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

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