a prayer for God’s help.

Special concepts in this chapter

The humble

God is very good to humble people who seek to obey him.

Psalms 25:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The phrase “lift up my life” is a metaphor. Possible meanings are (1) the writer is giving himself to Yahweh, which means he is completely depending on Yahweh. Alternate translation: “I give myself to you” or (2) he is offering prayer and adoration to Yahweh. Alternate translation: “I worship and adore you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 25:2

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Do not let my enemies humiliate me” (See: Active or Passive)

“rejoice in triumph over me.” The phrase “over me” implies that his enemies have defeated him and stand above in victory. Alternate translation: “defeat me and rejoice about it” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 25:3

“Do not let those who hope in you be disgraced.” Disgrace could come from being defeated by their enemies. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Do not let enemies defeat those who hope in you” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Active or Passive)

“who trusts you”

“act deceitfully” or “act with trickery”

“without a reason”

Psalms 25:4

Both statements mean the same thing. God teaching a person how they should behave is spoken of as if he were showing a person the correct path on which a person should travel. (See: Parallelism and Metaphor)

Psalms 25:5

“I depend on you” or “I wait patiently for you”

Guide and teach mean the same thing, to give instruction. Alternate translation: “Instruct me to conduct my life by obeying your truth” (See: Doublet)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as “saves.” Alternate translation: “the one who saves me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 25:6

This is an idiom. This does not mean God forgot something. The writer is asking God to think about and consider his acts of compassion and faithfulness. Alternate translation: “Remember” or “Think about” (See: Idiom)

The abstract nouns “compassion” and “faithfulness” can be stated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “how you have been compassionate and faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “they” personifies God’s compassion and covenant faithfulness. Alternate translation: “for that is how you have always been” (See: Personification)

Psalms 25:7

The abstract noun “sins” can be stated as “sinned.” Alternate translation: “Do not think about how I sinned against you when I was young” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “rebelliousness” can be stated as “rebelled.” Alternate translation: or about how I have rebelled against you” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This is an idiom. This does not mean God forgot something. The writer is asking God to think about him. Alternate translation: “Remember me” or “Think about me” (See: Idiom)

The abstract nouns “faithfulness” and “goodness” can be stated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “and be faithful to me because of your covenant, because you are good” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 25:8

How God wants a person to behave is spoken of as if it were a way or path on which a person travels. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 25:9

This nominal adjective can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “humble people” or “those who are humble” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

How God wants a person to behave is spoken of as if it were a way or path on which a person travels. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 25:10

The word “paths” is a metaphor for ways. Alternate translation: “Yahweh always loves us because of his covenant and he is always trustworthy” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 25:11

The phrase “your name” here refers to Yahweh’s reputation. Alternate translation: “For your reputation” or “So that people will honor you” (See: Metonymy)

The abstract noun “sin” can be stated as “sinned.” Alternate translation: “please forgive me, for I have sinned much” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 25:12

This question introduces “the man who fears Yahweh” as a new topic. Alternate translation: “I will tell you about the man who fears Yahweh.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

These words refer to any person who fears Yahweh, not a specific person. Alternate translation: “are those who fear…instruct them…they should” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

Yahweh teaching people how they should behave is spoken of as if Yahweh were teaching the people what way or path they should travel. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 25:13

These words refer to any person who fears Yahweh, not a specific person. Alternate translation: “Their lives…their descendants” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

“God will cause him to prosper” or “God will cause them to prosper”

Psalms 25:14

“Yahweh is a friend to those.” Some translate it as “Yahweh confides in those.” His confiding in them shows the intimate friendship he has with them.

Psalms 25:15

Here “eyes” represents looking. It is implied that he looks to Yahweh for help. Alternate translation: “I always look to Yahweh to help me” or “I always depend on Yahweh to help me” (See: Metonymy and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

A net is a trap. A person who is in danger is spoken of as if their feet are tangled in a net. Alternate translation: He will rescue me from danger” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 25:16

Yahweh paying attention to a person and considering him is spoken of as if Yahweh were physically turning towards the person. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 25:17

Here “heart” represents a person’s emotions. Alternate translation: “I feel more and more troubled” (See: Metonymy)

“bring me out of my distress.” This speaks of distress as if it were a place that a person can be brought out of. Alternate translation: “rescue me from my distress” or “relieve me of my distress” (See: Metaphor)

The word “distress” is an abstract noun. Alternate translation: “the things that distress me” or “the things that cause me to be afraid” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 25:18

“Notice my affliction”

The abstract noun “affliction” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “the things that afflict me” or “how afflicted I am” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The word “toils” is an abstract noun. Alternate translation: “the things that trouble me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 25:19

“they hate me cruelly” or “they hate me fiercely”

Psalms 25:20

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Do not let my enemies humiliate me” (See: Active or Passive)

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to you for protection!” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 25:21

This speaks about “integrity” and “uprightness” as if they were persons who could keep another person safe. These abstract nouns can be stated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “May being honest and doing what is right preserve me” or “Preserve me, Lord, because I am honest and do what is right” (See: Personification and Abstract Nouns)

“keep me safe”

Psalms 25:22

“Save Israel” or “Redeem Israel”

Here “Israel” represents the people of Israel. Alternate translation: “the people of Israel…our troubles” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 26

Psalm 026 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 26 is a teaching psalm; showing people how they should live by the example of the psalmsist.

Special concepts in this chapter

Praise

The psalmist delights in praising God and doing good deeds. It is striking how this psalm uses the first person pronoun. This is an individual psalm of petition. Each of the four petitions are accompanied with various claims. (See: good, right, pleasant, better, best and work, works, deeds)

Psalms 26:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The word “walked” is a metaphor for behavior. Alternate translation: “I have behaved” (See: Metaphor)

The third person use of “Yahweh” can be stated in the second person. Alternate translation: “in you” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Doubting is spoken of as if it were losing balance and waving back and forth. Alternate translation: “without doubting” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 26:2

“Try me”

Here “inner parts” and “heart” mean motives. Alternate translation: “test whether my motives are good” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 26:3

Here “eyes” represent a person’s thoughts and having something before one’s eyes represents being aware of that thing. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “For I am always aware of your covenant faithfulness” or “For I am always aware that you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The word “walk” is a metaphor for behavior. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “I conduct my life according to your faithfulness” or “I behave the way I do because you are faithful” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 26:4

“I do not keep company with” or “I do not sit with”

“with those who deceive others”

This means the same as the first part of the sentence. Alternate translation: “and I do not join with dishonest people” (See: Parallelism)

“hypocrites” or “those who lie to others”

Psalms 26:5

“those who gather to do evil”

This is a nominal adjective. Alternate translation: “wicked people” or “those who are wicked” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 26:6

This seems to refer to a ritual washing of hands in water to symbolize freedom from sin and guilt. (See: Symbolic Action)

This was an action of worship that the Israelites were accustomed to doing.

Psalms 26:8

Possible meanings are (1) if a person wrote this after the time of David, then the writer is referring to the temple in Jerusalem or (2) if David wrote this, then this refers to the tent that God told his people to set up so that they could worship him there.

Here “glory” represents the presence and power of God, which is similar to a very bright light. Alternate translation: “the place where people can see the glorious light of your presence” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 26:9

“Sweep away” here is a metaphor for destruction. Alternate translation: “Do not destroy me along with sinners” (See: Metaphor)

The word “sweep” is understood. Alternate translation: “or sweep my life” (See: Ellipsis)

The word “bloodthirsty” represents wanting to kill people. Alternate translation: “people who are eager to shed others’ blood” or “murderers” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 26:10

“Hands” refers to the whole person. Alternate translation: “people in which” (See: Synecdoche)

“a wicked plan”

Psalms 26:11

This phrase shows that the writer is changing from speaking about wicked people to talking about himself.

“Walk” here is a metaphor for behavior. Alternate translation: “I will behave with integrity” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 26:12

Here “foot” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I stand” (See: Synecdoche)

Possible meanings are that “level ground” represents (1) a safe place or (2) right behavior (See: Metaphor)

“when I gather with the people of Israel I will praise you”

Psalms 27

Psalm 027 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 27 is a psalm of praise to God because God keeps the psalmist safe from all his enemies.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s help

Because of God’s help, he has nothing to fear, no matter what happens. The psalmist shows his confidence in God; he also asks God for help.

Psalms 27:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Here “light” represents life. Alternate translation: “Yahweh is the source of my life” (See: Metonymy)

This question emphasizes that there is no one that David should fear. Alternate translation: “I will not be afraid of anyone” (See: Rhetorical Question)

This speaks about Yahweh as if he were a place where people can go for safety. Alternate translation: “Yahweh is the one who keeps me safe” (See: Metaphor)

This question emphasizes that there is no one that David should be afraid of. Alternate translation: “I will not dread anyone” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 27:2

Destroying someone completely is spoken of as if it were devouring a person’s flesh. He did not mean that they wanted to eat his body. Alternate translation: “to destroy me” (See: Metaphor)

These words mean the same thing. These are the evildoers who came near to him. (See: Doublet)

This represents the writer’s enemies failing to fulfill their plans to harm the writer. Alternate translation: “did not succeed” or “failed” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 27:3

“though an army surrounds me” or “though an army puts its tents around me”

Here “heart” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I will not be afraid” (See: Synecdoche)

The writer’s enemies are spoken of as if they themselves were a war. Alternate translation: “though my enemies come to fight against me” (See: Metaphor)

“I will continue to trust God to help me”

Psalms 27:4

“I have asked Yahweh to let me do”

A person really wanting something and continually asking God for it is spoken of as if he were seeking to find something. (See: Metaphor)

The wonderful character of God is spoken of as if it were physical beauty. Alternate translation: “to see how wonderful Yahweh is” (See: Metaphor)

Possible meanings are (1) “to ask God what he wants me to do” or (2) “to think carefully about God in his temple.”

Psalms 27:5

“in times of trouble” or “when I have troubles”

“he will protect me”

Both of these refer to the tabernacle where the writer is worshiping God. (See: Parallelism)

The word “cover” represents something that hides and protects.

God keeping the writer safe from his enemies is spoken of as if God were placing him on a high rock where his enemies cannot reach him. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 27:6

This represents the writer receiving pride or honor when he defeats his enemies. It can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “people will honor me when I win the fight against my enemies” or “God will honor me by enabling me to defeat my enemies” (See: Metonymy and Active or Passive)

Psalms 27:7

The “voice” often represents a person who speak or calls out. Alternate translation: “Yahweh, hear me” (See: Metonymy)

This implies that Yahweh hears the writer’s prayer and Yahweh will do what the writer asks. Alternate translation: “answer my prayer” or “do what I request of you” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 27:8

Here “heart” represents a person’s mind or thoughts. Alternate translation: “In my heart I say” or “I say to myself” (See: Metonymy)

A person going to the temple to pray to Yahweh is spoken of as if the person were seeking to find Yahweh. Here “face” represents all of God. Alternate translation: “Go and pray to Yahweh” (See: Metaphor and Synecdoche)

A person going to the temple to pray to Yahweh is spoken of as if the person were seeking to find Yahweh. Here “face” represents all of God. Alternate translation: “I will come to your temple to pray to you” (See: Metaphor and Synecdoche)

Psalms 27:9

The face here represents Yahweh’s attention, and hiding the face represents rejecting someone. Alternate translation: “Do not reject me” or “Do not stop taking care of me” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

David said “your servant” to refer to himself in a humble way. Alternate translation: “do not be angry with me” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

The words “forsake” and “abandon” mean the same thing. The writer is emphasizing that he does not want God to leave him. (See: Doublet)

The words “and do not” are understood. Alternate translation: “and do not abandon me” or “and do not leave me” (See: Ellipsis)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as “saves.” Alternate translation: God who saves me” or “because you are the God who saves me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 27:10

“Even if my father and my mother were to forsake me.” He is not saying that they actually have done this or that they would do it. His point is that even if they did that, God would not abandon him. (See: Hypothetical Situations)

“Yahweh will keep me” or “Yahweh will take care of me”

Psalms 27:11

How a person should behave is spoken of as if it were a way or path that person should travel. Alternate translation: “Teach me how you want me to live” or “Teach me to do what you want me to do” (See: Metaphor)

Yahweh keeping the writer safe from his enemies is spoken of as if Yahweh leads the writer on a level path where he will not stumble and fall. Alternate translation: “Keep me safe” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 27:12

The abstract noun “desires” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “Do not let my enemies do to me what they desire” (See: Abstract Nouns)

“Risen up” here is an idiom meaning that a witness stood in court to present testimony. Alternate translation: “have stood up in order to speak against me” (See: Idiom)

Here violence is spoken for as if it was something a person could breathe out. Alternate translation: “they say that they will do violent things to me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 27:13

This rhetorical question can be stated positively. Alternate translation: “Something bad would have happened to me” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The abstract noun “goodness” can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “the good things that Yahweh does” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This refers to being alive. Alternate translation: “while I am alive” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 27:14

This verse may be (1) the writer speaking to himself or (2) the writer speaking to others or (3) someone speaking to the writer.

Here “heart” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “be courageous” (See: Synecdoche)

This line is repeated at the end of the psalm as a way of ending the psalm.

Psalms 28

Psalm 028 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 28 is a psalm of prayer to God that he is not be punished along with the wicked people. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Trust

The psalmist trusted God completely and God rescued him. This is similar to psalm 7 and 17 because it is an individual lament psalm. (See: lament, lamentation)

Psalms 28:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“I call out loudly”

This is a metaphor for strength. Alternate translation: “my strength” (See: Metaphor)

“do not be silent to me” or “do not leave me alone”

People who die are spoken of as if they are going down into the grave. Alternate translation: “I will die like those who are in the grave” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 28:2

Here “sound” refers to the content of his request. Alternate translation: “Hear my strong request” (See: Metonymy)

Lifting up hands is a symbol of worship. The writer is not worshiping the holy place, but Yahweh who lives in the holy place. (See: Symbolic Action)

Possible meanings are (1) if David wrote this, then this refers to the tent that God told his people to set up so that they could worship him there, or (2) if a person wrote this after the time of David, then the writer is referring to the temple in Jerusalem.

Psalms 28:3

God punishing people is spoken of as if he physically drags them away. In this metaphor Yahweh may be dragging them to prison, exile, or death. Alternate translation: “Do not remove me” (See: Metaphor)

Here “neighbors” refers to people in general. Alternate translation: “who speak peacefully with other people”

Here “hearts” represents a person’s mind or thoughts. Alternate translation: “but are thinking something evil about them” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 28:4

These two phrases mean the same thing. They are used together to emphasize that they deserve for God to punish them. (See: Parallelism)

Here “hands” represent what the person has done. Alternate translation: “the things they have done” (See: Metonymy)

“give them what they deserve”

Psalms 28:5

Possible meanings are (1) David is confident about what God will do to wicked people or (2) David is asking God to destroy the wicked people.

It is implied that “do not understand” means they ignore or do not honor Yahweh’s works. Alternate translation: “they do not regard with honor what Yahweh has done” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “hands” represents what Yahweh has done or created. Alternate translation: “what he has created” (See: Metonymy)

The punishment of the wicked people is spoken of as if they were a building or a city that God would destroy. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 28:6

Here “sound” represents what the writer said. Alternate translation: “has heard what I said when I pleaded to him” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 28:7

The abstract noun “strength” can be stated as “strong.” Alternate translation: “Yahweh makes me strong” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This represents Yahweh’s protecting the writer. Alternate translation: “he protects me” (See: Metaphor)

Here “heart” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I trust” (See: Synecdoche)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “he helps me” (See: Active or Passive)

Here “heart” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I greatly rejoice” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 28:8

The abstract noun “strength” can be stated as “strong.” Alternate translation: “Yahweh makes his people strong” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Yahweh keeping the king safe is spoken of as if Yahweh were a place that the king could go for safety. Alternate translation: “he keeps safe the one he appointed to be king” (See: Metaphor)

The represents the king. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 28:9

This speaks about the people of God as if they were something God inherited. Alternate translation: “your possession” or “those who belong to you” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks about Yahweh as if he were a shepherd and the people are his sheep. A shepherd would carry a sheep if it needed help or protection. Alternate translation: “Be like their shepherd and protect them forever” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 29

Psalm 029 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 29 is a worship psalm. It tells how Yahweh rules all nature.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s power

God is powerful. All he has to do is to speak in order to control nature.

Important figures of speech in this chapter

Metonymy

The voice of the Yahweh stands for Yahweh himself. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 29:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The phrase “sons of” is a way of saying “having the characteristics of.” Alternate translation: “you mighty men” (See: Idiom)

The abstract nouns “glory” and “strength” can be stated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “praise Yahweh because he is glorious and strong” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 29:2

The abstract noun “glory” can be stated as a verb or adjective. Alternate translation: “Honor Yahweh just as his name deserves” or “Proclaim that Yahweh is glorious just as his name deserves” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The phrase “his name” refers to Yahweh or his reputation. Alternate translation: “as is proper because of who he is” (See: Metonymy)

The implied information is that the people were to bow down in worship. Alternate translation: “Bow down to worship Yahweh” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Symbolic Action)

The abstract nouns “splendor” and “holiness” can be translated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “because he is gloriously beautiful and holy” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 29:3

The psalm shows Yahweh’s power and glory.

God’s voice is louder and clearer than all other sounds and noises. It can be heard over other loud sounds such as the sound of the waters. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “When Yahweh speaks his voice is louder than the sound of the sea” or “Yahweh shouts louder than the sound of the waters” (See: Active or Passive)

This refers to the seas or the oceans. These waters make a very loud noise as the waves rise and fall.

All occurrences of “voice” here represent Yahweh speaking. The writer is emphasizing that when Yahweh speaks, the sound is so loud it is heard over the waters, and it is so powerful it can destroy the largest trees. Alternate translation: “When Yahweh speaks, his voice” (See: Metonymy)

This speaks about God speaking as if it were the sound of thunder. Just like the sound of thunder, Yahweh’s voice can be heard over large distances. Alternate translation: “The voice of the glorious God is loud like thunder” or “When the glorious God speaks it rumbles like thunder” (See: Metaphor)

“over the large bodies of water”

Psalms 29:6

The writer continues describing the power of God’s voice.

The ground of Lebanon shaking is spoken of as if it were a young calf skipping. This emphasizes that when Yahweh speaks, the power of his voice shakes the ground. Alternate translation: “He makes the land of Lebanon shake like a calf skipping” (See: Simile)

jump lightly back and forth

The words “he makes” and “skip” are understood from the first phrase. They can be repeated here. The ground of Sirion shaking is spoken of as if it were a young ox skipping. This emphasizes that when Yahweh speaks, the power of his voice shakes the ground. Alternate translation: “he makes Sirion skip like a young ox” (See: Ellipsis and Simile)

This is a mountain in Lebanon. It is also called Mount Hermon. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 29:7

All occurrences of “voice” here represent Yahweh speaking. Alternate translation: “When Yahweh speaks he causes lightning to flash in the sky” (See: Metonymy)

This refers to lightning.

Psalms 29:9

Here “voice” represents Yahweh speaking. Alternate translation: “When Yahweh speaks, the sound causes” (See: Metonymy)

“the large trees to shake”

Removing the leaves of the trees is spoken of as if it was removing their clothing. Alternate translation: “strips off the leaves from the trees” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 29:10

This means that Yahweh rules. Alternate translation: “Yahweh rules” or “Yahweh is king” (See: Metonymy)

Here “flood” refers to waters that cover the earth.

Psalms 29:11

The word “peace” is an abstract noun. Alternate translation: “Yahweh blesses his people by causing them to prosper and to live peacefully” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 30

Psalm 030 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 30 is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving to God. The psalmist was near death but God rescued him.

Special concepts in this chapter

The psalmist’s death

If he had died, it would not have been a help to God. But since God rescued him he can praise God.

Psalms 30:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This song was sung when the temple was dedicated”

The writer speaks of God rescuing him and keeping him from dying as if God had drawn him up from a deep well. Alternate translation: “you rescued me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 30:3

Since “Sheol” was the place where dead people go, it refers to death. Alternate translation: “kept me from dying” (See: Metonymy)

Here “my soul” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “brought me up” (See: Synecdoche)

The “grave” represents death. Alternate translation: “from dying” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 30:4

The abstract nouns “thanks” and “holiness” can be stated as “thank” and “holy.” Alternate translation: “Remember that God is holy and thank him” or “Remember what God has done because he is holy and thank him” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 30:5

“his anger lasts only a moment.” The abstract noun “anger” can be stated as “angry.” Alternate translation: “he is angry for only a moment” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “moment” represents a short amount of time. Alternate translation: “a short time” (See: Metonymy)

The abstract noun “favor” can be stated as the adjective “good.” Alternate translation: “but he is good to us all of our lives” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This speaks about “weeping” and “joy” as if they were something that travels and arrives at a certain time. Alternate translation: “We may cry during the night, but the next morning we will be joyful” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 30:6

The word “confidence” is an abstract noun. The writer recalls a time when he was prospering and felt confident and safe. Alternate translation: “When I was confident” or “When I felt safe” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The word “shaken” is a metaphor for defeat. Alternate translation: “No one will defeat me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 30:7

The abstract noun “favor” can be stated as the verb “favored” or the adjective “kind.” Alternate translation: “when you favored me” or “when you were kind to me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The writer’s security is spoken of as if he were a strong mountain. Alternate translation: “you made me as secure as a high mountain” (See: Metaphor)

This is an idiom. Alternate translation: “when you stopped helping me” or “when you rejected me” (See: Idiom)

“I was fearful” or “I was worried”

Psalms 30:8

The phrase “sought favor” means to ask for help. Alternate translation: “I pleaded for you to help me” (See: Metaphor)

The writer is referring to Yahweh in third person. It can be stated in second person. Alternate translation: “from you, my Lord” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 30:9

The writer uses this question to emphasize that he would be of no value to God if he were dead. Alternate translation: “There is no advantage if I die and go down to the grave.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The writer uses these questions to emphasize that his dead and decayed body cannot praise God. Alternate translation: “The dust will certainly not praise you or tell others about how trustworthy you are.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

This refers to the body of the writer which will decay and become dust when he is dead. Alternate translation: “my decayed body” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 30:11

It was customary for the Jews to dance when they were very happy. The abstract nouns “mourning” and “dancing” can be stated as verbs. Alternate translation: “You have caused me to stop mourning and to dance with joy instead” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Sackcloth was associated with mourning and sorrow. Alternate translation: “You have caused me to no longer be sad” (See: Metonymy)

The writer speaks of gladness as if it were a garment that he could put on. Alternate translation: “caused me to be glad” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 30:12

Here “my glory” refers to the writer’s soul or heart or inner being. This represents the entire person of the writer, who worships God because God has made him glad. Alternate translation: “I will sing praise to you” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 31

Psalm 031 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 31 is a psalm of deliverance. The psalmist’s enemies thought they had defeated him, but God protected him. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Abandonment

Even though everyone deserted and despised the psalmist, God did not abandon him.

Psalms 31:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “I go to you, Yahweh, for protection” (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “do not let others humiliate me” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 31:2

The phrase “be my rock of refuge” is a request for protection. The second phrase emphasizes the first phrase. (See: Parallelism)

Yahweh is spoke of as if he were a huge rock that would protect the writer from attack. Alternate translation: “like a huge rock on which I can be safe” (See: Metaphor)

Yahweh is spoken of as if he were a strong fortress in which the writer would be protected from his enemies. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 31:3

Yahweh is spoke of as if he were a huge rock that would protect the writer from attack. Alternate translation: “like a huge rock on which I can be safe” (See: Metaphor)

Yahweh is spoken of as if he were a strong fortress in which the writer would be protected from his enemies. (See: Metaphor)

In this phrase “name” represents Yahweh. Alternate translation: “so that your name may be honored” or “so that I may worship you” (See: Metonymy)

The words “lead” and “guide” mean basically the same thing and strengthen the request that Yahweh lead him. Alternate translation: “lead me where you want me to go” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 31:4

The writer is spoken of as if he were a bird caught in a hidden net, and waiting for Yahweh to free him from the trap. (See: Metaphor)

Yahweh is spoken of as if he is a place where the writer can hide from people who are attacking him. Alternate translation: “you always protect me” or “you give me constant protection” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 31:5

God is spirit, but he is here spoken of as if he has hands. Here “your hands” refers to Yahweh’s care. Alternate translation: “Into your care” (See: Personification and Metonymy)

Here “my spirit” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “I place myself” (See: Synecdoche)

“you are a God I can trust”

Psalms 31:6

Here the word “worthless” refers to all idols. This can be clarified in translation. Alternate translation: “Idols are worthless. I hate those who serve them” (See: Distinguishing Versus Informing or Reminding)

Psalms 31:7

The words “glad” and “rejoice” share similar meanings and emphasize the intensity of joy. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “I will be very glad because you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Doublet and Abstract Nouns)

Both of these phrases express the idea that God knows about the writer’s troubles. (See: Parallelism)

Here “my soul” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “my distress” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 31:8

Here “my feet” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “You have set me” (See: Synecdoche)

The Hebrews thought of wide open spaces as a metaphor for safety and freedom. Alternate translation: “a place where I am free” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 31:9

“I am suffering greatly”

The terms “soul” and “body” are used to describe the complete person. (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 31:10

Here “my life” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “I have become very weak” (See: Metonymy)

“because of my sorrow…because of my groaning”

The phrase “is weary” is missing, but is implied. Alternate translation: “my years are weary with groaning” (See: Ellipsis)

Here “My strength” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “I have become weak” (See: Metonymy)

Here “my bones” refers to the physical health of the writer. Alternate translation: “my health is failing” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 31:11

“people insult me”

“are shocked at my condition”

Psalms 31:12

People do not think about dead people. The writer does not think people think about him. (See: Simile)

The writer speaks of himself as if he was completely useless. “as useless as a broken pot” (See: Simile)

Psalms 31:13

It is implied that “many” refers to people. Alternate translation: “many people talking about me” (See: Ellipsis)

“scary reports from many sources”

This idiom means to kill someone. Alternate translation: “kill me” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 31:15

Here “your hand” refers to Yahweh’s power. Alternate translation: “You have the power to decide my future” (See: Metonymy)

“from people who try to capture me”

Psalms 31:16

The writer speaks of Yahweh acting favorably towards him as if Yahweh’s face shone a light on him. Alternate translation: “Act favorably towards your servant” (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “save me because you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 31:17

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Do not let others make me feel ashamed” (See: Active or Passive)

“I wish that God would disgrace wicked people!”

This refers to “wicked people. (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Here “in Sheol” represents death. Alternate translation: “Let them die so they cannot speak” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 31:18

This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “May someone make these lying lips silent” (See: Active or Passive)

These represent lying people. Alternate translation: “people who lie” (See: Metonymy)

Here “the righteous” refers to people who are righteous. Alternate translation: “that say terrible things about righteous people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

These terms have similar meanings. Alternate translation: “with a complete lack of respect”

Psalms 31:19

This can be expressed with a verb. Alternate translation: “are the good things you do” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Yahweh’s goodness is spoken of as if it was something that could be stored up like a harvest. Alternate translation: “that you are keeping ready to use” (See: Metaphor)

“those who respect you greatly”

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. See how you translated this in Psalms 31:1. Alternate translation: “those who go to you for protection” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 31:20

These phrases both mean that God protects them. (See: Parallelism)

Yahweh’s presence is spoken of as if it is a strong building where the writer would be safe. (See: Metaphor)

Here a “shelter” represents a safe place. Alternate translation: “You provide a safe place for them” (See: Metonymy)

Here “tongues” refer to the people who are speaking violent things against the writer. Alternate translation: “where their enemies cannot speak evil at them” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 31:21

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “he showed me that he is wonderfully faithful to his covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 31:22

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “You have removed me from your presence” (See: Active or Passive and Idiom)

Here Yahweh is represented by his “eyes.” Alternate translation: “you” (See: Synecdoche)

Here “plea” can be expressed with a verb. Alternate translation: “you heard me plead for help” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 31:23

This refers to the faithful people. Alternate translation: “the people who are faithful” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Here “pay back” is an idiom that refers to punishment. Alternate translation: “he gives the proud people all of the punishment that they deserve” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 32

Psalm 032 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 32 is a psalm of confession of sin. (See: confess, confession and sin, sinful, sinner, sinning)

Special concepts in this chapter

Confession of sin

This psalm tells of the sorrow of unconfessed sin; it also tells of the blessing of confession and of receiving God’s forgiveness. It is such a blessing when God forgives sin. Trouble comes when sin is hidden and not confessed. (See: bless, blessed, blessing and forgive, forgiven, forgiveness, pardon, pardoned)

Psalms 32:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

These phrases have similar meanings. They can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “who God forgives his transgression and covers his sin” (See: Parallelism and Active or Passive)

Here sin that is forgiven is spoken of as if it were covered so that it can not be seen. Alternate translation: “whose sin is ignored” or “whose sin is deliberately forgotten” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 32:2

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “whom Yahweh sees as innocent” or “who is not guilty according to Yahweh” (See: Active or Passive)

Here “spirit” refers to the person. Alternate translation: “in whom there is not deceit” or “who is completely honest” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 32:3

Here “my bones” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “I was wasting away” or “I was getting weaker” (See: Synecdoche)

This idiom means “continually.” Alternate translation: “all the time” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 32:4

These extremes include everything in between. Alternate translation: “all the time” (See: Merism)

Here “hand” refers to Yahweh. The entire phrase is an idiom that means “you afflicted me.” Alternate translation: “you made me suffer greatly” (See: Synecdoche and Idiom)

David’s strength is compared to a small, green plant that turns brown and crumbles in the dry season. (See: Simile)

Psalms 32:6

“when they are in great trouble.”

Difficulties are spoken of as if they were a flood of water. Alternate translation: “Then when difficulties come like a flood of water, those people will be safe” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 32:7

Yahweh is spoken of as if he was a safe place from the attacks of the writer’s enemies. Alternate translation: “You are like a place where I can hide myself from my enemies” (See: Metaphor)

This metaphor apparently means that Yahweh’s protection of the writer is the cause for songs of victory to be sung. Alternate translation: “Because of you I will sing songs of victory” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 32:8

The words “instruct” and “teach” mean basically the same thing and emphasize careful instruction. Alternate translation: “I will teach you everything about the way” (See: Doublet)

Here the “I” is probably Yahweh who talks directly to David.

Living in the correct way is spoken of as if it were a path that the writer should walk. Alternate translation: “how you should live your life” (See: Metaphor)

Here “my eye” refers to Yahweh’s attention. Alternate translation: “and direct my attention to you” or “and watch over you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 32:9

The writer compares people with no understanding to horses and mules. Possible meanings are (1) the writer is speaking Yahweh’s words to his readers, “You all must not be like a horse…no understanding” or (2) Yahweh is speaking to the writer as though to a group of people. (See: Simile)

Two tools that are used by people to guide horses and mules go where the rider wants them to go.

“where anyone wants them to go.” The “you” here is singular and refers to no one in particular.

Psalms 32:10

Yahweh being faithful to a person and protecting that person is spoken of as if Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness surrounded the person. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “Because Yahweh is faithful to his covenant, he will protect the one who trusts in him” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 32:11

Here “in Yahweh” refers to what Yahweh has done for them. “Be glad because of what Yahweh has done” (See: Idiom)

This refers to people. Alternate translation: “you righteous people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

“shout joyfully” or “shout because of joy”

Here “heart” refers to the person. Alternate translation: “people who are upright” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 33

Psalm 033 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 33 is a worship song. It tells how great God is.

Special concepts in this chapter

God’s power

God is the creator and also the God of his people, Israel. Whatever he plans works out. He alone provides safety in battle.

Psalms 33:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Here “in Yahweh” refers to what Yahweh has done for them. “Rejoice because of what Yahweh has done” (See: Idiom)

“to praise Yahweh is appropriate for upright people”

Psalms 33:4

Each verse consists of two lines that have very similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

Here “upright” is used as a metaphor for something that is true. Alternate translation: “Yahweh always does what he says that he will do” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 33:5

These abstract nouns can be stated as actions. Alternate translation: “He loves doing what is right and just” or “He loves those who do what is right and just” (See: Abstract Nouns)

People everywhere in the world being able to see evidence of Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness is spoken of as if his covenant faithfulness filled the earth. The abstract noun “covenant faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “People everywhere on earth can see that Yahweh is faithful to his covenant” or “Throughout the earth, there is evidence that Yahweh is faithful to his covenant” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 33:6

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “By using his word, Yahweh made the heavens” (See: Active or Passive)

This refers to Yahweh’s word. Alternate translation: “by his word” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 33:7

Each verse consists of two lines that have very similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

“like behind a dam.” The writer describes the creation of the sea as if God piles up all the waters together. (See: Simile)

The writer describes the creation of the oceans as if God put them in a storehouse. Alternate translation: “he puts the oceans in their place, just like a man puts grain in a storehouse” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 33:8

This refers to the people on the earth. Alternate translation: “Let everyone on earth” (See: Metonymy)

Here “stand in awe” is an idiom that means “be in awe.” Alternate translation: “honor him” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 33:9

Here “stood in place” is an idiom that means “was created.” Alternate translation: “started to exist” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 33:10

Each verse consists of two lines that have very similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

“Yahweh destroys” or “Yahweh breaks”

Here “nations” refers to the people of these nations. Alternate translation: “the alliances of the people of different nations” (See: Metonymy)

An alliance is an agreement between two or more nations to support each other in a war against a common enemy.

“the intentions of the peoples” Alternate translation: “the evil plans of the peoples”

Psalms 33:11

Here “stand” is an idiom that means “endure.” (See: Idiom)

The missing term “stand” is implied. Alternate translation: “the plans of his heart stand for all generations” (See: Ellipsis)

Here “his heart” refers to Yahweh. Alternate translation: “his plans” (See: Synecdoche)

“for all future generations.” This is an idiom that means “forever.” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 33:12

Here “the nation” refers to the people of the nation. Alternate translation: “Blessed are the people of the nation” (See: Metonymy)

“who worship Yahweh as God”

The people Yahweh has chosen to worship him are described here as if they were an inheritance that he has received. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 33:14

The place where Yahweh lives is spoken of as if it is above the earth where people live. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 33:15

Here “hearts” refers to the thinking of these people. The writer speaks of Yahweh guiding the thinking of the people as if he were a potter who was shaping a bowl. Alternate translation: “guides their thinking as a potter shapes a bowl” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 33:16

This could be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “A large army is not what saves a king” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 33:17

Here “a horse” represents the strongest part of the army. Alternate translation: “Having an army with strong horses does not provide security” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 33:18

This word shows that a new theme begins in this Psalm. Alternate translation: “Look” or “Listen” or “Pay attention to what I am about to tell you”

Here “eye” refers to Yahweh’s attention. Alternate translation: “Yahweh’s attention” (See: Metonymy)

The idiom to “count on” means to “wait for” or to “expect.” The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adverb. Alternate translation: “those who expect him to act faithfully because of his covenant” or “those who wait for him to act because he is faithful to his covenant” (See: Idiom and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 33:19

Here “their lives” refers to the people. Alternate translation: “to keep them from dying” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 33:20

Here “wait” is an idiom that refers to trust. Alternate translation: “We trust in Yahweh” or “We hope in Yahweh” (See: Idiom)

Here Yahweh is spoken of as if he is a shield that protects soldiers in battle. Alternate translation: “he is our helper and protects us like a shield” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 33:21

Here “hearts” refer to the people. Alternate translation: “We rejoice” (See: Synecdoche)

Here “holy name” refers to Yahweh’s holy character. Alternate translation: “in his holy character” or “in him because he is holy” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 33:22

Yahweh acting faithfully towards the people is spoken of as if Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness were with them. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adverb. Alternate translation: “May you always act faithfully towards us because of your covenant, Yahweh” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

“as we hope for your help”

Psalms 34

Psalm 034 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 34 is a teaching psalm and includes thanksgiving. It teaches that living right leads to a good life. (See: life, live, living, alive)

The psalm does not relate directly to the superscription given about Abimelech.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s help

Good people can have problems, but God brings them through these. (See: good, right, pleasant, better, best)

Psalms 34:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

“acted like a crazy person”

This refers to a specific historical event that the Hebrews knew well. Alternate translation: “when he was in Abimelech’s house” or “when he was Abimelech’s prisoner” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “in my mouth” refers to David speaking about Yahweh. Alternate translation: “I will always praise him out loud” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 34:2

This refers to people who are oppressed. Alternate translation: “the oppressed people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 34:3

The verb “praise” is a command to a group. Alternate translation: “Everyone should praise Yahweh with me”

Here “lift up” is an idiom that refers to exalting Yahweh. Alternate translation: “tell people how great he is” (See: Idiom)

Here “his name” refers to Yahweh’s character. Alternate translation: “his character” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 34:4

Here “sought Yahweh” means David was asking Yahweh for help. Alternate translation: “I prayed to Yahweh” or “I asked Yahweh for help” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 34:5

Here “look to” represents seeking help from him. Alternate translation: “Those who look at him for help” or “those who expect help only from him” (See: Metaphor)

This idiom refers to their appearance as being joyful. Alternate translation: “are joyful” (See: Idiom)

Here “their faces” refers to the people who look to Yahweh. It can also be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “they are not ashamed” or “they are proud” (See: Synecdoche and Litotes)

Psalms 34:6

David describes himself as an oppressed man. Alternate translation: “I was oppressed and” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Here “heard” means that Yahweh helped him. Alternate translation: “Yahweh heard me” or “Yahweh helped him” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 34:7

The angel of Yahweh is spoken of as if he were an army that camps around someone in order to protect them. Alternate translation: “guards” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 34:8

Yahweh’s goodness is spoken of as something that can be tasted and seen. Alternate translation: “Try and experience that Yahweh is good” (See: Metaphor)

Yahweh is spoken of as if he were a place where people can hide for protection from their enemies. Alternate translation: “trust him to protect them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 34:9

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “Those who fear him will always have what they need” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 34:10

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “will always have the good things they need” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 34:11

Here this does not refer to literal sons of the writer, but to the people he is teaching about Yahweh. Alternate translation: “my students”

Psalms 34:12

The implicit answer to this question is “every man.” This rhetorical question can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “Every man desires life and desires to live many days and have a good life” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 34:13

These two phrases refer to the same thing and it is said in different ways to emphasize its importance. (See: Parallelism)

Here “tongue” refers to the whole person. Alternate translation: “Therefore, do not speak evil” (See: Synecdoche)

Here “lips” refers to the person speaking. Alternate translation: “do not speak lies” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 34:14

Here “Turn away” is a metaphor for avoiding evil. Alternate translation: “Refuse to do evil” (See: Metaphor)

Here “seek” means to be concerned about peace. Alternate translation: “Try hard to live in peace with other people” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 34:15

Here “the eyes of Yahweh” refer to his careful watching. “The righteous” is a reference to righteous people. Alternate translation: “Yahweh carefully watches over the righteous people” (See: Metonymy and Nominal Adjectives)

Here Yahweh is represented by his “ears.” To be directed toward something means to pay attention to it. Alternate translation: “he pays attention to their cry” or “he answers their cry” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 34:16

Yahweh will cause people to so completely forget them when they die that it is as if he used a knife to cut off any memory of them. Alternate translation: “so that when they are dead, people will forget them completely” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 34:17

Here “hears” means that Yahweh desires to respond to them. Alternate translation: “Yahweh pays attention to them” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 34:18

Here “is close” means “ready to help.” Alternate translation: “Yahweh is always ready to help” (See: Idiom)

This is a nominal adjective that refers to people who are brokenhearted. Deep sadness is spoken of as if the person’s heart is broken. Alternate translation: “people who are very sad” (See: Metaphor and Nominal Adjectives)

People who are deeply discouraged are spoken of as if their spirits are crushed. Alternate translation: “people who are deeply discouraged” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 34:19

This refers to people who are righteous. Alternate translation: “the righteous people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 34:20

Here “all his bones” is literal, but it also implies that Yahweh takes care of the entire person. Alternate translation: “He provides complete protection for him, he will not be harmed in any way” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 34:21

Evil is described as if it were a man who can kill people. Alternate translation: “The evil deeds of wicked people will kill them” (See: Personification)

This refers to wicked people. (See: Nominal Adjectives)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will condemn those who hate the righteous” (See: Active or Passive)

This refers to righteous people. (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 34:22

This can be stated in active form. It can also be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will forgive everyone who takes refuge in him” (See: Active or Passive and Litotes)

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to him for protection” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 35

Psalm 035 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 35 is a prayer for deliverance. His enemies are coming against him. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Enemies

When his enemies were sick, he tried to comfort them, but when he was in trouble his enemies use this as a time to attack him.

Psalms 35:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Psalms 35:2

The writer describes God as a warrior who is preparing himself for battle. (See: Metaphor)

these are defensive weapons

Psalms 35:3

The writer describes God as a warrior who is preparing himself for battle. (See: Metaphor)

these are offensive weapons

Possible meanings are (1) these enemies are literally chasing the writer or (2) this is a metaphor for people who are enemies of the writer. (See: Metaphor)

This refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “say to me” (See: Synecdoche)

This can be stated without the abstract noun. Alternate translation: “I am your savior” or “I will save you” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 35:4

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May Yahweh shame and dishonor those who seek my life” (See: Active or Passive)

“I desire that”

Here “seek my life” means they desire to kill the writer. The writer is represented by his “life.” Alternate translation: “who are trying to kill me” (See: Metaphor and Synecdoche)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May Yahweh turn back and confound those who plan to harm me” (See: Active or Passive)

“be turned back” here is a metaphor for being unable to accomplish their goal. Alternate translation: “be unsuccessful” (See: Metaphor)

“confused”

Psalms 35:5

The writer’s enemies are spoken of as if they are chaff that is easily blown away. Alternate translation: “blown away by the wind like chaff” (See: Simile)

Psalms 35:6

Here “their way” refers to their lives. Alternate translation: “their lives” (See: Metonymy)

This refers to a way that is hidden and dangerous. Alternate translation: “hidden and full of dangers” (See: Metaphor)

This refers to the angel of Yahweh being opposed to the writer’s enemies. Alternate translation: “works against them” or “opposes them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 35:7

The schemes of the wicked are spoken of as if they were a net that they set to catch the writer. Alternate translation: “they want to catch me in a net like a small animal” (See: Metaphor)

The schemes of the wicked are spoken of as if they were a pit that they dug to catch the writer. Alternate translation: “they wanted to capture me in a pit like a big animal” (See: Metaphor)

This refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “me” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 35:8

Destruction is spoken of as if it was a dangerous animal that would suddenly attack them. Alternate translation: “Let them be destroyed suddenly” or “Let them be surprised because you destroy them suddenly” (See: Personification)

The schemes of the wicked are spoken of as if they were a net that they place to catch the writer. Alternate translation: “the net that they placed in order to capture me like an animal and harm me” (See: Metaphor)

This is the same metaphor as in verse 7. The net is intended to catch the writer. Alternate translation: “Let them fall into the pit that they dug for me” (See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Possible meanings are (1) fall into the pit of verse 7 or (2) fall into destruction.

The abstract noun “destruction” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “so that they will be destroyed” or “that is how you should destroy them” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 35:9

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “because you save me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 35:10

Here “bones” refers to the deepest inner being of a person. Alternate translation: “My whole inner being” (See: Metonymy)

The implicit answer to this question is that no one is like Yahweh. Alternate translation: “Yahweh, there is no one like you…those who try to rob them.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The words “poor” and “needy” mean basically the same thing and emphasize that Yahweh saves many who need his help. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 35:11

This means they testify in a trial. Alternate translation: “volunteer to give a testimony” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 35:12

This is a metaphor which means they give back evil in exchange for the good they have received. Alternate translation: “In return for my doing good things for them, they do evil things to me” (See: Metaphor)

These abstract nouns can be stated in other forms. Alternate translation: “evil things…good things” (See: Abstract Nouns)

“I am extremely sad”

Psalms 35:13

The word “they” refers to the “unrighteous witnesses” (Psalms 35:11).

“I showed that I was sad”

This was a symbol of prayer. “with my head bent down in prayer” (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 35:14

The writer was as sad as if his own brother had died. Alternate translation: “grieving as if my own brother was ill” (See: Simile)

The writer mourned as if his own mother had died. Alternate translation: “I mourned as if my own mother had died” (See: Simile)

This was a symbol of pain and suffering. (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 35:15

“assembled together” or “came together”

This means they came together for the purpose of attacking the writer. Alternate translation: “to make plans against me” or “to plan my destruction” (See: Idiom)

Here the treated the writer as if he were a piece of cloth that they could tear to pieces. Alternate translation: “They attacked me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 35:16

(1) “With the worthless people they ridiculed me” or (2) “Without respect they made fun of me”

This is a sign of anger and hate. “they made grinding noises with their teeth at me” (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 35:17

This rhetorical question indicates that the writer wants God to stop simply looking on and to start to help him. Alternate translation: “how long will you only watch them doing this?” or “when will you help me?” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Here “soul” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “Rescue me” (See: Synecdoche)

The word “save” is implied. Alternate translation: “save my life from the lions” (See: Ellipsis)

This refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “me” (See: Synecdoche)

Here the writer speaks of his enemies as if they were vicious lions. Alternate translation: “from my enemies who attack me like wild animals” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 35:19

“Do not let my enemies, who tell lies about me,”

“their evil plans”

Psalms 35:20

The abstract noun “peace” can be stated as “peacefully.” Alternate translation: “they do not speak peacefully to people” (See: Abstract Nouns)

“look for ways to tell lies”

“those who live peacefully in our land”

The abstract noun “peace” can be stated in other forms. Alternate translation: “live peacefully with others” or “do no harm to anyone” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 35:21

The reason they open their mouths is to accuse the writer. Alternate translation: “They shout at me in order to accuse me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This is something an excited person says when he has suddenly seen or understood something, especially something other people did not expect him to see. It emphasizes the statement that follows. (See: Exclamations)

Here “our eyes” refers to the enemies’ eyes. It is implied that they are saying they saw the writer do something wrong. Alternate translation: “we have seen it” or “we saw the wrong things that you did” (See: Synecdoche and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 35:22

Here “it” refers to the false accusations of the writer’s enemies. Alternate translation: “You have seen how they falsely accused me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“do not ignore what they did” This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “judge them because of what they did” (See: Litotes)

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “be very close to me” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 35:23

This does not mean that God is actually asleep. The writer wants God to intervene. Both words mean basically the same thing and emphasize the urgency of this request. Alternate translation: “I feel like you are sleeping! Wake up” (See: Metaphor and Doublet)

This abstract noun “defense” can be stated as “defend.” Alternate translation: “to defend me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “me” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 35:24

“do not let them be glad because I am suffering”

Psalms 35:25

This is an idiom that means to say to oneself. Alternate translation: “say to themselves” (See: Idiom)

This is an exclamation that is used when something is suddenly seen or understood. It emphasizes what follows. Alternate translation: “Yes” (See: Exclamations)

It is implied that the writer’s enemies wanted him to be declared guilty. Alternate translation: “he has been declared guilty just as we desired” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

The writer’s enemies speak of his destruction as if they were wild animals who had eaten him. Alternate translation: “We have swallowed him up” or “We have destroyed him” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 35:26

“May those who rejoice at my distress be put to shame and confounded”

“May they feel shame”

“may they be confused” or “may they be humiliated”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May you clothe with shame and dishonor those who exalt themselves over me” (See: Active or Passive)

“consider themselves better than I am” or “think they have the right to treat me badly”

Here shame and dishonor are spoken of as if they were shameful clothes that the writer could wear. These abstract nouns can be stated as verbs. Alternate translation: “shamed and dishonored” (See: Abstract Nouns and Metaphor)

These terms mean about the same thing and are used to emphasize how degraded they will be. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 35:27

Here “vindication” refers to Yahweh proclaiming or judging the psalmist innocent.

“may they always say”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Let us praise Yahweh” (See: Active or Passive)

“who is happy with” or “who is glad for”

well-being, happiness

Psalms 35:28

The abstract noun “justice” can be stated as “right.” Alternate translation: “proclaim that you act in the right way” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 36

Psalm 036 General Notes

Formatting in this chapter

Psalm 36 is a psalm of praise. It speaks of how good God is to those who love him. (See: good, right, pleasant, better, best and love, beloved)

Special concepts in this chapter

God and man

Evil people do not think about God; but he is such a pleasure to all who honor him. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Psalms 36:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

This does not refer to a specific man, but to evil people in general. Alternate translation: “Evil people” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

Here “heart” refers to the inner being of a person. Alternate translation: “from his inner being” (See: Metonymy)

Here “eyes” refers to the wicked person. Alternate translation: “in him” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 36:2

“he prefers to believe” or “he wants to think”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God will not discover and hate his sin” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 36:3

“What he says is”

“do things that are good”

Psalms 36:4

The sinful actions of the man are spoken of as if he was walking along a path that was evil. Alternate translation: “he begins to do evil things” (See: Metaphor)

Here “evil” can be stated in another form. Alternate translation: “he does not reject evil behavior” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 36:5

The greatness of God’s covenant faithfulness is spoken of as if it were an object that reached as high as the heavens. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “Your covenant faithfulness…is very great” or “You…are as faithful to your covenant as the heavens are high above the earth” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The greatness of God’s loyalty is spoken of as if it was very high. Alternate translation: “is as high as the clouds” or “is enormously great” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 36:6

These phrases describe the greatness of God’s righteousness and judgments as if they were very high and deep. Alternate translation: “as high as the highest mountains…as deep as the deepest sea” (See: Simile)

“you help” or “you save”

Psalms 36:7

The word “precious” refers to how greatly the writer values Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “I greatly value how you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 36:8

Eating much food as guests in a house is a metaphor for God providing all his people need. Alternate translation: “They will have all they need because you will provide it to them” or “You have plenty to give, and you will provide them with all they need” (See: Metaphor)

There are two metaphors here. God’s abundant blessings are spoken of as if they are the water in a flowing river. Also, those who receive those blessings are spoken of as if they are drinking them like water. Alternate translation: “your precious blessings are like a river from which you will let them drink” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 36:9

“source of life”

Here “light” is a metaphor for true knowledge. Alternate translation: “when you enlighten us, we will know the truth” or “your light is what enables us to know the truth about you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 36:10

The writer speaks of Yahweh continuing to act faithfully towards the people as if Yahweh were to extend his covenant faithfulness or make it longer. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adverb. Alternate translation: “Continue to act faithfully to those who know you” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “defense” can be stated as a verb. “Continue” is implied from the previous phrase. Alternate translation: “Continue to protect the upright of heart” (See: Abstract Nouns and Ellipsis)

Here “heart” refers to the people. Alternate translation: “the upright” or “people who act righteously” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 36:11

Here “foot” and “hand” refer to the evil people. These are not specific men. This refers to evil people in general. Alternate translation: “arrogant people…wicked people” (See: Synecdoche and Generic Noun Phrases)

“send me away” or “make me leave my place”

Psalms 36:12

All three phrases describe the evildoers as defeated. (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “you have knocked them down” or “you have destroyed them” (See: Active or Passive)

“cannot get up”

Psalms 37

Psalm 037 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 37 is a teaching psalm. It provides guidance about how to live a moral and God-fearing life. It teaches that evil people do not prosper in the future. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Envy

Do not envy evil people. Although it appears as though they prosper, soon they will be destroyed and the good people will continue on living. (See: good, right, pleasant, better, best and life, live, living, alive)

Psalms 37:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“Do not let wicked people upset you” or “Do not be bothered by what wicked people do”

Psalms 37:2

Evildoers are spoken of as if they are grass and plants that dry up and die in the hot weather. These two similes both mean they will die. Alternate translation: “die” or “come to an end” (See: Simile and Parallelism)

Psalms 37:3

Faithfulness is spoken of as if it was an animal that would be strengthened by feeding in good pasture. Alternate translation: “nourish faithfulness” or “increase your faithfulness” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:4

Here “heart” represents the person’s inner being and thoughts. Alternate translation: “your deepest, inner desires” or “the things that you desire the most” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 37:5

Here “give your ways” is an idiom that means to ask Yahweh to control your life. Alternate translation: “Ask Yahweh to guide your actions in life” (See: Idiom)

This is to represent another in legal issues. Here, when one trusts in Yahweh, he will defend that person and grant justice to that person. (See: Idiom)

Psalms 37:6

Both of these phrases mean about the same thing. (See: Parallelism)

This means “in full view of everyone.” Alternate translation: “as clear to see as the light of day” (See: Simile)

This means “as visible as the noon sun.” Alternate translation: “as visible as the light at the brightest time of day” (See: Simile)

Psalms 37:7

“Be quiet”

Psalms 37:9

The destruction of the wicked is spoken of as if they were a branch of a plant that was cut off and thrown away. (See: Metaphor)

“but those who trust in Yahweh”

The possession of the land is spoken of as if it will be received as an inheritance. Alternate translation: “will receive the land as their own possession” or “will live safely in the land” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:10

This idiom refers to the death of the evil man. Alternate translation: “will die and you will no longer see him” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 37:11

This refers to the people who are meek. Alternate translation: “the meek people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

The possession of the land is spoken of as if it will be received as an inheritance. See how you translated this in Psalms 37:9. Alternate translation: “will receive the land as their own possession” or “will live safely in the land” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:12

This does not refer to a specific man. It refers to wicked people in general. Alternate translation: “The wicked person” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

This does not refer to specific people. This refers to people who are righteous. Alternate translation: “the righteous person” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

The wicked man hates the righteous person so much that he grinds his teeth together to show his anger. (See: Symbolic Language)

Psalms 37:13

It is implied that “his day” will be a day of judgment. Alternate translation: “the day is coming when Yahweh will judge and punish him” or “the day is coming when Yahweh will judge and punish the wicked person” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 37:14

This refers to the wicked people. Alternate translation: “The wicked people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Both “swords” and “bows” are weapons used to attack people. The fact that they are “drawn” and “bent” means they are ready to start attacking. Alternate translation: “have prepared their weapons in order to attack” (See: Synecdoche)

This destruction of the needy people is spoken of as if they were clay pots that would break into pieces when thrown down on the ground. Alternate translation: “to destroy” (See: Metaphor)

These terms both refer to people who are powerless to defend themselves. Alternate translation: “people who are not able to resist them” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 37:15

Swords are examples of weapons and “hearts” represent the people. To “pierce the heart” is an idiom that means “to kill.” Alternate translation: “Their weapons will be turned against them and they will kill themselves” (See: Synecdoche and Idiom)

Psalms 37:16

“It is better to be poor and righteous than to be wicked with great wealth”

The nominal adjective “the little” refers to few possessions. The nominal adjective “the righteous” refers to a righteous person. Alternate translation: “Better are the few possessions that a righteous person has” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

This refers to the wealth of the wicked people. (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 37:17

Here “arms” represent the strength of the wicked people. Breaking their arms represents taking away their power. This could be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “For Yahweh will remove the strength of the wicked people” (See: Metonymy and Active or Passive)

Psalms 37:18

To “watch over” means to protect someone. Here “the blameless” refers to the blameless people. Alternate translation: “protects the blameless people” (See: Idiom and Nominal Adjectives)

This is an idiom that means “continually.” Alternate translation: “every day” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 37:19

This phrase refers to disasters, such as famine. Alternate translation: “when calamities occur” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 37:20

The writer compares Yahweh’s enemies to the flowers blooming in the fields. (See: Simile)

The writer speaks of the destruction of the wicked as if they were weeds or wilted flowers in the field that are burned off after the harvest. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will destroy them as fire turns the weeds of the field into smoke” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

Psalms 37:21

These mean the same thing and emphasize the generosity of the righteous. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 37:22

This is a contrastive form of Parallelism. Those who are blessed by God in contrast to those who are cursed by God. (See: Parallelism)

This can be stated as active. Alternate translation: “Those whom God blesses” (See: Active or Passive)

The possession of the land is spoken of as if it had been received as an inheritance. See how you translated this in Psalms 37:9. Alternate translation: “will receive the land as their own possession” or “will be allowed to live safely in the land” (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “those whom Yahweh curses” (See: Active or Passive)

The destruction of the wicked is spoken of as if they were a branch of plant that was cut off and thrown away. See how you translated this in Psalms 37:9. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:23

These can be stated to show the logical connection and clarify the passive clause. Alternate translation: “If a man lives in a commendable way in Yahweh’s sight, Yahweh will establish his steps” (See: Active or Passive)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Yahweh is the one who enables a man to be successful” (See: Active or Passive)

This does not refer to a specific man, but to people in general. (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

Steps represent the way a person lives. Alternate translation: “the way a man lives” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 37:24

Here “stumble” and “fall” refer to the man’s reaction to difficult times. Alternate translation: “Though he has difficult times, he will not utterly fail” (See: Metaphor)

Here “his hand” refers to Yahweh’s power, and “holding him” refers to protecting him. Alternate translation: “protecting him with his power” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 37:25

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Yahweh forsake the righteous person” (See: Active or Passive)

This does not refer to a specific person. It is a general statement. (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

Here “bread” represents food in general. Alternate translation: begging for food” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 37:26

This idiom means this action is a habit of his life. Alternate translation: “He is always (See: Idiom)

“his children grow up to bless others”

Psalms 37:27

To stop doing something is spoken of as if the person turned away from it. Alternate translation: “Stop doing” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:28

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will protect them forever” (See: Active or Passive)

The destruction of the wicked is spoken of as if they were a branch of plant that was cut off and thrown away. See how you translated this in Psalms 37:9. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:29

The possession of the land is spoken of as if it had been received as an inheritance. See how you translated this in Psalms 37:9. Alternate translation: “will receive the land as their own possession” or “will be allowed to live safely in the land” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:30

This refers to the people who are righteous. Alternate translation: “the righteous people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Here “mouth” represents the whole person who speaks. Alternate translation: “The righteous person” (See: Synecdoche)

The abstract noun “wisdom” can be stated as “wise.” Alternate translation: “gives wise advice to others” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “justice” can be stated as an action. Alternate translation: “encourages other people to live rightly” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 37:31

Here “in his heart” refers to his deepest inner being. Alternate translation: “He treasures the commands of his God in his inner being” (See: Metonymy)

Here failure to obey Yahweh is spoken of as slipping off a safe path and falling. Alternate translation: “he will walk safely in the way God wants him to walk” or “he will safely do the things God wants him to do” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:32

These words refer to any wicked or righteous person or to wicked and righteous people in general, not to specific people. Alternate translation: “Wicked people…righteous people” or “Any wicked person” or “any righteous person” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

Here the watching implies observing the righteous in order to do them harm. Alternate translation: “waits in ambush for the righteous person” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 37:33

These words refer to the hand of any evil person, not of any specific person. Here “hand” represents power or control. Alternate translation: “evil people’s hands” or “the power of the evil person” (See: Generic Noun Phrases and Metonymy)

This refers to Yahweh judging the righteous man. Alternate translation: “When Yahweh judges him” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 37:34

Here “raise you up” refers to God giving honor to those who wait for him. Alternate translation: “he will honor you by giving you the land” (See: Metaphor)

This refers to wicked people. Alternate translation: “the wicked people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

The destruction of the wicked is spoken of as if they were a branch of a plant that was cut off and thrown away. See how you translated a similar phrase in Psalms 37:9. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:35

This does not refer to a specific person. It is a general statement. (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

Here the prosperity of the wicked man is spoken of as if he were a healthy tree growing in good soil. (See: Simile)

Psalms 37:36

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I could not find him” or “Yahweh had taken him away” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 37:37

This does not refer to a specific person. It is a general statement. (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

“note carefully the good people” or “notice the good people”

Psalms 37:38

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God will end his family line” or “he will not have any descendants” (See: Active or Passive)

This refers to his descendants. Alternate translation: “his descendants” (See: Metonymy)

This does not refer to a specific person. It is a general statement. (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

The destruction of the wicked is spoken of as if they were a branch of a plant that was cut off and thrown away. See how you translated a similar phrase in Psalms 37:9. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 37:39

The abstract noun “Salvation” can be expressed as an action. Alternate translation: “Yahweh rescues the righteous people” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This refers to the righteous people. Alternate translation: “the righteous people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 37:40

This same idea is repeated in several different ways to emphasize that Yahweh is dependable and able to give aid. (See: Parallelism)

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “they have gone to him for protection” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 38

Psalm 038 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 38 is a confession of sin and a prayer for deliverance. (See: confess, confession and sin, sinful, sinner, sinning and deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Author’s sickness

The author was very sick and his enemies were seeking ways to destroy him.

Psalms 38:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

These phrases mean basically the same thing and the idea is repeated for emphasis. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 38:2

The severity of Yahweh’s punishment of the writer is spoken of as if Yahweh had shot arrows into the writer. Alternate translation: “Your punishment is as painful as if you had shot arrows into me” (See: Metaphor)

Yahweh’s punishment of the writer is spoken of as if Yahweh was smashing the writer with his hand. Here, “hand” refers to Yahweh’s power. Alternate translation: “your power knocks me down” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Psalms 38:3

David continues describing what his guilt and shame does to his body. He uses hyperbole to emphasize the effects of this lesson.

Here “my bones” represents the body of the writer. Alternate translation: “my whole body is diseased because of my sin” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 38:4

The writer’s iniquities are spoken of as if they are a flood of water that covers him. Alternate translation: “my iniquities cover me like a flood” (See: Metaphor)

The writer’s iniquities are spoken of as if they are a heavy load that he cannot lift. Alternate translation: “they are like a load that is too heavy for me to lift” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 38:5

David continues describing what his guilt and shame does to his body. He uses hyperbole to emphasize the effects of this lesson.

Here “smell” refer to his sores having a bad smell that is associated with rotting flesh. Alternate translation: “My wounds are infected and stink as they rot” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 38:6

The pain of the writer’s wounds have caused him to be bent over as if he were an old, feeble man. Alternate translation: “I am bent over in pain” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 38:7

The writer’s is so sick with fever that it is as if he is burning inside. Alternate translation: “My body is burning with fever” (See: Metaphor)

Here “my flesh” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “I am completely sick” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 38:8

The writer’s illness is so severe that it is as if a huge weight is pressing down on him. (See: Metaphor)

Here “my heart” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “my anguish” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 38:9

Here “my heart” refers to the writer. It may be helpful to state that the writer desires good health. Alternate translation: “My strongest desires” or “that I desire you to heal me” (See: Synecdoche and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “you are able to see all my moans of sorrow” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 38:10

This idiom means his heart beats intensely. Alternate translation: “My heart beats loudly” (See: Idiom)

“I become very weak”

“I can no longer see well”

Psalms 38:12

The plots of the writer’s enemies are spoken of as if they were traps that they had set to catch him like an animal. Alternate translation: “set traps to catch me” (See: Metaphor)

These two phrases mean basically the same thing and emphasize the hurtful nature of what these people say. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 38:13

The writer does not listen to what his enemies are saying. (See: Simile)

The writer does not speak evil words to or about his enemies. (See: Simile)

a person who cannot speak

Psalms 38:14

The writer does not listen to what his enemies are saying. (See: https://git.door43.org/unfoldingWord/en_ta/src/branch/master/translate/figs-simile/01.md)

The writer does not speak evil words to or about his enemies. (See: https://git.door43.org/unfoldingWord/en_ta/src/branch/master/translate/figs-simile/01.md)

Psalms 38:15

Possible meanings are (1) “you will answer me” or (2) “you will answer my enemies.”

Psalms 38:16

“will not delight over my trouble”

Here “my foot” represents the writer. The slipping of his foot is a metaphor that refers to the writer’s troubles and misfortunes. Alternate translation: “If I make mistakes that cause me trouble” (See: Synecdoche and Metaphor)

Psalms 38:17

Possible meanings for this metaphor are (1) “I am so sick that I am about to die” or (2) “I will soon be ruined.” It may be best not to interpret the metaphor in the text. (See: Metaphor)

“I am always in pain”

Psalms 38:19

These two phrases mean basically the same thing. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 38:20

The actions of the writer’s enemies are spoken of as a financial transaction where they gave him evil things in exchange for good things. The abstract nouns “evil” and “good” can be stated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “They do evil thing to me after I was good to them” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The way the writer’s enemies accuse him is spoken of as if they were throwing accusations at him like rocks. (See: Metaphor)

The writers desire for what is good is spoken of as if he were running after good things. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 38:21

These two phrases have very similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

Because Yahweh has not yet answered the writer’s request, he speaks of Yahweh as if Yahweh were standing far away from the writer. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 38:22

God is spoken of as if he is running to the writer to help him. (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as an action. Alternate translation: “you are the one who saves me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 39

Psalm 039 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 39 is a psalm of deliverance from sickness. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Life

Life on earth is short. The psalmist wanted God’s healing so he can enjoy the rest of his life. (See: life, live, living, alive)

This psalm shares some characteristics of another wisdom book called Ecclesiastes or Koheleth but is more positive.

Psalms 39:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship,”

One of David’s chief musicians had this same name. This may refer to him. (See: How to Translate Names)

Here “watch” is an idiom that mean “pay attention to.” Alternate translation: “I will pay attention to the things that I say” (See: Idiom)

Here “tongue” refers to the writer’s speech. Alternate translation: “so that I do not speak an offense against Yahweh” (See: Metonymy)

To “muzzle” means to keep a mouth shut. Here David means that he will not speak while he is with an evil person. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 39:2

These two phrases mean the same thing and emphasize that the writer did not speak at all. Alternate translation: “I was completely silent” (See: Doublet)

“I did not speak”

Psalms 39:3

Here “heart” represents the whole person. The anxious thoughts of the writer are spoken of as if they were a fire burning inside him. Alternate translation: “I became very anxious when I thought about these things” (See: Synecdoche and Metaphor)

Psalms 39:4

These phrases mean basically the same thing. (See: Parallelism)

“Show me how brief my life is” or “Show me how soon I will die”

Psalms 39:5

The writer speaks of his lifespan is if it could be measured by the width of his hand. Alternate translation: “only a very short time” (See: Metaphor)

This simile states that the length of the writer’s life is so short that it does not exist. This is an exaggeration to stress how short it is. Alternate translation: “the length of my life is barely any time at all” (See: Simile and Hyperbole)

Life is short, and the psalmist speaks of it here as if it were only as long as the time it takes for a person to breathe one breath. Alternate translation: “The time that humans live is as short as a single breath of a person” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 39:6

The lives of people are spoken of as if they are as insignificant as shadows. Alternate translation: “Everyone disappears like shadows do” (See: Simile)

Here it is implied that they do not know what will happen to their wealth after they die. The full meaning of this statement can be made explicit. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 39:7

The writer asks this question to emphasize that people cannot help him. This rhetorical question can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “So now, Yahweh, I can expect to receive nothing from anyone else.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 39:9

These phrases mean basically the same thing. (See: Parallelism)

“because my punishment comes from you”

Psalms 39:10

God’s punishment of the writer is spoken of as if God was wounding him with a weapon. Alternate translation: “Please stop punishing me” (See: Metaphor)

“I am defeated completely”

God’s punishment of the writer is spoken of as if God was striking him with his fist. Here “hand” represents God’s judgment. Alternate translation: “your judgment on me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 39:11

God will take away the things they value in the same way as a moth eats a piece of cloth. Alternate translation: “consume the things they desire like a moth eats away at clothing” (See: Simile)

The writer speaks of the frailty of people as if they were mist that disappears quickly. Alternate translation: “everyone is completely fragile” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 39:12

These three phrases mean basically the same thing and show how strongly the writer wants God to respond to him. (See: Parallelism)

The writer speaks of Yahweh’s lack of response to him as if Yahweh was deaf. Alternate translation: “Do not ignore me as if you could not hear me” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of Yahweh’s lack of response as if Yahweh considered him to be a total stranger to him. Alternate translation: “I am like a complete stranger to you” (See: Simile)

Psalms 39:13

Here “your gaze” represents Yahweh’s punishment. Alternate translation: “Please stop punishing me” (See: Metonymy)

Here “smile” is associated with being happy. Alternate translation: “so that I can be happy again” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 40

Psalm 040 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 40 is a psalm of praise. Many also see it as a messianic psalm, a psalm about Christ. (See: Christ, Messiah)

Special concepts in this chapter

Sacrifices

God is not interested in sacrifices but wants people to obey him and fulfill his plans for them.

Psalms 40:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

This means the writer was waiting for Yahweh to help him.

These mean the same thing, and can be combined into one statement. Alternate translation: “he listened to me when I called out to him” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 40:2

These two metaphors mean the same thing. The writer’s danger is spoken of as if it was a deadly pit full of mud. This emphasizes the danger. Alternate translation: “from being trapped in a horrible pit full of sticky mud” (See: Parallelism and Metaphor)

Here “my feet” refers to the writer, and “a rock” refers a place of safety. Alternate translation: “he provided safety for me” (See: Synecdoche and Metonymy)

Psalms 40:3

Possible meanings are (1) “He has taught me the words to a new song” or (2) “He has given me a new reason to sing.”

Here “my mouth” refers to the writer. Alternate translation: “in me” (See: Synecdoche)

The noun “praise” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “a song to praise our God” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “see it” refers to hearing the writer sing his song about what God has done for him. Alternate translation: “Many people will hear me tell what Yahweh has done” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 40:4

“Blessed is the man who trusts in Yahweh” or “Those who trust in Yahweh are blessed”

This refers to the people who are proud. Alternate translation: “proud people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

The Hebrew word is unclear. Possible meanings are (1) “lies” or (2) “false gods.”

Psalms 40:5

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “no one can count all the things you think about us” (See: Active or Passive)

These phrases mean essentially the same thing. The first is stated in negative form, and the second is stated in positive form. (See: Parallelism and Litotes)

Psalms 40:6

This is an exaggeration to express that other things are much more important to God. Alternate translation: “Sacrifices and other offerings are not the things that delight you most” (See: Hyperbole)

Here “ears” refers to the ability to hear. Alternate translation: “you have enabled me to hear your commands” (See: Metonymy)

This is an exaggeration to show that these things were not the most important to God. Alternate translation: “animals burned on the altar and other offerings for our sins are not what you require most” (See: Hyperbole)

Psalms 40:7

This refers to a scroll on which was written the word of Yahweh. Alternate translation: “the written scroll” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 40:8

Here “my heart” refers to the inner being of the writer. Alternate translation: “I am always thinking about your laws within my inner being” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 40:9

“I have told a large assembly of people the good news of your righteousness.”

This refers to the good news that God rescues his people. Alternate translation: “good news that because you are righteous, you rescue your people” (See: Ellipsis)

Here “my lips” represents the writer, emphasizing his speech. Alternate translation: “I have not stopped myself from proclaiming these things” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 40:10

“I have not kept your righteousness a secret.” This can also be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “I have openly told every one about your righteousness” (See: Litotes)

Here this refers to the writer’s inner being. (See: Metonymy)

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “I have told everyone in the great assembly about your covenant faithfulness or your trustworthiness” (See: Litotes)

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be stated as “faithful.” Alternate translation: “how faithful you are to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This abstract noun “trustworthiness” can be stated as “trustworthy.” Alternate translation: “how trustworthy you are” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 40:11

Here “covenant faithfulness” and “trustworthiness” are spoken of as if they were living people who could protect the writer. Alternate translation: “I want your covenant faithfulness and your trustworthiness to always preserve” (See: Personification)

Psalms 40:12

Here troubles are spoken of as if they were objects that surround and trap the speaker. Alternate translation: “there are more troubles around me than I can count” or “more troubles come to me than I can count” (See: Metaphor)

This is stated in negative form to intensify the number.See how you translated this in Psalms 40:5. Alternate translation: “that are vast in number” (See: Litotes)

This refers to the consequences of his sin. Alternate translation: “the consequences of my iniquities” (See: Metonymy)

The writer’s iniquities are spoken of as if they were his enemies who were harming him. (See: Personification)

Versions differ in how to understand this difficult passage. It may mean that the speaker is crying so much that he cannot see anything because of his tears.

Here “heart” refers to the writer’s inner confidence. Alternate translation: “I am very discouraged” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 40:14

This can be reordered and stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Let those who pursue my life to take it awy be ashamed and completely disappointed” (See: Active or Passive)

“Please make them ashamed and completely disappointed”

Here “pursue my life” means they desire to kill the writer. The writer is represented by his “life.” Alternate translation: “who are trying to kill me” (See: Metaphor)

This can be reordered and stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Let those who delight in hurting me be turned back and brought to dishonor” or “Please have someone turn back those who delight in hurting me and bring them to dishonor” (See: Active or Passive)

“unable to continue”

Psalms 40:15

“Let those who say to me, ‘Aha, aha!’ be shocked because of their shame”

“I hope that they will be shocked when you shame them”

These words indicate that the speaker has seen the hearer doing evil that the hearer did not think anyone knew about. You can use here words in your language that mean the same thing but sound different. See how this is translated in Psalms 35:21. (See: Exclamations)

Psalms 40:16

These two phrases mean the same thing and emphasize the intensity of joy. Alternate translation: “be very joyful” (See: Doublet)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as an action. Alternate translation: “love you because you saved them” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 40:17

These words mean the same thing and emphasize how helpless the writer is. Alternate translation: “very needy” (See: Doublet)

“the Lord cares for me”

These phrases mean the same thing. (See: Parallelism)

“You are the one who helps me”

“you come to save me”

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “respond quickly” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 41

Psalm 041 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 41 is a psalm of deliverance. The author’s friends had become his enemies who wanted to see him die but he trusted God to rescue him. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Special concepts in this chapter

Enemies

The author’s best friend had become an enemy. His enemies were happy because they were sure his sickness would result in death.

Psalms 41:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

The words “he” and “him” refer to anyone who is concerned for the weak.

“weak people” or “poor people”

Psalms 41:2

These words refer to anyone who is concerned for the weak.

Psalms 41:3

The phrase “the bed of suffering” refers to when a person lies in bed because he is sick. Alternate translation: “When he is sick and in bed, Yahweh will support him” (See: Metonymy)

The phrase “a bed of healing” refers to when a person rests in bed and recovers from his sickness. Alternate translation: “you, Yahweh, will heal him of his sickness” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 41:5

If a person’s name dies, it means that people forget that he had ever lived. Alternate translation: “when will his name perish” or “when will people forget about him” (See: Ellipsis and Idiom)

Psalms 41:6

The words “my enemy” refers to any enemy in general, and not to one specific enemy.

Possible meanings are (1) “he says meaningless things” or (2) his enemies say things to make him think that they are his friends when they are not. Alternate translation: “he says deceitful things” or “they pretend to be concerned about me” (See: Idiom)

His enemies try to learn all of the bad things about him. Here the word “heart” refers the whole person. Bad circumstances are spoken of as if they were objects that can be gathered. Alternate translation: “he tries to learn about all of my disasters” (See: Synecdoche and Metaphor)

Psalms 41:7

Possible meanings are (1) “they hope that very bad things will happen to me” or (2) “they are planning to hurt me.”

Psalms 41:8

His enemies speak of “disease” as if it were a person who has captured him. Alternate translation: “He is sick with a fatal disease” (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Possible meanings are (1) “A fatal disease” or (2) “Something evil”

Here the words “lying down” refer to lying in bed because of illness. That he will not “rise up” means that he will continue to lie down, which is a euphemism for death. Alternate translation: “now that he is sick in bed, he will die there” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Euphemism)

Psalms 41:9

This is an idiom that means his friend betrayed him. Alternate translation: “has betrayed me” or “has turned against me” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 41:10

This is a request. Alternate translation: “Please, Yahweh, have mercy on me and raise me up” (See: Statements – Other Uses)

This means to raise him up from his bed, or to make him recover from his disease. Alternate translation: “make me well” (See: Idiom)

The writer speaks of revenge on his enemies as if it were paying to them what he owes. Alternate translation: “so that I may take revenge on them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 41:11

The word “this” refers to what the writer will say next. For clarity, the clauses may be reversed. Alternate translation: “Because my enemy does not triumph over me, I know that you delight in me” (See: Order of Events)

This can also be translated in future tense, since Yahweh has not yet healed him. Alternate translation: “If you enable me to do that, with the result that my enemies do not defeat me, I will know that you are pleased with me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 41:12

“you support me because of my integrity”

The writer speaks of being in Yahweh’s presence as being in a place where Yahweh can see him and he can see Yahweh’s face. Alternate translation: “will keep me with you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 41:13

This verse is more than the end of this psalm. It is the closing statement for all of Book 1 of the Psalms, which starts at Psalm 1 and ends with Psalm 41.

This refers to two extremes and means for all time. Alternate translation: “for all eternity” (See: Merism)

The word “Amen” is repeated to emphasize approval of what has been said. Alternate translation: “May it certainly be so” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 42

Psalm 042 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 42 is a psalm of praise for all that God has done and a prayer for deliverance from the psalmist’s enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s deliverance

The psalmist praises God as he remembers what God has done for him in the past, and he puts his trust in him. He needs rescuing from his enemies. Scholars believe that this psalm is about a man in exile longing for Jerusalem.

Psalm 42 and Psalm 43

Some scholars believe that these two psalms were originally written together as one psalm.

Superscription

This psalm is called “a Maschil of the sons of Korah.” The word “Maschil” in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 42:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1.

The author compares his desire for God to the desire of a thirsty deer for water.

heavy breathing from an animal or person that is very tired or thirsty

The author speaks of his strong desire for God as if it were a strong thirst for water. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 42:2

The author speaks of his strong desire for God as if it were a strong thirst for water. (See: Metaphor)

The author does not ask this question to get an answer but to show his strong desire to be before God. (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 42:3

The author refers to his tears as if they are food that he eats. This means that he is so sad that he cannot eat. Alternate translation: “My tears are like my food and I eat nothing else” (See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This phrase refers to the entire day by referring to both its beginning and end. Alternate translation: “all day long” (See: Merism)

This is an exaggeration. His enemies are not saying this constantly; they are saying it often. (See: Hyperbole)

The author’s enemies use this question to mock him and to express that they do not see his God helping him. Alternate translation: “Your God is not here to help you” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 42:4

This is an idiom that means to remember or think about something. Alternate translation: “remember” (See: Idiom)

Here the word “soul” refers to the emotions. The author speaks of his soul as if it is a liquid that he pours out. The phrase means that he is expressing his emotional grief. Alternate translation: “I express my sorrow” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

“the crowd of people”

This phrase uses two different words to express one idea. Alternate translation: “joyful praise” (See: Hendiadys)

Psalms 42:5

The author refers to his inner self as his “soul,” which represents himself. He asks these questions to rebuke himself. Alternate translation: “I should not be bowed down. I should not be worried” (See: Rhetorical Question and Synecdoche)

The writer speaks of depression or discouragement as if it were his soul being bent over. Alternate translation: “discouraged” (See: Metaphor)

The writer continues to speak to his own soul and commands it to trust God. (See: Imperatives – Other Uses)

Psalms 42:6

The writer begins to speak to God about his soul.

This phrase means to remember or to think about something. Alternate translation: “I think of you” (See: Idiom)

This is probably a reference to northern Israel, where the Jordan river originates. Alternate translation: “the land where the Jordan river begins” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

mountain tops

This is the name of a hill at the base of Mount Hermon. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 42:7

The word “deep” refers to deep waters, which here are likely the streams rushing down Mount Hermon. The writer speaks of them as if they are people calling out to one another as they hear the sound of their own descent from the mountain. (See: Personification)

The author speaks of his great misfortune and sadness as if they are deep waters that drown him with one wave after another. (See: Metaphor)

The word “billows” is another word for “waves.” Together the two words emphasize the greatness of the waves. Alternate translation: “all of your great waves” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 42:8

The writer speaks of Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness as if it were a person whom he commands to be with him. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will show me his covenant faithfulness in the daytime” or “Yahweh will show me in the daytime how faithful he is to his covenant” (See: Metaphor)

Possible meanings are (1) “the song that he gives me” or (2) “the song about him”

“the God who gives me life”

Psalms 42:9

The writer speaks of God as if he were a huge rock that would provide protection from enemy attack. (See: Metaphor)

To “go mourning” is to perform customs related to being very sad.

Psalms 42:10

The writer describes his adversaries’ rebukes as his receiving a fatal wound. (See: Simile)

This is an exaggeration; his enemies are not saying this constantly but are saying it often. (See: Hyperbole)

The writer’s enemies use this question to mock him and to express that they do not see God helping him. Alternate translation: “Your God is not here to help you” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 42:11

The author refers to his inner self as his “soul,” which represents himself. He asks these questions to rebuke himself. See how you translated this in Psalms 42:5. Alternate translation: “I should not be bowed down, I should not be worried” (See: Rhetorical Question and Synecdoche)

The writer speaks of depression or discouragement as if it were his soul being bent over. See how you translated this in Psalms 42:5. Alternate translation: “discouraged” (See: Metaphor)

The writer continues to speak to his own soul and commands it to trust God. See how you translated this in Psalms 42:5. (See: Imperatives – Other Uses)

Psalms 43

Psalm 043 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 43 is a psalm of deliverance. It is a plea for rescue from the psalmist’s enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Encouragement

The author should not be discouraged because he trusts in God to deliver him. (See: trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Psalm 42 and Psalm 43

Some scholars believe that these two psalms were originally written together as one psalm.

Psalms 43:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Psalms 43:2

Possible meanings are (1) “the God who protects me” or (2) “the God who gives me strength.”

The writer asks these questions in order to complain to God and express his emotions, not to receive an answer. (See: Rhetorical Question)

To “go about in mourning” is to perform customs related to being very sad.

The word “oppression” can be translated as a verb. Alternate translation: “because my enemy oppresses me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 43:3

The writer speaks of God’s deliverance as if it were a light that shows him the way and truth that teaches him how to live. Alternate translation: “guide me with your light and truth” (See: Metaphor)

This refers to the hill in Jerusalem where the temple is located and thus to the temple itself. (See: Metonymy)

“to the place where you live”

Psalms 43:4

“God who is my very great joy” or “God who gives me very great joy”

Psalms 43:5

The author refers to his inner self as his “soul,” which represents himself. He asks these questions to rebuke himself. See how you translated this in Psalms 42:5. Alternate translation: “I should not be bowed down. I should not be worried” (See: Rhetorical Question and Synecdoche)

The writer speaks of depression or discouragement as if it were his soul being bent over. See how you translated this in Psalms 42:5. Alternate translation: “discouraged” (See: Metaphor)

The writer continues to speak to his own soul and commands it to trust God. See how you translated this in Psalms 42:5. (See: Imperatives – Other Uses)

The phrase “my salvation” refers to God. If necessary the two phrases can be combined. Alternate translation: “my God who saves me” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 44

Psalm 044 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 44 is a deliverance psalm. It is a prayer for God’s help against enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Enemies

When Israel entered the Promised Land, God fought for them and drove out their enemies. Since their enemies have now defeated them, they are in need of God’s help. (See: Promised Land)

Superscription

This psalm is called “a Maschil.” The word “Maschil” in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 44:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

“This is a psalm that the sons of Korah wrote.”

The word “ears” adds emphasis to the statement that they have heard and understood the things that the writer is about to describe. The writer addresses this statement to God. Alternate translation: “God, we have heard clearly” (See: Idiom)

Both of these phrases use the word “days” to refer to the time period when the ancestors of the people of Israel were alive. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 44:2

“You forced the people from other nations to leave”

Here the word “hand” refers to God’s power. Alternate translation: “by your power” (See: Metonymy)

The writer speaks of God’s causing the Israelites to live in the land as if he were planting them in the soil like he would a tree. Alternate translation: “you caused our people to live there” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 44:3

The word “sword” refers to military power. Alternate translation: “by fighting with their own swords” or “by their own army’s strength” (See: Metonymy)

Here the word “arm” refers to power. Alternate translation: “their own power” (See: Metonymy)

You may supply a verb for this phrase. Alternate translation: “the light of your face obtained the land for their possession” (See: Ellipsis)

Here the words “hand” and “arm” both refer to God’s power. Combined, they emphasize the greatness of God’s power. Alternate translation: “your great power” (See: Metonymy and Doublet)

The writer speaks of Yahweh looking with favor upon them and being kind to them as if Yahweh’s face shone a light on them. Alternate translation: “your kindness” or “your good favor” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 44:4

The people of Israel are referred to by the name of their ancestor “Jacob.” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 44:5

“By you…by your”

The writer speaks of his enemies’ defeat as if they are “down” and of their preparing to fight as if they are “up.” (See: Metaphor)

Here the word “name” refers to God’s power and authority. Alternate translation: “by your power” (See: Metonymy)

“tread them under our feet” or “walk on top of them”

Psalms 44:8

The word “boast” can be translated with a verb. Alternate translation: “we have boasted” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here the word “name” refers to God, himself. Alternate translation: “we will give thanks to you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 44:9

The writer speaks of God’s rejection of Israel as if he were discarding an unwanted piece of clothing. Alternate translation: “rejected us” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 44:10

resources and treasures that an army collects after winning a battle

Psalms 44:11

The writer compares the Israelites to sheep that people kill and eat. As sheep are helpless before those who kill them, so the Israelites are helpless before their enemies. This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “You have allowed our enemies to kill us like they would kill a sheep and eat it” (See: Simile and Active or Passive)

“caused us to live in many different nations”

Psalms 44:12

The writer speaks of Yahweh allowing Israel’s enemies to conquer them as if he were selling the people of Israel to their enemies but does not require any payment from their enemies. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 44:13

These two phrases are parallel emphasizing how the people among whom they live mock them. (See: Parallelism)

The word “rebuke” can be translated as a verb. Alternate translation: “You make us something that our neighbors rebuke” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “those around us scoff at us and mock us” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 44:14

These phrases are parallel emphasizing how intensely the nations around them mock them. (See: Parallelism)

The word “insult” can be translated as a verb. Alternate translation: “You make the nations around us insult us” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The phrase “a shaking of the head” can be translated in verbal form. Alternate translation: “something at which the peoples shake their heads” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This was a gesture that people used to show scorn to others.

Psalms 44:15

The writer speaks of his dishonor as if it were an object that is always in front of him for him to see. The phrase means that he is always thinking about his dishonor. Alternate translation: “I think about my dishonor” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of his shame as if it is an object that covers him like a blanket would cover him. Alternate translation: “the shame of my face has overwhelmed me” (See: Metaphor)

“the shame that shows on my face.” This refers to his facial expressions that his shame causes.

Psalms 44:16

Here the words “the voice” represents the person insulting him. Alternate translation: “because of what the person says who rebukes and insults me” (See: Synecdoche)

These words have similar meanings and emphasize the harsh nature of what this person says. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 44:18

These two phrases are parallel. The writer speaks of loyalty to God as if it were following him, and disloyalty as if it were turning away from him. (See: Parallelism and Metaphor)

Here the word “heart” refers to the emotions, and specifically to loyalty and devotion. Alternate translation: “We have not stopped being loyal to you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 44:19

The writer speaks of God’s punishment as if it were breaking a fragile object. Alternate translation: “you have punished us severely” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of Israel after God’s punishment as if it were a wild, uninhabitable place. Alternate translation: “and made our land like a place where jackals live” (See: Metaphor)

a type of wild dog

The writer speaks of death as if it is an object that casts a shadow over those who are about to die. Alternate translation: “made us so that we are about to die” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 44:20

Here the word “name” refers to God, himself. To forget God is to stop worshiping him. This is something that did not happen. Alternate translation: “If we had forgotten our God” or “If we had stopped worshiping our God” (See: Metonymy and Hypothetical Situations)

Spreading out the hands is a gesture that people used to worship and pray to a god. Alternate translation: “worshiped a strange god” or “prayed to a strange god” (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 44:21

The writer uses this question to express that God would know if they worshiped another god. Alternate translation: “God would certainly find out” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Here the word “heart” refers to the mind and thoughts. Alternate translation: “he knows what a person secretly thinks” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 44:22

The phrase “all day long” is an exaggeration to emphasize that their people are being killed frequently. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “we are always in danger of people killing us” (See: Hyperbole and Active or Passive)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “people consider us to be sheep for the slaughter” (See: Active or Passive)

The writer compares the Israelites to sheep that people kill and eat. As sheep are helpless before those who kill them, so the Israelites are helpless before their enemies. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 44:23

This does not mean that God is actually asleep. The writer speaks of God’s seeming inactivity as if God is sleeping. He asks the question to rebuke God for appearing not to be concerned about their troubles. Alternate translation: “Wake up! I feel like you are sleeping, Lord!” (See: Rhetorical Question and Metaphor)

The writer speaks of God’s rejection of Israel as if he were discarding an unwanted piece of clothing. See how you translated a similar phrase in Psalms 44:9. Alternate translation: “do not reject us” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 44:24

The writer uses this question to complain that God appears to be ignoring them. Alternate translation: “Do not hide your face…our oppression.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The writer speaks of God ignoring them as if God were hiding his face so that he could not see them. Alternate translation: “ignore us” (See: Metaphor)

The words “affliction” and “oppression” mean basically the same thing and emphasize the severity of their affliction. These words may also be translated as verbs. Alternate translation: “forget that people afflict us and oppress us” or “forget that people greatly afflict us” (See: Abstract Nouns and Doublet)

Psalms 44:25

These parallel phrases share similar meanings. The writer describes his people as lying on the ground in a posture of defeat and humiliation. (See: Parallelism)

The writer speaks of their humiliation as if their bodies were objects, such as ice, that melt and soak into the dirt. (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of their humiliation as if their bodies were stuck to the ground and they could not raise themselves up. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 44:26

This is a command to stand. This phrase refers to beginning to act on something. Alternate translation: “Take action” (See: Idiom)

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “to show that you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 45

Psalm 045 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 45 is a royal psalm written for the king’s wedding day.

Special concepts in this chapter

Beauty

The king has a beautiful palace, and his bride is also beautiful.

Superscription

This psalm is called “a Maschil.” The word “Maschil” in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 45:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style or the tune of the music. Sometimes it is translated as “set to the tune of ‘Lilies.’”

“This is a psalm that the sons of Korah wrote.”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1.

The writer speaks of his heart as if it were a container that overflows with liquid. The word “heart” represents his emotions, which are excited by the song that he sings. Alternate translation: “My emotions are excited about a good subject” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

“a noble theme” or “a beautiful word.” This refers to the song that he has written.

to have written or created a song

The writer speaks of his tongue as if it were a pen. He speaks words as skillfully as an experienced writer writes words. Alternate translation: “my tongue is like the pen of person who writes well” or “I speak words as skillfully as an experienced writer can write words” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 45:2

This phrase is an exaggeration that emphasizes that the king is better looking than anyone else. The phrase “children of mankind” is an idiom and refers to all humans. Alternate translation: “You are more handsome than any other man” (See: Hyperbole and Idiom)

The writer speaks of grace as if it were oil that someone has used to anoint the king’s lips. The word “lips” refers to the king’s speech. The phrase means that the king speaks eloquently. Alternate translation: “it is as if someone has anointed your lips with oil” or “you speak eloquently” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Psalms 45:3

Warriors carried their swords in a sheath that hung from a belt around their waist. The sword would rest against their side. This phrase describes an action of someone preparing for battle. Alternate translation: “Prepare yourself for battle” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 45:4

The writer tells the king to ride his horse or chariot to victory.

The abstract nouns “trustworthiness,” “meekness,” and “righteousness” can be stated as adjectives. Possible meanings are (1) these are qualities of the mighty one. Alternate translation: “because you are trustworthy, meek, and righteous” or (2) these are virtues that he fights to uphold for the people whom he rules. Alternate translation: “in order to fight for what is trustworthy, meek, and right” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Most soldiers held their swords with their right hands when they fought. Here, the phrase “right hand” refers to his ability to fight, which the writer speaks of as if it were a person who can teach the king through the experience he gains in battle. Alternate translation: “You will learn to accomplish great military feats by fighting in many battles” (See: Metonymy and Personification)

“awesome deeds.” This refers to military victories that cause his enemies to fear him and his allies to revere him.

Psalms 45:5

This phrase refers to the king defeating his enemies. Possible meanings are (1) “the peoples fall at your feet in surrender” or (2) “the peoples fall dead at your feet.”

“your arrows have pierced the hearts of your enemies.” The writer speaks to the king while referring to the king in the third person.

Psalms 45:6

The word “throne” represents the kingdom and rule of the king. Alternate translation: “Your kingdom…is forever and ever” or “You will reign…forever and ever” (See: Metonymy)

Possible meanings are that the word “God” (1) is a title for the king, who is God’s representative or (2) modifies the word “throne” and means “Your kingdom that God has given you.”

The word “scepter” represents the king’s authority to rule his kingdom. Alternate translation: “you rule your kingdom with justice” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 45:7

The writer speaks of gladness as if it were an oil that God used to anoint the king. That God has anointed him is a symbolic action that represents God’s choosing him to be king. Alternate translation: “when God appointed you as king, he made you very glad” (See: Metaphor and Symbolic Action)

Psalms 45:8

Here the writer begins to describe what appears to be the wedding ceremony of the king and his bride.

These are aromatic plant substances that people used to make perfumes. (See: Translate Unknowns)

Ivory is a hard white substance that forms animal’s tusks. This phrase describes a palace with walls and furniture that people have decorated with ivory.

The words “stringed instruments” refers to the music that people make by playing the stringed instruments. Alternate translation: “the music of stringed instruments has made you glad” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 45:9

These women are wives of the king who receive his approval.

This is a reference to the woman who will become queen. Alternate translation: “your bride, the queen” or “your bride, who will be the queen” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This is the name of a place that had a reputation for its fine gold. The location is unknown. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 45:10

The writer begins to speak to the queen and refers to her as “daughter” because she is a young woman.

The writer speaks of listening carefully to something as if it were bending one’s ear towards the person who is speaking. Alternate translation: “listen carefully” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of the queen no longer following the beliefs and customs of her native people as if it were forgetting them. Alternate translation: “no longer follow the customs of your people” (See: Metaphor)

Here the word “house” refers to family. Alternate translation: “your relatives” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 45:11

“and” or “so”

This is a polite way to say that the king will want to sleep with the queen as his wife. (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 45:12

The writer continues to speak to the queen.

The writer speaks of the people who live in Tyre as if they are Tyre’s children. Alternate translation: “The people of Tyre” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 45:13

This is a reference to the woman whom the king will marry. Alternate translation: “The king’s bride” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“very beautiful.” This refers to the woman’s appearance.

Her clothing is decorated or embroidered with gold. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “she wears clothing that someone has embroidered with golden thread” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 45:14

The author continues to speak about the queen but begins to address the king again.

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “People will lead her to the king as she wears an embroidered dress” (See: Active or Passive)

a design made by sewing colored threads into cloth

Here the word “you” refers to the king. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “people will bring to you the virgins, her companions who follow her” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 45:15

This phrase describes “gladness and rejoicing” as a person who leads others to celebrate. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Gladness and rejoicing will lead them” or “They will proceed with gladness and rejoicing” (See: Personification and Active or Passive)

These two words mean basically the same thing and emphasize the intensity of gladness. Alternate translation: “great gladness” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 45:16

The writer continues to address the king.

This means that the king’s sons will replace him as king, just as he replaced his ancestors as king.

The phrase “in all the earth” is an exaggeration to emphasize that they will rule over many nations. Alternate translation: “you will make rulers over many nations” (See: Hyperbole)

Psalms 45:17

Here the word “I” refers to the writer. The word “name” refers to the king’s character and reputation. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I will cause people in every generation to know about your greatness” (See: Metonymy and Active or Passive)

Psalms 46

Psalm 046 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 46 is a psalm of praise to God.

Special concepts in this chapter

God is all-powerful, controls nature, and protects his people. (See: people of God)

Psalms 46:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

“This is a psalm that the sons of Korah wrote”

This may refer to a style of music. (See: Translate Unknowns)

The writer speaks of God as if he were a place where people can go for safety. Alternate translation: “God gives us safety and strength” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 46:2

The writer speaks of the deepest part of the sea as if it were the sea’s heart. Here he describes an earthquake that causes the mountains to crumble and fall into the sea. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “the mountains should shake so violently that they fall into the depths of the sea” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

Psalms 46:3

“though the waters of the sea roar and rage.” The words “roar” and “rage” describe the violent movements of the sea during a strong storm.

The phrase “their swelling” refers to the waters of the sea as they rise and crash against the mountains. Alternate translation: “the swelling waters cause the mountains to tremble” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 46:4

The imagery of a running river symbolizes peace and prosperity for the city of God. (See: Symbolic Language)

The phrase “the city of God” refers to Jerusalem, and represents the people who live in that city. Alternate translation: “make the people who live in Jerusalem happy” (See: Metonymy)

This phrase describes “the city of God.” Alternate translation: “the holy place where the Most High lives” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 46:5

The words “her” and “she” refer to “the city of God.”

Here, the word “moved” is the same word translated as “shaken” in Psalms v. 2. The writer speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem by armies as if an earthquake were to destroy it. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “nothing will be able destroy her” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

Psalms 46:6

Here, the word “raged” is the same word that the writer used in Psalms v. 3 to describe the waters of the sea. The writer speaks of the fear of the nations as if it was the violent movements of the sea during a strong storm. Alternate translation: “The nations are terrified” (See: Metaphor)

Here, the word “shaken” is the same word that the writer used in Psalms v. 2 to describe the effect of an earthquake on the mountains. The writer speaks of the overthrow of kingdoms by armies as if an earthquake were to destroy them. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “armies overthrew the kingdoms” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

“God lifted up his voice.” The writer speaks of the “voice” as an object that a person can pick up and raise into the air. This means that the voice becomes louder. Alternate translation: “God shouted” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of the earth as an object, such as ice, that can melt. Here “the earth” represents mankind, and to melt represents fear. Alternate translation: “the people of the earth tremble with fear” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 46:7

The writer speaks of God as if he were a place where people can go for safety. Alternate translation: “the God of Jacob gives us safety” (See: Metaphor)

Possible meanings are (1) “the God whom Jacob worshiped” or (2) “Jacob” is a metonym for the nation of Israel and means “the God of Israel.” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 46:9

“He makes nations stop fighting wars”

This is an idiom that refers to everywhere in the word. Alternate translation: “everywhere in the world” (See: Idiom)

One way in which Yahweh will make all wars to cease is by destroying the weapons that the armies use to fight one another.

Some versions understand this Hebrew word as “chariots.” (See: Textual Variants)

Psalms 46:10

Here, God begins to speak.

In this context, these words are likely a command to the nations to stop their wars. Alternate translation: “Stop fighting” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here the word “know” means to understand and to confess that Yahweh is the true God.

These two phrases mean basically the same thing and emphasize that the people of every nation in the world will exalt God. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “People from every nation will exalt me; people all over the earth will exalt me” (See: Parallelism and Active or Passive)

Psalms 46:11

The writer speaks of God as if he were a place where people can go for safety. See how you translated these lines in Psalms 46:7. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 47

Psalm 047 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 47 is a psalm of praise to God.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s power

God is powerful over all the nations in the world.

Psalms 47:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

Clapping your hands is associated with celebration. Alternate translation: “Clap your hands in celebration” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“shout to God with joyful voices.” Here the word “triumph” refers to the joy associated with victory.

Psalms 47:3

These two phrases are parallel and mean that God enabled Israel to conquer their enemies. (See: Parallelism)

to conquer and place under the authority of another

The writer speaks of conquering other nations as if it were putting those nations underneath their feet. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 47:4

The writer speaks of the land of Israel as if it were an inheritance that God has given the people as a permanent possession. Alternate translation: “He chooses this land as an inheritance for us” (See: Metaphor)

Here the word “glory” refers to a source of pride and represents the land that God has given to his people as an inheritance. Alternate translation: “the land in which Jacob takes pride” (See: Metonymy)

The word “Jacob” refers to the nation of Israel. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 47:5

The writer speaks of God’s conquering the nations as if God were a king ascending his throne, which was located in the temple. Alternate translation: “God has gone up into the temple as people shouted” or “God has ascended to his throne as people shouted” (See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This phrase parallels the previous phrase. The verb may be supplied for clarity. Alternate translation: “Yahweh has gone up as people blew trumpets” (See: Parallelism and Ellipsis)

Psalms 47:6

The phrase “sing praises” is repeated for emphasis. You may omit the repetition if it is awkward in your language. Alternate translation: “Sing, sing praises to God; sing, sing praises to our King” (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 47:9

“The rulers of all the nations”

Possible meanings are that the rulers of the nations (1) “gather in front of the people” or (2) “gathered together with the people” so that all may worship God as king.

Possible meanings are that “shields” (1) refers to instruments of war. Alternate translation: “God has more power than the weapons of all the kings on the earth” or (2) refers to the rulers of the nations who are spoken of as shields who protect their nations. Alternate translation: “the kings of the earth are subject to God” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 48

Psalm 048 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 48 is a psalm of praise for Jerusalem.

Special concepts in this chapter

Jerusalem

Jerusalem has mighty defenses. Foreign nations will be amazed. It is something to remember and testify about. (See: testimony, testify, witness, eyewitness)

It is helpful to know that “Mount Zion” is often used to refer to the city of Jerusalem.

Psalms 48:1

This psalm is a song about Jerusalem being God’s dwelling place. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

This can be stated in active from. Alternate translation: “people are to praise him greatly” (See: Active or Passive)

This is a reference to Jerusalem, which was built on Mount Zion.

Possible meanings are (1) “the city where our God lives” or (2) “the city that belongs to our God”

Psalms 48:2

“Beautiful and high.” The word “elevation” refers to how high mount Zion is.

Here the word “earth” refers to everyone living on the earth. The word “joy” may be translated as a verb. Alternate translation: “Mount Zion gives joy to everyone on earth” or “everyone on earth rejoices because of Mount Zion” (See: Metonymy and Abstract Nouns)

Possible meanings are that this phrase (1) refers to the direction of the north or (2) is another name for Mount Zion meaning “the mountain of God.”

Psalms 48:3

The writer speaks of God as if he were a place where people can go for safety. Alternate translation: “God has made himself known as one who gives safety to the people in Mount Zion’s palaces” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 48:4

The word “see” here alerts us to pay attention to the surprising information that follows.

Here the kings represent their armies. Alternate translation: “assembled their armies” (See: Metonymy)

“together they passed by Jerusalem”

Psalms 48:5

“They saw Jerusalem”

greatly troubled

Psalms 48:6

The writer speaks of the kings’ fear as if it were a person who caused the kings and their armies to tremble. Alternate translation: “There they trembled with fear” (See: Personification)

The writer speaks of the kings’ fear as if it were the pain that a woman experiences in childbirth and speaks of that pain as if it were a person. The verb may be supplied from the previous clause. Alternate translation: “pain took hold of them, as when a woman is in labor” or “they became afraid, like a woman is afraid of experiencing labor pains” (See: Metaphor and Personification and Ellipsis)

Psalms 48:7

Possible meanings are (1) this is a metaphor in which the author describes the kings being afraid as if they were ships that shake because God destroys them with a strong wind. Alternate translation: “They shook with fear, as the ships of Tarshish shake when you break them with the east wind” or (2) this is an apostrophe in which the author describes God’s great power. (See: Metaphor and Apostrophe)

Possible meanings are (1) “a wind blowing from the east” or (2) “a strong wind.”

Possible meanings are that this refers to (1) ships that sail to or are built in the city of Tarshish or (2) any large ocean-going ship.

Psalms 48:8

It is implied that what they have heard is the great things that God has done in the past. Alternate translation: “As we have heard about the great things that God has done” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This means that they have seen the proof that the things that they have heard are true. Alternate translation: “so we have seen God do great things now” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Both of these phrases refer to Jerusalem. Alternate translation: “in the city of our God, Yahweh of hosts” (See: Parallelism)

“make it secure.” Here the word “establish means to preserve and make something secure.

Psalms 48:9

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “how faithful you are to your covenant” or “how faithful you are to us because of your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

“as we are in your temple”

Psalms 48:10

Here the word “name” represents God’s character and reputation. The two phrases compare the greatness of God’s reputation with how greatly people praise him. Alternate translation: “Your name is very great…and so people throughout the world praise you greatly” or “People all throughout the world have heard of you…so people throughout the world praise you” (See: Metonymy)

This is an idiomatic expression that means everywhere in the word. See how you translated this in Psalms 46:9. (See: Idiom)

The writer speaks of righteousness as if it were an object that God could hold in his hand. Here the word “hand” refers to God’s power and authority to rule. Alternate translation: “you rule with righteousness” or “you are righteous as you rule” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Psalms 48:11

The writer speaks of Mount Zion as if it were a person who could be glad. The phrase refers to the people who live in Jerusalem. Alternate translation: “Let those who live on Mount Zion be glad” (See: Personification and Metonymy)

The writer speaks of the towns in Judah as if they were Judah’s children. The phrase refers to the people who live in those towns. Alternate translation: “let the people who live in the cities of Judah rejoice” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Psalms 48:12

These two phrases are parallel. Alternate translation: “Walk all the way around Mount Zion” (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 48:13

“notice in detail”

Psalms 48:14

The word “guide” can be translated as a verb. Alternate translation: “he will guide us” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Possible meanings are (1) “until we die” or (2) “forever.”

Psalms 49

Psalm 049 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 49 is a wisdom psalm. (See: wise, wisdom)

Special concepts in this chapter

Riches

Riches do not last forever. They cannot save a person from death, and they cannot be taken from a person at death. (See: eternity, everlasting, eternal, forever and save, saved, safe, salvation)

Psalms 49:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

These two phrases are parallel. Together they strengthen the command for all people to listen. (See: Parallelism)

This idiomatic expression means to use one’s ears to listen. Alternate translation: “listen” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 49:2

The writer speaks of people who are weak or insignificant in society as being low and of people who are important and powerful as being high. Together, the words “low” and “high” represent all people. Alternate translation: “both important people and unimportant people” or “people of every social class” (See: Metaphor and Merism)

Together the words “rich” and “poor” refer to all people, regardless of wealth. Alternate translation: “all people” (See: Merism)

Psalms 49:3

Here the word “mouth” refers to the whole person who speaks. Alternate translation: “I will speak wise words” (See: Synecdoche)

Here the word “heart” represents the mind and thoughts. The abstract nouns “meditation” and “understanding” can be translated as verbs. Alternate translation: “the thoughts upon which I meditate will help you to understand” (See: Metonymy and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 49:4

The writer speaks of listening carefully to something as if it were bending one’s ear towards the person who is speaking. Alternate translation: “listen carefully” (See: Metaphor)

“as I play the harp”

Psalms 49:5

The writer asks this question to emphasize that he has no reason to fear when bad things happen. Alternate translation: “I have no reason to fear…heels.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

“when evil things happen.” Here the word “days” refers to general periods of time.

Possible meanings are (1) the writer speaks of the evil desires of his enemies as if it were a predator ready to overtake him. Alternate translation: “when the iniquity of sinful men is ready to overcome me” or (2) the writer’s enemies surround him as they commit their iniquity. Alternate translation: “when my enemies surround me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 49:6

These people trust their wealth will keep them from having to suffer. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

a large amount of something

Psalms 49:7

“There is no way that any of them can” or Alternate translation: “No one can”

Both of these phrases express that a person cannot give God enough money to be able to avoid death. Alternate translation: “no one can pay money to God so that their brother will not die” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Parallelism)

Psalms 49:8

The word “redemption” can be translated with a verb. Alternate translation: “it costs too much to redeem a person’s life” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 49:9

This refers to the body decomposing in the grave.

Psalms 49:10

The writer speaks of experiencing something as if it were seeing that thing. Alternate translation: “he will die and his body will decay” (See: Metaphor)

The author refers to all people by referring to those who have the most and least wisdom. (See: Merism)

This means a person who is stupid or unintelligent.

Psalms 49:11

“Their belief”

The verb may be supplied from the previous phrase. Alternate translation: “the places where they live will continue to all generations” (See: Ellipsis)

“they name their lands after themselves.” This phrase expresses ownership. Alternate translation: “they own their own lands” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 49:12

“But man, even if he has wealth”

Psalms 49:13

The writer speaks of the fate of fools as if it is the destination at the end of the path on which they walk. Alternate translation: “This is the fate of those who practice folly” (See: Metaphor)

“yet after they die”

Psalms 49:14

The author continues to describe people who believe their wealth will save them.

The writer compares people who will all die to a flock of sheep. Just as sheep cannot escape when the butcher decides to slaughter them, so men will not escape when it is their time to die. (See: Simile)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God has appointed them” (See: Active or Passive)

The writer speaks of men dying by personifying death as a shepherd who leads them into the grave. Alternate translation: “death will take them away as a shepherd leads away sheep to be slaughtered” (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Here the word “morning” is a metaphor that refers to a time when God will vindicate righteous people and save them from evil people. (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of Sheol, the place of the dead, as if it were a person or animal. He speaks of the decay of dead bodies as if Sheol were eating them. Alternate translation: “their bodies will decompose in the grave” (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Psalms 49:15

The writer speaks of Sheol as if it were a person who has power over those who die. From the context, it is implied that this power refers to consuming the bodies of the dead. (See: Personification)

Here the word “life” refers to the whole person. Alternate translation: “God will redeem me” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 49:16

The word “glory” here refers to wealth or riches. Possible meanings are (1) “when he gains more wealth in his house” or (2) “when his family becomes richer.”

Psalms 49:17

“he will take nothing with him to the grave”

The phrase “go down” refers to when the man dies. Alternate translation: “his glory will not go along with him when he dies” or “he will not keep his reputation when he dies” (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 49:18

Here the word “soul” refers to the whole person. This phrase means that he considered himself to be happy and successful because of his riches. Alternate translation: “He congratulated himself” (See: Synecdoche and Idiom)

Psalms 49:19

“he will go to where his fathers’ generation is.” This is a euphemism that means that the rich man will die and join his ancestors in the grave. Alternate translation: “he will join his ancestors in the grave” (See: Euphemism)

The word “they” refers to the rich man and his ancestors. The word “light” may refer to the sun or be a metaphor for life. Alternate translation: “they will never see the sun again” or “they will never live again” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 50

Psalm 050 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 50 is a wisdom psalm. It tells what pleases God. (See: wise, wisdom)

Special concepts in this chapter

Sacrifices

God does not need animal sacrifices; he does not eat meat or drink blood. The world and everything in it belong to God. He wants people to be thankful and to depend on him. God rejects evil people who reject his covenant. (See: blood and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Psalms 50:1

This psalm is a song that teaches people. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The author uses three different names to speak of God.

Here the word “earth” refers to the people who live on the earth. Alternate translation: “called all people” (See: Metonymy)

This phrase refers to the directions east, where the sun rises, and west, where the sun sets. The writer uses these two extremes to represent everywhere on earth. Alternate translation: “everywhere on earth” (See: Merism)

Psalms 50:2

Possible meanings are (1) “Zion, whose beauty is perfect” or (2) “Zion, the most beautiful city.”

The writer speaks of God as if he were a light that shines. This refers to God causing people to know about his glory. Alternate translation: “God’s glory shines like a light” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 50:3

The writer uses this negative statement to emphasize the positive. Alternate translation: “speaks so that everyone can hear him” (See: Litotes)

The writer speaks of a fire burning things as if it were eating them. Alternate translation: “a fire burns in front of him” (See: Metaphor)

“there is a great storm around him”

Psalms 50:4

Possible meanings are (1) God is calling on all who live in heaven and on earth to be witnesses as he judges his people or (2) God is speaking to heaven and earth as if they are people, and he is calling them to be witnesses as he judges his people. (See: Metonymy and Personification)

Psalms 50:6

Possible meanings are (1) the writer uses the word “heavens” to refer to the angels who live there or (2) the writer speaks of “the heavens” as if they are a person who testifies about God’s righteousness. (See: Metonymy and Personification)

Psalms 50:8

“I will reprove you, but not for your sacrifices.” God explains that their sacrifices are not the reason that he is reproving them.

tell someone he is guilty of doing wrong

This explains why God is not rebuking them for their sacrifices. The phrase “are always before me” refers to being in God’s presence and means that his people are always sacrificing their burnt offerings to him. Alternate translation: “you are always sacrificing burnt offerings to me” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 50:9

areas surrounded by walls in which sheep and goats are kept

Psalms 50:10

The phrase “on a thousand hills” does not represent the total number of cattle that God owns. The number is an exaggeration that emphasizes that God owns all of the cattle in the world. The verb may be supplied from the previous phrase. Alternate translation: “all the cattle in the world are mine” (See: Hyperbole and Ellipsis)

“1,000 hills” (See: Numbers)

Psalms 50:11

Here the word “know” implies ownership. Alternate translation: “I own all the birds” (See: Idiom and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 50:12

This describes something that could not happen, since God does not get hungry. (See: Hypothetical Situations)

Psalms 50:13

God asks this rhetorical question to emphasize that he does not do these things and so has no need for their sacrifices. Alternate translation: “I do not eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 50:14

Here God refers to himself. Alternate translation: “Offer to me” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

The writer speaks of “vows” as if they are currency which a person pays to God. Alternate translation: “fulfill your vows to the Most High” or “do what you have promised the Most High to do” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 50:15

Here the word “day” refers to any period of time. Alternate translation: “whenever you have troubles” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 50:16

Here God is still speaking and speaks of himself in the third person. Alternate translation: “But to the wicked I say” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

The word “wicked” refers to wicked people in general. Alternate translation: “to wicked people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

God speaks of wicked people reciting the words of his covenant as if they are putting the covenant in their mouth. Alternate translation: “talk about my covenant” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 50:17

This is the end of the rhetorical question begun with the words “What have you to do” (Psalms 50:16). God uses this question to rebuke wicked people. This question can be turned into a statement: “It is not right for you to declare my statutes and my covenant, since you hate instruction and throw my words away.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

God speaks of the wicked people rejecting what he says as if they were throwing away trash. Alternate translation: “reject what I say” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 50:18

Possible meanings are (1) that they approve of the thief’s actions. Alternate translation: “you approve or him” or (2) that they join the thief in their actions. Alternate translation: “you join him” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 50:19

God speaks of a person speaking evil things as if that person’s mouth is a messenger whom the person sends to do evil things. Alternate translation: “You are always saying evil things” (See: Metaphor and Synecdoche)

The word “tongue” represents the person who is speaking. Alternate translation: “you are always telling lies” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 50:20

These two phrases have the same meaning but use different words. God accuses them of speaking falsely against members of their own family. (See: Parallelism)

To “sit and speak” against someone implies that this person deliberately thinks of bad things to say about someone. Alternate translation: “You always think of ways to speak” (See: Idiom and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 50:21

Since God had kept silent and not yet rebuked the wicked people for their actions, they thought that God approved of what they did. Alternate translation: “you thought that I was someone who acts just like you do” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

tell someone he is guilty of doing wrong

God speaks of listing all of the evil things that they have done. Alternate translation: “list…all the things you have done” (See: Idiom)

Here, to be “before your eyes” means that it is in a place where they can see. This means that they will not be able to deny the charges that God brings against them. Alternate translation: “right in front of you” or “so that you can not deny them” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 50:22

God speaks of the wicked rejecting him as if they have forgotten him. He speaks of himself in the third person. Alternate translation: “you who reject me” (See: Metaphor and First, Second or Third Person)

God speaks of destroying the wicked as if he were a lion eating its prey. Alternate translation: “I will destroy you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 50:23

God speaks of a the way a person lives as if it were a path that the person travels. Alternate translation: “lives his life the right way” (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as “save.” God refers to himself in the third person. Alternate translation: “I will save him” (See: Abstract Nouns and First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 51

Psalm 051 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 51 is a psalm of repentance from sin. (See: repent, repentance and sin, sinful, sinner, sinning)

Special concepts in this chapter

Repentance

The psalmist is truly sorry for having sinned. He repented and God forgave his sins. God wants true sorrow for having sinned, not sacrifices. (See: true, truth and forgive, forgiven, forgiveness, pardon, pardoned)

Author of Psalm

Scholars are divided over whether this psalm was authored by King David as is mentioned by the superscription. If nothing else, we can assume the last two verses were added later since Jerusalem is intact with well-built walls during King David’s reign.

Psalms 51:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. In this psalm David asks God for forgiveness. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

It can be stated clearly what Nathan did when he came to David, because this psalm is in response to that. Alternate translation: “when Nathan the prophet came to David and rebuked him” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “because you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

“because you do so many merciful things”

Forgiving sins is spoken of as either (1) blotting them out or (2) erasing a written record of the sins. Alternate translation: “forgive my sins like someone wiping something away” or “forget my sins like someone who erases a record of sins” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:2

These two phrases mean the same thing. (See: Parallelism)

Being acceptable to God is spoken of as being clean. God makes people acceptable by forgiving their sins. Alternate translation: “Wash away all my sin” or “Forgive all my sins so that I will be acceptable to you” (See: Metaphor)

completely, totally

Being acceptable to God is spoken of as being clean. God makes people acceptable by forgiving their sins. Alternate translation: “Make me clean from my sin” or “forgive me for my sin so that I will be clean” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:3

Not being able to forget his sins is spoken of as if they were always in front of him where he can see them. Alternate translation: “I am always aware of my sins” or “I cannot forget my sins” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:4

The word “sight” here represents judgment. Yahweh saw and did not approve of David’s actions. Alternate translation: “what you judge to be evil” or “what you consider to be evil” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:5

Being a sinner is spoken of as being in iniquity. Alternate translation: “I was already a sinner when I was born” (See: Metaphor)

Being a sinner is spoken of as being in sin. Alternate translation: “even when my mother conceived me, I was a sinner” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:6

The use of “See” here draw our attention to the contrast between this sentence and “See, I was born in iniquity” (verse 5). “Truly I was born in iniquity…But you desire trustworthiness”

The “inner self” represents either (1) the person’s desires or (2) the whole person. Alternate translation: “you want me to desire trustworthiness” or “you want me to be trustworthy” (See: Metonymy and Synecdoche)

Psalms 51:7

Being acceptable to God is spoken of as being clean or white. God makes people acceptable by forgiving their sins. (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of God as if God were a priest who would sprinkle water on him to make him acceptable to God. Alternate translation: “Make me acceptable by sprinkling water on me with hyssop” or “Forgive me for my sins so that I will be acceptable to you” (See: Metaphor)

This is a plant that the priests used to sprinkle water or blood on people or things to make them ceremonially clean, that is, acceptable to God. (See: Translate Unknowns)

Not having sin is spoken of as being white. Alternate translation: “very, very white” (See: Simile)

Psalms 51:8

These two words mean basically the same thing and emphasize his desire to hear joyful things. (See: Doublet)

Feeling terrible sadness is spoken of as if his bones were broken. Alternate translation: “for you have caused me terrible sadness in my inner being. Let me rejoice again” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:9

Thinking about someone’s sins is spoken of as seeing them. Forgiving or refusing to think about the sins is spoken of as choosing not to see them. Alternate translation: “Do not look at my sins” or “Do not remember my sins” (See: Metaphor)

Forgiving or refusing to think about someone’s sins is spoken of as either (1) blotting them out or (2) erasing a written record of the sins. Alternate translation: (1) “forgive my sins like someone wiping something away” or (2) “forget my sins like someone who erases a record of sins” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:10

Here the “heart” represents the feelings and desires. Being completely devoted and obedient to God is spoken of as having a clean heart. Alternate translation: “Make me completely devoted to you” or “Make me want to obey you always” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Here “spirit” represents the attitude and desires of a David. Alternate translation: “make my attitude right” or “make me always want to do what is right” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 51:11

“Do not force me to go away from you.” Being rejected by God is spoken of as being forced to go away from him. Alternate translation: “Do not reject me as one of your people” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:12

“hold me up” or “assist me”

Psalms 51:13

“the way you want people to live” or “what you want people to do”

These two words refer to the same people here.

Psalms 51:14

This phrase refers to killing another person. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 51:15

Here the person is represented by his “mouth.” Being able to talk is spoken of as the lips being open. Here not being able to speak is a symbol of being guilty of sin and not being able to make a defense. Alternate translation: “Lord, make me able to speak, and I will praise you” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 51:16

This means that God wants something more important than these things. Alternate translation: “A sacrifice is not enough to please you…you want something more than burn offerings” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 51:17

“The sacrifices that please God”

A broken spirit represents a humble attitude. Alternate translation: “humility” or “a person who becomes humble” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Being humble and sorry for one’s sin is spoken of as having a broken and contrite heart. The heart represents the emotions and will. Alternate translation: “sorrow and humility” or “a person who is sorry for his sin and humble” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 51:18

The walls of a city protect the city and the people in it. Possible meanings are (1) “enable us to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem” or (2) “protect Jerusalem and make it strong” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 51:19

A bull is an adult male cow. Bulls were often used as sacrificial animals, according to God’s instruction.

Psalms 52

Psalm 052 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 52 is a wisdom psalm. It teaches that God will destroy evil people. (See: wise, wisdom and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Evil people

Although the evil people feel secure with their wealth and evil deeds, God will destroy them. But people who do good are secure because God protects them. (See: work, works, deeds)

Superscription

This psalm is called “a Maschil of David.” The word “Maschil” in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 52:1

In this psalm the word “you” refers to Doeg. When Saul wanted to kill David, Doeg told Saul where David was so that Saul could find him. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1.

These are the names of men. (See: How to Translate Names)

This question shows how angry David was at the one who made trouble. Alternate translation: “You should not be so proud of making trouble, you mighty man.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

David may have been using irony when he called Doeg this. Alternate translation: “you, who think you are so mighty” (See: Irony)

David speaks of God’s covenant faithfulness as if it were something that could come. David was probably referring to God’s promises to protect his people from wicked people. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective or an adverb. Alternate translation: “Every day, God is faithful to keep the promises of his covenant” or “Every day, God faithfully protects his people from wicked people like you” (See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 52:2

a sharp blade

Here the tongue is compared to a sharp razor which is capable of causing great harm. Alternate translation: “Your tongue harms people like a sharp razor does, when you plan destruction and deceive others” (See: Simile)

Here “your tongue” refers to the person David is speaking to. Alternate translation: “You” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 52:3

David continues speaking to the “mighty man” of Psalms 5:1

“you love lying more than speaking what is right”

Psalms 52:4

Here words that harm others are spoken of as if they were animals that devour people. Alternate translation: “words that harm others” (See: Metaphor)

This refers to the person the author is speaking to. Alternate translation: “you speaker of deceit” or “you liar” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 52:5

All three of these phrases are different ways of saying “remove you” (See: Parallelism)

Being alive on earth is spoken of as if people are plants with roots in the ground. God killing someone is spoken of as digging up the plant’s roots and taking it out of the ground. Alternate translation: “he will take you out the land of the living” or “He will kill you so that you will no longer be on earth with living people” (See: Metaphor)

This may be a musical term that tells people how to sing or play their instruments here. Some translations write the Hebrew word, and some translations do not include it. (See: Copy or Borrow Words)

Psalms 52:6

“The righteous will also see God remove him and they will fear”

Psalms 52:7

“Look” or “Listen” or “Pay attention to what I am about to tell you”

Here “refuge” represents a protector. Alternate translation: “did not make God his protector” or “did not ask God to protect him” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 52:8

Green olive trees are strong and secure. They do not fall over.

Being safe and secure is spoken of as being like a strong tree. Alternate translation: “I am strong in God’s house, like a green olive tree” or “Because I worship in God’s house, I am secure like a green olive tree” (See: Simile)

This refers to God’s temple.

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “I will trust in God forever and ever because he is faithful to his covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 52:9

God’s name represents God himself. Waiting for God represents waiting for God to help him. Alternate translation: “I will wait for you, because you are good” or “I will wait for you to help me, because you are good” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 53

Psalm 053 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 53 is a wisdom psalm. It warns people who do evil that God will judge them. (See: wise, wisdom and evil, wicked, unpleasant and judge, judgment)

Special concepts in this chapter

God’s watching mankind

God looks down from heaven and sees that all humans are evil and corrupt. (See: heaven, sky, heavens, heavenly)

Superscription

This psalm is called “a Maschil of David.” The word “Maschil” in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 53:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music. (See: Copy or Borrow Words)

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1.

Psalms 53:2

This refers to all people.

Seeking God as a person would look for someone is spoken of as “seeking” God. Possible meanings are (1) wanting to know God. Alternate translation: “who want to know him” or (2) worshiping God. Alternate translation: “who worship him” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 53:3

Rejecting God and what is right is spoken of as turning away. Alternate translation: “They have all turned away from doing what is right” or “They have all rejected God” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 53:4

This question is used to show the shock that the writer feels because the people are so sinful. It can be written as two statements. “Those who commit iniquity act as though they do not know anything. They devour my people as if they were eating bread, and they do not call on God!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Destroying people is spoken of as devouring them. Doing it as if they were eating bread implies that they did it very easily or without feeling guilty about it. Alternate translation: “those who destroy my people as freely as if they were eating bread” (See: Metaphor and Simile)

Psalms 53:5

Scattering people’s bones represents killing them and allowing their bones to remain wherever they have died and not be buried properly. “God will completely destroy whoever will camp against you, and their bones will lie scattered on the ground” (See: Metonymy)

Camping against people represents attacking them. Enemy armies would travel and set up camps to live in temporarily near the people they wanted to attack. Alternate translation: “whoever will attack you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 53:6

The word “Oh” here introduces an exclamation that expresses a hope or prayer. Alternate translation: “I hope that the salvation of Israel will come” or “I pray that the salvation of will come” (See: Exclamations)

The salvation represents God, the savior, whose temple is in Zion. Alternate translation: “the savior of Israel would come from Zion” or “God would come from Zion and save Israel” (See: Metonymy)

“When God saves his captive people”

These two phrases have the same meaning. (See: Parallelism)

Here “Jacob” refers to the descendants of Jacob, the Israelites. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 54

Psalm 054 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 54 is a deliverance psalm. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Rescue

Evil people want to kill David; but God has rescued him in the past and he trusts God to rescue him again. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant and trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Superscription

This psalm is called “a Maschil of David.” The word “Maschil” in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 54:1

This psalm is a prayer for help. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

“people should play stringed instruments with this song”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1

people from the city of Ziph in the Judean mountains, southeast of Hebron. (See: How to Translate Names)

Here God’s name represents his character. It may represent specifically his power or his justice. Alternate translation: “Save me, God, by your power” (See: Metonymy)

Judging David here represents showing people that David is not guilty. When God uses his might to save David, people will know that God has judged him as not guilty. Alternate translation: “In your might, show people that I am not guilty” or “Show people that I am not guilty by using your power to rescue me” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 54:2

Giving one’s ear represents listening. Alternate translation: “listen to the words” (See: Metonymy)

Here the speaker is represented by his mouth. Alternate translation: “my words” or “what I am saying to you” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 54:3

Rising up against someone represents preparing to attack him or actually attacking him. Alternate translation: “have prepared to attack me” or “are attacking me” (See: Metonymy)

“men who have no mercy”

Seeking after someone’s life represents trying to kill him. Alternate translation: “have tried to kill me” or “want to kill me” (See: Metonymy)

Setting God before them represents paying attention to God. Alternate translation: “they do not pay attention to God” or “they ignore God” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 54:4

Defending David and keeping him safe is spoken of as upholding or supporting him. Alternate translation: “who defends me” or “who keeps me safe” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 54:5

Punishment is spoken as if it were payment. Alternate translation: “He will do the evil to my enemies that they have done to me” or “He will cause the evil that my enemies have done to me to be done to them” (See: Metaphor)

Here David changes from talking about God to talking to God. Alternate translation: “God, destroy them because you are faithful to me”

Psalms 54:6

Yahweh’s name represents him. Alternate translation: “I will give thanks to you, Yahweh, for you are good” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 54:7

The eye represents the person. Alternate translation: “I have looked” (See: Synecdoche)

Possible meanings are (1) seeing that his enemies have been defeated. Alternate translation: “I have seen that my enemies have been defeated” or (2) defeating his enemies. Alternate translation: “I have defeated my enemies” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 55

Psalm 055 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 55 is a deliverance psalm. The psalmist is praying that God will deliver him from his enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Betrayal

The author wishes he could get far away from his enemies after his best friend betrayed him. He asks God to completely destroy his enemies. He is trusting God to save him. (See: trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness and save, saved, safe, salvation)

Superscription

This psalm is called “a Maschil of David.” The word “Maschil” in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 55:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

“people should play stringed instruments with this song”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1

Giving one’s ear represents listening. Alternate translation: “Listen to my prayer” (See: Metonymy)

Refusing to pay attention to his plea is spoken of as hiding himself from it. Alternate translation: “do not ignore my plea” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 55:3

Here “voice” represents what they say. Alternate translation: “because of what my enemies say” (See: Metonymy)

Causing trouble is spoken of as bringing trouble. Alternate translation: “they cause me to have great troubles” or “they do wicked things to me and so I suffer” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 55:4

Here, “heart trembles” refers to his emotional pain and suffering. This suffering is because of fear. Alternate translation: “I am suffering because I am so afraid” (See: Metonymy)

Becoming very afraid, or terrified, is spoken of as if terror is a thing that falls on a person. Alternate translation: “I am very much afraid that I will die” or “I am terrified that I will die” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 55:5

Becoming fearful and trembling is spoken of as if fearfulness and trembling are things that come on a person. Alternate translation: “I have become very fearful and I tremble” (See: Metaphor)

Feeling horror is spoken of as if horror were a thing that can cover people. Alternate translation: “I feel terrible horror” or “I am extremely afraid” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 55:6

This exclamation expresses something the writer wishes for very much. Alternate translation: “I wish very much that I had wings like a dove” (See: Exclamations)

“If I did have wings, I would fly away”

Psalms 55:7

“I would do that and more: I would wander”

Psalms 55:8

The writer finishes telling about what he had said.

a strong storm

Psalms 55:9

Destroying something is spoken of as eating all of it. Possible meanings are “Destroy my enemies’ plans” or “Destroy my enemies.” (See: Metaphor)

“Language” here represents what the people were saying to each other, and probably refers specifically to them talking about plans to do evil. Confusing it represents making the people unable to understand each other. Alternate translation: “confuse them when they speak to each other” or “confuse their plans” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 55:10

“violence and strife go about on her walls” (Psalms 55:9). Violence and strife are spoken of as if they were people. This can be expressed by telling about the people who cause violence and strife. Alternate translation: “people walk about on the city’s walls, being violent and fighting” (See: Personification)

“along the tops of the city walls.” Cities had thick walls around them to protect them from enemies. People could walk along the tops of the walls to see if any enemies were coming to the city.

Wickedness and trouble are spoken of as if they were people. This can be expressed by telling about the people who do wickedness and trouble. Alternate translation: “people do wickedness and cause trouble in the middle of the city” or “people do sinful things and cause trouble in it” (See: Personification)

Psalms 55:11

Wickedness is spoken of as if it were a person. This can be expressed by telling about the people who do wicked things. Alternate translation: “People do wicked things in the middle of the city” or “people destroy things in the city” (See: Personification)

Oppression and deceit are spoken of as if they were people. This can be expressed by telling about the people who oppress and deceive others. Alternate translation: “People oppress and deceive others in the city streets, and they do not leave” or “People are always oppressing and deceiving others in the city streets” (See: Personification)

This may refer to the marketplaces in the city.

Psalms 55:12

Tolerating or enduring a rebuke is spoken of as bearing or carrying it. Alternate translation: “I could have tolerated the rebuke” or “I would not be so sad about the rebuke” (See: Metaphor)

Being proud of oneself and insulting another is spoken of as raising oneself up against another. Alternate translation: “insulted me” or “despised me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 55:13

The psalmist speaks as though the person who had rebuked and taunted him were there listening to him. (See: Apostrophe)

This can be divided and a new sentence begun. Alternate translation: “myself. You were my companion and my close friend”

Psalms 55:14

The word “we” refers to the psalmist and his friend.

Possible meanings are (1) “together” or (2) “with the crowd.”

Psalms 55:15

Death is spoken of as if it were a person that could attack people. Alternate translation: “Let my enemies die suddenly” (See: Personification)

Dying suddenly is spoken of as if people were to go to Sheol so fast that they do not even die first. Alternate translation: “let them suddenly go to Sheol” (See: Metaphor)

Wickedness is spoken of as if it were a thing that could be in a certain place. The habitual wickedness of his enemies is spoken of as if wickedness were with them or near them. Alternate translation: “they always do wicked things where they live” (See: Metaphor)

This phrase intensifies the idea of wickedness being very near them. Here wickedness is spoken of as being not only in their homes, but right where they are. Alternate translation: “They always do wicked things wherever they are” or “wherever they are” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 55:16

This phrase shows that the writer has stopped talking about one thing and is now about to talk about himself. Alternate translation: “But I”

Psalms 55:17

the sound people and animals make when they are in pain

Here “voice” represents either (1) the psalmist or (2) the psalmist’s complaints and moans. Alternate translation: “he will hear me” or “he will hear my moaning” (See: Synecdoche and Metonymy)

Psalms 55:18

Here “my life” represents the psalmist. Alternate translation: “me” (See: Metonymy)

“for many people fought against me”

Psalms 55:19

“will hear my enemies” or “will hear what my enemies say.” Some versions say “will hear me.”

How God will humiliate them can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “will defeat and humiliate them” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 55:20

Raising the hand against people represents attacking them. This may be a metaphor for saying things that put people in danger or cause them trouble. Alternate translation: “has attacked those” or “has betrayed those” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 55:21

Someone’s “mouth” represents what he says. Alternate translation: “What my friend said” (See: Metonymy)

Speech that is pleasant or nice to hear is spoken of as if it were smooth and easy to swallow. Alternate translation: “What he said was pleasant like smooth butter” or “He said nice things” (See: Simile)

“was mean” or “was hateful”

“what he said”

People put oil on their skin to make it feel nice, and they put it on wounds to help them heal. Speech that is kind or helpful is spoken of as if it were soft or soothing. Alternate translation: “what he said was kind and soothing like oil” or “he said kind things” (See: Simile)

Speech that causes people trouble is spoken of as if it were swords that wound people. Alternate translation: “what he said wounded people as drawn swords do” or “what he said caused people trouble” (See: Metaphor)

The word “drawn” here means that the swords were pulled out of their covers and ready to be used.

Psalms 55:22

Here the psalmist is speaking to other godly people.

Here troubles are spoken of as if they were burdens that people have to carry. Trusting God to help us when we have troubles is spoken of as putting our burdens on him so that he can carry them for us. Alternate translation: “Give Yahweh your problems” or “Trust God to help you with all your troubles like someone who trusts a stronger person to carry his load” (See: Metaphor)

Taking care of someone or helping someone when he has troubles is spoken of as supporting him. Alternate translation: “he will take care of you” or “he will help you”

A person who is about to be severely harmed by some sort of disaster is spoken of as if he is tottering or swaying and is about to fall down. Alternate translation: “he will not let a righteous person sway and fall down” or “he will not let a righteous person to be destroyed” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 55:23

The author speaks to God now.

This probably refers to the grave or hell.

This represents causing people to die. Alternate translation: “will cause the wicked to die” or “will cause wicked people to die and go to the place where dead people are” (See: Metonymy)

“people who lie and who want to kill others” or “deceitful murderers”

“even half as long as other people live”

Psalms 56

Psalm 056 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 56 is a psalm of deliverance. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Fear

Although the psalmist’s enemies are trying to harm him, he is not afraid because God is protecting him.

Superscription

The word “Michtam” is used in the superscription for this psalm. There is much discussion about this word but, in the end, no one is certain what it means. It is easiest to transliterate this word into your language, or you can simply translate it as “psalm.”

Psalms 56:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship;”

This probably tells what musical style or tune to use when singing this psalm. Alternate translation: “Sing this psalm using the tune of ‘Jonath elem rehokim’” or “Sing this using the Jonath elem rehokim style”

This may mean “Dove on Distant Oak Trees.” Translators may either write the meaning or copy the Hebrew words. (See: Translate Unknowns and Copy or Borrow Words)

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

The meaning of the word “michtam” is uncertain. You may use the word “psalm” instead. This can be written as: “This is a psalm that David wrote.” See how you translated this in Psalms 16:1.

“come closer and closer in order to attack me”

Psalms 56:2

The enemies’ fierce attack is spoken of as if they were crushing his body by marching on it. Alternate translation: “My enemies attack me severely” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 56:3

The word “you” refers to God.

Psalms 56:4

Here a question is used to show that the psalmist is not afraid of people, because they cannot seriously harm him. This rhetorical question can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “mere man can do nothing to me!” or “mere man cannot harm me badly!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

“just humans” or “people.” This implies that people are not powerful, but God is powerful.

Psalms 56:5

“All the time”

Repeating what someone says but changing it a little so that it means something different is spoken of as twisting their words. Alternate translation: “they say that I said things than I did not say” or “they claim that I said things, but they lie” (See: Metaphor)

“they always have evil thoughts against me” or “they always think of evil things to do to me”

Psalms 56:6

Watching what a person does in order to see how to cause him trouble is spoken of as watching his steps, just as someone who wants to capture a person watches where that person walks. Alternate translation: “they watch everything I do” (See: Metaphor)

Waiting to kill someone is spoken of as waiting for his life. Alternate translation: “as they wait to kill me” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 56:7

What they might escape can be sued clearly. Alternate translation: “Do not let them escape your punishment for their iniquity” or “Do not let them escape when you punish them for the wicked things they do” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Defeating the enemies is spoken of as bringing them down. Alternate translation: “Defeat the peoples” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 56:8

God’s concern for the psalmist is spoken of as if God counted each time that the psalmist has walked in sadness and with no place to go for comfort. Alternate translation: “You care about all the times that I have been wandering alone” (See: Metaphor)

God’s concern for the psalmist is spoken of as if God saved the psalmist’s tears in a bottle. The tears represent crying. Alternate translation: “you know how much I have cried and you care about me” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

God’s concern for the psalmist is spoken of as if he wrote the number of the psalmist’s tears in his book. This question is used to remind God about how greatly he cares for the psalmist. Alternate translation: “you have written about them in your book!” or “you remember my cries!” (See: Metaphorand Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 56:9

“will retreat” or “will turn and run away”

This means that God favors him. In this context it implies that God fights against the psalmist’s enemies in order to protect him. Alternate translation: “God is fighting for me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 56:11

Here a question is used to show that the psalmist is not afraid of people, because they cannot seriously harm him. This rhetorical question can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “People can do nothing to me!” or “People cannot harm me badly!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 56:12

Being obligated to do something is spoken of as if the duty to do something is on a person. Alternate translation: “I must fulfill my vows to you” or “I must do what I promised you I would do” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 56:13

The feet here represent the person. Falling here probably represents being killed by his enemies. Alternate translation: “you have kept me from falling” or “you have kept me from being killed by my enemies” (See: Synecdoche)

Living and being seen by God is spoken of as walking before God. Alternate translation: “so that I may live in God’s presence” (See: Metaphor)

Here “the light of the living” probably represents God’s enabling people to live. Alternate translation: “with the life that you give” or “because you enable me to live” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 57

Psalm 057 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 57 is a psalm of deliverance. It praises God for the many times he has delivered David. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Fear

Since God is protecting the psalmist, he has nothing to fear from his enemies.

Superscription

The word “Michtam” is used in the superscription for this psalm. There is much discussion about this word but, in the end, no one is certain what it means. It is easiest to transliterate this word into your language, or you can simply translate it as “psalm.”

Psalms 57:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This probably tells what musical style or tune to use when singing the psalm. Alternate translation: “sing this psalm using the tune of ‘Al Tashheth’” or “sing this using the Al Tashheth style”

This means “Do Not Destroy.” Translators may either write the meaning or copy the Hebrew words. (See: Translate Unknowns and Copy or Borrow Words)

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

The meaning of the word “michtam” is uncertain. You may use the word “psalm” instead. This can be written as: “This is a psalm that David wrote.” See how you translated this in Psalms 16:1.

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “I go to you for protection” (See: Metaphor)

The psalmist speaks of God as if he were a mother bird that protects its babies by huddling them under its wings. Alternate translation: “I trust you to protect me” (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “destruction” can be stated as “destructive.” Alternate translation: “until this destructive storm is over” (See: Abstract Nouns and Metaphor)

Psalms 57:2

This explains why he will cry out to God. It can be translated with “because.” Alternate translation: “because he does all things for me”

Psalms 57:3

The enemies’ fierce attack is spoken of as if they were crushing his body by marching on it. Alternate translation: “those who attack me severely” (See: Metaphor)

God’s being kind and faithful is spoken of as if he were sending his kindness and faithful. The abstract nouns “kindness” and “faithfulness” can be stated as “kind” and “trustworthy.” Alternate translation: “God will be kind to me and trustworthy” (See: Metaphor Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 57:4

The psalmist speaks of his enemies as if they were lions. Alternate translation: “I live among fierce enemies” or “Fierce enemies surround me like lions” (See: Metaphor)

Destroying is spoken of as devouring or eating something up. Some versions understand the Hebrew text to mean “fiery beasts.” Both images speak of his enemies as if they were wild beasts. Alternate translation: “those who are ready to destroy me” (See: Metaphor)

The enemies’ spears and arrows are spoken of as if they were lions’ teeth. The psalmist continues to speak of his enemies as if they were lions. Alternate translation: “people who kill others with spears and arrows as lions kill with their sharp teeth” (See: Metaphor)

Since both of these terms are weapons, if your culture knows only one, it is acceptable to use it alone. (See: Doublet)

The tongue represents what someone says, and the enemies’ cruel words are spoken of as if they were swords. Alternate translation: “whose cruel words are like sharp swords” or “who cause terrible trouble for me by what they say” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 57:5

The psalmist is asking God to show that he is exalted. Being exalted above the heavens represents being great. Alternate translation: “God, show that you are exalted above the heavens” or “God, show that you are great in the heavens” (See: Metaphor)

The psalmist is asking God to show his glory. Alternate translation: “show your glory over all the earth”

Psalms 57:6

His enemies’ plans to capture him are spoken of as if they had spread out a net on the ground to trap him. Alternate translation: “It is as though my enemies have spread a net out to trap me” or “They planned to capture me like people who spread out a net to trap an animal” (See: Metaphor)

His enemies’ plans to capture him are spoken of as if they had dug a pit for him to fall into. Alternate translation: “It is as though they dug a pit for me to fall into” or “They planned to capture me like people who dig a hole in the ground to trap an animal” (See: Metaphor)

The harm that came to his enemies when they tried to capture him is spoken of as if they fell into the trap that they had made for him. Alternate translation: “They themselves fell into the pit they had dug for me” or “But they themselves were hurt by what they planned to do to me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 57:7

Being confident is spoken of as one’s heart being firm rather than shaken or easily moved. The phrase is repeated to show that he has complete confidence in God and will not change. Alternate translation: “I am completely confident in you, God” (See: Metonymy)

Who he will sing to can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “I will sing praises to you, God” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 57:8

It can be stated clearly that the purpose of waking up is to sing praises to God. Waking up may be a metaphor for starting or preparing to do something. The heart represents the psalmist or his emotions. Alternate translation: “Wake up, my honored heart, to sing praises to God” or “I will prepare my honored heart to sing praises to God” or “I am honored to wake up and sing praises to God” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Metaphor and Synecdoche)

It can be stated clearly that the purpose of waking up is to sing praises to God. The psalmist speaks as though the lute and harp were people who could wake up to sing praises to God. Alternate translation: “Wake up, lute and harp, and sing praises to God” or “I will play the lute and harp while I sing praises to God” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Personification and Metaphor)

The dawn is spoken of as if it were alive, and getting up before dawn happens is spoken of as waking it up. The purpose of getting up before dawn is to praise God. Alternate translation: “I will get up before dawn” or “I will get up before the sun rises” (See: Personification and Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 57:10

These two phrases are very similar in meaning. The greatness of God’s unfailing love and the greatness of his faithfulness are spoken of as if they could be measured in distance. (See: Parallelism and Metaphor)

The greatness of God’s unfailing love is spoken of as if it could be measured in distance. Alternate translation: “Your unfailing love is as great as the distance from the earth to the heavens” (See: Metaphor)

The words “great is your” and “reaching” are understood from the previous phrase. Alternate translation: “great is your faithfulness, reaching to the clouds” or “your faithfulness is as great as the distance from the earth to the clouds” (See: Ellipsis and Metaphor)

Psalms 57:11

The psalmist is asking God to show that he is exalted. Being exalted above the heavens represents being great. Alternate translation: “God, show that you are exalted above the heavens” or “God, show that you are great in the heavens” (See: Metaphor)

The psalmist is asking God to show his glory. Alternate translation: “show your glory over all the earth”

Psalms 58

Psalm 058 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 58 is a deliverance psalm. It asks God for deliverance from the unjust rulers. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and just, justice, unjust, injustice, justify, justification)

Special concepts in this chapter

Deliverance

Although the leaders are very evil and unfair, God can deliver his people from their oppression. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant and oppress, oppressed, oppression, oppressor, dominate)

Superscription

The word “Michtam” is used in the superscription for this psalm. There is much discussion about this word but, in the end, no one is certain what it means. It is easiest to transliterate this word into your language, or you can simply translate it as “psalm.”

Psalms 58:1

This psalm is a song about wicked people. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This probably tells what musical style or tune to use when singing the psalm. See how you translated this in Psalms 57:1.

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

The author uses this question to rebuke the rulers because they do not speak righteously. Alternate translation: “You rulers do not say what is right!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The author uses this question to rebuke the judges who do not judge uprightly. Alternate translation: “You people never judge people uprightly!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 58:2

The words “you” and “your” refer to the mighty men who are judges (Psalm 58:1) and so is plural. (See: Forms of You)

The author answers the two questions he had just asked.

The heart refers to the people’s thoughts or plans. Alternate translation: “you commit wickedness in your thoughts” or “you think about doing wicked things” (See: Metonymy)

Doing violence in various places throughout the land is spoken of as distributing or spreading the violence throughout the land, as if violence were some kind of stuff or things. Alternate translation: “you yourselves do violent deeds everywhere in the land” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 58:3

This is the same idea expressed in two different ways. (See: Parallelism)

Doing wrong things is spoken of as if people are walking on a road, and they turn off and go the wrong way. Alternate translation: “they do wrong things” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 58:4

The wicked things people say are spoken of as if they were poison. Alternate translation: “Their wicked words cause trouble as a snake’s poison harms people” (See: Metaphor and Simile)

Wicked people who do not listen to advice or rebukes are spoken of as if they were snakes that do not respond to a charmer’s music. Alternate translation: “they refuse to listen like a deaf adder that stops up its ears” (See: Simile)

An adder that does not respond to a charmer’s music is spoken of as if it could put something in its ears so that it will not hear. Alternate translation: “an adder that does not listen” (See: Personification)

a kind of poisonous snake

Psalms 58:5

people who play or sing music in order to control snakes

What the snake charmers were skillful at can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “no matter how skillful the charmers are at controlling snakes” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 58:6

The author lists things that he would like God to do to wicked people.

In both of these phrases, the wicked people are spoken of as if they were lions, and making them powerless to kill people is spoken of as breaking their teeth. Alternate translation: “Take away their power to kill. Make them powerless like young lions whose teeth have been broken and fallen out” (See: Parallelism and Metaphor)

Psalms 58:7

The wicked people are spoken of as if they were ice or water. No longer existing is spoken of as melting or draining away into the dry ground. Alternate translation: “Make them disappear like water that runs off” or “Make them vanish like ice that melts and drains into the ground” (See: Metaphor and Simile)

“let their arrows be as though they had no points”

Psalms 58:8

No longer existing is spoken of as melting and disappearing. Alternate translation: “Let the wicked vanish like a snail that melts and no longer exists” (See: Simile)

small animal that the Israelites considered unclean and that looks like it is melting as it moves by sliding over slime it has produced

Not existing is spoken of as being like a baby that is born dead. Alternate translation: “like a baby who is born too early too live and see the sunlight” or “like a baby that was born dead” (See: Simile)

Psalms 58:9

The wicked are spoken of as if they were thornbush branches, and God’s swift punishment of them is spoken of as if he were to quickly blow them away or sweep them away. Alternate translation: “God will destroy wicked people faster than a whirlwind can blow away thornbush branches that have been put under a cooking pot and lit with fire” (See: Metaphor)

David is speaking to God’s people, so this is plural. (See: Forms of You)

“the heat from the burning thorn branches…the green thorn branches and the burning thorn branches”

Psalms 58:10

The phrase “the righteous” refers to righteous people in general. Alternate translation: “Righteous people will rejoice when they see” (See: Generic Noun Phrases)

Getting one’s feet wet by walking on blood is spoken of as washing the feet in blood. Alternate translation: “the righteous will make their feet wet in the blood of the wicked” or “the righteous will march on the blood of the wicked” (See: Metaphor)

This exaggeration expresses that a great number of wicked people will die. Alternate translation: “so many wicked people will die that when the righteous march on their blood, it will seem as if they could wash their feet in it” (See: Metaphor and Hyperbole)

Psalms 59

Psalm 059 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 59 is a deliverance psalm. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Protection

The author prays for God to defeat his enemies. God is his protector. Therefore, he will praise God.

Superscription

The word “Michtam” is used in the superscription for this psalm. There is much discussion about this word but, in the end, no one is certain what it means. It is easiest to transliterate this word into your language, or you can simply translate it as “psalm.”

Psalms 59:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This probably tells what musical style or tune to use when singing the psalm. See how you translated this in Psalms 57:1.

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

The meaning of the word “michtam” is uncertain. You may use the word “psalm” instead. This can be written as: “This is a psalm that David wrote.” See how you translated this in Psalms 16:1.

A high place represents a safe place where his enemies cannot reach him. Alternate translation: “put me in a safe place” (See: Metonymy)

Rising up against someone represents attacking him. Alternate translation: “attack me” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 59:2

The word “bloodthirsty” contains “blood,” which refers to murder and “thirsty,” which refers to desire. Alternate translation: “people who desire to kill” or “people who like to kill people” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 59:3

David’s enemies are in hiding and are waiting quietly for the time when they can attack him. (See: Idiom)

Psalms 59:4

Deciding to do something and beginning to do it is spoken of as waking up. Alternate translation: “do something” or “take action” (See: Idiom)

What he wants God to see can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “and see what is happening to me” or “and see what they are doing to me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 59:5

Deciding to do something and beginning to do it is spoken of as getting up. Alternate translation: “do something” or “take action” (See: Idiom)

The word “nations” here represents the people of the nations that do not honor God. Alternate translation: “the people of all the nations” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 59:6

The word “they” refers to the wicked transgressors.

The psalmist speaks of his enemies threatening to attack people as if they were dogs howling, growling, or barking at people. Alternate translation: “they threaten to attack people” (See: Simile)

Why they go around the city can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “go around the city to attack anyone they find” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 59:7

Here the word “See” is being used to draw attention to something. Alternate translation: “Hear”

Saying terrible things is spoken of as belching. These terrible things may have been insults or threats. Alternate translation: “they say terrible things” or “they shout out terrible words” (See: Metaphor)

burp loudly; allow air from the stomach to come out of the mouth with a loud, rude noise

The cruel things that the wicked people were saying are spoken of as if they were swords. Alternate translation: “they say cruel things that cause people trouble as much as swords destroy people” (See: Metaphor)

This question is used to show that they believed that God would not hear and punish them. Alternate translation: “No one can hear us!” or “Your God does not hear us!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 59:8

“laugh at them scornfully” or “mock them.” God would laugh at them because they are worthless and powerless.

“you ridicule all the nations” or “you know that the people of the nations are fools”

ridicule

Psalms 59:9

God’s being the psalmist’s strength represents God protecting him. Alternate translation: “you are my strength” or “you are my protector” (See: Metonymy)

A high tower is a place that people could go to for shelter from their enemies. The psalmist speaks of God protecting him as if God were a strong, safe shelter. Alternate translation: “you protect me like a high tower” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 59:10

This phrase implies that God will come to him in order to save him. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “My God, who is faithful to his covenant, will come to save me” or “My God will come to save me because he is faithful to his covenant” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “desire” can be expressed with the verb “want.” Alternate translation: “what I want to happen to my enemies” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 59:11

“Cause them to wander around”

God’s protecting the righteous is spoken of as if God were a shield. Alternate translation: “our protector” or “the one who protects us like a shield” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 59:12

The mouths and lips represent the things people say. Alternate translation: “Because they sin by what they say” or “Because of the sinful things they say” (See: Metonymy)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “let people capture them because of their pride” (See: Active or Passive)

“that they say”

Psalms 59:13

Destroying them completely is spoken of either as burning them up or eating them. Alternate translation: “Be angry with them and destroy them completely so there will be no more of them” (See: Metaphor)

Jacob here refers to Israel. Alternate translation: “in Israel” (See: Metonymy)

“to even the most distance places on earth.” This represents all places on earth. Alternate translation: “everywhere on earth” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 59:14

The psalmist speaks of his enemies threatening to attack people as if they were dogs howling, growling, or barking at people. Alternate translation: “threatening to attack us” or “threatening to attack us like wild dogs” (See: Simile)

Psalms 59:15

content, having everything they want

Psalms 59:16

High towers and refuges are places that people can go to for shelter from their enemies. The psalmist speaks of God protecting him as if God were a strong, safe shelter. Alternate translation: “you have protected me like a high tower and a refuge” (See: Metaphor)

“whenever I have had troubles”

Psalms 59:17

“To you, my strength” can be combined as one clause. Alternate translation: “You are my strength, so I will sing praises to you” (See: Sentence Structure)

God’s being the psalmist’s strength represents God protecting him. Alternate translation: “my protector” (See: Metonymy)

High towers are places that people can go to for shelter from their enemies. The psalmist speaks of God protecting him as if God were a strong, safe shelter. Alternate translation: “you have protected me like a high tower” (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adjective. This can be expressed in a separate sentence. Alternate translation: “He is the God who is faithful to his covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 60

Psalm 060 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 60 is a psalm of war.

Special concepts in this chapter

Protection

God has preserved the land of Israel, and now he will give them victory over the countries of Moab and Edom.

Psalms 60:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This probably tells what tune or musical style to use when singing the psalm. Alternate translation: “sing this psalm using the tune of ‘Shushan Eduth’” or “sing this using the Shushan Eduth style”

This means “Lily of the Promise.” Translators may either write the meaning or copy the Hebrew words. (See: Translate Unknowns and Copy or Borrow Words)

The meaning of the word “michtam” is uncertain. You may use the word “psalm” instead. This can be written as: “This is a psalm that David wrote.” See how you translated this in Psalms 16:1.

“Aram of the two rivers…the Aramean nation of Zobah.” These are places. (See: How to Translate Names)

This refers to Joab and the army that he led. Alternate translation: “Joab and his army” (See: Synecdoche)

“12,000 Edomites” (See: Numbers)

God’s rejecting people is spoken of as if he had thrown them away. Alternate translation: “you have rejected us” (See: Metaphor)

God’s allowing Israel’s enemies to break through their defenses is spoken of as God himself had done it. Alternate translation: “you have allowed our enemies to break through our defenses” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 60:2

The psalmist continues speaking to God.

The psalmist speaks of the disaster in his country as if it were an earthquake. (See: Metaphor)

Making the people strong again is spoken of as repairing the fissures in the ground or walls. (See: Metaphor)

large cracks in the ground or walls

Psalms 60:3

Here “see” represents “experience” or “suffer.” (See: Metonymy)

Being helpless is spoken of as staggering around, barely able to stand upright. The abstract noun “staggering” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “the wine that makes us stagger” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 60:4

God’s guiding his people in battle is spoken of as if God were a human king or commander who had set up a banner for the army. Alternate translation: “you are like a king who sets up a banner” or “you command us in battle like a king who raises up a banner” (See: Metaphor)

“battle flag.” This is a flag that a king or commander would raise up on a pole to show that the army should gather.

This can be stated with an active clause. However some versions have different interpretations of this phrase. Alternate translation: “to display against those who carry the bow” (See: Active or Passive)

The phrase “those who carry the bow” refers to the enemy soldiers in battle. Alternate translation: “to display when he takes his army into battle against your enemies” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 60:5

God’s right hand represents his power. Alternate translation: “by your power” (See: Metonymy)

Answering here represents responding to his request. Alternate translation: “respond to my request” or “answer my prayer” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 60:7

God speaks of the tribe of Ephraim as if it were his army. The helmet symbolizes equipment for war. Alternate translation: “Ephraim is like a helmet I have chosen” or “the tribe of Ephraim is my army” (See: Metaphor)

a hard hat that soldiers wear to protect their heads from injury

God chose men from the tribe of Judah to be the kings of his people, and he speaks of that tribe as if it were his scepter. Alternate translation: “the tribe of Judah is like my scepter” or “Judah is the tribe through whom I rule my people” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 60:8

God speaks of Moab being unimportant as if Moab were a washbasin or a lowly servant. Alternate translation: “Moab is like a bowl that I use for washing” (See: Metaphor)

God was probably speaking of taking ownership of Edom as if he were symbolically throwing his shoe onto that land to show that he owns it. However some versions have other interpretations. Alternate translation: “I take ownership of the land of Edom” or “I throw my shoe onto the land of Edom to show that it is mine” (See: Metaphor and Symbolic Action)

Psalms 60:10

The psalmist uses this question to express his sadness that it seems that God has rejected them. Alternate translation: “But God, it seems like you have rejected us.” or “God, you seem to have abandoned us.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The psalmist speaks of God helping their army as if God were to go and fight with them. Alternate translation: “you do not help our army when we go into battle” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 60:11

“is worthless”

Psalms 60:12

“will defeat our enemies”

The psalmist speaks of God helping their army defeat their enemies as if God were to trample down the enemies. Alternate translation: “he will enable us to trample down our enemies” or “he will make us able to defeat our enemies” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 61

Psalm 061 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 61 is a psalm of praise.

Special concepts in this chapter

Vow

The author has vowed to praise God every day of his life because God has blessed him. (See: vow and bless, blessed, blessing)

Psalms 61:1

This is a song about God’s faithfulness. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

“people should play a stringed instrument with this song”

These clauses have a similar meaning. Alternate translation: “God, listen to me and answer my prayer” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 61:2

Here the writer speaks of God as if he were a high rock that he could climb for protection. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 61:4

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Here there is a second metaphor that speaks of Yahweh’s protection as if he was a hen protecting her baby chicks under her wings. Alternate translation: “go to you for protection as a chick is safe under the wings of its mother” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 61:5

The writer speaks of God’s blessings as if they were an inheritance that he has received. Alternate translation: “you have given to me the blessings” (See: Metaphor)

Here “your name” means God himself. Alternate translation: “who honor you” or “who have an awesome respect for you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 61:6

These two clauses have similar meanings. The idea is repeated for emphasis. (See: Parallelism)

“You will extend the king’s life” or “You will cause the king’s life to last a long time”

Here “years” refers to how long the king will live. Alternate translation: “he will live for many generations” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 61:7

Here “to remain before God” means to be in God’s presence or to be with God. This can be stated clearly in the translation. Alternate translation: “God will be with him forever” or “God will be with the king forever” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 61:8

Here “name” stands for God himself. Alternate translation: “I will always sing praise to you” (See: Metonymy)

These refer to the promise to offer sacrifices to God every day.

Psalms 62

Psalm 062 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 62 is a psalm of deliverance. It expresses trust that God will save the psalmist from his enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness and save, saved, safe, salvation)

Special concepts in this chapter

Trust

Although the psalmist’s enemies have attacked him when he was feeling weak, he trusts in God to deliver him. God is powerful and kind.

Psalms 62:1

This psalm is a song about God’s faithfulness. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

One of David’s chief musicians had this same name. This may refer to him. See how you translated this in Psalms 39:1. (See: How to Translate Names)

“he is the one who rescues me” or “he is the one who saves me”

Psalms 62:2

The writer speaks of God’s ability to protect him as if God were a rock. Alternate translation: “He is the only one who can protect and rescue me” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of God’s ability to protect him as if God were a high tower. Alternate translation: “he keeps me away from the grasp of my enemies” (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “nothing can ever move me” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 62:3

“my enemies” or “all my enemies”

David uses a rhetorical question to express his frustration. No answer is expected. Alternate translation: “It seems like my enemies will never stop attacking me. I feel that I am as weak against you as a leaning wall or a broken-down fence.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

“attack me”

Psalms 62:4

“They intend to” or “They plan to”

In these verses, David is referring to himself by “him.”

This refers to their speech or their words. (See: Metonymy)

This refers to their thoughts. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 62:5

“for I place my hope in him”

Psalms 62:6

The writer speaks of God as if he were a rock and a high tower. Both of these metaphors show how God provides protection from one’s enemies. Here “salvation” means that God rescues the writer. See how you translated this in Psalms 62:2. (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “nothing can move me” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 62:7

The writer speaks of God as if he were a rock that keeps one safe from his enemies. He also speaks of God as if he were a shelter that provides protection. Alternate translation: “God always gives me strength and protection” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 62:8

This refers to telling God your inner feelings as if you were pouring out a liquid. Alternate translation: “give your deepest concerns to God” (See: Idiom)

The word “us” refers to David and the people he is speaking to. (See: Inclusive and Exclusive “We”)

Psalms 62:9

This refers to men of all levels of wealth and importance. The phrases “are vanity” and “are a lie” have the same meaning. One cannot confidently trust in anyone. Alternate translation: “you cannot place your trust in men, no matter how important they are” (See: Merism and Parallelism)

If you put all of these kinds of men together on a scale, they would have no weight. This means that they have no real value to you.

Psalms 62:10

These two words have basically the same meaning. You cannot trust in money that you get by taking it from other people. (See: Doublet)

The writer speaks of riches as if they were trees or vines that could bear fruit. Alternate translation: “for they will provide nothing good for you” (See: Metaphor)

Here “fix your heart” is an idiom that means to desire something greatly. Alternate translation: “do not desire them” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 62:11

This means that God has said this more than once.

God being characterized by power is spoken of as if power belonged to him. The abstract noun “power” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “God is powerful” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 62:12

God being characterized by covenant faithfulness is spoken of as if covenant faithfulness belonged to him. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “You, Lord, are also faithful to your covenant” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The writer speaks of God’s rewards as if he were paying a wage for work. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 63

Psalm 063 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 63 is a psalm of praise.

Special concepts in this chapter

Praise

The author praises God for who he is and for having protected him.

Psalms 63:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

sincerely

These two clauses have basically the same meaning and are used together to emphasize how greatly the writer desires to be with God. Alternate translation: “my whole being greatly desires to be with you” (See: Parallelism)

“hot, dry desert”

Psalms 63:3

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adverb and the abstract noun “life” can be translated with a verbal phrase. Alternate translation: “I value you being faithful to your covenant more than I value living, so my lips” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “my lips” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I will praise you” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 63:4

Here “in your name” means “to you.” Alternate translation: “I will worship you and pray to you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 63:5

Here the writer speaks of knowing and worshiping God as being more satisfying than eating a good meal. Alternate translation: “I will be happier than a person who eats a meal of fat and choice food” (See: Simile)

Here “with joyful lips my mouth” represents the whole person who will praise God joyfully. Alternate translation: “I will praise you joyfully” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 63:6

These two clauses have the same meaning. The ideas are repeated to emphasize how much the writer thinks about God. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 63:7

The writer speaks of God as if he were a bird protecting its young under his wings. Alternate translation: “I rejoice because you protect me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 63:8

“I need you” or “I depend on you”

Here, the right hand is used as a symbol of strength and power. Alternate translation: “you support me” or “you lift me up” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 63:9

This means they will die and go to the place of the dead. This can be stated clearly in the translation. Alternate translation: “will die and descend into the place of the dead” or “will die and go down into the place of the dead” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 63:10

Here “the sword” represents death in battle, and “those whose hands use the sword” refers to enemies who kill them in battle. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God will cause them to die in battle” (See: Metonymy and Active or Passive)

Here “they” refers to the corpses of those who die in battle. Alternate translation: “jackals will eat their dead bodies” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“jackals” here are a kind of long-legged wild dog. They feed on carrion, game, and fruit.

Psalms 63:11

David is speaking about himself. This can be stated clearly in the translation. Alternate translation: “I, the king of Israel, will” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

The word “him” refers to “God.”

Here “the mouth” represents the whole person. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “but God will silence the liars” or “but God will silence those who lie” (See: Synecdoche and Active or Passive)

Psalms 64

Psalm 064 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 64 is a psalm of deliverance. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Plotting of enemies

The author’s enemies have plotted against him but God has saved him. (See: save, saved, safe, salvation)

Psalms 64:1

This psalm is a prayer for help. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

save

Psalms 64:2

Here “Hide” represents protecting, and “the secret plotting of evildoers represents” represents the harm that evildoers secretly plan to do to David. Alternate translation: “Protect me from the harm that evil doers secretly plan to do to me” (See: Metonymy)

The words “hide me” are understood from the previous phrase and can be repeated here. Alternate translation: “hide me from the commotion” or “protect me from the commotion”(See: Ellipsis)

Possible meanings are that “commotion” refers to (1) a noisy disturbance. Alternate translation: “the noisy disturbance that the doers of iniquity make” or (2) a crowd that makes a noisy disturbance. Alternate translation: “the noisy crowd of doers of iniquity”

Psalms 64:3

The writer speaks of his enemies’ tongues as if they were as sharp as swords. Here “tongues” represents the harsh words that the enemies speak. Alternate translation: “The harsh things that they say hurt me like a sharp sword” (See: Simile and Metonymy)

The writer speaks of his enemies’ bitter words as if they were arrows being shot at him. Alternate translation: “bitter words which pierce me like arrows” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 64:5

The evildoers do not expect an answer to their question because they think no one will see them. Alternate translation: “No one will see what we are doing” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 64:6

The writer speaks of man’s “inner thoughts” and “hearts of man” as if they were a deep body of water that no one can explore all the way to the bottom. (See: Metaphor)

Both of these phrases refer to man’s private or inner thoughts. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 64:7

The writer continues to speak of the “evildoers” of Psalms 64:1.

The writer speaks of God’s punishment of the evildoers as if God were shooting arrows at them. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 64:8

The writer speaks of God’s causing the evildoers’ plans to fail as if God were making them stumble in their paths. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God will make them stumble” or “God will cause their plans to fail” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

Here “tongues” represents the words that they say. Alternate translation: “since the words that they say are against them” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 64:9

“what God has done”

Psalms 64:10

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to him for protection” (See: Metaphor)

Here “upright in heart” is an idiom that means godly or righteous. Alternate translation: “all the people who are godly will praise him” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 65

Psalm 065 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 65 is a psalm of praise to God.

Special concepts in this chapter

God’s power

God answered prayers and gave the people justice and hope. God created nature and controls it, sending rain so the grain and pastures grow well.

Psalms 65:1

This psalm is a song of praise. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This speaks of praise as if it were a person who could act on its own. Alternate translation: “To you alone, God in Zion, we will offer our praise” (See: Personification)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “we will do what we have promised you that we would do” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 65:3

David speaks about iniquity as if it were a person that is able to defeat or oppress. Alternate translation: “It is as if our own sins were defeating us” (See: Personification)

The word “them” refers to our “iniquities.”

Psalms 65:4

The words “you” and “your” in this verse refer to Yahweh.

This exaggeration expresses that the man is in the temple very frequently to worship Yahweh. Alternate translation: “worship often in your courts” (See: Hyperbole)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “The goodness of your house, your holy temple, will satisfy us” (See: Active or Passive)

Here the word “we” refers to David and the people of Israel, but not to God, to whom he is speaking. (See: Exclusive and Inclusive ‘We’)

“your house, which is your holy temple”

Psalms 65:5

“Because you are righteous”

“you are”

These two phrases have similar meanings. Alternate translation: “of all the people who live throughout the earth and across the sea” (See: Doublet)

This refers to the people who live all over the earth. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 65:6

The writer speaks of God as if he wore his strength like a belt. Alternate translation: “showing that you are very powerful” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 65:7

These two phrases have the same meaning and are used together to create a vivid impression on the hearer or reader. Alternate translation: “the continuous roaring of the seas” (See: Parallelism)

a loud noise caused by the wind and waves

This is also something that God makes quiet.

loud noise

Psalms 65:8

proof or something that shows that another thing is true

The phrase “the east and the west” refers to the people who live all over the earth. Alternate translation: “you cause people everywhere to shout joyfully” (See: Metonymy and Merism)

Psalms 65:9

This refers to the soil of the earth.

“you make the soil very good so that good things will grow in it”

This refers to the supply of water in the sky that God sends to water the earth and fill the streams. Alternate translation: “you fill the streams with water” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 65:10

The writer is speaking to Yahweh, so these words are all singular. (See: Forms of You)

“the earth’s furrows”

A furrow is a long narrow trench made in the ground for planting seeds or for watering the field where grains have been planted.

edges

Psalms 65:11

The words “You” and “your” refer to Yahweh and so are singular. (See: Forms of You)

Here the “year” is given the human quality of wearing a crown. Alternate translation: “You have honored the year with a good harvest” (See: Personification)

Yahweh making the soil so good and fertile that it produces an abundant harvest is spoken of as if Yahweh were traveling through an empty land in a cart, leaving abundant food behind wherever he goes. Alternate translation: “everywhere you have been, you have left abundant food” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 65:12

There is so much dew in the pastures that they are said to drip with it. Alternate translation: “The pastures…are full of dew” or “Much dew drips in the pastures of the wilderness”

The writer speaks of the beauty of the hills as if they were joyful people, and of joy as if it were clothing. Alternate translation: “the hills are like people wearing joy” or “the hills are like joyful people” (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Psalms 65:13

The writer speaks of the pastures as being so covered with flocks that it is like the pastures are wearing a garment.

a large field where animals feed on the grass

group of animals, such as sheep and goats

The pastures, hills and valleys are so bountiful, that they seem to shout and sing for joy. Alternate translation: “they are like joyful singing people” (See: Personification)

The word “they” refers to the pastures and valleys.

Psalms 66

Psalm 066 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 66 is a psalm of praise.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh saves

Just as God brought Israel through the wilderness, he took the author through hard times but saved him. The author will worship God by sacrificing animals to him. (See: save, saved, safe, salvation)

Psalms 66:1

This psalm is a song of praise. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

A “joyful noise to God” represents singing and shouting praises to God. Alternate translation: “Let all the earth sing and shout joyfully to God” (See: Metonymy)

This refers to all the people who live on the earth. Alternate translation: “everyone on earth” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 66:2

These phrases have similar meanings and are used together to emphasize how wonderful God is. Alternate translation: “Sing about how wonderful God’s name is; sing wonderful praise about how great God is” (See: Parallelism)

God’s name here represents God himself. Alternate translation: “his glory” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 66:3

The works of God cause us to be in awe and terrified because we know he is powerful and holy.

“Because you have great power”

Psalms 66:4

This refers to all of the people who live on the earth. Alternate translation: “All the people on earth will worship you” (See: Metonymy)

Here “your name” refers to God himself. Alternate translation: “they will praise and honor you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 66:5

These words refer to God.

“he causes people to feel fear and wonder when they see his deeds”

“humanity”

Psalms 66:6

These words refer to God.

This refers to the crossing of the Red Sea. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

The word “they” refers to God’s people, the Israelites.

The word “we” refers to the Israelites, their ancestors, David, and the people he is speaking to. (See: Inclusive and Exclusive “We”)

Psalms 66:7

These words refer to God.

These phrase “his eyes” refers to God himself. Alternate translation: “he sees” (See: Synecdoche)

“let not the rebellious people exalt themselves” or “let not the rebellious people be proud”

Psalms 66:8

These two clauses have similar meanings. The idea is repeated to emphasize the importance of praising God. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 66:9

These words refer to David and the people he is speaking to. (See: Inclusive and Exclusive “We”)

The writer speaks of God’s protection as preventing his people from slipping as they walk or falling off a cliff. Alternate translation: “he has not allowed us to fall into disaster” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 66:11

The writer speaks of God’s punishment as if God had captured his people in a net. (See: Metaphor)

a trap for a bird or an animal

The writer speaks of what the people have endured as having to carry heavy loads on their backs. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 66:12

This is a picture of being horribly defeated in battle. Alternate translation: “It is as if our enemies defeated us in battle and then drove their chariots over our fallen bodies” (See: Metaphor)

God tested them with natural disasters like fires and floods. Alternate translation: “we suffered like people who suffer from fires and floods” (See: Metaphor and Merism)

The writer speaks of the blessings that the people of Israel now have as if they had been brought into a wide open space where they are safe. Alternate translation: “open place where we are safe” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 66:14

Here “lips” and “mouth” refer to the words of promise that were spoken. Alternate translation: “which I promised” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 66:15

“smell of the smoke of sacrificed rams”

Psalms 66:16

The word “soul” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I will tell you what he has done for me” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 66:17

The word “mouth” represents the whole person who cries out to God. (See: Synecdoche)

Here “tongue” represents words or speech. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I praised him with my tongue” or “I praised him” (See: Active or Passive and Metonymy)

Psalms 66:18

“loved sin” or “held iniquity”

Here “would not have listened” implies that God would not have answered his prayer. This can be made clear in the translation. Alternate translation: “would not have heard me call out to him” or “he would not have answered my prayer” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 66:19

These two clauses have similar meanings and are used together to emphasize that God has heard his prayer. Alternate translation: “But God has truly heard my prayer” (See: Parallelism)

Here the author’s prayer is given the personal quality of having a voice. Alternate translation: “my prayer” (See: Personification)

Psalms 66:20

Here “turned away’ represents ignoring his prayer. Alternate translation: “who has not ignored my prayer”

The phrase “has not turned away” is understood from the previous phrase and can be repeated here. The idea of “his covenant faithfulness” can be translated with the phrase “being faithful to his covenant.” Alternate translation: “and has not turned away his covenant faithfulness from me” or “and has not stopped being faithful to his covenant with me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 67

Psalm 067 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 67 is a worship psalm.

Special concepts in this chapter

Praise

People all over the world should be praising God.

Psalms 67:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

“people should play stringed instruments with this song”

The writer speaks of Yahweh acting favorably towards them as if Yahweh’s face shone a light on them. Alternate translation: “act favorably towards us” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 67:2

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “people may know your ways on earth” (See: Active or Passive)

The writer desires for everyone to know that God has the power to save them. This can be made clear in the translation. Alternate translation: “and the people of all nations may know that you have the power to save them” (See: Ellipsis and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 67:4

Here “nations” represents the people who live in all the nations on the earth. (See: Metonymy)

“fairly” or “justly”

Psalms 67:5

The second clause intensifies the meaning of the first to emphasize how important it is to praise God. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 67:6

Here the writer speaks of “the earth” as if it has chosen to provide a harvest to the people. Alternate translation: “We have reaped a bountiful harvest from our crops” (See: Personification)

Psalms 67:7

This means that people everywhere should honor God because of his blessings. Alternate translation: “I desire that all people everywhere on the earth may have an awesome respect for him” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 68

Psalm 068 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 68 is a worship psalm.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s greatness

God is exceedingly great. He takes care of the weak and helpless. He is glorious in his temple. (See: glory, glorious, glorify and temple, house, house of God)

No Common Theme

Scholars have found this psalm the most difficult to interpret. There does not appear to be any unity to this psalm.

Psalms 68:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

God beginning to act is spoke of as if he stands up. Alternate translation: “Let God begin to act” (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “let God chase away his enemies” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 68:2

God’s enemies are spoken of as if they are smoke that is easily blown away by the wind. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Drive them away as the wind blows away smoke” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

God’s enemies are spoken of as if they are wax that is easily melted by a fire. Alternate translation: “cause them to disappear as wax melts before a fire” (See: Metaphor)

This refers to the wicked people in general. (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 68:3

This refers to the righteous people in general. (See: Nominal Adjectives)

These means the same thing and emphasizes the amount of joy they feel. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 68:4

This refers to God. Alternate translation: “to him” (See: Metonymy)

God’s presence among people is spoken of as if he rides on the earth in a horse or chariot. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:5

God is spoken of as a compassionate God who acts like a father to orphans. Alternate translation: “One who acts like a father to children who have no parents” (See: Metaphor)

God is spoken of as a merciful God who protects widows. Alternate translation: “a protector of widows” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:6

God is spoken of as if he places lonely people into families. “God provides families for those who have no one to live with” (See: Metaphor)

God is spoken of as the one who leads prisoners out of their confinement. Alternate translation: “God frees prisoners and makes them sing with happiness” (See: Metaphor)

This nominal adjective refers to rebellious people and can be translated with either an adjective or a noun. Alternate translation: “rebellious people” or “people who rebel against him” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

God’s punishment of the rebellious is spoken of as if he forces them to live in a hot desert land. Alternate translation: “a very hot and dry land” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:7

David begins to tell the story of God leading the Israelites through the desert to Mt. Sinai.

These two phrases refer to the same event. (See: Parallelism)

“you led your people”

God is spoken of as if he was a soldier marching ahead of the people of Israel. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:8

“God caused it to rain”

This idiom here refers to God’s appearance before the Israelites. Alternate translation: “when God appeared to the Israelites” (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 68:9

The land of Israel is spoken of as if it was a person who could be weary, or could gain strength. Alternate translation: “you caused the land to produce good crops” (See: Metaphor)

The land that God gave to the Israelites is spoken of as if it was an inheritance that a father passed on to his children. Alternate translation: “the land that you gave to us Israelites” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:10

This refers to poor people in general. Alternate translation: “poor people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 68:11

David continues the story of the journey of the Israelites through the desert. In this part of the story, the Israelites are victorious in war over their enemies.

The large number of people told the Lord’s message to others. They are spoken of as if there were a large army. Since this phrase is feminine, some versions translate it as, “the women who announced them…army.” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:12

The kings represent themselves and their entire armies. It is understood that they flee because they are defeated by Israel’s army. Alternate translation: “Kings and their armies flee from us because they are defeated” (See: Synecdoche and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

things that are taken from the defeated army and brought to the victorious army’s home.

Psalms 68:13

This means that some of the plunder is very valuable because it is covered with precious metals.

This question is used to rebuke the people who did not participate in the battle. Alternate translation: “Those who stayed among the sheepfolds should not have stayed; they should have gone to the battle.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 68:14

There were so many dead kings and soldiers on the mountain that they are spoken of as if they were snow covering the mountain. Alternate translation: “defeated so many enemy kings and soldiers there that they were like snowflakes covering Mount Zalmon” (See: Simile)

Here “kings” refers to their armies as well. Alternate translation: “scattered the enemy kings and their armies” (See: Synecdoche)

This is the name of a mountain. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 68:15

These two phrase have similar meanings and are used together to strengthen each other. Alternate translation: “a mighty and high mountain is the hill country of Bashan” (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 68:16

This question can be written as a statement. Alternate translation: “The high hill country of Bashan should not look in envy at the mountain which God desires for the place he will live.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 68:17

This is probably not meant to be an exact number, but to indicate a large number. Alternate translation: “many thousands” (See: Numbers)

Psalms 68:18

To “ascend” is to move up, to go toward the sky.

Psalms 68:19

“carries our heavy loads every day.” The Lord’s care for his people is spoken of as if he was physically carrying their troubles as a burden. (See: Metaphor)

The words “is our salvation” can be translated with the verb “save.” Alternate translation: “the God who saves us” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 68:21

God is spoken of as a warrior who will kill his enemies by striking them in their heads in order to kill them. Alternate translation: “will kill his enemies by striking them in the head” (See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

It seems to have been the custom for soldiers not to cut their hair during the time of war. Alternate translation: “the long-haired skulls” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Offending God is spoken of as walking among the offenses. Alternate translation: “habitually offend him” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:22

The word “them” refers to God’s enemies.

This speaks of the most remote parts of the earth where people might try to escape from God as if they were the depths of the sea. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:23

The total destruction of Israel’s enemies is spoken of as if the Israelites had crushed them under their feet. Alternate translation: “totally defeat your enemies” (See: Metaphor)

The violence of from the destruction of the enemies is spoke of in very graphic form, as if the Israelites would be standing in the blood of their dead enemies. Alternate translation: “stepping in their blood” (See: Metaphor)

The bloodshed from the battle against Israel’s enemies is spoken of as if it is so extensive that the dogs will lap up the flowing blood with their tongues. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 68:24

A procession is a group of people walking together in an orderly manner as part of a ceremony.

Psalms 68:25

people who play musical instruments

Psalms 68:26

It may be helpful to change the order of these phrases. Alternate translation: “You who are from the fountain of Israel, praise Yahweh and bless God in the assembly”

The word “fountain” is a metaphor for the ability of the man Israel to be the ancestor of many people: as much water comes from a fountain, so Israel is the ancestor of many people. This also implies that the call is to those who serve God as the man Israel did. Alternate translation: “true descendants of Israel” or “all of you descendants from Israel”(See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 68:27

“their group.” The word “their” refers to the leaders of Judah.

Psalms 68:28

Some versions understand the Hebrew text differently: “Summon your strength, God” or “Use your strength, God”

“People of Israel, your God has decreed”

The word “us” refers to the writer and the people of Israel, but not to Yahweh, to whom he is speaking. (See: Exclusive and Inclusive ‘We’)

Psalms 68:29

The word “us” refers to the writer and the people of Israel, but not to Yahweh, to whom he is speaking. (See: Exclusive and Inclusive ‘We’)

“When you are present in the temple at Jerusalem, show us your power”

The abstract noun “power” can be stated as “strong.” Alternate translation: “Show us that you are strong” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 68:30

Many scholars believe these wild beasts are a metaphor that refers to the people of Egypt. This can be made explicit. Alternate translation: “the people of Egypt who are like wild beasts in the reeds” (See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

The peoples of other nations are spoken of as if they were a large group of cattle. Alternate translation: “the powerful nations, who are like herds of bulls” (See: Metaphor)

to disperse or to cause something to spread quickly in different direction

Psalms 68:31

It is implied that these princes come from Egypt in order to offer gifts to God in Jerusalem. Alternate translation: “Then the leaders of Egypt will bring gifts to you” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This refers to the people of Cush. Alternate translation: “The Cushites” (See: Metonymy)

This is a symbolic action that represents worship to God. Alternate translation: “lift up her hands to praise God” (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 68:32

Here “kingdoms” refers to the citizens of the kingdoms. Alternate translation: “you people who are citizens of kingdoms all over the world” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 68:33

The word “Sing” is implied as the beginning of this verse. Here God is described as if he rides in a chariot in the sky. Alternate translation: “Sing to God who rides across the sky in his chariot” (See: Ellipsis and Metaphor)

This idiom means he speaks powerfully. Alternate translation: “he shouts powerfully” or “he speaks loudly” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 68:34

“Ascribe” means to give credit to someone. Alternate translation: “Strength belongs to God”

The abstract noun “strength” can be stated as “powerful.” Alternate translation: “in the skies he also shows that he is powerful” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 68:35

Here the author speaks directly to God. (See: Apostrophe)

These two words mean basically these same thing. They emphasize how much strength God provides to his people. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 69

Psalm 069 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 69 is a psalm of deliverance. The author prays to be saved from his enemies and for them to be punished. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and save, saved, safe, salvation)

Special concepts in this chapter

Deliverance

The author prays for God to rescue him from his enemies. They show him no mercy, and he asks God to show them no mercy. (See: mercy, merciful)

Psalms 69:1

This psalm is a prayer for help. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 45:1.

The writer describes the troubles in his life as if he were drowning in a flood of water. Alternate translation: “for it feels like I am drowning in the waters” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:2

The writer describes the troubles in his life as if he were sinking in deep mud. Alternate translation: “For it feels like I am sinking in deep mud and will die” (See: Metaphor)

thick mud

The writer uses a negative statement to stress how unstable and uncertain his condition is. (See: Litotes)

The writer describes his problems as if he was drowning in a deep, raging river. Alternate translation: “t feels like I am in deep waters, and the floodwaters flow over me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:3

very tired

This idiom means the writer has cried so much that his eyes do not see well any longer. Alternate translation: “my eyes are swollen from tears” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 69:4

This is an exaggeration to express how many enemies the writer has. Alternate translation: “more than I can count, like the hairs on my head” (See: Hyperbole)

This idiom means “kill me.” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 69:5

The abstract noun “foolishness” can be stated as “foolish.” Alternate translation: “the foolish things that I have done” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This can be expressed as a positive statement. Alternate translation: “you know all my sins” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 69:6

“Do not let those…do not let those”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Please do not allow anyone to put those who wait for you to shame because of me” (See: Active or Passive)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Please do not allow anyone to bring dishonor on those who seek you because of me” (See: Active or Passive)

Seeking God represents either (1) asking God for help or (2) thinking about God and obeying him. Alternate translation: (1) “those who ask you for help” or (2) “those who worship and obey you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:7

“On your behalf” or “For you”

The rebukes of the writer’s enemies are spoken of as if they are a heavy load that he has had to carry. Alternate translation: “I have endured the insults of my enemies” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of the shame that he feels as if it is a foul thing on his face that everyone can clearly see. Alternate translation: “I am thoroughly humiliated” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:8

The writer speaks of himself as if he were not part of his own family. Alternate translation: “My brothers no longer know or accept me at all” (See: Metaphor)

These two phrases mean the same thing. They are repeated to stress his separation from his own family. (See: Parallelism)

It is implied that “I have become” should be understood here. The writer speaks of himself as if he were not part of his own family. Alternate translation: “my brothers no longer know or trust me at all” (See: Ellipsis and Metaphor)

Psalms 69:9

The writer speaks of his zeal for God’s temple as if it was a wild animal that devours the writer. Alternate translation: “the zeal I have for your house consumes me” (See: Personification)

This idiom means that the writer’s zeal for the temple takes over all of his thoughts and actions. Alternate translation: “completely controls all that I think and do” (See: Idiom)

The writer speaks of the rebukes of Gods’ enemies as if they were rocks that were thrown at the writer. Alternate translation: “those who rebuke you have also thrown their rebukes at me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:10

The fact that the writer was fasting indicates that he was sad about the way people treated God’s temple. (See: Symbolic Action and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“my enemies rebuked me because of it”

Psalms 69:11

Wearing rough, cheap clothing was a symbol of mourning over sin. (See: Symbolic Action)

The writer speak of himself as if he was the sad or foolish person in a proverb. Alternate translation: “I became the example of a sad person spoken of in their proverbs” or “they laugh at me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:12

Here “city gate” is associated with leadership of a town. Alternate translation: “The important people of the city” (See: Metonymy)

The writer speaks of himself as if he was the person about whom the drunkards sing mocking songs. Alternate translation: “the drunkards of the city sing disgusting songs about me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:13

“in your accepted time” or “when you are willing”

The abstract nouns “trustworthiness” and “salvation” can be stated as “faithfully” and “rescue.” Alternate translation: “rescue me because you faithfully love me, as you have promised to do” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 69:14

These two phrases mean the same thing. (See: Parallelism)

The writer speaks of his danger from his enemies as if he was sinking into a pit of mud. “Do not allow me to sink anymore in the mud” (See: Metaphor)

Here “take away” refers to being removed from danger. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “take me away” or “rescue me” (See: Idiom and Active or Passive)

It is understood that “let me be” is implied here. It can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “please rescue me out” (See: Ellipsis and Active or Passive)

The writer speaks about his danger from his enemies as if he was drowning in deep water. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:15

The writer speaks about his danger from his enemies as if flood waters were covering him completely. (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of the deep as if it was a deadly animal that was about to eat him. Alternate translation: “the deep waters swallow me up like a dangerous animal” (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Here the “pit” is spoken of as if it has a mouth like a person and could eat the writer. Alternate translation: “Do not let the pit consume me” or “Do not let the pit of death close over me” (See: Personification and Metaphor)

Psalms 69:16

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “you are good and faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

“you are very merciful to me”

The idea of turning towards someone means to pay attention to them or help them. Alternate translation: “help me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:17

To hide one’s face means to refuse to hear or help someone. Alternate translation: “Please help your servant” or “Please help me” (See: Idiom)

“in great trouble”

Psalms 69:18

The writer asks God to redeem him as if the writer were a slave whose freedom God could purchase. Alternate translation: “free me” (See: Metaphor)

The writer asks God to ransom him as if the writer were a captive whose release could be paid for with money. Alternate translation: “rescue me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:19

These abstract nouns can be stated as actions. Alternate translation: “how people have rebuked me, shamed me, and dishonored me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “before you” means that God sees and knows all about them. Alternate translation: “you know who all my enemies are” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 69:20

This idiom means a person is extremely sad. Alternate translation: “offended me deeply” (See: Idiom)

The writer’s great sadness is spoken of as if he was full of a heavy weight. Alternate translation: “I am heavy with sorrow” (See: Metaphor)

to feel sorrow or sadness

Psalms 69:21

This is probably figurative. The food that people gave to the writer was so bad that it tasted like poison. Alternate translation: “They gave me food that tasted like poison” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:22

The writer would like for his enemies’ food to completely ruin them as if they were small animals caught in a snare or a trap. Alternate translation: “May their food ruin them like a snare…may it destroy them like a trap” (See: Metaphor)

This refers to food that was served on the tables, possibly at a feast. Alternate translation: “their own food” or “sacrificial feasts” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 69:23

The writer speaks of eyes that cannot see well as if they were darkened. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Please make them unable to see anything” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

Weak backs are spoken of as if they are shaking in weakness. Alternate translation: “cause their backs to be too weak for them to do anything” (See: Metaphor)

“their sides” or “their backs”

Psalms 69:24

God’s demonstration of his anger is described as if he poured it out on his enemies like water. (See: Metaphor)

anger of a person who has suffered injustice

“your burning anger” or “your strong anger”

God’s judgment on his enemies is described as if he ran after them and caught them. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 69:25

This abstract noun can be stated as “abandoned.” Alternate translation: “become abandoned” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 69:26

“they persecuted the man”

Here to be “struck down” refers to punishment. Alternate translation: “you punished” (See: Metonymy)

Here to be “wounded” refers to causing them to suffer. Alternate translation: “those you have caused to suffer” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 69:27

“Keep making a record of all their sins”

“very many sins”

To come into God’s victory is an idiom that means to receive a reward from him. Alternate translation: “do not let them receive your righteous reward” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 69:28

Here “them” refers to the names of the enemies. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Wipe out their names in” (See: Metonymy and Active or Passive)

It is inferred that “let them” is understood. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “do not write down their names” (See: Ellipsis and Active or Passive)

Psalms 69:29

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated with the verb “save.” Here “on high” refers to a place of safety.” Alternate translation: “God, save me and put me in a safe place” (See: Abstract Nouns and Metonymy)

Psalms 69:30

Here “name” refers to God himself. Alternate translation: “God” (See: Metonymy)

This abstract noun can be stated with the verb “thank.” Alternate translation: “by thanking him” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 69:31

It is understood that the ox and the bull are to be offered to God as sacrifices. Alternate translation: “better than sacrificing an ox or sacrificing a bull” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This phrase distinguishes the full grown bulls from other younger cows. Alternate translation: “a bull that is full grown with horns and hooves” (See: Distinguishing Versus Informing or Reminding)

Psalms 69:32

This refers to meek people in general. Alternate translation: “Meek people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Seeking God represents either (1) asking God for help or (2) thinking about God and obeying him. Alternate translation: “you who ask God for help” or “you who think about God” (See: Metaphor)

Here “hearts” refer to the people. Here “live” is an idiom that means to be encouraged. Alternate translation: “may you be encouraged” (See: Synecdoche and Hypothetical Situations)

Psalms 69:33

Here “hears” means to respond. Alternate translation: “Yahweh answers” (See: Metonymy)

This refers to needy people in general. Alternate translation: “needy people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

“those who have suffered for him”

Psalms 69:34

Here heaven and earth and the seas are spoken of as if they are people who are able to praise God. (See: Personification)

It is implied that “Let…praise him” should be understood here. Alternate translation: “let he seas and everything that moves in them praise him” (See: Ellipsis)

Psalms 69:35

Here “Zion” refers to the people in Zion. Alternate translation: “God will save the people of Zion” (See: Metonymy)

The word “it” refers to the land of Judah.

Psalms 69:36

Here “name” refers to God himself. Alternate translation: “who love God” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 70

Psalm 070 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 70 is a psalm of deliverance. The psalmist asks God to deliver him from his enemies.

Special concepts in this chapter

Help

The author needs help and needs it immediately.

Psalm 40

This psalm is an almost exact duplicate of Psalm 40:13-17.

Psalms 70:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

Possible meanings are (1) David wrote the psalm or (2) the psalm is about David or (3) the psalm is in the style of David’s psalms.

Psalms 70:2

“the people who”

This idiom means “kill me.” (See: Idiom)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “may God put them to shame and bring disgrace upon them” (See: Active or Passive)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “may God turn them around and make them ashamed for what they have done” (See: Active or Passive)

To be stopped or thwarted is spoken of as being turned back from their attack. Alternate translation: “stopped” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 70:3

This is an expression of mocking laughter. You may replace “Aha, aha” with whatever laughing sounds like in your language. Alternate translation: “those who mock and laugh at me”

Psalms 70:4

Seeking God represents either (1) asking God for help or (2) thinking about God and obeying him. Alternate translation: “ask you for help” or “think about you and obey you” (See: Metaphor)

These two phrases mean basically the same thing and emphasize the intensity of gladness. Alternate translation: “rejoice greatly” or “be very glad” (See: Doublet)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as an action. Alternate translation: “love you because you saved them” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This exaggeration emphasizes that it is important to praise God often. (See: Hyperbole)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Let everyone praise God” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 70:5

Here the words “poor” and “needy” mean basically the same thing and emphasize that he is unable to help himself. Alternate translation: “very needy” (See: Doublet)

The writer speaks of God as if he were running to the writer in order to help him. Alternate translation: “come quickly to help me” (See: Metaphor)

Here the phrase “you rescue me” explains how God is his “help.” Alternate translation: “you help me by rescuing me” (See: Parallelism)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “please come quickly” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 71

Psalm 071 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 71 is a psalm of deliverance. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s help

God has helped the psalmist all his life. Now that he is old, his enemy thinks that God has abandoned him; but the psalmist trusts in God and will praise Yahweh with songs of praise. (See: trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Psalms 71:1

This psalm is a prayer for help. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Going to Yahweh for protection is spoken of as taking refuge in him. Alternate translation: “go to you, Yahweh, for protection” (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. See how “do not let me be humiliated” is translated in Psalms 25:2. Alternate translation: “never let my enemies put me to shame” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 71:2

Possible meanings are (1) “make me safe because you always do what is right” or (2) “make me safe as I do what you want me to do” (See: Idiom)

Here “your ear” refers to God’s willingness to hear someone who prays to him. See how this is translated in Psalms 17:6. Alternate translation: “pay attention to me” (See: Metonymy)

“keep me safe”

Psalms 71:3

The psalmist requests that Yahweh make him as safe as he would be if he were hiding in a large rock or cliff where his enemies could not find him. (See: Metaphor)

These are hills or mountains, not rocks one can hold in one’s hand.

“you have commanded your angels”

The psalmist believes that Yahweh will protect him and make him as safe as if he were hiding on top of a large mountain or inside a man-made fortress. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 71:4

Possible meanings are (1) the word “hand” is a metonym for power. Alternate translation: “from the power of the wicked, from the power of the unrighteous” or (2) “hand” refers to the person himself. Alternate translation: “from wicked people, from unrighteous…people” or “so that wicked people and unrighteous…people cannot harm me” (See: Metonymy)

“wicked; rescue me out of the hand of the unrighteous.” You can make clear the understood information. (See: Ellipsis)

These adjectives can be translated as noun phrases. Alternate translation: “wicked people…unrighteous people…cruel people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 71:5

Here “hope” is a metonym for the one in whom the psalmist hopes. Alternate translation: “you are the one whom I confidently expect to help me” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 71:6

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “You have supported me from the womb” or “You have taken care of me ever since I came out of my mother’s womb” (See: Active or Passive)

“you are the one”

Psalms 71:7

“Many people see how I live and want to live as I do”

Psalms 71:8

The psalmist speaks of his desire to praise and honor Yahweh with the words he speaks as if his mouth were full of words the way it can be full of food. Alternate translation: “My mouth will be filled with words that praise you…that honor you” or “I will always praise you…will always honor you” (See: Synecdoche)

Here “praise” refer to the words that he will use to praise Yahweh. Alternate translation: “words that tell people how great you are” (See: Metonymy)

Here “honor” refer to the words that he will use to honor Yahweh. Alternate translation: “words that cause people to honor you” (See: Metonymy)

“all day long” or “at all times”

Psalms 71:9

These two phrases have basically the same meaning and are used together for emphasis. (See: Parallelism)

“Do not force me to go away from you.” For God to reject him is spoken of as God forcing him to go away. See how this is translated in Psalms 51:11. Alternate translation: “do not reject me” (See: Metaphor)

“do not leave me forever”

Psalms 71:10

It is implied that they are watching for an opportunity to take his life. The euphemism “to take a life” means to kill. Alternate translation: “watch for an opportunity to take my life” or “wait for an opportunity to kill me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Euphemism)

Psalms 71:11

This can be translated to make explicit that they are talking about him. Alternate translation: “They say about me” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“follow him when he runs away, and kill him”

Psalms 71:12

Because Yahweh has not yet answered the writer’s request, he speaks of Yahweh as if Yahweh were standing far away from the writer. (See: Metaphor)

“help me soon”

Psalms 71:13

“Let those who are hostile to my life be put to shame and destroyed”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Put them to shame and destroy them” (See: Active or Passive)

The words “my life” represent the person. The idiom “hostile to my life” means that these are people who try to harm him by accusing him of wrongdoing. Alternate translation: “those who accuse me of doing wrong” (See: Synecdoche and Idiom)

“let those who seek my hurt be covered with rebuke and dishonor”

This can be stated in active form. The abstract nouns “rebuke” and “dishonor” can be stated as verbs. Alternate translation: “may everyone rebuke them, and may no one honor them” (See: Active or Passive and Abstract Nouns)

The noun “hurt” can be translated with a verb. Alternate translation: “those who are looking for ways to harm me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 71:14

“more all the time” or “always more than I have before”

Psalms 71:15

“I do not completely understand your righteousness and your salvation, but my mouth will tell about them all the day”

The mouth is synecdoche for the whole person. Alternate translation: “I will tell” or “I will speak with my mouth and tell” (See: Synecdoche)

This can be restated to remove the abstract noun “righteousness.” Alternate translation: “how righteous you are” or “all the good things you do” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as an action. Alternate translation: “how you have saved me” or “how you save people” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 71:16

Possible meanings are (1) “I will go to where people worship Yahweh” or (2) “I will go to my enemies” (See: Go and Come)

Possible meanings are (1) “I will tell them of the mighty deeds the Lord Yahweh has done” or (2) “because the Lord Yahweh has given me strength to do mighty acts.”

“will talk about”

Psalms 71:17

The implied information may be stated clearly. “taught me many things” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 71:18

“God, please do not forsake me”

The abstract noun “strength” can be translated with a verbal phrase. Alternate translation: “I have been telling how strong you are” (See: Abstract Nouns)

“to those who are children today”

The omitted information may be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “and as I declare your power to everyone who is to come” (See: Ellipsis)

This exaggeration refers to everyone the writer can speak to. Alternate translation: “so as many people as I can tell will know” (See: Hyperbole)

Psalms 71:19

The psalmist speaks of the good things God has done as though they were put together as a high building or a mountain. (See: Metaphor)

This rhetorical question can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “there is no one like you!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 71:20

strengthen or make lively again

“The depths of the earth” here is a metaphor for where people go when they die. The psalmist had not already died, but in this exaggeration he speaks as if he had. Alternate translation: “when we are near death” (See: Metaphor and Hyperbole)

Psalms 71:21

“I want you to increase…I want you to turn again and comfort.” Some translations read, “You will increase…you will turn again and comfort.”

This describes one action through two phrases. Alternate translation: “comfort me again” (See: Hendiadys)

Psalms 71:22

“to you, who is the Holy One of Israel, I will sing praises while I play the harp”

Psalms 71:23

“Lips” represent the whole person. Alternate translation: “I will shout for joy” (See: Synecdoche)

The words the psalmist has omitted can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “and my soul, which you have redeemed, will sing praises” (See: Ellipsis)

Here “soul” refers to the whole person. (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 71:24

Here “tongue” refers to the whole person. Alternate translation: “I will also talk” (See: Synecdoche)

“those who sought my hurt have been put to shame and are confused”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “for God has put to shame and confused them” (See: Active or Passive)

This refers to the enemies of the writer. (Psalms 71:10). See how “those who seek my hurt” is translated in Psalms 71:13.

Psalms 72

Psalm 072 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 72 is a psalm for the king when he begins to be the king. David wrote it as a blessing on his son, Solomon. (See: bless, blessed, blessing)

Special concepts in this chapter

Blessings for the king

May the king be honored throughout the world. May he help the poor. May there be prosperity while he is king.

Close of Book Two

The whole collection of Psalms has been divided into several “books.” This is the last psalm of the second book. It is attributed to Solomon, the son of David.

Psalms 72:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. Possible meanings for the header “a psalm of Solomon” are (1) David wrote this psalm about Solomon (“the king’s son”) or (2) Solomon (who, as David’s son, was “the king’s son”) wrote this psalm as a prayer about himself or (3) another king wrote it about his son in the style of Solomon. People in those days would often speak of themselves as if they were someone else. However, it would be best to translate this as though the psalmist is speaking of someone else, not of himself. (See: Poetry and Parallelism and First, Second or Third Person)

Possible meanings are (1) “Give me, the king, your righteous decrees, God, your righteousness to my son” or (2) “Give me, the king, your righteous decrees, God, your righteousness to me, the king’s son.” People in those days would often speak of themselves as if they were someone else. However, it would be best to translate this as though the psalmist is speaking of someone else, not of himself. (See: First, Second or Third Person)

“Enable the king to judge rightly”

The verb may be supplied from the previous phrase. Here the word “righteousness” refers to making righteous decisions. Alternate translation: “give your righteousness to the king’s son” or “enable the king’s son to rule with righteousness” (See: Ellipsis)

Psalms 72:2

If David wrote this, he is talking about his son, “the king’s son,” he is speaking of the time when his son will be king. If Solomon wrote it, even though he is writing about himself, it would be best to translate as though he were writing about someone else. Either way, “May the king judge” is the best translation.

The psalmist is speaking to God.

The verb may be supplied from the previous phrase. The adjective “poor” refers to poor people. Alternate translation: “may he judge your poor people” (See: Ellipsis and Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 72:3

The psalmist speaks of the people of Israel as if they were the mountains and hills on which they live. He speaks of the mountains and the hills as if they were the entire land of Israel, as if that land were a garden that produces fruit, and of peace and righteousness as if they are that fruit. Alternate translation: “May the people of the land live in peace…may they do everything in a righteous way” (See: Metonymy and Synecdoche and Metaphor)

Psalms 72:4

These refer to the one who will “judge” (Psalms 72:2).

The writer speaks of the king defeating or punishing people who oppress others as if those people were objects that the king would break into pieces. Alternate translation: “punish the person who oppresses others” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 72:5

The sun and the moon are metonyms for the day and the night, which together are a merism for all time. Alternate translation: “forever, and without ending” (See: Metonymy and Merism)

Psalms 72:6

The king will be good, and he will do good things for his people as if he were rain doing good for freshly cut grass. (See: Simile)

“I desire that he come”

“May he come down like showers that water.” The king will be good, and he will do good things for his people as if he were rain doing good for the ground. (See: Ellipsis and Simile)

Psalms 72:7

The adjective “righteous” can be translated as a noun phrase. Alternate translation: “righteous people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Possible meanings are (1) “while the king rules” or (2) “as long as the righteous person lives” or “as long as the righteous people live.”

The psalmist speaks as if peace were a physical object like food. An “abundance” is when there is much of something. This can be restated to remove the abstract nouns “abundance” and “peace.” Alternate translation: “may righteous people live peacefully” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

“as long as the moon shines” or “forever” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 72:8

“May the king have dominion”

Both of these expressions are merisms and refer to the whole earth. (See: Merism)

from the Dead Sea and the Sea of Kinnereth in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.

“the Euphrates River,” which the Israelites would travel to on land by going north

as far as people could travel on land by different routes to the south. The Israelites spoke of the earth as if it were a flat surface with ends. (See: Metaphor and Idiom)

Psalms 72:9

This is a metaphor for extreme humiliation. Alternate translation: “do everything they can so he will allow them to live” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 72:10

This is the name of a place. (See: How to Translate Names)

pay

“give gifts”

This is the name of a country. It is not the same country as Sheba. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 72:11

“bow down before him” or “honor him as their king”

Here the word “nations” represents the people who live in the nations. Alternate translation: “the people who live in every nation” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 72:12

“no one else to help him”

Psalms 72:13

“He wants to stop the poor and needy from suffering”

Here the nominal adjectives “poor” and “needy” mean basically the same thing and emphasize that they are unable to help themselves. Alternate translation: “those who are poor and those who are needy” (See: Doublet and Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 72:14

Here “lives” refers to the whole person. Alternate translation: “redeems them” or “saves them” or “rescues them” (See: Synecdoche)

These two words mean basically the same thing and emphasize how badly the needy suffer. These abstract nouns can be stated as verbs. Alternate translation: “those who oppress them and hurt them” (See: Doublet and Abstract Nouns)

Here “their blood” is a metonym for their well-being. The sight of Yahweh represents his judgment or evaluation. Alternate translation: “their well-being is very important to him” or “he wants them to live well” (See: Metonymy)

See how this phrase is translated in Psalms 19:14.

Psalms 72:15

This saying was used to honor the king by expressing a desire to have him live a long time. Alternate translation: “May the king live a long time!” or “I desire that the king live a long time!” (See: Idiom)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May they give him the gold of Sheba” or “May he receive the gold of Sheba” (See: Active or Passive)

This idiom means “continually” and does not refer only to one day. Alternate translation: “continually” or “all the time” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 72:16

An “abundance” is when there is much of something. This abstract noun can be stated as “much” or “plenty” Alternate translation: “much grain” or “plenty of grain” (See: Abstract Nouns)

plants that people grow for food

Use the word for what long grass does when a gentle wind blows on it and it moves slowly back and forth.

“like the cedar trees in Lebanon.” These trees were beautiful and had wood that was good for building. The meaning of this can be made clear. (See: Simile and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

The prosperity of the people in the cities is spoken of as if they were grass that grows abundantly in the fields. (See: Simile)

Psalms 72:17

This saying is used to honor God by expressing the desire for people to always remember him. Alternate translation: “May people always know about him” or “May people never forget who he is” (See: Idiom)

Here “his name” refers to God’s reputation. Alternate translation: “the king’s name” or “the king’s reputation” or “the king’s fame” (See: Metonymy)

The verb may be supplied from the previous phrase. Alternate translation: “as long as the sun endures” or “as long as the sun shines” (See: Ellipsis)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “may God cause him to do good things for people” (See: Active or Passive)

“recognize that God has blessed them”

Psalms 72:18

These verses are more than the end of this psalm. It is the closing statement for all of Book 2 of the Psalms, which starts at Psalm 42 and ends with Psalm 72.

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May people bless Yahweh God, the God of Israel” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 72:19

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May people bless his glorious name forever” or, treating “name” as a metonym for Yahweh himself, “May people forever know how glorious he is” (See: Active or Passive and Metonymy)

“he, who is glorious, be blessed”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “may his glory fill the whole earth” or “may he fill the whole earth with his glory” (See: Active or Passive)

The word “Amen” is repeated to emphasize approval of what has been said. See how you translated this in Psalms 41:13. Alternate translation: “May it certainly be so”

Psalms 72:20

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “David, the son of Jesse has finished his prayers” or “This is the last prayer of the David the son of Jesse” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 73

Psalm 073 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 73 is a wisdom psalm. It explains the problem of wicked people who seem to prosper. (See: wise, wisdom and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Evil people

Sometimes it seems that wicked people have no problems and everything works for them. Despite this, they will be destroyed. In contrast, the righteous always have God to help them through problems. (See: righteous, righteousness, unrighteous, unrighteousness, upright, uprightness)

Psalms by Asaph

There are twelve psalms attributed to Asaph; the first one is Psalm 50, which is in Book Two, and the other eleven (Psalm 73–83) are at the beginning of Book Three.

Psalms 73:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Psalms 73:2

The psalmist speaks of being unable to trust God and wanting to sin as if he had almost fallen while walking on a slippery path. Alternate translation: “I almost stopped trusting in God; I was almost guilty of committing a great sin against him” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 73:3

“I envied the arrogant” or “I did not want arrogant people to have the good things that they had”

The adjective “arrogant” can be translated as a noun phrase. Alternate translation: “arrogant people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

The word “prosperity” can be translated as a verb. Alternate translation: “how the wicked have so many good things” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The adjective “wicked” can be translated as a noun phrase. Alternate translation: “wicked people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 73:4

Asaph begins to describe how he sometimes wants to complain to God about those who are “arrogant” and “wicked” (Psalms 73:3).

Psalms 73:5

The words “burdens” is a metonym for the struggles of daily life (need for food, shelter, clothing, and health). (See: Metonymy)

“they do not suffer the way other people do”

Psalms 73:6

Asaph continues to describe how he sometimes wants to complain to God about those who are “arrogant” and “wicked” (Psalms 73:3).

This means the wicked show everyone how proud and violent they are as if they were wearing a necklace or beautiful robe. (See: Simile)

This refers to things that rich and important people wear.

a chain usually made of gold or jewels that goes around the neck

Psalms 73:7

Because they are like blind people who cannot see where they are going, they sin without knowing it. Being blind is a metaphor for a person being unable to see how wicked he is. (See: Metaphor)

Here the psalmist describes people’s thoughts as if they were people. He also describes the inner beings of wicked people as if they were a building in which those people could walk. Alternate translation: “in their inner beings they are always thinking about more evil things to do” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 73:8

Asaph continues to describe how he sometimes wants to complain to God about those who are “arrogant” and “wicked” (Psalms 73:3).

Whom they mock can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “They mock God and his people” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 73:9

Here “their mouth” is a metonym for their speech, and “heavens” is a metonym for God, who lives in the heavens. Alternate translation: “They speak against God, who is in the heavens” (See: Metonymy)

The word “tongues” represents the people themselves. Possible meanings are (1) “they go through the earth saying bad things about God” or (2) “they go everywhere and boast about themselves.” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 73:10

Asaph continues to describe how he sometimes wants to complain to God about those who are “arrogant” and “wicked” (Psalms 73:3).

Possible meanings are (1) “God’s people love the wicked people” or (2) “the wicked people return to this place”

Possible meanings are (1) “God’s people listen gladly to the words of the wicked people” or (2) “the wicked people have plenty of food to eat and wine to drink”

Psalms 73:11

the wicked people say

These rhetorical questions are to show contempt for God. These questions can be translated as statements. Alternate translation: “Surely God does not know what we are doing. The Most High has no knowledge of it.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 73:13

In verses 13 and 14, Asaph continues to describe how he sometimes wants to complain to God about those who are “arrogant” and “wicked” (Psalms 73:3). In verse 15 he begins to talk about what he is really thinking.

The word “I” refers to Asaph.

Asaph speaks of guarding his heart as if he were guarding a city or building against enemies. Alternate translation: “I have kept my thoughts pure” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of his purity as if he had washed his hands with innocence instead of with water. See how you translated this in Psalms 26:6. Alternate translation: “my actions have remained pure” or “I have washed my hands to show that I am innocent” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 73:14

“always” or “every day”

“You have made me suffer.” See how “they are not afflicted” is translated in Psalms 73:5.

“I have been…punished”

Psalms 73:15

This hypothetical situation did not happen. Alternate translation: “I never said, ‘I will say these things,’ so I did not betray this generation of your children” (See: Hypothetical Situations)

Psalms 73:16

The good things that happen to “the wicked” (Psalms 73:4-Psalms 12).

Psalms 73:17

“what happens to wicked people when they die” or “how wicked people die”

Psalms 73:18

The word “them” refers to the wicked.

“unsafe or unstable ground.” See how “slipped” is translated in Psalms 73:2.

Psalms 73:19

The word “wilderness” is a metaphor for a person who has lost everything good. Alternate translation: “How quickly they are destroyed” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 73:20

The wicked will last no longer than what a person sees in a dream. It disappears as soon as the person wakes up. (See: Simile)

Psalms 73:21

The word “heart” represents the person emphasizing their thoughts and feelings. Alternate translation: “I was very sad” (See: Synecdoche)

The psalmist speaks of emotional pain as if it were physical pain by being pierced with a knife or arrow. Alternate translation: “I felt like someone had wounded me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 73:22

These two phrases mean basically the same thing and emphasize how little he knew. Alternate translation: “very ignorant” (See: Doublet)

“understood nothing”

This “you” refers to God.

Psalms 73:23

The word “I” here represents Asaph. The word “you” here represents God.

The person’s “right hand” refers to the whole person. This shows an intimate relationship with God that offers stability and security. Alternate translation: “You hold me close” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 73:24

Possible meanings are (1) “put me where people will honor me” or (2) “honor me by taking me to where you are.” See how “receive me” is translated in Psalms 49:15.

Psalms 73:25

You can translate this as a statement. Alternate translation: “There is no one for me in heaven but you!” or “You are the only one I have in heaven!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

“among the gods” or “among the supernatural beings”

Psalms 73:26

These two phrases share similar meanings. Together they represent the whole person. Alternate translation: “My body and my mind” (See: Doublet and Merism)

Psalms 73:27

Asaph continues to talk about God.

Here the idea of staying far from God is compared to being unwilling to obey him. Alternate translation: “Those who do not want to obey you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 73:28

The writer speaks of Yahweh as if he were a place to which a person could flee for safety. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 74

Psalm 074 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 74 is a psalm of deliverance. The people have been completely conquered and they pray for God to deliver them. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

God’s power

The enemies have destroyed God’s temple and are insulting the people. God is powerful. He made everything and he chose Israel for his people. He should avenge himself on these enemies that have burnt his temple. (See: temple, house, house of God and people of God and avenge, avenger, revenge, vengeance)

Superscription

This is called a “Maschil.” The word in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 74:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1.

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “God, we have done nothing wrong, but you have rejected us forever!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “We are the ones you have promised to care for, and we have done nothing wrong, but now you are angry with us!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Asaph speaks of the people of Israel as if they were sheep. Alternate translation: “against Israel, who are like the sheep whom you feed in your pasture” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 74:2

“Pay attention to.” God has not forgotten his people, but he does not seem to be thinking about them.

“yours forever”

Psalms 74:3

These verses describe an actual event, a physical attack on the temple of Israel in Jerusalem.

Asaph is addressing God, asking him to come look at the destruction.

Psalms 74:4

The adversaries were shouting loudly with a great cry of victory.

Psalms 74:6

This refers to carvings on wood, metal, or stone in the temple.

Psalms 74:7

Asaph continues to describe the destruction of the temple.

Here “they” refers to the adversaries mentioned in Psalms 74:4.

Psalms 74:8

Here “they” refers to the adversaries mentioned in Psalms 74:4.

This is an idiom. Alternate translation: “They said to themselves” or “They thought to themselves” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 74:9

Asaph is addressing God about the destruction he sees.

Possible meanings are (1) “We do not see any more miraculous signs from God” or (2) “All our sacred symbols are gone” or (3) the “signs” are the flags and symbols of an army representing the army itself. Alternate translation: “They have completely destroyed our army” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Psalms 74:10

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “God, the enemy has been throwing insults at you for too long!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “It seems as if you will never stop the enemy from blaspheming your name!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The word “name” is a metonym for God himself. Alternate translation: “say that you are bad” or “insult you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 74:11

The psalmist speaks of God as if he had a physical body. This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “Stop holding back your hand, your right hand!” (See: Rhetorical Question and Personification)

Here the word “hand” is a metonym for power. Alternate translation: “not show your power” or “not use your power to destroy your enemies” (See: Metonymy and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“your strongest hand”

The psalmist speaks of God as if he had a physical body. “Stop hiding your power and take action” (See: Metonymy and Personification)

Psalms 74:12

This begins a new theme: Asaph is proclaiming God’s mighty deeds in the history of his people.

Possible meanings are (1) Asaph is speaking as Israel’s representative, “God has been our king since we Israelites first became a nation” or (2) “God, my king, was alive even in ancient times.”

The abstract noun “salvation” can be translated with the verb “to save.” Here Yahweh saving people is spoken of as if salvation were an object that he brings with him. Alternate translation: “saving people” (See: Abstract Nouns and Metaphor)

Psalms 74:13

Asaph is probably speaking of the time God brought Israel out of Egypt, divided the Sea of Reeds, led Israel through it on dry land, then drowned Pharaoh’s army. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Asaph is speaking of God as if God had a physical body. “You are so strong you were able to make dry land in the middle of the sea.” (See: Personification)

“the great water”

Asaph is probably speaking of Pharaoh and his army as if they were sea monsters. If possible, translate these words literally. Alternate translation: “when you killed Pharaoh’s army, it was as if you smashed the heads of sea monsters in the waters” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 74:14

Asaph continues to speak of what God did long ago. He is probably speaking of when God brought Israel out of Egypt and drowned Pharaoh’s army in the Sea of Reeds. If possible, these words should be translated literally.

Leviathan is a sea monster. It represents a cruel enemy. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 74:15

Yahweh causing springs and streams to flow out of the ground as if he broke open the ground so that they could flow. Alternate translation: “You caused springs and streams to flow out of the ground” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 74:16

Asaph continues to recount God’s creative power.

Psalms 74:17

“the boundaries of the land and the sea”

Psalms 74:18

Asaph is pleading for God’s help.

“Pay attention to.” See how this is translated in Psalms 74:2. (See: Idiom)

Asaph speaks of insulting words as if they were physical objects, like stones, which the enemy was throwing at Yahweh. Alternate translation: “the enemy insulted you many times” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 74:19

Asaph speaks of himself as if he were a dove, a defenseless bird. This phrase may also be a metaphor for the people of Israel. Alternate translation: “me, your dove” (See: Metaphor)

A small, defenseless bird often kept as a pet.

This phrase may be a metaphor for the enemies of Israel. Alternate translation: “a savage enemy that is like a wild animal” (See: Metaphor)

“Do not continue forever to do nothing to help your oppressed people.” This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “Come soon to help your oppressed people” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 74:20

Asaph continues his lament to Yahweh.

Asaph speaks of “regions” as if they were containers in which one could put “places of violence.” Alternate translation: “violent people do evil deeds in dark places in the land wherever they can” (See: Metaphor)

The word “dark” is probably a metaphor for a place where bad things happen or for the lands to which the Israelites had been sent in exile, but these words should be translated literally if possible. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 74:21

“Do not let wicked people defeat the oppressed and make them ashamed”

These are people who are treated cruelly by powerful people.

The words “poor” and “oppressed” mean basically the same thing and emphasize that Yahweh saves many who need his help. See how these words are translated in Psalms 35:10. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 74:22

“show everyone that you are right”

“Pay attention to.” God has not forgotten how fools insult him, but he does not seem to be thinking about it. See how this is translated in verse Psalms 2.

Psalms 74:23

The word “voice” is a metonym for the words people use when they speak. Alternate translation: “what your adversaries are saying” (See: Metonymy)

The psalmist speaks of the words of those who defy God as if they were the loud sound of animals or non-living objects like water or the wind. Alternate translation: “and pay attention to the loud and meaningless words of those who continually defy you” (See: Ellipsis and Metaphor)

boldly oppose

Psalms 75

Psalm 075 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 75 is a wisdom psalm; teaching what will happen to evil people. (See: wise, wisdom and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Punishment

God has warned the evil people that they will be punished. He will strengthen the good people. (See: good, right, pleasant, better, best)

Psalms 75:1

The people of God are speaking in 75:1, and God speaks in 75:2-3. Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 57:1.

“This is a psalm that Asaph wrote.” See how this is translated in Psalms Psalm 53.

Psalms 75:3

“all the people who live on it”

“keep the earth from being destroyed” or Alternate translation: “keep my people safe” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 75:4

The words “the arrogant” and “the wicked” are nominal adjectives that can be translated with nouns. The verb for the second phrase may be supplied from the first. Alternate translation: “I said to the arrogant people…and I said to the wicked people” (See: Nominal Adjectives and Ellipsis)

Possible meanings are (1) God is speaking or (2) Asaph is speaking.

The speaker is speaking to many wicked people, so these forms are plural. (See: Pronouns)

Asaph speaks of wicked people as if they were animals with horns on their heads, stretching their necks and holding their heads high to frighten other animals. Alternate translation: “Do not be confident” or “Do not boast about how strong you are” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 75:5

The speaker is speaking to many wicked people, so these forms are plural. (See: Pronouns)

Asaph speaks of wicked people as if they were animals with horns on their heads, stretching their necks and holding their heads as high as they can to frighten other animals. Alternate translation: “Be especially sure not to boast that you are greater than God” (See: Metaphor)

Asaph speaks of wicked people who defy or challenge God as if they were animals with horns on their heads, stretching their necks and holding their heads high to frighten other animals. Alternate translation: “arrogantly” (See: Idiom and Metaphor)

Psalms 75:6

Asaph speaks of the one who lifts up as if he were the action of lifting up. He also speaks of God giving strength and honor to a person as if God were physically lifting that person up. Alternate translation: “The one who will lift you up will not be someone who comes from the east” or “The one who will make you strong and have people honor you will not be someone who comes from the east” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 75:7

Asaph speaks about God.

The objects of the verbs can be stated clearly: “he brings some people down and he lifts other people up.” The words “brings down” and “raises up” are metaphors for God making people powerful and taking away their power. Alternate translation: “he makes one man king in place of another man” or “he takes away one man’s power and gives power to another man” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Metaphor)

Psalms 75:8

When Yahweh punishes the people they will be like people who have drunk strong wine and become ill. (See: Metaphor)

The foam is a metaphor for the power of the wine to make people drunk, Alternate translation: “strong wine” (See: Metaphor)

dried leaves or ground seeds

pours it from a large container into the cups that the people will drink from

“drink every drop of it”

Psalms 75:10

God says

The horns of an animal are a metaphor for the power of a person. Alternate translation: “take away all power from” (See: Metaphor)

The horns of an animal are a metaphor for the power of a person. This can be translated as a statement in active form. Alternate translation: “I will raise up the horns of the righteous” or “I will make the righteous powerful” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

Psalms 76

Psalm 076 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 76 is a worship psalm.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s greatness

God is great. He has conquered all the nations surrounding Israel. Everyone should bring him gifts.

Psalms 76:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

“people should play stringed instruments with this song.”

“This is a psalm that Asaph wrote” See how this is translated in Psalms 53:1.

“caused the people of Judah to know who he is” or “made himself famous in Judah”

The words “his name” are a metonym for his reputation. Alternate translation: “the people of Israel consider him good and powerful” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 76:2

“the place where he has chosen to live”

Psalms 76:3

These words are probably a metaphor for God causing the people of Judah to live in peace without being afraid of enemies making war on them, but the words should be translated literally. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 76:4

Asaph speaks of God as if God was a soldier returning from a mountain after winning a great battle.

The second phrase strengthens the first phrase in that Yahweh’s glory relates to Yahweh shining brightly. (See: Doublet)

The words “shine brightly” are a metaphor for being great. Alternate translation: “You show how extremely great you are” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 76:5

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Your people killed the brave soldiers of their enemies and then took all their possessions” (See: Active or Passive)

Here “fell asleep” is a euphemism for died. Alternate translation: “died” or “fell down dead” (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 76:6

The abstract noun “rebuke” refers to saying something in an angry or critical way. Alternate translation: “When you rebuked them” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This phrase is a polite way to say that they died. Alternate translation: “died” or “fell down dead” (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 76:7

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “No one can stand in your sight when you are angry.” or “You can destroy anyone at whom you are angry.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 76:8

“you pronounced judgment” or “you announced how you were going to punish wicked people”

Here “the earth” is a metonym for the people living on the earth. Alternate translation: “the people of the earth were” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 76:9

“carry out judgment” or “punish wicked people”

Psalms 76:10

“It is certain that your angry judgment”

Possible meanings are (1) “people will praise you because you are angry at the wicked and judge them” or (2) “people who are angry with you will do things that cause people to praise you.”

Yahweh’s anger is spoken of as something that he can tie around himself like a belt. Alternate translation: “you tie your remaining anger around you like a belt” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 76:11

“Yahweh, whom they should fear”

Psalms 76:12

The phrase “He cuts off the spirit” is an idiom that means He breaks the spirit or He humbles. Alternate translation: “He humbles the princes” (See: Idiom)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “the kings of the earth fear him” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 77

Psalm 077 General Notes

Type of psalm

The author felt abandoned by God. This is a psalm of lament. (See: lament, lamentation)

Special concepts in this chapter

Lament

God used to be close to the psalmist, but now it seems that God has completely abandoned him. Long ago, God took care of Israel and brought the people safely through the sea.

Psalms 77:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

One of David’s chief musicians had this same name. This may refer to him. See how you translated this in Psalms 39:1. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 77:2

“I prayed with my arms extended”

The “soul” represents the person. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I would not allow anyone to try to comfort me” (See: Synecdoche and Active or Passive)

Psalms 77:3

These two phrases share similar meanings and are combined for emphasis. (See: Parallelism)

“as my spirit grew faint” or “as my spirit was overwhelmed”

Psalms 77:4

After speaking about God, Asaph speaks to God in verse 4 and then returns to speaking about God.

“I said to God, ‘You held my eyes open.’”

Open eyes is a metonym for being unable to sleep. Alternate translation: “kept me from sleeping” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 77:5

If necessary, “days of old” and “times long past” can be combined. Alternate translation: “about things that happened a very long time ago” (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 77:6

This is an idiom for remembering. Alternate translation: “I remembered” (See: Idiom)

Another possible meaning is “what was happening.”

Psalms 77:7

These two phrases express feeling rejection from the Lord. (See: Doublet)

“do things that show that he is pleased with me”

Psalms 77:8

Because Asaph was not sure of the answer to these questions, they are probably literal questions and should be translated literally.

Asaph speaks of Yahweh no longer acting faithfully to his covenant as if Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness had gone away. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “Has he stopped being faithful to his covenant forever?” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 77:9

These are two expressions stating similar concept of God not showing compassion. (See: Doublet)

Asaph speaks of anger as if it were a person shutting a door to keep another person, compassion, from coming out, Alternate translation: “Had God stopped showing us compassion because he was angry with us” (See: Personification and Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 77:10

Possible meanings are (1) the psalmist was speaking to himself or (2) the psalmist was speaking to Yahweh.

The “right hand” is a metonym for power, authority or strength. Alternate translation: “the Most High no longer uses his power to help us” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 77:11

The writer begins to speak to Yahweh.

“remember” See how this is translated in Psalms 74:2. (See: Idiom)

“the wonderful things you did long ago”

Psalms 77:12

These two phrases express the concept of meditating on what Yahweh has done. (See: Doublet)

think deeply about

“think of what they mean”

Psalms 77:13

The writer continues to speak to Yahweh.

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “no god compares to our great God.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 77:14

The abstract noun “strength” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “shown people from many people groups how strong you are” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 77:15

“gave us, your people, victory…us who are the descendants”

The abstract noun “victory” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “caused your people to be victorious” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This refers to the entire nation of Israel.

Psalms 77:16

Asaph speaks of the water as if it were a person who saw something that terrified him. (See: Personification)

“water” and “depth” refers to large bodies of water such as the sea or ocean. (See: Doublet)

deepest waters

Psalms 77:17

Asaph speaks of the clouds as if they were people pouring water out of containers. Alternate translation: “Much rain fell” or “It rained very hard” (See: Personification)

This is a metaphor that describes lightning as God’s arrows. Alternate translation: “the lightning you made flashed like arrows” (See: Metaphor)

Use your language’s word for what an arrow does after someone shoots it.

Psalms 77:18

This is personification, referring to the thunder as the voice of God. Alternate translation: “voice, which was as loud as thunder” or “very loud voice” (See: Personification)

This is an exaggeration to emphasize that the lightning lit up everything the writer could see. Alternate translation: “lightning lit up everything as far as you could see” (See: Hyperbole)

Psalms 77:19

These two phrases have similar meanings and are combined for emphasis. (See: Doublet)

Asaph is speaking of Yahweh as if Yahweh was a person with feet. While this is personification, it should be translated literally, if possible. (See: Personification)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “no one saw your footprints” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 77:20

This simile compares God’s people to a flock of animals. (See: Simile)

The phrase “by the hand of” here means “by the action of” or “through the action of.”

Here “hand” is synechdoche for the whole person. (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 78

Psalm 078 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 78 is a wisdom psalm using Israel’s history. (See: wise, wisdom)

Special concepts in this chapter

Israel’s complaining

Although God did one miracle after the other, the people of Israel still complained and failed to believe Yahweh. (See: believe, believer, belief, unbeliever, unbelief)

Superscription

This is called a “Maschil.” The word in the original language has caused scholars to have various opinions about its meaning. Some say it means to instruct, while others say that the word is referring to the skill used in creating the psalm. Still others think it means that meditation should be used in reading this psalm.

Psalms 78:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1.

The noun “teaching” can be translated with a verb. Alternate translation: “Hear what I teach” or “Hear me as I teach you” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The word “mouth” represents the person. Alternate translation: “my words” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 78:2

The idiom “open my mouth” means to speak. Alternate translation: “speak in parables” (See: Idiom)

“tell.” See how “pours out” is translated in Psalms 19:2.

If your language has a word for sayings that are purposely difficult to understand, you might use it here.

Psalms 78:3

Verse 3 continues the sentence begun in verse 2.

Psalms 78:4

This can be written in positive form. Alternate translation: “We will certainly tell our descendants about them”

“the things we praise Yahweh for”

Psalms 78:5

“Yahweh established”

Other possible meanings are “testimonies” or “laws.”

Psalms 78:7

The writer speaks of the “children” of Psalms 78:5-6.

Psalms 78:9

This is possibly a metaphor for not keeping the covenant (verse 10), but it is best to translate literally.

“The Ephraimite soldiers”

The soldiers probably also had arrows. Alternate translation: “had bows and arrows for weapons” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 78:12

This refers to the area around the city of Zoan, which was in Egypt. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 78:15

“God split”

This is probably hyperbole. Alternate translation: “more water than they could possibly drink” (See: Hyperbole)

Psalms 78:16

small rivers

Psalms 78:18

They wanted God to prove that he could do what he said he would do before they would believe him.

“with their whole hearts”

“so they could eat as much as they desired”

Psalms 78:19

the Israelites spoke

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “We do not believe that God can really lay out a table for us in the wilderness!” or “God, prove to us that you can really lay out a table for us in the wilderness!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The idiom “lay out a table” means to prepare a table for a meal. Here the word “table” is a metonym for the food on the table. Alternate translation: “provide us with food” (See: Idiom and Metonymy)

Psalms 78:20

much water came out quickly

The people are laughing at God to insult him with these questions. Alternate translation: “But we will not believe that he can give us bread also or provide meat for his people until we see him do it.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

food from plants or food from animals. Though this is a merism for all kinds of food, it is best to translate it literally if possible. (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 78:21

The writer speaks of Yahweh’s anger as if it were a fire, and of Yahweh acting in anger against Jacob as if that fire burned Jacob. Alternate translation: “his anger was like a fire that burned Jacob” (See: Metaphor)

This refers to the nation of Israel

The writer speaks of Yahweh punishing Israel when he was angry as if his anger were a person who attacked Israel. Alternate translation: “because he was angry, he attacked Israel” (See: Personification)

Psalms 78:22

“did not trust him to save them”

Psalms 78:23

Asaph speaks of the skies as if they were a person who could hear and obey God’s commands. Alternate translation: “he spoke to the sky” (See: Personification)

Possible meanings are (1) “sky” or (2) “clouds.”

Asaph speaks of the sky as if it were a storeroom with doors. Alternate translation: “opened the sky as if it were a storeroom” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 78:24

These two lines speak of the same event.

“He caused manna to fall from the sky like rain”

Psalms 78:25

This refers to the manna that God provided for the people. The word “bread” represents food in general. Alternate translation: “the same kind of food that angels eat” (See: Synecdoche)

The abstract noun “abundance” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “abundant food” or “a large amount of food” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 78:26

“God caused”

Psalms 78:27

The writer speaks of Yahweh causing birds to fall from the sky as if the birds were rain that Yahweh caused to fall. He compares the large amount of birds to dust. Alternate translation: “He caused meat to fall from the sky like rain, and there was so much of it that it covered the ground like dust” (See: Metaphor and Simile)

birds

No one can count the grains of sand. There were more birds than anyone could count, but this is an exaggeration: there were probably not literally the same number of birds as grains of sand. (See: Hyperbole)

Psalms 78:29

strongly desired

Psalms 78:31

while the food was still in their mouths (Psalms 78:31)

“God was angry and attacked them.” See how “his anger attacked Israel” is translated in Psalms 78:21. (See: Personification)

This is a euphemism that means he caused them to die. Alternate translation: “killed” (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 78:32

The word “deeds” is a metonym for God, who did the deeds. What they did not believe can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “did not believe that he would take care of them even though he had done such wonderful deeds” (See: Metonymy and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 78:33

The writer continues telling of what God did to the Israelites.

Here the word “days” refers to a lifetime. The idiom “to cut short…days” means to cause someone to die before they have lived a long life. Alternate translation: “killed them while they were still young” (See: Euphemism)

Asaph speaks of years as if they were containers. Alternate translation: “year after year they were afraid all the time” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 78:34

to ask him what they needed to do so he would protect them (See: Idiom)

These are different people from those whose days God “cut short.” When some of them died, others would “start to seek” God.

“would repent” or “would be truly sorry for their sins”

“look urgently” or “look as best they could”

Psalms 78:35

The tells of what the Israelites did.

“remember.” See how this is translated in Psalms 20:3.

The writer speaks about God as if he were a hill or mountain where people could go to be safe from their enemies. Alternate translation: “God was the one who protected them” (See: Metaphor)

“the one who rescued them”

Psalms 78:36

“tell him he was wonderful when they did not believe it”

The word “mouth” is a metonym for the words they spoke using their mouths. Alternate translation: “by saying what they said” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 78:37

Here “hearts” is a metonym for their thoughts. To be loyal to him is spoken of as being solidly attached to him. Alternate translation: “their thoughts were not focused on him” or “they were not loyal to him” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 78:38

“forgave them even though they had done evil deeds”

Asaph speaks of God’s anger as if it were an angry person whom God held onto to keep him from attacking the one who had made him angry. Alternate translation: “did not punish them even though he was angry with them” (See: Metaphor)

Asaph speaks of God’s wrath as if it were a sleeping person whom God allowed to sleep and did not awaken. Alternate translation: “did not allow himself to become fully angry with them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 78:39

“remembered.” See how “call to mind” is translated in Psalms 20:3. (See: Idiom)

The word “flesh,” which is weak and then dies, is a metonym for human weakness and death. Alternate translation: “the Israelites were weak and would someday die” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 78:40

“places where nothing grows”

Psalms 78:41

They wanted God to prove that he could do what he said he would do before they would believe him. See how you translated this in Psalms 78:18.

Psalms 78:42

The writer speaks of how God had rescued the Israelites.

Psalms 78:43

a city in Egypt (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 78:44

The writer describes what God did.

Psalms 78:45

so many flies that it looked like a cloud

The flies made the Egyptians almost as unhappy as they would have if they had eaten the Egyptians. (See: Metaphor and Hyperbole)

“went everywhere in their land”

Psalms 78:46

“allowed the grasshoppers to eat all their crops and allowed the locusts to eat everything they had worked hard to produce”

a plant-eating insect with long legs used for jumping

Asaph speaks of the crops as a gift that God gave to the grasshoppers. Alternate translation: “He allowed the grasshopper to eat their crops” (See: Metaphor)

“he gave their labor to the locust.” Asaph speaks of the people’s labor as if it were a gift that God gave to the grasshoppers. The word “labor” is a metonym for the crops that their labor had produced. Alternate translation: “he allowed the locusts to eat the crops they had worked so hard to produce” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

Psalms 78:47

The writer continues to describe what God did to the Egyptians.

a tree that gives fruit

Psalms 78:48

lightning that makes loud thunder

“He brought hail” or “He caused hail to fall”

Psalms 78:49

Asaph speaks of God’s fierceness as if it were a person who could attack another person. Alternate translation: “He was angry with them, so he suddenly and fiercely attacked them” (See: Personification)

“His fierce anger”

“attacked them when they were not expecting anything to happen”

Asaph speaks of wrath, fury, and trouble as though they are people God can send to do his work for him. Alternate translation: “He was so angry that he wanted to harm the Egyptians, so he made trouble for them and brought them to disaster” (See: Personification and Simile)

anger that makes someone want to harm others

Psalms 78:50

The writer continues to describe what God did to the Egyptians.

The psalmist speaks of anger as if it were a person who could walk Yahweh getting ready to punish the people as if he were making a smooth road for a person to walk on. Alternate translation: “He was so angry that he did everything he could to harm them” or “It was as if his anger was an army and he made a smooth road for it to march on” (See: Metaphor and Personification)

“he did not keep the Egyptians from dying” or “he did not permit the Egyptians to live”

Asaph speaks of the plague as if it were a person who was going to harm the Egyptians. Alternate translation: “he made them all very ill with the plague” (See: Metaphor and Personification)

Psalms 78:51

This phrase refers to the firstborn males of each family. Alternate translation: “the firstborn males” (See: Idiom)

Here the word “tents” is a metonym for families. The word “Ham” refers to Egypt by the name of their ancestor. Alternate translation: “among the families of Egypt” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 78:52

The writer continues to describe what God did for the people of Israel.

The writer speaks about the Israelites as if they were sheep. This means God cared for and protected the people like a shepherd does his sheep. (See: Simile)

Psalms 78:53

completely covered

Psalms 78:54

The writer continues to describe what God did for the people of Israel.

The words “right hand” are a metonym for power. Alternate translation: “he won for himself using his own power” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 78:55

Possible meanings are (1) God assigned the Israelites their inheritance in the land in which the other nations had once lived or (2) God assigned to the nations he had driven out an inheritance somewhere else. “gave them land that would always be theirs”

Possible meanings are (1) he settled Israel in their own tents in the land or (2) he settled Israel in the tents from which he had driven the other nations. Most of these “tents” were actually houses, both when the other nations lived in them and when the Israelites lived in them. Alternate translation: “in their homes” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 78:56

The writer continues to describe what God did for the people of Israel.

These words mean almost the same thing. The writer uses them both to emphasize that the Israelites did not believe that God would either provide for them or punish evil as he had said he would. (See: Doublet)

They wanted God to prove that he could do what he said he would do before they would believe him. See how you translated this idea in Psalms 78:18.

refused to obey

Psalms 78:57

These words mean almost the same thing. The writer uses them both to emphasize that the Israelites did not do for God what they had said they would do. (See: Doublet)

Psalms 78:58

The writer continues to describe what God did for the people of Israel.

These two phrases are in parallel and have similar meanings. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 78:60

The writer continues to describe what God did for the people of Israel.

Psalms 78:61

Asaph speaks of God’s strength and glory as if they were physical objects that people could capture and hold. The words “strength” and “glory” are probably mentonyms for the ark of the covenant. The word “hand” is a metonym for the enemy’s power. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “He allowed his enemies to capture the glorious ark of his covenant; he simply gave it to them so they could do whatever they wanted with it” (See: Metonymy and Active or Passive)

Psalms 78:62

The writer continues to describe what God did for the people of Israel.

Asaph speaks of God’s people as if they were a small object God would give as a gift, and of the sword, a metonym for death in war, as if it were a person who could receive a gift. Alternate translation: “He allowed people to kill all his people in war” (See: Metaphor and Personification and Metonymy)

“he was angry with the people he had said would be his forever”

Psalms 78:63

Possible meanings are (1) “The enemy used fire to kill all their young men” or (2) “Their young men died quickly in battle like a fire burns dry grass.” Do not communicate that these people used guns. (See: Metaphor)

To “devour” is to eat everything very quickly.

the celebration when people marry

Psalms 78:64

Here the word “sword” represents soldiers who fought with swords. The phrase “fell by the sword” is an idiom that means to die in battle. Alternate translation: “Their priests died in battle” or “Enemies killed their priests with swords” (See: Metonymy and Idiom)

Possible meanings are (1) someone forced the widows not to weep or (2) so many priests died that there was no time for proper funerals.

women whose husbands have died

Psalms 78:65

The Lord not acting for a period of time is spoken of as if he were asleep, and his beginning to act is spoken of as if he awakened. Alternate translation: “the Lord began to act as if he had awakened from sleep” (See: Metaphor)

Possible meanings are (1) like a warrior who had drunk too much wine and has become angry because he was awakened and so wants to fight or (2) like a warrior who drank much wine but is now able to think and fight well because he has slept.

Psalms 78:67

The writer continues to describe what God did for the people of Israel.

Here the word “tent” is a metonym for a family. In this phrase it refers to the descendants of Joseph. Alternate translation: “the descendants of Joseph” (See: Metonymy)

Ephraim was Joseph’s son.

Psalms 78:68

Mount Zion was in the land where the tribe of Judah lived.

Psalms 78:69

Possible meanings for this simile are (1) Yahweh has made his sanctuary as high as the heavens. Alternate translation: “He built his sanctuary high, like the heavens” or (2) Yahweh has made his sanctuary as permanent as the heavens. Alternate translation: “He built his sanctuary to last permanently, like the heavens last forever” (See: Simile)

The verb may be supplied from the previous line. The writer compares the permanence of Yahweh’s sanctuary to the permanence of the earth. Alternate translation: “He built his sanctuary to last permanently, like the earth lasts permanently” (See: Ellipsis and Simile)

Psalms 78:70

The writer continues to describe what God did

“from where he was working in the sheepfolds” Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information

spaces with walls around them where sheep are kept safe

Psalms 78:71

The word “shepherd” is a metaphor for one who leads and protects other people. Alternate translation: “to lead and protect the descendants of Jacob, his people, and of Israel, his heritage” (See: Metaphor)

“the ones he had chosen to be his forever” See how this is translated in Psalms 78:62.

Psalms 78:72

The word “shepherded” is a metaphor for leading and protecting. Alternate translation: “David led them and protected them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 79

Psalm 079 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 79 is a deliverance psalm and a prayer for revenge against their enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue and avenge, avenger, revenge, vengeance)

Special concepts in this chapter

Destruction

Jerusalem has been destroyed and its people killed. God should destroy these enemy nations who do not pray to him.

Psalms 79:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“the land that was to be yours forever” See how this is translated in Psalms 68:9.

Psalms 79:3

The word “blood” is a metonym for innocent life. To shed blood is to kill innocent people. Most people saw water every day, so for blood to be as common as water, many innocent people would have to die. Alternate translation: “They have killed so many innocent people that the blood is everywhere, like water after it rains” (See: Metonymy and Simile)

Psalms 79:4

The words “reproach,” “mocking,” and “derision” are metonyms for those whom others reproach, mock, and deride. Alternate translation: “We have become people whom our neighbors reproach; those around us mock and deride us” (See: Metonymy)

The pronoun “We” refers to God’s people.

strong laughter to shame a person

Psalms 79:5

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “It seems as though your jealous anger will never stop burning like fire.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The abstract noun “anger” can be stated as “angry.” Alternate translation: “will you be jealous and angry” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This simile compares the expression of God’s anger to a fire that destroys things. Alternate translation: “destroy us” (See: Simile and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 79:6

These two pairs of phrases each share similar meanings and are combined for emphasis. (See: Parallelism)

Asaph speaks of God’s wrath as if it were a liquid. Alternate translation: “Since you are angry, punish the nations” (See: Metaphor)

The word “name” is a metonym for the person’s power and authority. Alternate translation: “do not belong to you” or “do not ask you to help them” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 79:7

The word “Jacob” is a mentonym for his descendants, the people of Israel. Alternate translation: “they have completely destroyed the people of Israel” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 79:8

“Do not continue to remember the sins of our forefathers and punish us for them” or “Forgive us for the sins of our forefathers”

The writer speaks of the people being weak and discouraged as if they were in a low position. Alternate translation: “we are very weak” or “we are very discouraged” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 79:9

The word “salvation” can be translated with the verb “save”: “God who saves us.” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The word “name” is a metonym for his reputation, for what people know about him. Alternate translation: “so that people will know about your glory” (See: Metonymy)

God’s name here represents his whole being and the honor that he deserves. Alternate translation: “so that people will honor you” or “for your own sake” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 79:10

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “The nations should not be able to say, ‘Where is their God?’” (See: Rhetorical Question)

This taunt can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “Their God cannot do anything!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

To shed blood is a metonym for killing innocent people. This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “Avenge your innocent servants whom the nations killed where we can see you do it” (See: Metonymy and Rhetorical Question)

“in our sight” or “while we are present”

Psalms 79:11

Asaph speaks of the sound made by prisoners in pain and sorrow as if it were a person who appears before a king. Alternate translation: “Listen carefully to the groans of the prisoners and help them” (See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This is an idiom that refers to people who are condemned to death. Alternate translation: “those who are condemned to die” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 79:12

Asaph speaks of the evil deeds that the neighboring countries did against Israel as “insults,” and as if they were physical items. He asks the Lord to count those deeds, and for every one that the neighboring countries committed, he asks the Lord to have someone do seven evil deeds to the neighboring countries. (See: Metaphor)

“Return” or “Give back”

onto their knees and thighs as they are sitting. This is a metaphor for “directly and personally.” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 79:13

The word “sheep” is a metaphor for helpless people whom a shepherd protects and leads. Alternate translation: “we who are your people, whom you protect and lead, will thank you” (See: Metaphor)

“make sure that all generations to come know all the good things you have done”

This represents the things that people will praise them the Lord for. Alternate translation: “continue to praise you for the things that you have done” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 80

Psalm 080 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 80 is a deliverance psalm. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s help

Israel’s enemies threaten them. The psalmist asks Yahweh to look down with joy on them, then they will be saved. (See: save, saved, safe, salvation)

Important figures of speech in this chapter

Metaphor

The author uses an extended metaphor of Israel as a vine planted by God which is being uprooted. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 80:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship” See how this is translated in Psalms 4:1.

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 45:1.

Asaph is referring to God as the one who leads and protects Israel. (See: Metaphor)

The word “Joseph” refers to the nation of Israel. Asaph speaks of the people as if they were a flock of sheep that Yahweh, who is the shepherd, leads. Alternate translation: “you who lead the descendants of Joseph as though they were a flock of sheep” (See: Metaphor)

Here Joseph represents the nation of Israel. (See: Metonymy)

You may need to make explicit that the cherubim are those on the lid of the ark of the covenant. The biblical writers often spoke of the ark of the covenant as if it were Yahweh’s footstool upon which he rested his feet as he sat on his throne in heaven above. Alternate translation: “you who sit on your throne above the cherubim on the ark of the covenant” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Asaph speaks of God as if he were the sun, giving light, a metaphor for moral goodness. Alternate translation: “give us light” or “show us the right way to live” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 80:2

The phrase “stir up” means to “put into action.” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 80:3

The writer speaks of Yahweh acting favorably towards them as if Yahweh’s face shone a light on them. Alternate translation: “act favorably towards us” (See: Metaphor)

This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “and please save us” or “so that you can save us” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 80:4

Israel

Psalms 80:5

The words “bread of tears” and “tears to drink” are metaphors for continual sadness. Alternate translation: “You have made sure that they are very sad all the time” (See: Metaphor and Parallelism)

Psalms 80:7

Asaph is speaking on behalf of the people of Israel. He begins in verse 8 to speak of the way God settled Israel in their land as if God were a man who cleared ground and planted a grapevine. The image of the grapevine continues through verse 16.

The writer speaks of Yahweh acting favorably towards them as if Yahweh’s face shone a light on them. See how you translated this in Psalms 80:3. Alternate translation: “act favorably towards us” (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “you will save us” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 80:8

Asaph compares the nation of Israel to a vine made ready to transplant. Alternate translation: “You brought us, like a vine, out of Egypt” (See: Metaphor and Simile)

The psalmist speaks of his people as if they were a plant that Yahweh was transplanting. Alternate translation: “you drove out nations from their land and gave it to us, the vine, and planted us there” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 80:9

Asaph continues speaking of Israel in their land as if Israel were a grapevine in a vineyard. (See: Metaphor)

“You cleared the land for the vine”

“the vine took root” or “the vine began to grow”

“its branches covered the land”

Psalms 80:10

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Its shade covered the mountains, its branches the cedars of God” (See: Active or Passive)

“and the cedars of God were covered by its branches,” which copies the verb from the previous sentence. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “and its branches covered the cedars of God” (See: Ellipsis and Active or Passive)

Possible meanings are (1) “the highest cedar trees,” the cedar trees that grew on the “mountains” in the land of Lebanon north of Israel, or (2) “God’s own cedar trees.”

Psalms 80:11

the Mediterranean Sea to the west of Israel

the parts of new plants that are just starting to grow above the ground

Psalms 80:12

Asaph continues speaking of Israel in their land as if Israel were a grapevine in a vineyard.

walls of stone, not of wood

Psalms 80:13

wild pigs that ruin gardens and farms and attack people. If your readers do not know what these are, use the word for a wild animal that ruins gardens and farms and attacks people. (See: Translate Unknowns)

land where there are many trees

wild animals of any kind

land where there are many plants but no trees

Psalms 80:14

Asaph finishes speaking of Israel in their land as if Israel were a grapevine in a vineyard.

The writer wants God to turn back in order to help them. This can be stated explicitly. Alternate translation: “Turn back to us” or “Come and help us again” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

“look at”

The writer continues comparing the nation of Israel to the vine. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 80:15

The right hand represents the Yahweh’s power and control. Alternate translation: “This is the root that you, Yahweh, planted” (See: Metonymy)

the part of a new plant that is just starting to grow above the ground. See how you translated this in Psalms 80:11.

Psalms 80:16

Possible meanings are (1) “down; your people perish because of your rebuke.” or (2) “down. May your enemies perish because of your rebuke!”

Psalms 80:17

This refers to Yahweh’s power and control. (See: Metonymy)

the nation of Israel, which Yahweh has chosen as his people. (See: Synecdoche)

When a man in Israel wanted to honor another man, he would have that other man stand at his right side, close to his right hand. (See: Idiom)

Psalms 80:18

Here “turn away” is a metaphor for rejecting someone. This can also be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “we will not stop worshiping and obeying you” or “we will always worship and obey you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 80:19

The writer speaks of Yahweh acting favorably towards them as if Yahweh’s face shone a light on them. See how you translated this in Psalms 80:3. Alternate translation: “act favorably towards us” (See: Metaphor)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “you will save us” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 81

Psalm 081 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 81 is a wisdom psalm. It is meant to be sung at “new moon” and “full moon” ceremonies. (See: wise, wisdom)

Special concepts in this chapter

Obedience

If Israel would obey and worship God, he would destroy their enemies.

Psalms 81:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

A psalm that Asaph wrote.

“This is for the director of music to use in worship;”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 8:1.

The abstract noun “strength” can be stated as “strong.” Alternate translation: “God who causes us to be strong” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “Jacob” represents all of his descendants. Alternate translation: “the God of Israel, the nation of Jacob’s descendants” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 81:2

These are musical instruments.

a musical instrument with a head like a drum that can be hit and with pieces of metal around the side that sound when the instrument is shaken (See: Translate Unknowns)

Psalms 81:3

This is the beginning of the lunar month.

This is the middle of the lunar month.

“and on the days when our feasts begin”

Psalms 81:4

Here “it” refers to the feast day.

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “the God of Jacob decreed it” or “the God of Jacob commanded it” (See: Active or Passive)

Here “Jacob” represents all of his descendants. Alternate translation: “the God of Israel, the nation of Jacob’s descendants” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 81:5

“gave it as a law”

Here “Joseph” represents all of the Israelites. Alternate translation: “to the Israelites” (See: Synecdoche)

This refers to the historical events in Egypt when the people of Israel were enslaved and God rescued them. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “land” represents the people. Alternate translation: “the people of Egypt” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 81:6

Here God begins speaking.

Here “the burden from his shoulder” represents the forced labor the Israelites had to do as slaves in Egypt. (See: Synecdoche)

Here “holding the basket” represents the forced labor the Israelites had to do as slaves in Egypt. (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 81:7

“In your great suffering”

When God came to the Israelites, he hid the fullness of his presence and glory in a dark and threatening cloud. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

God tested the children of Israel to see if they would trust him to supply water in the desert of Meribah. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 81:8

Yahweh reminds the people what he said while they were in the desert.

“because I am giving you a warning”

Here “Israel” represents the people of Israel. Alternate translation: “Israelites” or “people of Israel” (See: Metonymy)

“how I wish you would listen to me” or “but you must start listening to me!”

Psalms 81:10

God taking care of all the needs of the people is spoken of as if he were a mother bird feeding her baby birds. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 81:11

Now Yahweh tells what actually happened after he warned the people.

“to what I said” or “to me”

Psalms 81:12

God allowing the people to remain stubborn is spoken of as if God were giving them over to an enemy to let the enemy harm them. Alternate translation: “Therefore, I let them be stubborn” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 81:13

God wanting the people to obey him is spoken of as if he wanted the people to walk on his paths or roads. Alternate translation: “I wish that they would obey my laws” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 81:14

Here “hand” represents Yahweh’s power. Alternate translation: “I would destroy” or “I would defeat” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 81:15

Yahweh is speaking about himself in the third person. Alternate translation: “who hate me…before me” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

“bow down in fear” or “fall down in fear”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I would humiliate them forever” or “I will punish them forever” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 81:16

God causing the best wheat to grow in Israel is spoken of as if he would literally feed the wheat to the people. Alternate translation: “I would allow the Israelites to eat the finest wheat” (See: Metaphor)

Both “Israel” and “you” refer to the Israelites.

This refers to wild honey. Bees would build hives in the holes in rocks and make the honey there. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 82

Psalm 082 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 82 is a psalm of judgment against the leaders of the other nations. (See: judge, judgment)

Special concepts in this chapter

Favoritism

The leaders of the nations need to protect the poor and needy and not to favor the evil rich people. (See: favor, favorable, favoritism and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Important figures of speech in this chapter

Metonymy

The leaders of the nations are represented by their gods. (See: Metonymy and god, false god, goddess, idol, idolater, idolatrous, idolatry)

Psalms 82:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“the heavenly council” or “the meeting in heaven”

“he gives judgment.” The abstract noun “judgment” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “he judges” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Possible meanings are (1) these are other spiritual beings who dwell in heaven. Alternate translation: “the divine beings” or “the heavenly judges” or (2) these are human judges that God has appointed. Either way, it does not mean they are gods like Yahweh is god. It means God has given them great power and authority. Alternate translation: “the rulers”

Psalms 82:2

Yahweh uses a question to rebuke the gods for not judging people fairly. (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 82:3

These words are nominal adjectives. They can be stated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “those who are poor…those who are fatherless…those who are afflicted…those who are destitute” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

“do what is right for the”

Psalms 82:4

These are all nominal adjectives. They can be stated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “those who are poor…those who are needy…those who are wicked” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Here the word “hand” represents power or control. Alternate translation: “stop the wicked people from harming them” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 82:5

Possible meanings are (1) “they” refers to the gods or (2) “they” refers to the wicked people.

Doing what is evil is spoken of as if they were walking in a very dark place. (See: Metaphor)

The gods corrupting the moral order that Yahweh established is spoken of as if the gods were shaking the earth and making it fall apart. (See: Metaphor)

fall apart

Psalms 82:6

Here “gods” refers to the same group as in Psalms 82:1. Whether this refers to spiritual beings or human beings, they are not gods like Yahweh is God, and they are not literally his sons. By calling them “gods” and “sons of the Most High,” Yahweh is acknowledging that he has given them great power and authority.

Yahweh is speaking about himself as “the Most High.” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 82:7

“However you”

This is a way of speaking of a person dying. (See: Idiom)

Psalms 82:8

The writer is speaking again.

Here “earth” represents the people. Alternate translation: “judge the people of the earth” (See: Metonymy)

“for all the nations are your inheritance.” Yahweh taking all the people as his own and ruling over them is spoken of as if the nations were a possession that he inherited. Alternate translation: “for you rule over all the people of every nation” (See: Metaphor)

Here “nations” represents the people of the nations. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 83

Psalm 083 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 83 is a deliverance psalm. It is a prayer for deliverance from the many nations allied against Israel. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Destruction

God should destroy these enemy nations like he destroyed Israel’s enemies during the time of the Judges.

Psalms 83:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“do nothing to help us”

Psalms 83:2

Here “making a commotion” means they are rioting and rebelling. Alternate translation: “Look, your enemies are rebelling against you”

The phrase “raised their heads” is way of saying they are rebelling against God. Alternate translation: “those who hate you are defying you” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 83:3

“those whom you protect.” This refers to the Israelites.

Psalms 83:4

Here “name” represents a reputation or the memory of someone. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “no one will ever remember the Israelites existed” (See: Metonymy and Active or Passive)

Psalms 83:5

“Your enemies have agreed together with one plan”

“they have joined together against you”

Psalms 83:6

The writer continues to list the people groups who want to destroy Israel.

This refers to the people of Edom who lived in tents. (See: Metonymy)

This is the name of a people group that lived on the east side of the Jordan River. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 83:7

These all represent the people of each area or tribe. Alternate translation: “the people of Gebal, the Ammonites, the Amalekites…the Philistines” (See: Metonymy)

This is the name of a region south of the Dead Sea. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 83:8

This represents the people of Assyria. Alternate translation: “the people of Assyria” (See: Metonymy)

Here “arm” is a metonym that represents “help.” Alternate translation: “they have become a help for the descendants of Lot” or “they are helping the descendants of Lot” (See: Metonymy)

This refers to the people of the nations of Moab and Ammon. You can make clear the understood information. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 83:9

The writer is asking God to defeat Israel’s enemies as he has done in the past. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “Midian” represents the people of Midian. Alternate translation: “did to the Midianites” (See: Metonymy)

These are names of men. Jabin was king of Hazor. Sisera was the commander of Jabin’s army. (See: How to Translate Names)

This is the name of a river in northern Israel. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 83:10

This is the name of a town in northern Israel. (See: How to Translate Names)

This means the bodies of Sisera and Jabin were not buried but were left to rot. (See: Simile)

Psalms 83:11

The writer continues to remind God of other enemies he has defeated for Israel in the past. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

These are all names of kings. (See: How to Translate Names)

Psalms 83:12

Here “They” refers to Oreb, Zeeb, Zebah and Zalmunna.

This speaks about the land of Israel as if it were land for sheep to graze and God were the shepherd watching over it. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 83:13

The writer uses similes to describe God’s total destruction of Israel’s enemies. (See: Simile)

Both statements speak of God destroying his enemies as if he were a strong wind easily blowing them away. (See: Simile and Parallelism)

Psalms 83:14

Both statements speak of God’s punishment as if it were a fire, and the enemies of God are things that burn in the fire. (See: Simile and Parallelism)

Psalms 83:15

Both statements ask God to destroy the enemies with storms. (See: Simile and Parallelism)

Psalms 83:16

Here “faces” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “Make them very ashamed” (See: Synecdoche)

Here “name” represents God’s power. God’s enemies acknowledging that God is powerful is spoken of as if they are seeking to find Yahweh. Alternate translation: “they might acknowledge that you are powerful” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Possible meanings are (1) God’s enemies admit that God is powerful or (2) God’s enemies are asking God for help or (3) God’s enemies start to worship and obey him.

Psalms 83:17

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Make them ashamed and terrified forever” (See: Active or Passive)

“may they die while they are ashamed”

Psalms 83:18

This can also be stated as the writer making a request to God. Alternate translation: “Cause them to know”

God ruling over everything in the earth is spoken of as if he were elevated higher than everything else. Alternate translation: “are supreme, and you rule all things on the earth” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 84

Psalm 084 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 84 is a worship psalm.

Special concepts in this chapter

Obedience

God blesses all who want to obey him. Praising God in his temple is better than anything else. (See: bless, blessed, blessing and temple, house, house of God)

Similarity to Psalm 42-43

There are many similarities between these psalms and some scholars suggest they were written by the same people.

Psalms 84:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 8:1.

“How beautiful”

Psalms 84:2

“I really want to be in the courts of Yahweh”

Here “courts” represent the temple. (See: Synecdoche)

“my desire has exhausted me” or “I am tired because I want it so much”

Here “heart” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I call out with all of my being” (See: Synecdoche)

This means God is living and he also has the power to cause other things to live.

Psalms 84:3

These are types of birds. (See: Translate Unknowns)

“found her a home” or “made her a home”

Here the words “has found” or “has made” are understood. Alternate translation: “the swallow has found a nest” or “the swallow has made a nest” (See: Ellipsis)

“where she may lay her eggs and care for her babies”

Psalms 84:4

Possible meanings are (1) “they” refers to the priests who permanently serve at the temple or (2) “they” refers to people in general who come and worship at the temple.

“keep praising you again and again”

Psalms 84:5

Here “man” refers to people in general. (See: Generic Noun Phrases and When Masculine Words Include Women)

God is spoken of as if strength was actually found in him. Alternate translation: “whom you strengthen” (See: Metaphor)

This expression is about heart-felt desire. Alternate translation: “Who love to go up to Zion” or “Who earnestly wish go up to Zion” (See: Metaphor)

roads built higher than the surrounding ground

The temple was in Jerusalem on the top of the highest hill, called Mount Zion.

Psalms 84:6

This refers to a dry, arid place. Some Bible versions have “the Valley of Baca.” The word “Baca” means “weeping.”

This means the rain that falls in autumn before the cold season. This is during the months of October and November on Western calendars.

Here the word “blessings” is a metonym for the pools of water that make people who live in dry lands happy. Alternate translation: “pools of water that make them happy” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 84:7

This is a way of saying they get stronger. (See: Idiom)

Here “They” refers to those who strongly desire to go to the temple to worship God.

Psalms 84:9

The king who protects his people is spoken of as if he were a shield. Alternate translation: “God, watch over our king” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 84:10

This can be stated with the understood information. Alternate translation: “I would rather be in your courts for one day than to be somewhere else for a thousand days” (See: Ellipsis)

“1,000” (See: Numbers)

“be a guard at the door” or “stand at the door”

This nominal adjective can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “wicked people” or “those who are wicked” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 84:11

Yahweh who guides and protects his people is spoken of as if he were the sun and a shield. Alternate translation: “For Yahweh God guides us like the light from the sun, and he protects us like a shield” (See: Metaphor)

The abstract nouns “grace” and “glory” can be stated as verbs. Alternate translation: “Yahweh will be kind to us and honor us” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The way a person conducts their lives or behaves is spoken of as if the person were walking. Alternate translation: “who live honestly” or “who are honest”

Psalms 84:12

Here “man” means people in general. Alternate translation: “blessed are those” (See: Generic Noun Phrases and When Masculine Words Include Women)

Psalms 85

Psalm 085 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 85 is a worship psalm.

Special concepts in this chapter

Blessings

God has given so many blessings. If the people stop their sinning, then the land will be filled by the glory of God and his blessings. (See: bless, blessed, blessing and sin, sinful, sinner, sinning and glory, glorious, glorify)

Group Prayer

Note how this psalm uses the plural to show that it is a group praying.

Psalms 85:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is for the director of music to use in worship.”

Here “land” represents the nation and people of Israel. (See: Metonymy)

This refers to a person being happy, healthy and prosperous.

Here “Jacob” represents Jacob’s descendents, the Israelites. (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 85:2

Here sin that is forgiven is spoken of as if it were covered so that it can not be seen. Alternate translation: “you have deliberately forgotten their sin” (See: Metaphor)

This writer thought of himself as belonging to God’s people. Alternate translation: “our sin”

Psalms 85:3

God no longer punishing the Israelites is spoken of as if wrath were an object that Yahweh could take away from the Israelites. (See: Metaphor)

God no longer being angry with the Israelites is spoken of as if anger were a fire that God from which God turned away. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 85:4

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “God who saves us” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Asking God to stop being angry with the Israelites is spoken of as if displeasure were an object the writer wants God to let go of. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 85:5

The writer uses these questions to emphasize that he is requesting God to stop being angry with them. These rhetorical questions can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “Please do not stay angry at us forever.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 85:6

The writer uses a question to emphasize his request to God to make the people of Israel prosper and happy again. This rhetorical question can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “Please make us prosper again.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 85:7

If the sentence is rearranged, the ideas in the abstract noun “covenant faithfulness” can be expressed with the phrase “faithful to your covenant.” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This is how the writer wants God to show his faithfulness to his people. If the sentence is rearranged, the ideas in the abstract noun “salvation” can be expressed with the verb “save.” Alternate translation: “and save us” or “by saving us” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 85:8

“have a peaceful relationship with his people” or “bring peace to his people”

A person changing the way he behaves is spoken of as if he were physically turning to a different direction. Alternate translation: “Yet they must not start doing foolish things again” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 85:9

God being ready to save someone is spoken of as if salvation were an object that God has placed near someone. Alternate translation: “Surely God is ready to save those” (See: Metaphor)

Here “glory” represents God’s presence. Alternate translation: “then his glorious presence will remain in our land” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 85:10

The abstract nouns “faithfulness” and “trustworthiness” are spoken of as if they were persons who meet together. Possible meanings are (1) God has been faithful because of his covenant and has done what he promised to do. Alternate translation: “God has been faithful to his covenant and has proven that he is worthy of people trusting him” or (2) God has been faithful because of his covenant and the people have responded by being faithful to him. Alternate translation: “God has been faithful to his covenant and people have responded by trusting him” (See: Abstract Nouns and Personification)

Most likely the speaker is describing a time in the future when God causes the people to prosper again. Alternate translation: “will meet together…will kiss each other”

Possible meanings are (1) the people will do what is right and God will cause the people to live in peace or (2) God will do what is right and will cause the people to live in peace. Either way righteousness and peace are abstract nouns and are spoken of as if they were persons who kiss each other. (See: Abstract Nouns and Personification)

This was a common way for friends to greet each other.

Psalms 85:11

The people on earth being faithful to God is spoken of as if trustworthiness were a plant growing out of the ground. The abstract noun “trustworthiness” can be stated as “loyal.” Alternate translation: “Here on earth, we will be loyal to God” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The word “righteousness” is an abstract noun, and it is spoken of as a person looking down as God does. Alternate translation: “God will look on us from heaven and will act justly towards us” (See: Abstract Nouns and Personification)

Psalms 85:13

God doing what is right everywhere he goes is spoken of as if righteousness were a person who goes ahead of God and prepares a path for God to walk. (See: Personification)

Here “footsteps” represents where God walks. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 86

Psalm 086 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 86 is a deliverance psalm. He is praying for deliverance from his many enemies. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s help

God has blessed the psalmist and is so loving to him. He has been one of God’s servants. Now he needs God to save him. (See: bless, blessed, blessing and love, beloved and save, saved, safe, salvation)

Psalms 86:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“weak and needy”

Psalms 86:2

David refers to himself as “your servant,” that is, God’s servant. Alternate translation: “save me, your servant” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 86:3

This is an exaggeration. David cries out continually, but not literally at all times from dawn to dusk. Alternate translation: “continually” (See: Hyperbole)

Psalms 86:4

David refers to himself as “your servant,” that is, God’s servant. Alternate translation: “Make me, your servant” or “Make me” (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 86:7

“During my times of difficulty”

“I pray to you”

Psalms 86:8

The writer is not acknowledging these other gods exist. He is referring to false gods that people from other nations worship. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 86:9

Here “the nations” represent the people. Alternate translation: “The people from all nations” (See: Metonymy)

Here “name” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “They will honor you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 86:10

“very good things that amaze me”

“you are the only God”

Psalms 86:11

A person who obeys what God wants is spoken of as if he were walking on God’s way or road. Alternate translation: “Teach me your truth, Yahweh. Then I will obey what you say” (See: Metaphor)

Here “heart” represents a person’s thoughts, emotions, and motives. Asking God to cause a person to respect him completely is spoken of as if the person’s heart were in many pieces and that God unites them together. Alternate translation: “Cause me to respect you sincerely with all my heart” or “Cause me to respect you sincerely” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 86:12

Here “heart” represents a person’s thoughts, emotions, and motives. Alternate translation: “I will praise you completely and sincerely” (See: Metonymy)

Here “name” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “I will glorify you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 86:13

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “For you are very faithful to me because of your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This does not mean God brought him back to life after he died. It means God saved him when he was about to die.

Psalms 86:14

This nominal adjective can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “arrogant people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

“are coming together to harm me”

This is a way of saying they want to kill him. (See: Idiom)

Psalms 86:15

God constantly being faithful and trustworthy is spoken of as if faithfulness and trustworthiness were objects of which God has a large quantity. The two abstract nouns can be translated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “always faithful to your covenant and very worthy of people trusting you” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 86:16

Asking God to consider him is spoken of as if he wanted God to turn and look at him. (See: Metaphor)

The abstract noun “strength” can be stated as a verb or an adjective. Alternate translation: “strengthen your servant” or “make your servant strong” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The writer is speaking about himself in the third person. (See: First, Second or Third Person)

Psalms 86:17

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “they will be ashamed” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 87

Psalm 087 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 87 is a psalm about Jerusalem.

Special concepts in this chapter

Pride

People will be proud to have been born in Jerusalem.

Psalms about Jerusalem

Psalm 46, 48, and 76 are part of a group of psalms that celebrate Jerusalem.

Psalms 87:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Psalms 87:2

Here “gates of Zion” represents the entire city of Jerusalem. Alternate translation: “city of Jerusalem” (See: Synecdoche)

The people lived in tents while they wandered in the desert. Here the writer uses “tents of Jacob” to represent where the Israelites live now. Alternate translation: “any of the other dwelling places of the Israelites” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 87:3

The writer speaks to the city of Jerusalem as if it were listening to him. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “You people in Jerusalem, other people say wonderful things about your city” (See: Apostrophe and Active or Passive)

Psalms 87:4

“I tell about.” Here “I” refers to Yahweh.

Here “Rahab” is a poetic way of referring to Egypt. Both “Rahab” and “Babylon” represent the people. Alternate translation: “the people of Egypt and Babylon” (See: Metonymy and How to Translate Names)

“to those who worship me”

“This one” refers to the people from the nations that the writer mentions. Although they were not physically born in Zion, those who follow God are natives of Jerusalem spiritually. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 87:5

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “People will say about Zion” (See: Active or Passive)

People from other nations that worship Yahweh are spoken of as if they were born in Jerusalem. Alternate translation: “It is as though all of these people were born in Jerusalem” (See: Metaphor)

It was common to refer to cities as “her.” Alternate translation: “in Jerusalem” or “in Zion”

The writer uses the reflexive pronoun “himself” to emphasize that it is the Most High who is doing this. (See: Reflexive Pronouns)

“will make Jerusalem strong”

Psalms 87:6

Yahweh acknowledging that the people from other nations belong to him is spoken of as if he were a king writing down the names of the people who live in his city. (See: Metaphor)

“This one” refers to the people from the nations that the writer mentions. Although they were not physically born in Zion, those who follow God are natives of Jerusalem spiritually. See how you translated this in Psalms 87:4. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 87:7

Jerusalem being a place where people receive all their blessings is spoken of as if Jerusalem were a spring that provided water to the people. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 88

Psalm 088 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 88 is a psalm of deliverance from sickness. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Abandon

Ever since he was a child, the psalmist has been sick, and now all his friends have abandoned him. If he dies he cannot testify about God’s healing.

Psalms 88:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“This is a psalm that the sons of Korah wrote”

“this is for the director of music to use in worship”

This may refer to a style of music. (See: Copy or Borrow Words)

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1.

This is the name of a man. (See: How to Translate Names)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “you are the one who saves me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The writer uses these words with opposite meanings to say that he cries out continually. (See: Merism)

Psalms 88:3

The writer speaks of himself as if he were a container and troubles are the contents that fill the container. Alternate translation: “For I am very troubled” (See: Metaphor)

Here “life” represents the writer. And “Sheol” represents death. The writer speaks about himself possibly dying soon as if Sheol were a place and he has arrived at that place. Alternate translation: “I am about to die” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 88:4

The word “pit” means the same as “Sheol.” The phrase “go down into the pit” represents dying. Alternate translation: “people treat me like I have already died” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 88:5

People treating the writer as if he were already dead is spoken of as if he were a corpse that they left unburied. Alternate translation: I am left alone as if I were dead” (See: Metaphor)

The writer feeling like people and God have abandoned him speaks about himself as if he were already a dead person lying in a grave. (See: Simile)

The nominal adjective “the dead” can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “a dead person who lies” or “dead people who lie” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

“who no longer receive your care” or “people you have stopped caring about”

God no longer using his power to help dead people is spoken of as if God literally cut him off or removed him from his power. Alternate translation: “you no longer use your power to help them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 88:6

The writer feeling like God has abandoned him speaks about himself as if God has put the him in the deepest and darkest grave. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 88:7

This speaks about God being very angry with the writer as if God’s wrath were a heavy object lying on top of the writer. Alternate translation: “I feel your great anger” or “I feel how very angry you are with me” (See: Metaphor)

This speaks about God being very angry with the writer as if God’s anger were large waves rising up from the sea then landing on the writer. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 88:8

“those who know me”

“You have made me a disgusting sight to them” or “Because of you, they are shocked when they see me”

The writer’s physical condition that makes him repulsive to his friends is spoken of as if he were in closed into a confining space. Alternate translation: “It is as though I were in a prison” or “I am trapped” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 88:9

Here “eyes” represents a person’s ability to see. For his eyes to grow weary from trouble is a way of saying that he his troubles cause him to cry so much that it is hard for him to see. (See: Metonymy and Idiom)

“I lift up my hands to you.” This is an action that shows that he totally depends on God. (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 88:10

The writer uses a question to emphasize that if God lets him die then God will no longer be able to do wonderful things for him. Alternate translation: “You do not do wonders for dead people.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The writer uses a question to emphasize that if God lets him die then he will not be able to praise God any longer. Alternate translation: “You know that those who have died will not stand up and praise you.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 88:11

Both questions mean the same thing. The writer uses questions to emphasize that a dead person is not able to praise God’s faithfulness. The abstract nouns “faithfulness” and “loyalty” can be translated as adjectives. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Nobody will proclaim your covenant faithfulness or loyalty from the grave.” or “Nobody will proclaim from the grave that you are faithful to your covenant and loyal to your people” (See: Parallelism and Rhetorical Question and Active or Passive)

These represent the place where people go after they die.

This can be translated as a separate sentence. Alternate translation: “Will your loyalty be proclaimed in the place of the dead?” or “Those who are dead will not proclaim your loyalty.” (See: Ellipsis and Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 88:12

These represent the place where people go after they die.

Both questions mean the same thing. The writer uses questions to emphasize that those who are dead are not able to experience or proclaim the great things God does. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “People will not talk about your wonderful deeds and righteousness in the dark place of the forgotten dead.” (See: Parallelism and Rhetorical Question and Active or Passive)

This can be translated as a separate sentence. Alternate translation: “Will your righteousness be known in the place of forgetfulness?” or “Those who are in the place of forgetfulness will not know about the righteous things you do.” (See: Ellipsis and Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 88:13

The writer praying to Yahweh is spoken of as if the prayer itself goes to speak with Yahweh. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 88:14

This speaks of the writer feeling like God has rejected or abandoned him as if God were hiding his face or physically turning away from the writer. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 88:16

This speaks of God punishing the writer as if God’s actions are a large wave rising out of the sea that fall on and crush the writer. Alternate translation: “It is as if your angry actions crush me” (See: Metaphor)

This exaggeration speaks about God punishing the writer as if God has completely destroyed the writer. Alternate translation: “the terrifying things you do have destroyed me” or “the terrifying things you do have almost destroyed me” (See: Hyperbole)

Psalms 88:17

The writer compares God’s “angry actions” and “terrifying deeds” to a flood of water. Alternate translation: “All day long they threaten to destroy me like a flood” (See: Simile)

The word “They” refers to God’s “angry actions” and “terrifying deeds” from the previous verse.

The writer speaks of God’s “angry actions” and “terrifying deeds” as if they were enemies who were trying to capture and kill him. Alternate translation: “they have surrounded me like enemy soldiers” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 88:18

“every person I love and know”

This speaks about darkness as if it were a person that could be friends with someone else. The writer is emphasizing that he feels completely alone. Alternate translation: “Everywhere I go it is dark” (See: Personification)

Psalms 89

Psalm 089 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 89 is a worship and a deliverance psalm. (See: deliver, hand over, turn over, release, rescue)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s promises

God is mighty and has promised David an eternal kingdom. But now that kingdom is being destroyed. (See: promise, promised and eternity, everlasting, eternal, forever)

Parallelism

This psalm exhibits the kind of parallelism where the second line often emphasizes the first line. (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 89:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

This may refer to a style of music. See how you translated this in Psalms 32:1.

This is the name of the writer. (See: How to Translate Names)

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “faithful acts” or “loving acts” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 89:2

God always doing what he promised to do is spoken of as if his faithfulness were a building that God has built and made firm. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “You will always be faithful because of your covenant with us” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

God always doing what he promised to do is spoken of as if his faithfulness were a building that God has built and made firm. (See: Metaphor)

Possible meanings are (1) this refers to God’s dwelling place. This would mean God rules from heaven and he always does what he promises or (2) this refers to the sky. This would mean that God’s promises are as constant and permanent as the sky .

Psalms 89:3

You can make explicit that “chosen one” refers to David. Alternate translation: “I made a promise to David, the one I chose” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Yahweh is speaking in 89:3-4.

Psalms 89:4

Yahweh always causing one of David’s descendants to be king is spoken of as if David’s descendants are a building that Yahweh will build and make firm. (See: Metaphor)

Here “throne” represents the power to rule as king. The psalmist speaks of God promising that one of David’s descendants will always rule as king as if God will build David’s throne and make it firm. Alternate translation: “I will make sure that one of your descendants will rule as king over every generation of my people” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 89:5

Here “heavens” represents those who are in heaven. (See: Metonymy)

“praise you, Yahweh, because of the wonderful things you do”

The abstract noun “truthfulness” can be stated as “you always do what you promise to do.” This can also be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “The assembly of the holy ones praises you because you always do what you promise to do” (See: Active or Passive and Active or Passive)

This refers to the angels in heaven.

Psalms 89:6

Both questions mean the same thing. The writer is using question to emphasize that there in no one in heaven like Yahweh. (See: Parallelism and Rhetorical Question)

Here “sons of” means having the characteristics of. This is a way of referring to other spiritual beings that live in heaven. Alternate translation: “angels” or “divine beings” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 89:7

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “The council of the holy ones greatly honors God” (See: Active or Passive)

“the gathering of heavenly beings” or “the gathering of angels”

Psalms 89:8

The writer asks the question to emphasize there is no one as strong as Yahweh. (See: Rhetorical Question)

Yahweh always dong what he promises to do is spoken of as if his truthfulness were a cloak or garment that wraps around him. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 89:9

“You control the raging sea”

Psalms 89:10

The word “Rahab” here refers to a monster of the sea. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and How to Translate Names)

Here “arm” represents power. Alternate translation: “with your great power” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:12

The writer uses the words “north” and “south” together to mean that God created everything everywhere. (See: Merism)

Tabor is a mountain southwest of the sea of Galilee and Hermon is a mountain northeast of the sea of Galilee. The writer describes these mountains as if they were persons who could rejoice. Alternate translation: “It is as if Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon were rejoicing in your name” (See: Personification and How to Translate Names)

Here “name” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “in you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:13

The words “mighty arm,” “strong hand,” and “right hand” all represent God’s power. (See: Metonymy)

To raise the right hand high into the air is a gesture that indicates power. (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 89:14

God ruling as king and doing what is right and just is spoken of as if God’s throne were a building, and righteousness and justice were its foundation. (See: Metaphor)

The throne represents God’s rule as king. (See: Metonymy)

God always being faithful and doing what he promises to do is spoken of as if covenant faithfulness and trustworthiness come and meet with God. The abstract nouns can be translated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “You are always faithful to your covenant and are worthy of people trusting you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 89:15

Here the word “worship” implies shouting and blowing horns. These were common acts of worship during Israelite festivals. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here people living their lives is spoken of as if they were walking. Alternate translation: “they live” (See: Metaphor)

The writer speaks of Yahweh acting favorably towards them as if Yahweh’s face shone a light on them. Alternate translation: “knowing that you act favorably towards them” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 89:16

Here “name” represents the person. Alternate translation: “in you” (See: Metonymy)

The abstract noun “righteousness” can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “they exalt you because you always do what is right” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 89:17

The abstract noun “strength” can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “You make them wonderfully strong” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “their” refers to the Israelites. The writer would have included himself as a member of the Israelites. Alternate translation: “You are our” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “we” refers to the writer and the Israelites but not to Yahweh, to whom he speaks. (See: Exclusive and Inclusive ‘We’)

Psalms 89:18

The king who protects his people and whom Yahweh chose is spoken of as if he were a shield that belongs to Yahweh. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 89:19

The writer assumes that the reader knows the history of how David became the chosen king. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

To place a crown on a person’s head is a sign of making him king. Alternate translation: “I have made a mighty man king” (See: Symbolic Action)

Some Bible translations have “given strength to a mighty one” or “helped a mighty one.”

Here “raised up” means appointed. It is implied that God chose this person to be king. Alternate translation: “I have chosen one from among the people to be king” (See: Idiom and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 89:20

Here to pour oil on someone’s head is a sign that God is appointing the person to be king. (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 89:21

Here “hand” and “arm” both means the power and control of Yahweh. Alternate translation: “I will support him and make him strong” (See: Metonymy and Parallelism)

Psalms 89:22

The writer refers to those who have the nature or character of wickedness as “sons of wickedness.” Alternate translation: “wicked person” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:24

Yahweh continues speaking about David.

God always being loyal and doing what he promises for David is spoken of as if truth and faithfulness were objects that would be with David. The abstract nouns “truth” and “faithfulness” can be translated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “I will always be truthful with him and I will always act faithfully towards him” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Here “name” represents God’ power. Alternate translation: “I, God, will cause him to be victorious” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:25

Here “hand” and “right hand” represent power and authority. Here “the sea” seems to refer to the Mediterranean Sea west of Israel, and “rivers” refers to the Euphrates river in the east. This means David will have authority over everything from the sea to the river. Alternate translation: “I will give him authority over everything from the Mediterranean sea to the Euphrates river” (See: Metonymy and Merism)

Psalms 89:26

This has a quotation within a quotation. It can be stated as an indirect quotation. Alternate translation: “He will say that I am his Father, his God, and the rock of his salvation.” (See: Quotes within Quotes and Direct and Indirect Quotations)

Yahweh protecting and saving David is spoken of as if Yahweh were a high rock that David could stand on top of for protection from enemies. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 89:27

Yahweh continues speaking about David.

Yahweh giving David special rank and privileges over all other people is spoken of as if David would be Yahweh’s firstborn son. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 89:28

Yahweh speaks of continuing to act faithfully towards David is spoken of as if Yahweh’s covenant faithfulness were an object that he extends or makes longer. The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adverb. Alternate translation: “I will continue to act faithfully towards him forever” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 89:29

Someone from David’s family always ruling as king is spoken of as if his throne would last as long as the sky will last. (See: Simile)

Here “throne” represents the power to rule as king. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:30

“David’s descendants”

Psalms 89:32

God punishing David’s descendants is spoken of as if he would hit them with a rod. The abstract noun “rebellion” can be stated as a verb. Alternate translation: “punish them for rebelling against me” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

God punishing David’s descendants is spoken of as if God would literally hit them. This can be stated as a complete sentence. Alternate translation: “I will punish them because they sinned against me” (See: Metaphor and Ellipsis)

Psalms 89:33

This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “I will always love David, and I will do what I promised to him” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 89:34

Here “lips” represent the whole mouth and the person speaking. Alternate translation: “what I said” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 89:36

The words “will continue” are understood. Alternate translation: “his throne will continue as long as the sun before me” (See: Ellipsis)

Here “throne” represents the power to rule as king. God is promising that one of David’s descendants will always be king. (See: Metonymy)

God compares David’s rule as king to the sun to emphasize that someone from David’s descendants will always rule as king. (See: Simile)

Psalms 89:37

Here “It” stands for David’s throne or power to rule as king. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I will cause it to last forever” (See: Active or Passive)

God compares David’s rule as king to the moon to emphasize that someone from David’s descendants will always rule as king. (See: Simile)

The moon is spoken of as if it were a person who witnesses God making this promise to David. Alternate translation: “the moon, which is like a faithful witness in the sky” (See: Personification)

Psalms 89:38

The words “the king” are understood. Alternate translation: “you have refused and rejected the king” (See: Ellipsis)

“with the king you chose”

Psalms 89:39

“You have rejected the covenant”

To push down into the ground or dust is a sign of great humiliation. Alternate translation: “You have defiled his crown on the ground” or “You have caused his crown to fall into the dirt” (See: Symbolic Action)

This represents the king’s power as king and his right to rule. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:40

This implies that God allowed enemies to destroy the defenses at Jerusalem. Alternate translation: “You have allowed enemies to break down his walls and ruin his strongholds in Jerusalem” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 89:41

Here “neighbors” means people of nearby nations.

Psalms 89:42

Here “right hand” represents power. To “raise the right hand” means that Yahweh has made his enemies strong enough to defeat God’s chosen king. (See: Metonymy and Symbolic Action)

Psalms 89:43

Here “sword” represents the king’s power in battle. To turn the sword back represents making the king unable to win in battle. (See: Metonymy and Idiom)

Here “edge” represents the whole sword. Alternate translation: “his sword” (See: Synecdoche)

Here “stand” represents being victorious in battle. Alternate translation: “You have not helped him to be victorious in battle” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:44

Here “throne” represents the power to rule as king. Alternate translation: “you, Yahweh, have ended his reign as king” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:45

This is a way of saying God made the king seem old even while he was still young. Alternate translation: “Even while he is young you have made him weak like an old man” (See: Idiom)

Yahweh completely humiliating the king is spoken of as if shame were a garment that God used to cover the king. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 89:46

The writer uses these questions to emphasize that he does not want God to continue to refuse the king. Alternate translation: “Please, Yahweh, do not refuse to help the king forever.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

God not helping the king is spoken of as if God were hiding from him. Alternate translation: “Will you refuse to help the king” (See: Metaphor)

The writer uses a question to emphasize that he does not want God to remain angry. Alternate translation: “Please do not continue being angry” (See: Rhetorical Question)

God being very angry is spoken of as if his anger were a hot fire. (See: Simile)

Psalms 89:47

The abstract noun “uselessness” can be stated as “uselessly.” Alternate translation: “that you have created all people to die uselessly” (See: Abstract Nouns)

This refers to humans in general. Alternate translation: “humans” or “people” (See: When Masculine Words Include Women)

Psalms 89:48

The writer uses these questions to emphasize that all people will die. Alternate translation: “No one can live forever or bring himself back to life after dying” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Here “hand” refers to power. The writer speaks of Sheol as if it were a person who has power over those who die. Possible meanings are (1) a person cannot bring himself back to life after dying or (2) a person cannot keep himself from dying. (See: Metonymy and Personification)

Psalms 89:49

The writer uses a question to request the Lord to be faithful to his covenant with David. Alternate translation: “Lord, be faithful to your covenant with David as you have been in the past” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The abstract nouns “acts” and “faithfulness” can be translated with a verb and an adverb. Alternate translation: “the things that you did before that showed that you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 89:50

The writer asks Yahweh to bring this up in his memory. Alternate translation: “Remember” or “Consider” (See: Idiom)

Here “your servants” refers to the people of Israel. Alternate translation: “how they mock us, your servants”

Here “heart” represents the person’s emotions. Alternate translation: “I endure so many insults from the people of the nations” or “I suffer because the people from the nations insult me” (See: Metonymy)

Here “nations” represents the people of the nations. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:51

The enemies shouting insults at the king is spoken of as if insults were an object that the enemies throw violently at the king. (See: Metaphor)

Here “footsteps” represents where the king goes. Alternate translation: “they mock your anointed one wherever he goes” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 89:52

This verse is more than the end of this psalm. It is the closing statement for all of Book 3 of the Psalms, which starts at Psalm 73 and ends with Psalm 89.

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May people praise Yahweh forever” (See: Active or Passive)

The word “Amen” is repeated to emphasize approval of what has been said. See how you translated this in Psalms 41:13.

Psalms 90

Psalm 090 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm is a wisdom psalm. God is eternal but a human’s life is short. (See: wise, wisdom and eternity, everlasting, eternal, forever)

Special concepts in this chapter

Life’s shortness

Because life is so short, people need to spend it as God wants them to spend it.

Psalms 90:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

God protecting his people is spoken of as if God were a refuge or shelter. Alternate translation: “Lord, you have been like a shelter for us” (See: Metaphor)

“always”

Psalms 90:2

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Before you formed the mountains” (See: Active or Passive)

“were created” or “were shaped”

This represents everything that is in the world. (See: Metonymy)

This phrase represents all time past, present, and future.

Psalms 90:3

This implies that just as God created the first man, Adam, from the soil, God will cause people’s bodies to turn back into soil after they die. Alternate translation: “You return people to dust when they die” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “man” means people in general. (See: When Masculine Words Include Women)

The words “to dust” or “to soil” are understood. Alternate translation: “Return to dust, you descendants” or “Return to soil, you descendants” (See: Ellipsis)

This is a way of referring to humans in general. Alternate translation: “you humans” or “you people” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 90:4

The writer means that a long period of time seems like a short period of time to God. Alternate translation: “You consider a thousand years the same as one day in the past, or as a few short hours in the night” or “Even a thousand years is not a long time to you” (See: Simile)

“1,000 years” (See: Numbers)

Here sight represents judgment or evaluation. Alternate translation: “to you” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 90:5

God causing people to die suddenly is spoken of as if he swept them away with a broom. This sweeping is also spoken of as if it were a flood that carried people away. Alternate translation: “Lord, you destroy the people as with a flood and they die” (See: Metaphor and Simile)

This is a polite way of speaking of people dying. (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 90:6

Both of these phrases refer to how the grass grows. Alternate translation: “it begins to grow and develop” (See: Doublet)

Both of these phrases refer to how the grass dies. Alternate translation: “it fades and dries up” (See: Doublet)

Psalms 90:7

God destroying people in his anger is spoken of as if God’s anger were a fire that completely burns up the people. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “You destroy us in your anger” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

“when you are angry we are greatly afraid”

Psalms 90:8

God considering people’s sins is spoken of as if sins were an objects he could place in front of himself and look at them. Alternate translation: “You see every sinful thing we do, even the sinful things we do in secret” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 90:9

The word “because” can be used to make clear that God’s wrath causes human life to end. Alternate translation: “Our lives come to an end because of your wrath” (See: Connecting Words and Phrases)

The writer compares human life to a sigh to emphasize that life is very brief. (See: Simile)

Psalms 90:10

“70” (See: Numbers)

“80” (See: Numbers)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Even in our best years we experience trouble and sorrow” (See: Active or Passive)

This is a polite way of referring to people dying. Alternate translation: “we die” (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 90:11

The writer uses a question to emphasize that no one has fully experienced God anger. Therefore no one truly reveres God and fears his anger when people sin. Alternate translation: “No one knows the intensity of your anger. Therefore no one fears your wrath when they sin.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 90:13

Asking Yahweh to no longer be angry is spoken of as if the writer wants God to turn physically away from his anger. Alternate translation: “Yahweh, please do not be angry any longer” (See: Metaphor)

The writer uses a question to state that he wants God to stop being angry. (See: Rhetorical Question)

Here “your servants” refers to the people of Israel. Alternate translation: “Be merciful to us, your servants”

Psalms 90:14

“Satisfy us every morning”

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be stated as an adjective. Alternate translation: “by being faithful because of your covenant with us” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 90:15

Both of these phrases mean the same thing. The writer is asking Yahweh to make them happy for the same amount of time he punished them. Alternate translation: “for the same amount of time that you afflicted us and caused us to suffer” (See: Parallelism)

Psalms 90:16

Here “your servants” refer to the people of Israel. Alternate translation: “Let us, your servants” or “Let us” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Here “children” means children and descendants.

The abstract noun “majesty” can be stated as “great things.” Alternate translation: “see the great things you do” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 90:17

The abstract noun “favor” can be stated as “be kind.” Alternate translation: “May the Lord our God be kind to us” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “hands” represents the whole person. Alternate translation: “cause us to be successful” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 91

Psalm 091 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 91 is a wisdom psalm. Those who depend on God are protected by him. (See: wise, wisdom)

Special concepts in this chapter

Fear

No matter what dangers befall a person, they do not need to fear. God is protecting them from all harm.

Psalms 91:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Because “live” and “stay” mean almost the same thing, as do “shelter” and “shadow,” which are both metaphors for protection, you may need to combine the two lines into one. Alternate translation: “The Most High, the Almighty, will care for all those who live where he can protect them” (See: Metaphor and Doublet)

The word “shelter” is a metaphor for protection. Alternate translation: “who lives where the Most High protects him” (See: Metaphor)

The words “the Most High” refer to Yahweh. See how this is translated in Psalms 18:13.

The word “shadow” here is a metaphor for protection. Alternate translation: “will stay where the Almighty can protect him” (See: Metaphor)

the one who has power and control over everything. See how this was translated in Psalms 68:14

Psalms 91:2

“I will say about Yahweh”

A “refuge” is any place a person can go and have someone or something protect him. A “fortress” is something that people make so they can protect themselves and their property. Asaph uses them here as metaphors for protection. Alternate translation: “the one to whom I can go and he will protect me” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 91:3

The words that have been left out can be put in. Alternate translation: “For God will rescue you from the snare of the hunter and he will rescue you from the plagues that can kill” (See: Ellipsis)

“from the snare that the hunter has set to catch you”

Psalms 91:4

God’s protection is here referred to as “wings” which a bird uses to cover its’ young from danger. “Cover you with his wings” and “under his wings” mean basically the same thing. Alternate translation: “He will keep you safe and protect you” (See: Metaphor and Parallelism)

God’s trustworthiness is here referred to as a “shield” which can protect people who rely on him. The abstract noun “trustworthiness” can be stated as “trust.” Alternate translation: “You can trust him to protect you” (See: Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

No one knows for sure what this word means. Possible meanings are (1) a small shield strapped to the forearm that soldiers used to defend themselves against arrows and swords or (2) a wall of stones set in a circle inside which soldiers could hide and shoot arrows.

Psalms 91:5

The psalmist speaks of “terror” as if it were a spirit or fierce animal that could attack at night and so terrify people. Alternate translation: “things attacking you at night” (See: Metonymy)

These two phrases taken together refer to all possible times of night and day. (See: Merism)

“Arrow” here is a metonym for the people who shoot the arrows. Alternate translation: “people attacking you with arrows during the day” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 91:6

The psalmist speaks of illness as if it were a person who went about at night killing other people. Alternate translation: “You will not be afraid of dying from illness” (See: Personification)

goes wherever he wants to go at any time

These two phrases taken together refer to all possible times of night and day. (See: Merism)

an illness that makes many people ill at the same time

Psalms 91:7

“Many people may fall all around you.” If translating the exact numbers confuses the readers, you may omit them.

“the evil will not harm you”

Psalms 91:8

“You yourself will not suffer, but you will watch carefully, and you will see”

The abstract noun “punishment” can be translated with a verbal phrase. Alternate translation: “how God punishes the wicked” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 91:9

The writer speaks of Yahweh protecting him as if Yahweh were a safe place for him to find protection from his enemies. Alternate translation: “Yahweh protects me, like a person finds protection in a place of refuge” (See: Metaphor)

“You should make the Most High your refuge also.” The psalmist stops speaking to God and speaks to the reader.

Psalms 91:10

The writer speaks of a person experiencing bad or evil things as if evil were a person who overtakes another person. Alternate translation: “Nothing evil will happen to you” (See: Metaphor and Personification)

The psalmist speaks of people who afflict others as though they were the harm they cause. Alternate translation: “no one will be able to harm your family” (See: Personification and Metonymy)

Psalms 91:11

“Yahweh will command”

The psalmist speaks of the way a person lives his life as if it were a path down which the person walked. Alternate translation: “in everything you do” or “at all times” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 91:12

“Yahweh’s angels will lift you”

The angels will protect not only the reader’s foot but the rest of his body as well. The words “not…hit your foot on a stone” is an exaggerated metonym to say that not even small bad things will happen. This should probably not be taken as a promise that no bad things will ever happen again. Alternate translation: “you will not even hit your foot on a stone” or “not even the smallest bad thing will happen to you” (See: Hyperbole and Synecdoche and Metonymy)

Psalms 91:13

Where “hit your foot on a stone” is a minor problem, lions and snake are examples of great dangers. The psalmist speaks of lions and snakes as if they were small enough to be crushed under a person’s foot. Alternate translation: “You will be able kill lions and adders as if they were small animals you could crush under your feet” (See: Metaphor)

types of poisonous snake.

crush by walking heavily on

Psalms 91:14

“Because he loves me”

Psalms 91:15

This can be made explicit. Alternate translation: “I will be with him when he is in trouble” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

The abstract noun “victory” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “I will cause him to be victorious” or “I will enable him to defeat his enemies” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 91:16

The idiom “the length of his days” here refers to the duration of his life. It may imply a long life. Alternate translation: “I will satisfy him by giving him a long life” or “I will make him happy by letting him live a very long time” (See: Idiom)

“and I will show him my salvation.” The psalmist speaks of the work God does to save people as if it were a physical object. Alternate translation: “I will save him so that he knows I am the one who saved him” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 92

Psalm 092 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 92 is a psalm of praise for God’s kindness and faithfulness. (See: faithful, faithfulness, unfaithful, unfaithfulness, trustworthy)

Special concepts in this chapter

Justice

God causes evil people to be destroyed and good people to be happy and useful, even after they grow old. (See: just, justice, unjust, injustice, justify, justification and evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Psalms 92:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The words “your name” are a metonym for “you.” Alternate translation: “to sing praises to you” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 92:2

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with the adjective “faithful.” Alternate translation: “proclaim in the morning that you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The verb may be supplied from the previous phrase. The abstract noun “truthfulness” can be translated with the adjective “true.” Alternate translation: “proclaim every night that everything you say is true” (See: Ellipsis and Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 92:4

happy

The abstract noun phrase “your deeds” can be translated with the relative clause “what you have done.” Alternate translation: “by what you have done” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun phrase “the deeds of your hands” can be translated with the relative clause “what your hands have done.” The word “hands” is a synecdoche for the whole person. Alternate translation: “What you have done” (See: Abstract Nouns and Synecdoche)

The abstract noun phrase “your deeds” can be translated with a relative clause. Alternate translation: “what you have done” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 92:5

“We cannot understand what you plan to do until you do it”

The abstract noun phrase “your thoughts” can be translated with a relative clause. Alternate translation: “What you think” or “What you plan” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 92:6

animal-like

Psalms 92:7

This compares evil people to grass, which grows quickly and in many places. Alternate translation: “When evil people appear quickly and seem to be everywhere, like grass” (See: Simile)

This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “God has decided that he will destroy them completely” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 92:9

Many texts do not have these words.

“They will die” or “You will kill them”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “you will scatter all those who do evil” (See: Active or Passive)

Many texts read, “have been scattered.”

“driven away”

Psalms 92:10

The psalmist speaks of God as if he had made him as strong as a wild animal. Here his “horn” represents his strength. Alternate translation: “You have made me as strong as a wild ox” (See: Metonymy and Simile)

Possible meanings are that the oil that God has put on the psalmist is a metaphor for God (1) making him happy “you have made me very happy” or (2) making him strong, “you have made me strong” or (3) enabling him to defeat his enemies, “you have enabled me to defeat my enemies.” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 92:11

The words “eyes” and “ears” are synecdoches for the person who sees and hears. The lines may be combined. Alternate translation: “I have seen and heard of the defeat of my evil enemies” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 92:12

Possible meanings are that righteous people will be like a healthy palm tree because they will (1) be strong or (2) live for long time. (See: Simile)

Possible meanings are that righteous people will be like a healthy cedar tree growing in the land of Lebanon because (1) they will be strong or (2) people will honor them. (See: Simile)

Psalms 92:13

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “Yahweh has planted them” or “Yahweh takes care of them as if they were trees he had planted” (See: Active or Passive and Metaphor)

The psalmist speaks of people who truly worship God as if they were trees growing in Yahweh’s house. (See: Metaphor)

The psalmist speaks of righteous people as if they were healthy trees. Alternate translation: “they are growing well” or “they are very strong” (See: Metaphor)

in the courtyard of the temple in Jerusalem.

Psalms 92:14

The psalmist speaks of righteous people as if they were trees that produce food. Alternate translation: “They please God” (See: Metaphor)

The psalmist speaks of righteous people as if they were trees. Alternate translation: “they remain strong and healthy” or “they always do what pleases God” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 92:15

These words continue the thought begun by the words “they stay fresh and green” in (Psalms 92:14). Possible meanings are (1) “they stay fresh and green, so that they can proclaim” or (2) “they stay fresh and green. This shows that.”

“Yahweh is the one who protects me.” The psalmist speaks of Yahweh as if he were a rock that would protect him. See how this is translated in Psalms 18:2. (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 93

Psalm 093 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 93 is a worship psalm about the power of Yahweh.

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s power

Yahweh is all powerful; He even controls the ocean.

Psalms 93:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The psalmist speaks of Yahweh’s strength and majesty as if they were things Yahweh wears. Alternate translation: “he shows everyone that he is a powerful king” or “his majesty is there for all to see, like the robe a king wears; everything about Yahweh shows that he is strong and he is ready to do great work” (See: Metaphor and Simile)

the power of a king and the way a king acts

put on a belt—a band of leather or another material that a person wears around his waist—to prepare for work or battle

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “You have firmly established the world” (See: Active or Passive)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “no one will ever move it” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 93:2

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “You established your throne in ancient times” (See: Active or Passive)

“you have always existed”

Psalms 93:3

Some versions read “floods…floods’.” The word often refers to a river (See: “the River” in Psalms 72:8), but “oceans…oceans’” has been chosen here because oceans, not rivers, have “waves” that “crash and roar.”

The psalmist speaks of the ocean as if it were a person who could speak. Alternate translation: “have made a mighty noise because their waves crash and roar” (See: Personification)

make a long, loud sound.

Psalms 93:4

The phrase “the mighty breakers of the sea” means basically the same thing as “many waves” and emphasizes how great these waves are. Alternate translation: “Above the crashing of all of the very great waves of the sea” (See: Doublet)

large waves coming to land

The psalmist speaks of where God lives as if it were high above the earth. Alternate translation: “in heaven” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 93:5

very serious

“always stay the same” or “never change”

The psalmist speaks of Yahweh’s house as if it were a woman wearing beautiful clothing or jewelry and of Yahweh’s holiness as the beautiful clothing or jewelry. Alternate translation: “your house is beautiful because you are holy” or “your holiness makes your house beautiful the way beautiful clothes and jewelry make a woman more beautiful” (See: Metaphor)

makes beautiful

This refers to the temple in Jerusalem.

This idiom refers to the duration of God’s life. Since God lives forever, it can also be translated as forever. Alternate translation: “for as long as you live” or “forever” (See: Idiom)

Psalms 94

Psalm 094 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 94 is a prayer requesting that evil people be punished. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Special concepts in this chapter

Justice

Evil people expect God to ignore their injustices. But God knows what they are doing and will punish them for their evil deeds. (See: just, justice, unjust, injustice, justify, justification and work, works, deeds)

Psalms 94:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

Here “shine” is a metaphor for God revealing himself. Alternate translation: “show yourself” or “reveal your glory” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 94:2

“Come, judge of the earth, and punish the proud”

The psalmist speaks of starting to do something as getting up. If your language has a word for beginning to act, use it here. Alternate translation: “Take action” or “Do something” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 94:3

The psalmist repeats the question to show that he is unhappy with how long Yahweh has allowed the wicked to rejoice. This rhetorical question can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “You have waited too long Yahweh; you have waited too long to stop the wicked from rejoicing.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Why the wicked rejoice can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “will the wicked rejoice because you never punish them for the evil deeds they do” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 94:4

“All those who do evil pour out”

The psalmist writes of the wicked speaking as if their words were a liquid being poured out. (See: Metaphor)

The translation can make explicit that these people boast about their evil actions. Alternate translation: “all those who do evil boast about their evil deeds” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 94:5

Here the metonym “nation” refers to the people of the nation. Alternate translation: “afflict the people of the nation” (See: Metonymy)

The psalmist speaks of powerful people treating powerless people badly as if it were crushing them or breaking them in pieces. See how “break in pieces” is translated in Psalms 72:4. Alternate translation: “They completely destroy” or “They greatly harm” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 94:6

“women whose husbands have died”

“children without fathers”

Psalms 94:7

“the God of Israel does not see what we do”

Psalms 94:8

The writer now instructs the wicked people.

This rhetorical question emphasizes the anger of the writer with the wicked people he is speaking to. This question can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “stop your foolish ways!” or “learn from your mistakes!” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 94:9

These rhetorical questions can be translated as statements or commands. Alternate translation: “God made ears, so he can hear. God made eyes, so he can see.” or “God made ears, so stop acting as if he does not hear. God made eyes, so stop acting as if he does not see.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Psalms 94:10

The writer continues instructing the wicked people.

This question can be translated as a statement. It is implied that Yahweh corrects his people. Alternate translation: “You know that Yahweh corrects the nations, so you can be sure that he will correct his people!” or “he will punish his people!” (See: Rhetorical Question and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

This can be stated in positive form. Possible meanings are (1) God corrects. Alternate translation: “he corrects” or (2) God punishes. “he punishes” (See: Litotes)

Psalms 94:11

Here the thoughts of men are compared to vapor or steam that disappears into the air. This metaphor shows how unimportant and useless they are. (See: Metaphor)

“mist.” See how this word is translated in Psalms 39:11

Psalms 94:12

Now the writer again talks to Yahweh.

Psalms 94:13

The psalmist speaks of Yahweh’s punishing the wicked as if Yahweh were trapping an animal in a pit. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “until you dig a pit for the wicked” or “until you destroy the wicked” (See: Active or Passive and Metaphor)

Psalms 94:14

“those whom he has chosen to be with him forever”

Psalms 94:15

The psalmist speaks of those who judge as if they were the decisions they make. The abstract noun “judgment” can be translated with the verb “judge.” Alternate translation: “judges will again judge righteously” or “judges will again make righteous decisions” (See: Metonymy and Abstract Nouns)

The adjective phrase “upright in heart” can be translated as a noun phrase. Alternate translation: “those whose hearts are right with God” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

“will want the judges to judge righteously”

Psalms 94:16

This can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “No one will defend me against the evildoers. No one will help me fight against the wicked.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

The adjective “wicked” can be translated as a noun phrase. Alternate translation: “wicked people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Psalms 94:17

This is a hypothetical situation. Yahweh did help him, so he was not lying in the place of silence. (See: Hypothetical Situations)

The abstract noun “help” can be expressed as a verb. Alternate translation: “If Yahweh had not helped me” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “would be lying down” refers to “death” and “in the place of silence” refers to the grave.” Alternate translation: “in a short time, I would be dead, lying in a silent grave” (See: Euphemism)

Psalms 94:18

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “You, Yahweh, held me up because you are faithful to your covenant” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 94:19

The psalmist speaks of care as if he could count separate cares. The abstract noun “consolations” can be translated with the verb “console” or “comfort.” Alternate translation: “When I have been worried about many things, you have comforted me and made me happy” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 94:20

This rhetorical question is used to make a point. It can be translated as a statement. Alternate translation: “A wicked ruler who makes unjust laws is not your friend” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Here the metonym “throne” refers to a king or ruler. Alternate translation: “a wicked ruler” or “corrupt judge” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 94:21

secretly plan with a person something harmful or illegal

This is an idiom which means to kill someone. (See: Idiom)

Psalms 94:22

Here “tower” is a metaphor for protection. Alternate translation: “Yahweh has protected me from my enemies” (See: Metaphor)

The psalmist speaks of having God protect him as if God were a place where the psalmist could go to be safe. See how “rock” and “refuge” are translated in Psalms 62:7. Alternate translation: “I have asked God to protect me, and he has kept me safe by his power” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 94:23

Possible meanings are (1) “will do to them the evil things they have done to others” or (2) “will punish them for all the evil things he has done to others.”

This is an idiom which means “kill them.” (See: Idiom)

Possible meanings are (1) “while they are doing wicked things” or (2) “because they have done wicked things.”

Psalms 95

Psalm 095 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 95 is the first in a series of six worship psalms (Psalms 95-100).

Special concepts in this chapter

God’s care

God made everything and takes good care of people. People should not be stubborn like the Israelites were in the days of Moses. The Israelites with Moses wandered in the desert for forty years.

Psalms 95:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The psalmist speaks of Yahweh as if Yahweh were a mountain the people could climb so they would be safe. See how “rock” and “of my salvation” are translated in Psalms 18:46. Alternate translation: “the rock where we can go and God will save us” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 95:2

The psalmist speaks as if he is telling the readers to go into the throne room of a king. Alternate translation: “go to where he is” (See: Metaphor)

“thanking him as we enter his presence”

Psalms 95:3

Possible meanings are that Yahweh is a great king (1) “who rules over all other gods,” or (2) “who is much better than all gods.”

Psalms 95:4

This is an idiom which means “in his control” or “he is responsible for.” (See: Idiom)

deep places

high places

Psalms 95:5

The word “hands” is a metonym for Yahweh himself. Alternate translation: “he himself formed” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 95:6

put both knees on the ground, often to show submission (See: Symbolic Action)

Psalms 95:7

The word “pasture” is a metonym for the food that animals eat in the pasture, which in turn is a synecdoche for everything that Yahweh provides for his people. Alternate translation: “we are the people whose needs he meets” (See: Metonymy and Synecdoche)

an area where animals find grass to eat

The word “hand” here refers to how Yahweh protects his people the way a shepherd protects his sheep. Alternate translation: “the people whom he protects like a shepherd protects his sheep” (See: Metaphor)

“Oh, that you would hear his voice today!” The psalmist purposely interrupts what he is saying.

Here “his voice” represents God speaking or what he says. Alternate translation: “listen to God speak” or “hear what God says” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 95:8

Now the writer writes the words that Yahweh spoke.

“become stubborn”

These are places in the desert that Moses named because the Israelites rebelled against God. (See: How to Translate Names and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 95:9

These two phrases are both metaphors for the people seeing how much evil they could do before Yahweh would punish them. The phrases say basically the same thing and can be combined. Alternate translation: “tested me” or “wanted to see if they could do evil things without my punishing them…tested whether I would continue to be patient with them” (See: Metaphor and Doublet)

“the amazing things I had done”

Psalms 95:10

Yahweh continues speaking directly to his people.

“40 years” (See: Numbers)

“all of those people” or “that entire generation of people”

God speaks of the people as if they were sheep, which will go wherever they want to and not stay near their shepherd. Alternate translation: “move away from me” or “go their own way” (See: Metaphor)

Yahweh’s commands are spoken of as if they were paths on which the people should walk. The people not obeying Yahweh’s commands is spoken of as if they did not know these paths. Alternate translation: “they have not obeyed my commands” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 95:11

“the place where I would have allowed them to rest”

Psalms 96

Psalm 096 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 96 is one of six worship psalms (Psalms 95-100).

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh, the king

Yahweh is king over all the earth and is worthy of all praise.

Psalms 96:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

a song no one has ever sung before

This refers to the people of the earth. Alternate translation: “all you people who live on the earth” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 96:2

The word “name” is a metonym for Yahweh himself. Alternate translation: “bless Yahweh” or “do what makes Yahweh happy” See how “may his glorious name be blessed” is translated in Psalms 72:19. (See: Metonymy)

The abstract noun “salvation” can be translated using the verb “save.” Alternate translation: “announce that he has saved us” or “tell people that he is the one who saves” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 96:3

“Tell all the people in every nation about his great glory”

Psalms 96:4

This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “Yahweh is great. Praise him greatly” or “Yahweh is great, and people should praise him greatly” (See: Active or Passive)

This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “Fear him above all other gods” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 96:6

“where he is”

The psalmist speaks as if splendor and majesty are people who can stand before a king. Alternate translation: “Everyone knows of his splendor and majesty” (See: Personification)

The words “strength” and “beauty” are metonyms for the ark of the covenant decrees, which is found in the sanctuary. Alternate translation: “It is his sanctuary that contains the ark of the covenant decrees” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 96:7

This can be restated to removed the abstract nouns “praise,” “glory,” and “strength.” See how these words are translated in Psalms 29:1. Alternate translation: “Praise Yahweh…praise Yahweh because he is glorious and strong” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 96:8

The abstract noun “glory” can be stated as a verb or adjective. See how these words are translated in Psalms 29:2. Alternate translation: “Honor Yahweh just as his name deserves” or “Proclaim that Yahweh is glorious just as his name deserves” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Here “name” refers to the person of God. Alternate translation: “he deserves” (See: Metonymy)

the temple courtyard where the priests sacrificed animals to Yahweh

Psalms 96:9

The implied information is that the people were to bow down in worship. Alternate translation: “Bow down to worship Yahweh” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Symbolic Action)

The abstract nouns “splendor” and “holiness” can be translated as adjectives. Alternate translation: “because he is gloriously beautiful and holy” (See: Abstract Nouns)

to shake because of fear

Here “earth” represents the people. Alternate translation: “all the people of the earth” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 96:10

This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “He also established the world” (See: Active or Passive)

This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “nothing can shake it” (See: Active or Passive)

Psalms 96:11

Possible meanings are (1) the heavens and the earth are spoken of as if they have emotions like people. Alternate translation: “Let it be as if the heavens are glad and the earth rejoices” or (2) “the heavens” and “the earth” are metonyms for those who dwell in those places. Alternate translation: “Let those who live in the heavens be glad and let those who live on the earth rejoice” (See: Personification and Metonymy)

The implied information is that this refers to all the creatures living in the sea. They are spoken of as if they should shout with joy like people might do. Alternate translation: “the sea creatures shout joyfully” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Personification)

Psalms 96:12

“Let the fields and all that is in them rejoice.” The psalmist speaks as if “the fields” and the animals that live in them have emotions like people. Alternate translation: “Let it be as if the fields themselves and all the animals that live in them are rejoicing” (See: Personification)

This speaks about the trees as if they were people who could shout for joy. Alternate translation: “let it be as if all the trees in the forest shout for joy” (See: Personification)

Psalms 96:13

The three phrase have similar meanings; the last two phases are used to strengthen the first. (See: Parallelism)

Another possible meaning is “to rule…will rule.”

Here “the world” is a metonym for all the people in the world. See how these words are translated in Psalms 9:8. Alternate translation: “He will judge all the people of the world righteously” (See: Metonymy)

The words “he will judge” are understood. Alternate translation: “he will judge the peoples with his faithfulness” (See: Ellipsis)

The can be restated to remove the abstract noun “faithfulness.” Possible meanings are (1) Alternate translation: “fairly, according to what he knows is true” or (2) Alternate translation: “using the same standard for all people” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 97

Psalm 097 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 97 is one of six worship psalms (Psalms 95-100)

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s authority

All people who worship idols are disgraced because Yahweh rules over all the world.

Psalms 97:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The earth and the coastlands are said to have emotions like people. Alternate translation: “Rejoice and be glad every person on the earth and near the seas” (See: Personification)

Possible meanings are (1) “lands near the seas” or (2) “islands.”

Psalms 97:2

“We cannot see him; it is as if he were sitting in the dark with clouds all around him”

The word “throne” is a metonym for the deeds and words of the one who sits on it. The psalmist speaks as if righteousness and justice were physical objects that made the throne secure. Alternate translation: “He is righteous and just in everything he does” or “He is able to rule because he rules righteously and justly” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Here “the foundation of his throne” refers to how Yahweh rules his kingdom. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 97:3

The psalmist speaks as if fire were a person walking before King Yahweh and telling people that the king was coming. (See: Personification)

“burns up his enemies”

Psalms 97:4

The writer speaks of the earth as if it were a person who sees what Yahweh does and trembles in fear. Alternate translation: “like a person, the earth sees and trembles” (See: Personification)

shakes with fear

Psalms 97:5

The writer speaks of the mountains crumbling before Yahweh as if they were wax that was exposed to a fire. Alternate translation: “The mountains are unable to stand as Yahweh comes near” or “The mountains crumble in Yahweh’s presence” (See: Simile)

Psalms 97:6

Possible meanings are (1) the psalmist speaks as if the skies are Yahweh’s messengers who declare that Yahweh is just. Alternate translation: “Everyone can see that God is just, the same way that everyone can see the skies” or (2) the skies refer to the beings that live in the heavens. Alternate translation: “All those who live in heaven declare that Yahweh is just” (See: Personification and Metonymy)

Psalms 97:8

This refers to the people who live in these lands. Alternate translation: “The people of Zion heard…the people of Judah” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 97:9

The psalmist speaks as if those who were strong enough to rule were the physically higher than others. Alternate translation: “rule over all the people who live on” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

The psalmist speaks as if those who were strong enough to rule were the physically higher than others. Alternate translation: “You are high, far” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 97:10

Here the word “hand” represents power. Yahweh rescuing people from the power of wicked people is spoken of as if he took them out of their hands. Alternate translation: “he rescues them from the power of the wicked” (See: Metonymy and Metaphor)

Psalms 97:11

These two phrases have similar meanings and are used together for emphasis. Alternate translation: “Yahweh sows light for those who do right, and he sows gladness for those with honest hearts” (See: Parallelism and Active or Passive and Ellipsis)

The word “sown” is a metaphor for actions with future results. “Light” is a metaphor for good things. Alternate translation: “Yahweh plans for good things to happen to the righteous in the future” (See: Metaphor)

The adjective “righteous” can be translated as a noun phrase. Alternate translation: “righteous people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

The words “is sown” are understood. The word “sown” is a metaphor for actions with future results. The abstract noun “gladness” can be stated as “happy.” Alternate translation: “gladness is sown for those with honest hearts” or “Yahweh plans for people with honest hearts to be happy in the future” (See: Ellipsis and Metaphor and Abstract Nouns)

The heart is a synecdoche for the whole person. Alternate translation: “honest people” (See: Synecdoche)

Psalms 97:12

This verse has a command followed by the reason for the command. If your language requires the reason to precede the command: “Because of what Yahweh has done for you, you righteous people, be glad and give thanks when you remember his holiness.”

This idiom means to be glad because of what Yahweh has done. Alternate translation: “Be glad because of what Yahweh has done” (See: Idiom)

Possible meanings are (1) “when you remember how holy he is” or (2) “to his holy name,” a metonym for “to him.” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 98

Psalm 098 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 98 is one of six worship psalms (Psalms 95-100).

Special concepts in this chapter

Praise

Everyone and every thing should sing praises to Yahweh because he is worthy of all praise.

Psalms 98:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

a song no one has ever sung before. See how this is translated in Psalms 96:1.

The words “right hand” and “holy arm” refer to Yahweh’s strength. Together they emphasize how great his strength is. Alternate translation: “his very great power has” (See: Metonymy and Doublet)

the more powerful and skilled hand

Here “arm” is a metonym for power. Alternate translation: “the power that is his alone” (See: Metonymy)

This can be restated to remove the abstract noun “victory.” Alternate translation: “have enabled him to be victorious over his enemies” or “has enabled him to defeat his enemies” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 98:2

The abstract noun “salvation” can be translated using the verb “save.” Alternate translation: “showed people that he saves his people” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “justice” can be translated using the adjective “just.” The word “nations” is a metonym for “the people who live in all the nations.” Alternate translation: “showed the people who live in all the nations that he is just” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 98:3

“remembers.” See how “call to mind” is translated in Psalms 20:3. (See: Idiom)

This is a metonym for the people of the earth. Alternate translation: “people from all over the world” (See: Metonymy)

The abstract noun “victory” can be translated using the verb “defeat.” Alternate translation: “will see our God defeat his enemies” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 98:4

This is a metonym for the people of the earth. Alternate translation: “all people in the world” (See: Metonymy)

“suddenly begin singing happily”

“sing because you are happy”

“sing praises to God”

Psalms 98:5

delightful or pleasing musical sound

Psalms 98:6

an animal horn used as a musical instrument

“raise a shout.” See how “shout” is translated in Psalms 47:1.

Psalms 98:7

The psalmist speaks as if the sea were a person who could shout to God. Alternate translation: “Let it be as if the sea and everything in it were shouting” (See: Personification)

The psalmist speaks as if the world were a person. Alternate translation: “and let it be as if the world and those who live in it were shouting” (See: Ellipsis and Personification)

This is a metonym for the people who live in the world. Alternate translation: “the people in the world” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 98:8

The psalmist speaks as if the rivers and mountains were people who could clap and shout. Alternate translation: “Let it be as though the rivers are clapping their hands and mountains were shouting for joy” (See: Personification)

Psalms 98:9

The verb may be supplied from the previous phrase. Alternate translation: “he will judge the nations with fairness” (See: Ellipsis)

This is a metonym for “the people who live in the nations.” (See: Metonymy)

“honestly” or “using the same standard for everyone”

Psalms 99

Psalm 099 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 99 is one of six worship psalms (Psalms 95-100).

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s justice

God is just and fair. Moses, Aaron and Samuel each prayed to him and obeyed him and he answered their prayers. (See: just, justice, unjust, injustice, justify, justification)

Psalms 99:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

This refers to the people of all nations. Alternate translation: “the people of all nations” (See: Metonymy)

shake with fear

You may need to make explicit that the cherubim are those on the lid of the ark of the covenant. The biblical writers often spoke of the ark of the covenant as if it were Yahweh’s footstool upon which he rested his feet as he sat on his throne in heaven above. Alternate translation: “He sits on his throne above the cherubim on the ark of the covenant” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

shakes

Psalms 99:2

“Not only is Yahweh great in Zion, he is exalted above all the nations” or “Not only does Yahweh rule in Zion, he rules over all the nations”

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “people in all the nations exalt him” or “people in all nations praise him greatly” (See: Active or Passive and Metonymy)

Psalms 99:3

Here the author shifts from speaking about God, to speaking to God. After this phrase though, he shifts back to speaking about God.

Psalms 99:4

The abstract noun “justice” can be translated using the phrase “what is just.” Alternate translation: “he loves doing what is just” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The abstract noun “fairness” is a metonym for the laws that are fair. Alternate translation: “The laws you have established are fair” (See: Abstract Nouns and Metonymy)

Psalms 99:5

Here the word “footstool” likely refers to the ark of the covenant, which the biblical writers often spoke of as if it were Yahweh’s footstool upon which he rested his feet as he sat on his throne in heaven above. The translation can make explicit that the people are to worship Yahweh. Alternate translation: “worship Yahweh at his footstool” or “worship Yahweh before his throne in the temple” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Psalms 99:7

important, given seriously

Psalms 99:8

“You answered your people”

Psalms 99:9

“Mount Zion”

Psalms 100

Psalm 100 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 100 is the last of six worship psalms (Psalms 95-100).

Special concepts in this chapter

Yahweh’s care for his creation

God made mankind and takes good care of people.

Psalms 100:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

“Raise a shout to Yahweh.” See how “shout” is translated in Psalms 47:1.

This refers to all the people of the earth. Alternate translation: “everyone on the earth” (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 100:2

The psalmist speaks as if he is telling the readers to go into the throne room of a king. Alternate translation: “go to where he is with joyful singing” or “he can hear you, so sing joyfully” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 100:3

God’s people are like his sheep. Alternate translation: “the people God provides for and protects” (See: Metaphor)

a grassy area for feeding animals

Psalms 100:4

“while thanking him” or “while giving thanks to him”

The word “name” is a metonym for Yahweh himself. Alternate translation: “bless Yahweh” or “do what makes Yahweh happy” See how “may his glorious name be blessed” is translated in Psalms 72:19. (See: Metonymy)

Psalms 100:5

The abstract noun “faithfulness” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “he is faithful to his covenant forever” (See: Abstract Nouns)

The verb may be supplied from the previous phrase. The abstract noun “truthfulness” can be translated with an adjective. Alternate translation: “his truthfulness endures through all generations” or “he is truthful through all generations” (See: Ellipsis and Abstract Nouns)

“generation after generation.” See how this is translated in Psalms 89:4.

Psalms 101

Psalm 101 General Notes

Type of psalm

Psalm 101 is a psalm asking God’s help in living as a person should.

Special concepts in this chapter

Encouragement

The psalmist wanted to encourage all the good people in the land restrain all the evil people. (See: evil, wicked, unpleasant)

Psalms 101:1

Parallelism is common in Hebrew poetry. (See: Poetry and Parallelism)

The abstract nouns “faithfulness” and “justice” can be translated with adjectives. Alternate translation: “I will sing that you are faithful to your covenant and that you are just” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Psalms 101:2

Here David speaks about “living” as if it were “walking.” Alternate translation: “I will live in a way that is honest and right” or “I will live a life full of integrity” (See: Metaphor)

Here David speaks about “living” as if it were walking.” Also, David speaks of overseeing his house with integrity, as if integrity were a physical object residing in his house. Alternate translation: “I will oversee my house with integrity” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 101:3

This can be restated to remove the abstract noun “wrongdoing.” The idiom, “put evil before my eyes,” means to approve of it. Alternate translation: “I will not approve of anyone doing anything that is wrong in my presence” (See: Abstract Nouns and Idiom)

David describes “evil” as if it were something unable to cling to him. This means that he would avoid evil things and people doing evil things. Alternate translation: “I will completely avoid evil” (See: Personification)

hold on to something or someone very tightly

Psalms 101:4

“to anything that is evil”

Psalms 101:5

These two phrases mean basically the same thing and emphasize how prideful such people are. (See: Doublet)

“a proud outward appearance.”” This refers to a person being so proud that anyone who looks at him can see how proud he is.

Psalms 101:6

This means that David would allow those people to be around him and live with him. Alternate translation: “I will allow the faithful of the land to live with me” (See: Idiom)

This refers to the people who are faithful to God. Alternate translation: “the faithful people” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Here David speaks about “living” as if it were “walking.” Alternate translation: “live in a way that is honest and right” or “live lives full of integrity” (See: Metaphor)

Psalms 101:7

These two phrases have the same idea and are used together to emphasize how David will not tolerate deceitful people. (See: Parallelism)

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I will not welcome liars” (See: