Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 135-137

Psa 135.1-21 is a psalm of praise, beginning and ending with “Hallelu Yah.” It begins with a call for the priests, Levites and the people to praise Yehovah, and then reasons for it are brought out. Then it shows us that he is the only God that desires the praises of the people. There is no title or author named, nor a time that it was written. This psalm is read on Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur and there are elements of this psalm that look forward to the Messianic Kingdom (Atid Lavo; Lord’s Day; Day of the Lord; Sabbath of God, etc) and it singles out certain events in history that showed that God directed these events for good.

Psa 135.1-4 begins with “Hallelu Yah” and exhorts the priests, Levites and the people to praise him. It begins, ” Praise the Lord, praise the name of Yehovah; praise his servants of Yehovah (v 1), who stand in the house of Yehovah (priests, Levites and the people), in the courts of the house of our God (v 2). Praise the Lord, for Yehovah is good; sing praises to his name, for it is lovely (pleasant-v 3). For Yah (short for Yehovah) has chosen (selected) Jacob (Israel) for himself, Israel for his own possession (Exo 19.5; 1 Pet 2.9-10-v 4).”

Psa 135.5-7 shows us that God controls all of nature. It says, “For I know that Yehovah is great (Israel has an obligation to praise Yehovah because no nation has a history like it), and that our Lord (adonai) is above all gods (celestial or earthly powers-v 5). Whatever Yehovah pleases (to do), he does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all depths (the tides, the flow of all the bodies of water, he protects sea levels, keeps the abyss from erupting, etc-v 6). He causes the vapors (clouds) to ascend (the water cycle) from the ends of the earth; who makes lightnings for the rain (water extinguishes fire, yet Yehovah has power over that); who brings forth the wind from his treasuries (it seems to come from a hidden, invisible place-v 7).”

Psa 135.8-18 tells us about the redemption of his people, his fame and the vanity of idols. It says, “He smote the first-born in Egypt (because Egypt smote God’s first-born. It was the last thing carried out and but the first thing predicted in Exo 4.22-23-v 8). He sent signs and wonders into your midst (“the proper word for ‘in your midst’ should have been ‘betawkek’ but the final ‘yod’ is appended ‘betawkeki’ for additional emphasis”-“Tehillim” by Mesorah Publications, p.1602. Royalty was not spared-v 9). He smote many nations and slew many kings (v 10). Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan (thirty-one in all-Josh 12.9-24-v 11). He gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to Israel his people (Canaan was their heritage because it had been given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in a promise. The same still holds true today-v 12). Thy name, Yehovah, is everlasting (“l’olam”-in Exo 3.15 it tells us that the name of should be pronounced. The vowels in the word “forever” (olam) is sheva, cholam and kamatz. These are the same vowels that make up the name Yehovah (YHVH). He said this was his “memorial-name” on how it was to be spoken, and he gave us a way to remember it in the word “forever” (olam-v 13). For Yehovah will judge his people (obtaining justice) and will have compassion on his servants (he is not against them-v 14). The idols of the nations are silver and gold (the word for “idol” in Hebrew here is related to the word for “sadness” because these idols cannot be compared to Yehovah), the work of man’s hands (because these idols can’t create anything-v 15). They have mouths, but they do not speak? They have ears, but they do not see (if they are superior, why can’t they-v 16); They have ears, but they do not hear; nor is there any breath at all in their mouths (no life-v 17). Those who make them will be like them (no life), everyone who trusts in them (v 18).”

Psa 135.19-21 tells us that God’s people are destined for life and peace so bless Yehovah, “O house of Israel (the Kahal or congregation), bless yehovah. O house of Aaron (the kohanim or priests), bless Yehovah (v 19); O house of Levi (the Levites, singers, musicians, etc), bless Yehovah; you who fear Yehovah (Jews and non-Jews), bless Yehovah (v 20). Blessed be Yehovah from Zion, who dwells in Jerusalem, Hallelu Yah (these are the centers of true worship and Torah, but he is not a “local deity” and his power covers the earth-v 21).”

Psa 136.1-26 is called the “Great Hallel” and is recited on the Sabbath which recalls the seven days of creation. It is also recited on Passover because it refers to many of the miracles of the First (Egyptian) Redemption out of Egypt. It has 26 verses and this corresponds to the numerical value of God’s name (YHVH or Yehovah). This psalm talks about God’s kindness that is undeserved. There were twenty-six generations from creation to Sinai. The world existed by his kindness till then-Acts 14.16-17, 17.30. This psalm was to be sung by the Levitical choir, with the people responding back with, “For his mercy endures forever.” This phrase means his mercy is for our sake, not his. He desires to work mercy for his creation forever. There is no author named, time it was written or title for this psalm. This psalm does promote Yehovah as the primary caregiver of all his creation and life, and the one who sustains it all.

Psa 136.1-8 shows us that he is good and it is the basis for what he does, “Give thanks to Yehovah, for he is good; for his mercy endures forever (l’olam-v 1). Give thanks to the God of gods (“elohim” or angels, judges, controllers of government, powers), for his mercy endures forever (v 2). Give thanks to the Lord (“adonai”) of lords (“adonim” meaning kings, emperors, Caesars, presidents, Czars, etc), for his mercy endures forever (v 3). To him who alone works great wonders (sometimes he works in secret and we never know, but sometimes very openly), for his mercy endures forever (v 4). To him who made the heavens with skill (exceptional understanding and wisdom). for his mercy endures forever (v 5). To him who spread out the earth besides the waters (so that the water would not cover the earth), for his mercy endures forever (v 6). To him who made the great lights (sun and moon-Gen 1.14), for his mercy endures forever (v 7). The sun to rule the day (for the division of time), for his mercy endures forever (v 8). The moon and the star to rule by night (to serve as a guide to travelers and seamen), for his mercy endures forever (v 9).”

Psa 136.1-22 speaks of God as the deliverer, “To him who smote the Egyptians in their first-born (because Egypt oppressed God’s first-born), for his mercy endures forever (v 10). And brought Israel out from their midst (no Israelites were left behind because of sickness-Psa 105.37), for his mercy endures forever (v 11). With a strong wind and an outstretched arm (manifesting his power), for his mercy endures forever (v 12). To him who divided the Re3d Sea asunder (“into parts” and it is plural here. The rabbis say that the sea was divided into twelve parts so each tribe had their own path-Psa 18.15, 77.19; 2 Sam 22.16), for his mercy endures forever (v 13). And made Israel pass through in the midst of it (on a dry sea bed), for his mercy endures forever (v 14). But he overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea (Pharaoh died-Psa 74.13-14, 106.6-11. Pharaoh is seen as Leviathan and a picture of the False Messiah who is openly defeated), for his mercy endures forever (v 15). To him who led his people through the wilderness (he supplied food, water and protection and that care represented his kindness), for his mercy endures forever (v 16). To him who smote great kings (thirty-one kings in Canaan), for his mercy endures forever (v 17), and slew mighty kings (like Pharaoh and his princes), for his mercy endures forever (v 18). Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his mercy endures forever (v 19), and Og, king of Bashan, for his mercy endures forever (v 20), and gave their land as a heritage, for his mercy endures forever (v 21), even a heritage to Israel his servant (God promised certain territories to Abraham, but the lands of Sihon and Og were not a part of that, so this “addition” demonstrated God’s kindness to Israel), for his mercy endures forever (v 22).”

Psa 136.23-26 shows God’s constant care and help, “Who remembered us in our low estate (in Egypt, in exile-Lev 26.14-46), for his mercy endures forever (v 23), and has rescued us from our adversaries (earthly enemies, tyrants and oppressors), for his mercy endures forever (v 24); who gives food to all flesh (all creatures), for his mercy endures forever (v 25). Give thanks to the God (elohim) of heaven (where the rain comes from so that crops and all creatures can live-Deut 28.12), for his mercy endures forever (v 26).”

Psa 137.1-9 is a psalm of grief and it was probably written by someone in the Babylonian Captivity. There is no author or title given. This psalm is recited before grace after meals (Deut 8.10) on weekdays, and Psa 126 is recited on the Sabbath before grace after meals. Eschatologically we are “in Babylon” during the Olam Ha Zeh (this present world), but on the Sabbath we will return to the land and the Messianic Kingdom, as seen in Psa 126. It begins, “By the rivers of Babylon (especially the Euphrates) there we sat down and wept (they imitated the flowing rivers with their tears), when we remembered Zion (the Temple, the services, the people, the festivals, the greatness of God and his power, etc. Now it was all gone, and the city and Temple was in ruins because of their sin-v 1). Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung their our harps (the harp is a picture for the heart because there are no songs to sing in exile, they hung their harps in the willows. The harp is the only known instrument whose strings can be strummed by the wind, and the Ruach Ha Kodesh is like the wind. The word “kinor” is “harp” and the first two letters are Kaf and Vav, which equals 26. That is the numerical value of the letters for Yehovah. The final two letters of kinor are Nun and Resh, meaning “flame.” Prov 20.27 says, “the spirit of man is the lamp of Yehovah.” Psa 33.2 talks about praising God on a harp of 10 strings, called a “Nevel” and a “lyre” or kinor. The Nevel alludes to the Ten Commandments that should “play” on our hearts by the Ruach or “wind” of the Spirit. Psa 49.4 says “I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will express (solve) my riddle (dark saying) on the harp (kinor alludes to the heart).” The more God “plucked” the writer’s heart with affliction the more beautiful the songs were. The heart is stimulated and aroused in the same way as a harp. The Sea of Galilee was called Genesseret or Kinneret, which is from the word “kinor” in Hebrew meaning harp. The Sea of Galilee was shaped like a harp and that is why he did so much teaching there. He was plucking their heart strings. Rev 14.2-3 says that there was a voice that was heard and it was like the sound of harpist playing their harps. And they (the 144,000) sang a new (restored, renewed) song before the throne, meaning Messiah has come. Their hearts were heavy with grief and they could not play their harps-v 2). For there our captors demanded of us songs (words of a song), and our tormentors requested mirth, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion (the ones who plundered the Jewish people now want them to entertain them-v 3). How can we sing Yehovah’s song in a foreign land (they failed to sing the praises of God while at home, so how can they sing in a land of idols and false gods-v 4)? If I forget you, O Jerusalem (the temple and true worship-John 4.22), may my right hand forget her skill (to play the harp-v 5). May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth (stilled by agony and suffering). if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above (literally “upon the head” my chief joy ( the custom of a Jewish bridegroom putting ashes on his forehead before he gets married and breaking a glass after the wedding comes from this verse to show he does not forget v 6). Remember, Yehovah, against the sons of Edom (later a term for Rome) the day of Jerusalem (its destruction), who said, “Raze it, raze it (Rome was seen as ‘Edom” and “Esau” in rabbinic commentaries and it will eventually be seen as Christianity because it came out of Rome. Raze it is said twice because it is alluding to the Second Temple being razed or destroyed to its foundation by Rome-v 7). O daughter of Babylon who is to be destroyed, how blessed will be the one who repays you (Rev 18.6; Isa 14.22-23, 47.6) with the recompense which you have repaid us (v 8). How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against a rock (meaning Babylon will suffer in the same measure that she caused Israel to suffer, and that no new generation would rise up again to be a world power-v 9).”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 127-134

Psa 127.1-5 is the next Psalm of Ascent and it has the heading “A Song of Ascents For Solomon” because this may have been dedicated to him by David because he was going to build the Temple. There are others who believe that this was written by Solomon himself. This psalm deals with the primary problems that make up our thoughts, like building a house, raising children and making a living. It begins, “Unless Yehovah builds the house they labor in vain who build it; u less Yehovah guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain (to preserve it-v 1). It is vain (futile) for you to rise up early, retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors (sorrows); for he gives to his beloved (restful) sleep (our sustenance is not in our power, but depends on the blessing of God. He gives his beloved proper rest with no worries-v 2). Behold, children are a gift of Yehovah; the fruit of the womb is a reward (evidence of his favor-v 3). Like arrows in the hand of a warrior (literally a “gibor” or mighty person), so are the children of one’s youth (a father is young and has the energy to develop his children like a sharpened arrow to do battle with the enemies of the Lord and his Torah/Word-v 4). How blessed (empowered to succeed) is the man whose quiver (house) is full of them; they (the children) shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate (if the father has taught them right his children know they can appear in public and fight for what is right-v 5).”

Psa 128.1-6 continues the theme of Psa 127. All things depend on the blessings of God. Physical labor along with God’s blessings is so valuable that you could not even put an estimate on it. It says, “How blessed (empowered to succeed) is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways (only the person who fears the Lord and walks in his ways with conviction and sincerity will be blessed (Isa 25.13; Mark 7.6-8; Matt 15.7-9…v 1). When you shall eat the labor of your hands (honest labor) you will be happy and it will be well with you (part of the curse of Gen 3.17-19 is taken away-v 2). Your wife shall be a fruitful vine (bearing good fruit) within your house, your children like olive plants (green with life all year and do not accept a grafting from another tree) around your table (v 3). Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord (v 4). Yehovah bless you from Zion (blessings emanate from the Temple, the gate to heaven-the “ladder” of Gen 28.11-13 is the mediator Yeshua John 1.51), and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem (blessings) all the days of your life (v 5). Indeed may you see your children’s children (long life). Peace be upon Israel (this is a prayer as in Psa 125.5 and Gal 6.16, for the coming of Messiah ultimately-v 6).

Psa 129.1-8 is another “Song of Ascents” (Shir ha Ma’alot) that was written to be sung when the people came up to Jerusalem and the Temple for the festivals. It was written so that the people would not neglect the history of the nation and how God guided and protected them through it all. There is no author named and it seems to have been written before the people had been carried away into exile. It begins, “Many times they have persecuted me (Israel) from my youth up” (early Jewish history, since Israel became a people) let Israel now say (v 1), ‘Many times they have persecuted me from my youth up (repeated for emphasis); yet they (Israel’s enemies like the Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Syrians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Europe, Muslims, Czars, Nazis and anyone else who has tried to persecute Israel) have not prevailed against me (v 2). The plowers ( a picture of being thrown to the ground and crippled by plowing over them, as in Isa 51.23 and Mic 3.12. The Romans actually had the Temple Mount plowed over to crush and remove any trace of the Temple) plowed upon my back (this alludes to the scourging Yeshua underwent and it refers to humiliation and and contempt); they lengthened their furrows’ (v 3). Yehovah is righteous; he has cut in two the cords of the wicked (he removed the cords that fastened the ox to the plow, thus destroying the control of the enemy over Israel-v 4). May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back (hindered in their schemes-v 5). Let them be like grass upon the housetops (not firmly rooted); which withers before it grows up (by the sun, no moisture-v 6); with which the reaper does not fill his hand (it withers by itself before the reaper can even pluck it out), or the binder of sheaves his bosom (v 7). Nor do those who pass by say, ‘The blessing of Yehovah be upon you; we bless you in the name of Yehovah (these blessings were said in Ruth 4.20 and are only extended when the harvest is great. The plucking of dead grass requires no blessing. It is not true that the people never said the name of Yehovah (YHVH) because it was used in other places and times other than the Temple. For more information on this get the book, “Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence” by Nehemiah Gordon-v 8).”

Psa 130.1-8 is another “Song of Ascents “(Shir ha Ma’alot) and it deals with how God rescued from guilt and sin. It is also read on Rosh Ha Shanah because of its penitential nature. Again, no author is named or time that it was written, but it is a good psalm for anyone in distress who seek the help of Yehovah. It says, “Out of the depths (of sin, distress and guilt) I have cried to thee, Yehovah (v 1). Lord (Adonai), hear my voice! Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications (repeated to show emphasis-v 2). If thou, Lord (“Yah”-short for Yehovah), should mark iniquities O Lord (take a strict inspection of, critically examine, remember, retain, visit in wrath, etc), who could stand (no one would make it to the Olam Haba-v 3)? But there is forgiveness with thee (there is hope), that thou mayest be feared (forgiveness builds thankfulness and reverence-v 4). I wait for Yehovah (pardon teaches us to serve and have an awareness of what we don’t deserve), my soul does wait (to serve in confidence), and in his word do I hope (believe his promises, they are a sure thing-v 5). My soul yeaarns for the Lord (Adonai)’ more than the watchmen (who looks at the horizon) for the morning (dawn-he knows it is coming but doesn’t know when. Only then can he rest); the watchmen for the morning (repeated to show the eagerness of those who expect the promise-v 6). O Israel, hope (expect the promise, it is a sure thing) in Yehovah, for with Yehovah there is kindness (the only one who can give it) and with him is abundant redemption (in its fullness-v 7). And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities (looking forward to the Messianic redemption-v 8).”

Psa 131.1-3 is another ‘Song of Ascents of David.” The general belief is that this was written when Saul hunted David and accused him of wanting his throne. The main themes if the psalm is a denial of pride and ambition. and a total trust in Yehovah. David reveals his personal innocence and his child-like trust. It says, “O Lord (Yehovah), my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters (he remained simple, he didn’t care to have to know why to everything beyond his limitations), or in things too difficult for me (to express his pride-v 1). Surely I have composed and quieted my soul (satisfied with Yehovah and his works, not proud pursuits); like a weaned child upon his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me (not all fretful about the world and its desires. He is still and satisfied with Yehovah’s care-v 2). O Israel, hope in Yehovah (look to him and his promises because they are a sure thing) from this time forth and forever (L’Olam Vaed-v 3).”

Psa 132.1-18 is a “Song of Ascents” and has no author named, but there are some who believe that it was written by David, or after the Babylonian Captivity. Some believe it was written by Solomon because verses 8-10 are quoted in 2 Chr 6.41-42 as Solomon dedicated the Temple. It speaks of the Temple as God’s throne and closes with a Messianic promise. It begins, “Remember, Yehovah, on David’s behalf, all his afflictions (anxieties and troubles-v 1). How he swore to Yehovah, and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob (alluding to a similar vow of Jacob in Gen 28.12-17..v 2). Surely I will not enter my house, nor lie on my bed (v 3); I will not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eyelids (v 4); until I find a place for Yehovah, a dwelling place (the plural “mishkanot” is used alluding to three Temple that would be built there) for the mighty one of Jacob (comes from Gen 49.24 and alludes to how God showed Jacob the site for the Temple in Gen 28, and how he protected Jacob-v 5). Behold (see for yourself), we heard of it (the Ark) in Ephrathah (Bethlehem), we found it in the field of Ya’ar (at Kiriath-jearim meaning “city of woods.” The Ark was there for 20 years and David found it there in 1 Sam 7.1-v 6). Let us go into his dwelling place (plural again-“mishkanot”), let us worship at his footstool (the imagery being, he sits in the heavenly Temple with his feet at the earthly Temple like a footstool, connecting the two-Isa 66.1-v 7). Arise, Yehovah, to thy resting place (in the Temple-2 Chr 6.41-42. Moses uses similar language in Num 10.35-36), thou and the Ark of thy strength (alludes to when the Ark entered the Kodesh ha Kodeshim at Solomon'[s dedication- 2 Chr 5.14-v 8). Let the priests be clothed with righteousness (priestly garments as defined by the Torah); and thy godly ones (Levites who sang while the priests performed the Temple services-v 9). For the sake of David thy servant (the promises made to him) do not turn away the face of thine anointed (David and Solomon, and ultimately Messiah Yeshua-v 10). Yehovah has sworn to David; a truth from which he will not turn back (his word in 1 Sam 7.16); of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne (God promised that one of his sons would succeed him, and in the end this will be fulfilled by Yeshua-v 11). If your sons will keep my covenant, and my testimony (edut, another name for the Torah) which I will teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever (God’s oath to David was conditional. His sons must follow the Torah and be worthy of the position, but starting with Solomon, this was not done for the most part-v 12). For Yehovah was chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation- v 13). This is my resting place forever (once the Ark arrived, no more traveling); here I will dwell, for I have desired it (he chose Mount Moriah-v 14). I will abundantly bless her provision (with produce, grain, etc); I will satisfy her needy with bread (because it is so prosperous, even the poor have bread-v 15). Her priests also will I clothe with salvation (Isa 61.10); and her godly ones (Levitical choir) will sing aloud for joy-v 16). There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth (the power of kingship, especially the Messiah-Luke 1.67-69; Matt 1.1); I have prepared a lamp (an heir, the Messiah-v 17). His enemies (of the Messiah) I will clothe with shame (cut off); but upon himself, his crown shall shine (will flourish forever-Luke 1.32-33-v 18).”

Psa 133.1-3 is the last psalm written by David that are contained in the Songs of Ascent. We don’t know when he wrote this but it was after some incident where the unity of the nation was restored. It says, “Behold, (see for yourself), how good and how pleasant it is (a source of happiness) for brothers to dwell together in unity (in full agreement; the two cherubim, or “keruvim” on the Ark were described in fraternal terms, “their faces turned one toward his brother”-v 1). It is like the precious oil upon the head (where the anointing oil was poured-Exo 30.25; Lev 8.12), coming down upon his beard, even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robe (unity is a blessing and it is like this oil that is poured out so abundantly that it flows down upon the head, or intellect, to the mouth, and to the edge of his priestly robes, thus uniting it all together-v 2). It is like the dew of Hermon (a snow covered mountain that provided precipitation), coming down upon the mountains of Zion (the dew of Hermon symbolizes the blessings of Yehovah upon Jerusalem), for there Yehovah commanded the blessing-life forever (oil and wine are connected to a blessing in Rev 6.6 and 2 Kings 4.2. Unity is a blessing and to dwell with others in unity is just a foretaste of the Olam Haba-v 3).”

Psa 134.1-3 is the last “Psalm of Ascents” and there is no author. It is a call to the priests and the Levites of the Temple to spread the blessing to the others in the nation. Psa 134.1-2 were said by those who came to relieve them. Psa 134.3 was said by the off-going guard in response to Psa 134.1-2. It reads, “Bless Yehovah (give honor to him to succeed), all servants of Yehovah (the Temple priests and Levites), who serve by night (at the evening Tamid service and stand guard all night) in the house of Yehovah (v 1). Lift up your hands in the sanctuary (as they gave the priestly blessing-Lev 9.22; Num 6.22-26) and bless the Lord (honoring God as they obeyed the commandments to bless the people-v 2). May Yehovah bless you from Zion (when the priestly blessing was given, the priests had their back to the Holy of Holies. You never turned your back to it in the Temple, but this blessing was coming from Yehovah through the priests to the people so it was allowed. The same was true for the Levitival choir, he who made heaven and earth (v 3).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 120-126

Psa 120.1-7 begins a section called the “Psalms of Ascent” or “Shir ha Ma’alot” in Hebrew. There are fifteen psalms comprised of Psa 120 through 134, and the number fifteen is a special number in Jewish thought. The fifteenth of every month speaks of spiritual maturity and a full moon. David’s name has the numerical value of fourteen, and from Abraham to David there were fourteen generations. Solomon was the fifteenth generation and it speaks of the brightness of the full moon (Matt 1.17; see also the psalm commentary called “Tehillim”, Mesorah Publications, p.1499). The lifespan of the three patriarchs overlapped by fifteen years, and there are fifteen words in Gen 28.11 that foresees the future temple. There are fifteen words in the priestly blessing of Num 6.24-26 and there are fifteen steps in the Temple leading up to the Nicanor Gate. These psalms were sung by the pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem for the three festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot called the “Shelosh Regalim” or the “three foot festivals.” David wrote some of them, but whoever collected these psalms is unknown, and they are not the work of just one person. These psalms are also called the Pilgrim Psalms, the Psalms of Degrees and the Songs of the Steps.

The heading reads, “A Song of Ascents” in Hebrew and goes on, “In my trouble (at a previous time) I cried to Yehovah and he answered me (gave me help-v 1). Deliver my soul, Yehovah, from lying lips (who brought false charges) from a deceitful tongue (who spreads slander while pretending to be a friend-v 2). What shall be given to you, you deceitful tongue (to restrain you from doing damage-v 3). Sharp arrows (words that strike and the victim doesn’t know who hit him) of the warrior, with burning coals of the broom tree (fiery arrows wrapped with flammables to cause fires-v 4). Woe is me, for I sojourn in Meshech (a son of Japheth who are thought to be the the Scythians and Muscovites. His brother is Tubal and they are associated with Gog and Magog), for I dwell among the tents of Kedar (a son of Ishmael, or the Arabs. The meaning here is he feels he is in exile among the the idolatrous and those ignorant of the Torah-v 5). Too long has my soul had its dwelling with those who hate peace (enemies of Israel-v 6). I am for peace (his desire), but when I speak (words of peace) they are for war (hostile response-v 7).”

Psa 121.1-8 has the heading, “Song to the Ascents” and it tells us that Israel can expect divine help and be protected when thy forsake earthly powers and alliances and lifts their eyes to Yehovah alone. It begins, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains (Jerusalem-Isa 52.7); from whence shall my help come (not from kings and earthly powers-v 1)? My help comes from Yehovah (the answer), who made heaven and earth (so he has the power to rescue him-v 2). He will not allow your foot to slip (stagger because of weakness); he who keeps yo will not slumber (he watches his flock and will not fall asleep doing it-v 3). Behold, he who keeps Israel (his promise to Jacob in Gen 28.15) will neither slumber (short nap) or sleep (long, deep sleep-v 4). Yehovah is your keeper (guardian); Yehovah is your shade (overshadowing protection) on your right hand (alludes to his protection in the wilderness-v 5). The sun will not smite you by day (from the heat), nor the moon by night (damp and cold- v 6). Yehovah will protect you from all evil; he will keep your soul (so that you can enter the Olam Haba-v 7). Yehovah will guard your going out and your coming in (all your activity) from this time forth and forever (“olam vaed”-for all time-v 8).”

Psa 122.1-8 has the heading, “A Psalm of Ascents of David” and it tells us the pilgrimage is over and we are now in the city of Jerusalem, at the gates. Psa 122 was recited as the people left their towns and villages to go up to Jerusalem for a festival, along with Isa 2.3. Most cities are just throngs of people who gather out of safety, not to mention all the buildings. But Jerusalem was different than any other city in the world. Every Jewish person could experience a personal encounter with Yehovah at the festivals. The Temple and the city was full of the righteous. There was a concept that the Jerusalem of the heavens “united” with the earthly Jerusalem at Sukkot. Rev 21.1-2 tells us the same thing. The “New Jerusalem” came down and that is the “tikvah” (hope) for the future (Isa 61.10 through 62.12; Psa 132.7).

As the pligrims traveled they recited Psa 84 as they went. When Jerusalem came into view they recited Psa 125.2. At the gates is was Psa 122.2 and Psa 24. When in the courts of the Temple is was Psa 150. This psalm is one of four that was credited to David. He wrote for what Jerusalem was in his time., but he also foresaw what it would be with the Temple and how it was “built up” spiritually. It was written for the people to sing as they came up to Jerusalem, now that it was the “rest” that God had promised and the place where he would build the Temple and place his name (Deut 12.11; 2 Chr 6.6, 7.16).

It begins, “I was glad when they said to me (invited to join in the procession), ‘Let us go to the house of Yehovah’ (what was said as they left-v 1). Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem” (this verse was the first thing they said over the radio as the Israeli army captured the Temple Mount on Wednesday, June 7, 1967. There is a story that goes with this event. In 70 A.D. the Temple fell into Roman hands on the Sabbath day. The Levitical choir should have sung Psa 92, a psalm for the Sabbath, but they sang Psa 94, the psalm for the fourth day of the week (Wednesday). Nobody understood why until Wednesday, June 7, 1967 when the Temple went back into Jewish hands and control-v 2). Jerusalem, that is built (David built it up after he captured it from the Jebusites) as a city that is compact together (united, integrated, and it also alludes to the unification of the heavenly Jerusalem with the earthly Jerusalem at the festivals-v 3). To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of Yehovah (the mishmarot or “courses” of priests, Levites and the people representing the rest of Israel called the “Ma’amad” or “standing men” at the Tamid service daily and the festivals), an ordinance (testimony to their allegiance to the Torah) to give thanks to the name of Yehovah (v 4). For there thrones (Jerusalem was the seat of government (two forms of authority centered in Jerusalem, God’s and the house of David) were set for judgment, the thrones of the house of David (royal line). Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (as a city of peace); they prosper (will be serene) who love you (v 6). May peace be within your walls, and prosperity (serenity) within your palaces (v 7). For the sake of my brothers (all the people, his subjects) and my friends I will now say, “{May peace be within you (for your welfare-v 8). For the sake of the house of Yehovah our God I will seek your good (the welfare of the people depended on the prosperity of the city and the Temple-v 9).”

Psa 123.1-4 is simply called “A Song of Ascents.” This is another psalm that prepares the pilgrim to meet the Lord and his people at the Temple in Jerusalem. In Psa 120-123 we see a progression . In Psa 120 we grieve over our surroundings. In Psa 121 we lift our eyes to the mountains of Jerusalem. In Psa 122 we rejoice over the Jerusalem and the Temple, and in Psa 123 we will see that one looks beyond the city and the Temple to Yehovah in heaven. It says, “To thee I lift up my eyes (in humility), O thou who at enthroned in the heavens (where God is-the Temple could not contain him-1 Kings 8.27-v 1). Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hands of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her masters (watching to see what they should do by hand signals); so our eyes look to Yehovah our God, until he shall be gracious to us (to give direction, to supply, correct, protect and bless them-v 2). Be gracious to us (favor us), O Lord, be gracious to us (it is repeated to show the intensity of his request); for we are greatly filled with contempt (by our enemies-v 3). Our soul is greatly filled with the scoffing of those who are at ease (our enemies think they are safe and secure), and with contempt of the proud (arrogant people who sought to oppress Israel-v 4).”

Psa 124.1-8 is called “A Song of Ascents, by David.” He is leading his people to give thanks to God for past help and believing that he will continue to help in times of trouble. It says, “Had it not been the Lord who was on our side, let Israel now say (v 1), ‘Had it not been the Lord who was on our side when men rose up against us (v 2) then they would have swallowed us alive (like sheep), when their anger was kindled against us (flaming hatred-v 3); Then the waters would have engulfed us (the enemy masses were seen as rivers-Rev 12.15-16; Jer 12.5; Isa 8.7-8), the stream would have swept over our soul (drowned them quickly-v 4). Then the raging waters (enemy armies and forces) would have swept over our soul (this idea is repeated for intensity and emphasis-v 5). Blessed be Yehovah (and him alone), who has not given us to be torn by their teeth (like wolves to sheep; he did not allow the enemy to be successful in their evil plans- v 6). Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped(v 7). Our help is in the name of Yehovah, who made heaven and earth (he has the power and is sovereign-v 8).”

Psa 125.1-5 is another “Song of Ascents” and it was sung when Jerusalem came into view, then Psa 122. It brings out how Yehovah rewards the faith of those who trust him by protecting them and abandoning the wicked to their doom. It says, “Those who trust in Yehovah shall be as Mount Zion (same thing in Hebrew thought as Mount Moriah, the Temple, and the throne) which cannot be moved, but abides forever (is firmly established-Lam 5.19-v 1). As the mountains surround Jerusalem (they are in view of these mountains around Jerusalem), so Yehovah surrounds (protects) his people from this forth and forever (“l’olam vaed”-in eternity Yehovah will still be protecting his people-v 2). For the scepter of wickedness (the emblem of evil power) shall not rest (abide, live forever) upon the land (the lot, the inheritance) of the righteous (Israel); that the righteous may not put forth their hands to do evil (Yehovah will not allow a wicked nation to rule because the righteous will be influenced by the wicked-Zeph 3.11-13; Jude 24; Col 1.17-God keeps them from evil-when that is removed there is evil-v 3).Do good, Yehovah, to those who are good (the righteous or “Tovim” who try to keep the Torah), and those who are upright (“yesharim”) in their hearts (the sincere who resolve to do good works-v 4). But for those who turn aside to their crooked ways (perverse, against the Torah) Yehovah will lead them away with the doers of iniquity (Zeph 3.11-13). Peace be upon Israel (Zeph 3.13-15-v 5).”

Psa 126.1-6 is simply called a “Song of Ascents” and it is part of the grace after meals on the Sabbath (Deit 8.10). It was written after the return from Babylon literally, but eschatologically, it alludes to the Jewish people leaving the USA (Babylon) and returning back to the land during the Sabbath of God or the Day of the Lord (Isa 35.10, 48.20; Jer 51.6, 9, 10, 45, 50; Rev 18.4-6). This psalm is in contrast to Psa 137.1-9 that refers to one still in Babylon. This psalm is recited as part of the grace after meals during the week. It begins, “When Yehovah brought back the captives (exiles) of Zion (to the land), we were like those who dream (about something impossible that came true-v 1). Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful shouting (when we were told that this miracle has happened); then they said among the nations, ‘Yehovah has done great things for them’ (surprised by their release and success-v 2). Yehovah has done great things for us; we are glad (after hearing what the nations said, the author makes it his own declaration because it was true-v 3). Restore our captivity (those who have not returned yet) Yehovah, as the streams in the south (the Negev, desert-the sudden torrent and roaring of the water coming through a wadi after a rain-v 4). Those who sow (good seed of the Torah-Matt 13.1-9) in tears (despair) shall reap (the harvest) with joyful shouting (Matt 13.18-23-v 5). He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed (scattering Torah knowledge among the people-Matt 13.18-23; Zech 8.23), shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves (the harvest of his labors-v 6).”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalm 119

Psa 119.1-176 is the longest psalm by far. The author is not named and there is no heading. Many scholars believe it was written by David over a period of time but this cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If the author is unnamed it is because Yehovah did not feel it was important to name them, so we will not speculate.

This psalm is also arranged in an acrostic form. There are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew Alphabet, and this psalm contains twenty-two sections of eight (number of new beginning) verses each. The first section of eight verses begins with the Hebrew letter “Aleph.” The second section of eight verses begins with the Hebrew letter “Beit.” The psalm proceeds that way until all twenty-two letters are used. This psalm glorifies the Torah and the Mitzvot (commandments), and nearly every verse has a word to describe the Torah like “law” (Torah); “word” (davar or imrah); “judgments” (mishpatim); “testimonies” (edut); “commandments” (mitzvot); “statutes” (chukim); “precepts” (pekudim); “words” (imrataycha) and “ways” (derek).

So, the subject is the Torah and it goes from Aleph to Tav. This alludes to the “beginning and the end” and it means “Head of the Covenant.” Aleph and Tav is also a term for the Messiah. This psalm can also be used in prayer in the following way. You can spell out in Hebrew your need and then pray the appropriate verses. So, as we move through this psalm we will give certain meanings of each letter and touch on each verse.

In this psalm, the author is asking to be saved so he can follow the Torah. God judges on our faith and our desire to follow the Torah, not on our ability to keep every point of it. Faith and desire are inseparable (Deut 10.12-13).

Psa 119.1-8 is the first section called “Aleph” in most Bibles. This letter was symbolized anciently by an ox head, meaning power, strength, leader, first and beginning. The rabbis teach it represents the head, the seat of human intellect. It begins, “How blessed (empowered to succeed) are those whose way (direction in life) is blameless (complete, whole-hearted), who walk in the law (Torah) of Yehovah (the biblical way was to study all the arguments in what is called a pilpul or peppered argument. This led to a discussion on opinions and to diligently search and “wrestle” with the question, and let God lead you, not tell you what to believe like a “crusader”- v 1). How blessed are those who observe his testimonies (edut), who seek him with all their hearts (desires, thoughts-v 2). They do no unrighteousness (deliberate wickedness); they walk in his ways (derek-v 3). Thou hast ordained thy precepts (pekudim), that we should keep them diligently (carefully-v 4). Oh that my ways may be established (directed) to keep thy statutes (chukim-v 5). Then I shall not be ashamed (disgraced) when I look upon all thy commandments (mitzvot-because they tell him what sin is, like Paul said in Rom 3.20-v 6). I shall give thanks to thee with uprightness of heart (sincere), when I learn (study) thy righteous judgments (mishpatim-v 7). I shall keep thy statutes (chukim to the best of my ability), do not forsake me utterly (so that I can do it-v 8).”

Psa 119.9-16 is the section for the letter “Beit” meaning “house or tent” and the ancient symbol looked like a tent. The rabbis say that “Beit” represents “binah” which is the comprehension between good and evil. It begins, “How can a young man keep (cleanse) his way (Eph 5.26; Prov 3.6-stay on the right track)? By keeping it according to thy word (davar or being sincerely dedicated to the Torah-v 9). With all my heart (focused all my attention) I have sought thee; do not let me wander (lose sight of) from thy commandments (mitzvot-v 10). Thy word I have treasured (concealed) in my heart; that I may not sin against thee (by the Torah is the knowledge of sin in Rom 3.20-v 11). Blessed art thou, O Lord, teach me thy statutes (chukim-v 12).. With my lips I have told of (proclaimed) all the ordinances (mishpatim) of thy mouth (v 13). I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies (edut-from the word “edi” meaning “ornament”) as much as in all riches (because the Torah is true riches-v 14). I will meditate (to speak in a low tone, to mutter) on thy precepts (pekudacha) and regard (look at intensely) thy ways (v 15). I shall delight (occupy myself) in thy statutes (chukim); I shall not forget thy word (davar-v 16).”

Psa 119.17-24 is the section for the Hebrew letter “Gimel” meaning “camel, carry or to lift up” which was the ancient symbol. The rabbis teach that gimel is the left leg ready to run to the next letter dalet, meaning “door.” It says, “Deal bountifully (much favor) with thy servant, that I may live (literally “I will live”-Matt 19.17; Deut 30.6, 32.47) and keep thy word (davar-v 17). Open my eyes (to understand), that I may behold (perceive) wonderful (hidden) things from thy law (Torah-v 18). I am a stranger (temporary sojourner) in the earth (physically); do not hide thy commandments (mitzvot) from me (because a traveler needs direction on where to go-v 19). My soul is crushed with longing (intense yearning) after thine ordinances (mishpatim) at all times (to follow the Torah-v 20). Thou dost rebuke the arrogant (proud), the cursed (willful sinner), who wander from thy commandments (mitzvot-their ignorance is a self-inflicted wound-v 21). Take away reproach and contempt from me (of those who scoff), for I observe thy testimonies (edutaycha-he is not a willful sinner-v 22). Even though princes (those in authority) sit and talk against me (for observing the Torah), thy servant meditates (speak in a low tone, mutter) on thy statues (chukim-v 23). Thy testimonies (edutaycha) also are my delight (preoccupation with my emotions), they are my counselors (provides advice when studied-v 24).”

Psa 119.25-32 is the section with the letter “Dalet” meaning “a door, pathway or to enter.” The ancient symbol was a tent door. It begins, “My soul cleaves to the dust (the spiritually depressed); revive me according to thy word (davar-God’s promises-v 25). I have told of my ways (some good, some bad) and thou hast answered me; teach me thy statutes (chukim-the one, true way-v 26). Make me understand (he not only needed the knowledge of the Torah, but also the understanding) the way of your precepts (pekudim-a clear conception), so I will meditate (discuss) on thy wonders (miracles, grace , forgiveness, mercy, redemption-v 27). My soul weeps (melts) because of grief (no relief from trouble); strengthen me (set me right) according to thy word (davar-v 28). Remove from me the false way (false doctrine); and graciously grant me thy law (the truht contained in the Torah-v 29). I have chosen the faithful way (way of faith); I have placed thine ordinances (mishpatim) before me (submitted to them-v 30). I cleave (cling) to thy testimonies (the edut are meant to remind us of eternal truth or events, so we need to have them); O Yehovah, do not put me to shame (for the choice I have made-v 31). I shall run the way of thy commandments (mitzvot-with passion to do them-Psa 119.60), for thou wilt enlarge my heart (of understanding-v 32).”

Psa 119.33-40 is the section for the letter “Hey” meaning “to behold or to reveal.” It had the ancient symbol of arms extended, and it is contained in the name Yehovah. It begins, “Teach me, O Yehovah, the way (derek) of thy statutes (chukim), and I shall observe it to the end (of his life, their ultimate purpose- v 33). Give me understading, that I may observe (literally “guard”) thy law (Torah), and keep it with all my heart (desire, to show Yehovah he loves him-John 14.15-v 34). Make me walk in thy path (lead me on the trail) of thy commandments (mitzvot), for I delight (has desire) in it (v 35). Incline my heart (draw my desire) to thy testimonies (edut) and not to dishonest gain (greed, lust for money-Exo 18.2-v 36). Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity (empty, futile imaginations), and revive me in thy ways (derek-v 37). Establish (set up) thy word (davar) to thy servant, as that which produces reverence for thee (Torah works a proper awe for Yehovah in us-v 38). Turn away my reproach (scorn) which I dread (because his failings wwere always brought up to disgrace him), for thine ordinances (mispatim) are good (I accept your judgment-v 39). Behold, I long for (yearn) for thy precepts (pekudim), revive me through thy righteousness (in the way of righteousness-v 40).”

Psa 119.41-48 is the section with the letter “Vav” which means “nail, peg, to secure.” Its ancient symbol looked like “Y.” This letter is also a part of God’s name. It says, “May thy lovingkindness also come to me, Lord (Yehovah), thy salvation (full deliverance) according to thy word (davar-v 41). So I shall have an answer for him who reproaches me (attacking him, no saving him), for I trust in thy word (davar- that says he can be sure-v 42). And do not take the word of truth (Tirah) utterly out of my mouth (it is his only defense), for I wait (with hope, knowing they will come to pass) for thy ordinances (mishpatim-v 43). So I will keep thy law (Torah) continually (constantly), forever and ever (meaning in this life and in the Olam Haba-v 44). And I will walk at liberty (Torah truth sets us free-John 8.32; Psa 119.160; Jam 1.25, 2.12; 2 Cor 3.17), for I seek thy precepts (Pekudim out of love-v 45). I will also speak of thy testimonies (edut) before kings (who usually don’t want such talk, he is free to be bold), and I shall not be ashamed (because my loyalty is to God-v 46). And I shall delight (be occupied with) in thy commandments (mitzvot), which I love (not burdensome-v 47); and I will lift up my hands (accepting) to thy commandments, which I love (not burdensome); and I will meditate (to speak or mutter in a low tone) on thy statutes (chukim-v 48).”

Psa 119.49-56 is the section for the letter “Zayin” which means “cut off .” The ancient symbol was a weapon, looking like an axe or club. It begins by saying, “Remember the word (davar) to thy servant (God’s promises of salvation and redemption. If this was David, it refers to the word that God would establish his house and kingdom forever) in which thou hast made me hope (hope is a sure thing in Biblical thought-v 49). This is my comfort in my affliction (his firm ground to stand on), that thy word (davar) has revived me (gave him life in the past-v 50). The arrogant deride me (scoffed at his practices) yet I will not turn aside from thy law (Torah-v 51). I have remembered thine ordinances (mishpatim) from of old (a lesson from history on the fate of the wicked and the protection of the righteous) and comfort myself (that it remains the same now-v 52). Burning indignation (zeal) has seized me because of the wicked who forsake thy law (Torah- he wants to rebuke them because they are headed for ruin-v 53). Thy statutes (chukim) are my songs (music to his ears) in the house of my pilgrimage (his body in this present age, or Olam Ha Zeh-v 54). I have remembered your name, O Yehovah, in the night (when fear and anxiety can strike) and keep thy law (Torah-v 55). This has become mine (this comfortable feeling) because I observe (keep, cheerish) thy precepts (pekude-v 56).

Psa 119.57-64 is the next letter “Chet” meaning “fence, divided, to reveal.” Its ancient symbol was a fence. It says, “The Lord (Yehovah) is my portion (allotted share-some chose wealth and property, etc); I have promised to keep thy words (davar or his commandments-v 57). I entreated (pleaded) thy favor with all my heart; be gracious (merciful) to me according to thy word (davar, the promises-v 58). I considered my ways (what they were), and turned my feet to thy testimonies (edut-v 59). I hastened and did not delay to keep thy commandments(mitzvot-v 60). The cords (bonds) of the wicked have encircled me (robbed, plundered), but I have not forgotten thy law (Torah-they can’t take tha-v 61). At midnight (the depth of night) I shall arise to give thanks to theee because of thy righteous judgments (mishpatim-not only because they are appreciated, but he may be accepting the painful judgments God has measured to him-v 62). I am a companion (friend) of all those who fear thee, and of those who keep thy precepts (pekudim-v 63). The earth is full of thy lovingkindness, Yehovah; teach me thy statutes (chukim- as an example of your kindness and spiritual blessings-v 64).”

Psa 119.65-72 is the next letter “Tet” and it means a “snake or surround.” Its ancient symbol was a snake basket. It says, “Thou hast dealt well (did good) with thy servant, Yehovah, according to thy word (davar-he restored his throne if this was written by David after his enemies drove him out (v 65). Teach me good discernment (judgment) and knowledge (Da’at-so he can distinguish between good and evil, the facts of Torah), for I believe in thy commandments (mitzvot will keep him out of error-v 66). Before I was afflicted (humbled) I went astray, but now (after the pain) I keep thy word (davar-he learned the answer-Hos 5.15-v 67). Thou art good and doest good (even when he chastises his people); teach me thy statutes (chukim-which the wicked say has no value-v 68). The arrogant (proud) forged a lie against me (attached lies to me); with all my heart I will observe thy precepts (pekude-despite the lies-v 69). Their heart is covered with fat (a barrier, mental block, oblivious to the truth-Lev 3.4, 7.23), but I delight (preoccupied with) is thy law (Torah-v 70). It is good for me (a benefit) that I was afflicted, that I may learn thy statutes (chukim that he may have never learned-v 71). The law (Torah) of thy mouth is better (preferred) to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces (Deut 17.17-19 says the king was to have a personal Torah scroll with him, not multiply gold and silver to himself-v 72). “

Psa 119.73-80 is the letter “Yod” and it means “hand, make, my.” Its ancient symbol was an arm and a hand. It also was a part of the name of God (Yehovah). It begins, “Thy hands made me and fashioned me (in your image); give me understanding (insight) that I might learn thy commandments (mitzvot-v 73). May those who fear thee see me and be glad (other believers are glad to be with other believers), because I wait for (serving) thy word (davar-it has not disappointed him and others can be inspired by that-v 74). I know, Yehovah, that thy judgments (mishpatim) are righteous (just, true), and that in faithfulness (good faith) thou hast afflicted me (he deserved it-v 75). O may thy lovingkindness comfort me (sustain him in trouble), according to thy word (davar) to thy servant (v 76). May thy compassion (mercy) come to me that I may live, for thy law (Torah) is my delight (preoccupation-v 77). May the arrogant (proud) be for they subvert (malign) me with a lie; but I shall meditate (speak and mutter in a low tone) on thy precepts (pekudim-v 78). May those who fear thee turn to me (realize the lies are not true), even those who know thy testimonies (edut-they had much in common, they knew the Torah-v 79). May my heart (desires, thoughts) be blameless (wholehearted) in thy statues (chukim), that I may not be ashamed (disgraced before my enemies-v 80).”

Psa 119.81-88 is the Letter “Kaf” meaning “open, palm” and the ancient symbol looked like an open palm. It says, “My soul languishes (pines, faints) for thy salvation; I wait (hope, knowing the promises are a sure thing) for thy word (davar-v 81). My eyes fail (worn out, strained by watching) for thy word (davar to be fulfilled), while I say, ‘when will thou comfort (assist) me (v 82)?’ Though I have become like a wineskin in smoke (dried up, something that should be thrown away, I do not forget thy statutes (chukim-even though my enemies tries to destroy me, it won’t work-v 83). How many are the days of thy servant (am I going to die soon)? When wilt thou execute judgment (mishpatim) on those who persecute me (and disrupt their plots-v 84). The arrogant (proud) have dug pits (secret plans and snares) for me, men who are not in accord with thy law (Torah does not guide them-v 85). All thy commandments (mitzvot) are faithful (you can trust them); they have persecuted me with a lie (a fugitive), help me (Deut 10.18-v 86). They almost destroyed me on earth, but as for me (no matter how hard it got), I did not forsake thy precepts (pekudim-he stood his ground-v 87). Revive (preserve) me according to thy lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony (edut) of thy mouth (God spoke the Torah-v 88).”

Psa 119.89-96 brings us to the letter “Lamed” which means “control, speak, authority.” The ancient symbol looked like a shepherd’s crook. It says, “Forever, Yehovah, thy word (davar) is settled in heaven (firm, unchangeable-v 89). Thy faithfulness endures (remains the same) from generation to generation, thou hast established the earth, and it stands (v 90). They stand this day according to thy ordinances (mishpatim); for all things are thy servants (obeying his laws-v 91). If thy law (Torah) had not been my delight (preoccupation), then I would have perished (in bitterness) in my affliction (mental anguish-v 92). I will never forget thy precepts (pekudim-despite the persecutions), for by them thou hast revived me (they are your life-Deut 30.6, 32.47; Prov 8.35, 9.11-v 93). I am thine, save me (from the present troubles), for I have sought thy precepts (pekudim-God looks at the desire to follow the Torah, not on our ability to keep every point of it-v 94). The wicked wait for me (hoping) to destroy me; I shall diligently consider (contemplate) thy testimonies (edut-to reinforce my faith and conviction-v 95). I have seen a limit to all perfection (all things come to an end); but thy commandment (mitzvot) is exceedingly broad (Torah wisdom is endless-Job 11.7-9-v 96).”

Psa 119.97-104 is the letter “Mem” and it means “water, mighty, blood” and it is symbolized anciently by water like waves. It begins, “O how I love thy law (Torah)! it is my meditation (discussion, muttering in a low tone) all the day (the writer is not boasting of himself, but praising God who gave the Torah through which he is able to overcome his natural tendencies-v 97). Thy commandments (mitzvot) make me wiser than my enemies (who believed they had a superior intelligence in the world’s knowledge). For they are ever with me (the Torah is the essence of his being-v 98). I have more insight than all my teachers, for thy testimonies (edut) are my meditation (discussion, conversation-v 99). I understand more than my elders, because I keep (observe) thy precepts (pekudim-v 100). I have restrained my feet (held myself back) from every evil way (path), that I may keep your word (davar-Num 15.39-40-v 101). I have not turned aside (departed) from thine ordinances (mishpatim), for thou thyself hast taught me (to do what it teaches-v 102). How sweet (pleasant) are thy words (imrataycha) to my taste more than honey to my mouth (new students would eat the letters of the Hebrew alphabet with honey on it- v 103). From thy precepts (pekudim) I get understanding (practical understanding in all matters); therefore I hate every false way (because he had understanding-v 104).”

Psa 119.105-112 has the letter “Nun” which means “continue, activity, life” and it had an ancient symbol that looks like a seed sprout. It says, “Thy word (davar) is a lamp (ner) to my feet and a light to my path (Prov 6.20-23; 1 John 1.5-7; Zeph 1.12; Rev 21.23-24-v 105). I have sworn, and I will confirm it (fulfill it), that I will keep thy righteous ordinances (mishpatim-v 106). I am exceedingly afflicted (heavy problems), revive me (preserve), O Yehovah, according to thy word (davar-Lev 18.5-v 107). Accept the freewill offerings of my mouth (his meditations, prayers, etc) and teach me thy judgments (mishpatim-v 108). My life is continually in my hand (in danger) yet I do not forget thy law (Torah is in his heart and mind, thought and desires-v 109). The wicked have laid a snare (pits to kill him, draw him into sin) for me, yet I have not gone astray from thy precepts (pekudim-v 110). I have inherited thy testimonies (edut) forever (a tradition of faith from his fathers) for they are the joy of my heart (Torah was not burdensome-v 111). I have inclined (caused) my heart (desires and thoughts) to perform thy statutes (obey them) forever (l’olam) to the end (of his life-v 112).”

Psa 119.113-120 deals with the letter “Samech” which means “prop, turn, twist slowly” it had the ancient symbol of a hand on a staff. It begins, “I hate those who are double-minded (not resolute, to deviate-Jam.1-6-8; 1 King 18.21). But I love thy law (Torah-v 113). Thou art my hiding place (concealment-Zeph 2.1-3; Psa 27.5; Psa 91.1) and my shield (Prov 30.5-6; Psa 84.9); I wait (hope is knowing that all the promises are a sure thing) for thy word (davar-v 114). Depart from me evildoers (their course in life was evil) for I will keep (observe) the commandments (mitzvot) of my God (v 115). Sustain (support) me according to thy word (davar-as he ahs promised) that I may live (Lev 18.5; Deut 30.6); and do not let me be ashamed (disgraced for having put his confidence in Yehovah) of my hope (hope is knowing that God’s promises is a sure thing-v 116). Uphold (sustain) me that I may be safe (delivered, safe), that I may have regard for (respect) thy statutes (chukim) continually (free from all interference-v 117). Thou hast rejected (trampled on) all those who wander from thy statutes (chukim- the truth of the Torah) for their deceitfulness is falsehood (their traps won’t work-v 118). Thou hast removed (purged) all the wicked of the earth like dross (worthless left behind in a smelter ); therefore I love thy testimonies (edut-they purge his heart of worthless dross-v 119). My flesh trembles for fear (shakes with awe) of thee (righteous know they can’t hide), and I am afraid (fear, awe) of thy judgments (mishpatim-v 120).”

Psa 119.121-128 deals with the letter “Ayin” meaning “to see, eye, perceive, reveal” and its ancient symbol was an eye. It says, “I have done justice (mishpat) and righteousness (as defined by the Torah); do not leave me (abandon) to my oppressors (the cruel-v 121). Be a surety for thy servant for good (a lawyer who defends against false charges); do not let the arrogant (proud) oppress me (by their cruel tactics-v 122). My eyes (the letter Ayin) fail (watch all the time) for thy salvation (yeshua), and for thy righteous word (davar- his promises-v 123). Deal (treat) with thy servant according to thy lovingkindness (mercy, favor); and teach me thy statutes (chukim so they can be followed- v 124). I am thy servant; give me understanding (binah-comprehension of good and evil), that I may know thy testimonies (edut-v 125). It is time for Yehovah to act (he is not slow but there is a time when he will), for they have broken (destroyed, voided) thy law (Torah-v 126). Therefore I love thy commandments more than (above) gold, yes, above fine gold (the wicked, on the other hand, voided the Torah to pursue wealth-v 127). Therefore, I esteem right all thy precepts (pekudim) concerning everything, I hate every false way (God’s Torah can deliver us, gold can’t. The wicked ridicule and distort the teachings of the Torah- v 128).”

Psa 119.129-136 deals with the letter “Peh” which means “mouth, to speak, a word” and its ancient symbol symbol was in the shape of a mouth. Thy testimonies (edut) are wonderful (beyond human comprehension); therefore my soul observes them (v 129). The unfolding (opening) of thy words (davar) give light (illumination); it gives understanding to the simple (innocent, no pretense-v 130). I opened my mouth (the letter “Peh”) wide and panted (starving, thirsty for the word), for I longed for thy commandments (mitzvot-like the rain in a drought-Deut 32.2-v 131). Turn to me and be gracious to me (my success depends on it), after thy manner (just like you used to do) with those who love thy name (v 132). establish (set) my footsteps in thy word (davar-to walk in thy ways), and do not let any iniquity have dominion (power) over me (v 133). Redeem me from oppression (exploitation) of man, that I may keep (observe) thy precepts (pekudim-v 134). Make thy face shine (with favor) upon thy servant (Num 6.25; Prov 16.15), and teach me thy statutes (chukim-giving me wisdom to understand difficult passages and Torah instruction-v 135). My eyes shed streams of water (in sorrow) because they (the wicked) do not keep thy law (Torah- and destroy themselves-v 136).”

Psa 119.137-144 is the letter (Tzadi) meaning “fish hook, catch, desire and need” and its ancient symbol looked like a fish hook. It reads, “Righteous art thou, O Lord, and upright (true) are thy judgments (mishpatim-v 137). Thou hast commanded thy testimonies (edut) in righteousness and exceeding faithfulness (with firmness, no partiality-Deut 16.19-20-v 138). My zeal (righteous passion, indignation) has consumed me (brought him near to death), because my adversaries (oppressors) have forgotten thy word (davar-in false doctrine-Jam 1.22-25-v 139). Thy word (davar) is very pure (free of flaws-Psa 12.6), therefore thy servant loves it (v 140). I am small (in my own eyes) and despised (his opinions are belittled and made fun of, ignored), yet I do not forget thy precepts (pekudim- he does not abandon them-v 141). Thy righteousness is an everlasting (l’olam) righteousness, and thy word (davar) is truth (John 8.52, 17.17; Psa 119.160; Rom 2.20-v 142). Trouble and anguish have come upon me, yet thy commandments are my delight (preoccupation- he turned to the Torah for encouragement02 Pet 1.12-v 143). Thy testimonies (edut) are righteous forever, give me understanding that I may live (Deut 4.1; Lev 18.5; Deut 30.6).”

Psa 119.145-152 deals with the letter “Kof” meaning “back of the head, behind, last, least” and had the ancient symbol of the back of the head. It says, “I cried with all my heart (full effort); answer me, Yehovah! I will observe thy statutes (chukim- v 145). I cried to thee; save me, and I will keep thy testimonies (edut-a parallelism with the previous verse-v 146). I rise before dawn (literally a time of transition) and cry for help ( he wanted to be the first person to pray that day); I wait (or hope, which is the belief that God’s promises are a sure thing) in thy word (davar-v 147). My eyes anticipate the night watches (he was awake at night), that I may meditate (speak, mutter) on thy word (v 148). Hear my voice according (on the basis of) your lovingkindness (mercy), revive me (bring life) O Yehovah according to (on the basis of) thine ordinances (mishpatim-v 149). Those who follow after wickedness draw near (to evil); they are far from thy law (Torah does not instruct them on sin (v 150). Thou art near, O Yehovah, and all thy commandments are truth (v 151). Of old (from the start) I have known from thy testimonies (edut) that thou hast founded them forever (not temporary or to be done away with-v 152).”

Psa 153-160 is the letter “Resh” and it means “a head, a man, a person, highest, top, sum” and its ancient symbol was the head of a man. It says, “Look (see, consider) my affliction and rescue (deliver) me; for I do not forget thy law (Torah-v 153). Plead (defend) my cause (case) and redeem me; revive (give life) according to thy word (davar-there are biblical revivals “according to thy word” which brings man back to the Torah, like in the revival of Hezekiah and Josiah, but on the other hand, there are false revivals which are not “according to thy word” that does not bring people back to the Torah. Usually they are revivals back to some values not found in the Torah. We should measure any revival with the standard, “Is this according to God’s word in the Torah?”-v 154). Salvation is far from the wicked (they refuse to follow the Torah) for they do not seek thy statutes (chukim-they don’t care-v 155). Great are thy mercies, O Yehovah, revive me according to thine ordinances (mishpatim- v 156). Many are my persecutors and adversaries (because I follow the Torah) yet I do not turn aside from thy testimonies (edut-v 157). I behold the treacherous and quarreled with them because they kept not thy word (davar-v 158). Consider how I love thy precepts (pekudim-they were not burdensome); revive me, O Yehovah, according to thy lovingkindness (not because I keep the commandments but according tom your grace and mercy-v 159). The sum (the word “Rosh” here in Hebrew” carries the meaning of our letter “Resh”) of thy word is truth (2 Pet 1.12; John 8.32; Psa 119.142, 160), and everyone of thy righteous ordinances (mishpatim) is everlasting (l”olam-v 160).

Psa 161-168 deals with the letter “Shin” and it means “teeth, consume and destroy” and it was symbolized by “teeth.” It begins, “Princes (the influential) persecute me (also) without cause (he had done nothing), but my heart stands in awe of thy word (davar-persecution by people in authority could not deter his love for the Torah-v 161). I rejoice at thy word (davar-not in getting favor from man) as one who finds great spoil (gets rich spiritually by God’s revelation to him-v 162). I hate and despise falsehood, but I love thy law (Torah is the opposite of falsehood-v 163). Seven times a day (many times, completely) I praise thee, because of thy righteous ordinances (mishpatim-even those judgments that are against him-v 164). Those who love thy law (Torah) have great peace (something the wicked do not have) and nothing causes them to stumble (or be offended-v 165). I hope for thy salvation, O Yehovah, and do thy commandments (mitzvot-be obedient-v 166). My soul (desires) keep thy testimonies (edut), and I love them exceedingly (they are not burdensome and he studies and examines them-v 167). I kept thy precepts (pekudim) and thy testimonies (edut) for all my ways are before thee (he kept the Torah and God sees it-v 168).”

Psa 119.169-176 is the last section and it deals with the letter “Tav” which means “covenant, to seal, sign, cross, last and finished.” It had the ancient symbol of two crossed sticks, like a “T.” It says, “Let my cry come before thee, O Yehovah,’ give me understanding according to thy word (davar-so he can follow the Torah-v 169). Let my supplication (petition) come before thee; deliver (rescue) me according to thy word (davar-v 170). Let my lips utter praise when you teach me thy statutes (chukim-v 171). Let my tongue sing of thy word (davar), for all thy commandments are righteousness (in line with truth-v 172). Let thy hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen thy precepts (pekudim-v 173). I long for thy salvation, and thy law (Torah) is my delight (preoccupation-v 174). Let my soul live (in this world) that I may praise thee, and let thine ordinances (mishpatim-v 175). I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant (like a shepherd seeks his sheep), for I do not forget thy commandments (mitzvot-because I am only recently lost, I have not forgotten your Torah-v 176).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 116-118

Psa 116.1-19 is another psalm in the Hallel, and some attribute it to David when he was fleeing from Saul and felt depressed and abandoned by everyone. This also could be referring to the revolt of Absalom and Ahitophel because Jerusalem is mentioned and in Jewish hands and does not seem to be in the hands of the Jebusites. Others think this could be referring to the time after the death of Saul, and all of David’s enemies are defeated and he is now settled in the kingdom. However, since no author is named we will not speculate on who the author is.

Psa 116.1-4 speaks of salvation and deliverance from external peril. It begins, “I love Yehovah because he hears my voice and supplications (v 1). Be cause he has inclined his ear to me (gave his attention to), therefore I shall call upon him as long as I live (v 2). The cords of death (like a net) encompassed me, and I found distress and sorrow (he is n ow talking about the situation in which he was delivered in a Hebrew parallelism-v 3). Then I called upon the name of Yehovah (and his promises); ‘O Lord, I beseech (Hebrew “anah” meaning a passionate prayer) thee, save my life (Hebrew “Nafshi” meaning “my soul”-v 4).'”

Psa 116.5-11 is a praise to Yehovah and the words of a person who has been delivered, “Gracious is Yehovah, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate (in light of his prayers being answered (v 5). Yehovah preserves the simple (one who does not plot schemes and has a sense of their own lack of wisdom to protect themselves); I was brought low (defenseless), and he saved me (v 6). Return to your rest, my soul (life), for Yehovah has dealt bountifully with you (undeserved mercy-v7). For thou has rescued my soul (life) from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling (a complete deliverance in all areas-v 8). I shall walk before Yehovaah (in the path of righteousness) in the land of the living (alluding to the land of Israel but also to the Olam Haba-Psa 27.13-v 9). I believed (had emunah) even though I would say, ‘I am greatly afflicted’ (v 10). I said in my alarm (haste). ‘All men are liars (the author was betrayed many times-v 11).”

Psa 116.12-19 tells us of the author’s thanks and his dedication to pay his vows for his deliverance, “What shall I render to Yehovah (how can I repay) for all his benefits toward me (v 12)? I shall lift up the cup of salvation (the wine oblation of a Todah offering in the Temple), and call upon the name of Yehovah (v 13). I shall pay my vows (that he made during his troubles) to Yehovah in the presence of all his people (in public, in the Temple-v 14). Precious (a difficult thing. The word “yakar” means “heavy) or “honor” and it alludes to the fact that is is hard for Yehovah to remove a righteous person from the world because they are precious and few) in the sight of Yehovah is the death of his godly ones (“chasidayiv”- v 15). Yehovah, surely I am your servant (a privilege), I am your servant, the son of your handmaid (possibly referring to Ruth-Ruth 2.13), you have loosed my bonds ( I am free to serve you and will not attempt to leave -v 16). To you I shall offer a sacrifice (zevach) of thanks giving (where the Ark was) and call upon the name of Yehovah (v 17). I shall pay my vows (uttered in distress) to Yehovah, in the presence of all his people (v 18), in the courts of Yehovah’s house (in the location of the Ark of the Covenant), in the midst of you, O Jerusalem (the Ark was brought to Jerusalem, the permanent place for it). Hallalu Yah (v 19)!

Psa 117.1-2 is the shortest psalm of the Hallel. It tells us about the simplicity of the “new world” in the Atid Lavo or Messianic Kingdom. There is no heading and no author named. It says, “Praise (hallelu) Yehovah, all nations (the non-Jews will recognize Yehovah when Yeshua comes); laud (say good things to) him, all peoples (v 1)! For his kindness is great toward us (Israel; and he has grafted the non-Jews into all the covenant promises God has given to Israel. There will be one body-Eph 2.11-22. If God rejected Israel, then the non-Jews would have no salvation-Rom 11.1-18) and the truth of Yehovah is everlasting (“l’olam”). Hallelu Yah (v 2).

Psa 118.1-29 is a psalm that many say was written by David after the death of King Saul, and as he established himself in the Kingdom of the Lord (2 Chr 13.8), but there is no heading or author named so we will not speculate. It is the concluding psalm of the Hallel and it can be seen on three levels. It expresses the author’ relief from all his enemies, Israel’s relief from their enemies and it is also messianic. This psalm was read on Nisan 10, the day Yeshua rode into Jerusalem in Matt 21.1-11, and it could be heard as he was on the cross on Golgotha as the Levitical choir was slaughtering the Passover lambs in the Temple on Nisan 14. Keep that in mind as we read these verses.

Psa 118.1-9 says, “Give thanks to Yehovah, for he is good (this is a general expression of thanks. No matter what happens, God is always good); for his mercy endures forever (never taken away-v 1). Oh let Israel (the nation; his chosen people) say, ‘His mercy is everlasting’ (v 2). Oh let the house of Aaron say (now he invites the priests), ‘His mercy is everlasting’ (v 3). Oh let those who fear Yehovah (from the nations, the non-Jews) say, ‘His mercy is everlasting'(v 4).”

Psa 118.5-9 is a personal testimony about his mercy, “From my distress (Hebrew “metzar” meaning confines, limits and not just individual) I called apon Yah (Yehovah not written out denoting “concealment” or “limitation”); Yah answered me and set me in a large place (Hebrew “hirchavta” meaning “relieved” or “wide space.” To be confined was dangerous, but to be in a wide space was safer-v 5). Yehovah is for me (Rom 8.31); I will not fear; what can man (with limited power compared to Yehovah) do to me (v 6)? Yehovah is for me through those who help me (God has given his friends power to help him); therefore I shall look on those who hate me (witness their downfall, like at the Red Sea-v 7). It is better to take refuge in Yehovah that to trust in man (man is weak and helpless-v 8). It is better to take refuge in Yehovah that to trust in princes (the power of nobles is weak and their power is fleeting- v 9).”

Psa 118.10-14 tells us we may be surrounded by enemies but God can still help us, “All nations surrounded me (The narrow place), in the name of Yehovah I will surely cut them off (exterminate them-v 10). They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me; in the name of Yehovah I will surely cut them off (v 11). They surrounded me like bees (who swarm for their own gain, but the people get it), they were extinguished as a fire of thorns (which rises up with great force, but them subsides quickly); in the name of Yehovah I will surely cut them off (notice the nations “surrounded him” three times. This alludes to Israel being surrounded by the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Roman. These three nations came to nothing eventually, but Israel still exists-v 12). You pushed me violently so that I was falling (rabbis say this refers to the Messiah Ben Joseph who will be killed. Yeshua was the Messiah Ben Joseph according to John 1.45, and was killed); but Yehovah helped me (Yeshua was resurrected-v 13). Yehovah is my strength (to overcome) and song(the subject of praise), and he has become my salvation (Hebrew “Yeshua”-v 14).”

Psa 119.15-18 is the rejoicing that comes after escaping death, “The sound of joyful shouting (happiness) and salvation (Hebrew “yeshua”) is in the tents (homes) of the righteous (tzadikim); the right hand of Yehovah (the power, also a term for the Messiah) does valiantly (victorious- v 15). The right hand of Yehovah (Messiah) is exalted; the right hand of Yehovah does valiantly (victorious-v 16). I shall not die (be murdered by my enemies) but live and tell (everyone) of the works of Yehovah (v 17). Yah has disciplined me severely (in distress-v 5); but he has not given me over to death (let me die, and Yeshua was resurrected-v 18).”

Psa118.19-21 speaks of the gates of righteousness in the Temple of heaven that only a believer can enter, “Open the gates of righteousness (impart to me); I shall enter through them and I will praise Yah (v 19). This is the gate of Yehovah (Yeshua is the door of righteousness in John 10.7 spiritually); the righteous will enter through it (by faith-v 20). I shall give thanks to thee, for you hast answered me; and thou hast become my salvation (Heb “yeshua”-v 21).”

Psa 118.22-29 speaks about the cornerstone that the builders rejected has now become the chief cornerstone on which the Lord will build his “kahal” or assembly (Matt 16-13-19). Keep in mind this psalm was recited at Passover when Yeshua was rejected by the builders. By faith, the believers could look to this psalm to see that what happened to Yeshua was all a part of God’s plan. It says, “The stone (a term for the Messiah in Gen 49.24, 28.22; Dan 2.35; 1 Cor 10.4) which the builders rejected (the religious leaders in the first century) has become the chief cornerstone (1 Pet 2.4-8; Acts 4.11; Zech 10.4; Isa 28.16-v 22). This is Yehovah’s doing (it came from him); it is marvelous in our eyes (God’s plan of redemption going back to Gan Eden to Golgotha-v 23). This is the day Yehovah has made (his death at Passover specifically), let us rejoice and be glad in it (after reflecting on all the events that happened and their meanings-v 24). O Yehovah, so save, we beseech thee; O Yehovah, we beseech thee, do send prosperity (Messiah and the kingdom with its spiritual benefits- v 25). Blessed (empowered to succeed) is the one who comes in the name of Yehovah; we have blessed you from the house of Yehovah (v 25-26 were sung before the congregational Passover lamb being brought in to the Temple on Nisan 10. In Matt 21.1-11 this lamb was probably brought into the Temple, and Yeshua was right behind it and the people quoted these verses saying, “Baruch Haba b’shem Yehovah”-v 26). Yehovah is God (El), and he has given us light (illuminated us-Psa 132.17); bind the festival sacrifice (the Passover lamb or “zevayach”) with cords to the altar (on Passover, the congregational Passover lamb was tied to the altar at about 9 am, the same hour Yeshua was “tied” to the cross on the altar of Golgotha-v 27). Thou art my God, and I give thanks to thee; my God, I will extoll (exalt) thee (v 28). Give thanks to Yehovah, for he is good; for his mercy (kindness) is everlasting (“l’olam” or endures forever-v 29).”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 112-115

Psa 112.1-10 takes up the theme of Psa 111.10 about wisdom and it is also an acrostic psalm with the initial letters of each verse following the Hebrew alphabet from Aleph to Tav. This teaches that the righteous man who fears the Lord will follow the Totah from Aleph (the beginning) to Tav (the end). it will also have identical or similar verses as Psa 111. These two psalms are a picture ofd the sun and the moon. Psa 111 declares the glory of Yehovah and Psa 112 alludes to reflecting God’s glory in the person who believes in Yeshua and follows the Torah (Rev 12.17). There is no heading or author names so we will not speculate.

Psa 112.1-9 begins, “Praise the Lord (Hallelu Yah, with Yah being a shortened form of Yehovah)! How blessed (enabled to succeed) is the man who fears Yehovah (in reverence of), who greatly delights (desires) in his commandments (v 1). His descendants (because he teaches them God’s ways) will be mighty (have authority) on earth; the generation (his contemporaries) of the upright will be blessed (enabled to succeed-v 2). Wealth and riches (especially) are in his house (family) and his righteousness endures (not diminished) forever (v 3). Light (understanding arises in the darkness (lack of understanding, ignorant) for the upright (in this world), he is gracious (to those who pray) and compassionate (to the poor and ignorant) and righteous (gives to each as they deserve-v 4). It is well with the man who is gracious and lends (gives help in many ways); he will maintain (conduct) his cause (his affairs in civil and domestic matters) in judgment (justice-v 5). He will never be shaken (out of God’s love, affection, grace); the righteous (by emunah) will be remembered (with nothing to fear) forever (v 6). He will not fear evil tidings (has stability, does not frighten him-Isa 33.6); his heart is steadfast (does not waver) trusting (has confidence) in Yehovah (v 7). His heart is upheld, he will not fear, until he looks (sees judgment) on his tormentors (v 8). He has given freely to the poor (destitute); his righteousness (charity-Matt 5.6) endures forever; his horn (power) will be exalted in honor (v 9).”

Psa 112.10 tells us about the anger of the wicked when he sees the righteous man blessed, “The wicked (rasha) will see it (the success of the tzadik or righteous) and be angered; he will gnash his teeth and melt away (grow faint); the desire of the wicked (which is to see the downfall of the righteous) will perish (come to nothing-v 10).

Psa 113-1-9 is the beginning of what is called “The Hallel (praise).” Psa 113-118 is read at Passover, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Chanukah and Shavuot. Portions of it are read on Rosh Chodesh (new moon) called the “Half Hallel” (Psa 115.1-11 and Psa 116.1-11 are not included). These psalms are sometimes called the Egyptian Hallel, with Psa 136 called the Great Hallel (Hallel ha Gadol). The Hallel is very eschatological and it has five themes: the coming out of Egypt in the First/Egyptian Redemption; the parting of the Red Sea (Yam Suf); the giving of the Torah; the resurrection and the destiny of the Messiah. As we read and study Psa 113 to 118 keep in mind that there psalms allude to Yeshua and were sung before and during his crucifixion. The Hallel was sung as the Passover lambs were being slain in the Temple, so Yeshua was the embodiment of the Passover lamb and the people around the cross could hear them being sung as he was on the cross. Again, there is no heading or author named.

Psa 113.1-4 calls on God’s servants to praise him eternally, “Praise the Lord (Hallelu Yah, and the numerical value of “Hallelu” is 71 and this alludes to Jacob and his family who descended in to Egypt in Exo 1.5)! Praise the name of Yehovah (v 1). Blessed be the name of Yehovah (it’s not just any God we worship, he has a name), from this time forth and forever (v 2). From the rising of the sun (east) to its setting (west-this means “everywhere”- v 3). Yehovah is high above all the nations (King of Kings); his glory (kivod) is above the heavens (beyond comprehension in this world-v 4).”

Psa 113.5-9 tells us there is no other God but Yehovah, “Who is like (“micah” Yehovah our God (Eloheynu) who is enthroned (throne of power) on high (v 5), who humbles himself to behold (he involves himself in our lives) in the heaven and in the earth (v 6). He raises the poor from the dust (those that are lowly and not seen by others as having value) and lifts the needy from the ash heap (trash-v 7), to make them sit with princes (the nobles), the princes of his people (like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob as in Matt 8.11-v 8). He makes the barren woman (Israel in Isa 54.1 and Gal 4.27; the Virtuous Woman) abide in the house (gives her a home) as a joyful mother of children (a blessing). Praise the Lord (Hallelu Yah)!”

Psa 114.1-8 is the second psalm of the Hallel and it celebrates the great care that God exhibited over Israel in the Exodus, using the creation itself to help his people. Psa 114.1-2 talks about God’s redemption from Egypt and how Israel became his sanctuary. It begins, “When Israel went forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people with a strange language (v 1), Judah (singled out because they were the royal tribe) became his sanctuary; Israel his dominion (after the Red Sea, they now were under Yehovah’s sovereignty-v 2).”

Psa 114.3-8 shows God’s sovereignty over nature and why there is panic, “The sea looked and fled (responded to God’s command in reverence); the Jordan turned back (also responding to the Lord’s command-v 3). The mountains skipped like rams (shook, moved), the hills (around Sinai that were smaller) like lambs (v 4). What ails you, O sea, that you flee (God has dominion over the sea, the domain of Leviathan and Ha Satan-Isa 27.1; Job 26.12-13. The sea is also seen as unconverted humanity-Isa 57.20)? O Jordan, that you turn back (two events that marked the beginning and the end of their journey in the wilderness-v 5)? O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like rams (in panic-v 6)? Tremble, O earth, before Yehovah (who is the reason why nature is agitated and in panic), before the God of Jacob (v 7), who turned the rock into a pool of water (Exo 17.6-v 8).”

Psa 115.1-18 is the third part of the Hallel. Psa 115.1-8 tells us that Yehovah is above all idols, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us (no glory is due any man, not even the best of mankind), but to thy name give glory because of thy mercy (free and undeserved), because of thy truth (the promises in the Torah-v 1). Why should the nations say (in mocking Israel),’Where now is their God (that you have been boasting about-v 2)? But our God is in the heavens (invisible but he still rules the earth), he does whatever he pleases (according to his own course-v 3). Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands (man’s image-v 4). They have mouths, but they cannot speak (the truth); they have eyes, but they cannot see (the truth-v 5); they have ears, but they cannot hear (the truth); they have noses, but they cannot smell (no life in them-v 6); they have hands, but they cannot feel (no power); they have feet, but cannot walk (in God’s ways); they cannot make a sound with their throat (to speak truth, they are lifeless-v 7). Those who make them become like them (the idol is actually in the image of the person who make them. They become like the idol because they are mute, deaf, blind, can’t smell or breathe, feel and are lifeless to the Torah. The idols represent spiritual forces and symbols. The pagan does not even want his idol to to have senses because then it might start telling him what to do. The idolater wants to have power over it, and gets rid of it if he doesn’t like it), everyone who trusts in them (to make an image of God brings him to the level of a pagan deity, always false-v 8).”

Psa 115.9-15 tells us to trust Yehovah ad we can be assured that he will help us, “O Israel, trust in the Lord (in contrast to those who trust in idols); he is their help (“ezram”) and their shield (magen-Psa 84.9, 119.114; Prov 2.7, 15.6, 30.5; Song 8.2-v 9). O house of Aaron (the priests), trust in Yehovah (they were to be the examples); he is their help and their shield (v 10). You who fear (serve out of reverence and awe) Yehovah, trust in Yehovah (the logical next step); he is their help and their shield (v 11). Yehovah has been mindful of us (the Targum says, “The word of the Lord remembered us for good”); he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel (the household he has made a covenant with); he will bless the house of Aaron (v 12). He will bless those who fear (have a reverence for) Yehovah, the small (lowly) together with the great (prominent-v 13). May Yehovah give you increase (abundance as opposed to a curse, which is being empowered to fail), you and your children (v 14). May you be blessed of Yehovah (he controls the blessing because he is) the maker of heaven and earth.”

Psa 115.16-18 recognizes God’s authority and dominion, and he is worthy of praise, “The heavens are the heavens of Yehovah, but the earth he has given to the sons of men (literally “sons of Adam” to control-v 16). The dead do not praise Yehovah (among the living), nor do any who go down into silence (the grave-v 17). But as for us (who praised Yehovah in this world), we will bless Yehovah from this time forth (on earth) and forever (or “olam” alluding to the Olam Haba, the World to Come). Hallalu Yah (v 18)!”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 109-111

Psa 109.1-31 was written about David’s enemies like Saul, Doeg, Ahitophel and Shimei. The heading reads, “For the Conductor, of David.” This one of the most powerful imprecatory (to invoke evil upon; to curse) psalms and David calls down curses upon his enemies. But, David is leaving vengeance to the Lord, he did not act upon these curses himself. He chose to handle this God’s way, but he certainly had the means to carry them out.

Psa 109.1-5 is a prayer to Yehovah to free David from his enemies. He begins, “O God of my praise (worthy of it), do not be silent (deaf and dumb-v 1)! For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me (treacherous enemies like Yeshua faced-Matt 26.51-68; John 18.29); they have spoken against me with a lying tongue (v 2). They have also surrounded me with words of hatred (to get Saul against him) and fought against me without cause (v 3). In return for my love (to his enemies) they act as my accusers, but I am prayer (or a man of prayer-v 4). Thus they have repaid me evil for good (that David showed them), and hatred for my love (v 5).”

Psa 109.6-20 is a prophecy about the destruction of the wicked and their families. He says, “Appoint a wicked man over him (turn them over to tyrannical rulers); and let an accuser (a “satan” in Hebrew) stand at his right hand (to give wrong counsel-v 6). When he is judged (in court), let him come forth guilty; and let his prayer become sin (to “miss the mark”-v 7). Let his days be few (before their time); let another take his office (this verse was applied to Judas in Acts 1.20-v 8). Let his children be fatherless (as a result of his death) and his wife a widow (v 9). Let his children wander about and beg (following in their father’s footsteps evidently) and let them seek (bread) far from their ruined homes (v 10). Let the creditor seize all that he has; and let the strangers plunder the product (fruit) of his labor (v 11). Let there be none to extend mercy to him, nor any favor to his fatherless children (v 12). Let his posterity be cut off (exterminated, die); in a following generation let their name be blotted out (forgotten-v 13).”

“Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before Yehovah, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out (v 14). Let them be before Yehovah (the sins of the fathers be unforgiven), that he may cut off their memory from the earth (v 15); because he did not (the main adversary) remember to show mercy, but persecuted the afflicted and needy man, and the despondent in heart, to put him to death (v 16). He also loved cursing (blasphemed and denied Yehovah), so let it come (the curse) to him (v 17). But he clothed himself (his character) with cursing as with a garment (feeling happy in it), and it entered into his body like water (penetrated parts of his body), and like oil into his bones (v 18). Let it be to him as a garment with which he covers himself (obliterating his shape because it is large), and a belt (to cling tightly) with which he constantly girds himself (v 19). Let this (the above curses) be the reward (well deserved) of my accusers from Yehovah, and of those who speak evil against my soul (v 20).

Psa 109.21-25 is David’s plea for help because he is just a weak man, “But thou, O God (adonai), the Lord (Yehovah), deal kindly with me for thy name’s sake (not on the basis of his own righteousness); because thy mercy is good, deliver me (v 21). For I am afflicted and needy (like a fugitive) and my heart is wounded (with pain and sorrow) within me (v 22). I am passing like a shadow when it lengthens (just before dark); I am shaken off (driven away) like a locust (v 23). My knees are weak from fasting (as he traveled away from Saul); and my flesh has grown lean, without fatness (a lack of nutrition-v 24). I have also become a reproach to them (they see how ragged he looks); when they see me, they wag their head (in scorn and derision-v 25).”

Psa 109.26-29 tells us that David needs the help of Yehovah with a desire to see God glorified. He says, “Help me, O Yehovah my God (Elohay); save me according to thy kindness (in accordance with the long history of showing his kindness-v 26) and let them know that this is thy hand (and you receive glory from my deliverance); thou, Lord, has done it (David’s success is because of Yehovah-v 27). Let them curse (he won’t be afraid of them), but you will bless (his blessings will protect him) when they arise (to scheme and plot), they will be ashamed (it won’t work), but thy servant shall be glad (when their plans fail-v 28). Let my accusers be clothed (covered) with dishonor, and let them cover themselves with their own shame as a robe (v 29).”

Psa 109.30-31 tells us how David praises God for his answer. He says, “With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to Yehovah (when he saves him); and in the midst of many (publicly) I will praise him (to show it is Yehovah who deserves to be thanked for his deliverance-v 30). For he stands at the right hand of the needy (so they have nothing to fear), to save them (help) from those who judge (incorrectly) his (righteous) soul (v 31).”

Psa 110.1-7 is a coronation psalm about the Messiah, and it also describes him as a priest. It is a psalm of David and it is quoted in the Brit Chadasha (renewed covenant) 27 times, the most of any psalm. David begins, “The Lord (Yehovah) says to my Lord (“adonai” or Messiah, David’s Lord), sit (denoted a reigning king-Heb 1.13; 1 Cor 15.25, “a finished work”) at my right hand (his enthroned place-Eph 1.20; Heb 8.1), until I make thine enemies your footstool (subdued) for thy feet (Yeshua defines this as Messiah in Matt 22.43, and Peter does in Acts 5.31. If Messiah is just a man descended from David, how can David, under the inspiration of the Ruach Ha Kodesh, call him a greater person than himself, or his superior-v 1). The Lord (Yehovah) will stretch forth thy strong scepter from Zion (The Torah-Isa 2.3) saying, ‘Rule in the midst of thine enemies’ (all kings and nations on earth-v 2). They people will volunteer freely (give themselves to his work) in the day of his campaign (as an army), in holy array; from the womb of the dawn, you possess youthful innocence as the dew (from Messiah’s youth he was innocent-Luke 2.52-v 3).”

“Yehovah has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘Thou (Messiah) art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek (“order” in Hebrew is the word “davarti” meaning “word” because a priest speaks to God for the people. There is a midrash in Heb 4.12 to 7.28 based on this. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek in Gen 14.18-20, so Mellchizedek’s priesthood superseded the Levitical, or Aaronic, priesthood because Levi was still in the loins of Abraham. Yeshua’s priesthood is after Melchizedek’s by God’s word. It came with an oath that Aaron never had. Yeshua will never die, but Aaron and his sons did. So, Yeshua is both king and priest according to Heb 7.12-28; Zech 6.11-13-v 4). The Lord (Yehovah) is at your (Messiah) right hand; he will shatter kings in the day of his wrath (the Day of the Lord or Atid Lavo-v 5). He will judge among the nations (on Yom Ha Din Yom KIppur, Tishri 10, year 6008-Matt 24.29-31, 25.31-46), he will fill with corpses, he will shatter the chief men (like the False Messiah and False Prophet) over a broad country (the Tophet-Isa 66.223-24; Ezek 29.2-7, 32.1-8; Luke 17.37; Matt 24.27-28-v 6). He will drink from the brook by the wayside (pursue the enemy until completion-Judges 8.4); therefore he will lift up his head (in victory-v 7).”

Psa 111.1-10 is another of what is called an Acrostic Psalm. It is arranged according to the Hebrew alphabet, except for the first line. each of the 22 lines begin with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This alludes to a step by step course to true wisdom, a progressive guide to truth. It was also a tool used to help memorize this psalm. There is no heading or author named but some believe it was written by David, but we will not speculate since there is no author named.

Psa 111.1-6 tells us about deciding to praise God, to study and remember his good works. It begins, “Praise the Lord (Hebrew “Hallelu Yah” with Yah being a shortened form of Yehovah). I will give thanks to yehovah with all my heart (wholehearted desire because there are two Hebrew letter “Bets” with the “v” sound in heart, pronounced “levav” instead of “lev.” This alludes to the fact that there are two forces that struggle for domination in a person), in the company (Hebrew “sowd” which means the inner secret counsel-Ezek 13.9; Matt 16.18; Psa 89.7. There are two words translated as “church” and they are “kahal” and “sowd” ) of the upright and the assembly (“edah” meaning witness-v 1). Great are the works (God’s signature in the creation. Only a Torah-based believer can see it) of Yehovah; they are studied (by the Torah believer and student) by all who delight in them (want them-v 2). Splendid and majestic is his work (creation, the redemption); and his righteousness endures forever (v 3).”

“He has made his wonders (creation, redemption, etc) to be remembered (the Hebrew calendar is full of festivals that “remember” God’s work in creation, salvation and the redemption); Yehovah is gracious (merciful) and compassionate (v 4). He has given food (supplies-Prov 30.8) to those who fear him; he will remember his covenant (the Torah) forever (v 5). He has made known to his people (Israel) the power of his works (when he guided them out of Egypt, and against the seven nations in Canaan), in giving them the heritage of the nations (by declaring his authority to give Canaan to his people-v 6).”

Psa 111.7-10 tells us about the essence of Yehovah’s deeds and what can take away from them. It says, “The works of his hands (his manifestations) are truth and justice (what the Torah is based on); all his precepts (Torah commands) are sure (dependable-v 7). They are upheld forever and ever; they are performed (a “doer of the word” is one who is Torah observant-Jam 1.22; John 4.23, 17.17) in truth and uprightness (v 8). He has sent redemption (out of Egypt in the first redemption, and Yeshua in the second redemption) to his people; he has ordained his covenant forever; holy (has a kedusha) and awesome (“nora”) is his name (v 9). The fear (“yirat”) of Yehovah (the reverence, affection, fear of offending such a good being) is the beginning (“roshit”) of wisdom (“chachmah” or inspired input into the mind, knowing what to do with knowledge and understanding-Prov 1.7, 9.10); a good understanding have all those who do his commandments (those who pursue both the fear of God and wisdom are rewarded with understanding-Josh 1.8); his praise endures forever (all Torah study is oriented towards wisdom. Spiritual values take precedence over this world, nothing else matters except Yehovah-v 10).”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 107-108

Psa 107.1-43 is the opening psalm of the fifth and last Book of Psalms corresponding to the Book of Deuteronomy in the Torah. It is a psalm of thanksgiving of those who Yehovah delivers from many troubles. There are four types of people delivered in this psalm. Those who went through the desert, those jailed and released, those who were sick and then recover, and those who travel and work on the sea. All four of these situations are described in this psalm.

Psa 107.1-3 is discussing how we should be grateful to Yehovah for our redemption from the hand of our enemies. We should give thanks to Yehovah because he is good and his mercy endures forever, not jus to one generation (v1). The redeemd of Yehovah should recite verse 1 when he has been redeemed from the hand of the adversary or tormentor (v 2) or gathered from the lands they were scattered, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the sea, and south deleted because most of the exiles went north (v 3).

Psa 107.4-9 speaks about the category of those who should praise God, those who wandered in the wilderness in a path of desolation (solitary way). They did not find a way in the wilderness, meaning to an oasis (v 4). They were hungry and thirsty, their soul (strength) fainted within them (v 5). Then they cried to Yehovah in their trouble and he delivered them quickly out of their distresses of hunger and thirst (v 6). He led them by a straight way to go to an inhabited city or an oasis (v 7). They should give thanks to Yehovah for his mercy and for his wonders to the sons of men when they arrive safely (v 8). He satisfied their thirsty soul at the oasis or city, but not necessarily the “haven of his desire” or the place they were intending to go (see v 30), but he has filled them with what is good (v 9).

Psa 107 10-16 talk about deliverance for the prisoners, another category of those who should thank God. We have those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death (a deep dungeon), prisoners in misery and chains (v 10). Some rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel pf the Most High. They defied God’s universal rules of human conduct (v 11). He humbled their heart with labor and they stumbled and there was no one to help (v 12). Then they cried out to Yehovah in their trouble and he saved them out of their distresses (v 13). He brought them out of the darkness of the dungeons and the shadow of death, and broke their bands and chains apart (v 14). Let the liberated captive give thanks to Yehovah for his mercy by publicly attributing his freedom to the Lord, and for his wonders and miracles to the sons of men (v 15). He has shattered the gates of bronze, which was the heaviest metal gate guarding the dungeon, and cut the bars of iron on the gate that reinforced it (v 16).

Psa 107.17-22 begins the description of another group who should praise and thank Yehovah for the deliverance, the sick. Fools, because of their rebellious way and lack of understanding that their sins were going to carry their own punishment, are afflicted and subject to many burdens of punishment (v 17). Their soul abhorred all kinds of food and had no appetite, and they drew near to the gates of death (v 18). Then they cried out to Yehovah because they had no hope in their trouble and he saved them out of their distress, like Hezekiah in Isa 38.17-21. Isaiah showed him where his sin was, and likewise we must realize that our ways plague us, too. We can be delivered by sincere prayer and repentance (v 19). He sent his word and healed them. Here is a concept on healing. No cure is effective on its own, the Lord must speak and decree the healing himself. They were delivered from their destructions (v 20). Let the sick person who has recovered give thanks to Yehovah for his mercy and for his wonders (miracles) to mankind (v 21). They should also offer sacrifices (“zivchai”) of thanksgiving (“todah”) and tell of his works with joyful singing. The recovered person does not keep his gratitude to himself (v 22).

Psa 107.23-32 tells us about another category of endangered people who should praise God, those who are seafarers. In the book “Tehillim” by Mesorah Publications, p.1311, it has an interesting concept and it says, “The Talmud (Rosh Ha Shanah 17) notes the strange punctuation sign which precedes this verse and appears seven times in this psalm. It is called a reversed nun, or a backward nun, and it is a sign of exclusion or dimunition, i.e., not all who cry out in peril will be answered, some will be excluded. Once the heavenly decree is issued and sealed it will not be changed. Only the man who cries out before it is sealed will be delivered (see Minchas Shai).”

Those who go down to the sea in ships and do business (Hebrew “melakah” or work-Exo 20.9-10) on great waters (v 23) see the works of Yehovah. David never saw this because he was always on land. God’s wonders of the deep are seen by the seamen as they stand on deck and they realize they are surrounded by waves and dangerous creatures (v 24). God spoke and he commands the elements and raises up a wind that only God can calm. The waves of the sea are lifted (v 25). The waves rise up to the heavens (very high) and they went down, rolling and storm tossed to the depths. They can raise and lower ships. The soul of the sailors melted away in misery because they were filled with fear and terror (v 26). They reeled and staggered like a drunken man because they lost their balance and were at their wits end. All their naval knowledge was exhausted to save the ship (v 27). Then they cried to Yehovah in their trouble and he brought them out of their distresses and removed them from the waters that were enveloping them (v 28). He caused the storm to be still so that the waves of the sea were hushed and the surface became smooth again (v 29). At that point they were glad because the sea was quiet. God guided them to their desired haven or port (v 30).

These seamen should give thanks to Yehovah for his mercy and for his wonders to the sons of men (mankind). These four groups would offer a blessing similar to this, “Blessed are you, O Yehovah, king of the universe, who performs acts of kindness and mercy even for those who are already indebted to you for past mercies, who has granted me all the best” (v 31).

Psa 107.33-38 shows how Yehovah can change natural phenomena at will. He changes rivers into a wilderness and springs of water into thirsty ground in a Hebrew parallelism (v 33), a fruitful land into salt waste (like Sodom and the Jordan Valley), because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it (v 34). He changes a wilderness into a pool of water, and a dry land into springs of water (v 35). He makes the hungry to dwell, building a civilization, so that they may establish an inhabited city (v 36). They sow fields and they plant vineyards and gather a fruitful harvest (v 37). He also blesses them and they multiply greatly; he does not let their cattle decrease. These are the blessings of Yehovah that man should recognize and bless him for (v 38).

Psa 107.39-43 talks about how God can raise the destitute and bring down the princes of this world. When they are diminished and bowed down by oppression, misery and sorrow (v 39) he pours contempt upon the rulers and makes them wander in a pathless waste. God can turn their honor and glory into disgrace (v 40). He sets the needy and the poor securely on high, away from affliction, and makes families like a flock that has increased (v 41). The upright in heart shall see it and be glad; but all unrighteousness shuts its mouth when God’s judgments bring down the iniquitous rich. Money isn’t going to save them or bring on long lasting success (v 42). Who is wise? Let him give heed and take note of these things, and consider the mercy (and keep it in mind) of Yehovah (v 43).

Psa 108.1-13 is a psalm of David and it is almost the same as previous psalms. The heading simply reads, “A Song, a Psalm of David” (Shir mizmor l’David). Psa 108.2-6 is very close to Psa 57.8-12, and Psa 108.7-14 is close to Psa 60.7-14. The earlier psalms apply to David’s problems with Saul or david’s conquest of Aram. This psalm deals with a current issue with Moab, Edom and the Philistines. This psalm does show us that we can use Scripture as our prayer and praise as it applies to our current situation, as David does.

Psa 108.1-6 declares God’s praise in his soul, and then it expands to a larger audience. David’s heart is steadfast (ready) and he will sing praises with his soul. In Hebrew, the word for “soul” is “Kivod” meaning glory, referring to the glory of man (v 1). Awake, harp and lyre, for the purpose of praise, and David will “awaken the dawn” meaning he will “greet the dawn” (v 2). He will give thanks to Yehovah among the peoples (especially in the Messianic Kingdom-Isa 66); and he will sing praises to Yehovah among the nations (v 3). God’s mercy is great above the heavens and can’t be measured, and his truth reaches to the skies (v 4). God is exalted above the heavens and his glory above all the earth (v 5) “that thy beloved (Israel) may be delivered, save with thy right hand (power and a term for Messiah) and answer me” David says (v 6).

Psa 108.7-9 speaks of God’s sovereignty over Israel and the nations. God has spoken in his holiness and we can trust his kedusha: “I will exult, I will portion out Shechem, and measure out the Valley of Sukkot” (because he is sovereign and will divide and measure as he sees fit-v 7). He says that “Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine (on the east side of the Jordan); Ephraim also is the helmet (protection, it was a large tribe) of my head; Judah is my scepter (lawgiver-the tribe the king will come from-v 8).” He goes on to say that “Moab is my washbow (treated with contempt like filthy water); over Edom I shall throw my shoe (take possession of-Ruth 4.7; Deut 25.9-10); over Philistia I will shout aloud (let out a blood-curdling scream to frighten them).” Yehovah not only has authority over Israel, he rules over all the nations, too (v 9).

Psa 108.10-13 teaches us to trust Yehovah for our help. David says, “Who will bring me into the besieged city (David’s prayer before a battle); who will lead me to Edom (may be a reference to Petra).” The answer is, God will (v 10). He then says, “Has not you yourself, O God, rejected us? And you will not go forth with our armies, O God?” David had some recent defeats in mind here-v 11). He then wants the Lord to give him help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is vain. Success does not depend on armies or brilliant tactics, it is all in God’s hands. That is not to say David did not train his army or equip them for battle, and that we should not train for our spiritual battles, but the outcome is in the hands of the Lord (v 12). Through the Lord David will do valiantly and David’s simple formula was this. Without the Lord they could do nothing, but with the Lord they could win, and it is the Lord who will tread down our adversaries (v 13).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalm 105-106

Psa 105.1-45 speaks of God’s blessing to his people Israel. Psa 105.1-15 is also found in 1 Chr 16.8-22 and it was recited on the day the Ark was brought from its temporary tent (ohel) that he had made in the home of Obed-Edom to the city of Jerusalem. There is no heading or author named.

Psa 105.1-3 is an exhortation to those who joined his procession to thank the Lord and to sing his praises. They were to give thanks to Yehovah and to call upon his name. They were also to proclaim his deeds (acts) among the nations. The purpose of the plagues in Egypt was to make known to the world that there is God in heaven who really does rule the entire earth, unlike their lifeless Egyptian deities. It was to show the difference between their false polytheistic system and the one, true God. The goal is for all to know the Lord (v 1). They were to sing to him, and sing praises (make music) to him, and to speak (discuss with each other) all his wonders and miracles (v 2). To glory in his name is to boast in his works and attributes and let the heart of those who seek Yehovah be glad (v 3).

Psa 105 4-7 tells us to seek Yehovah and remember his miracles. We should seek (search out) Yehovah and his strength, meaning we should direct our prayers to the resting place of the tablets of the Covenant contained in the Ark (Psa 78.61). We are to seek his face continually (v 4). Remember his wonders (miracles) which he has done (in Egypt and Canaan) and all his marvels, and the judgment uttered by his mouth (v 5). The author goes to say that the seed of Abraham, his servant, and the sons of Jacob, his chosen ones are the true seed, not Ishmael and Esau (v 6). They were to know that Yehovah is their God and his judgments are in all the earth. God supervises the whole earth, but he has a covenant with Israel only (v 7).

Psa 105.8-15 speaks about that covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has remembered his covenant and he will forever (olam), the word which he commanded (Gen 15.4-21) to a thousand generations (v 8), the covenant which he made to Abraham and his oath to Isaac (Gen 26.3). Isaac in Hebrew us usually spelled with a shin (s sound) “Yischak.” The numerical value of the letter shin is 300. The numerical value of the letter tzaddi (tz sound) is 90. The difference between the two is 210 and that alludes to the 210 years Israel was in Egypt (v 9). Yehovah confirmed (established) it to Jacob for a statute in Israel (Jacob’s other name-Gen 32.28) for an everlasting covenant (v 10) saying, “To you (the three patriarchs first) I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance, meaning the entire nation (v 11). They were very few in number (Gen 34.30) and strangers in it (v 12) and they wandered about from nation to nation (the patriarchs did, they went from Mesopotamia to Canaan to Egypt, etc), from one kingdom to another (v 13). Yehovah permitted no man to oppress them (do them wrong) and he reproved kings (like Pharaoh, Abimelech, etc) for their sakes (v 14). He then says that nobody was to touch “my anointed ones, and do my prophets no harm.” All the patriarchs were anointed ones and prophets as seen in Gen 20.7 (v 15).

Psa 105 16-24 tells us about how God cared for the patriarchs in the time of Joseph and his brothers. He called for a famine upon the land (Gen 41.53-57) meaning it was no accident. One thing we need to come to grips with is there is nothing that happens on earth that God does not control. In sending this famine, he broke the staff of bread of the Egyptians, meaning he destroyed their food supply (v 16). He sent before them twenty years earlier the man who would save the nation, Joseph, who was a son of Jacob and sold as a slave (v 17) They afflicted his feet with fetters and his soul (himself) was laid in irons. He was a prisoner and his soul suffered as well as his body (v 18). Then it was time for God’s word to come to pass (what he showed Joseph in his dreams) and the word of God tested him, meaning it purged him and purified him (v 19). The king (Pharaoh) sent and released him when the timing of God came, and the ruler of peoples set him free (v 20). He made him lord of all his house and the internal operations of it, and ruler over all his possessions as described in Gen 41.40-41 (v 21). Joseph could imprison his princes at will and did not need Pharaoh’s permission, and teach his elders (counselors) wisdom (v 22). Israel (Jacob) came into Egypt because of the famine and because he knew Joseph was alive. As a result, Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham Egypt in the Bible is called Mizraim, one of Ham’s descendants listed in Gen 10.6 (v 23). Yehovah caused the people to be very fruitful (Exo 1.7-12) and made them stronger than their adversaries (v 24).

Psa 105.25-36 tells us about how Moses and Aaron were sent to Egypt to perform wonders. As we know, Mosses was raised in the house of Pharaoh and Josephus tells us that he was a successful general who won a great victory over the Ethiopians. Aaron was already in Egypt with his family. Yehovah turned the hearts of the Egyptians to hate Israel (Exo 1.12) and they dealt craftily with them. As a result, he sent Moses as a shaliach (sent one, an agent-Exo 3.10) and Aaron whom he has chosen (Exo 4.14-30). Yehovah does this to preserve the truth and to separate his people from the world (v 26). Moses and Aaron performed signs and wonders among the people in the land of Ham (v 27). He sent darkness and made it dark and Moses and Aaron did not rebel against the words God told them (v 28). He turned their waters into blood and caused their fish to die (v 29). Their land was swarmed with frogs that even made it into the very chambers of Pharaoh (v 30). God spoke and there came a swarm of flies and gnats in all “their territory” which means these plagues did not affect the surrounding nations (v 31). Yehovah gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire amidst the hail in their land (v 32). He struck down their vines also and their fig trees, and shattered the trees that were in their territory. This stripped them of their branches (v 33). He spoke and locusts came, and young locusts, without number (v 34) and they ate up all the vegetation in the land, and they ate up the fruit of their ground (v 35). He also struck down all first born in the land, the first fruits of their vigor. He did this because Egypt killed God’s first born Israel (Exo 1.16-22) and refused to let his first born (Exo 4.22) go for three days into the wilderness (v 36).

Psa 105.37-45 tells us how God brought them out of Egypt into the wilderness, and eventually into Canaan. He brought them out with silver and gold, given to them by the Egyptians in Exo 12.35-36), and among God’s tribes there was not one person who was sick or feeble for the three day march through the wilderness (v 37). Egypt, known as Mizraim, was glad when they departed because of the plagues, for the dread of them by Yehovah had fallen upon them (v 38). Now, remember, Pharaoh only let them go into the wilderness for three days, but he later changed his mind when he was told that they were leaving for good. He pursued them to the Red Sea where Pharaoh and his army were killed, leaving Israel now free to go on to Mount Sinai and Canaan. He spread a covering like a protective umbrella over them during the day, and a fire with no heat at night to illuminate the night (v 39). They were fed quail and manna from heaven. Yeshua refers to these terms in John 6.31 (v 40). He opened the rock and water flowed out and it ran in the dry places like a river (v 41). God remembered his word to Abraham his servant by preserving his children (v 42). He brought forth his people with joy and his chosen ones with ajoyful shout and singing (v 42). He gave the lands of the nations (Canaan) that they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples (v 44). He did this so that they might safeguard his statutes (chukim) and observe his laws (the Torah laws). The psalm ends with “Hallel (praise) Yah”, which is a shortened form of Yehovah (v 45).

Psa 106. 1-48 is the last psalm in Book 4 of the Psalms and it contains the themes from the previous psalm and how God preserved Israel through the wilderness, into Canaan to conquer the nations there. However, they failed to accomplish the destruction of the even nations (Deut 7.2) and mingled with them (assimilation), corrupting the truth found in the Torah. Again, there is no heading or author named.

Psa 106.1-5 talks about prayer and praise for God’s mighty deeds. It starts out with “HalleluYah” and the people were to give thanks to Yehovah because he is good and how his lovingkindness (mercy) is everlasting which means it is not limited to time (v 1). Who can speak fully about the mighty deeds God has done, or can show forth and comprehend all his praise (v 2). How blessed (empowered to succeed) are those who keep judgment (right justice) and who practice (does) righteousness (as defined by the Torah) at all times (v 3). The author wants Yehovah to remember him personally when he shows favor to Israel and to include him (visit) with his salvation (v 4). He wants to take part (see) the prosperity (blessings) of the children of Israel his chosen ones so he can rejoice (the result) in the gladness of the nation and glory with “thine inheritance” Israel (v 5).

Psa 106.6-12 is in the form of a confession that Solomon and Daniel followed. He begins by saying that all have sinned (the current generation) just like their fathers did, and they have committed iniquity and behaved wickedly, meaning mass corruption (v 6). Their fathers in Egypt did not understand or realize God’s purposes and wonders (miracles). They did not remember his abundant kindness and mercy, but rebelled and provoked the Lord by the Red Sea (v 7). But God saved them anyway is spite of their unbelief for his name’s sake (his honor so that none can say he can’t save his people and he can make his power known to overcome any obstacle (v 8). He rebuked the sea and it dried up (an obstacle) and he led them through the depths as through a wilderness (v 9). He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them (Pharaoh is a type of Ha Satan and the False Messiah here) and redeemed them from the hand of their enemy (v 10). The waters returned and covered their adversaries (tormentors) and not one of them escaped, including Pharaoh as seen in Psa 74.12-13 and 136.15 (v 11). Then the people of Israel believed God’s words and they sang his praise (v 12).

Psa 106.13-15 tells us they forgot his mercy in three days (Exo 15.22-26). They forgot his works and they did not wait for his counsel to play out and to unfold (v 13). They craved (demanded) in the wilderness and tested Yehovah in the desert (v 14) so he gave them their request (quail, manna, water (Exo 15.22-24, Exo 16, 17.2; Num 11) but also sent a wasting disease (Num 11.33-35) among them (v 15).

Psa 106.16-18 tells us about the mutiny of Korah. When the rebels became envious of Moses in the camp (Num 16.1) and of Aaron as High Priest they conspired against them. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, Korah’s underling, and engulfed the company of Abarim (v 17). A fire blazed up (was kindled) in their company in Num 16.35 and consumed them (v 18).

Psa 106.19-27 tells us that God set himself against Israel because of their sin. They made a calf at Horeb and worshiped a molten image that they called Yehovah, in defiance of the second commandment (v 19). Thus they exchanged their glory (Yehovah) for the image of an ox that eats grass and regurgitates (v 20). They forgot God their savior (deliverer) who had done so many great things for them in Egypt (v 21), wonders in the land of Ham (Egypt) and awesome things by the Red Sea (v 22). Therefore, Yehovah said that he would destroy them (Exo 32.10; Num 14.12) had not Moses his chosen one (chosen for a purpose) stood in the breach before the Lord, to turn away his wrath (Num 16.44-50 for example) from destroying them (v 23). Then they despised the pleasant land (Canaan) and did not believe his word that they could take the land, even after all they had seen (v 24). They grumbled in their tents and they would not listen to the voice of Yehovah (v 25). Therefore he swore to them that he would cast them down in the wilderness (v 26) and that he would cast their seed among the nations (disperse them), and scatter them in the lands (v 27).

Psa 106.28-31 tells us about the Baal-peor incident and a plague (Num 25.1-9). They joined themselves to Baal-peor, a false god of the Moabites, and offered and ate sacrifices to the dead (v 28). As a result, they provoked Yehovah to anger with their deeds and a plague broke out (Num 25.9) among them (v 29). Then Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron, stood up and executed judgment and the plague was stopped (v 30). This act of killing two of the perpetrators (Num 25.7-9) waas counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15.6; Deut 6.25) unto all generations. It was an act of emunah, meaning “faith” and confidence in the Lord (v 31).

Psa 106.32-33 tells us that Moses is disciplined for unbelief in Num 20.12. They also provoked Yehovah to wrath at the waters of Meribah (strife) so that went hard with Moses on their account (v 32). Because they were rebellious against the spirit of Moses, he (Moses) spoke rashly (unadvisedly) with his lips saying, “Hear now, you rebels, shall we (not God) bring you water out of this rock” (v 33).

Psa 106.34-39 says that because Israel sinned by not destroying the seven nations as commanded in Deut 7.2; 20.16 (v 34), and they mingled with those nations they did not destroy and learned their pagan practices (Jer 10.2; Matt 10.5; Deut 12.30) which they were not to do (v 35). They served their idols (Hebrew “sorrow” because idolatry always leads to this), and all of this became a snare to them (v 36). They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons (v 37) and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood (Num 35.33-34-v 38). Thus they were defiled by their own works (idolatry) and played the harlot spiritually inj their deeds (v 39).

Psa 106 40-43 tells us that God gave Israel over to their enemies because of their sins. As a result, the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, whom he had elected (chosen for a purpose), and he abhorred (loathed) his inheritance (v 40). Then he gave them into the hand of the nations (Moab, Canaan, Midian, Philistines, etc) and those who hated them ruled over them (v 41). Their enemies also oppressed them through tribute and raiders, and they were subdued and became servants under their power (v 42). Many times he would deliver them by the judges, such as Othniel, Ehud, Barak, Gideon, Jepthah and Samson. They, however, were rebellious in their counsel (they wanted a king) and weakened by their sin by seeking help by others, and repeating the same cycle over and over again (v 43).

Psa 106.44-46 talks about God’s mercy to Israel. He looked upon their distress and heard their outcry, despite their sin (v 44). He remembered (not that he forgot) his covenant for the sake of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and relented according to the greatness of his mercy (v 45). He also made them objects of compassion in the presence of their enemies. This was especially true in the Babylonian Captivity with Cyrus the Persian, Darius and Artaxerxes who sent Nehemiah back to rebuild the city of Jerusalem (v 46). Psa 106.47-48 is talking about those still being held by the enemies of Israel, or it is prophetic. The plea is for God to save them and gather Israel from among the nations, and to give thanks to the name Yehovah (v 47), and to bless Yehovah, who is the God of Israel, from everlasting (“min ha olam”) to everlasting (“v’ad ha olam” or the “world to come”), and let all the peoples say, “Amen.” In the final analysis there is no difference among men who unite in perfect harmony. The psalm ends with “Hallelu Yah” or “praise Yah, which is a shortened form of Yehovah.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalm 104

Psa 104.1-35 has no heading or author, but some scholars believe that David wrote this psalm (Septuagint,Latin Vulgate, etc). It is the Psalm of the Day for Rosh Chodesh (the new moon). It is also read in the afternoon of every Sabbath between Simcah Torah and Passover. This psalm basically continues the thought of Psa 103 and repeats the thought, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” This psalm teaches about the greatness of six days of creation and the glory of the first light, the heavens and the earth, the vegetation, the creatures of the sea, the beasts of the land, and finally the glory of man, the high point of creation.

Psa 104.1-4 talks about the glory of God’s creation and it begins with, “Bless the Lord, O my soul (the writer encourages himself), O Lord my God, thou art very great (full of glory).” He is clothed with splendor (honor) and majesty, which is his royal garment visible to all and his “image” and “fingerprints” are all over the universe. To say there is no evidence for God is a grave mistake. A burglar can’t find a policeman either for the same reasons (v 1). He covers himself with light, which is what covered Adam and Chava at first), like a cloak, stretching out heaven (the firmament, air) like a tent curtain (v 2). God lays the beams of his upper chambers (Gen 1.7) in the waters bound up in the clouds (v 13). He makes the clouds his chariot to ride in as he executes judgment (Isa 19.1) or to show mercy (Exo 13.21). He walks upon the wings of the wind, which means he comes swiftly to help (v 3). He makes the wind (breezes) his messengers (serving his purpose). The flaming fire (lightning) his ministers to do his will. Yehovah also manifests the power of his angels in the winds and lightning (v 4).

Psa 104.5-9 speaks of God’s works and power at creation. He established the earth on its foundations (pillars), which shows there was a design to it. One always builds something on a foundation. Its part of the blueprints. He does this so the earth will not totter but have stability, unless God decides to move it, forever and ever (v 5). He covered the earth with the deep, which were the waters of the original “formless and void.” This basically means “unformed and unfilled.” God spent the next six days “forming and filling.” These waters were like a garment, and they were above the mountains on the ocean floor (v 6). At Yehovah’s rebuke (when he separated the water from the land) they fled (Gen 1.9) and at the sound of his thunder (“kol” or voice) they hurried away (v 7). The mountains rose, making the land appear, and the valleys sank down and water collected in those valleys to a place where God established them forever (v 8). He set a boundary so that the waters could not pass over (Jer 5.22) and cover the earth, as in Gen 1.10 (v 9).

Psa 104. 10-13 tells us what God did with the waters. He sent forth springs from the mountains to the valley to drink and they flow through their regular course between the mountains in rivers and streams (v 10). They give water to every beast of the field, and they wild donkey quenches their thirst there (v 11). Besides them (the course of the rivers and streams) the birds of heaven dwell and they lift up their voices from among the branches (v 12). He waters the mountains with rain from his upper chambers and the earth is satisfied with the fruit of his works, which is the vegetation that can be eaten (v 13).

Psa 104.14-18 says that the environment was created to meet the needs of his specific creatures, from the lowest to the highest. Yehovah causes the grass to grow for the cattle and vegetation for the service of man. He will bring forth food (“Lechem” or bread) from the earth. The blessing over bread commemorates the perfection before the fall, and what will be reinstated in the future. Right now, man must do it (Gen 3.19) by his own sweat and labor, but before the fall God did it, and it will happen again in the Olam Haba (v 14). Wine makes the heart of man glad and God created the grapes from which it is made. But, here is a concept about its proper use, which is always favorable in Scripture. The word “glad” is “yisamach.” If the Hebrew letter “shin” (“s” sound) is read “yishamach” (“sh” sound) the word is related to “shimamah” which means “destruction.” This alludes to the danger of drinking too much wine. He can make a man’s face glisten with “oil” which means the health benefits of the nutrients in the oil on food, and bread which sustains a man’s heart. In Hebrew, “heart” is “lev” with one Hebrew letter “bet” sounded as a “v” sound.” But here it is written with two “bets” meaning the heart is capable of good and evil (v 15). The trees of the Lord drink their full when it rains, like the cedars of Lebanon which he planted (v 16), where the birds build their nests and the stork make their homes in the tall trees (v 17). The high mountains are created for the wild goats. Each environment on earth was created to meet the needs of certain animals. The cliffs are the refuge for the gopher (Prov 30.26) or the shy rock dwellers (v 18).

Psa 104.19-23 tells us how the great lights of the sun and moon work together for the benefit of all creatures. God makes the moon for the seasons (“moedim” or appointed times- Gen 1.14; Isa 65.11; 1 Thes 5.1; and the seasons of the year). The sun knows its place of its setting, its daily orbit and its annual cycle (v 19). God appoints the darkness and it is called night, in which all creatures of the forest prowl about. God gave them this instinct to gather together, avoiding open spaces so they can avoid man. God did not allow certain creatures that were ferocious to hunt in broad daylight in case they harmed man. God gave them the fear of man (Gen 9.2). Darkness limits visibility, so mankind and the domesticated animals must rest at night (v 20). The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God, who gave them their instinct to hunt (v 21). When the sun rises they withdraw and come together and lie down in their dens (v 22). Then man goes forth to his work and his labor because they are not in the food chain until evening. God coordinates this timetable with precision (v 23).

Psa 104.24-26 says that the sea has its own wisdom. It says, “O Lord, how many are thy works.” No creature evolved by natural selection. All the sea and its life was designed by God. In wisdom he has made (created) them all. The environment created for one creature would kill another. The earth is full of God’s possessions and every inch is full of God’s creatures and creations. There is no wasted space (v 24). There is the sea, great and broad, in which are swarms without number, animals both small (and even microscopic) and great, like the whales. Not only is the earth full but the sea is even larger (v 25). The sea is where ships move along and Leviathan which God has made to sport in it. In Jewish eschatology, Leviathan is a twisted serpent with seven heads. It is the largest of the sea creatures that eats any fish it wants. It is a picture of the False Messiah (Rev 13.1; Job 26.13, 41.1-33; Isa 27.1; Psa 74.13-14).

Psa 104.27-30 tells us that all of God’s creation is dependent on Yehovah. They all wait for him to give them their food in due time, or his timing (v 27). God gives to them and they gather what he provides. He opens his hand and they are satisfied with food (v 28). He hides his face and they are dismayed (depressed and terrified) when food is scarce and God takes away their spirit (gathers it in) and they expire (die-Ecc 3.20) and return to dust (v 29). But then he sends forth his Spirit and they are created (Gen 1.3), and God renews (“chadash”-the word for “new” in Heb 8.8, means “renewed”) the face of the ground. In other words, the regeneration and reproduction of other creatures replaces those that died (v 30).

Psa 104.31-35 speaks of praising Yehovah and his works in creation. The author has completed an overview of the creation and is overwhelmed by it it all. Let the glory (kivod, radiance) of Yehovah endure forever. Let Yehovah be glad in his works of creation (v 31). He looks to the earth in anger and it trembles in fear of punishment. He touches the mountains and they smoke (Deut 32.22). This is the downfall of the wicked (v 32). The author will sing to Yehovah as long as he lives, and he will sing praises to God while he has his being. The writer recognizes all of God’s wonders and it makes him want to sing (v 33). He wants his meditation and consideration of all of God’s works (including his mercy) to be pleasing to Yehovah. As far as he is concerned, he will rejoice in Yehovah (v 34). Let the sinners (chataim) be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked (rashim) be no more. He then says, Bless the Lord (Yehovah), O my soul. Praise the Lord (“HalleluYah”-a shortened form of Yehovah)!”

This verse gives us two categories of unbelievers. The Chataim (sinners) are the average sinners, called the “Intermediates.” They aren’t saved, but could be. Then we have the Rashim, or the wicked. They are the worst possible people you can imagine. They are worthless and desperately wicked. The Scriptures call them the “sons of Belial” and this is also a term for the False Messiah (v 35).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 102-103

Psa 102.1-28 is a psalm about the afflicted and the heading tells us the purpose where it says, “A Prayer of the Afflicted, when he is faint, and he pours out his complaint to the Lord.” There is no author named so there is much speculation about who wrote it. Some say it was David and others believe it was written by someone in the Babylonian Captivity, or just after it. Some see this psalm as alluding to Messiah who was afflicted of God, but it can be applied to anyone under affliction.

Psa 10.1-7 is a cry for the Lord to come to his aid and he wants the Shekinah to manifest and help him in the day of his distress (v 1-2). His days have been consumes with smoke (quickly disappears) and his bones (the strong part of him) have been scorched (consumed like fuel) in a hearth (v 3). His heart has been smitten (dried up of strength) and withers like grass so that he forget to even eat )no appetite and preoccupied with sorrow-v 4). Because of his groaning his bones cling to his flesh meaning he is losing weight (v 5). He resembles a “pelican” (an undomesticated bird called a “kiyk” that lives in the wilderness and it gives a “signing” sound) of the wilderness; he has become like an owl (“Cos”) of the waste places meaning he is staying at a distance and is solitary (v 6). He stays awake at night (passing the night) like a lonely bird on a rooftop (v 7).

Psa 102.8-11 talks about the affliction of his enemies in that they have surrounded him all day long. He not only had to deal with poor health possibly, but his enemies mock and curse him (v 8). He has “eaten ashes like bread” meaning in great mourning and adversity and his drinks are mingled with weeping (v 9). He perceives his affliction as God’s indignation and wrath and feels that God has cast him away (v 10). His days are like a lengthened shadow (death was coming) and he is withered like grass (losing life) and becoming dry (v 11).

Psa 102.12-22 summarizes the future time when Israel will know the Lord. Yehovah will be enthroned (sit) forever (l’olam); and “your memory” (zik’reach a form of “zekor” or remembrance) will be to all generations (v 12). God will arise (Messiah is coming to do battkle with his enemies) and have compassion on Zion; it is a time to be “gracious” to Zion for the appointed time (the moed of Yom Kippur) has come (Matt 24.29-31, a Yom Ha Din or Day of Judgmnent-v 13). God’s servants find pleesure in Zion’s stones (a desire for the history and archeology; to study the past and make preparations for the Temple) and and feel pity for the dust of the ruined city (v 14). The nations will fear the name of the Lord (his reputation) and all the kings (non-Jewish rulers) Yehovah’s glory when they see the restoration of the Israel (v 15). Yehovah has built Zion and he has appeared in his glory, which is the high point of the Messianic Redemption (v 16). He has regarded the prayer of the destitute (the exiles all over the world) and has not despised their (the Jewish people praying for the coming of the Messiah) prayer (v 17). This will be written for the “generation to come” (Hebrew “achan” a form of “acharit” meaning “last” generation which is the one that will see the coming of Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom-Prov 31.25; Matt 24.34; Isa 2.3; Mic 4.1) that a people yet to be created (physically and spiritually born again) may praise Yehovah (v 18). God looked down from his holy (has a kedusha) height (in heaven) and gazed upon the earth, meaning the inhabitants of it, both righteous and unrighteous (v 19) to hear the groaning of the prisoner (the exiles, those in bondage), to set free those who were doomed to death (the exiles were always at the mercy of their captors, but this also alludes to the second death-v 20). Men will tell of the name of Yehovah in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem because they have been set free. When the peoples (nations) are gathered together and the kingdoms they will serve Yehovah (v 22).

Psa 102 23-28 goes back to the original complaints and weaknesses of the author. His vigor has been weakened and God has shortened “my days” he thought he should live, but they are numbered (Job 14.5). His frailty has taken its toll on him (v 23). He says, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days (in judgment), thy years are throughout all generations.” God’s eternity is contrasted with the weakness of man’s years (v 24). God lays the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of his hands (v 25). Even they are subject to change because they are his creations and they will be renovated, but God endures and never changes; all of them will wear out like a garment, like clothing and Yehovah will change them, and they will be changed as in 2 Pet 3.10-13 (v 26). But the the contrast is clear, God will remain the same (eternal) and not come to an end, unlike aspects of the creation (v 27). The children of thy servants (the original servants) will continue (return to the land and be settled there) and their descendants will be established before Yehovah, never to be uprooted again. God does not change and that is a guarantee that his kingdom will go on forever among men (v 28).

Psa 103.1-22 is a psalm of David as he expresses his love for Yehovah and all his benefits. This is a psalm of personal gratitude and that is seen in Psa 103.1-5).

David begoins by saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy (has a kedusha) name.” He is encouraging himself to praise God (v 1). He then goes on to say he will bless the Lord for all his benefits and then tells us what he means (v 2). God pardons all our iniquities and heals all our diseases, physical and spiritual (v 3). He redeems our life from the pit (the verge of death) and crowns us with kindness and mercy as if they were precious jewels (v 4). Who satisfies our mouths with good things, and the picture here is of a sick person who is disgusted with food like Job in Job 33.19-20 but his appetite returns), so that our youth is renewed, meaning we are healthier than before, like an eagle (v 5).

Psa 103.6-12 tells us how God has shown to Israel the same mercy he showed them in the days of Moses. God performs (with care) righteous deeds, and judgments (against those who oppress) for all who are oppressed (v 6). He made his ways (the Torah-Exo 33.13; Rom 9.1-5, 11.18), his acts to the sons of Israel (v 7). Yehovah is compassionate and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness, which is part of the Midot in Exo 34.6-7 (v 8). He will not always strive (quarrel) with Israel, nor will he keep his anger forever, meaning bear a grudge (v 9). He does not deal with us according to our sins or he would have destroyed us, nor has he rewarded us according to our iniquities (harshly). This is a Hebrew parallelism (v 10). For as high as the heavens are above the earth (seems limitless), so great is his kindness towards those who fear him (v 11)

Psa 103.12-18 speaks of his mercy to all generations. As far as the east (sunrise and purity) is from the west (sunset, darkness and sin), so far has he removed our transgressions from us (v 12). Just as a father has compassion on his children, so Yehovah has compassion on those who fear him (v 13). God knows what we are made of and how we are put together, including our weaknesses. He is mindful that we are but dust, out of which Adam was formed (v 14). As for man, his days are like grass (temporary and perishable) and as a flower of the field, so he flourishes very briefly (v 15). When the wind has passed over it, it is no more and withered by the hot wind. And the place where it once existed in the ground doesn’t even acknowledge it any longer. You can’t even tell where it was (v 16). But the mercy of Yehovah is from everlasting (the “olam/forever” before the 7000 years) to everlasting (the Olam Haba after the 7000 years) on those who fear him, or trust him by emunah (faith, confidence, action), and his righteousness unto children’s children, or who believe and follow Yehovah and the Torah like their parents did (v17), to those who keep his covenant (the Torah), and who remember his precepts to do them, and this applies to believers in Yeshua, as in Matt 7.21-23; Acts 21.15-24; 1 John 2.3-4; Jam 1.23-25 (v 18).

Psa 103.19-22 is a praise to God and calling all others to join in. Yehovah has established his throne in the heavens (1 Tim 6.15-16) and his sovereignty rules over all (v 19). Then David calls on the angels, his messengers and invisible leaders, mighty in strength (to do his bidding) and who perform his word (obedient) obeying the voice (immediately) of his word (v 20). Then David goes on to say that all of the “hosts” (armies) should bless Yehovah, those who serve him, doing his will (v 21). Then all of creation called his “works” are called on to bless the Lord, in all places of his dominion (kingdom). David then ends this psalm the same way he started, with “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” David and all believers have many reasons to bless the Lord (v 22).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 97-101

Psa 97.1-12 is another psalm that is read at the beginning of the Sabbath, which we know is a picture of the Day of the Lord, the Messianic Kingdom and also known as the Atid Lavo (future age/coming). There is no heading or author mentioned but some believe it may have been written by David (Septuagint, Latin Vulgate, etc). Since the Scripture is silent about this, we will not speculate.

Psa 97.1-6 speaks about God’s reign and his greatness over the creation and how the nations should rejoice because justice has returned to the earth (v 1). Clouds and thick darkness surrounded him (his fullness is obscured); and righteousness and justice are the foundation (the basic principles) of his throne (v 2). A fire goes before him (the Torah is the basis-Deut 33.2) and burns up his adversaries round about (no escape from judgment-v 3). His lightnings (“barak”-Psa 149.6) lit up the world and the earth saw and trembled (at Sinai, but also when Yeshua returns). God illuminates man’s intellect with “flashes” of truth and understanding because Yeshua is the light of the world (v 4). The mountains (arrogant nations and kings who reject salvation) melted (disappeared) like wax at the presence of Yehovah, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth because they now realize it (v 5). The heavens (lightning, thunder and all the atmospheric manifestations that cause harm on his enemies-Ezek 38.22) declare his righteousness and the evidence that he is God, and all the peoples (of the earth) witness his glory when the wicked are punished by his justice (v 6).

Psal 97.7-9 tells us that the people are taught about graven images. Let those be ashamed who serve graven images because they are foolish in their idolatry, who boast themselves in idols instead of Yehovah. Worship him, all you gods (powers, rulers and the fictitious deities of the heathen-v 7). Zion (the Kahal/assembly of God’s people) heard this and was glad (because they had true faith) and the daughters of Judah (also the Kahal) have rejoiced because of thy judgments that have been carried out (v 8). For Yehovah is the Lord Most High over all the earth and he is exalted far above the gods (powers, rulers and false deities of the heathen-v 9).

Psa 97.10-12 tells us about Yehovah’s deliverance. We are to love the Lord and hate evil because it is a fruit of faith (Rom 12.5). He preserves the souls of his tzaddikim (saints) by guarding them from danger that could harm their confidence, and he delivers them from the plots and the conspiracies of the wicked (v 10). Light (spiritual) is sown like seed for the righteous (Luke 13.1-23) and gladness for the upright in heart because they have understanding and God’s mercy shines its light on them (v 11). Be glad in Yehovah, you righteous ones; and give thanks to his holy (has a kedusha) name. Now, “name” in Hebrew is “Zekor” and it means “remembrance” or “memorial.” Exo 3.15 says the name is “Yehovah” and that “this is my memorial name forever (olam).” That means how his name is to be spoken. Man will remember this name because the vowel markings for “olam” are the same vowel markings for Yehovah (v 12).

Psa 98.1-9 speaks about the homage of the creation and man to the judge of the world. Again, this is recited at the beginning of the Sabbath (a picture of the Messianic Kingdom) and simply bears the title, “A Psalm” and is the only psalm to have this heading. Some believe it was written by David such as the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, but since the author’s name is absent we will not venture to identify the writer.

Psa 98.1-3 is a praise to God as a savior and it is very similar to what Miriam said in Luke 1.46.55. She may have had this psalm in mind when she said it. It begins by saying that we are to sing to Yehovah “a new song.” and we have already discussed that this term means “Messiah has come” and it is an idiom for the Messianic Kingdom (Psa 33.3, 96.1; Isa 42.10). God has done wonderful things (the reason for the new song) and his “right hand” (a term for the Messiah) and his holy arm (“zeroah” and another term for the Messiah-Isa 53.1) gained victory for “him” (the Father-v 1). Yehovah has made known his salvation (“yeshuato” and a form of Yeshua) and he has revealed his righteousness (by faith) in the sight of the non-Jews (v 2). He has remembered his mercy and his faithfulness to the house of Israel (because of the promises to the fathers-Mic 7.20), all the ends of the earth have seen the “yeshuat” (salvation) our God. The name Israel (“Yisrael” can be formed by using the initials of Israel and Jacob (the letter “yod” is a “y” sound), Sarah (shin is “s” sound), Rivka (Rebecca with the “resh” or “r” sound), Abraham (the letter “aleph” with an “ah” vowel sound under it) and Leah (the “lamed” or “l” sound). Israel is the spiritual title of Jacob, one of the patriarchs (v 3).

Psa 98.4-6 speaks of a song and music with many instruments. Shout joyfully to Yehovah, all the earth, and break forth and sing for joy and sing praises with no restraints (v 4). Play music (meaning “strum with the fingers) to Yehovah with the lyre (kinnor) and with the lyre and with the sound of melody (v 5). With trumpets (Hebrew “tzotzrot”) and the sound of the horn (a ram’s horn or “shofar”) shout joyfully before the king, the Lord (Hebrew “Yehovah”-v 6).

Psa 98.7-9 tells us about the acclamation of the king. As we have said at the beginning of Psalms, there are five aspects to the coronation of a Jewish king. They are the Investiture, the Anointing, the Acclamation, the Enthronement and the Homage. Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it will rejoice at the universal peace brought by Yeshua (v 7). Let the rivers (those who sail on them) clap their hands (in acclamation to welcome the king-2 Kings 11.12) and let the mountains sing together in joy (v 8) before Yehovah, for he is coming to judge the earth (a Yom Ha Din Yom Kippur), and he will judge the world with righteousness (as found in the Torah), and peoples (the nations) with equity and fairness (v 9).

Psa 99.1-9 is another Sabbath psalm and it speaks about God’s just and holy (has a kedusha) rule, and a Yom Ha Din (Day of Judgment). Again, there is no heading or author named but some believe it was David, and it does make mention of Samuel.

Psa 99.1-5 begins by describing God’s Shekinah (presence in the Temple. Yehiovah reigns and let the people tremble with reverence and awe. He is enthroned (sits) above the Cherubim, and this alludes the Maaseh Merkavah (the work of the chariot) in Ezek.1-128, which we learn is the throne of God. Let the earth shake (inspired with awe) and we see that the court is seated for judgment as in Dan 7.9-10 (v 1). Yehovah is great in Zion (where the Ark was; his throne) and he is exalted above all the nations (v 2). Let them praise God’s great and awesome name, for it is holy (has a kedusha). Matt 6.9 is understood as, “May your name be sanctified” (v 3). The strength of the Lord loves justice (has a sense for fairness). You have established equity (true justice) and he has made justice and righteousness in Jacob through the Torah (v 4). We are to exalt (publicize) Yehovah our God and worship (prostrate) at his footstool (wherever the Ark was, the Mishkan or Temple-Isa 66.1) because he is holy (has a kedusha-v 5).

Psa 99.6-9 speaks of God’s revelation to his priests and is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom. Moses and Aaron are among his priests, and so is Samuel who call on his name. They called on Yehovah and he answered them. These three were used because they were some of the chief prophets by the time this was written, but they were prominent priests. Moses dedicated the Mishkan as high priest and served for a few days, then Aaron took over. Samuel also served in that very same Mishkan. These are named to show the calibre of the people who served there (v 6). God spoke to them in the pillar of cloud (Aaron and Moses) and they kept the testimonies (edut) and the statutes (chukim) that he gave them. This will be a good time to define some words we will see all over the Scriptures because two of them are mentioned here. Law in Hebrew is “Torah” and it means instruction, guidance and teaching. To say “we are not under the Law” means they are not under the instruction, guidance and teaching of God. The word “commandments” is “mitzvot” and it means good works also. It alludes to the moral laws like stealing or adultery, etc. Statutes is “chukim” and it alludes to the laws that we don’t understand or can explain, like the laws of the Red Heifer or the Kosher laws. Judgments is “mishpatim” and it covers ordinances, social laws and decrees, like the Temple service. The testimonies is the word “edut” and these are prophecies and evidences that give a witness. Now, Jewish law according to the rabbis consists of five categories of “Halakah” or “how to walk.” First we have the written Scriptures. Next we have that which has been derived from Scripture, and then that which is not derived from Scripture but tradition says it was, like the Oral Law. Then we have rabbinic decrees and last we have customs (ethics). We believe that the written Scriptures always takes precedence over the others if there is a conflict. If a law or custom does not conflict, then it is permissible to do it but we should not judge others if they don’t (v 7). God answered the prayers of Israel when they asked for forgiveness and he was a forgiving God to them and an avenger of their deeds (sins) because he did not let them enter the land of Canaan (v 8). Exalt (publicize) Yehovah and worship at his holy hill (Mount Moriah and the Temple Mount-Lev 19.30) because Yehovah is holy (has a kedusha).

Psa 100.1-5 is a psalm of thanksgiving and is the only psalm that has that title. It exhorts all the earth to serve and worship Yehovah. It was sung in the Temple during the thank offering, and after surviving danger one would bring a thank offering and would recite this psalm. No author is given.

Psa 100.1-3 tells us that we should serve and worship Yehovah, but not out of fear or bondage. All the earth should “shout” (call out) joyfully to Yehovah (v 1). We should serve him with gladness and come before him (in the Temple) with joyful singing because the people loved the Temple (v 2). Yehovah is God and he has made us (Acts 17.28) and not ourselves, or “evolution.” We are his people and the sheep if his pasture (Isa 53; Psa 23; Ezek 34; Jer 23; John 10-v 3).

Psa 100.4-5 shows us how to enter the Temple with thanks and praise. We are to enter his gates (of the Temple) with thanksgiving and his courts (azarah) with praise. We are to give thanks to him for all his blessings (he has empowered us to succeed) and we are to bless his name by proclaiming his many works (v 4). Yehovah is good (Psa 25.8, 34.8) and his mercy and kindness is everlasting (always sufficient). His faithfulness (in fulfilling his promises) goes out to all generations (v 5).

Psa 101.1-8 is a psalm of David that may be the guidelines he set forth to guide him in his life, and as he ruled as king. He had to reform the abuses of King Saul.

Psa 101.1-5 tells us that david recognized and appreciated God’s mercy to him and he wants to live a righteous life. He will sing of the mercy and justice of Yehovah (2 Sam 8.15) and will sing praises for granting him his favor in making him king-v 1). He will give heed (pay attention to) the blameless way (the Torah) and wants to know when Yehovah will come to him to help and assist him. David will walk within his house in the integrity of his heart, avoiding evil-v 2). He is not going to set any worthless thing before his eyes to inflame his heart and turn to his imaginations. He hates the work of those who have fallen away (from the Torah and God) and that attitude will not fasten its grip (cling) on him (v 3). A perverse heart shall depart from him because he cannot be friends with it. He does not want to know evil because he will be oblivious to it and will not imagine it-v 4). Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor he will destroy (oppose) and no one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will not be tolerated by allowing them to be in his presence (v 5).

Psa 101.6-8 tells us what kind of men David is looking for to serve him. His eyes will be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with him. They will be people who walk in a blameless way (the Torah) and they will be the ones who will minister with him as he rules as king (v 6). Anyone who practices deceit by frauds, lies and flattery) shall not dwell within his house or have a position there. Anyone who speaks falsehood has a habit of speaking lies and they will not maintain their position before him at court as king. David will not permit anyone like that to be there (v 7). every morning (daily, constantly) he will destroy all the wicked of the land by making a general reformation and to punish iniquity according to the Torah. He would cut them off from the city of the Lord because it was a place with a kedusha (v 8).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 94-96

Psa 94.1-23 is the Psalm of the Day for the fourth day of the week (Wednesday). Jewish history (Talmud, Midrashim) says that this was the song that was sung in the Temple by the Levitical choir on the last day it functioned before it was destroyed, which was a Sabbath (Saturday). But why did the Levitical choir sing the psalm for Wednesday, the fourth day, on a Saturday, the seventh day? Many thought it was because it talks about the God of vengeance and asking God to judge the wicked Romans, but it wasn’t till June 7,1967, that the true meaning was revealed. That was the day the Israeli army took control of the Temple Mount again during the Six Day War for the first time since the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. What day of the week was June 7, 1967? It was a Wednesday. This was the first step towards the rebuilding of the Temple (see the website called “templeinstitute.org” and “A Day in the Life of the Holy Temple”-Part 8). There is no title or author given so we will not speculate.

Psa 94.1-7 tells us that Yehovah is the judge of the earth and he will render recompense against the wicked. Yehovah is the God of vengeance and it is said twice to settle any doubts about it. Vengeance belongs to God because he knows all the circumstances. We can ask God to deliver vengeance but we must trust him in doing so. Even though he is a dispenser of kindness, there comes a time to punish also (v 1). They ask Yehovah to rise up and render judgment to the proud. This makes it look like the Lord is apathetic and has to be moved in order to act, but that is not true (v 2). The question is asked, “How long shall the wicked, O Lord; How long shall the wicked exult?” This shows the impatience of the believer and the disregard of anything good by the wicked. This is the last time, “How long” is used in the psalms (v 3).

They pour forth words without constraint, and speak arrogantly; the wicked exalt themselves and glorify their reputations (v 4). They crush (to break in pieces) God’s people (Israel) and afflict his heritage (Israel-Isa 47.6; Jer 50.11). A true believer will have a love for Israel and the Torah as seen in 1 John 2.3-4 (v 5). They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the orphans. All these groups are helpless and can’t fight back (v 6). They say “Yah does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.” The shortened form of Yehovah is used here in “Yah (Yod-Hey).” The wicked think that God does not exist or does not see because he is not a part of this world (v 7).

Psa 94.8-11 tells us about the senseless (the “Ba’arim” who are oblivious to God but can be taught) and the stupid ones (“Kesilim” who are intelligent but use their intelligence to come up with arguments against God and moral wisdom-Psa 92.6) among the people. God wants them to understand something (v 8). God is the one who created the ear, does he not hear? And God is the one who created the eye, does he not see? Of course he does and he will act and he will judge the wicked for what they have done (v 9). God chastened the nations in the flood and at Sodom, will he not rebuke these tyrants? He teaches man knowledge, will he not know what is going on (v 10)? Yehovah knows the thoughts of man and only a ba’ar or a kesil (a senseless fool) thinks he doesn’t, and their lives are a mere breath, full of futile and vain thoughts.

Psa 94.12-16 says that the righteous will never be rejected, even though God may chastise them. He is blessed (empowered to succeed) when God chastises his people because he is teaching true understanding out of the Torah (v 12). As a result of this knowledge he has been taught, he will have relief from the days of evil until a pit is dug for the wicked and they receive their due punishment (v 13). Yehovah will not reject his people no matter what they go through because they are his inheritance (v 14). For the judgment found in the Torah will return and the righteous will follow it (v 15). The author wants to know who will stand up for him against the wicked, and who will take his stand for him against those who do wickedness because the hour of restoration has not arrived yet?

Psa 94.17-23 tells us that only the Lord can help him and he knows that. Yehovah has been his help against the wicked or he would have been dead already (v 17). He is in danger of being overcome by all this oppression (“my foot has slipped”), but he believes the Lord will hold him up (v 18). When his thoughts cause anxiety and he gets pessimistic, God’s promises will cheer him up (v 19). Can a throne of destruction (an evil ruler) that devises evil by law be in fellowship (allied with) Yehovah (v 20)? They band together against the soul (life) of the righteous and plan evil, and condemn the innocent (v 21). But Yehovah is our defense and the rock of refuge to protect the righteous (v 22). He pays back the wicked by bringing their own wickedness upon their own heads and he will destroy them for all the evil they have done and cut them off (v 23).

Psa 95.1-10 is a psalm that deals with worship and its various forms. There is no heading or author given for this psalm. However, this psalm is referred to in Heb 3.7 through 4.13, and in Heb 4.7 says that David may have written this psalm. or it may be alluding to the idea that Psalms was seen as David’s book. Since no author was given, we will leave it at that.

This psalm is the first psalm that is recited at the beginning of the Sabbath day called “Kabbalat Shabbat” or “receiving the Sabbath.” This alludes to receiving the kingdom. There will be six psalms corresponding to the six days of creation at this time (Psalm 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 and 29). We know that the Sabbath is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom and God begins to rule. This brings terror to the wicked and peace to the righteous (tzadik). This is a call to worship involving all nations.

Psa 95.1-5 speaks about how to worship. who to worship and the greatness of Yehovah. It begins “Come (an invitation), let us sing for joy to Yehovah and shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation (v1). Let us come before his presence (at the Temple) with thanksgiving and psalms (v 2). For the Lord is a great God and king, above all the gods (powers of the heathens, like angels and other forces-v 3). In whose hand (power) are the depths (mysteries) of the earth; the peaks of the mountains (where man cannot go) are his also.” God understands every aspect of his creation even when it defies logic and human understanding (v 4). The sea and all the animals belong to the Lord and he is the one who gathered them all together, and his hands formed the dry land showing his power and omniscience (v 5).

Psa 95.6-11 is another invitation to worship Yehovah. It begins with, “Come (the invitation), let us worship and bow down (humility), and kneel before Yehovah our maker” which is the concept behind Jewish worship (v 6). For Yehovah is our God (eloheynu) and we are the people of his pasture fed by his word and the sheep of his hand (guided by his hand). “Today (urgent), if you would hear his voice” is a call for us to make a decision (Rev 3.20; Heb 3.7, 15 and 4.7) in v 7. We are not to harden (contend) our hearts like Israel did at the rebellion in Meribah (Num 20.1-13) as in the day of trial at Massah (Exo 17.7) in the wilderness (v 8). This was when the fathers tested Yehovah and they “tried” him though they had seen all his miracles. God gave them reason to trust him but they rejected all those reasons and this provoked the Lord (v 9). For forty years (a time of testing) God loathed that generation for rejecting him and he said they were a people who had gone astray (erred) in their heart, and they do not know my ways, or the ways works mentioned earlier (v 10). So God swore in his anger that they would not enter into God’s rest (“m’nuchah” or completion) and this refers to the land of Canaan, but it also alludes to the Atid Lavo or the Messianic Kingdom and the rest (completion) we have in Messiah. The writer of Hebrews refers to this in Heb 3.7 to 4.13 (v 11).

Psa 96. 1-13 is another psalm that is read at the receiving of the Sabbath which alludes to receiving the kingdom and the dawn of a new era. There is no heading for this psalm and no author is mentioned, but some (Septuagint; Latin Vulgate, etc) believe it may have been written by David as he brought the Ark into Jerusalem (1 Chr 16.23-33).

Psa 96.1-6 begins with the concept of a “new song” and why God deserves to be worshiped and honored. To “sing to the Lord a new song” is an eschatological term. New song is “Shir chadash” in Hebrew and it is masculine. Ordinarily it is “Shirah Chadash” and it is feminine. This is recited at the beginning of the Sabbath (a picture of the Day of the Lord, the Lord’s Day, Sabbath of God, Atid Lavo and the Millennium) and the term Shir Chadash alludes to the fact that the Messiah has come (Masculine). It is also an idiom for the Messianic Kingdom for that reason. Today we have an eight note scale. A Kinor has ten strings for a ten note scale. The “new song” in the Messianic Kingdom is a song Messiah will teach us with the extra two notes, the teaching goes. The word “ruach” in Hebrew means “wind or spirit.” The Nevel (harp) and the Kinor (lyre) can be played by the wind. The Nevel has 22 strings and this alludes to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which make up the Word of God. The Word of God is “played” on our hearts (harps) by the “Ruach ha Kodesh” (Psa 33.3; Isa 42.10; Rev 14.3). All the earth should sing. The Exodus is called the First Redemption or the Egyptian Redemption and they sang a song (Exo 15.1-18). The coming of Yeshua is called the Second Redemption or Messianic Rdemption and we will sing a “new song.” This term is always associated with the coming of the Messiah and the kingdom (v1).

We sing to the Lord and bless his name by making known his qualities, works and reputation, proclaim the basar (good news) of his salvation (Hebrew “Yeshuati” and you can see the name of Yeshua there) from day to day (v 2). We can tell of his glory among the nations, not just to Israel, and his wonderful deeds (miracles). As we can see here, the call to reach the nations started in the Tanak (v 3). Why do we do this? Because the Lord is great and greatly to be praised, and he is to be feared (regarded with awe) above all gods (powers, angels, demons, rulers, powers, heavenly bodies, etc) because he alone is to be worshiped (v 4). All the gods (powers) of the nations are idols (worthless) and besides all that, Yehovah made the heavens. But many worshiped the creation instead of the creator (v 5). Splendor and majesty are before him (like attendants), strength and beauty are in his sanctuary (in heaven) This also alludes to the eschatological kahal (v 6).

Psa 96.7-10 calls on the whole world to give God glory and to bring korbanot into the courts (“azarah” meaning to “help”) of the Temple. We are to give Yehovah the glory he deserves and the strength , and we are to acknowledge that only Yehovah possesses these abilities (v 7). Giving God the glory of his name Yehovah and reputation is also accompanied by korbanot (a minchah offering) in the courts of the Temple (1 Kings 8.41-43). Giving korbanot also applied to the non-Jews who came to the Temple to worship Yehovah (v 8). Worship of Yehovah also means to prostrate in the beauty of his holiness (he has a kedusha) that has been imputed to us by faith. We should be in awe of him, and that includes all the earth. The nations may not have recognized God throughout the Olam Ha Zeh (6000 years) but during the Messianic Kingdom they will (v 9). “Say among the nations (non-Jews), ‘Yehovah reigns (is king of the universe); the world is also firmly established, it will not be moved because Messiah will bring stability; he will judge the peoples with righteousness'” (by the Torah-Mic 4.3; Isa 2.2-4 -v 10).

Psa 96.11-13 is a message to the creation about the happiness that will sweep the universe. Remember, Messiah not only redeems mankind but he also redeems the creation. “Let the heavens (there are three) be glad, and let the earth rejoice, let the sea roar (with thanks) and all it contains.” The sea is seen as the domain of Ha Satan and Leviathan, name for the False Messiah (Rev 13.1; Isa 27.1; Job 26.12-13). They have been defeated causing much thanks in the spiritual realm (v 11). Then it goes on to say, “Let the (literally “my”) field exult and all that is in it (beast of the wilderness). Then all the trees of the forest (the believers) will sing for joy (v 12) before the Lord, for he is coming; for he is coming to judge the world in righteousness (as defined by the Torah) and the peoples in his faithfulness (Hebrew (“emunato” and this word is related to “emunah” which is the word for faith).” Notice it says he is coming” twice in this verse, and there will be a judgment. This tells us that Yeshua will come on Rosh Ha Shanah, year 6001 from creation, and this is a Yom Ha Din or “Day of Judgment” in Dan 7.9-10 and Rev 4-5. But he is also coming on a Yom Kippur, also a Yom Kippur or Yom Ha Din , a Day of Judgment in Matt 24.29-31; 25.31-46 and Dan 7.22 (v 13).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 91-93

Psa 91.1-16 is a psalm that teaches us that the righteous are always safe under the protection of of Yehovah. This is not a promise that applies in every instance to every believer because we know that bad things happen to the righteous, but this is a general statement expressing God’s protection and care over his people. There is no title or author given but there are some who believe it was written by Moses, while others believe it was written by David after the plague of 2 Sam 24. It is read on the Sabbath and Rosh Ha Shannah, and the Jewish interpretation believes that this psalm is about the Messiah (Pesiqta Rabbati 162a) which states that the Messiah will manifest himself standing on “the roof” (pinnacle) of the Temple.

Psa 91.1-4 begins with the idea of God’s protection. This idea is brought out by this concept. All the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are present in this psalm except for the letter ‘Zayin” which literally means “weapon.” The belief is whoever recites this psalm with emunah (faith, confidence) and sincerity has no need for conventional weapons in spiritual warfare. Those who dwell in the secret place (covert place) of the Most High will (future) abide (live) in the shadow (shade, protection) of the almighty (El Shaddai). Yehovah has a secret place for his people (Psa 27.5, 31.10) where they are protected (v 1). We will say to Yehovah, “My refuge and my fortress (a shield against attacks), my God (Elohim/power), in whom I trust. For it is the Lord who delivers us from the snare of the trapper (evil devices), and from the deadly pestilence that causes destruction (v 3). He will cover us with his pinions (wings-“evrahto” or feathers) and under his wings (kanaf) we will have refuge; his truth (Torah) is a shield (zinah) and bulwork (armor). The numerical value of “pinions” (evrahto) is 613, the number of Torah commands according to scholars. The zayin resembles an arm (Deut 33.2) which is an idiom for Messiah (Isa 53.1). The Torah is also a bulwork which is God’s truth and shield, a weapon for those who study it according to Paul in 2 Cor 10.4 (v 4).

Psa 91.5-10 tells us about what happens under God’s protection. We will not be afraid of the destruction that could come during the night or day (v 5), or the plague that stalks us in the darkness and gloom of cold weather, or the destruction that lays waste at noon, meaning broad daylight. All types of destruction can come at anytime (v 6). A thousand may fall at our side, and ten thousand at our right hand, but it will not approach us. God’s protection is so specific that he can preserve us no matter what the odds (v 7). We will only look on with our eyes and see the reward of the wicked. However, Lot could not look on the destruction of the wicked who spurned God in Sodom, and here is the concept. Only a person who is saved by his own repentance is granted the privilege of witnessing the downfall of his enemies. Lot was spared because of the prayers of Abraham who interceded for him so he could not look towards Sodom and witness the suffering that he deserved to share (v 8). The believer has made Yehovah, who is the author’s refuge. the Most High, their dwelling place in their heart, mind, soul and spirit (v 9). No evil will befall them, nor any plague come near their households. Again, this is not a promise that applies in every instance with every believer because we know that bad things happen to the righteous. This psalm is a general statement expressing God’s protection and care over his people (v 10).

Psa 91.11-13 repeats the above promises and protection. He will give his angels charge concerning us, and will guard us in all our ways as long as those ways are consistent with the the Torah and God’s ways (v 11). They will bear us up in their hand, carrying us over all obstacles before we even get to them (“lest you strike your foot against a stone”). This verse was quoted by Ha Satan to Yeshua, tempting Yeshua to create an issue by jumping off the pinnacle of the Temple so that the angels would come to save him in Matt 4.5-7. Some believe the pinnacle (winglet) of the Temple was the southeast corner of the Temple compound called Solomon’s Portico, overlooking the Kidron Valley. Josephus has an interesting description in Antiquities, Book 15, Chapter 11, verse 5. There are others who believe it was the southwest corner (v 15). The righteous will also tread upon the large, mature lion (open violence) and cobra (secret malice). The young lion and the serpent will be trampled down (to have little regard for). This concept can also bee seen in Mark 16.18 (v 13).

Psa 91.14-16 now has Yehovah himself speaking and he talks about the blessings the believer has “because he has loved (yearned) me and therefore I (Yehovah) will deliver (“calve” or free) him from all of the attacks of the enemy. God will set him on high (elevate) because he has known (“Yada”-Gen 4.1; Hos 2.20, 4.6; Matt 7.21.23; 1 John 2.3-4) “my name” Yehovah and his revealed character as his only source (v 14). He will call on Yehovah and he will answer him; he will be with him in trouble (distress); he will rescue him (release) and honor him (v 15). With a long life (not cut short in this world or the next) God will satisfy him (a meaningful life) and show him “my salvation” (Yeshuati). You can see the name “Yeshua” here and this means the believer will witness the salvation he has the in the Messiah and the Olam Haba (v 16).

Psa 92.1-15 is designated as a Sabbath Psalm in the title and so there will be allusions to the seventh day of the creation week in it, and it is also read on Rosh Ha Shannah and Yom Kippur, both are called a Yom Ha Din (Day of judgment). It is the only psalm designated for the Sabbath day. The author is not named but some scholars believe it was written by David because some of the terms referring to musical instruments, the house and courts and the enemies.

Psa 92.1-4 tells us it is good to give thanks to the Lord (Yehovah) by singing and declaring (proclaiming) his mercy with musical instruments like the harp (nevel) and the lyre (kinnor). Why do this? Because the Lord has made “me glad by what he has done.”

Psa 92.5-9 tells us that Yehovah’s deeds are beyond what we can even understand and his thoughts are beyond what we can grasp (v 5). A senseless man (“ba’ar”) has no knowledge of God’s wonders and designs, nor does a stupid man (“kesil”) understand certain things about this life. There is a difference between a senseless man (ba’ar) and a kesil-type fool. A ba’ar can be taught God’s ways, but a kesil is intelligent but looks for excuses not to believe with that intellect. He will look to discredit overwhelming evidence about the Lord and his works, rejecting moral and ethical wisdom (v 6). When the wicked (rasha) sprout up like grass, and all who do iniquity seem to flourish, it was only that they might be destroyed forever. God blesses the wicked to their own detriment. For example, there is a parable (aggadah) about a slave who cursed a king’s son. Who would know if the king killed the slave, because he was lowly and of no reputation. So the king elevates and blesses the slave and makes him powerful. Then he executes him and now everyone took notice (v 7). But Yehovah is exalted (on high) forever and he watches and controls his creation (v 8). The day is coming when God’s enemies will perish and all who do iniquity will be “out of joint” (disorganized) and have no place in the Olam Haba (v 9).

Psa 92.10-15 speaks of the blessings that come upon a believer. God will exalt “my horn” (power) like the horn of a wild ox, taller than the horns of other creatures; and he he is anointed (saturated, satisfied) with fresh oil (v 10). The eyes of the righteous will look upon the downfall of their enemies, and their ears will hear of their overthrow (unlike Lot). The righteous man (tzadik) will flourish like a palm tree and not like the grass of verse 7. The palm tree is a tree that symbolizes the righteous in Scripture, called the “Tzadik Ha Tamar” (Psa 1.3, 52.8). He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon, tall and string (v 12). He will be planted like the priests in the house of the Lord (Temple and the Olam Haba-Psa 27.5) and they will flourish in the courts of our God. Solomon had palm trees all over the walls of the Temple (v 13). They will still yield fruit in old age (spiritually vigorous) and full of sap and very green, speaking of righteousness and life (v 14). To show that Yehovah is dependable, he is described as a rock that the righteous rely on and there is no unrighteousness (wrong ways) in him. In Hebrew, the word for “unrighteousness” is written without the letter “vav.” This teaches that God’s decisions may seem wrong or deficient to us at first, but later on we will see the wisdom in them and they will not seem wrong at all (v 15).

Psa 93.1-5 is a psalm that declares that all men will recognize God’s majesty in the Messianic age, as do the next seven psalms (Psa 94 through 100). There is no heading for this psalm and the author is unknown, although some believe it was written by Moses, and others think it was written by David. This psalm was the Psalm of the Day for the sixth day of the week and sung in the Temple on Rosh Ha Shannah and Yom Kippur also.

Psa 93.1 says the Lord reigns (forever) and he is clothed with majesty (like a robe) and the outward display of the Kivod. He controls nature and is also clothed with strength to subdue his enemies. The world is firmly established and it it will not be moved into chaos. All we “see” of this “robe” is his outward glory. God’s throne (sovereignty) was established from the first day of creation on Tishri 1, and he has total control forever. His existence predates creation and transcends time (v 2). The “floods” (his enemies-Jer 12.5; Isa 8.6-8; Rev 12.15-17) have lifted up (risen in opposition); and the floods (his enemies) have lifted up their voice; and the floods have lifted up their pounding waves to shatter Israel (v 3). But the Lord is more powerful than the sound of many waters (floods mentioned three times) and the mighty breakers of the sea (unconverted humanity-Isa 57.20). The sea was seen as the domain of Ha Satan and Leviathan (Isa 27.1; Rev 13.1) and we know that Yeshua has dominion over the sea. God’s testimonies (the Torah) and fully confirmed and trustworthy, and holiness (kedusha) is appropriate for the the Temple, and this is a concept that will last forever. The Temple was called the “Beit Ha Mikdash” which means “House of Kedusha.”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 89-90

Psa 89.1-52 is the last psalm of Book 3, which corresponds to the book of Vayikra (Leviticus) of the Torah, which is the central focus in a chiastic structure (a ,b, C, b, a). It was written by Ethan (perpetual) the Ezrahite (son of the dawn) and is mentioned in 1 Kings 4.31. He was a descendant of Zerach of Judah and belonged to a group of singers and he was alive at the time of David and Solomon. This psalm is also messianic in nature. The heading reads, “A Maskil (instruction) of Ethan the Ezrahite.”

Psa 89.1-4 speaks about God and his promises to David. He will sing of the Lord’s mercies and make known God’s faithfulness with his mouth, which are the themes of this psalm (v 1). Mercy shall not be overthrown and his faithfulness will not be moved in the heavens (v 2). God made a covenant with David with an oath which will last forever (v 3). That he will establish a Davidic dynasty through the Messiah is clear, and the “seed” is Yeshua (Matt 1.1; 1 Chr 17.10-v 4).

Psa 89.5-10 tells us that God will be praised for his wonders (miracles) and faithfulness. The establishment of the throne of David is the cause of great joy, even in heaven among “the holy ones” or the angels (v 5). For who in the skies that the pagans worship can compare with the God of Israel, and who among the mighty men of earth is like him (v 6). Yehovah is greatly feared in the secret council (sowd meaning hidden) of the holy ones (tzadikim, saints) and awesome above those around him (v 7). There is none like the Lord God of the armies and his faithfulness surrounds him (v 8). He rules the swelling of the seas (nations-Isa 57.20) when the waves rise he causes them to be still. This illustrates God’s rule over the earth and this was what Yeshua was communicating when he walked on the stormy sea and quieted the storm (v 9). The sea is the domain of Leviathan (Isa 27.1; Rev 13.1) and Yeshua has dominion over it. Leviathan is a picture ofHa Satan and the False Messiah in the Scriptures, and is also known as “Rahab” as in this verse, and Yeshua will crush the False Messiah (Raahab). He scatters his enemies with his mighty “arm” which is an idiom for the Messiah (v 10).

Psa 89.11-18 talks about the power and kivod (glory) of God and how blessed a person is for knowing Yehovah. The heavens and the earth belong to him, as well as all the creatures it contains because he has created all of it (v 11). The entire length of the earth north to south belongs to Yehovah. Tabor (the west) and Hermon (the east) shout for joy at the name of Yehovah (v 12). God has a strong arm and hand, and thy “right hand” (an idiom for the Messiah) is exalted (Psa 110.1-8) in power (v 13). His attributes of righteousness and justice are what built his kingdom, and mercy and truth are always before his face (v 14). How blessed (empowered to succeed) are those who know the joyful sound of the teruah in victory and repentance. They walk in God’s light (Torah understanding) because they have been awakened by the shofar blowing a teruah blast (v 15). They rejoice in the name of Yehovah because it is in him only they can boast (Jer 9.23) and God’s righteousness has been given to them as a free gift (v 16). His glory is their strength, not their own, and by his favor their horn (power) is exalted so they can defeat Satan and the False Messiah.(v 17). Our shield (magen or “king”) belongs to Yehovah, and David the king to the Holy One of Israel. This is a Hebrew parallelism (v 18).

Psa 89.19-29 tells us about David, but it will allude to the Messiah. At one time, God spoke to his “godly ones” (the prophets) and has given much help to one who is mighty and one who is chosen among the people (David and Messiah). David was anointed with the holy (has a kedusha) oil by Samuel (v 20) with whom God’s hand will be established. God’s arm will also strengthen him (David and Messiah) and he will be invigorated (v 21). The enemy (Ha Satan) will not deceive him nor the son of wickedness (the wicked man, the False Messiah) afflict him (v 22). God will crush his adversaries before him and strike those who hate him (v 23). His faithfulness and mercy will be with him and in God’s name his horn (power) will be exalted. In other words, God will respond when he asks for help (v 24).

God will set his hand on the sea and he will have dominion over the islands and seafaring people and his right hand on the lands of the rivers (Egypt and Mesopotamia-v 25). He (and Messiah) will cry to Yehovah. “You are my father, my God, and rock of my salvation” (Matt 11.25-27-v 26). And God will make him the first born, the highest of the kings of the earth. David was the first king of the house of David, and Messiah is the heir of all things promised to that house (Mark 16.6) and has prominence, the “sum” of it all, like the “summit” of a mountain (Col 1.15). David and Yeshua are the highest of the kings of the earth because they know Yehovah (v 27). God’s kindness will guard him and his covenant will be confirmed in him and remain true to him (v 28). His “seed” (Messiah) will be established forever and his throne as the days of heaven (v 29).

Psa 89.30-37 tells us the king should not forsake the Torah. If David’s sons forsake the Torah and do not walk in God’s judgments or “mishpatim” (v 30), or if they violate the statutes (chukim) and do not keep God’s commandments (mitzvot) then God will visit (punish) with the rod their transgressions, and their iniquity with plagues (v 31-32). But, even God will not forget his kindness or betray his faithfulness to his sons (v 33). God will not violate his covenant by taking away the monarchy from the house of David, nor change what he has said (v 34). Once Yehovah has sworn by his name, he will not lie to David and change the dynasty (v 35). His descendants shall keep their royal status until Messiah (Matt 1.1), and his throne shall shine like the sun endlessly (v 36). The throne shall be established forever like the moon, and they will vary in brilliance. But the sun and moon will give testimony to the eternal promises connected to the throne of David (v 37).

In the book, “Tehillim” by Mesorah Publications, p. 1114, it says, “The royalty of Israel resembled the cycle of the moon. Its first cycle endured for thirty generations, just as the month has thirty days. The light of the Jewish monarchy began to rise in the days of the Patriarch Abraham, whom the Canaanites called a godly prince (Gen 23.5). David (whose name has the numerical value of fourteen) lived fourteen generations after Abraham and resembled the nearly full moon. Solomon was the fifteenth generation; during his reign, the royal house of David reached its zenith, resembling the full moon. Then the house of David fell into a decline (like the waning moon); finally it underwent a total eclipse, with the exile of King Tzidkiyahu of Judea, who lived thirty generations after Abraham. Nebuchadnezzar blinded King Tzidkiyahu (2 Kings 25.7), symbolizing the total disappearance of the moon’s light.” We see similar concepts in Matt 1.1-17 (v 37).

Psa 89.38-45 tells us that there was some present problems that made things seem worse than the previous verses. We don’t know on what occasion Ethan wrote this, but there seems to have been a decline in the monarchy (Absalom, Solomon) or some other problem that made it look like God had rejected the Davidic Covenant. Ethan knew better but thinhs looked that way. It looked like God was angry towards the king, his anointed (v 38) and it looked like he had spurned the covenant with David and has “profaned” his crown (monarchy) in the dust (v 39). God has broken down all his “hedges” (walls) of protection and has brought his strongholds to ruin (v 40). All who pass by plundered him and he has become a reproach. This certainly happened to David when Absalom rebelled (v 41). His adversaries had power against him, making his enemies rejoice (v 42). Even in battle his sword seemed dull and he was losing (v 43). God has made his glory to cease and cast his throne to the ground (v 44). He has shortened the days of his youth because of the crisis and was covered in shame. It seemed like the promises to David (or some other king) were in vain (v 45).

Psa 89.46-48 is a plea for deliverance. Ethan asks, “How long, O Lord? Will you hide thyself forever?” Ethan did not want the affliction to go on any longer. God seemed to be doing nothing to help the king (v 46). Ethan’s “span of life” in this world is not very long and he wanted to see the king and the kingdom come out of all of this blessed (v 47). Death was inevitable and man cannot deliver his soul from Sheol (death), so he is depending on God for help in this life (v 48).

Psa 89.49-52 is a plea for Yehovah to show his mercy again. He asks where was the mercy God has shown in the past, which he swore to David in his oath to him (v 49). He wants Yehovah to remember the reproach that has been heaped upon the heads of his servants; and how does Ethan bear all the reproaches of many people that he keeps to himself in silence (v 50). God’s own enemies are the enemies of the king, too (v 51). But despite all the painful words of this psalm, Ethan still blesses the Lord because he believes that God’s promises will be fulfilled in the end (v 52). Thus, Book 3 is finished and now we move into Book 4.

Psa 90.1-17 begins the fourth Book of Psalms (Psa 90-106) and it corresponds to the fourth book of the Torah called “B’Midbar” which means “in the wilderness” in Hebrew. B’Midbar can also mean “to speak” because it has the root “davar” meaning “word” in the word. It is called Numbers because God is “numbering” his people so they can receive the inheritance when they enter the land of Canaan. Abraham’s seed has multiplied according to what Yehovah promised him. Many commentators believe that this psalm was written after the incident with the twelve spies (scouts) in Num 13-14. The heading reads, “A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.” It is a psalm that is read on the Sabbath.

Psa 90.1-2 tells us that Yehovah is a refuge of protection for his people and he is eternal and existed before the creation. We have a Jewish eschatological term used in v 2 that says, “even from everlasting (olam) to everlasting (olam) thou art God.” This term alludes to God before the 7000 years, called the Olam Haba, to God after the 7000 years is over, called the Olam Haba.

Psa 90.3-6 says that God is a judge and our understanding of time is different than God’s. God turns man into dust (dies) saying “Return, O children of men” (v 3). For a thousand years is God’s sight are like yesterday when it passes by, it is like nothing. Even if we lived a thousand years it would be but a moment in God’s sight. This verse is an allusion to Jewish eschatology (v 4). God has swept them away like a flood (the days and years) and they “fall asleep.” In the morning they are like the grass which sprouts again. Towards evening it fades and withers away. Days and years are like that. They pass quickly and wither (v 5-6).

Psa 90.7-9 talks about how God judges our open and hidden motives. Israel has been consumed by God’s anger and dismayed by his wrath in the wilderness (v 7). Their iniquities are before the Lord, including the secret sins (v 8). Their days were reduced and they vanished because of God’s anger upon them and they finished their years quickly as a story that is told (v 9).

Psa 90.10-12 tells us that the days of our years are seventy years literally, and if we have the vitality, we may reach eighty years, but in the end it is only labor and sorrow no matter how long we live. Then we “fly away” (die) and it is gone (v 10). We don’t live long enough to notice or understand the power of God’s anger in proper measure (v 11). So Moses wants the Lord to teach us to number our days and live for today because we don’t control tomorrow, and to present to the Lord a heart of wisdom (v 12).

Psa 90.13-17 tells us that we should pray for mercy and the blessings of God. Moses wants the Lord to turn away from the present path and show mercy (v 13). He wants Yehovah to satisfy them in the morning (early) with mercy, so that we can rejoice and be glad for all that God has done all our days (v 14). He wants the Lord to make them glad in proportion to the days of affliction that they have gone through (v 15). Let the work of God be seen to all the people and that God’s majesty can be seen to the children, or the generations to come (v 16). Let the favor of Yehovah be upon the people; and in the end may our lives have meaning, thus confirming the work or our hands (v 17).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 86-88

Psa 86.1-17 is an unusual psalm because it is described as a prayer. It is written by David when he was in some sort of distress, probably fleeing from Saul. The heading simply reads, “A Prayer (tefillah) of David.”

Psa 86.1-10 is a cry for help and David wants the Lord to “incline (bow down) thy ear” towards David’s prayer (v 1). He wants the Lord to preserve his soul, for I am a godly (devout) man.” The word “preserve” is “shamar” in Hebrew, but David uses the feminine form “shamrah” to show that the letter “hay” (H) is taken from God’s name Yehovah (YHVH). He is holding on to Yehovah because David trusts him (v 2).

He wants Yehovah to be merciful to him and he calls on the Lord to show him favor which is not based on what David deserves (v 3). David’s soul is sad because of all his troubles and he wants the Lord to release him, for he looks for deliverance from no other source (v 4). For God is good and gorgives, so David bases his prayer on knowing that. His mercy is abundant to all, not just the godly (v 5).

David wants the Lord to “give ear” (listen) to his prayer, which is an outpouring of his soul (v 6). In the day of David’s trouble he will call upon the Lord and will get an answer. Eschatologically, the “day of trouble” is the Birth-pains of the Messiah or “Chevlai shell Mashiach” (v 7). David knows there is no one like Yehovah “among the gods” (powers, angels, luminaries and idols that the heathen worship) nor are there any works (miracles supposedly done by idols) like Yehovah’s (v 8). All nations in the messianic era will come and worship before Yehovah (9), for God is great and does great miracles, and he alone is God (v 10).

Psa 86.11-13 teaches us that we should depend on the Lord. David wants Yehovah to teach him the Torah so he can walk in “thy truth” which can only be comprehended through the Torah. Our hearts waver so David want his heart united (v 11). David will thank God with all his heart, and this can only be done when his faith (emunah/confidence) is wholehearted and he will praise Yehovah forever (l’olam) as one who bestows mercy (v 12). God’s “chessed” (kindness) towards David is great and he has delivered his soul from Sheol. This alludes to being delivered from “Shaul” (Saul’s Hebrew name) who wanted to take him to the grave, pit or death (v 13).

Psa 86.14-17 tells us that arrogant men have arisen against David like Doeg and Ahitophel, and a band of violent men have sought to kill him. They have gone against David because they have not “set thee before them” meaning they don’t want to do what God would want them to do because he would tell them to stop (v 14). But Yehovah is merciful and not like David’s enemies, who were cruel and violent. He is slow to anger and full of mercy and truth. This verse contains several of the thirteen attributes of God found in Exo 34.6-7 called the Midot (v 15). David wants Yehovah to turn his face (favor) to David and have mercy on him, and save the “son of his handmaid” which is a possible reference to Ruth the Moabitess and to his mother (v 16). David wants a sign for “good” (Tovah). The word for “sign” is pronounced “owt” (aleph, vav, tav). The aleph and tav are the first and lat letters of the Hebrew alphabet and they are symbolic of God and the Messiah. They mean “head of the covenant” (Rev 1.8). The vav is the number six in Hebrew, the number of man. So, the word “sign” (owt) has the aleph and tav (God) with the vav in the middle meaning that Yeshua is fully God and man. The word “owt” also means a letter of the alphabet as well as a sign. Throughout the Book of Chronicles, David’s name is spelled with an extra letter “yod” (“Y” sound-book “Tehillim” by Mesorah Publications, p. 1080). David wants a sign so that those who hate him may see it and be ashamed. This would show that the Lord has helped him. Being raised from a simple shepherd to the throne of Israel could be what David has in mind here (v 17).

Psa 87.1-7 is a psalm by the sons of Korah. It was sung by the pilgrims coming for the festivals as they approached the Temple and Jerusalem. This was to express the idea that the city and the Temple were a spiritual blessing to all the nations. The heading reads, “By the sons of Korah, a psalm, a song.” The foundation that the Lord has laid is in the holy mountains, the location of Jerusalem and the Temple (v 1). Yehovah loves the gates of Zion because that is where the true Jerusalem goes forth, more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob. That is where the Torah (law) goes forth (v 2). Glorious things (spiritual) are spoken about Jerusalem (v 3). People from Rahab (Egypt) and Babylon have come to know the Lord. Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia have people born there who believe in Yehovah (v 4). But of Zion it shall be said that many great men were produced there and the Most High will establish the Kahal or assembly of Messiah (v 5). Yeghovah shall count and take a survey of all of Zion’s citizens because he is the Creator and King (v 6). Then those who sing as well as musicians shall say, “All my springs are in you.” This means that the springs of life, kindness, forgiveness and justice flow from Jerusalem and the Temple to everyone and the hearts of the musicians will produce songs and music to Yehovah like springs (v 7).

Psa 88. 1-18 is a psalm written by Heman the Ezrahite who was a singer during the time of David and a grandson of Samuel the prophet. He may be the one in 1 Chr 6.33 or 1 Chr 2.6. He wrote this psalm when he was under some sort of distress. Many see Heman as a picture of Yeshua in this psalm. There are others who see this as referring to Israel in exile. The heading reads, “A song, A Psalm of the sons of Korah. For the Conductor; according to the Mahalat (sick) L’anot (to amswer), a Maskil (instruction) of Heman (faithful) the Ezrahite (son of the dawn).” We believe that he is a picture of Yeshua because of his name, and that he is the one mentioned in 1 Chr 6.33, being a son of Korah.

Psa 88.1-9 tells us that Heman prays because he is under great distress and affliction. He has cried out to Yehovah day and night. Yehovah is the author of his physical and spiritual salvation and has knwn God’s salvation in the past, so that encourages him (v 1). He wants this prayer to come before God, not men, and wants him to hear and receive it (v 2). His soul is full of troubles and he feels he is about to die because “my life has drawn near to Sheol” (v 3). He is counted among those who will die very soon and he has no vitality or strength like he once did (v 4). He is like those who are free among the dead, has nothing and are separated from this world, like the corpses in the grave who are forgotten (v 5).

God has put him in the lowest pit, and this “exile” is worse than death, and he is in a dark place, in the depths of sorrows and suffering (v 6). Wrath has pressed him down and waves of troubles keep coming afgain and again (v 7). His friends have been removed from him for one reason or another, and he has been made an object of loathing when they see him, and he must have felt like Job in all of this (v 8). Grief has caused his eye to waste away and he has called on the mercy of Yehovah without ceasing, having his hands spread out to show he needs help (v 9).

Psa 88.10-12 tells us that Heman was wondering if Yehovah was going to wait till he died to show his miracles. Did God expect praise from the dead (v 10)? Can he talk about the kindness of God in the grave when the body is in ruin (v 11)? Will God’s wonders be known on the darkenss of death, and his righteousness in the land of forgetfulness, where the dead are forgotten (v 12)?

Psa 88.13-18 tells us that Heman wants the Lord to break his silence and rescue him from his anger. Heman has tried to avoid the despair that has tried to take over his trust in Yehovah, and he prays in the morning to him (v 13). He asks, “Why do you reject my soul and why do you hide your face from me?” Heman was not getting the help he needed (v 14). He is near death because of all his affliction and he cannot gain his strength back (v 15). God’s anger was passed over him and every affliction has hit him hard, and his terrors have destroyed him. There is an extra “tav” in the word “destroyed” meaning it is intense (v 16). His afflictions have surrounded him like water and it has encircled him in unison so that there was no way to escape (v 17). Friends and companions (those who were once close) have removed and he is so enshrouded in darkness he can’t even see his best friends (v 18).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 83-85

Psalm 83.1-18 is a psalm written about a confederacy of nations that came against Yehoshaphat (2 Chr 20.1-37). Some commentators believe Asaph wrote this through the inspiration of the Rucah Ha Kodesh to be prophetic, but others believe this psalm was written by a descendant of Asaph named Jahaziel (2 Chr 20.14) who lived at the time of Jehoshaphat. This conspiracy involves Assyria, so this will happen in the reign of Ahaz (Isa 7-10) historically, but it is also a picture of the second year of the birth-pains, leading up to the third year and the invasion of Gog and Magog eschatologically. This will be the last psalm that bears the name of Asaph. The heading reads, “A Song, a psalm of Asaph.” We will be looking at prophetic themes in this psalm that relates to the birth-pains.

Psa 83.1-4 asks God for help against those who want to destroy Israel. Asaph (or Jahaziel) does not want the Lord to be a bystander or indifferent to the problems Israel is having, as he is thought to be when there is no answer (v 1). For the enemies of God have exalted themselves in pride and make an uproar (v 2). They make shrewd plans against Israel and conspire against thy “treasured ones” (hidden). This alludes to the conspiracy against Israel that will develop in the birth-pains (Isa10.5-7; Ezek 38.6-10; Isa 8.12; Oba 6-7). This will be a crafty conspiracy so Israel won’t activate the “Masada Complex.” The Masada Complex is the strategy that says if Israel was ever attacked and they are going to lose, they will fire off nuclear weapons, taking everyone else with them. But the ultimate reason for this conspiracy is to destroy Israel and destroy the idea of God. Syria has already been destroyed before this (Isa 7-8; Isa 17; 2 Kings 16.9) and is not in the upcoming list of conspirators (v 3).

They have said, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” They think that if they wipe out the name of Israel they would wipe out the name of God as well. In the birth-pains (tribulation period), Russia/Gog and Magog will come against Israel and Assyria is a picture of this, but it will not be for territory. It will be to destroy Israel forever. This verse is almost exactly word for word out of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) charter. The conspiracy of verse 3 is Russia telling the Muslim terrorist groups to back off their terror attacks for awhile. This will lull Israel into thinking they finally have peace with the Arabs, but it will lead to the invasion of Israel by Russia/Gog and Magog at the end of the third year of the birth-pains, going into the fourth year (v 4), thus catching them by surprise and not allowing them to activate the Masada Complex.

Psa 83.5-8 says the nations have “conspired together with one mind; against Yehovah (Israel represents them) do they make a covenant” (v 5). Now we have a list of the nations who will come against Israel and it is a virtual “who’s who” of their enemies today. We have the tents of Edom (Saudi Arabia-Oba 6-7) and the Ishmaelites (Beduins-Isa 42.11); Moab (Jordan) and the Hagrites (Jordan); Gebal (Jordan) and Ammon (Jordan) and Amalek (Jordan/Petra area; Philistia (Palestinians) with the inhabitants of Tyre (Lebanon); Assyria (Russia/Gog and Magog) also has joined with them; they have become a help to the children of Lot (Ammonites, Moabites =Jordan area). These will fight because of the Temple (v 6-8).

Psa 83.9-12 tells us that there is a cry for God to do to this alliance what he did to Midian in Judges 6 through 8, and with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of the Kishon in Judges 4, who were destroyed at En-dor, who were as ding (unburied) for the ground (v 9-10). Make their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna who were slain by Gideon in Judges 8.10-21 is their cry (v 11). They intended to overthrow God and Israel (v 12).

Psa 83.13-18 calls for their annihilation. Asaph wants the Lord to make them like the “whirling dust.” The word here is “galgal” (wheel) and it was a thorny plant whose top dries, and the wind blows it away and it looks like a wheel (v 13), like a fire that burns the forest and like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, the plea is for God to annihilate them quickly, like a wind blown fire in the forest of the mountains (v 14). He wants the Lord to pursue them with “thy tempest” causing panic and terrifying them with a violent, out of control storm (v 15). He wants their faces filled with dishonor because they sought to get to God by destroying Israel, now let it be done to them measure for measure. This is to be done so that they would come to know who the Lord really is (v 16). Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever and not rise against the Lord again because to do so would be foolish (v 17). This is in order that they may know that Yehovah alone is the Most High over all the earth. He is not like an earthly king or ruler who needs others for support. He can stand alone and his will is done in heaven and in the earth (v 18).

Psa 84.1-12 is the first in a group of psalms written by the sons of Korah (Psalm 84, 85, 87 and 88). They remained alive after their father and other leaders died in Num 26.9-11. After what they saw and experienced, this psalm expresses the strong desire to stay close to the Lord and dwell in his presence in the Temple. The heading reads, “For the Conductor on the Gittite (harp), a Psalm by the sons of Korah.” This psalm is recited by worshippers as they journeyed to the Temple.

Psa 84.1-4 begins with a strong desire for the Temple and its services. It begins with, “How lovely are thy dwelling places, O Lord of Hosts” and this refers to the Mishkan when it was written. The Mishkan had two parts, one was the called the Ha Kodesh and the other was the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Heb 9.2). It could also be referring to the Mishkan at Gibeon and the Ohel David (tent of David) on Zion in 2 Sam 6.17 (v 1).

They expressed a strong desire (“my soul longed and even yearned”) for the Azarah (courts) of God. Their heart (desire) and flesh (physical) sing to the living God (v 2). The bird also has found a house and the swallow a nest for herself in the Temple without being disturbed because they were smaller birds. The birds considered the area of the Temple their home, and in like manner the writer considered the Temple as his home on earth (v 3). How blessed it is for the believer to find their home in God’s house (family) and they are always praising God no matter what is going on outside. Selah (pause and meditate, prostrate-v 4).

Psa 84.5-7 says that it is a blessing to go up to the Temple. Their hearts know the way (v 5) and they pass through the valley of Baca (tears) which is hard to pass through. But the early rain gives it plenty of water to refresh the pilgrim as they come to the Temple (v 6). They go from strength to strength as they approach Jerusalem to appear before Yehovah (v 7).

Psa 84.8-12 tells us about the greatness of Yehovah and the Temple. We have a basic prayer for God to hear the writer’s prayer (v 8), and then he goes on to talk about God as his “shield” (magen) and to look upon the face of “thine anointed” who at the time was David, but ultimately it will be Yeshua as Messiah. Now, the pomegranate was used in the Temple in a variety of ways and it was a very symbolic fruit. It represented kingship, authority and the commandments. A six-petaled pomegranate forms what is known as a “Magen (shield) David” which is a title for Yehovah. The concept of God as a “shield” is found all over the Tanak (Psa 5.12, 119.114; Prov 2.7, 30.5). Song 8.2 talks about the pomegranate (v 9). For a day in the Temple is better than a thousand years doing anything else. This is another allusion to a day being like a thousand years in Jewish eschatology (Psa 90.4; 2 Pet 3.8). The writer would rather stand at the threshold of the Temple (as a doorkeeper) than dwell in the tents of the wicked. So, let’s develop the concept of a “doorman.”

We are commanded to study the Temple and everything associated with it in Ezek 43.10-12, The Temple had chambers with doors. The phrase “the heavens being rent (torn)” is an expression that relates to the Temple. The Paroket (veil) in front of the Temple building had the “universe” or “heavens” on it (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 4.4). To open this veil was seen as “opening or rending” the heavens, exposing the Ha Kodesh (Holy Place) and everything that was in that room to teach us about Yehovah. The custom was to pull this veil back at festivals to “reveal the heavens” to the people. This was the veil that was “torn” at the time of Yeshua’s death, meaning there is a deeper revelation coming (Matt 27.51). The “heavens were opened” or “torn” (same word) at the immersion of Yeshua at the beginning of his ministry in Mark 1.9-10. So, to be a “doorman” is to be someone who can open up the deep revelations of God to the people (v 10).

Then Psa 84.11 says that the Lord is a “sun” (Gen 32.31; Isa 30.26; Judges 5.31; Mal 4.2; Luke 1.78; Isa 40.22; Hab 3.4; Isa 59.19 and a type of the Messiah who “gives light”) and a shield (protection) to the people. Yehovah gives grace (chesed) and glory (kivod); no good thing does he withhold from those who guide their life by following the Torah. A man is blessed (empowered to succeed) by Yehovah of the Armies if he refuses to give up on what God has said and promised (v 12).

Psa 85.1-13 is a psalm that describes the return of Israel from some sort of captivity. Some commentators believe it was written after the Babylonian Captivity, and some psalms date to that period (Psa 79 for instance). However, Israel’s history has shown that us that they have been is some type of captivity in many different periods, so the theme of the psalm is clearly redemption and it can apply to any evil. The heading reads, “For the Conductor by the sons of Korah, a song.”

Psa 85.1-3 begins with the knowledge that Jacob has been brought back from a captivity and has been forgiven of their sins (v 1-2). God has taken away all his wrath and has turned away from his burning anger even though he could never have gone on with it (v 3).

Psa 85.4-7 calls for God to restore them from their sin and to cease being angry (v 4). Will the Lord prolong his anger to all generations, or “forever” (v 5)? Will God give them back (restore) their lives again, so that Israel can rejoice with Yehovah again? They know no other force did it (v 6). They want to experience God’s mercy by overlooking their deficiencies and give them the redemption they need (v 7).

Psa 85.8-13 says they want to hear what the Lord has to say and this means they must return back to the Torah, and he will speak peace peace to them and deliver them from captivity so that they do not turn back to foolishness (v 8). Surely the redemption is near to those who fear him and the kivod (glory) will return back to the land and the Temple (v 9). Truth and grace have met together and are compatible (John 1.17); righteousness (as defined by the Torah) and peace have “kissed” or have an intimate relationship with each other (v 10). Truth springs from the earth as a fruit (Isa 4.2, 11.1) and righteousness (God) looks down from Heaven (v 11). God will give what is good (rain-Deut 28.12) and the land will yield its produce. Spiritually, the rain of the Torah and the Word of God will fall upon the believer and good works are produced. Righteousness will go before him (God) like a voice or herald so that it marks where he has been, and he will make his footsteps into a way. This means he will leave a trail or tracks behind so that we can follow and walk in them. This will make sure we are on the right track and not getting lost.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 79-82

Psa 79.1-13 was written after the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Babylonians. Since the Asaph that is most famous lived in the days of David and Solomon, the Asaph that wrote this psalm lived at a later time. We know that the descendants of Asaph lived during the reign of King Josiah in 2 Chr 35.15. This psalm is a lamentation (eicha) over the destruction of Jerusalem. The heading reads simply, “A Song of Asaph.” If this was the Asaph of david’s day, then this psalm is prophetic.

Psa 79.1-7 talks about the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. The nation of Babylon has come into the land and have defiled the temple and laid waste to the city (v 1). Birds and beasts devour the dead bodies of the people, even the tzadikim (righteous ones) have perished (Ezek 14.12) and their blood was poured out like water around Jerusalem and there was no one to bury them (v 2-3).

The survivors have become a reproach to their neighbors and the scoff at God for not being powerful enough to save the city and the Temple (v 4). Asaph asks how long will the Lord be angry and punish the people for their sins (v 5). He wants the Lord to punish the nations who don’t even know Yehovah ( v 6). For they devoured Jacob and laid waste to the Temple, the city and the land (v 7).

Psa 79.8-13 is a prayer asking God to help his people. Asaph speaks on behalf of the survivors and confesses their sins against God and wants God’s mercy to quickly meet them, because they are brought low (v 8). Asaph asks God for help, his only hope. Showing mercy would bring glory to his name with the Temple altar destroyed. Asaph knows that man-made remission is not possible. He knew from Gen 22.8-14 that God must provide the atonement (v 9). Why should the nations gloat over the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Avenge the blood of God’s dead servants (v 10).

Let the groaning of those kept prisoner (exiles) by Babylon come to God’s ears and preserve them from death (v 11) and return upon the heads of their conquerors judgment seven times what they inflicted (complete measure) and for reproaching the Lord (v 12) so that the people, the flock of his pasture, will give thanks and trust Yehovah for all time and to all generations (v 13).

Psa 80.1-19 is a psalm that speaks of the captivity of the ten tribes (northern kingdom) by the Assyrians. The heading reads, “For the Conductor to the Shoshanim (trumpet-shaped lilies), a testimony (edut), a song of Asaph.” The shoshanm were shaped like trumpets and that is one reason this is a Rosh Ha Shanah psalm.

Psa 80.1-3 is a prayer of restoration. Asaph asks God to give ear and calls Yehovah the “Shepherd of Israel” who leads Joseph like a flock. The ten tribes were led by Ephraim and had the privileges of the first-born (v 1). Before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh (all names for Israel-2 Sam 19.20) stir up thy power to act, and come and serve them. These tribes camped on the west side in the wilderness and the sun sets in the west, a picture of the latter days. These tribes are used to give us eschatological pictures about the second coming of the Messiah (v 2). This is explained in detail in our study of the Book of Numbers.

They wanted God to restore them and deliver them from the problems they were having by causing his “face to shine” upon them and be saved. This alludes to the priestly blessing in Num 6.24-26 and it refers to God’s favor (v 3).

Psa 80.4-7 tells us that God’s wrath makes his people feel mournful. He is the ruler of the heavenly army and they were used against them (v 4). He has fed them with tears to drink and this is a Hebrew way of saying poverty, oppression and persecution (v 5). They were the object of strife, scoffing and taunts by their neighbors and their enemies mocked them and God (v 6). Asaph again says they are in needs and he is the Lord of the Armies (Yehovah Tzavaot) so he has the power to save them (v 7).

Psa 80.8-13 gives us a very familiar picture of Israel as a vine (Deut 32.32; (sa 5.1; Jer 2.2; Ezek 17.5-6; Hos 10.1; Joel 1.7; Matt 20.1, 21.33; Mark 12.1). God removed a vine (Israel) from Egypt and drove out the seven Canaanite nations and planted it by giving them the land of Canaan (v 8). He cleared the ground before it, making enough space for them to live in, and it took deep root (established) in the land (v 9). Israel grew mighty as the cedars and cast its shadow on the hills (v 10). It was sending out its branches (spreading out) from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River at the height of the reign of David and Solomon (v 11). Why has God broken down its hedges (protection) so that anyone passing through could “pick its fruit” or plunder them (v 12). A boar from the forest (a neighboring nation) eats it away (digs with its tusks) and whatever moves in the field feeds on it. The entire country was helpless. Pigs were symbolic of the enemies of God in Isa 65.4, 66.17 and Lev 11.7 (v 13).

Psa 80.14-19 contains a petition for God to take care of the vine. Asaph wants the Lord of the Armies to turn his eyes again to the vine and restore it (v 14), even the shoot (Israel) which God planted himself, and the Branch (Israel) whom God has made for himself. Branch is translated as “son” in the NASB and it says “ben” in the Hebrew text (v 15). The branch burned with fire and was cut down and they (Israel) perished at the hands of the Lord’s rebuke (v 16). “Let thy right hand (power) be upon the man of the right hand (Messiah), upon the son of man (Dan 7.13; Isa 49. Matt 16.13; Psa 110.1), whom thou didst make strong for thyself.” The Targum says, “King Messiah” in this verse (v 17). Because God has not abandoned them, Israel will not turn away from Yehovah. Revive us (from exile Asaph says and they will call on Yehovah (v 18).

Psa 81.1-16 is a psalm that may have been written to accompany the Temple sacrifice on Rosh Ha Shanah (Talmud, Rosh Ha Shanah 30b). It is also the Psalm of the Day for the fifth day of the week (Thursday) that was sung in the Temple. The heading reads, “For the Conductor, upon Gittit, by Asaph.” The “Gittit” may have been a musical instrument that was made in the city of Gath. Asaph’s name, as we have said, means “to gather” and this psalm alludes to the ingathering of the people at the Natzal (plucking up, rapture) on Rosh Ha Shanah (2 Thes 2.2; Isa 13.2).

Psa 81.1-2 is a call to praise God. Let songs of joy ring out and shout joyfully to the Lord of Jacob (v 1). Raise a song (psalm) and strike the timbrel, the sweet sounding lyre (kinor) with the harp (nevel). The mention of the tambourine (timbrel) means the people probably danced while singing (v 2).

Psa 81.3-5 is calling God’s people together, like what will happen ion the Natzal. Psa 81.3 says, “Blow the shofar at the new (chadash or “renewed) moon, at the covered (keseh) moon on our appointed feast day.” This is clearly speaking about Rosh Ha Shanah. It is the only festival that starts on a new moon, when the moon is still mostly covered. The word “keseh” (hidden) is related to the word “kiseh” meaning “throne” and this is another Rosh Ha Shanah theme. Thrones had a covering over them and there are two solemn festivals in the religious calendar, Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur. This is clearly talking about Rosh Ha Shanah (v 3). “For it (the appointed time of “moed”) is a statute for Israel (Lev 23.24; Num 29.1), a judgment (mishpat) of the God of Jacob (v 4). He established it for a testimony (edut) in Joseph when he went through the land of Egypt (Talmud says Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and made viceroy on Rosh Ha Shanah), I heard a language that I did not know” means the Egyptian language was not understood by the Israelites and that made their burdens heavier (v 5).

Psa 81.6-10 tells how God delivered Israel. He relieved his shoulder from slavery and his hands were freed from the baskets used to carry building materials (v 6). God says, “You called in trouble and I rescued you; I answered you in the hiding place of thunder.” In other words, they prayed in private but he answered them in public. This also alludes to Rosh Ha Shanah bec ause the mouth of a shofar is narrow, but the other end where the sound comes out is wide. This alludes to when Israel makes a small request, he amplifies the silent prayer into a prayer of thunder (“Tehillim” by Mesorah Publications, P. 1029). He proved them (tested) at the waters of Meribah when they were thirsty, and he gave them water from a rock (v 7). The Lord wants Israel to listen to him if they want everything to be well with them (v 8). There are no other “gods” (powers) and so it was Yehovah who performed all the miracles for them in the past, so God did not want them to bow down to any foreign gods (v 9). It was Yehovah who brought them out of Egypt. He wants them to open their mouths wide and ask for what they need and he will fill it (v 10).

Psa 81.10-16 says that Israel did not listen to Yehovah. The whole Exodus experience did not impress them much evidently (v 11) so they disobeyed the Torah, which is disobeying the Lord. So he gave them over to the fantasies of their heart (v 12). God yearns that his people would listen to him and walk in the Torah (v 13). He would have driven out the seven nations a lot easier if they had (v 14). Those that hate Yehovah would lie and say they were not guilty, but their time of judgment was coming. Their time of peace and happiness should have endured forever (v 15). He would have fed them with the finest (cream) of wheat (Deut 32.14) and with honey out of a rock (Deut 32.13). The land of Canaan had rocks and hills, perfect for bee hives. Honey is used as a food on Rosh Ha Shanah referring to having a “sweet year” (v 16).

Psa 82.1-8 was the Psalm of the Day in the Temple for the third day of the week because God “uncovered” the earth by his wisdom in Gen 1.9. The heading reads, “A Song (psalm) of Asaph.”

God takes his stand in the ‘Adat” (assembly) and he judges in the midst of the rulers (“elohim” or “gods” or “powers”) of the earth (v 1). God wants to know how long will the judges of the earth judge lawlessly, and show unwarranted privileges to the wicked (v 2). These judges were to defend the poor and the fatherless, those with no political power, and do justice to the afflicted, making it their responsibility to make sure what was done to them was right (v 3). They were to rescue the weak and deliver them out of the hand of the wicked, making sure justice is administered, not only in the courts, but all injustices they encounter (v 4).

But they do not know the Lord or do they understand the ways of righteousness, but they walk in darkness with no understanding. All the foundations of the earth are shaken because justice is the basis for all stability (Prov 29.4) and a corrupt judge shakes the confidence of everyone (v 5). God has said “you are gods” (rulers, judges, powers) and it is from him that they have their positions to represent the people. They are children of God and will answer to him for what they do (v 6). But in spite of all this, they will die like anyone else and fall like one of the princes, meaning the angels and rulers on earth as in Isa 24.21 (v 7). The last verse shows us that God will function as a judge over the earth if the earthly judges do not judge with righteousness. All the nations belong to Yehovah, and truth and integrity will allow all the nations to flourish.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 77-78

Psa 77.1-20 teaches about the joy that believers experience when we realize that God saved in the past and he will save in the future. The heading reads, “For the Conductor, on Yedutan (decree) by Asaph, a song.” Every psalm that has “Yedutan” in the heading refers to evil and oppressive decrees levied on Israel by their enemies.

Psa 77.1-3 tells us that Asaph cried to God and he gave ear (heard). They cry to Yehovah alone, so that’s why this crying to God is repeated (v 1). In the day of his trouble (his affliction) he sought the Lord stretched out in the night and he does not stop his petitions (v 2). He turned his thoughts to Yehovah and was disturbed because he thought God had forsaken them. He was so upset he could not find peace (v 3).

Psa 77.4-6 says his eyebrows held his eyes open so he could not sleep and he was so troubled that he could not speak (v 4). He has considered the days of old and how God delivered in the past (v 5). He was so happy at times in the past he even praised God at night and he sought guidance and meditated in his heart (soul, spirit) as to what the causes were for his present distress (v 6).

In Psa 77.7-10 he wonders if God has rejected Israel forever. He wondered if God will ever be favorable to his people again (v 7)? Has his mercy disappeared and his word come to an end forever ( v 8)? Has Yehovah forgotten to show favor or is God holding in his mercy because of his anger or clenched fist (v 9)? Then Asaph said this grief was a part of God’s plan for him now and maybe this change in God’s “right hand” (also an idiom for mercy) is meant to intimidate him into earnestly praying more (v 10).

Psa 77.11-15 goes on to say that he will remember the deeds of Yehovah and all the miracles in the past (v 11). He will meditate (mutter out loud) on all his work and speak about his deeds (v 12). Thy way (Torah) is holy (has a kedusha) and given to Israel at Sinai (Psa 68.18) where Sinai is called “the sanctity” and what god (or power) is great like Yehovah as stated in Deut 4.7 (v 13). God is a God of miracles and he has made known this power among the peoples (v 14). He has redeemed his people like a kinsman redeemer in power, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Joseph is mentioned here because he was the cause of Jacob’s descent into Egypt and provided for them as the first-born (v 15).

Psa 77.16-20 says as Moses stretched out his hand (staff) over the waters they “saw thee, O God” and were in “anguish” being filled with fear before God (Exo 14.12; Psa 114.5) and the depths also trembled, meaning the bottom congealed so that Israel could walk as on dry ground as seen in Exo 15.8 (v 16). There was a thunder and lightning rainstorm on the Egyptians (v 17). The voice of God’s thunder was in the “whirlwind” (atmospheric air turbulence) and the light of the lightning “lit up the world” (v 18). God’s way in the sea and his paths were the road Israel walked on through the Red Sea (Yam Suf). Notice that the plural “paths” is used here (Psa 18.15). and his “footprints” remained unknown, meaning after the walls of the sea collapsed and Pharaoh and his army died, there was no evidence that anything had ever happened. The term “Ikvot Ha Mashiach” or “Footsteps of the Messiah” comes from this verse. This is a term used in Jewish eschatology. God was a shepherd who led his people like a flock of sheep, by the hand of Moses and Aaron. This assures us that Yehovah will lead us through this world and into the promises, too.

Psa 78.1-72 is a history of Israel from the bondage in Egypt to the time of david. It goes over the benefits that they received and their complaining and resistance. This is a warning for Israel not to act like that again, or God would discipline them again. Israel must obey the Torah and it should be their highest authority in faith and practice. The heading reads, “A Maskil (instruction) by Asaph (to gather).”

Psa 78.1-4 begins with, “Listen, O my people, to my instruction (Torah); incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” If one listens to the Torah they will gain valuable information and lessons from history (v 1). Asaph will speak in a parable (aggadah) to unlock complex and hidden truths about the inner meaning of history (v 2). We have heard the Torah history and have had them told to us by our fathers (v 3) and we will pass them on to our children, and to the generations to come the praises of Yehovah and what he has done. The word for “generation” here is “acharon” and alludes to the final generation (v 4).

Psa 78.5-8 talks about how he has established a “testimony” (“Edut” in Hebrew meaning “witness”) in Jacob, and appointed a Torah in Israel. The Scriptures were given to Israel (Rom 3.2, 9.4). He commanded that we teach the Torah to the children in Deut 4.9 (v 5); that the generation to come (“acharon” of final one) might know, even those unborn, so they can teach their children (v 6), that they may put their confidence (faith) in God, and not forget the works of God, but safeguard them. Faith is reinforced by hearing the Torah (Jam 2.17; John 6.29, 9.4, 10.17) and observing it (v 7), and not be like their fathers (in the wilderness) who were stubborn and did not dedicate their heart and whose spirit was not faithful. This verse shows a parallelism between “heart” and “spirit” (v 8).

Psa 78.9-16 teaches that the main theme of the psalm begins here. There is no particular incident involved, but the children of Ephraim had the status of the first-born (Joseph’s son) and the Ark was in their territory first. But they showed a tendancy early on to be a rival to Judah (2 Sam 19.41 to 20.22) even before Jereboam, so they are put here for all Israel, as in 2 Chr 25.7 (v 9). They turned back spiritually in battle because they did not keep the Torah (v 10). They forgot his deeds and miracles (v 11). He worked wonders for their fathers in Egypt in the fields of Zoan, which is Tanis, a city built by Hebrew slaves (v 12). He divided the Red Sea (Yam Suf) and caused them to pass through, making the water stand in a heap (v 13), The pillar of cloud led them during the day and at night there was a pillar of fire (v 14). He split the rocks (plural) on two occasions so Israel could drink (v 15) and he brought forth streams from the rock and water to run down like rivers (v 16).

Psa 78.17-20 says that Israel still continued in rebellion even after he showed them his great works (v 17). Their heart tested Yehovah by asking for meat instead of the manna (Num 11.4-6) and this angered Yehovah (v 18). Then they spoke against God by saying, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?” They tested him again by implying that the manna doesn’t prove anything, how about a real meal (v 19). Over and over Yehovah provided for them by giving them water from a rock, overflowing streams, bread and meat (v 20).

Psa 78.21-33 tells us about God’s anger when they tested him and grumbled about how God was providing for them. He heard their complaining and a “fire (wrath) was ignited in Jacob (v 21).” They did not believe the Lord and did not believe in the covenant he had made with them to take care of them and to bring them into the land he had promises (v 22). He opened the clouds of heaven above and the doors of heaven to give manna even after they tested him, and he kept doing it even after their sin (v 23-25). He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens (first heaven) and by his power he directed the south wind towards their camp (v 26). He rained meat (quail) upon them like the dust (Num 11.31), even winged fowl (v 27). Then he let them fall right in the middle of the camp. That is a miracle in itself. He guided their flight pattern so they landed in the middle of the camp, right around their tents and they did not fear man (v 28). The people ate and were filled (Num 11.20) and he gave them their craving (v 29).

Before they had satisfied their desire and while the food was still in their mouths (v 30) God’s anger rose against them and killed some of their elite (Num 11.33) and healthy ones (v 31). In spite of all this, they still sinned and continued to rebel and did not believe in his ability to bring them into the land. They complained ten times: crossing the Red Sea (Exo 14.11); when they came out of the sea (Exo 14.30); at Marah (Exo 15.23-24); at Rephidim (Exo 17.1-2; searching for manna on the Sabbath (Exo 25-27); left manna overnight (Exo 19-20); they complained about a lack of food and wanted the pots of Egypt (Exo 16.1-3); they complained about the manna nd wanted meat (Num 11.4-6); they made the Golden Calf (Exo 32) and in the wilderness of Paran they sent out the scouts in defiance of God and what he had said (Num 13-14). So he brought their days to an end in futility and their eyes in terror. All the hardships which they endured while leaving Egypt were in vain. Num 14.20-35 tells us that. Everyone twenty years and older died in the wilderness (v 32-33).

Psa 78.34-39 tells us that when Yehovah killed them, they sought him in an outward show of repentance, and returned and searched for the Lord (v 34); and remembered that God was their rock (Deut 32.15-37) and the only place where they could find redemption (v 35). But they deceived him with their words and lied to him, thinking that he did not know their hearts and thoughts (v 36). Their heart was not constant towards him and were not faithful to the Torah and betrayed what they promised at Sinai (v 37). But God was compassionate and forgave them their iniquity and restrained his anger and did not arouse all his wrath (inner and outer). This verse was read to one scourged along with Deut 28.58-59 and restored as a brother. In Hebrew there are 13 words, read three times for a total of 39, the standard number of stripes (v 38). God knew they were but flesh, a wind that passes and does not return. God must be quick to forgive because our lives aren’t very long (v 39).

Psa 78. 40-53 talks about how from Egypt to the promised land Israel failed to bring to mind the power of Yehovah. They provoked him in the wilderness, and got discouraged and frustrated in a barren wasteland (v 40). They tested him over and over again and demanded “signs.” They questioned Yehovah and this “pained” him (v 41). They did not remember his hand (power) or how he delivered them with ten plagues (v 42) and when he performed his signs in Egypt, the most powerful nation in the world, and in Zoan, the capital city. He turned their rivers into blood (they worshiped the Nile) and could not drink from their streams because God struck at their gods and each plague punished them for a particular wrong they did to Israel ( 44). He sent insects and frogs that devoured and destroyed them ( v 45). He gave their crops to the “chasil” (locusts), which was the fruit of their labor (v 46). He destroyed their vines with hail stones and their “shikmah” (type of fig tree) trees with frost. Many types of vegetation was destroyed, but vines and “shikmah” are singled out because they made up the majority of the vegetation (v 47).

He gave their cattle to the hail stones and their herds (flocks) to lightning (v 48). He set among them burning anger (plagues) where even Pharaoh was intimidated (Exo 9.27), a delegation of destroying angels. every plague was a “messenger” sent by God to bring a message to the Egyptians (v 49). He “leveled a path for his anger” which means everything went forth without an obstacle, and did not waste any time when he gave their lives over to the plague (v 50). And he smote the first born (heir), the first issue of their vitality, even the foreigners who lived in Egypt were affected (v 51). But he led his people out of Egypt like a shepherd, and in the wilderness (v 52). He led them to safety so that they would have no reason to fear, and the Red Sea engulfed their enemies (v 53).

Psa 78.54-64 goes on to tell us how stubborn Issrael was in the land of Canaan. He brought them to Canaan and the the “mountain” (Zion) which his right hand (power) had gained (v 54). He drove out the seven nations and he divided the land by lot and they lived in the wellings of the nations that were driven out (v 55). Yet they tested and rebelled against Yehovah even after they were blessed with the land and did not observe the Torah (v 56). They turned back from the Torah (the path) just like their fathers, just like a deceitful bow (warped). The word “Torah” is an archery term that means to “hit the mark.” To “miss the mark” is “chata” which is the word for sin (v 57). They provoked him with their high places (altars) and aroused his jealousy with graven images (v 58).

When Israel served idols his anger overwhelmed the Lord and he abhorred Israel (v 59). So he abandoned the Mishkan at Shiloh, allowing the Ark to be taken by the Philistines. They were putting their faith in the Ark and not the Lord (v 60-61). He also delivered his people to the sword (1 Sam 4.10) and was filled with wrath at his inheritance (people) and fire (wars) devoured their young men and their maidens (brides) who were waiting to get married had no wedding songs (v 62-63). His priests fell by the sword when the Ark was taken, and Hofni and Pinchas were slain, along with other priests who were with the Ark. Their widows could not weep ( 1 Sam 4.19-22 because the normal mourning practices could not be observe due to war (v 64).

Psa 78.65-66 talks about God’s victory after Shiloh. It seemed that God was asleep as the Philitines took the Ark and enslaved Israel like a drunk warrior with no strength ( v 65). But he drove the Philistines back and put them to everlasting reproach in 1 Sam 5.6-12 (v 66).

Psa 78.67-72 tells us that God’s choice for the site of the Temple was going to be Judah, and Jerusalem and David was to be king. He rejected Joseph and Ephraim (a parallelism) as the tribe that the king would come from (v 67), but he chose Judah as the kingly tribe. Joseph and Ephraim preeminent for awhile with Joshua and Saul because God permitted it temporarily, but Judah was always going to be the kingly tribe (Gen 49.10). Mount Zion was the most important spot to Judah (v 68). As a result, the Temple was built there and it connected heaven and earth (Gen 28.10-19; John 1.51), and he chose David from the sheepfolds to be the king (v 69-70). His care for the ewes with suckling lambs prepared his heart to shepherd his people, so he shepherded them (was king) and served his people with skillful (understanding) palms, not with” hands” which implies power (v 71-72).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 74-76

Psa 74.1-23 is a psalm by Asaph that gives insight into the afflictions that would befall Israel and the Kahal later on in time. It will also allude to the birth-pains and the False Messiah. The heading reads, “A Maskil (instruction) of Asaph (to gather).” Some believe that this psalm was written after the Babylonians destroyed the Temple, and others believe it was written after the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes. If that is true, Asaph here is not the musician of David and Solomon’s era. On the other hand, there are others who believe that the Asaph here is the one who lived at the time of David and Solomon (1 Chr 25.1-2; 2 Chr 29.30).

Psa 74.1-2 is a plea for God to remember Israel. He lived during the time of David and Solomon and knew first hand times of peace, but he also knew about times of affliction in dealing with the enemies of Israel. It was during those times that it seemed that God had “rejected” Israel, the people he redeemed from Egypt and purchased going back to the time of Abraham.

Psa 74 3-7 seems to be referring to the destruction of the Temple. Asaph wants God to run to their aid toward the “perpetual ruins” and he could be referring to the Mishkan in Shiloh or speaking prophetically about the destruction of the Temple, or God’s “spiritual” Temple Israel. The enemy has damaged the sanctuary and that has been done many times in history (v 3). The enemy has roared in the midst of “thy meeting place” and have set up false idolatrous practices. They destroyed the Temple with the violence of woodmen cutting down a tree in that way they used their axes (v 4-5). They break down “all its carved work” (1 Kings 6.18) with a hatchet (v 6). They burned the sanctuary with intent (2 Kings 25.9) and defiled the dwelling place of God’s name Yehovah (v 7).

Psa 74.8-11 tells us they said in their hearts “let us subdue them” with cruelty and burned all the places where Israel assembled (v 8). Regular worship has stopped and there are no prophets who can tell us how long the persecution will last (v 9). With no sign of imminent redemption they ask “How long will the enemy revile, and the enemy blaspheme they name?” The enemy has rejected the full revelation of who Yehovah is (v 10). How long will God withhold his “right hand” (his power) in his bosom (hidden away). Asaph pleads for the destruction of the enemy.

Psa 74.12-18 is a reading for Yom Kippur, a Yom Ha Din. In spite of all of the afflictions, God is still king and works deliverance in all the land (v 12). He divided the sea (Red Sea) so that Israel could cross and he broke the “heads” (Pharaoh and his leading princes) of the sea monsters (allies) in the waters (v 13). He crushed the heads (plural) of Leviathan (a name for Pharaoh and the False Messiah in Jewish eschatology-Gen 3.15; Hab 3.13; Rev 13.1) and gave him as food for the creatures in the wilderness (Ezek 29.2-7; 32.2-8; Rev 19.20-21). This “feast” is called the “Feast of Leviathan” and it is related to what happens to the Azazel goat on Yom Kippur (v 14). Yeshua will return to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur to destroy the False Messiah and establish his kingdom on earth (Matt 24.29-31). He brought water out of the rock for Israel to drink (Exo 17.5; Num 20.11) and dried up the Jordan so that Israel could cross in Josh 3.13 (v 15). He has control over the fixed order of nature (v 16). He has established all the boundaries of the nations and has created the seasons (v 17).

Psa 74.18-21 tells us that God is in control and is master over all the natural forces, so remember how the enemy has rejected your sovereignty and reviled us and rejected all this (v 18). Do not deliver the life of “thy turtledove” (Israel-Song 2.14) to the “wild beast” (the enemies of Israel) and do not forget the life of thine afflicted (v 19). Consider the covenant (at Sinai) because the dark places (dangerous) are full of cruel people and they are vulnerable (v 20). Do not refuse to help the oppressed and dishonored for trusting in you, but let the afflicted and needy thank you for their deliverance (v 21).

Psa 74.22-23 says arise and “plead thine own cause” meaning God’s cause is his people and his covenant with them. Remember how the “degenerate man” reproaches you all day long. The Targum (Aramaic paraphrase) says, “The foolish king” and it alludes to the False Messiah (v 22). He concludes by asking God not to forget the voice of their tormentors who rise to eradicate God’s presence and worldwide influence, and so will the False Messiah (v 23).

Psa 75.1-10 may be a continuation of Psa 74 and it tells us about the judgment of God upon the wicked and proud sinners and this is a source of praise for the righteous. It also alludes to the False Messiah and how the Lord will not let him corrupt the earth with idolatry and false doctrine (Rev 11.18. Israel will be in anguish and it will intensify as the Second Redemption draws near. They will be terrified and trampled but they will return to Yehovah (Hos 5.15). The heading reads, “For the Conductor, Al-tashet. A Psalm by Asaph, with musical accompaniment.” Al-tashet means “do not destroy” (Israel).

Psa 75.1-5 begins with a repetition of the phrase “unto thee do we give thanks” because it emphasizes the attitude of the Kahal to bless Yehovah. God’s name and word are declared by everyone everywhere (v 1). Yehovah says when he selects the appointed time (moed or festival) “it is I who will judge with equity.” These words indicate it is Yom Ha Din and there are only two days in the year that are called a Yom Ha Din, Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah) and Yom Kippur (v 2). The earth and all the inhabitants thereof will “melt” (come apart) with fear (Exo 15.15-16; Zech 14.12; 2 Pet 3.12). It is the Lord who has finally set its pillars and established it, and will perpetuate it (v 3). He tells the boastful not to boast, and to the wicked he says not to lift up their “horn” or power (v 4). Yehovah tells them not to lift up their horn against the righteous and not to speak with insolent pride. This will be the problem with the False Messiah in Job 41.34 (v 5).

Psa 75.5-8 says that success does not come from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert (south). The north is omitted here because that is the direction of the dwelling of God (Isa 14.13). Men will comb the earth for gold and riches but it is not their effort that but God who blesses (Matt 6.24). Here is some insight into this. Property is called “Nichashim” because they “nich sim” or “vanish and disappear” from one owner to the next. Coins are called “Zuzim” because they “zazim” (move away) from one to another. Funds are called “mammon” because we ask their possessor to “man’neh” (count) it before its gone. Pieces of currency are called “ma’ot” because we wonder (Mah’l’et) what is the value of something which last only a short time (v 6). But Yehovah is the judge (in the north) and he puts down one and exalts another (v 7). The Jewish concept on this says that since creation God has been making “ladders” to raise one man above another (John 1.51). There is a cup in the hand of Yehovah and the wine foams (strong) and it is well mixed (full measure-Rev 14.10) and he pours out of this his judgment. The wicked of the earth must drink and drain the dregs (swallow the bitter punishment) until God is finished with his judgment (v 8).

Psa 75.9-10 tells us that a praise is taken up again and the writer will praise Yehovah and declare the power of God’s vengeance (v 9). God responds by cutting off the horns (power) of the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up in victory. God gives the assurance that salvation is imminent (v 10).

Psa 76.1-2 seems to be written after the Assyrians were defeated during the reign of Hezekiah. That would make it a prophecy of the war of Gog and Magog in Ezek 38-39. Some believe this to be true for several reasons. The Septuagint (LXX) entitles this psalm as “AN Ode to the Assyrians.” This is backed up by the Latin Vulgate and the Ethiopic versions. Psa 76.3 seems to indicate that God broke the arrows of the bow and we know that not one arrow was shot into Jerusalem when Assyria laid siege to it (2 Kings 19.22). Psa 76.5 says that the “stout-hearted were plundered and they sank into sleep (death); and none of the warriors could use his hands.” No enemy fell at or near Jerusalem in the time of David and Solomon. That means the author Asaph may have lived at a later date than David and Solomon, or Asaph prophesied about the defeat of the Assyrians because he was a prophet in many of his writings (1 Chr 25.1; 2 Chr 29.30).

If prophetic, it not only talks about the Assyrians, but it also alludes to Gog and Magog (Russia) in the Day of the Lord. We know that the war of Gog and Magog will happen at the end of the third year of the birth-pains and the beginning of the fourth year, around Yom Kippur and Sukkot, so this psalm has been a Sukkot reading and the Song of the Day for Tishri 15, the first day of Sukkot. The third possibility is Asaph is a descendant of the Asaph in David and Solomon’s time and wrote this at a later time. The heading reads, “For the Conductor; on Neginot (stringed instruments used in the Temple), a Psalm of Asaph; a song.”

Psa 76.1-3 says that God is known in Judah (the Temple was there) and his name has been made known by Israel (v 1). His abode (sukkah) was in Salem (Jerusalem) and his dwelling place is in Zion (v 2). There he broke the flaming arrows, the shield, and the sword and the weapons of war (like when the Assyrians were defeated-2 Kings 19.32; Isa 37.33). This will also apply to the invasion of Gog and Magog (Russia) at the end of the third year of the birth-pains (v 3).

Psa 76 4-7 tells us that God is more “resplendent” (with light) and more majestic than the mountains of prey, or the lions, the invaders (v 4). The stouthearted (bereft of reason) were plundered and sank deep into sleep (death) and none of the warriors could use his hands to hold weapons (v 5). By the power of his word he rebukes the chariot (a mobile firing platform, like an ancient tank) and horse and the rider and horse were cast into a deep sleep, meaning “dead” (v 6). It is impossible for any man to stand before Yehovah, and nobody hostile to him will be able to carry out his plans unless Yehovah allows it, and he should be feared (v 7).

Psa 76.8-10 says that God caused his judgment (will) to be heard in the world from heaven and mankind was still (when the angel was sent from heaven and destroyed the Assyrians, when Yehovah arose to judgment to save the humble (like Hezekiah) of Israel (v 8-9). For the wrath of man (Asssyrians) shall turn in to a time of praise to Yehovah (v 10).

Psa 76.11-12 says that vows were made to Yehovah in times such as these, so they need to fulfill those vows, and let all the nations who gather in Israel to be closer to Yehovah bring their gifts of tribute and honor (v 11). He will “cut down” like the harvest of wine the arrogant spirit of the non-Jewish rulers (princes) and will take away the courage of the kings of the earth (Psa 2.5) and Yehovah will terrify them, like he did to the king of Assyria (v 12).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament