Psalm 89


Psalm 89:1–22

God’s Essence, the Davidic Covenant and the Crucifixion


Outline of Chapter 89:

 

         Introduction         Psalm 89 Introduction

 

         Inscription            Psalm 89 Inscription

 

         vv.     1–2           Introduction: God’s Grace is Forever

         vv.     3–4           Introduction: God’s Covenant with David is Forever

         vv.     5–8           God’s Essence: No One Among the Angels is as Awesome as God

         vv.     9–14         God’s Essence: God’s Great Power

         vv.    15–18         God’s Essence: Blessed are Those Who Put their Trust in Him

         vv.    19–21         The Davidic Covenant: God Chooses David and Empowers Him

         vv.    22–25         The Davidic Covenant: God Exalts David and Establishes his Reign

         vv.    26–29         The Davidic Covenant: David’s Intimate Relationship with God

         vv.    30–37         The Davidic Covenant: Warnings to Israel, but God’s Promises to David Still Stand

         vv.    38–40         Rejection and Crucifixion: God Rejects Israel; He Judges His Messiah

         vv.    41–45         Rejection and Crucifixion: The Messiah is Publically Humiliated

         vv.    46–48         Rejection and Crucifixion: How Long Will this Go On? Where Are You, God?

         vv.    49–51         Conclusion: The Reproach of All Taken by His Anointed

         v.       52           Conclusion: Benediction

 

         Addendum          Psalm 89 Addendum


Charts, Short Doctrines and Maps:

 

         Introduction         Psalm 89 in Outline Form

         Introduction         Barnes Outlines Psalm 89

         Introduction         Clarke Separates Psalm 89 into Two Grand Parts

         Introduction         Why Did God Include Psalm 89 in the Canon of Scripture?

 

         Inscription            Theories as to the Authorship and Time Period of Psalm 89

 

         v.       1              God’s Essence—a Theme of Psalm 89

         v.       2              The Edification Complex of the Soul

         v.       2              The God-ward and Man-ward Sides of the Edification Complex

         v.       4              Early Parallels in Psalm 89

         v.       4              David’s Greater Son will Rule Forever (the Unconditional Covenant)

         v.       4              The Conditional Covenant

         v.       6              Who is like You, O God?

         v.       9              God and the Seas

         v.      10              Who is Rahab?

         v.      10              The Doctrine of Rahab

         v.      12              A Map of Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon

         v.      12              Mount Tabor

         v.      12              Mount Hermon

         v.      12              Musings about Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon

         v.      12              Non-Living Things which Rejoice

         v.      16              The Invoking of God’s Name

         v.      16              A Holy War

         v.      16              It is God’s Righteousness, not Ours

         v.      17              What Christ is to Us

         v.      18              What the Lâmed Preposition does to Psalm 89:18

         v.      19              Three Interpretations of Psalm 89:19

         v.      21              Type and Antitype in Psalm 89:20–21

         v.      25              A Map of David’s Kingdom

         v.      26              The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Rock in the Old Testament

         v.      26              The Trinity in the Old Testament (the Abbreviated Version)

         v.      26              The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Fatherhood of God

         v.      27              The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Firstborn

         v.      27              Jesus Christ the Most High

         v.      29              The Seed of David

         v.      29              The Man-ward Side of Psalm 89:19–29

         v.      29              The God-ward Side of Psalm 89:19–29

         v.      31              The Synonymia of Psalm 89:30–31

         v.      34              Psalm 89:30–34 and Parallel Passages

         v.      34              Summary Points: Psalm 89:30–34 Applied to David’s Sons

         v.      34              Summary Points: Psalm 89:30–34 Applied to David’s Greater Son

         v.      38              God’s Covenant with David and God’s Rejection of Israel

         v.      38              The Great Circle of Psalm 89

         v.      41              God Allows Israel to be Plundered

         v.      44              The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Hypostatic Union

         v.      45              The Apparent Contradictions of the Messiah to Come

         v.      45              The Parallel Paths of Psalm 89:38–45

         v.      45              How the Questions of Psalm 89:38–45 are Answered by Psalm 89:38–45

         v.      46              Ethan’s Final Questions to God

         v.      47              Man’s Life is Relatively Short

         v.      47              What God has Promised is Eternal

         v.      48              Scofield on Sheol

         v.      48              Scofield on Hades

         v.      48              Scofield on Hellfire (Gehenna)

         v.      48              Scofield on the Second Death

         v.      50              The Shame and Scorn Heaped Upon Israel

         v.      50              The Holy Spirit Answers the Psalmist Using his very own Words

         v.      51              Two Translations and Interpretations of Psalm 89:51

         v.      51              The Enemies of God Reviled the Heels of Jesus

         v.      51              Summarizing Psalm 89

         v.      51              The First and Final Verses of Each Section of the Psalms

 

         Addendum          A Complete Translation of Psalm 89

         Addendum          Psalms Parallel to Psalm 89


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

The Doctrine of Rahab

 

Angelic Conflict

Intercalation

The Rock in the Old Testament

 

Fatherhood of God

The Trinity in the Old Testament

God Still Speaks to the Jews from the Old Testament

 

Firstborn

Sheol


Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Lev. 26

2Sam. 7

2Sam. 8

2Sam. 10

Psalms Appropriately Exegeted in this Chapter

 

 

 

 


The following are technical terms found throughout the exegetical treatment of this chapter of the Psalms. Many or all of these terms were first coined and developed by R. B. Thieme Jr.

Definition of Terms

Client Nation

Client-Nation, is a national entity in which a certain number of spiritually mature Christians (the salt of the earth) have formed a pivot sufficient to sustain the nation and through which God specifically protects this nation so that believers can fulfill the divine mandates of evangelism, communication and custodianship of Bible doctrine, providing a haven for Jews, and sending missionaries abroad. The United States is a client-nation to God. A client nation must have freedom: Freedom to seek God, freedom to use one’s own volition and self-determination to succeed or fail, freedom from anarchy and tyranny, freedom for evangelism, freedom for believers to hear Bible teaching without government interference and, therefore, to grow spiritually, and freedom to send missionaries to other nations.

Cycles of Discipline

A national entity which is a client nation to God is under both God’s protection and His discipline (much like the individual believer). As a nation moves further and further from God, God may impose disciplinary measures on that nation, which include economic disaster, illness, civil unrest, military defeat, and even invasion which may include a slavery or dispersion of the people. These cycles are found in Lev. 26. Although these warnings are designed for Israel, all client nations to God may face similar downward historical trends.

Davidic Covenant

A covenant (contract, agreement) which God makes with David which include the promise that David would have a Son Who would rule over Israel forever and that Israel would occupy a huge chunk of land (today, the equivalent of Israel, Jordan, Syria and Iraq, as well as portions of the Sinai Peninsula and Saudi Arabia). This covenant is eternal and unconditional. Footnote

Divine Decree

The Divine Decree of God refers to his eternal, holy, wise and sovereign purpose. God simultaneously comprehended all things that ever were or ever would be. He comprehended every event that would ever take place, along with its causes and interaction with other events, and he knew in eternity past every decision mankind would ever make.


The Decree of God is His eternal and immutable will with regard to all future events, and the precise manner and order of their occurrence (Eph. 1:11: Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose Who works all things after the counsel of His will). The word ‘Decree’ refers to the eternal plan by which God has rendered all of the events of the universe as certain. This includes past, present and future angelic and human history. The Decree of God is the chosen and adopted plan of God for all of His works. It is His eternal purpose according to the counsels of His own will whereby, for His own glory, He has foreordained all that will ever come to pass.

Edification complex of the Soul

We build within our own souls a structure based upon doctrine from the Word of God. This structure gives us the very framework from which our lives are defined, guided and made content. More info is found here (there is a second part to this lesson as well):

http://www.gracedoctrine.org/word/Doctrines/Edification%20Complex%20of%20the%20Soul,%20Part%201.htm

Eternity Past

Time is an invention of God, and we find ourselves within the concept of time. However, prior to God inventing time, there is, what we call, eternity past, a time and place, if you will, before time and place existed. It is here when God made the Divine Decree (above).

Fifth Cycle of Discipline

The fifth cycle of discipline involves complete loss of personal and national sovereignty, the destruction of the family and the nation. Offerings to God are unacceptable. Nations which have undergone this destruction have experienced slavery, cannibalism, and the assimilation of its surviving citizens into other cultures.

GAP

GAP is an acronym for grace apparatus for perception. The idea is, God has made it possible for all believers, no matter what their IQ, to take in doctrine and to understand doctrine. Any believer, no matter what his or her IQ, can grow spiritually; and their spiritual growth is never hampered by their IQ (although, some high IQ types may try to over think a doctrine or find some clever way to justify some personal sin or failing, and fail to grow in that area).

Hypostatic Union

In the person of Jesus Christ since His physical birth [incarnation], there are two natures, undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever. These two natures—human and divine—remain distinct and are inseparably united without mixture or loss of identity, without loss or transfer of attributes. This means that the Lord Jesus Christ is just as much God as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit and at the same time He is also just as much human as you and I. He is undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever. This union is known as the hypostatic union.


The two natures of Christ maintain their complete identity while being joined in personal union forever. The characteristics of His human nature belong to the human part of Him; the characteristics of His divine nature belong to the God part of Him. Each nature has its own attributes that adhere to that nature. In other words, there is no mixture of the two natures. He is never half-God and half-man or half-man and half-God..

Impersonal Love

Loving others on the basis of your own character and not on the basis of their failings and shortcomings. This is called agape love in the Bible.

JEPD Theory

The JEPD theory is also called Documentary Hypothesis and Form Criticism. This is the theory that there were originally two manuscripts which were interwoven to make the Law of Moses. The writer of one manuscript favored the name Jehovah and the other favored the name Elohim. A priest later took these two manuscripts and wove them together, throwing in a lot of pro-priest stuff. Another writer came along later and wrote Deuteronomy. The basis of this theory is, historians did not believe that writing existed during the time of Moses. So, if writing did not exist, then Moses could not have written the Law. If Moses did not write it, then someone else wrote it. After that, they went bonkers with this theory. Even though archeologists have discovered writing which predates Moses, this theory persists in hundreds of seminaries throughout the world. The Satanic purpose of this theory is to question whether Moses wrote the Torah (Moses’ authorship is attested to in both the Old and New Testaments; and by Jesus). If Moses did not write the Torah, then the Bible is filled with inaccuracies, meaning it cannot be the Word of God. Josh McDowell deals with this theory in great detail in his book, More Evidence Which Demands a Verdict revised and reprinted in The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Footnote

Kenosis

During the dispensation of the hypostatic union, the doctrine of kenosis tells us that our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use of His divine attributes in compliance with the Father's plan for the Incarnation and the First Advent. This means that Jesus Christ did not use the attributes of His divine nature to benefit Himself, to provide for Himself, to glorify Himself, or to act independently of the plan of God for the Church-age by any compromise of the spiritual life.

Personal Love

This is loving a person (or an object) because of their attractiveness to you. Obviously, God is always deserving of our personal love, and people gain our personal love from time to time.

Progressive Revelation

Progressive revelation simply means that God reveals Himself progressively. As we read about God and His decree in the Bible, it is not revealed to us all at once. Although we find suggestions of the Trinity in Gen. 1, it is not until the New Testament that the concept of the Trinity is revealed well enough to more fully comprehend it. God’s grace and judgment, and what He would do about sin, is first mentioned in Gen. 3; further elaborated on when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his firstborn (by Sarah); and fulfilled by the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Rebound

You get out of fellowship by sinning. You get back into fellowship by naming your known sins to God. God then forgives you for the sins which you named and any other sins which you also committed (1John 1:9). This process is known as rebound.

Spiritual Atlas

Often, during a time of national crisis, God promotes one man who, for all intents and purposes, carries his nation on his shoulders. God protects and even prospers a nation based upon the spiritual Atlas of that day. We have historical examples of Israel under Moses, Joshua and David (among many others) and Rome under Paul. In the Church Age, there can be many people who function as spiritual Atlases in any given period of time.

Many of these terms were coined by R. B. Thieme Jr. during his 50+ year ministry at Berachah Church.

Some of these definitions are taken from

http://www.bibledoctrinechurch.org/?subpages/GLOSSARY.shtml

http://www.bigrick.org/pubs/terms.pdf

http://www.gbible.org/_files/pdf/Doctrine_of_The_Divine_Decree.pdf

http://www.gbible.org/index.php?proc=d4d&sf=rea&did=28

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics/chastisement.html

These words are linked to their first occurrences in the exegesis below.



An Introduction to Psalm 89


I ntroduction: Psalm 89 is an intimidating psalm. It is long and it covers a lot of ground. God’s covenant with David is found here, as is the 5th Cycle of Discipline for Israel (Lev. 26), as is the crucifixion. There are many parallel verses, whose significance I may not be able to fully uncover, although I will endeavor to do so. There are many parallel prophecies throughout this psalm, particularly at the end, where, sometimes it is clear that God is disciplining Israel and others where He is pouring our sins out upon His Son; and often, the prophecies apply to both.


One of the controversies concerning this psalm is, shouldn’t this be 3 psalms, as there are clearly 3 sections to this psalm? Vv. 5–18 speak of God’s great power and essence. Vv. 19–37 is the Davidic Covenant. Vv. 38–48 appears as if God has reject Israel, rejected David’s seed, and clearly refer to the crucifixion. These 3 parts of book ended by and introduction and a conclusion. One could, without a great deal of force, affix the introduction to the first section and affix the conclusion to the final section. The problem is, the 3rd section seems rather bleak, and, on its own, is quite the downer—and the final couple lines Blessed is Jehovah forever, Amen and Amen! seem to be way out of place to be affixed to this 3rd section. However, affixing these final lines to the entire psalm, which is far more than the despair of the final section, does make sense. The 3rd section is, in any case, quite disconcerting, but it is meant to be so.

 

The NET Bible states the theme of this psalm simply: The psalmist praises God as the sovereign creator of the world. He recalls God's covenant with David, but then laments that the promises of the covenant remain unrealized. Footnote

 

The NIV Study Bible goes into slightly more detail: Psalm 89 is a prayer that mourns the downfall of the Davidic dynasty and pleads for its restoration. the bitter shock of that event (reflected partially in the sudden transition of v. 38) is almost unbearable—that God, the faithful and almighty One, has abandoned His anointed and made Him the mockery of the nations, in seeming violation of His firm covenant with David—and it evokes from the psalmist a lament that borders on reproach (vv. 38–45). The event may have been the attack on Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the exile of King Jehoiachin in 597 b.c. (see 2Kings 24:8–17). Footnote


The key to this psalm is apprehending its complete essence. When I have understood the overall intent of the psalm I am studying, then I feel as if I have achieved the most important aspect of it, from which all commentary will come. This psalm is not merely a restatement of the Davidic Covenant bookended with a bunch of other things (Praise be to God; God is really great!). The psalmist writes of God’s character, that He is gracious and can be depended upon. God gave David these promises, which make up the Davidic Covenant, and that reveals His graciousness. God will keep His promises to David and to Israel because He is faithful; He can be depended upon. But then, at the very end of this psalm—for the final 3rd of this psalm—the psalmist paints this bleak picture of God’s relationship with Israel. Where is God? How long will He endure the reproach leveled against His Own people? How long will He endure these reproaches against Himself? What this does is, take us from the time of David, and follow out the history of the Jews right up to this point in time. Every Jew who reads Psalm 89 should look at the final 3rd and strongly identify with these words. His questions and complaints and feelings of dismay should parallel those of the psalmist. That is what this psalm is all about. These are words written 3000 years ago, words which will pierce the soul of any Jew who reads them; words which will bring all of the questions and doubts of the Jew today to the forefront of his own thinking, if he will even admit these things to himself. This understanding of this psalm explains why this is a cohesive psalm; why these are not just 3 psalms accidentally thrown together or pieced together for no apparent reason at some later date. Footnote These 3 parts belong together; they form a cohesive whole, which, taken as a whole, have great meaning, from the time of Rehoboam until this very day.


What is even more remarkable is, in the final few verses of this psalm, we have this parallel meaning throughout. The psalmist questions God, the state of Israel, and God’s being able to fulfill His promises to Israel. These are very serious concerns of the psalmist. However, in the parallel narrative—in the very words which the psalmist questions God fulfilling His covenant to David—the psalmist also provides the solution, the key to God fulfilling His promises to David. This is not found back in 2Sam. 7. The way that the psalmist artfully answers his own questions at the same time that he poses these concerns is literary genius. He asks a question and the very words which he uses to ask the question also answers the question.


All that I can tell you from a personal level, is that, when I understood what was going on here, what the psalmist was saying and what God the Holy Spirit was communicating to us, using the same words, my jaw dropped in amazement. To the best of my knowledge, in examining the words of the psalmist, I don’t even think that the psalmist himself realized just how his concerns and questions were being addressed using the same words that the psalmist himself penned. It is simply amazing and mind-boggling. You may not quite get what I am saying yet, but I will try to pull all of this together around v. 38, before we actually complete the psalm.


The order of this psalm is quite interesting. Many times, psalms begin with the writer in difficult straights, and yet comes out the other end (the end of the psalm) with words of encouragement and his power in Jehovah Elohim. However, this psalm starts out with powerful things said about Jehovah Elohim and His covenant with David, along with God’s character, and then it ends on a low note, as if the psalmist is saying, “Where are you, God? When will You fulfill Your promise to David and to Israel?” This puts this psalm into perfect chronological order; God’s covenant with David being promised, His character being well-known to those with doctrine, and then a period of time (from 586 b.c. and forward) where Israel looks to God, asking Him, “When will You keep this promise to David?”


In the end times, Jews are going to be evangelized in many ways. There will not be a church here. We will be raptured away. So, all that will be here is the Word of God. At that point in time, I think that some Jews will go to the book of Esther, where God’s provisions and protection are obvious, but no one in this book even utters His name or prays to Him (they fast, but that is a whole different thing). Some Jews will, knowing this book, have a sudden epiphany: that is me! God has always been here! He has never deserted me! I have deserted Him! Psalm 89 is going to affect other Jews. Some Jews will wonder about their past, and about all of these promises which God made to their ancestors—particularly to David; and they will wonder, is there anything to God’s previous promises to us as a people or is there anything to the promises which God made to David? And then they will read Psalm 89, about God’s power and character and essence; then about His promises to David—which promises stand forever; and then, at the end, there is this bleakness, this discipline, this calling out for God...and then the psalm stops. And the Jew will realize, when he reads or hears this psalm: this is God’s history with Israel and it has brought me from the past so many years ago to today, and this psalm tells me exactly where I am today.


This is the exact same outline as I have offered originally, I have just put it into an outline form.

Psalm 89 in Outline Form

Scripture

Commentary

vv. 1–4

         vv.     1–2

         vv.     3–4

Introduction

God’s Grace is Forever

God’s Covenant with David is Forever

vv. 5–18

         vv.     5–8

         vv.     9–14

         vv.    15–18

God’s Essence

No One is as Awesome as God

God’s Great Power

Blessed are Those Who Put their Trust in Him

vv. 19–37

         vv.    19–21

         vv.    22–25

         vv.    26–29

         vv.    30–33

         vv.    34–37

The Davidic Covenant

God Chooses David

              God Empowers and Extends David’s Rule 

David’s Intimate Relationship with God

Warnings to Israel

God’s Promises to David Still Stand

vv. 38–48

         vv.    38–40

         vv.    41–45

         vv.    46–48

Rejection and Crucifixion

God Rejects Israel

The Messiah is Publically Humiliated

How Long Will this Go On? Where Are You, God?

vv. 49–52

         vv.    49–51

         v.       52 

The Conclusion

The Reproach of All Taken by His Anointed

Benediction

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


This psalm, like any other, is best apprehended as a whole, so I may present several outlines.

Barnes Outlines Psalm 89

Part

Description

I.

The promise made to David in respect to the perpetuity of his throne, Psalm 89:1-37. The illustration of this occupies a considerable part of the psalm.

II.

The fact that this promise seemed to be disregarded; that the “covenant” had been “made void;” that the “crown” had been “profaned,” and “cast to the ground.” Psalm 89:38–45.

III.

An earnest plea for the divine interposition in the fulfillment of the promise, and the restoration of the divine favor and mercy. Psalm 89:46–52.

From Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the Old Testament; from e-Sword, Psalm 89 introduction (slightly edited).

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Clarke sees it quite differently.

Clarke Separates Psalm 89 into Two Grand Parts

Verses

Commentary

Vv. 1–37

The first part shows God’s mercy to the house of David, and the promises which he has given to it of support and perpetuity.

Vv. 38–51

In the second part, the author complains that notwithstanding these promises, the kingdom of Judah is overthrown and the royal family ruined; and he entreats the Lord to remember his covenant made with that family, and restore them from their captivity.

Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible; from e-Sword, Psalm 89 introduction (slightly edited).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


It is reasonable to ask, why do we have the Davidic Covenant here? It is already given to us in 2Sam. 7, so why do we need to hear about it again? God interacts with man—particularly in the Age of Israel—with covenants, and this particular covenant is extremely important. God speaks to David about the son which will follow him (Solomon), about the kings who will come from him (David’s descendants) and his Greater Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, this is an important covenant. Today, when we pick up our Bibles, it is all there, in one book. In fact, we often just take this for granted. But these are God’s words to us. To believers in the ancient world, there would be dozens of ancient scrolls, and they may not have access to the entire Old Testament at any given time. In this way, whether reading the psalms or the historical book of Samuel, believers would have access to this covenant. Also, in the reading cycle in the synagogues, the Davidic Covenant would come up more often, as it is found both here and in Samuel. Also, we have more details in this psalm than we find in the historical book of Samuel. That in itself is interesting. God cannot alter His covenant in a later presentation of it, but He can frame this covenant in a more full and complete context, which is what we have here. Finally, and most importantly, there is much more to this psalm than the Davidic Covenant. The end of the psalm clearly presents Israel as rejected by God (more accurately, temporarily set aside by God) and parallels the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as well. It ends with the psalmist asking God how much longer will He hide Himself, and asking God to remember His covenant with David.


Any Jew, at any time in history, who has a reasonable knowledge of his own history, will be struck by the plaintiveness of this psalmist, who probably wrote prior to the dispersion of Judah (in 586 b.c.) and quite obviously, long before the destruction of Jerusalem (in 70 a.d.), yet he sounds as if, he is speaking to God after these two national dispersions. The psalmist will, in effect, be speaking for the Jew who is reading this psalm, whether that Jew reads this psalm today or after the beginning of the Tribulation.


The doctrine which follows is the key to understanding this psalm as a whole.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


This is extremely important, so let’s summarize:

Why Did God Include Psalm 89 in the Canon of Scripture?

1.      Let us first acknowledge the problem: the Davidic Covenant is found back in 2Sam. 7; why do we need to have it again in the psalms?

2.      Throughout the ages, various people are going to have access to various portions of the Bible. Even though, most of us today have the entire Bible in hand, many Jews in the past might have a group of psalms, or a handful of books. Therefore, for those who need to know this information, it can be found in two places, which may have been helpful to individual Jews (and Gentiles) over the centuries.

3.      The Davidic Covenant is an important part of God’s relationship to the Jews. Given the reading cycle which would be done in the many synagogues, the Davidic Covenant would come up more often than other information.

4.      We get more details and more texture here of the Davidic Covenant, giving it an entirely new context, but without changing anything.

5.      The Davidic Covenant is laid side-by-side the dispersion of Israel, Judah, and then the Jews in 70 a.d.

6.      The Davidic Covenant here is laid side-by-side the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Apart from His sacrifice, we have no relationship to God, nor does any Jew.

7.      This psalm is meant to evangelistically reach out to the Jewish unbeliever (1) as an exile under any dispersion under the 5th Cycle of Discipline; (2) as an unbelievers in the Church Age; (3) and as an unbeliever during the Tribulation. The Jew who is searching for God, questioning his historic relationship with the God of the Old Testament, begins to read this psalm, and God speaks to him in this psalm. He comes to the end of this psalm, after God has spoken of His own character, power and faithfulness; and God gives this covenant to David—which covenant is to stand forever; and the Jew comes to the end of this psalm, where the psalmist cries out to God, “Where are You? Why have You deserted us?” And the psalmist answers, at the end of the psalm, that God’s anointed took upon Himself the reproach of the fallen and sinful Jew.

8.      There are certain things in the Bible which are extremely important for us to understand, and God the Holy Spirit sometimes makes this known to us by giving the same information to us more than once. For instance, there are 4 gospels.

9.      There is much more to this psalm than simply the repetition of the Davidic Covenant. God’s character is put forth—He is both gracious and faithful. His graciousness is found in the fact that He chose David, a shepherd boy following his sheep around, and made him the most renown king of Israel. God also gave David a great set of promises, known as the Davidic Covenant. God being faithful means that, He must fulfill these promises found within this psalm. However, at the end of this psalm, God’s faithfulness is going to be questioned. The psalmist is going to ask, what about your promises to David? What about the insults of the heathen? How long will you reject us, O Lord?” What this does, is take the Jew from the Davidic Covenant, given to David in grace, and moves them to where they are today (since the division of Israel into two kingdoms). Since then, things have gotten worse and worse. The kingdom was divided, then the northern kingdom went out under the fifth cycle of discipline; then the southern kingdom went out under the fifth cycle; then the southern kingdom is restored, but without national sovereignty; and then, in 70 a.d., it is destroyed once again. Since then, this intimate relationship between God and the Jews seems to be missing. That is how this psalm ends, God’s grace and faithfulness proclaimed, but, where is it? This psalm is going to deeply move any Jew who reads it, who will follow his own history from the beginning of this psalm to the very end, leaving him with the same questions that the psalmist has.

The power of this psalm is very much in the final portion of it, where the psalmist, although recognizing God’s grace and His faithfulness, asks God the plaintive question, where are You?


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Psalm 89 Inscription

Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

A Maskil to Ethan the Ezrahite.

Psalm

89 inscription

A Maskil [instructive psalm] belonging to Ethan the Ezrahite.

An instructive psalm, written by Ethan the Ezrahite.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Arabic Version Footnote                        ...Nathan the Israelite.

Masoretic Text                       A Maskil to Ethan the Ezrahite.

Septuagint                              Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. According to Gill, this should read Etham the Israelite. Footnote

The Targum Footnote                            A good understanding, which was said by the hand of Abraham, that came from the east.

 

Significant differences:           None between my version of the LXX and the Hebrew.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       (A special psalm by Ethan the Ezrahite.)

The Message                         An Ethan prayer.

NET Bible®                             A well-written song by Ethan the Ezrachite.

New Jerusalem Bible             [Poem For Ethan the native-born]


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             Maschil. Of Ethan the Ezrahite.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible    An Instructive Psalm, by Ethan the Ezrahite.

LTHB                                     A Poem of Ethan the Ezrahite.

Young's Literal Translation     An instruction, by Ethan the Ezrahite.


What is the gist of this verse? This psalm is identified as a maskil (an instructive psalm) written by Ethan the Ezrahite.


Psalm 89 inscription a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

masekîyl (מַשְכִיל) [pronounced mahse-KEEL]

an instructive psalm; a contemplative poem; transliterated maskil

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4905 BDB #968

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾÊythân (אֵיתָן) [pronounced ay-THAWN]

permanent, enduring; transliterated Ethan

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #387 BDB #450

ʾEzerâchîy (אֶזְרָחִי) [pronounced ehz-raw-KHEE]

a native (arising out of the soil); transliterated Ezrahite

singular gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #250 BDB #280


Translation: A Maskil [instructive psalm] belonging to Ethan the Ezrahite. Although many good translations tend to transliterate this as maskil, I think that we can safely refer to this as an instructive psalm, given that there is no question about this words ties to the Hiphil (causal stem) of sâkal, which means to instruct, to make prudent, to teach. We find this used in the titles of Psalms  32, 42, 44, 45, 52–55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142. David is specifically mentioned in half of those psalms, with the following exceptions: no one is listed as the author for Psalms 42 44 45; Asaph is named as the writer of Psalms 74 78, Heman for Psalm 88 and Ethan for Psalm 89. After we cover a few more of these instructive psalms of David, then we will look at them as a whole.

 

Of this title being a Maskil, Spurgeon writes: This is most fitly called a Maschil, for it is most instructive. No subject is more important or is so fully the key to all theology as that of the covenant. He who is taught by the Holy Spirit to be clear upon the covenant of grace will be a scribe well instructed in the things of the kingdom; he whose doctrinal theory is a mingle-mangle of works and grace is scarcely fit to be teacher of babes. Footnote Spurgeon sometimes has a mingle-mangle of words, but he is simply pointing out just how important the Davidic Covenant is.


Ethan was a man known from Solomon’s day who wrote only this psalm and is mentioned in 1Kings 4:31, and he is called slightly less wise than Solomon ([Solomon] was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations). This does not tell us whether Ethan wrote prior to Solomon’s time, but was well-known as being wise. However, this does indicate that Ethan was alive during the time of David (in order for him to record this psalm) and well-known during the time of Solomon.


Ethan means strong, firm; enduring; gift of the island.


This psalm makes Ethan a prophet, because there will be things written in this psalm which look into the future. There will be times in this psalm where it will appear as though we are living after Judah’s sovereignty had been destroyed (both the line of Judah and the country Judah, also called the Southern Kingdom).


Let me insert a little history here. Israel broke into two countries after the time of Solomon, into the northern and southern kingdoms (the Northern Kingdom is often called Israel, Samaria, Ephraim; the Southern Kingdom is generally called Judah, in honor of the tribe which essentially occupied this area). Ephraim was taken out as a nation in 723 b.c. under the fifth cycle of discipline and Judah went out under the fifth cycle of discipline in 586 b.c. (the cycles of discipline are described in Lev. 26). Judah did return to the land in 516 b.c. under an edict from Cyrus the Great. When Jews returned to the Southern Kingdom in 516 b.c., it was no longer a sovereign nation under control of the kingly line of David. So, from 586 b.c. down to this very day, some of the things which we read in this psalm are apropos. Psalm, 89:38–39 reads: But You have cast off and rejected us; You have passed over on Your anointed. You have turned away from the covenant of Your servant; You have defiled his crown on the ground. Psalm 89:49–41 reads: Lord, where are Your former kindnesses that You swore to David in Your faithfulness? Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants, my bearing in my bosom the insults of the many peoples with which Your enemies have cursed, O Jehovah; with which they have cursed the footsteps of Your anointed. So the psalmist speaks of a time when Israel will feel as though God has disregarded this covenant with David.

 

Along these same lines, Keil and Delitzsch write: The circumstances in which the writer of Psalms 89 finds himself are in most striking contradiction to the promises given to the house of David. He revels in the contents of these promises, and in the majesty and faithfulness of God, and then he pours forth his intense feeling of the great distance between these and the present circumstances in complaints over the afflicted lot of the anointed of God, and prays God to be mindful of His promises, and on the other hand, of the reproach by which at this time His anointed and His people are overwhelmed. Footnote


The problem is simple: a portion of this psalm appears to be written from the standpoint of 586 b.c. or later. This is not really a problem. There is no reason why Ethan could not have simply presented this material from a prophetic standpoint.

So there is no confusion here, I do not present these theories as being on an equal footing with mine. I am just passing along exegetical information in this short doctrine, most of which I believe is false. However, Gill does make an important point, Keil and Delitzsch understand it perfectly, and Spurgeon seems to also get this completely right.

Theories as to the Authorship and Time Period of Psalm 89

Scripture

Commentary

DeWitte

DeWette supposes that it must have been written about the time of the exile, as the family of David is represented in the psalm as dishonored and dethroned - and yet before the exile, as there is no mention of the destruction of the city and temple. He accords, therefore, with the opinion of Venema that it was not far from the time of the death of Josiah...The author he supposes to be either a successor of David - an humbled monarch - or, someone who personates the king, and who represents the calamity of the king as his own. Footnote

Gill

There was another Ethan, a singer, in David's time; and it is more probable that he is the person, who might live to the times of Rehoboam, and see the decline of David's family, and the revolt of the ten tribes from it; or perhaps it was one of this name who lived in the times of the Babylonish captivity, and saw the low estate that David's family were come into; to which agrees the latter part of this psalm; and, in order to comfort the people of God, he wrote this psalm, showing that the covenant and promises of God, made with David, nevertheless stood firm, and would be accomplished. Footnote

Hengstenberg

Hengstenberg also supposes that it was composed between the time of the death of Josiah and the Babylonian exile. There is a strong probability in the psalm itself that it was composed at such a period, but it is impossible to determine the exact time, or the precise occasion. Footnote

Henry

It is uncertain when it was penned; only, in general, that it was at a time when the house of David was woefully eclipsed; some think it was at the time of the captivity of Babylon, when king Zedekiah was insulted over, and abused, by Nebuchadnezzar, and then they make the title to signify no more than that the psalm was set to the tune of a song of Ethan the son of Zerah, called Maschil; others suppose it to be penned by Ethan, who is mentioned in the story of Solomon, who, outliving that glorious prince, thus lamented the great disgrace done to the house of David in the next reign by the revolt of the ten tribes. Footnote

Keil and Delitzsch

Keil and Delitzsch present the most sensible approach: The circumstances in which the writer of Psalms 89 finds himself are in most striking contradiction to the promises given to the house of David. He revels in the contents of these promises, and in the majesty and faithfulness of God, and then he pours forth his intense feeling of the great distance between these and the present circumstances in complaints over the afflicted lot of the anointed of God, and prays God to be mindful of His promises, and on the other hand, of the reproach by which at this time His anointed and His people are overwhelmed. The anointed one is...he who at that time wears the crown. The crown of the king is defiled to the ground; his throne is cast down to the earth; he is become grey-headed before his time, for all the fences of his land are broken through, his fortresses fallen, and his enemies have driven him out of the field, so that reproach and scorn follow him at every step. Footnote

Keil and Delitzsch continued

They continue: There was no occasion for such complaints in the reign of Solomon; but surely in the time of Rehoboam, into the first decade of whose reign Ethan the Ezrahite may have survived king Solomon, who died at the age of sixty. In the fifth year of Rehoboam, Shishak (שִשַכ = Σέσογχις = Shishonk I), the first Pharaoh of the twenty–second (Bubastic) dynasty, marched against Jerusalem with a large army gathered together out of many nations, conquered the fortified cities of Judah, and spoiled the Temple and Palace, even carrying away with him the golden shields of Solomon—a circumstance which the history bewails in a very special manner. At that time Shemaiah preached repentance, in the time of the greatest calamity of war; king and princes humbled themselves; and in the midst of judgment Jerusalem accordingly experienced the gracious forbearance of God, and was spared...Such is the narrative in the Book of Kings (1Kings 14:25–28) and as supplemented by the chronicler (2Chron. 12:1–12). Footnote

Keil and Delitzsch continued

During this very period Psalms 89 took its rise. The young Davidic king, whom loss and disgrace make prematurely old, is Rehoboam, that man of Jewish appearance whom Pharaoh Sheshonk is bringing among other captives before the god Amun in the monumental picture of Karnak, and who bears before him in his embattled ring the words Judhmelek (King of Judah)—one of the finest and most reliable discoveries of Champollion, and one of the greatest triumphs of his system of hieroglyphics. Footnote

Kukis

This is the Ethan the Ezrahite, alive during the time of David and well-known during the time of Solomon. The words found at the end of this psalm are prophetic.

Kukis—addendum

The point that Gill makes is important: this Ethan, who lived during the time of Solomon, and perhaps David, probably lived beyond Solomon’s day to see the splitting of Israel into two kingdoms, and that such a split may be seen as throwing doubt upon God’s promise. Therefore, in that spirit, he may have penned this psalm, noting both the idea that the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant may seem as if it will not be fulfilled, but God can be depended upon to bring these things to pass. The Shishonk invasion as also probably very disconcerting to Ethan. So, from his viewpoint at the end of his life, God’s promise to David may seem in jeopardy, to which Ethan will allude. His words are used by God the Holy Spirit prophetically as well, to stand for any point in time following 586 b.c.

Spurgeon

Of Ethan the Ezrahite: perhaps the same person as Jeduthun, who was a musician in David's reign; was noted for his wisdom in Solomon's days, and probably survived till the troubles of Rehoboam's period. If this be the man, he must have written this Psalm in his old age, when troubles were coming thick and heavy upon the dynasty of David and the land of Judah; this is not at all improbable, and there is much in the Psalm which looks that way. Footnote Spurgeon then adds: Of Ethan the Ezrahite: perhaps the same person as Jeduthun, who was a musician in David's reign; was noted for his wisdom in Solomon's days, and probably survived till the troubles of Rehoboam's period. If this be the man, he must have written this Psalm in his old age, when troubles were coming thick and heavy upon the dynasty of David and the land of Judah; this is not at all improbable, and there is much in the Psalm which looks that way. Footnote It is not unusual for one man to be known by more than one name.

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

This Psalm is generally supposed to have been written during the Babylonian captivity, when, the family of David being dethroned, and the royal family ruined, the Divine promises had apparently failed. Footnote

Barnes points out the supposed problem: The burden of the psalm is, that most precious promises had been made to David of the perpetuity of his throne, but that now these promises scorned to fail; that reverses and calamities had come which threatened to overturn his throne, and to bring his kingdom to an end. His “crown” had been “profaned” and “cast to the ground.”  Footnote Psalm 89:38–44 contain this sort of language.

There are certainly other theories at this point: there are two Ethan’s (both called Ezrahite). One wrote after the dispersion of the southern kingdom. Another theory would be, the words penned above were simply added to the psalm at another time. Both of these theories assume the Bible cannot be truly prophetic. Given than approximately one-fifth of the Bible is prophetic, and given that many of the most spectacular prophecies are about Jesus Christ—undeniably written long before His incarnation—it would seem silly to attempt to hold onto the idea that there is no such thing as prophecy in the Bible. So, those two theories would be based primarily upon the idea that prophecy cannot exist, which is just an invalid approach. There is no way that anyone can go through the Bible and remove and/or somehow explain all of the prophecy which is found in the Bible. It would be an exercise in futility. The explanations would make less sense that the idea that, God knows the beginning from the end, and therefore, God can tell us what is going to happen in the future. The only remaining explanation, which makes perfect sense, is that Ethan is a prophet, and these are words of prophecy, which could give voice to the Jewish sentiment any time after 586 b.c. In fact, any Jew who sits down and reads the Davidic Covenant cannot possibly do so without great emotion and without making strong demands of God: “These are Your words. Where is the reign of David? Where is his Son Who will rule forever? How can I trust You, God, for Your promises?”

Even though this psalm was written at a time which seemed bleak to the writer, that does not demand that this psalm be written during the bleakest of times. There have been many times since the division of Israel that a contemporary observer could question God’s covenant. However, difficult times do not mean that God’s promises are void.

What I often attempt to do is present the variety of theories, even when most of them are wrong. I try then to explain what is the most reasonable and logical, and hope that, in view of what those who are mistaken think, the correct explanation seems the most reasonable and logical.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


In the Tribulation, there will be the 144,000 Jewish evangelists—these are Jews who will be saved early on in the Tribulation and will spread the gospel throughout the world. These Jews will read in their Bibles a number of passages, and it will suddenly hit them—Jesus Christ is David’s Greater Son; Jesus Christ is their Messiah. They will believe. They will know they are in Daniel’s 70th week, and it will be passages like those above which will make them realize where they are in history.


There is a Levite with this name in 1Chron. 2:6–8 (where he is called the son of Zerah); and his name comes up on several places in this book as Ethan, son of Zimmah (1Chron. 6:42); Ethan son of Kishi (1Chron. 6:44); Ethan son of Kushaiah (1Chron. 15:17). For him to be one of David’s chief musicians makes perfect sense, even though we only have one surviving Psalm by him.


The kicker is Ezrahite, a designation found only in 1Kings 4:31 Psalm 88 inscription 89 inscription. In Psalm 88, it is Heman who is called an Ezrahite, and it is interesting that Heman is found in the psalm next to Ethan, as these two are named together in 1Chron. 15:17, 19. There is an Ezrah named in the line of Judah in 1Chron. 4:17, but there appears to be no other connection. However, there is very little in common between these two psalms. Psalm 88 is an individual psalm and Psalm 89 deals with national issues. As Keil and Delitzsch write: Both the poetical character and the situation of the two Psalms are distinct. Footnote


These names are sometimes a puzzle, and sometimes a puzzle which I am unable to solve. It seems peculiar for both Ethan and Heman to be found in two passages together, both called Ezrahite in two side-by-side psalms, and there are two lines leading to Ethan and Heman in 1Chron. 6:33–38 (Heman is traced back to Kohath) and 1Chron. 6:44–48, where Ethan is traced back to Merari, 2 of the 3 major Levite lines. So, I would postulate that, Ezrah is not a common ancestor to both Ethan and Heman, but that they were seen as helpers, suggesting that Ezrahite is more of a functional designation than a family name (generally speaking, an gentilic adjective refers back to a family name). The times that these two men are tied together (1Chron. 6 15 and the two side-by-side psalms), suggest to me that (1) these are the same pairs of men in each passage; and (2) since they come from fundamentally different families in the Levite line suggests that they are probably not descended from a guy named Ezrah (making them Ezrahite) (although, family lines to intersect and re-intersect at times).


So, you are wondering, what spiritual benefit is this to me? I will confess that I don’t know at this point. I would think that if your name is mentioned as a spiritual hero of some sort, that you would like them to get the facts right. However, there is one important point, which I ought to make here: these men, although they are musicians, deem the content of the material—the words of their psalms—to be the most important aspect of these songs. Therefore, they are referred to as maskils, instructive psalms.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Introduction: God's Grace is Forever


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

Graciousnesses [or, gracious acts] of Yehowah forever will I sing;

to generation and generation, Your faithfulness I will cause to know in my mouth.

Psalm

89:1

I will sing [about] the gracious acts of Yehowah forever;

I will verbally instruct [lit., instruct with my mouth] [others about] Your faithfulness [and dependability] from generation to generation.

I will sing forever about the gracious acts of Jehovah;

and I will instruct all generations about Your faithfulness and dependability.


Here is how others have handled this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       Graciousnesses [or, gracious acts] of Yehowah forever will I sing;

to generation and generation, Your faithfulness I will cause to know in my mouth.

Septuagint                              I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever: with My mouth will I make known Your truth to all generations.

 

Significant differences:           Throughout much of this psalm, we will find faithfulness in the Hebrew represented by truth in the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Our LORD, I will sing of your love forever. Everyone yet to be born will hear me praise your faithfulness.

Good News Bible (TEV)         O LORD, I will always sing of your constant love; I will proclaim your faithfulness forever.

The Message                         Your love, GOD, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are..

New Century Version             I will always sing about the Lord's love;

I will tell of his loyalty from now on.

New Jerusalem Bible             I shall sing the faithful love of Yahweh for ever,

from age to age my lips shall declare you constancy,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             My song will be of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make his faith clear to all generations.

Easy English (Churchyard)    I will always sing about the kind love of the *LORD.

I will tell (my) children and (my) grandchildren

that you will do what you have promised. A translation like this makes me want to move this to the thought-for-thought translations.

God’s Word                         I will sing forever about the evidence of your mercy, O LORD. I will tell about your faithfulness to every generation.

JPS (Tanakh)                         I will sing of the Lord’s steadfast love forever;

to all generations I will proclaim You faithfulness with my mouth.

NET Bible®                             I will sing continually about the LORD's faithful deeds;

to future generations I will proclaim your faithfulness.

NIRV                                               Lord, I will sing about your great love forever.

For all time to come, I will tell how faithful you are.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible    The gracious acts of Yahweh, to the ages I will sing, To generation after generation, will I make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.

English Standard Version      I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.

A Voice in the Wilderness      I will sing of the mercies of Jehovah forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness from generation to generation.

Young’s Updated LT             Of the kind acts of Jehovah, to the age I sing, To all generations I make known Your faithfulness with my mouth,...


What is the gist of this verse? The psalmist sings of God’s grace and faithfulness, making these attributes known to all who hear.


Psalm 89:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

cheçed (חֶסֶד) [pronounced KHEH-sed]

grace, benevolence, mercy, kindness

masculine plural construct

Strong's #2617 BDB #338

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ʿôwlâm (עוֹלָם) [pronounced ģo-LAWM]

long duration, forever, perpetuity, antiquity, futurity; what is hidden, hidden time

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5769 BDB #761

shîyr (שִיר) [pronounced sheer]

to sing

1st person singular, Qal imperfect; with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #7891 BDB #1010


Translation: I will sing [about] the gracious acts of Yehowah forever;... The psalmist says, in the Word of God, that he will sing about Jehovah’s gracious acts forever. Now, we know that Ethan died at some point in time, since he is human. So, I want to suggest to you that these words are fulfilled in 3 ways: (1) Ethan spent most of his life (from that point on, at least) performing music which proclaims the actions and character of God. (2) Secondly, this psalm is the Word of God, so it will stand forever, and in that way, since Ethan wrote this song, he will be communicating God’s many gracious actions toward us everything this psalm is studied. (3) What are we going to do in eternity? The Bible gives us very little information about the eternal state. We have some idea what living Jews will do at the end of the Tribulation, when entering into the Millennium: they will function as normal human beings, minus a sin nature, living in perfect environment. However, I would like to suggest, based upon this verse being in the Word of God, that our spiritual growth and the function of our spiritual gift, will have some impact on our eternal state—for instance, Ethan, a musician, may very well be involved in music in the eternal state, proclaiming the grace of God.


Application: Realize, that we have to do something in the eternal state. There is nothing in the Bible about us lugging around harps and sitting on clouds. However, verses like this suggest that we will have a function in the eternal state and that it will not be unrelated to our spiritual function here on earth. For some of you, that may sound quite scary. Someone roped you into being a deacon, and you are wandering up and down the aisles of your church with an offering plate, and you just don’t really care for that one bit—but you just keep on doing it. Don’t misunderstand me here: I am not saying that, if your spiritual service is sometimes an inconvenience that you ought to junk it (although, that might be a good idea in some cases). Your spiritual service should be what you want to do. Personally, I enjoy getting up in the morning and attempting to plumb the depths of the Bible. On some days, I am quite happy with the results, and there are other days when I become moderately frustrated. However, on the whole, that God allows me to do this, to me, is a pretty good deal. Whatever your spiritual service is—which is dependent upon whatever gift or gifts you have—should seem to you to be a pretty good deal. Whatever it is that you do—and we are all in full-time Christian service—it should not be a chore; it should not be something where we feel put upon to execute our part in the plan of God.


Application: Let’s approach this from a different viewpoint. Let’s say you are on a football team, and this team wins, in part, because of you, and because of what you do. I don’t care if you are a blocker, a tackle or a quarterback, there is something enjoyable about winning and there is something enjoyable about being part of a well-oiled machine which is victorious. This is our life. This is where we are at. If you are not there, I suggest you examine yourself. If you don’t have some sort of function in the plan of God, something where you are a team player, then maybe you are not growing spiritually? You life should be what you like doing, to some degree. There is self-discipline involved, and, if you have a family, often self-sacrifice. However, this, on the whole, should not seem to you as if you have betrayed your own life. If you feel like you are missing out on something, then there is a problem with your spiritual life. By the way, to solve this does not mean, you ditch your husband or wife, throw your kids out the door, buy a red sports car and get hair implants (or whatever kind of implant floats your boat). It is what comes from the inside, and that portion of your spiritual life is dependent upon your daily intake of Bible doctrine.


Application: The key to your life is Bible doctrine. The key to your life is understand Who and What God is and what the heck you are doing here on planet earth. If your chief concern in life is, what’s for breakfast and I can hardly wait to be done with work [for the day, for the week]; let me suggest that there is something wrong with your day-to-day existence. This is cured by being in fellowship and functioning within God’s plan.


The fact that we are on a team, the fact that we can score the winning touchdown now and again, that is grace! Ethan is going to sing to us about 2 things in this psalm: God’s grace and God’s faithfulness.


This psalm is, in part, about the Davidic Covenant. Therefore, we ought to recognize that God’s promises to David are a matter of grace.


Quite obviously, God’s grace is a major theme of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. We find God’s graciousness delivering us from the bonds of Sheol (Psalm 86:13), associated with His justice (Psalm 101:1), and related to His goodness as well (as His grace endures forever—Psalm 106:1). The great refrain of Psalm 136, repeated over and over, is, His grace endures forever.


Psalm 89:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

dôwr (דּוֹר) [pronounced dohr]

generation; race; people; age, period, time period [of a generation], a time slice

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1755 BDB #189

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

dôwr (דּוֹר) [pronounced dohr]

generation; race; people; age, period, time period [of a generation], a time slice

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1755 BDB #189

This is literally to a generation and a generation is rendered from generation to generation (Rotherham, NASB); to all generations (KJV, NRSV, REB, Young); from age to age (NJB).

yâdaʿ (יָדַע) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to cause to know, to make one know, to instruct, to teach

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

ʾěmûwnâh (אֱמוּנָה) [pronounced eh-moo-NAWH]

faithfulness, dependability; firmness, steadiness, steadfast; security

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #530 BDB #53

Although this is related to the feminine singular noun truth (Strong’s #571 BDB #54), neither BDB nor Gesenius give the specific meaning truth to this noun (although many translations do).

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

peh (פֶּה) [pronounced peh]

mouth [of man, animal; as an organ of speech]; opening, orifice [of a river, well, etc.]; edge; extremity, end

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #6310 BDB #804


Translation: ...I will verbally instruct [lit., instruct with my mouth] [others about] Your faithfulness [and dependability] from generation to generation. Ethan is going to make known God’s faithfulness, dependability and firmness. For many of us, this is a great portion of our life—making known, verbally, God’s essence. We find this mentioned in Psalms 40:10 71:8, 15–19. Our Lord’s Great Commission was for us to take the gospel to the very ends of the earth. If you are uncomfortable with that, that is normal. The more you know about Jesus Christ, the more willing you are to talk about Him; the less you know about Him, the less you will want to open your mouth. Proclaiming Him to those around you involves more than what you say—it involves what you do, each and every day, when you are observed both by men and angels, and, in my case, it involves what I commit to writing. Ethan, although he wrote and possibly performed this psalm, millions more have heard these words proclaimed and explained in church or as they have read the Word of God for themselves. In any case, always realize that you are being watched—everything that you do and everything that you say reflects either God’s character to others, or our own base character.


God’s faithfulness is a key element in this psalm, being found in vv. 1, 5, 8, 33, and 49. The psalmist again and again affirms that God can be trusted; He can be taken at His word. Obviously, God’s faithfulness is a key element found throughout the Bible. Your graciousness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds (Psalm 36:5). In other words, God’s graciousness and faithfulness extends to all created beings, including the angels. It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your graciousness in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night (Psalm 92:1b–2). The idea is, we awake every morning to God’s graciousness; however, we depend upon his faithfulness every night. This I recall to mind and therefore I have hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my soul; therefore I will hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him (Lam. 3:21–25). God will keep every one of His promises: You will perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from the days of old (Micah 7:20). Our God never lies (Titus 1:2) and His faithfulness extends to all generations (Psalm 89:1 119:90).


For every child, what they want to know is, their father is dependable, faithful and firm. They need for this man to be someone that they can depend upon. They need to know that, when they do wrong, there might be hell to pay, and when they do right, there will be a little something in it for them. They need to know that this man is going to remain within a certain, well-defined character, and not to stray from this (for instance, a child does not want his father to be unfaithful, a drunk, a man who cannot hold a job, a man who has temper flair ups, etc.). A father might be stern and expect a great deal out of this child, but this is okay. This is his firmness and his dependability. This is a good thing.


This psalm is going to be about the Davidic Covenant and then there will be the mournful, “Where are you, God?” at the end. That God gave David these promises is grace; that He will keep His promises to David demonstrates God’s faithfulness. In the span of history, if you are an unbelieving Jew, then you are at the stage where you are saying, “Where are you, God? What do Your promises mean? Are you not going to fulfill Your promises to David?” This obviously calls into question God’s faithfulness, which, to the Jew who has not believed in Jesus Christ, will seem like an reasonable bit of scrutiny. However, if you doubt the faithfulness of God, is there anything in life that you can really depend upon? The Jews who does not believe in Jesus Christ must reasonably doubt God’s grace, His faithfulness, His reality, His relationship to the Jew—the more the Jew knows about the Old Testament, the more he must doubt Who and What God is. However, the key to trusting God’s faithfulness is understanding Who and What God is, and understanding that He is bringing His plan to fruition—the Jew who has serious doubts has simply missed the most key element in God’s plan: Jesus Christ.


The confusion of the unbelieving Jew is the key to this entire psalm. The psalmist first tells us about God’s grace and His faithfulness; then he tells us about God’s covenant with David; and then he asks, “Why are you filled with wrath against Your own anointed ones? Why have you allowed us, as a people, to be plundered and hated and reviled? Why have you allowed the splendor of David to cease?” Every Jew who reads Psalm 89 should be honest and recognize, this is how he feels right now about God’s covenant with David and God’s faithfulness. “Are you faithful and gracious to Your people, O God; then prove it! Do not continue to hide from us! Remember the insults heaped upon Your servants.” This is a powerful psalm, one which will fill every Jew with great passion and doubt. In the end times, this will be one of the great passages of Scripture which will turn Jews to Jesus Christ (along with Psalm 22 Isa. 53 and the book of Esther). It will be as if their eyes are suddenly opened and they will recognize just Who God really is.


The psalmist has a big concern with God and the situation of Israel at this time. He has to square Israel’s situation with God’s perfect character, so he goes back to God’s essence again and again.

God’s Essence—a Theme of Psalm 89

Characteristic

Passage

Grace

I will sing of the gracious acts of Jehovah forever (v. 1a)

For I have said, Grace will be built up forever (v. 2a)

Grace and truth will go before Your face (v. 14b)

My faithfulness and My grace will be with him [David] (v. 24a)

I will keep My grace for him [David] forever (v. 28a)

But I will not completely take My grace from him [David] (v. 33a)

O Lord, where are Your former gracious acts which You swore to David in Your truth? (v. 49)

Faithfulness

with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations(v. 1b)

You shall establish Your faithfulness in the heavens (v. 2b)

[And the heavens will praise] Your faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints (v. 5b)

And Your faithfulness is round about You? (v. 8b)

My faithfulness and My grace will be with him [David] (v. 24a)

I will not be false in My faithfulness; I will not break My covenant, nor change the thing that has gone out of My lips (v. 33b–34)

Omniscience

The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Jehovah (v. 5a)

For who in the sky can be ranked with Jehovah? Who among the mighty is like Jehovah? (v. 6)

O Jehovah, the God of Hosts, who is a strong Jehovah like You? (v. 8a)

You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves arise, You still them. You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; You have scattered Your enemies with Your strong arm; the heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; You have founded the world and its fullness. The north and the south, You have created them...You have a mighty arm; Your hand is strong, and Your right hand is high. (vv. 9–12a, 13).

Righteousness and justice

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne (v. 14a)

In Your righteousness they [the people of God] will be lifted up (v. 16b)

If his children forsake My Law, and do not walk in My judgments; if they profane My Precepts, and do not keep My Commandments; then I will visit their wickedness with the rod, and their sin with stripes (vv. 30–32)

Truth

Grace and truth will go before Your face (v. 14b)

Once I have sworn by My holiness that I will not lie to David (v. 35)

O Lord, where are Your former gracious acts which You swore to David in Your truth? (v. 49)

Eternal Life

I will sing of the gracious acts of Jehovah forever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations; For I have said, Grace will be built up forever (v. 1–2a)

Your [David’s] seed will I establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations (v. 4)

I will keep My mercy for him forever, and My covenant shall stand fast with him; I have set his seed forever, and his throne as the days of the heavens (vv. 28–29)

His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me. It will be established forever like the moon, and like a faithful witness in the heavens. (v. 36–37)

The obvious emphasis upon God’s character is fundamental to this psalm. God made a covenant with David from His grace. God is faithful, so we know we can depend upon Him to bring His promises to pass. God is omnipotent, so He is able to bring His promises to pass. God is perfect righteousness and perfect justice, so the fulfillment of His promises to David will be based upon His righteousness and justice. Obviously, when God makes a covenant, it is important that we can trust God’s veracity. And, finally, if the covenant has eternal aspects, then God Himself must be eternal.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


For I said, “Forever, grace is firmly established;

the [two] heavens—You establish Your faithfulness in them.”

Psalm

89:2

For I said, “Grace is being firmly established [as] the heavens;

You establish Your faithfulness in them.”

For I said, “Your grace is being firmly established and restored forever in the heavens,

and You establish Your faithfulness in the heavens as well.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          For You have said: Mercy will be built up for ever in the heavens: Your truth will be prepared in them.

Masoretic Text                       For I said, “Forever, grace is firmly established [as] the [two] heavens;

You establish Your faithfulness in them.”

Septuagint                              For You have said, Mercy [compassion, good will to men from God] will be built up forever; Your faithfulness will be established in the heavens.

 

Significant differences:           The Hebrew and the Syriac both have, for I have said; and the Latin and Greek both read, For You have said. In the heavens is placed with the second phrase in the Greek and with the first in the Hebrew. These are, quite obviously, significant differences; however, there is nothing which is dramatically changed by way of doctrine based upon this difference. Either Ethan has said this many times in the past or God has stated this. In the Hebrew, the second phrase has God’s faithfulness being established in them, which would refer back to the heavens.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       I will tell them, "God's love can always be trusted, and his faithfulness lasts as long as the heavens."

Easy-to-Read Version            Lord, I truly believe your love is forever.

Your loyalty continues like the skies!.

Good News Bible (TEV)          I know that your love will last for all time, that your faithfulness is as permanent as the sky.

The Message                         I'll never quit telling the story of your love-- how you built the cosmos and guaranteed everything in it. Your love has always been our lives' foundation, your fidelity has been the roof over our world.

New Century Version             I will say, "Your love continues forever;

your loyalty goes on and on like the sky."

New Jerusalem Bible             ...for you have said, love is built to last for ever,

you have fixed your constancy firm in the heavens.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             For you have said, Mercy will be made strong for ever; my faith will be unchanging in the heavens.

Easy English (Churchyard)    Yes! I will say that nothing will ever stop your kind love (for us).

You will do the things that you promised in *heaven.

God’s Word                         I said, "Your mercy will last forever. Your faithfulness stands firm in the heavens."

NET Bible®                             For I say, "Loyal love is permanently established;

in the skies you set up your faithfulness."

NIRV                                      I will tell everyone that your love stands firm forever.

I will tell them that you are always faithful, even in heaven itself.

NIV – UK                                I will declare that your love stands firm for ever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                For I have said, Mercy and loving-kindness shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness will You establish in the very heavens [unchangeable and perpetual].

English Standard Version      For I said, "Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness."

MKJV                                     For I have said, Mercy shall be built up forever; You shall establish Your faithfulness in the heavens.

WEB                                      I indeed declare, "Love stands firm forever. You established the heavens. Your faithfulness is in them."

Young’s Updated LT             For I said, “To the age is kindness built, The heavens! You establish Your faithfulness in them.”


What is the gist of this verse? God’s grace will last forever; His faithfulness is established by the heavens.


Psalm 89:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

So the Syriac and Hebrew; the Latin and Greek both have this as a 2nd person masculine singular.


Translation: For I said,... Ethan is telling the listener what he has previously said. This means that Ethan has doctrine in his soul and he speaks from that place in his soul. We don’t know when or how. It is possible that Ethan is speaking of other psalms which he has written and/or sung. What we believe is what we speak (2Cor. 4:13 Psalm 116:10).


As has been mentioned, the Greek and Latin read, For You have said... So, either Ethan is speaking to God, telling Him what He has stated in the past; or Ethan is testifying to what he has himself said in the past. In either case, because this is the Word of God, what follows is the content of what has been said, and this content, because it is in the Word of God, is true (which is the important part). Footnote


Since, at the end of this verse, we have a 2nd person masculine singular suffix, it makes more sense for Ethan (1st person singular) to be saying this than it does for God to be saying this.


In either case, the impact and meaning of the psalm is unchanged.


Psalm 89:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʿôwlâm (עוֹלָם) [pronounced ģo-LAWM]

long duration, forever, perpetuity, antiquity, futurity; what is hidden, hidden time

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5769 BDB #761

cheçed (חֶסֶד) [pronounced KHEH-sed]

grace, benevolence, mercy, kindness

masculine singular noun

Strong's #2617 BDB #338

bânâh (בָּנָה) [pronounced baw-NAWH]

to be built up, to be rebuilt, to be restored; to be set up, be established, be fixed; to be firmly established; to be established, be stable, be secure, be enduring; to be fixed, be securely determined; to be directed aright, be fixed aright, be steadfast; to prepare, be ready; to be prepared, be arranged, be settled

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #1129 BDB #124

shâmayîm (שָמַיִם) [pronounced shaw-MAH-yim]

heavens, skies

masculine dual noun with the definite article

Strong’s #8064 BDB #1029


Translation:...“Grace is being firmly established [as] the heavens;... In the Qal, the verb here means to build up, to restore. The definitions which I use above came directly from the BDB in e-sword. However, the Niphal is the passive of the Qal, so, I have added the definitions to be built up, to be rebuilt, to be restored. The imperfect tense indicates action which is continuing rather than action which is viewed in its completed state. God’s policy is grace and God’s character demands that He function in grace.


The word used first is the one more emphasized, and God the Holy Spirit is emphasizing that God’s grace will be established forever. Our lives are based upon grace and in this devil’s world, our lives function on grace.


The introduction of sin into the universe also introduced legalism. Once and awhile, popular (or, semi-popular) culture gets something right. Have you ever heard of the concept making a deal with the devil? The devil functions in legalism; he functions in trade-outs. You do this for me and I will do that for you. Remember when he tempted our Lord? Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." (Matt. 4:8–9). It is a trade-out. These were the devil’s kingdoms, to some extent, to give away. God’s plan is for Jesus to rule over the world after dying for our sins. Satan offers up the same thing, without Jesus going to the cross. It is a trade-out; it is legalism. “You do this for me, and I will do that for you.”


There is also, in the deals offered by Satan, the coercion of our free will. In order for Satan to be like the Most High, he has to establish order on this earth. In order for Him to establish order on this earth, people must do what he wants them to do. Communism is a perfect example of a Satanic trade-out and Satan's coercion of free will. The trade-out is equality of sorts, a national identity, and state assurances that you will be taken care of. However, for those who do not go along with Communism, death, reeducation, privation and loss of freedom is the payout. When the North Vietnamese overran Saigon, they did not set up some sort of a coalition government, or offer up a one-time deal to join them; they slaughtered over a million people in the streets like dogs, to make it known, they were in charge. People who do not walk lock-step with Communistic doctrine—especially in the beginning stages of Communism—are made to wish that they had.


Application: When it comes to simple trade-outs, we do this all of the time. We give God a portion of our income and we expect Him to bless our business, find us a right man or a right woman. We are in a foxhole and there is enemy fire all around and we pray, “Get me out of this jam, God, and I will start going to church again.” We contract some life-threatening disease, and we pray to God, “Just take this away, and I will stop doing [this or that sin].” This is how Satan thinks; and, unfortunately, this is, too often, how we think.


God’s policy is grace, and God will restore the concept of grace in the heavens (i.e., among all of His angels). God will restore grace as the heavens—it will be the permanent state. When Satan fell, legalism and trade-outs became his policies, as was it the policy for the angels which fell with him. God will restore grace in the heavens and God will firmly establish grace throughout as the heavens are established.


This can also be interpreted, God will build up [establish firmly] grace as the heavens. God designed the heavens to last a long time. He will, at some point in time, create new heavens and a new earth. However, for possibly billions of years, the heavens have stood. The idea here is permanency, because, insofar as our lives go, the heavens are permanent. God will set up grace to be established with the permanence of the heavens. Again, the idea is, in the angelic fall from grace, legalism and trade-outs became the policy of Satan, which policy became the policy of mankind. God will restore grace to the earth with the permanence of the heavens.


One of the amazing things about grace is, we can enjoy it today, right now, in this life. Despite all of the chaos and worry and tension which is around us, God has made it possible for us to enjoy His grace—which we do not deserve and which we cannot earn. God's grace functions in all circumstances.


Application: Impersonal love, also called ἀγαπ (agape) love, is the function of grace. You treat a person based upon your character, not on the character or the actions of that person. We learn this as parents. Our children do some mighty awful things, and, if we are good parents, we discipline them for their evil actions. But, we don’t stop loving the child. A parent loves a child based upon the parent’s capacity for love, and not the child’s. For instance, when a child poops in his pants, you don’t finally, after the 1000th diaper, say, “Kid, that’s it; you figure out this potty training thing from hereon out, because I am sick of changing your diapers.” This might be my attitude and inclination after diaper #1, but a good parent loves the child and continues to change that child’s diapers until they learn to stop making messes.


Application: Let’s metaphorize this. As immature believers, we are continually dropping loads in our pants and God, in His matchless grace, continues to clean up after us. I look back at the stuff that I did as an unbeliever and as a believer, and I am flat out ashamed of much of it. What is even worse is, I have matured somewhat, and I still stink from time to time. God, in His matchless grace and in His faithfulness, forgives me again and again and again and again. This is grace.


Agape love is gracious love. When God is the subject, He loves based upon His own perfect character. He does not love us based upon who we are, because we are very unlovely people. Unbelievers are often very confused about Christianity. Unbelievers see us and think, "You have to be good and you have to stop doing fun stuff in order for God to like you." Too often, we encourage them to think that way. However, we are saved despite our obnoxious behavior and bad decisions, and God chose to save us from His impersonal love, from His agape love. It is not anything which we earn or deserve.


When you are the subject of agape love, you love on the basis of your character, not on the basis of the character of the object of your love. We are told to love others with agape love. That means, without mental attitude sins—we don’t smile and shake their hand and hug them, all the while thinking, get this cretin out of my life! Our actions toward those we do not like should be gracious and our thoughts should be free of anger, hatred, jealousy, vindictiveness, desire for revenge, etc. When we are told to love our enemies, this is agape love, and it does not mean that we ought to be phoney and run up to them and gush all over them. However, we do not have mental attitude sins about them, we do not talk about them behind their backs, we do not seek revenge against them. Furthermore, we treat them impartially. If we have to give an evaluation of a superior or an inferior, and this person has been treating us like dirt (or, whatever), we give them a fair and honest evaluation. If we have to do business with someone we just do not like, we treat them fairly and we do not try to cheat them. We treat other people on the basis of our own character, not on the basis of their character. They may hate us, they may cuss us out to our faces, they may tell lies about us behind our backs—agape love and grace mean that we treat honestly and fairly, without mental attitude sins or any other kinds of sins.


Agape love is directly related to God’s grace. God does not have to love us; He does not have to save us; He does not have to promise us diddly-squat nor does He have to bring these promises to pass. God does this out of His grace. He does this based upon His character, not upon ours (I hope that this point is obvious).


Application: You do not want God to love you based upon who and what you are. You do not want God to shower you with blessings because you are this great spiritual phenomenon that everyone in your church loves. You want God to love you in grace. You want to depend upon His character; you do not want Him to depend upon your character.


Application: I have, from time to time, chatted with believers, and, an immature believer has the most difficult time understanding rebound (naming your sin to God and then being forgiven that sin, no matter how heinous that sin was). “But don’t you have to promise never to do that again?” Or, “Won’t God stop forgiving you if you continue to commit that sin?” Grace, for many of us, seems almost unnatural (even though, in some relationships, we function from grace without thinking—with our children and with our spouses). This is God’s policy and God will restore grace in the heavens and on earth, and it will be as permanent as the heavens.


Application: Let me go off on a tangent: many families are ruined by parents who treat their children in legalism (or vice versa) or many marriages are ruined because one spouse treats the other spouse in legalism. “I will give you this, if you give me that.” I will allow your imagination to go with that one. A marriage is where two people become one. Quite often in a marriage, each person is going to feel as if they are giving 90%. What you give and what you take is not the issue, ever. The man is to treat the woman with the same respect and love which he gives his own body. The man never stops and questions himself about treating his body too well, going to the gym and eating sensibly.


Back to the text: “Grace is being firmly established [as] the heavens;... Let’s deal, for a moment, with the verb here, which is the 3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect of bânâh (בָּנָה) [pronounced baw-NAWH], which means to be built up, to be rebuilt, to be restored; to be set up, be established, be fixed; to be firmly established; to be established, be stable, be secure, be enduring; to be fixed, be securely determined; to be directed aright, be fixed aright, be steadfast; to prepare, be ready; to be prepared, be arranged, be settled. We find the New Testament equivalent of this word in several key New Testament passages, and it often refers to a structure which is build up within our souls. The very foundation is Jesus Christ, and our faith in Him, which regenerates us. What is built upon this is our character as believers in Jesus Christ. Bob Thieme Jr. refers to this as the edification structure or the edification complex of the soul. As we grow in grace and knowledge of the Word of God, our souls are built up; there is a structure which is built within us, which structure, ideally speaking, will reflect the glory of God.


When an architect and a builder join forces, they create an architectural structure which reflects both the ideals of the architect and the craftsmanship and professionalism of the builder. I designed the addition for my house (through an architect, of course) and I hired a moderately expensive builder to put this together. Now, had my plan been unsound, then the end result would have looked pretty crappy. Had I hired someone who could not be depended upon to do a professional job, all of the great ideas and plans in the world would have looked like crap. The idea behind an addition to a house is, first and foremost, for it not to look like an addition; it needs to blend well with the house. Since most additions are done decades after the original structure is built, the original materials after often no longer available. So there is a great deal of craft and skill involved by the builder to make certain that the exterior of the house reasonably matches and is tied together so that it looks like it ought to look.


It should be pointed out from the very beginning, that this whole concept of a structure being built within our souls as an illustration of spiritual growth comes from R. B. Thieme, Jr., who advanced Christianity in at least 4 fundamental ways: (1) Bob updated Christian vocabulary, which was important, as time and tradition had distorted much of our theological vocabulary; (2) Bob developed a number of new illustrations which clarify, illuminate and explain the Christian life; (3) he taught the mechanics of the Christian life; and (4) the thrust of his ministry was ICE (isagogics, categories and exegesis) teaching (which teaching was the source of the first 3 things).


We are born without a human spirit and separate from God. We have an existing structure. God takes this existing structure, which is often dilapidated and messtup, and rebuilds us from the inside out. We are not pod-people. We do not alter, modify, lose or disguise our personalities. The end result is a structure which reflects God’s glory, yet, at the same time, we are who we are (minus our sinful traits while we are in fellowship).


In the New Testament, there are two interesting Greek words: edify (which means to build up, to construct; found 40 times in the NT) and edification (which means a building up, something which is constructed; found 18 times in the NT). Paul speaks of building up the Corinthian believers in 2Cor. 10:8 12:19 13:10. In Rom. 14:19, we are to pursue that which helps to build up one another. Bob Thieme Jr. taught this as a multi-leveled structure which is build within our human soul and spirit.

In this doctrine below, you will actually start at the bottom of the doctrine (the foundation) and work your way up (that is how this doctrine ought to be read). The final result is, we reflect God’s glory in our thinking and in our actions (right thinking will result in right action).

The Edification Complex of the Soul

Explanation

The Floors of the Edification Complex

This is the top floor, where we reflect the glory of God through what is in our souls. You were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body (1Cor. 6:20). To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2Thess. 1:11–12). To them [the gentiles to whom God entrusted the responsibilities of this dispensation] God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ (Col. 1:27–28). My children, I travail until Christ should be formed in you (Gal. 4:19).

Reflecting the glory of God (or, Christ being formed in us)

As we grow spiritually, we become contented with all that God has given us, with our lot in life. We are happy with who we are, where we are, and how God is functioning in our lives. Whether we have a multitude of things or not is not an issue; we are happy and content with what we have. Happiness to the man who finds wisdom and to the man who gains understanding (Prov. 3:13). Happinesses to those who listen to me [Bible doctrine], assembling daily at my gates [the place where Bible doctrine was taught], waiting [mental attitude of eager anticipation] at my doorpost (Prov. 8:34).

+H (happiness, contentment, enjoyment of our lives)

We then demonstrate love toward all mankind; this is the agape love, where we treat everyone fairly and honestly, without mental attitude sins or feelings of superiority or without a desire for revenge. This is where our spiritual life begins to actually function. Until this point in our growth, we are just growing. We love because He first loved us (1John 4:19).

Functional Virtue (impersonal love toward mankind)

God loves us with a perfect love, which we begin to understand through the teaching of the Word of God. This gives us reason to proceed and function in our Christian lives. Furthermore, we have come to know and have believed this love that God keeps having toward us. God is love. In fact, the one who resides in the sphere of love continues in the [plan of] God, and God [the Holy Spirit] resides in him. By this, love [which motivates us and causes us to function honorably toward others] has been achieved by us (1John 4:16–17a).

Motivational Virtue (personal love toward God)

We begin to focus on Him Who has saved us, rather than upon ourselves, other people or on things (our possessions and the possessions of others). Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2).

Occupation with Christ (which may include a relaxed mental attitude)

We begin to develop grace orientation, also known as true humility. Believers, just like anyone else, can be extremely arrogant. What often happens is, a new believer will cling to many of their views and values from their old manner of life, stop committing a few overt sins, figure out what passes for holy in their church and do that; and they think they are being spiritual. Grace orientation is recognizing Who and What God is and who and what we are, and not confusing the two. We understand that everything we are and everything we have is based upon the grace of God. We understand that our very spiritual growth is completely a grace function and that we can take upon ourselves no merit for our own spiritual growth. But He [God] gives more grace. Therefore He says: God opposes the arrogant and He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

True Humility (which includes authority orientation and teachability)

All believers grow using a grace system while learning Bible doctrine. This was called gap (grace apparatus for perception) by Bob Thieme Jr. God gives us the ability to understand spiritual information, and this ability is a grace system. We all have it and none of us earn or deserve it. What is required is, first the filling of the Holy Spirit simultaneous with accurate Bible teaching from a pastor-teacher who has a clue as to what he is doing. And we [Paul and other believers with teaching gifts] impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person [the unbeliever] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. For who has knowledge of the mind of the Lord, so as to be his teacher? But we [Paul and other believers with teaching gifts] have the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:13–14, 16). [So that we—all believers in Jesus Christ] may be able to grasp with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the surpassing knowledge and love of Christ; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:18–19).

Bible doctrine absorbed into the soul by the function of gap Footnote

God has given every Church Age believer the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit must function in our lives in order for us to grow spiritually. This requires what is termed the rebound technique, which is simply naming your sins to God. Be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18b). If we acknowledge our sins, then He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).

Filling of the Holy Spirit

The foundation for the edification complex structure is Jesus Christ. No man can build upon a foundation other than Him. An unbeliever cannot build an edification complex in his soul. The best that he can do is to line up his thinking with divine establishment laws. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1Cor. 3:10–11).

Jesus Christ (salvation by faith in Him)

Most of the time, the edification complex is presented as having 6 floors (throughout its various incarnations). We need to first have a foundation (which has always been assumed, but not stated as one of the floors) and we need to see this from God’s perspective, which means that, the completion of the edification complex glorifies God, which is our overall purpose on this earth. We do not do much by way of glorifying God as baby believers.

This spiritual growth does not just automatically happen. We grow in grace and knowledge of His Word. It is a grace system and it takes time for this to occur. A child does not develop automatically completely on his own. A child needs physical nourishment and mental stimulation. As we have found with wild children, you can feed a child and keep him or her locked in a closet, and they will never be able to overcome the lack of mental and emotional growth from their formative years. They will never develop a vocabulary of over a few words, if this part of the brain is not stimulated and they will never develop emotionally either.

We have parents today who do little or nothing to encourage the mental and emotional growth of their child. I have been in homes where there is not one book, not one magazine, and often, not even a coloring book. A child in some homes can go from age zero to age 5 before they are consistently exposed to the printed word (except on the back of cereal boxes). Such a child may observe hundreds of implied sex scenes from tv and video as they grow up, and yet struggle with reading, because their parents do nothing to encourage them to read.

The believer can be the same way. If the believer is not filled with the Holy Spirit regularly and exposed to Bible teaching daily, their spiritual growth will be stunted as well. Their entire spiritual life will be devoted to sanding off the rough edges of their personality and hiding their sins as best as possible.

I should point out that, even though I have given you the basics for the edification complex structure here, I have not actually justified it by the Scriptures (apart from the word used here).

The basic structure of this was taken from a little handout from Bible Doctrine Cassettes (now defunct, I assume), which are from Bob Thieme Jr.’s class notes. Some of the translations have come from R. B. Thieme, Jr., Christian Integrity; ©1984 by R. B. Thieme, Jr.; several pages.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

While working on the doctrine above, I thought, at some point in the future, someone may want to redo this doctrine and show the man-ward (the soul) and the God-ward side (the spirit) of the edification complex. With this in mind, let me offer another approach to the edification complex: we have a soul, which governs our interaction with mankind (without a soul, we would kill those we do not like and we would have sex with those to whom we are attracted—hell, for all I know, some of you may think of that approach to life as being pretty rational). We also have a human spirit, which is where we store doctrinal norms and standards, a divine frame of reference, and those things which we learn about God. This governs our relationship before God.

As before, these are floors built upon a foundation, and should be read from the bottom to the top.

The God-ward and Man-ward Sides of the Edification Complex

God-ward Side

Man-ward Side

Reflecting the glory of God (or, Christ formed in us—in the continuous sense, this phrase describes the building of the edification complex; in the completed sense, we are speaking of the top floor of the complex)

+H (happiness, contentment, enjoyment of our lives); friendships where there is no jealousy or inordinate competition; a marriage which fulfills the commands of Eph. 5:22–25 automatically and without an attitude

Motivational Virtue (personal love toward God)

Functional Virtue (impersonal love toward mankind)

Occupation with Christ (God, God’s plan, viewing life from the viewpoint of eternity)

A relaxed mental attitude

True Humility (which includes grace orientation and teachability)

Authority Orientation; life without an attitude

Bible doctrine absorbed into the soul by the function of gap Footnote (Eph. 3:18–19).

Filling of the Holy Spirit

The Foundation: Jesus Christ (salvation by faith in Him)

This approach was something which I put together in a few minutes. It may require some tweaking. The foundation and the bottom two floors are foundational. You cannot build such a structure of the soul apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit and the daily intake of Bible doctrine.

Quite obviously, we fail at every level. We may reach maturity in this life, and then, one day, our boss ticks us off, and we tell everyone we know what an SOB he is, and email everyone that we don’t know and inform them of the same. That would reflect failure on every level of the edification complex.

Jesus Christ perfectly moved to spiritual maturity as He began growing physically, and never failed at any point at any time. We possess the same spiritual assets which our Lord possessed, along with the completed canon of Scripture.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


There are a lot of things which can be still worked on with the edification complex. What about the effect that certain sins have on one's spiritual growth? What about gaps in one's knowledge of God and God's plan? What about the interaction of scar tissue and spiritual growth?


The building in this verse with reference to the heavens even suggests that angels experience some sort of spiritual growth based upon what they observe in us on earth. We know that they peer down and watch us with great interest.


Psalm 89:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kûwn (כּוּן) [pronounced koon]

to erect (to stand up perpendicular), to set up, to establish, to prepare, to strengthen, to be stabilized

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #3559 BDB #465

ʾěmûwnâh (אֱמוּנָה) [pronounced eh-moo-NAWH]

faithfulness, dependability; firmness, steadiness, steadfast; security

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #530 BDB #53

Although this is related to the feminine singular noun truth (Strong’s #571 BDB #54), neither BDB nor Gesenius give the specific meaning truth to this noun (although many translations do).

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation:...the heavens—You establish Your faithfulness in them.” God’s faithfulness means, when He promises to save us if we believe in His Son, that means, He will save us. The moment you believe in Jesus Christ, you are saved and you cannot lose your salvation. That is God’s faithfulness. We can depend upon God and we can depend upon His faithfulness in salvation. We can depend upon His faithfulness in rebound. If we name our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). God’s faithfulness means, He does this every single time. God does not look down at us and comment, “Charley Brown cursed again for the 1000th time. That’s it. He is out of chances. Charley Brown, you do not get forgiven this time around.” God establishes and strengthens and stabilizes His faithfulness in the heavens, and His attitude toward us is one of grace. We do not earn it and we do not deserve it.


Now, how does God establish and strengthen His faithfulness in the heavens? This is done day-by-day in human history as a part of the Angelic Conflict. How God interacts with us—fallen man—illustrates to the angels His character, and, in this particular verse, His grace and faithfulness. God does this in two ways: He tells us that He is faithful to us and He shows us over and over again that He is faithful to us (and the angels observe this as well). You may or may not tell your child that you love them, but you reveal your love toward your child through your actions every single day.


By the way, when does the child come to this realization and when does that child become able to give back the same love that you have given him or her? When that child is mature! No baby is able to have any true enduring love toward you. Put off feeding time or diaper changing by 30 minutes, and that baby is going to let you know how he or she feels about you. As children grow older, they develop some character, but just try saying no to a teenager and notice that their response is not always, “Okay, I understand; I love you mom.” That wicked little teen might give you a piece of his mind when you set some specific limits and you hit upon something which is near and dear to his heart.


I mention the Angelic Conflict; often when God makes reference to the heavens, He is also speaking of angelic beings. We on earth resolve the Angelic Conflict. To remind you, God created a myriad of beings before He created us, known to us as angels (properly translated messengers). Some of these angels turned from God, and followed Satan in his revolt against God. God has judged this angels, and Satan (which name means attorney) has objected on a number of grounds. How can God be Who He claims to be, and yet create beings who sin against Him? How can God be love and how can He be just, and yet cast His creatures into a Lake of Fire? Can out sins really be so bad as to require eternal suffering? How is any of this fair? So God created man, and has allowed these objections (along with the many others which Satan undoubtedly raised) to be answered. And, as human history continues, Satan in injects whole other sets of questions and objections. One of the reasons that we have several dispensations and several sets of approaches and stewardships, is to answer the many objections which Satan has no doubt raised. All of these will be answered in human history. God’s character will be shown to be just what He claims it to be. God’s character is so perfect and just and gracious that we are able to depend upon Him and His character. One of the many things which we are learning in this psalm is that we can depend upon God and we can trust Him.


Through their observation of us, angels learn and appreciate God’s faithfulness. Through spiritual maturity, we begin to understand and appreciate God’s faithfulness as well. I have put together a doctrine of the Angelic Conflict, which contains links to the work which others have done on this subject.


The first two verses were an introduction to this psalm. We had grace in v. 1 and in v. 2; we had God’s faithfulness in both verses as well. These two functions of God are related to the topic at hand, which will, first of all, be the Davidic Covenant. God gave this covenant to David out of His grace. David failed many times. He committed a number of sins. Two sets of sins are well-known, but he failed a number of times beside these two periods of time (one of which we studied at the end of 1Samuel). That God promised David anything is grace. That God promises anything to us is grace.


Faithfulness again means, what God promised, He will bring to pass. These are not just some happy-nice words at the beginning of a psalm—they introduce the entire psalm to us. David did not deserve God’s grace; God just gave it to him. Furthermore, God can be depended upon to carry out what he has promised. God’s essence and character in every respect will be vindicated before all mankind and before all the angelic creation.


God’s grace and faithfulness are associated together in nearly 40 passages. It goes back as far as Gen. 24:26–27a: The man bowed his head and worshiped the LORD and said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His grace and His faithfulness toward my master.” Or, as He said to Moses: The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in grace and faithfulness.” (Ex. 34:6). At some point, it might make sense to base a doctrine upon this, given that these words occur together so often.


This is particularly important to the Jew who reads these words. When the Jewish reader gets to the end of this psalm, and reads the pleas of Ethan for God to bring these things to pass, asking God, “Why are You hiding from me?” he becomes concerned, as that is how he feels. Where is God? Why has He not fulfilled His promises? Where is David’s successor, who will rule forever? Just remember, God is faithful. He will bring it to pass.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Introduction: God's Covenant with David is Forever


“I have cut a covenant to My chosen one,

I have sworn an oath to David, My servant:...

Psalm

89:3

“I have made a covenant with respect to My chosen one,

[and] I have sworn an oath to My servant David:...

You said, “I have made a covenant with My chosen one,

and I have sworn an oath to My servant David:...


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       “I have cut a covenant to My chosen one,

I have sworn an oath to David, My servant:...

Septuagint (Greek)                I made a covenant with my chosen ones, I have sworn unto David My servant.

 

Significant differences:           The first verb in the Greek is a legitimate rendering of the first verb of the Hebrew. The Greek does have chosen one in the plural. The Latin is plural Footnote and the Syriac is singular (based upon the English translation which I have).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       You said, "David, my servant, is my chosen one, and this is the agreement I made with him:...

Good News Bible (TEV)         You said, "I have made a covenant with the man I chose; I have promised my servant David,...

The Message                         You once said, "I joined forces with my chosen leader, I pledged my word to my servant, David, saying,...

New Century Version             You said, "I made an agreement with the man of my choice;

I made a promise to my servant David.

New Jerusalem Bible             'I have made a covenant with my Chosen One, sworn an oath to my servant David:...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             I have made an agreement with the man of my selection, I have made an oath to David my servant;...

Easy English (Churchyard)    (God had said in *heaven) "I have made a *covenant with the man that I chose.

I have made special promises to my servant David.

God’s Word                         You said, "I have made a promise to my chosen one. I swore this oath to my servant David:...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

English Standard Version      You have said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:...

LTHB                                     I have cut a covenant with My elect; I have sworn to David My servant.

Updated Bible Version 2.11   I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn to David my slave:...

Young's Literal Translation     I have made a covenant for My chosen, I have sworn to David My servant:...


What is the gist of this verse? God made a covenant with His chosen one, a sworn covenant with David.


Psalm 89:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kârath (כָּרַת) [pronounced kaw-RAHTH]

to cut off, to cut down; to kill, to destroy; to make a covenant

1st person singular, singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #3772 BDB #503

berîyth (בְּרִית) [pronounced bereeth]

covenant, pact, alliance, treaty, alliance; contract

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bâchîyr (בָּחִיר) [pronounced baw-KHEER]

chosen, chosen one, elect [one]

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #972 BDB #104


Translation: “I have made a covenant with respect to My chosen one,... The entire verse reads: “I have made a covenant with respect to My chosen one, [and] I have sworn an oath to My servant David:... We find the same preposition used in both halves of this verse, but it is used in a different way because the verbs preceding the preposition are different. I have cut a covenant with My chosen one... would have involved the bêyth preposition. Instead, we have the lâmed preposition. That reads, instead, I have cut a covenant with respect to My chosen one... We can take this in two ways; if David is God’s chosen one, then we can understand that God made a covenant which is related to David and to his descendants and to the nation Israel. The covenant made with David involves more than David, so the choice of preposition here is appropriate. We may also understand My Chosen One to refer to Jesus Christ, Who is David’s Greater Son, God cut the covenant with David, but this covenant was made with respect to or with reference to David’s Greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. What I am saying is, the language allows for the two interpretations, both of which are perfectly valid. The latter interpretation is actually more accurate with respect to the words used. In other words, Ethan, the writer of this psalm, understands that God’s covenant with David involved the Messiah as a fulfillment of this covenant.


Clarke, not unreasonably, associates chosen one with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Joshua. Footnote At various time, God has made covenants with these men, all which are related. This is, by the way, another indication that Scripture is what it claims to be: the Word of God. At no time does a later covenant invalidate or nullify a previous covenant. No king comes along after David and claims there will be some special fulfillment of God’s covenant to him, changing His covenant to David. God’s covenant with Jacob did not change or alter His previous covenants with Abraham and Isaac. It is man’s nature to try to one-up those who have come before. A good example of this are those charismatic ministers who have claimed to have gone to the third heaven. Over and over, these seem to get more elaborate and way more cool. They often lack a general thread; however, with the covenants which God made with specific men over the years, His covenants compliment one another, and add to what has gone before.


One of the false doctrines of current theology is covenant theology, where all of the promises made to Israel were passed along to the church because Israel just rebelled against God once too often. These promises are seen as having been spiritualized; or, the church is seen as being the spiritual Israel. Now, God has set Israel aside for the time being, and, in this dispensation, He works through the church. However, God has not forsaken His people. Any Jew, in this dispensation, can believe in Jesus Christ and he will be saved. Any Jew can thereupon receive the Holy Spirit and he can grow spiritually, achieving a tremendous spiritual life. However, after the church is raptured, God will again work through His people, the Jews, and He will regather them to the land and He will fulfill all of His promises to Israel. God’s covenant with David shows up many times in both the Old and New Testaments. At no time does it appear as though God is going to severely alter this covenant. Furthermore, doing that goes against God’s character. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). How much sense does it make for God to give a promise to someone and then take it back because they turn out to be not as holy as He would like? God is omniscient. He knows the future as perspicuously as He knows the past. You don’t do something which catches God off-guard. You do not commit some sin, and God looks down and says, “Wow, I did not know that he was capable of that.” From eternity past, God knew exactly what every single Jew would do throughout history. When God called Abraham, and made many promises to him, God knew what would transpire with Abraham, with his sons, and with all those who were to come from his loins. God is not surprised by what we do. Therefore, He does not make a covenant and then later change His mind or modify things somewhat due to gross sinfulness.


Psalm 89:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

shâbaʿ (שָבַע) [pronounced shawb-VAHĢ]

to swear, to imprecate, to curse, to swear an oath, to take a solemn oath, to swear allegiance

1st person singular, Niphal perfect

Strong's #7650 BDB #989

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (דָּוִד); also Dâvîyd (דָּוִיד) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

ʿôbêd (עֹבֵד) [pronounced ģoh-BADE]

a slave, a servant

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5660 BDB #713


Translation:...[and] I have sworn an oath to My servant David:... Here, God swears an oath (which is one verb) to David, where there are not two ways of interpretation. God made a solemn oath to David, which oath we call the Davidic Covenant. This tells us that this psalm will be, in part, about God’s covenant with David concerning the Messiah to come, Who would come from David’s loins (i.e., Who would be physically related to David as one of David’s descendants).


David is what is known as a type. He represents Jesus Christ to come. Portions of his life, various things which he does, and the promises given to David, all point to Jesus Christ, who is his antitype. David was a shepherd; Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd. David was king over all Israel; Jesus Christ will be king over all the Jews and Gentiles. David will have a son who will reign over Israel; David’s Greater Son will reigned forever. David is so closely associated with Jesus Christ that Ezekiel, several hundred years later, will refer to the coming Messiah, the King, and call Him David: “And I will set up over them one shepherd, My servant David, and He shall feed them; He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.” (Ezek. 34:23–24).


As far as forever, I will establish your Seed

and I have built to generation and generation your throne.

Selah!

Psalm

89:4

To the end of this age, I will establish your Seed

and I have restored your throne from generation to generation.”

[Musical] Pause [or, musical interlude; lit., Selah!]

I will establish your Seed until the end of this age

and I have restored your throne throughout all generations.”

[Musical interlude]


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       As far as forever, I will establish your seed

and I have built to generation and generation your throne.

Selah!

Septuagint                              Your seed will I establish for ever, and build up Your throne to all generations. Pause.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David, one of your descendants will always be king."

Easy-to-Read English            David, I will make your family continue forever.

I will make your kingdom continue forever and ever."

(SELAH)

Good News Bible (TEV)         'A descendant of yours will always be king; I will preserve your dynasty forever.' "

The Message                         'Everyone descending from you is guaranteed life; I'll make your rule as solid and lasting as rock.'"

New Jerusalem Bible             I have made your dynasty firm for ever, built your throne stable age after age.' Pause.

New Living Translation           `I will establish your descendants as kings forever;

they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.'"

Interlude

Revised English Bible            ‘I shall establish your line for ever,

I shall make your throne endure for all generations.’

[Selah


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             I will make your seed go on for ever, your kingdom will be strong through all generations. Selah.

Easy English (Churchyard)    Someone from your family will always be king.

And there will always be a place where they (will rule) as king".

God’s Word                         'I will make your dynasty continue forever. I built your throne to last throughout every generation.'" Selah

JPS (Tanakh)                         I will establish your offspring forever,

I will confirm your throne for all generations.

NET Bible®                             'I will give you an eternal dynasty

and establish your throne throughout future generations.' " (Selah)

NIRV                                      'I will make your family line continue forever.

I will make your kingdom secure for all time to come.' "

Selah


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

English Standard Version      'I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.'" Selah.

LTHB                                     I will establish your Seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations. Selah.

A Voice in the Wilderness      Your seed I will establish forever, and build up your throne from generation to generation. Selah

WEB                                      'I will establish your seed forever, and build up your throne to all generations.' " Selah.

Young’s Updated LT             “Even to the age do I establish your seed, and I have built to generation and generation Your throne. Selah.


What is the gist of this verse? God promises David to establish his seed (dynasty) forever, and God would restore David’s throne for all generations.


Psalm 89:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʿad (עַד) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

ʿôwlâm (עוֹלָם) [pronounced ģo-LAWM]

long duration, forever, perpetuity, antiquity, futurity; what is hidden, hidden time

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5769 BDB #761

Together, they mean and from everlasting to everlasting, from eternity past to eternity future or from antiquity to everlasting, forever; for a lifetime (?); from a point in time to far into the future; to the end of this age.

kûwn (כּוּן) [pronounced koon]

to erect (to stand up perpendicular), to set up, to establish, to prepare, to strengthen, to be stabilized

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #3559 BDB #465

zeraʿ (זֶרַע) [pronounced ZEH-rahģ]

a seed, a sowing; an offspring, progeny, descendant; posterity

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2233 BDB #282


Translation: To the end of this age, I will establish your Seed... God’s promise to David concerns David’s descendent, Who is Jesus Christ. Obviously, David had a lot of descendants, but this refers to one Descendant in particular, Who will be established, erected and set up until the end of the age. As we examined in 2Sam. 7, those in the New Testament understood fully that this referred to the Messiah (see 2Sam. 7 addendum), as there are quite a number of references to the Davidic Covenant where it is clear that everyone understood, this was a reference to the coming Messiah.


An angel will speak to Mary, and say: “And behold! You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David. and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31–33). Even later in this psalm, we will read: “I [God] will establish his Seed forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.” (Psalm 89:29, which verse parallels this one). Then again in v. 36: His offspring shall endure forever, His throne as long as the sun before Me.


Although one might interpret this to mean that David’s descendants would always remain on the throne, seed is in the singular, and for the reason that the Davidic dynasty would end at some point in time. Paul makes this same point a millennium later, writing, And to Abraham and to his Seed the promises were spoken. It does not say, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, "And to your Seed," which is Christ (Gal. 3:16; Gen. 22:17–18). Paul, while obviously writing about the Abrahamic Covenant, made essentially the same point which I am making.


There was, on the other hand, a conditional covenant which God made with Israel, which David, on his deathbed, communicated to Solomon: When David's time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.' ” (1Kings 2:1–4). This is repeated in Psalm 132:12: “If your sons keep My covenant and My testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne." Israel needed to remain faithful to God, and the leaders of Israel needed to remain faithful to God; and on those conditions, there would always been one on the throne of Israel.


This also forces the Jew who reads this passage thousands of years later, to decide: “Is God a liar or is He referring to Seed in the singular for a particular reason?” We know that God is not a liar, however, this psalm, like many portions of the Word of God, will serve to quickly evangelize Jews in the future, after the rapture of the church.


Psalm 89:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bânâh (בָּנָה) [pronounced baw-NAWH]

to build, to rebuild, to restore

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1129 BDB #124

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

dôwr (דּוֹר) [pronounced dohr]

generation; race; people; age, period, time period [of a generation], a time slice

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1755 BDB #189

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

dôwr (דּוֹר) [pronounced dohr]

generation; race; people; age, period, time period [of a generation], a time slice

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1755 BDB #189

This is literally to a generation and a generation is rendered from generation to generation (Rotherham, NASB); to all generations (KJV, NRSV, REB, Young); from age to age (NJB).

kiççêʾ (כִּסֵּא) [pronounced kis-SAY]

throne, seat of honor; seat of judgment; royal dignity, authority, kingdom, power

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3678 BDB #490


Translation: ...and I have restored your throne from generation to generation.” David’s throne was brand new. God had promised David the throne of Israel and He had delivered on that promise. Out of nowhere, in this, the Davidic Covenant, God is promising David to restore [rebuild] his throne, where his throne is relatively new. God knows the future as He knows the past. God knew that, although there would be a Davidic dynasty for the next 400 years, that this dynasty would end. God would restore this dynasty and it would continue throughout the Millennium, and then forever, after God has created a new heavens and a new earth (although we know little about this, it should be obvious that, Jesus will reign over the earth).


We find a parallel to this portion of v. 4 in Psalm 45:6a: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.


V. 4 is set up in parallel with v. 2

Early Parallels in Psalm 89

Psalm 89:2

Psalm 89:4

...[furthermore] You establish Your faithfulness in them.

To the end of this age, I will establish your seed...

The psalmist speaks of God establishing His faithfulness in the heavens.

God establishes the seed of David to the end of the age, using one of the words found in Psalm 89:2a.

The establishing of the seed of David (Jesus Christ) as ruler of the earth is a sign of God’s faithfulness.

Grace is being restored forever [as, in] the heavens;...

...and I have restored your throne from generation to generation.

Grace, which is God’s policy, is restored forever in the heavens

David’s throne was, at the time of the giving of the Davidic Covenant and probably during the time of the psalmist, going strong. However, the psalmist speaks of this throne being restored, just as God’s grace is restored in the heavens.

The fact that God would restore the throne of David, in a nation which had rejected Him, is a sign of God’s grace.

This psalm is filled with parallels and I doubt that I am going to be able to list them all.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

That David’s Greater Son will reign forever is a theme found throughout the Scriptures—in the historical section, in the psalms, in the prophets, in the gospels, in Acts, in the epistles and in Revelation:

David’s Greater Son will Rule Forever (the Unconditional Covenant)

Scripture

Commentary

2Sam. 7:12–13

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

1Chron. 17:11–14

[God is speaking] “When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”

1Chron. 22:10

“He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.” God is speaking both of David’s son Solomon as well as of His Greater Son, Jesus.

Psalm 72:17–19

May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed! Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!

Psalm 89:3–4

I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, “Your seed will I establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations.” Selah

Psalm 89:29

I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.

Psalm 89:34–37

“I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David. His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me. Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies." Selah

Isa. 9:6–7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Luke 1:31–33

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

Luke 20:41–44

But Jesus said to them, "How can they say that the Christ is David's son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, "'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.' David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?"

Acts 13:32–37

And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, "'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.' And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, "'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.' Therefore he says also in another psalm, "'You will not let your Holy One see corruption.' For David, after He had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with His fathers and saw corruption, but He whom God raised up did not see corruption.

Rom. 1:2–4

God was promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, Who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom. 15:12

And again Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope."

Philip. 2:9–11

Therefore God has highly exalted Him [Jesus Christ] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Rev. 22:16

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."

As already stated in a footnote, this covenant is unconditional with respect to its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. No matter what any of David’s sons do, this covenant will be ultimately fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ. However, there will be conditions placed on David’s sons and their behavior (vv. 30–32).

This list of passages came primarily from Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge; by Canne, Browne, Blayney, Scott, and others about 1880, with introduction by R. A. Torrey; courtesy of E-sword, Psalm 89:4.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

There are also several passages which speak of God’s conditional covenant with David and with Israel:

The Conditional Covenant

Scripture

Commentary

1Kings 2:1–4

When David's time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.' ”

1Kings 9:4–7

And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, 'You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.' But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

Psalm 89:30–34

If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.

Psalm 132:11–12

The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: "One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne. If your sons keep My covenant and My testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne."

This list of passages came primarily from Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge; by Canne, Browne, Blayney, Scott, and others about 1880, with introduction by R. A. Torrey; courtesy of E-sword, Psalm 89:4.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Psalm 89:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

çelâh (סֶכָה) [pronounced seh-LAW]

to lift up, to elevate, to exalt [with one’s voice], to gather, to cast up [into a heap]; it is transliterated Selah

interjection

Strong’s #5542 BDB #699

The verbal cognate is ʿâlâh (עָלָה) [pronounced ģaw-LAW], which means to lift up and toss aside. In the Piel stem, it means to weigh, which involves lifting up the object and placing it upon the balance. Gesenius gives the meaning of çelâh as rest, silence, pause, as çelâh does not necessarily have to match the meaning of its cognates. My thinking, which is a combination of BDB and Gesenius, is that the voices build up to a crescendo here, and, very likely, they are then followed by a vocal (but not necessarily, musical) silence. This would reconcile the points made by Gesenius and still make this compatible with its cognates. Footnote Another very reasonable possibility is that the instruments are lifted up for a musical interlude. The instruments would be held down while the singing takes place, and then lifted up so that their sound would better project when the singing stops. The NLT translation of Interlude is very good.


Translation: [Musical] Pause [or, musical interlude; lit., Selah!] As described in the exegesis, this word çelâh comes from a verb which means to lift up. It is reasonable to assume that those who are playing musical instruments are to lift up these instruments and play during a pause in the singing. I believe that this is called the bridge in modern music? Keil and Delitzsch suggest: The music, as Sela directs, here becomes more boisterous; it gives intensity to the strong cry for the judgment of God; and the first unfolding of thought of this Michtam is here brought to a close. Footnote


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


God's Essence: No One Among the Angels is as Awesome as God


And confess [the] heavens Your wonder, O Yehowah;

in fact, Your faithfulness in a convocation of holy ones.

Psalm

89:5

The heavens celebrate Your wonder, O Yehowah;

furthermore, [they celebrate] Your faithfulness among the convocation of the saints.

The heavens celebrate Your wonders, O Jehovah;

in fact, they celebrate Your faithfulness among the saints as well.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And confess [the] heavens Your wonder, O Yehowah;

in fact, Your faithfulness in a convocation of holy ones.

Septuagint                              The heavens will confess Your wonders, O Lord; and Your truth in the assembly of the saints.

 

Significant differences:           The LXX has wonders in the plural; it is in the singular in the Hebrew. The LXX has truth where the Hebrew has faithfulness instead. The Latin appears to agree with the Greek in these two things.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Our LORD, let the heavens now praise your miracles, and let all of your angels praise your faithfulness.

Easy English (Churchyard)    In *heaven, they *praise the *wonderful things that you have done, *LORD.

Also, the *holy *angels that meet together

(know that) you will do what you have promised.

Easy-to-Read Version            Lord, you do amazing things.

The heavens praise you for this.

People can depend on you.

The assembly of holy ones sing about this.

Good News Bible (TEV)         The heavens sing of the wonderful things you do; the holy ones sing of your faithfulness, LORD.

The Message                         GOD! Let the cosmos praise your wonderful ways, the choir of holy angels sing anthems to your faithful ways!

New Jerusalem Bible             The heavens praise your wonders, Yahweh, your constancy in the gathering of your faithful.

New Living Translation           All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord;

myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             In heaven let them give praise for your wonders, O Lord; and your unchanging faith among the saints.

God’s Word                         O LORD, the heavens praise your miracles and your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.

NET Bible®                             .O LORD, the heavens praise your amazing deeds,

as well as your faithfulness in the angelic assembly


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Let heaven (the angels) praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones (the holy angels).

Updated Emphasized Bible    So will the heavens praise your wondrous acts O Yahweh,—Yea, your faithfulness, in the convocation of holy ones.

LTHB                                     And the heavens shall thank Your wonders, O Jehovah; also Your faithfulness in the assembly of the saints.

MKJV                                     And the heavens shall praise Your wonders, O Jehovah, Your faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.

Young’s Updated LT             And the heavens confess Your wonders, O Jehovah; Your faithfulness also is in an assembly of holy ones.


What is the gist of this verse? The angels celebrates the Davidic Covenant; God’s faithfulness is also celebrated by the angels.


Psalm 89:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yâdâh (יָדָה) [pronounced yaw-AWH]

to profess, to confess; to show or point out [with the hand extended]; to give thanks, to praise, to celebrate

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #3034 BDB #392

shâmayîm (שָמַיִם) [pronounced shaw-MAH-yim]

heavens, skies

masculine dual noun

Strong’s #8064 BDB #1029

peleʾ (פֶּלֶא) [pronounced PEH-leh]

wonder, marvel; wonder (extraordinary, hard to understand thing); wonder (of God’s acts of judgment and redemption)

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6382 BDB #810

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: The heavens celebrate Your wonder, O Yehowah;... Wonder here is in the singular, which is, therefore, difficult to nail down. Are we speaking of God’s creation? That is possible; however, this psalm focuses in on the Davidic Covenant, and, therefore, this would be the wonder which I would zero in on.


The heavens are not alive and therefore cannot celebrate, profess, confess, praise or give thanks. This is a metonymy, reasonably applied to angelic creation. The heavens themselves are not celebrating God’s wonder (which is the Davidic Covenant), but the angels who observe us celebrate the Davidic Covenant (the other uses of this verb make little sense).


Now, why isn’t this verse telling us that the heavens themselves, with all their vastness and glory, represent the wonder which is God? That is because, that is not the context of this psalm. This psalm is not about God and what He has created. In another context, we could take these exact same words and interpret them in that way (for instance, Psalm 19:1 148:3–4 Isa. 44:23). However, here, the context is the Davidic Covenant.


Psalm 89:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾaph (אַף) [pronounced ahf]

in fact, furthermore, also, yea, even, indeed; even though

a conjunction which signifies addition or emphasis

Strong’s #637 BDB #64

This word appears to have two different purposes: (1) A surprise is then mentioned or the unexpected is said. (2) A reference is made to a preceding sentence and it is expanded or emphasized and we would translate this word yea, à fortiori, the more so, how much more (following an affirmative clause), how much less (following a negative clause), furthermore, in fact.

ʾěmûwnâh (אֱמוּנָה) [pronounced eh-moo-NAWH]

faithfulness, dependability; firmness, steadiness, steadfast; security

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #530 BDB #53

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qâhâl (קָהָל) [pronounced kaw-HAWL]

an organized assembly, a called convocation; this is not just a crowd, but people who were assembled for a reason

masculine singular construct

Strong's #6951 BDB #874

qedôshîym (קְדֹשִים) [pronounced kaw-DOWSH]

saints, holy ones, set-apart ones, sacred ones, consecrated ones, those set apart to God

masculine plural adjective/noun

Strong's #6918 BDB #872


Translation: ...furthermore, [they celebrate] Your faithfulness among the convocation of the saints. There is no verb and no subject in the second half of this verse. Throwing in the verb to be does not complete this thought either. Therefore, we will carry over the subject and verb from the first half of v. 5. So, this means that the angels celebrate God’s faithfulness in His gathering (assembly, convocation) of the saints (believers). The idea is, God will demonstrate His faithfulness to the assembly of believers, whom He will assemble at the 2nd Advent. This is when He will fulfill the Davidic Covenant. The angels celebrate the Davidic Covenant and they will celebrate it when it is fulfilled.


For the most part, believers have been gathered into the nation Israel, and God has been faithful, dependable, steady and firm with His people, Israel. The Davidic Covenant, which God makes with David, and, therefore, with the nation Israel, is evidence of God’s faithfulness and dependability. Although the Jews have turned away from God beginning with the 1st Advent, they will turn to Him in the 2nd Advent, during the Tribulation. God will gather them to Jerusalem at that time.


As you have no doubt noticed, God’s faithfulness with respect to the Davidic Covenant has been mentioned twice already—so what do you think the chances are that God will fulfill His promise to David? I estimate about a 100% chance of fulfillment.


Some exegetes Footnote speak of this congregation of holy ones as referring to angels celebrating in the midst of a congregation of angels. Here is where the interpretation becomes tricky. Vv. 3–4 do speak of the Davidic Covenant (as do vv. 10–29). So, since God may be depended upon to bring to fruition that which He has promised, and since much of this context is what He is promising in the Davidic Covenant, this passage comports well with His fulfilling His promises at the 2nd Advent. Therefore, we are looking at believing Jews have been gathered to the Land of Promise at that time.


On the other hand, are their gatherings of angels who praise God? Certainly; that seems to be the case in Rev. 7:11 19:6 (subject to interpretation, of course). In the immediate context, vv. 5–8, we are speaking of angelic beings. Therefore, we may also see this as a gathering of angels as well.


For who in the cloud compares to Yehowah

is likened to Yehowah in sons of elîym [gods]?

Psalm

89:6

For who in the cloud compares to Yehowah

[and who] is like Yehowah among the sons of gods [or, the mighty ones]?

For who in the clouds compares to Jehovah and who is like Jehovah among the sons of the gods?


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       For who in the cloud compares to Yehowah

is like to Yehowah in sons of elîym [gods]?

Peshitta (Syriac)                    For who in heaven can be compared to the Lord? Who among the sons of angels can be likened to the Lord?

Septuagint (Greek)                For who in the cloud can be compared unto the LORD? And who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek fills in the ellipsis of the Hebrew, adding the words and who. They Syriac renders he final two words as sons of angels; the Greek as sons of the mighty. The Hebrew actually has several alternatives.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       None who live in the heavens can compare with you.

Easy-to-Read Version            No one in heaven is equal to the Lord.

None of the "gods" can compare to the Lord.

Good News Bible (TEV)         No one in heaven is like you, LORD; none of the heavenly beings is your equal.

The Message                         Search high and low, scan skies and land, you'll find nothing and no one quite like GOD.

New American Bible              Who in the skies ranks with the Lord?

Who is like the Lord among the gods?

New Jerusalem Bible             Who in the skies can compare with Yahweh? Who among the sons of god can rival him?

New Life Version                    For who in the heavens is like the Lord? Who among the sons of the powerful is like the Lord?


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Easy English (Churchyard)    For who is there in *heaven that is *like the *LORD?

Which of the *sons of God is *like the *LORD?.

JPS (Tanakh)                         For who in the skies can equal the Lord,

can compare with the Lord among the divine beings,...

NET Bible®                             For who in the skies can compare to the LORD?

Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings,...

NIRV                                      Who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?

Who among the angels is like the Lord?.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Hebrew Names Version         For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the sons of the heavenly beings is like the LORD.

LTHB                                     For who in the sky shall be ranked with Jehovah, who among the sons of the mighty is like Jehovah?

A Voice in the Wilderness      For who in the clouds can be compared to Jehovah? Who among the sons of the gods can be likened unto Jehovah?

WEB                                      For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh? Who among the sons of the heavenly beings is like Yahweh,...

Young’s Updated LT             For who in the sky, Compares himself to Jehovah? [Who] is like to Jehovah among sons of the mighty?


What is the gist of this verse? There is no one in angelic creation who compares in any way to Jehovah Elohim.


Psalm 89:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

mîy (מִי) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

shachaq (שַחַק) [pronounced shaw-KHAWK]

dust, fine dust; cloud, thin cloud

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7834 BDB #1007

ʿârake (עָרך׃) [pronounced ģaw-RAK]

to value, to estimate; to be valuable [valued]; to compare, to be compared; to equal, to be equal

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6186 BDB #789

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: For who in the cloud compares to Yehowah... Those in the cloud (also, thin dust) refers to angelic creation, and God created no angel who compares to Him. Jesus Christ is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (Eph. 1:21). Or, “To whom then will you compare Me, that I should be like him?” says the Holy One (Isa. 40:25). Over and over again at the beginning of this psalm, we see reference after reference to angelic creation and their relation to this earth and what is taking place here with respect to God’s covenant with David and with Israel.


Although this psalm is not about Satan in any way, I believe that this verse is a swipe at Satan. God has made conditional and unconditional covenants with various men and with the nation Israel, and He will stand by those covenants. Satan, who is the most legalistic creature in the universe, keeps few, if any of his agreements. As you may recall, one of Satan’s I will’s was I will be like the Most High (Isa. 14:14b).


Psalm 89:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

dâmâh (דָּמָה) [pronounced daw-MAW]

to be like, to resemble

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1819 BDB #197

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

ʾêl (אֵל) [pronounced ALE]

God, god, mighty one, strong, hero

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #410 BDB #42

Four of Kennicott’s and De Rossi’s manuscripts Footnote have...

ʾêylîym (אֵילִים) [pronounced āyil-EEM]

mighty ones, leaders, nobles of a state

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #352 BDB #17

This is consonantly identical to the word for ram; projecting ledge [architectural term]; and identical to the word for a strong, robust tree.

The difference is an extra yodh in the original consonantal manuscript.

Clark Footnote tells us that several of the versions seem to have read:

ʾělôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

I don’t really quite follow what he means by seem.


Translation: ...[and who] is like Yehowah among the sons of gods [or, the mighty ones]? This appears to be a parallel statement to me, the sons of gods referring to the angels. There is the possibility that this could refer to those who were among the half angelic/half human race of Gen. 6. In any case, there is no one like God.


There is abundant Scripture asking, who is like God? Ex. 15:11 Psalm 40:5 71:19 73:25 86:8 89:8 113:5 Jer. 10:6. It might be worthwhile examining the context of these passages.

Who is like You, O God?

Passage

Text

Commentary

Ex. 15:6–12

Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. In the greatness of Your majesty You overthrow your adversaries; You send out Your fury; it consumes them like stubble. At the blast of Your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.' You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them.

After God has delivered the Israelites from the advancing Egyptian army, this was the song which was sung to celebrate what God had done.

1Sam. 2:1–10

And Hannah prayed and said, "My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and on them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed."

Hannah is celebrating, as God has made her pregnant (through her husband, of course). What she says in this psalm reveals that Hannah is a very perceptive and doctrinally oriented woman. She recognizes all that God does in this life, including raising up the poor out of the dust. And those who oppose God will be dusted.

Psalm 40:3–8

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with You! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. In sacrifice and offering You have not delighted, but You have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

The context here is salvation; the psalmist (David) is speaking of those who put their trust in the Lord. The emphasis is not upon what we do for God (sacrifice and offering), but what He has done for us, becoming out sacrifice and offering. The context, of course, speaks of our Lord’s 1st Advent.

Psalm 71:17–21

O God, from my youth You have taught me, and I still proclaim Your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.

The psalmist reviews his life and his relationship to God during that time, how God has been with him in all circumstances.


If this is David, we know of his great sins, and how God disciplined him greatly, as his actions were abominable to God’s righteousness.


Despite the great difficulties, God revives the psalmist.

Psalm 73:21–26

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Asaph, the psalmist, speaks of eternal security here. He has failed God many times, yet God holds him up and guides him.

Psalm 86:3–13

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to You do I cry all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in grace to all who call upon You. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon You, for You answer me. There is none like You among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like Yours. All the nations You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name. For You are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God. Teach me Your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Your name forever. For great is Your grace toward me; You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

David sounds somewhat in a depressed mood in this psalm, calling out to God all the day. He appreciates his fellowship with God, and even speaks of things which will come to pass.


Notice the importance that David puts upon doctrine in this passage.

Psalm 89:5–8

Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O LORD, Your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around Him? O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as You are, O LORD, with Your faithfulness all around You?

In a short section of Psalm 89, Ethan (the psalmist) speaks of God in relation to His angelic creation, and how no angel (and, therefore, no created thing) is like God.

Psalm 113:2–9

Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised! The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!

The psalmist examines God’s involvement in our lives, as asks, Who is like Jehovah our God? He then gives some examples of people whose lives God has changed.

Isa. 40:17–26

All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are accounted by Him as less than nothing and emptiness. To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with Him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the sphere of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when He blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare Me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power not one is missing.

Nothing compares to God; not nations, not idols. Men are but mere grasshoppers before Him. It is God Who provided the atmosphere for the earth, which allows us to live. He brings princes and rulers to naught.


Essentially, Isaiah is saying, how do you compare God with that which He created?

Jer. 10:2–9

Thus says the LORD: "Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good."


There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. They are both stupid and foolish; the instruction of idols is but wood! Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz. They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; their clothing is violet and purple; they are all the work of skilled men.

No one among the gods of the nations, represented by statues made my man’s hands, is like God.

So even though all of these passages, in one way or another, exclaim, Who is like You, O Jehovah? the context of each passage is quite different.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


...[and who] is like Yehowah among the sons of gods [or, the mighty ones]? You will notice that, in the Hebrew exegesis, there are several possibilities for the final word. In any case, given the context and the phrase itself, we are reasonably referring to angels here (or to those creatures from Gen. 6). Although one might make a case that this simply refers to very powerful and mighty men, that would be out of place for the context of vv. 5–8a, where angelic creation is alluded to several times.


In human history, there appears to be an education going on for each of us individually (each believer), but there is also an education which appears to be ongoing for angelic creation. God points out, in passages like this, that there is no one like Him. Elect angels are those who have never rebelled against God. Therefore, they have never sinned against Him. However, the external temptation must be there in some form. There are sins which I have committed, and have pretty much decided that I never want to commit those sins again, so they are not high on the temptation list. There are sins that I have committed that I would consider again; they are high on the temptation list. However, elect angels have not sinned. They are probably subject to some sort of external temptation different than we face. They do not have the same experience with sin that we have. Therefore, they have to trust in God and they also trust in what they observe in us, as we are sinful creatures committing sins pretty much every day of our life (and paying the price for it).


Also, recall, the elect angels have seen the trial and sentencing of Satan. Satan has appealed his sentence, so these angels also have to wonder, will God really cast Satan and the fallen angels into the Lake of Fire? Does God have this ability? And these angels observe God’s character in relationship to man—for thousands of years. So they observe God’s character; and they observe the ravages of sin, and they learn from this.


God, and all that He has promised, can be depended upon; and there is no one among the angels who is even close to Him in His Deity (particularly, not Satan).


One of the very minor discussions which some have had is over angelic salvation. R. B. Thieme Jr. originally taught that angels were given the chance to be saved, although we do not know all that was involved in this. Footnote Personally, I do not believe that God offered salvation to the angels who fell (those who chose to sin against Him). Men and angels are different in a number of ways, but one of those ways is reproduction—we are all related and we all have the same father, Adam, and the same mother, Eve. A sin nature was biologically passed down from Adam to his son until we eventually were born with a sin nature ourselves. The fact that Jesus was born a man—without a sin nature, of course—makes Him qualified to go to the cross and bear our sins, as we are also men, and we are also related to Him. The same thing is not true of the angels. Angels were created directly by the hand of God, each one individually; they are not related. They may have a number of similar characteristics, but they are not all genetically tied together. Therefore—and I confess, I do not have all of the details worked out here—we do not find a similar salvation offered to angels. My only proof of this position—and this is a tertiary doctrine at best—is the difference between man and angels and the fact that, nowhere in the Bible is salvation offered to angels.


A God [El] feared in a council of saints [holy ones]—greatly;

and fearful beyond all those surrounding Him.

Psalm

89:7

[He is] God [El] exceedingly awesome among the assembly of holy ones [or, saints];

and feared [and respected] above all those surrounding Him.

He is a God seen as exceedingly awesome among the council of saints;

He is feared and respected above all those who surround Him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       A God [El] feared in a council of saints [holy ones]—greatly;

and fearful beyond all those surrounding Him.

Septuagint                              God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and revered of all [them that are] about him.

 

Significant differences:           Although I have translated revered as a verb, it is actually an adjective in the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       You are the most fearsome of all who live in heaven; all the others fear and greatly honor you.

Easy-to-Read Version            God meets together with the holy ones.

Those angels are all around him.

They fear and respect God.

They stand in awe of him.

Good News Bible (TEV)         You are feared in the council of the holy ones; they all stand in awe of you.

The Message                         The holy angels are in awe before him; he looms immense and august over everyone around him.

New Century Version             When the holy ones meet, it is God they fear.

He is more frightening than all who surround him.

New Jerusalem Bible             God, awesome in the assembly of holy ones, great and dreaded among all who surround him,...

New Living Translation           The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God.

He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             God is greatly to be feared among the saints, and to be honoured over all those who are about him.

Easy English (Churchyard)    God frightens very much the *holy ones that meet together.

He makes them more afraid than anyone else does.

God’s Word                         God is terrifying in the council of the holy ones. He is greater and more awe-inspiring than those who surround him.

JPS (Tanakh)                         ...a God greatly dreaded in the council of holy beings,

held in awe by all around Him!

NET Bible®                             ...a God who is honored in the great angelic assembly,

and more awesome than all who surround him?.

NIRV                                      God is highly respected among his holy angels.

He's more wonderful than all those who are around him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

A Conservative Version         ...a God very awesome in the council of the holy ones, and to be feared above all those who are round about him?.

Updated Emphasized Bible    A GOD inspiring awe in the circle of the holy ones, exceedingly, And to be reverenced above all who are round about Him.

English Standard Version      ...a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?.

LTHB                                     God is greatly to be feared in the congregation of the saints, and to be adored by all around Him.

WEB                                      ...a very awesome God in the council of the holy ones, to be feared above all those who are around him?.

Young's Updated LT              God is greatly dreaded in the secret counsel of His holy ones, and He is feared over all surrounding Him.


What is the gist of this verse? God is feared and respected among the angels.


Psalm 89:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾÊl (אֵל) [pronounced ALE]

God, god, mighty one, strong, hero

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #410 BDB #42

ʿârats (עָרַץ) [pronounced ģaw-RAHTS]

to be awesome; to be terrified [by]

Niphal participle

Strong’s #6206 BDB #791

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

çôwd (סד) [pronounced sohd]

a sitting together, an assembly [of friends, judges, of the wicked, of the Godhead]; a deliberation, a council

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #5475 BDB #691

qedôshîym (קְדֹשִים) [pronounced kaw-DOWSH]

saints, holy ones, set-apart ones, sacred ones, consecrated ones, those set apart to God

masculine plural adjective/noun

Strong's #6918 BDB #872

rabbâh (רָבָּה) [pronounced rahb-BAW]

many, much, great (in the sense of large or significant, not acclaimed)

feminine singular adjective

Strong's #7227 BDB #912

The BDB definitions are much, many, great; much; many; abounding in; more numerous than; abundant, enough; great; strong; greater than; much, exceedingly; [as a masculine noun] captain, chief.


Translation: [He is] God [El] exceedingly awesome among the assembly of holy ones [or, saints];... Since the feminine singular adjective cannot really modify either of the nouns that it is close to, it must therefore modify the Niphal participle, which is why we have exceedingly awesome in the middle of the verse rather than the council of great holy ones at the end of this verse.


What we do not have here is a gathering or convocation of the saints, but of God’s holy ones, which are the elect angels. God is perceived as exceedingly awesome among these elect angels.


It might be interesting pondering for a few moments just exactly how angels perceive God. We cannot see God, for God is a Spirit; however, angels are spirits. God is omnipresent, and it is unclear as to how that could be seen or perceived. Exactly what angels see or perceive when it comes ot God is difficult to determine, if not imagine. I wonder if, perhaps, God appears to them as another angel, bringing Himself into something which they could recognize. I see that as more likely, as opposed to the powerful voice which seems to come out of nowhere. However, I may have tread, with these musings, into the how many angels can dance on the head of a pin territory.


1Kings 22:19–23 reads: And Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, 'I will entice him.' And the LORD said to him, 'By what means?' And he said, 'I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.' Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you." The host of heaven, which means, the army of heaven, is a reference to angelic creation who stand at both sides of the Lord. My guess is, God has allowed Himself to appear as an angel here on earth, so it is not out of the question for Him to appear as an angel in heaven, before all the angels. A royal king is just a man, with flesh and blood; but, even recognizing that, one must also recognize his power and position. God, of course, is not just an angel, despite His appearance before them. This passage is also interesting, insofar as we see the influence of angels upon man.



Psalm 89:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yârêʾ (יָרְא) [pronounced yaw-RAY]

fearful, terrible, dreadful [things]; awesome; venerable, August [things]; stupendous, admirable [things]

Niphal participle

Strong’s #3372 BDB #431.

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

çâbîyb (סָבִיב) [pronounced sawb-VEEBV]

those surrounding, surrounders; places round about, a circuit; all around; on every side

masculine plural substantive with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5439 BDB #686


Translation: ...and feared [and respected] above all those surrounding Him. God has chosen to be among those of the angelic persuasion. In the midst of these angels who surround Him, God is greatly feared and admired.


Although it is clear to us that we, in the realm of man, have a variety of personalities, the same must be true of angels as well. Along the same vein, the angels must have a variety of ways of relating to God. Some may possibly fear God, knowing His great and absolute power. However, in watching what occurs here on earth, angels are shown God’s great mercy and love as well. Rom. 5:8: God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


One of the discussions which I have participated in is, have angels been redeemed as we have? That is, have angels been saved in a fashion similar to our salvation? Although I certainly lean towards, no way, in such a case, this would give angels pause—one sin, and they face eternity in the Lake of Fire. That would certainly cause me to fear, especially if there was no road back. One of the things which angels see played out in this life is God’s tremendous love for His creatures, where He has suffered the equivalent of billions of hells, dying for our sins. Further, God has taken upon Himself the skin of man, as it were, for all eternity, which is an integral part of His dying for our sins. In man’s portion of the Angelic Conflict, the angels observe God’s character in His relationship to all men over thousands of years; and they also observe the devastating affects of sin.


We know how vast the universe is (well, actually, we don’t; it is vast beyond our ability to comprehend, and it is continually expanding); and we know that Satan can move from the 3rd heaven to the earth and back again (Job 1 Matt. 4). This means that, at any point in time, Satan and his minions of fallen angels, could have put themselves at warp 10 speed and have gone toward the outer realms of the universe. However, they have not done that. Fallen angels have chosen to spend time on this earth, attempting to, in any way possible, to influence human history and the volition of men. Part of the inherent nature of going against God is to try to take as many people along with you as possible. Satan was not happy to turn against God on his own; he took along with him a third of angelic creation (Rev. 12:4), all of whom will spend eternity in torments. He was not happy just taking a third of the angels with him; when God created man, Satan was immediately on the scene, studying the man and the woman, determining whether or not there was any weakness that could be exploited.


We see this same approach with a number of sins. Some kid who starts using drugs is rarely willing to just let it go at that. They are going to tempt their friends with the same drugs. Sinners do not simply go off in some corner and sin alone and come back when they are done; they make attempts to bring other people down as well. One of the things which angels learn is, the importance of God’s justice and righteousness. Sin not only needs to be punished, but it needs to be isolated as well. Those who have some clue as to the great inhumanity of the Germans in World War II should also understand how important is was for us not to tolerate them, but to beat them and to kill as many of them as possible. The same was true of Japan when they allied themselves with such evil.


I am writing this in the year 2008 a month or two before the presidential election, and we are witnessing military build-up in a number of nations who are our enemies, along with a transference of serious weaponry from one set of nations with the technology to those who are our enemies. Sin cannot leave others alone. Sin looks to multiply and to influence others to do evil as well.


We’ve witnessed decades of Muslim extremists who have continually attacked and done violence against the innocent and the helpless—most often against their own people (fellow Muslims). They cannot just confine their evil to this or that portion of the world; they desire to spread this evil by any means possible, and, if this involves the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people, so be it.


Several times already in this psalm, God is seen as being in the midst of His angels, who are referred to with several different designations. There is something to this, and something which God the Holy Spirit is conveying to us, but I don’t feel as though I have a complete grasp of it.


I must admit, although I have a good grasp of the overall sense of this psalm—the Davidic Covenant and how men will feel and think after the kingdom of Israel is divided (and later dispersed)—I do not quite understand how the angels fit into this picture. Quite obviously, we are object lessons for the angels, and perhaps the intent here is for angels to see themselves the character of God—particularly His grace and His faithfulness.


Angels are found throughout Scripture, and it is significant to note that they are not found in the restoration of the earth and the creation of man and animals in Gen. 1–2. In Gen. 3, when Satan comes along, there is precious little in background given of him. His existence seems to be taken as a given. This would be another reason to think that Gen. 1 was not the beginning of all creation, but simply that of the restoration of the earth and the creation of mankind. As many theologians have suggested in the past, angelic beings already existed, and they had already enjoyed a creation story of their own (which probably was the time that the heavens and the earth were created).


Yehowah, Elohim of armies, who [is] like You—a strong Yah?

And Your faithfulness surrounds You.

Psalm

89:8

O Yehowah, Elohim of the Armies, who [is] a strong Yah [or, a wealthy Jah] like You?

Your faithfulness surrounds You.

O, Jehovah, God of the Armies, who is a strong [or, wealthy] Jehovah like You, surrounded by Your faithfulness?


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       Yehowah, Elohim of armies, who [is] like You— strong Yah?

And Your faithfulness surrounds You.

Septuagint                              O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like you? And Your truth round about You?

 

Significant differences:           Again, the translators of the LXX have truth rather than faithfulness. However, God’s faithfulness is one of the keys to this entire psalm. The Latin is in agreement with the Greek text.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       You are LORD God All-Powerful! No one is as loving and faithful as you are.

Easy English (Churchyard)    Most Powerful *LORD God, who is as strong as you are, *LORD?

And you do everything that you have promised!

Easy-to-Read Version            Lord God All-Powerful, there is no one like you.

We can trust you completely.

Good News Bible (TEV)         LORD God Almighty, none is as mighty as you; in all things you are faithful, O LORD.

The Message                         GOD of the Angel Armies, who is like you, powerful and faithful from every angle?

New Century Version             Lord God All-Powerful, who is like you?

Lord, you are powerful and completely trustworthy.

New Jerusalem Bible             Yahweh, God Sabaoth, who is like you? Mighty Yahweh, your constancy is all round you!.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             O Lord God of armies, who is strong like you, O Jah? and your unchanging faith is round about you.

God’s Word                         O LORD God of Armies, who is like you? Mighty LORD, even your faithfulness surrounds you.

NET Bible®                             O LORD, sovereign God!

Who is strong like you, O LORD?

Your faithfulness surrounds you.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                O Lord God of hosts, who is a mighty one like unto You, O Lord? And Your faithfulness is round about You [an essential part of You at all times].

English Standard Version      O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you?

MKJV                                     O Jehovah, the God of Hosts, who is a strong Jehovah like You? And Your faithfulness is round about You?

WEB                                      Yahweh, God of Armies, who is a mighty one, like you? Yah, your faithfulness is around you.

Young’s Updated LT             O Jehovah, God of Hosts, Who is like You—a strong Jah? And Your faithfulness is round about You.


What is the gist of this verse? The psalmist asks, Who is like You? addressing this to God. God is proclaimed to be omnipotent and faithful. .


Psalm 89:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural construct

Strong's #430 BDB #43

tsebâʾôwth (צְבָאוֹת) [pronounced tzeb-vaw-OHTH]

armies, hosts; wars

masculine plural noun, simply the plural of Strong’s #6635, but often used in titles

Strong’s #6635 BDB #838

mîy (מִי) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

kaph or ke (כְּ) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #453

chăsîyn (חֲשִין) [pronounced KHUS-eem]

strong, mighty

masculine singular, adjective

Strong’s #2626 BDB #340

Although the BDB definition for this word is strong, mighty; the cognates are all related to wealth, treasure and riches (see Strong’s #2633, 2630, where the consonants are the same).

Yâhh (יָהּ) [pronounced yaw]

an abbreviated form of YHWH, the proper name for God in the Old Testament

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #3050 BDB #219


Translation: O Yehowah, Elohim of the Armies, who [is] a strong Yah [or, a wealthy Jah] like You? The Greek noun which is associated with Yah means strength, power; but the Hebrew noun appears to be more closely associated with wealth and riches (despite the BDB definition). Using God’s title, God of the Armies, could refer both to strength and to wealth, as He is omnipotent and the Creator and Owner of all. Furthermore, a good army is wealthy because of the plunder which they enjoy.


This question appears to parallel Psalm 89:6: For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD?


Deut. 33:2: He said, "The LORD came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran; he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, with flaming fire at his right hand.” God is often called the Lord of the armies, referring to the army of angels who are with Him.


Psalm 89:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾěmûwnâh (אֱמוּנָה) [pronounced eh-moo-NAWH]

faithfulness, dependability; firmness, steadiness, steadfast; security

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #530 BDB #53

çâbîyb (סָבִיב) [pronounced sawb-VEEBV]

those surrounding, surrounders; places round about, a circuit; all around; on every side

masculine plural substantive with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5439 BDB #686


Translation: Your faithfulness surrounds You. God’s faithfulness, dependability and steadfastness surround Him. Evidence of these character traits surrounds God. What surrounds God in this verse are His angels; and perhaps what is being said here is, “You angels are evidence of my faithfulness and dependability.” God is not arbitrary or capricious. A terrorist may determine a target place, but those exactly people who will be there is not an issue to him. He is capricious and arbitrary. God is just the opposite. The angels themselves are a testimony to God’s character in this regard.


Let me remind you of the previous verse: [He is] God [El] exceedingly awesome among the assembly of holy ones [or, saints]; and feared [and respected] above all those surrounding Him. God is surrounded by angels in the heavenlies. Every single day, the angels observe God but then, they also observe His creation here on earth—us! God could tell the angels about His Own character (which I am sure that He has done). However, it is better for them to actually see His character in relation to His other created beings. We have a saying here: actions speak louder than words. Satan has impugned God’s character from the day he fell; God’s character is vindicated millions of times over, day in and day out, in His relationship to mankind. God’s angels surround Him, but, His faithfulness surrounds Him as well. The angels are able to hear and know the Word of God (and often, they delivered the Word of God); and they are able to observe His faithfulness on every hand. God’s interaction with mankind shows His faithfulness, and this surrounds Him.


The psalmist is recognizing God’s character here, because He is putting together a progressive understanding of Who and What God is. A portion of God’s character is His faithfulness. We have seen this alluded to in several previous verses, which also spoke of His graciousness and His gracious covenant which He made with David. The psalmist will now illustrate the great power of the Lord in the next several verses.


I want you to understand what the psalmist is doing. He is, to some degree, boxing God into a corner. Have you ever watched Hannity and Colmes? Although I agree with Hannity on most of what he says, when he interviews almost anyone, he boxes them into a corner with his questions—friend or foe. His question might go on for 3 minutes (I exaggerate somewhat), leaving his guest little to say except for, “Okay, yes, you are right about all of those things.” This psalmist is doing the same thing to God. “This is what I know about you, God; Your covenant with David was an act of grace—You did not have to establish this covenant, but You did. Furthermore, You are faithful—when You tell us that You are going to do something, we may depend upon You to do what You say You will do. And, on top of that, You are powerful enough to bring Your words to pass.” Do you see how the psalmist is boxing God into a corner? At the very end of this psalm, the psalmist will then ask, “Why are You not fulfilling Your covenant with David?” All of this works toward that end.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


God's Essence: God's Great Power


You are ruling in a rising up of the sea;

in a lifting up of his waves, You still them.

Psalm

89:9

You control [lit., are ruling over] the rising of the seas;

when its waves rise up, You still them.

You exercise control over the rising of the seas;

when its waves rise up, You still them.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       You are ruling in a rising up of the sea;

in a lifting up of his waves, You still them.

Septuagint                              You rule the power of the sea; and You calm the tumult of its waves.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       You rule the roaring sea and calm its waves.

Good News Bible (TEV)         You rule over the powerful sea; you calm its angry waves.

The Message                         You put the arrogant ocean in its place and calm its waves when they turn unruly.

New Jerusalem Bible             You control the pride of the ocean, when its waves ride high you calm them.

New Living Translation           You rule the oceans.

You subdue their storm-tossed waves.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Easy English (Churchyard)    You are the ruler of the boiling sea.

When the water rises up, you make it quiet again.

HCSB                                     You rule the raging sea; when its waves surge, You still them.

NET Bible®                             You rule over the proud sea.

When its waves surge, you calm them.

NIRV                                      You rule over the stormy sea.

When its waves rise up, you calm them down..

New International Version      You rule over the surging sea;

when its waves mount up, you still them.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

English Standard Version      You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.

WEB                                      You rule the pride of the sea. When its waves rise up, you calm them.

Young’s Updated LT             You are ruler over the pride of the sea. In the lifting up of its billows You restrain them.


What is the gist of this verse? Twice the psalmist has asked, Who is like the Lord? In this verse, he tells of how God controls the rising sea and how He is able to still the great waves.


Psalm 89:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

mâshal (מָשַל) [pronounced maw-HAHL]

to rule, to have dominion, to reign

Qal participle

Strong’s #4910 BDB #605

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

gêʾûwth (גֵאוּת) [pronounced gay-OOTH]

majesty; a rising up (of column of smoke); a swelling (of sea)

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #1348 BDB #145

yâm (יָם) [pronounced yawm]

sea, lake, river, seaward, west, westward

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3220 BDB #410


Translation: You control [lit., are ruling over] the rising of the seas;... We know that the moon has a gravitational pull upon the oceans, lifting them up (or pulling them in a particular direction), which causes the ocean on every beach to recede in the day and to crawl up the beach at night. I remember as a young child going out to the ocean and building a campfire at night on the beach, and being told that the very spot where we were enjoying the fire would be covered in water that very night due to the tides. It was always an ethereal feeling on those cold California beaches, the thick fog disguising the location of the very ocean itself, along with the notion that, where we sat in the dry sand, enjoying the fire, would be soon underwater from the unseen ocean.


A great storm (e.g., a hurricane or a tropical depression) can also cause the sea to rise. When Hurricane Ike went through here, back in the days when I had electricity and a television, Geraldo Rivera was talking about how the sea can surge several feet in a matter of a few minutes.


God has put these various laws into motion with variables too complex even today for modern meteorologists using computers to properly predict. God knows where it will rain tomorrow; He knows high and low tides to the hundredth of a second; as He put all of these variables into motion, first in His mind in eternity past as a part of the divine decrees; and later, as a reality, within the realm of time, also an invention of God’s.


Psalm 89:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

sôwʾ (שׂוֹא) [pronounced soh]

to lift up, to bear, to carry

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7721 BDB #670

This appears to be a form of nâsâʾ (נָשָׂא) [pronounced naw-SAW]. Strong’s #5375 BDB #669. BDB suggests the reading שְאוֹן, which means to roar. We have most of the same letters, albeit somewhat mixed up, with the addition of א.

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

gal (גַּל) [pronounced gahl]

a heap [of stones], a wave [used figuratively for chastisement of Jehovah], spring

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1530 BDB #164

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

shâbach (שָבַח) [pronounced shawb-VAHKH]

to still [the waves]; to praise, to soothe with praises; to pronounce happy

2nd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #7623 BDB #986


Translation: ...when its waves rise up, You still them. This is not the same as the previous phrase. The previous phrase is most reasonably applied to the tides. This refers to the waves of any sea. God has complete and total control over the oceans and the waves. Even our most massive ships can be as corks in the ocean, when facing some of the great storms which are out there.

 

Barnes writes: The seas rise no higher than You permit; at Your command they settle down into a calm. So in the troubles of life - the storms - the waves of affliction; they rise as high as God permits, and no higher; when He commands they subside, and leave the mind as calm as the smooth sea when not a breath of wind moves over its surface, or makes a ripple on its placid bosom. Footnote

 

Clarke comments: Whoever has seen the sea in a storm, when its waves run what is called mountain high, must acknowledge that nothing but omnipotent power could rule its raging. Footnote

 

Gill also waxes poetic here: The power, pride, and elation of it, when it swells, and foams, and rages, and becomes boisterous, and threatens vessels upon it with utter ruin and destruction; but the Lord, who has it under his dominion and government, restrains it; he has made and can manage it, and he only: his power over it is seen in assigning it its place, and ordering the waters of it to it when first made; in placing the sand for its boundary by a perpetual decree, which it cannot pass; by commanding the stormy wind to lift up its waves, and by making the storm a calm, and the waves thereof still. Footnote


Also, in this verse, God the Holy Spirit looks forward to Jesus Christ stilling the waves of the sea in Matt. 8:24–27: And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?" And the psalmist answers, “When the ocean’s waves rise up, You, God, still them.” Much of what our Lord did was, do things which were clearly identified with Jehovah Elohim. No one in the Bible is associated with the stilling of the waves, other than God. No doubt that many people on this boat believed in Him after seeing Him rebuke the waves.


The general idea is quite simple: if we are going to put our trust anywhere, why not trust Him Who controls the seas?


Throughout the Bible, we will see that God is clearly seen to have dominion over the seas.

God and the Seas

Passage

Text and Commentary

Psalm 65:5–8

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the One Who by His strength established the mountains, being girded with might; Who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at Your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. God’s power is associated with righteousness and our salvation. God stills the seas and the roaring of the waves, and Jesus, by doing so in Matt. 8:24–27, showed Himself to be God.

Psalm 66:5–7

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations-- let not the rebellious exalt themselves. For hundreds of years, what Jehovah Elohim did at the exodus, stopping the sea and allowing the Jews to pass through, functioned as a part of the gospel message.

Psalm 93:3–5

The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore. Even today, with all the technology which we have, we can mitigate the destruction of floods, but we cannot stop it. Only God is more powerful than many waters.

Psalm 107:23–31

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. For He commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the LORD for His grace for His wondrous works to the children of man! Staggering like drunken men simply describes how men aboard a ship which is being tossed to and fro walk. Like the passage in Psalm 65, this looks forward to Jesus stilling the great waves.

Job 38:8–11

Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed'? God sets all of the boundaries for the seas.

Nahum 1:3–6

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before Him, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the heat of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by Him. God has authority over the seas, the storms and even volcanoes.

Mark 4:36–41

And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" What Jesus did here is perfectly in sync with Psalm 65:7a ([God] stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves) and Psalm 107:25–29, which essentially describes this incident in Mark.

These passages were suggested by Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge; by Canne, Browne, Blayney, Scott, and others about 1880, with introduction by R. A. Torrey; courtesy of E-sword, Psalm 89:9.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


You have crushed, like the pierced one, Rahab;

in an arm of strength, You have scattered Your enemies.

Psalm

89:10

Like the pierced one [or, one who is fatally wounded], You have crushed Rahab [or, the storm];

with a strong arm, You have scattered Your enemies.

You have crushed Rahab like the pieced one; You have scattered Your enemies with Your strong arm.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       You have crushed, like the pierced one, Rahab;

in an arm of strength, You have scattered Your enemies.

Septuagint                              You has brought down the proud as a slain one; and with the arm of Your power You have scattered Your enemies.

 

Significant differences:           The first verb is quite different in the Greek. The Latin and Syriac both agree with the Greek. Rahab can mean proud, so there is no real difference there. I would guess that slain one (a Greek word for which I have no definition) and pierced one are similar enough.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       You crushed the monster Rahab, and with your powerful arm you scattered your enemies.

Easy-to-Read Version            God, you defeated Rahab.

You scattered your enemies with your own powerful arm.

Good News Bible (TEV)         You crushed the monster Rahab and killed it; with your mighty strength you defeated your enemies.

The Message                         You gave that old hag Egypt the back of your hand, you brushed off your enemies with a flick of your wrist.

New American Bible              You crushed Rahab with a mortal blow,

your strong arm scattered your foes.

New Century Version             You crushed the sea monster Rahab;

by your power you scattered your enemies.

New Jerusalem Bible             You split Rahab in two like a corpse, scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.

New Life Version                    You have crushed Rahab like one who is killed. You have destroyed those who hate You with Your powerful arm..

New Living Translation           You crushed the great sea monster [Hebrew Rahab, the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature].

You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.

Revised English Bible            You crushed and slew the monster Rahab

and scattered your enemies with your strong arm.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             Rahab was crushed by you like one wounded to death; with your strong arm you put to flight all your haters.

Easy English (Churchyard)    You broke Rahab and killed it!

With your strong arm, you destroyed your enemies.

God’s Word                         You crushed Rahab; it was like a corpse. With your strong arm you scattered your enemies.

HCSB                                     You crushed Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with Your powerful arm.

JPS (Tanakh)                         You crushed Rahab; he was like a corpse;

with Your powerful arm You scattered Your enemies.

NET Bible®                             You crushed the Proud One and killed it;

with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.

NIRV                                      You crushed Egypt and killed her people.

With your powerful arm you scattered your enemies.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                You have broken Rahab (Egypt) in pieces; with Your mighty arm You have scattered Your enemies.

English Standard Version      You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.

WEB                                      You have broken Rahab in pieces, like one of the slain. You have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.

Young’s Updated LT             You have bruised Rahab, as one wounded. With the arm of Your strength You have scattered Your enemies.


What is the gist of this verse? God has broken or crushed Rahab. He scatters His enemies with His strong arm.


Psalm 89:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

dâkâʾ (דָּכָא) [pronounced daw-KAW]

to crush, to break into pieces

2nd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #1792 BDB #193

kaph or ke (כְּ) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

comparative preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

châlâl (חָלָל) [pronounced chaw-LAWL]

slain, fatally wounded, wounded, pierced; from a verb which means to bore, to pierce

masculine singular noun (or adjective) with the definite article

Strong’s #2491 BDB #319

Clarke comments: Dr. Kennicott has largely proved that chalal (חלל) , which we render wounded, slain, etc., means a soldier, warrior, hero. Footnote

Rahab (רַהַב) [pronounced RAH-hahbv]

storm, arrogance; a mythical sea creature; emblematic name for Egypt; transliterated Rahab

proper masculine singular noun; pausal form

Strong’s #7293 and 7294 BDB #923


Translation: Like the pierced one [or, one who is fatally wounded], you have crushed Rahab [or, the storm];... First of all, Rahab here is not the same as Rahab in Joshua 2, although the words are fairly close. In the consonants, they vary by one letter, Rahab the prostitute is actually Râchâb.


The sources which I read associate Egypt with Rahab (the Rahab of this verse, not the Rahab of Joshua 2). The reason this association is made is Isa. 30:7: Egypt's help is worthless and empty; therefore I have called her "Rahab [strength, arrogance?] who sits still." Generally speaking, we like to find such a reference to Egypt prior to that reference being made. So, an alternate reading would be, Like one who is fatally slain, you have crushed the storm. In the context of our text, this actually makes more sense. The previous verse dealt with God’s power over the sea and its waves, and here, He crushes the storm (presumably over the sea).


This is the sum total of the commentary on Rahab:

Who is Rahab?

Scripture

Commentary

Barnes

The word Rahab here refers to Egypt. See Isa. 51:9. It is also applied to Egypt in Psalm 87:4 89:10. The reason why the name was given to Egypt is not certainly known. The Hebrew word properly means “fierceness, insolence, pride;” and it may have been given to Egypt by the Hebrews on account of its haughtiness, pride, and insolence. It has been supposed by some (Jablonski, Opusc. i. 228) that the name is of Egyptian origin, but this has not been clearly made out. Footnote

Easton

Rahab means Insolence; pride, a poetical name applied to Egypt in Psalm 87:4 89:10; Isa. 51:9, as “the proud one.”  Footnote

Fausset

Rahab means "insolence". It is a poetical name for Egypt (Isa. 51:9). In Isa. 30:7 De Dieu translated "I called her Arrogance (Rahab) that sitteth still." She who boasted of the help she would give, when put to the test, sat still (Isa. 36:6). Psalm 87:4–5; Psalm 89:10, "Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain." Egypt is put foremost, as first of the great world powers that opposed God. She was reduced to corpse–like helplessness By God's stroke at the Red Sea, and at the slaying of the firstborn previously. (compare Psalm 74:13–14). Rahab occurs in the Hebrew, Job. 9:13 26:12. Footnote

Gill

In reference to this verse, Gill writes: All this may be an emblem of the Lord's breaking in pieces the proud and insolent one Satan, as Rahab signifies; of God breaking his head, destroying his works, and spoiling his principalities and powers; and indeed of his destruction of every proud and haughty sinner, that says, Pharaoh-like, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him?” And of every vain boaster, and self-righteous person, that trusts in his own righteousness, and will not submit to the righteousness of Christ; and particularly of mystical Egypt, the proud beast of Rome, antichrist, who sits in the temple of God as if he was God, showing himself to be so, blaspheming God, His name, his tabernacle, and his saints; who will be broken to shivers as a potter's vessel, when the vials of God's wrath are poured out, and at and by the coming of Christ. Footnote In short, Gill seems to apply this to Egypt, Satan and of every vacuous braggart.

ISBE

(רהב, rahabh, literally, “storm,” “arrogance”): A mythical sea–monster, probably referred to in several passages where the word is translated as a common noun “pride” (Job. 9:13), “the proud” (Job. 26:12; compare Psalm 89:10). It is used in parallelism with tannin, “the dragon” (Isa. 51:9). It is most familiar as an emblem of Egypt, 'the boaster that sitteth still' (Isa. 30:7; Psalm 87:4; compare Psalm 89:10). The Talmud in Bābhā' Bathrā' speaks of rahabh as sar ha–yām, “master of the sea.”  Footnote

The Net Bible

"Rahab" is not to be confused with the harlot of the same name from Jericho. "Rahab" is identified with Tiamat of the Babylonian creation epic, or Leviathan of the Canaanite myths. It is also used in parallelism to the sea (Job 26:12), or the Red Sea (Psalm 74:13), and so comes to symbolize Egypt (Isa 30:7). In the Babylonian Creation Epic there is reference to the helpers of Tiamat. In the Bible the reference is only to the raging sea, which the Lord controlled at creation. Footnote

"Rahab," the mythical sea monster that represents the forces of chaos in ancient Near Eastern literature. In the translation the words "the great sea monster" have been supplied appositionally in order to clarify "Rahab."  Footnote

In Psalm 87:4, Rahab is identified as Egypt. "Rahab," which means "proud one," is used here as a title for Egypt (see Isa 30:7). Footnote

The name "Rahab" means "proud one." Since it is sometimes used of Egypt (see Psalm 87:4; Isa 30:7), the passage may allude to the exodus. However, the name is also used of the sea (or the mythological sea creature) which symbolizes the disruptive forces of the world that seek to replace order with chaos (see Job 9:13; 26:12). Isa 51:9 appears to combine the mythological and historical referents. The association of Rahab with the sea in Psalm 89 (see v. 9) suggests that the name carries symbolic force in this context. In this case the passage may allude to creation (see vv. 11-12), when God overcame the great deep and brought order out of chaos. Footnote

This title (rahav, "proud one") is sometimes translated as a proper name: "Rahab" (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). It is used here of a symbolic sea monster, known elsewhere in the Bible and in Ugaritic myth as Leviathan. This sea creature symbolizes the forces of chaos that seek to destroy the created order. In the Bible "the Proud One" opposes God's creative work, but is defeated (see Job 26:12; Psalm 89:10). Here the title refers to Pharaoh's Egyptian army that opposed Israel at the Red Sea (see v. 10, and note also Isa 30:7 and Psalm 87:4, where the title is used of Egypt). Footnote

NIV Study Bible

Rahab is a mythical monster of the deep, and probably another name for Leviathan. Footnote This and related imagery was borrowed from ancient Near Eastern creation myths. in many of these, a primal mass of chaotic waters (their threatening and destructive forces were often depicted as a any-headed monster of the deep) had to be subdued by the creator-god before he could fashion the world and/or rule as the divine king over the earth. Though in these myths, the chaotic waters were subdued when the present world was created, they remained a constant threat to the security and well-being of the present order in the earth (the world in which man lives). Hence, by association, they were linked with anything that in the human experience endangered or troubled that order. they were also associated with the sea, whose angry waves seemed determined at times to engulf the land. since in Canaanite mythology, Sea and Death were the two great enemies of Baal (“lord” of the earth), imagery drawn from both realms was used by OT poets, sometimes side by side, to depict threats and distress (see Psalm 18:4–5, 16 42:7 65:7 74:12–14 77:16, 19 89:9–10 93:3–4 124:4–5 144:7–8 Job 7:12 26:12 38:8–11 Isa. 5:30 8:7–8 17:12–14 51:9–10 Jer. 5:22 47:2 51:55 Habak. 3:8–10). Footnote

Smith

A poetical name of Egypt, Psalm 89:10; Isa. 51:9, signifying "fierceness, insolence, pride." Rahab, as a name of Egypt, occurs once only, without reference to the Exodus: this is in Psalm 87:4 . In Isa. 30:7, the name is alluded to. Footnote

Spurgeon

Spurgeon takes this association for granted: Egypt was crushed like a corpse beneath the chariot wheels of the destroyer: its pomp and glory were broken like the limbs of the dead in battle. Egypt was Israel's ancient foe, and its overthrow was a theme to which devout minds constantly reverted, as to a subject fit for their most exulting songs. Footnote

Both Wesley and the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge identify Egypt and Rahab, without any additional explanation.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


On the other hand, it is possible that Egypt has been associated with the name Rahab in other writings, and that this, to the people of that time, was understood. Taking v. 10a in this way, leads naturally into v. 10b. Being able to understand v. 10a in two ways provides a natural segue from the storms of v. 9 to the enemies which God crushes in v. 10b. This understanding also comports well with the fact that God’s control of the waters (specifically, the water of the Sea of Reeds) is what delivered Israel from the hoards of Egyptian soldiers.


However, the problem with interpreting Rahab as being a reference to Egypt is, this appears to refer to the creation or restoration of the earth, and Egypt was just not a factor at that time.


Like many doctrines, I have no idea where this particular will lead me.

The Doctrine of Rahab

1.The Hebrew word is Rahab (רַהַב) [pronounced RAH-hahbv] and it means storm, arrogance; a mythical sea creature; emblematic name for Egypt; transliterated Rahab. Strong’s #7293 and 7294 BDB #923. One Strong’s number is for the two references in Job and the other are for the Psalm and Isaiah references.

2.Occurrences: Job. 9:13 26:12 Psalm 87:4 89:10 Isa. 30:7 51:9

3.My first reaction to what I see thus far is, Egypt is not a factor in the book of Job and really not apropos to the creation and restoration of the earth, so, in at least 3 instances, Rahab does not equal Egypt.

4.Various hypotheses: Rahab refers to Egypt, Satan, a mythical sea creature, a real sea creature.

a.With regards to real sea creatures, there is the Dunkleosteus who looked like a violent brute. It was powerfully built and armour-plated round its head. It was streamlined and shark-like. Dunkleosteus lacked true teeth, instead it had two long bony blades that could snap and crush almost anything. Pigment cells suggest Dunkleosteus had dark colours on its back and was silvery on its belly. A Dunkleosteus could be 30 feet long (10 m).1

b.There is the almost 90 ft. long Leedsichthys, a giant fish that would have dwarfed every other animal in the sea, but it was a gentle giant that lived on the tiny shrimps, jellyfish and small fish that make up plankton. It would have swum slowly through the upper waters of the ocean, taking mouthfuls of plankton-rich water and sieving them through the giant mesh-plates at the back of its mouth. Its feeding habits were similar to the modern blue whale, which also survives on nothing but plankton.2

c.Another possible identity for Rahab is the mosasaurs were one of the success stories of the late Cretaceous period. The largest known mosasaur is Hainosaurus, which could reach 17 metres (51 ft) in length. Giant mosasaurs were the top predator in the sea and were widespread across the world. Much of their day would have been spent swimming slowly near the seabed looking for suitable prey to attack. Their diet consisted of slow moving animals like ammonites, birds and turtles but they would also tackle larger and swifter prey, such as sharks and plesiosaurs, when the opportunity arose.3

d.There are other possible creatures, like the Megalodon (nearly 50 ft. long), whose feeding preference was whale; or the 75 ft long Liopleurodon, who was probably capable of eating many of the prehistoric fish already named.

e.By way of comparison, a whale can be as long as 90 ft.

  giantmosasaur1.jpgGiant Mosasaur

dunkleosteus1.jpgDunkleosteus  

5.Let’s see how Rahab appears in these 6 passages:

Then Job answered and said: “Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with Him, one could not answer Him once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength, who has hardened himself against Him, and succeeded? He Who removes mountains, and they know it not, when He overturns them in His anger, Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; Who commands the sun, and it does not rise; Who seals up the stars; Who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; Who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; Who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. Behold, He passes by me, and I see Him not; He moves on, but I do not perceive Him. Behold, He snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to Him, 'What are you doing?’ God will not turn back His anger; beneath Him bowed the helpers of Rahab. How then can I answer Him, choosing my words with Him? Though I am in the right, I cannot answer Him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.” (Job 9:1–15).

Job is talking theology with his friends here, discussing the miserable situation that he is in, and says how can he go to God and say, “This is wrong” for what has happened to him. He discusses God’s great power with respect to the earth and the universe.


The references to the Bear, Orion and Pleiades are to the great constellations which God made.


In the context of this passage, Rahab can be seen as being associated with creation or with the seas, but the association is pretty tenuous.

Then Job answered and said: "How you have helped him who has no power! How you have saved the arm that has no strength! How you have counseled him who has no wisdom, and plentifully declared sound knowledge! With whose help have you uttered words, and whose breath has come out from you? The dead tremble under the waters and their inhabitants. Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering. He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them. He covers the face of the full moon and spreads over it His cloud. He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at His rebuke. By His power He stilled the sea; by His understanding He shattered Rahab. By His wind the heavens were made fair; His hand brings forth the fleeing serpent. Behold, these are but the outskirts of His ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?" (Job 26:1–14).

Rahab is more closely associated with the seas here, and God shatters, wounds severely, or strikes through Rahab. However, just what this means is difficult to determine.


Again, there appear to be references to creation and restoration here.

The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said about you, city of God. Selah "I will mention those who know Me: Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Cush [Ethiopia]--each one was born there." And it will be said of Zion, "This one and that one were born in her." The Most High Himself will establish her (Psalm 87:2–5).

Here, the great powers of the ancient world are mentioned, but we do not find Egypt mentioned. Given the greatness of the countries mentioned, and the several which were ignored (Moab, Ammon, Edom), Egypt is reasonably the country called Rahab.

God is greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, more awe-inspiring than all who surround Him. LORD God of Hosts, who is strong like You, LORD? Your faithfulness surrounds You. You rule the raging sea; when its waves surge, You still them. You crushed Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with Your powerful arm. The heavens are Yours; the earth also is Yours. The world and everything in it--You founded them (Psalm 89:7–11).

Again, Rahab is placed in close quarters with the raging sea, and God crushes Rahab.

An oracle about the animals of the Negev: Through a land of trouble and distress, of lioness and lion, of viper and flying serpent, they carry their wealth on the backs of donkeys and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people who will not help them. Egypt's help is completely worthless; therefore, I call her: “Rahab Who Just Sits.” Go now, write it on a tablet in their presence and inscribe it on a scroll; it will be for the future, forever and ever (Isa. 30:6–8).

This is the first place where Egypt is associated directly with the name Rahab. It would be reasonable to see Rahab as referring to something which is large and appears dangerous, which is how Egypt would be seen by man, but Egypt would not act to fulfill her alliance obligations. Therefore, Egypt is called, Rahab who just sits.

Look up to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants will die in like manner. But My salvation will last forever, and My righteousness will never be shattered. Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My instruction: do not fear disgrace by men, and do not be shattered by their taunts. For the moth will devour them like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool. But My righteousness will last forever, and My salvation for all generations. Wake up, wake up! Put on the strength of the LORD's power. Wake up as in days past, as in generations of long ago. Wasn't it You Who hacked Rahab to pieces, Who wounded [or, pierced] the sea monster? Wasn't it You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the sea-bed into a road for the redeemed to pass over? And the ransomed of the LORD will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee (Isa. 51:6–11). .

Here, Rahab is apparently associated with a sea monster, and Rahab can be hacked or cut into pieces.

6.Seeing Rahab as a huge, prehistoric creature is a reasonable approach, and not entirely out of line as a visual image of Egypt. However, we would need to ask, how would Job or Isaiah know of such a creature? Would stories have come down through the pre-deluvian civilization (remember that the sons of God, the angels who fell, would have known about such creatures)? Could there have been such creatures alive prior to the great flood of Noah? The existence of such creatures before our time may have come down to us as myths, but, given the prehistoric creatures of which we are aware, the one-time existence of such sea animals is not mythical.

7.Most importantly, if we do accept this viewpoint of the meaning of Rahab, then how does this affect the meaning of our passage?

8.You control [lit., are ruling over] the rising of the seas; when its waves rise up, You still them. Like the pierced one [or, one who is fatally wounded], You have crushed Rahab [or, the storm]; with a strong arm, You have scattered Your enemies (Psalm 89:9–10). God has complete control over the earth, the seas and all that is on the earth or in the seas. If God is able to still a storm or to crush huge sea creatures with the very sea that they live in (2 different ways of interpreting v. 10), He can certainly scatter His enemies.

9.The gist of this passage is a clear demonstration and affirmation of God’s great power.

1  Quoted and paraphrased from http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/seamonsters/factfiles/dunkleosteus.shtml accessed December 9, 2008.

2 Quoted from http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/seamonsters/factfiles/leedsichthys.shtml accessed December 9, 2008.

3 Quoted from http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/seamonsters/factfiles/giantmosasaur.shtml accessed December 9, 2008.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The point is, God clearly controls the sea and the storms; and, in the same manner, He has control over Israel’s enemies. God places the seas within certain boundaries, and tells them, “You will go no further” and He places certain peoples within specified boundaries, and He tells them, “You will go no further.”


Psalm 89:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

zerôwaʿ (זְרוֹעַ) [pronounced zeROH-ahģ

arm, shoulder and figuratively means strength

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #2220 BDB #283

ʿôz (עֹז) [pronounced ģohz]

strength, might; firmness, defense, refuge, protection; splendor, majesty, glory praise

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5797 BDB #738

pâzar (פָּזַר) [pronounced paw-ZAHR]

to scatter, to disperse; to bestow liberally

2nd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong’s #6340 BDB #808

ʾâyab (אָיַב) [pronounced aw-YABV]

to be at enmity, to be hostile; as a participle, it means enemy, the one being at enmity with you

masculine plural, Qal active participle; with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #340 BDB #33


Translation: ...with a strong arm, You have scattered Your enemies. The visualization that we are to have, is an epic storm system, in v. 10a, which God crushes (as He crushed the Egyptian army). Here, God, with a strong arm, scatters His enemies (which are the enemies of Israel). If God has power over the seas, quite obviously, He has power over His enemies.


Over and over again, Moses referred to Jehovah’s strong arm in His deliverance of Israel (Deut. 5:15 7:8, 19). The scattering of His enemies is referred to in Num. 10:35 Psalm 68:4.


We may take from these two verses (You control [lit., are ruling over] the rising of the seas; when its waves rise up, You still them. Like the pierced one [or, one who is fatally wounded], You have crushed Rahab [or, the storm];

with a strong arm, You have scattered Your enemies. ) that God rules over the oceans and has scattered the fallen angels; and we may understand this more locally to refer to God overcoming Egypt and scattering her army with the Sea of Reeds. The latter is an example the Jews are all familiar with, but the verbiage here gives a much wider application.


To You, [two] heavens;

in fact, to You, earth;

a world and her fulness, You [even] You have established.

Psalm

89:11

The heavens [are] Yours;

furthermore, the earth [is] Yours;

You have established [and founded] the world and that which fills it.

The heavens and the earth are Yours;

You established and founded the world and all that is in it.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       To You, [two] heavens;

in fact, to You, earth;

a world and her fulness, You [even] You have established.

Septuagint                              The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours: You have founded the world, and the fullness of it..

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The heavens and the earth belong to you. And so does the world with all its people because you created them...

Easy English (Churchyard)    The skies belong to you and so does the earth.

You made the world and everything that is in it.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Heaven is yours, the earth also; you made the world and everything in it.

The Message                         You own the cosmos--you made everything in it, everything from atom to archangel.

New Jerusalem Bible             Yours are the heavens and yours the earth, the world and all it holds, you founded them;...

New Living Translation           The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours;

everything in the world is yours-you created it all.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             Yours are the heavens, and the earth is yours; you have made the world, and everything which is in it.

JPS (Tanakh)                         The heaven is Yours,

the earth too;

the world and all it holds—

You established them.

NET Bible®                             The heavens belong to you, as does the earth.

You made the world and all it contains.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    Yours are the heavens; indeed Yours is the earth; The habitance and its fullness, You founded them."

MKJV                                     The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; You have founded the world and its fullness.

Young’s Updated LT             Yours are the heavens—the earth also is Yours, The habitable world and its fulness, You have founded them.


What is the gist of this verse? God has control over the seas and all of His enemies, because He the earth and the heavens are His; He founded them.


Psalm 89:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâmayîm (שָמַיִם) [pronounced shaw-MAH-yim]

heavens, skies

masculine dual noun

Strong’s #8064 BDB #1029


Translation: The heavens [are] Yours;... The psalmist, herein, explains why God controls the seas, the weather and His enemies. The heavens belong to God. God created them. Much of what is in the heavens controls the seas.


We recently had a great storm surge over Galveston Island (I am writing this on generator power in September of 2008). This surge was brought about by Hurricane Ike, which would be in the first heaven (the atmosphere of the earth). Hurricanes are started by a number of factors, which include, if memory serves, a warm air mass over a cold ocean (or perhaps it is a warm and cold air mass over a great body of water?). In any case, there are actions in the atmosphere which control the seas (quite obviously, this would include the gravitational pull of the sun and moon). God controls the seas because the heavens are His.


Psalm 89:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾaph (אַף) [pronounced ahf]

in fact, furthermore, also, yea, even, indeed; even though

a conjunction which signifies addition or emphasis

Strong’s #637 BDB #64

This word appears to have two different purposes: (1) A surprise is then mentioned or the unexpected is said. (2) A reference is made to a preceding sentence and it is expanded or emphasized and we would translate this word yea, à fortiori, the more so, how much more (following an affirmative clause), how much less (following a negative clause), furthermore, in fact.

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular noun; pausal form

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: ...furthermore, the earth [is] Yours;... The earth belongs to God, as God created the earth. Again, this is why He has sovereignty over the oceans and seas.


Psalm 89:11c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

têbêl (תֵּבֵל) [pronounced tayb-VAYL]

the fertile and inhabited earth, the habitable globe, world

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8398 BDB #385

This word is often used in poetry in connection to the creation of the entire earth.

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

melôʾ (מְלֹא) [pronounced melow]

fulness, that which fills, that which is full; multitude, crowd [i.e., those which fill a city]

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #4393 BDB #571

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

yâçar (יָסַר) [pronounced yaw-SAHR]

to establish, to found, to lay a foundation; to appoint, to ordain; to constitute, to establish [as laws]

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3245 BDB #413

After this verse, the Editio Princeps of the Hebrew Bible, printed at Soncini, 1488, adds:

To You is the day; also to You is the night:

You have prepared the light and the sun.

These same words are found in Psalm 74:16. Footnote


Translation: ...You have established [and founded] the world and that which fills it. The rationale given for God’s ownership and control of all things is that, He established, founded and ordained the world, all that is in it, and the scientific laws which govern the world. An extra You is thrown in here for great emphasis. The verb is in the Qal (which is the normal stem) rather than the Hiphil, which is the causative stem. God did not cause the world to come into being, nor did He cause all the things of the world to come into being indirectly. God set up all things directly. Adam and the woman, as found in Gen. 1–3, were not established and founded in a causal sense—i.e., they did not evolve. The earth did not evolve either. That would have been indicated by the Hiphil stem, which is not used here. God did not have one after another failed experiments until, suddenly, there were an actual man and a woman. The original, pre-deluvian world was not one of experimentation, failure, and eventual success. There was no sin in the world, and therefore, what God created was perfect (or, good, as is repeated over and over again in Gen. 1).


Here, in v. 11c, God’s ultimate ownership and control over all that is in the world, including the seas and storm systems, is the fact that He created the heavens and the earth and He established the various laws and interactions which govern our world’s physics, biology and chemistry.


Now, let’s try to take this back and relate it all to the psalm before us, so that we are unable to perceive the forest for the trees. God is gracious and faithful, which is established from the outset. God is gracious to establish a covenant with David, and He is faithful, meaning that, He can be depended upon to bring His promises to pass. Here, we find out that God is omnipotent, which means that He has the power to bring His promises to Israel to pass. As I have said before, this psalm will evangelize Jews in the Tribulation. They will read this psalm, read God’s promises to David, and they will believe that God is faithful to bring these thing to pass and that He is able to bring these things to pass. What has stood in His way is the negative free will of the Jews.


God’s power and authority are key here. You will make promises now and again, and, if you have any sort of character, you will hold to these promises. However, once in a great while, there will be things which simply stand in your way, that make it impossible to fulfill this or that promise. I had made some guarantees to some people which I was unable to hold to because Hurricane Ike got in the way. Some people made some assurances to me, but they were unable to stand by these assurances because of hurricane Ike. God is not subject to hurricane Ike. Hurricane Ike is subject to God. So, we know that God will do what He promises He will to, because He is faithful and because He has the authority and the power to fulfill every promise which He has made to us.


As you learn more and more about God’s Word and His plan and how it all relates to you, you will see that there is these great interdependence; this lattice work which holds everything together. You may claim a promise as a young Christian, because you find it in the Bible. However, as you mature, you also recognize that there are things about God’s character which can be depended upon. A good example is rebound; we name our sins and God forgives us our sins and restores us to fellowship (1John 1:9). We know that God is able to do this because of Christ’s work on the cross. We are forgiven all of our sins because He paid the penalty for our sins. We know in 1John 1:9 that He is faithful to forgives us our sins, which means he does it every time. A legalist—one who does not know the character of God—might think that we have ot promise never to commit this sin again, as if, we believers can commit every sin once, but no more than that. The grace believer understands God’s character and how it is tied directly to His Word. If God tells us that He will forgive us our sins, then we know that God’s character compels Him to do so. If He has set no limits on this function, then we have to depend upon His character to do as He said He will do. My point is, the more we know about God, the more we can depend upon His promises, because His promises are reflections of His character. His promises to us are more than, “It’s in the Bible, so it must be true.” His promises and His fulfillment of these promises are tied directly to His perfect character. If God does not fulfill His promises to us, then God is not God. Essentially, what we are doing is building some spiritual muscle here. We may depend upon God to fulfill a promise to us, but our dependence comes from two directions: from the Bible, where we read the promise, and from our own understanding of God’s character, which guarantees the promise.


Let me illustrate this: I deal with contracts on a regular basis. I know that, based upon a contract, that I have a specific agreement with such and such a person. Now, if this person has no integrity, then I will have to seek justice in the courts and the contract only gives me so many remedies which I may exercise. However, when I make a contract with someone who has personal integrity, then I can depend upon them to fulfill this contract as specified in the contract. With such a person, if we have a disagreement, I can take him to the contract and say, “Here is our written agreement.” He, being a man of honor and having signed this contract, will abide by whichever clause I point out.


Application: We ought to, as believers, in our own business life, reflect God’s character as well. We ought to know what contracts we have signed, what these contracts obligate us for, and then we ought to fulfill these contracts.


Application: Most people, when they purchase a house, if they buy the largest house that they can afford, will find their outgo stretched significantly by this new purchase. A person with integrity will make necessary budget cuts in other areas in order to be able to fulfill this contract. This may mean, no more $5 coffees each morning, or no more eating out for lunch every day and packing a lunch instead; there may be a cut back on vacation schedules. Now, even more importantly, let’s say that your house drops in value—a person of integrity will continue to fulfill their obligation on the loan, as a mortgage company did not make the loan to you under the agreement that, your house will maintain its value or go up in value each and every year. When it comes to a contract, if you have developed some personal integrity from Bible doctrine, you no longer uphold your end of the bargain when it is beneficial to you, but you uphold your end of the bargain because that is what you agreed to.


Let’s turn this around and look at God. Jesus Christ died for our sins and Charley Brown believes in Jesus Christ and it saved. After that, Charley Brown might live the worst life a believer can live, drinking, drugging, chasing (it is not the worst life a believer can live, actually, but it will get the point across better). God may continue to put on the pressure with warning discipline and then intensive discipline, and Charley ignores this and just keeps on living the hedonistic life. Finally, after Charley has spent on 35 seconds filled with the Holy Spirit while a babe in Christ, God removes him from this life via the sin unto death 5 years later. Now, what a useless piece of garbage this Charley Brown was! His pal Linus may have also been saved, and then, starts running around giving his testimony from day one, bollixing up the gospel, acting as legalistic and as self righteous as a man can act, and telling everyone how Charley Brown either lost his salvation or was never saved in the first place. God, quite frankly, does not like either one of these people (I am using an anthropopathism here). However, God, by virtue of His character and the promise in His Word, will bring both Charley and Linus into heaven, with all of the saints. They will not have any rewards for their time on earth, as they both wasted their lives; but they have eternal life, and a life with no more sorrow, no more tears, the old things have passed away.


Application: You and I are lucky. We have believed in Jesus Christ. We may lead very questionable lives in the plan of God, but, because we have believed in Jesus Christ, we will spend eternity with Him. We may base this upon John 3:16, upon our Lord’s death on the cross, upon the fact that God’s justice and righteousness have been satisfied, and upon the character of God. The more that we know about the Word of God, the more secure that we are in our own salvation. The more secure we are in our relationship with God, the more productive we can be in our Christian lives.


Now let’s take this in a full circle: if you are a Jew and you are reading this, God has promised certain things to David (which will be enumerated later in the psalm). God is gracious to do so, and God is faithful to keep these promises. Furthermore, God is able to keep these promises, as He has power and authority over the heavens and earth. So now, you must decide, as a Jew, is God really God? Is the God of the Bible really God? If He is, then tell me about the Davidic Covenant—at what point and when will God fulfill this promise to the Jews and to David? If God does not fulfill this covenant, then He is not God.


To the covenant theologian: God made some very specific promises to David and to his Descendant. How can we spiritualize Israel into the church, when Israel is a specific group of people tied to a specific piece of property? It just does not make sense, unless we allow Israel to be Israel, and the Jews to be the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—people who have a specific purpose in the plan of God.


Here is another place where this all fits together: although the Old Testament does not distinguish between the 1st and 2nd Advents of our Lord, they are often listed together, the 1st Advent before the 2nd. If we take out the Church Age, then what we have, in that Age of Israel, is the 1st and 2nd Advents back-to-back. Examples of this are found in: Psalm 22:22–23 96:11–13 146:7–10 Isa. 9:6–7 61:1–2 Daniel 7:13–14 11:35–36 Hosea 3:4–5 Malachi 3:1–3. If you simply remove the Church Age from consideration, Jesus Christ fulfills these prophecies just as they are written in Scripture. More information can be found in the Doctrine of Intercalation, where these passages are written out and the advents are clearly distinguished from one another.


North and south, You [even] You created;

Tabor and Herman in Your name celebrate.

Psalm

89:12

You [even] You have created north and south;

Tabor and Herman celebrate in Your name.

You, even You, have created the north and south;

Tabor and Herman celebrate in Your name.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       North and south, You [even] You created;

Tabor and Herman in Your name celebrate.

Septuagint                              You have created the north and the sea; Thabor and Hermon will rejoice in Your name.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek and Latin have sea instead of south (which is found in the Hebrew and Syriac). The principles expressed in this verse should remain unchanged, regardless of the translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...and everything else. Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon gladly praise you.

Easy English (Churchyard)    You made (places in) the north and in the south.

Tabor and Hermon *praise you when they hear your name.

Good News Bible (TEV)         You created the north and the south; Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon sing to you for joy.

The Message                         You positioned the North and South Poles; the mountains Tabor and Hermon sing duets to you.

New American Bible              Zaphon and Amanus you created;

Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.

New Jerusalem Bible             ...you created the north and the south, Tabor and Hermon hail your name with joy.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             You have made the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon are sounding with joy at your name.

NIRV                                      You created everything from north to south.

Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon sing to you with joy.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    The north and the south, You created them; Tabor and Hermon are jubilant in Your Name."

English Standard Version      The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.

LTHB                                     You have created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.

Young’s Updated LT             North and south You have appointed them, Tabor and Hermon in Your name do sing.


What is the gist of this verse? God created all that is in the north and south, including the concept, north and south; the great mountains Tabor and Herman sing in celebration of God’s name.


Psalm 89:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

tsâphôwn (צָפוֹן) [pronounced tsaw-FOHN]

north

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #6828 BDB #860

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yâmîyn (יָמִין) [pronounced yaw-MEEN]

the right hand, the right side, on the right, at the right; the south

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #3225 BDB #411

Barnes: The word rendered “south” - ימין yamiyn - means literally the right hand, and was applied to the south because the ancient geographers were supposed to face the east, as now they are supposed to face the north. Footnote

The Greek and Latin both have the sea here instead (referring to the west).

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

bârâʾ (בָּרָא) [pronounced baw-RAWH]

to create; to create something from energy; to create that which is immaterial; to produce; to shape, to fashion

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1254 BDB #135


Translation: You [even] You have created north and south;... This is an unusual concept to have in our world. We automatically orient ourselves north and south (those of us who have some sense of direction), yet, on a spherical world, such a concept seems superfluous. However, it is more than just a convenient concept; there a scientific differences between the north and the south; and God created these differences.


Quite obviously, God created everything in the north and south as well.


Job says of the north: “He [God] stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.” (Job 26:7).


Psalm 89:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

Tâbôwr (תָּבוֹר) [pronounced taw-BOHR]

mound; and is transliterated Tabor

Proper noun/location

Strong's #8396 BDB #1061

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Cheremôwn (חֶרְמוֹן) [pronounced khehre-MOHN]

sanctuary; sacred [mountain]; and is transliterated Hermon

proper noun mountain

Strong’s #2768 BDB #356

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

rânan (רָנַן) [pronounced raw-NAHN]

to shout for joy, to celebrate with shouting; to celebrate in a loud voice

3rd person masculine plural, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #7442 BDB #943


Translation: ...Tabor and Herman celebrate in Your name. Tabor is a prominent mountain in the north, on the border in between Issachar and Zebulun. Mount Herman is northeast of Palestine, up near Damascus in Syria (once Aram). With the use of north and south in the previous portion of this verse, we would have expected to be told of a northern and southern set of mountains; however, one of these mountains is in northern Israel and the other is outside of the land. The idea, I believe, is that the name of God is celebrated in and out of the Land of Promise.


Now, quite obviously, Tabor and Herman, being inanimate objects, do not actually celebrate God’s name. They are metonymies Tabor standing in for the people of Israel and Herman representing those outside of Israel.



A Map of Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon

A map may help first of all to fix Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon in our minds. Mount Tabor is near the southwest corner of the Sea of Galilee (during the time of writing, this would have been the Sea of Chinnereth). Mount Hermon is to the northeast from there, north of Dan.


Mount Tabor is in northern Israel and is a rather small mountain (it is in the valley of Galilee); Mount Hermon is barely outside of the land and is a rather large mountain by comparison.

psalm089.gif

 

Although Bullinger suggests Footnote that this verse covers the 4 compass points with respect to Jerusalem, Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon are more to the north of Jerusalem than east and west.

Taken from a portion of http://scriptures.lds.org/en/biblemaps/1

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Apart from Mount Tabor being toward the west and Herman toward the east, I don’t quite follow their being used here. Let me include what others have said about these mountains:

Mount Tabor

Theologian

Commentary

Easton

Tabor means height. Now known as Jebel et–Tur, a cone–like prominent mountain, 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee, is about 1,843 feet high. The view from the summit of it is said to be singularly extensive and grand. This is alluded to in Psalm 89:12; Jer. 46:18. It was here that Barak encamped before the battle with Sisera (Judges 4:6–14).

Easton continued

There is an old tradition, which, however, is unfounded, that it was the scene of the transfiguration of our Lord. “The prominence and isolation of Tabor, standing, as it does, on the border–land between the northern and southern tribes, between the mountains and the central plain, made it a place of note in all ages, and evidently led the psalmist to associate it with Hermon, the one emblematic of the south, the other of the north.” There are some who still hold that this was the scene of the transfiguration (q.v.). Footnote Although Hermon is north of Tabor, Mount Tabor is still found in northern Israel.

Fausset

Tabor means "height, mound"; (tabar related to tsabar).


Psalm 89:12 reads, "the North and South, Tabor [i.e. the West of the Jordan] and Hermon [East of the Jordan] shall rejoice," etc. Their existence and majestic appearance are a silent hymn to their Creator's praise; the view from Tabor comprises as much of natural beauty and sacred interest as any in the Holy Land. Accurately corresponding to its name; a large isolated mound–like mountain, 1865 ft. high, northeast of the Esdraelon plain. On the west, however, a narrow ridge connects it with the hills of Nazareth, which lies six or eight miles off due west. The southern end of the lake of Galilee lies 12 miles off to the east. It consists of limestone; thick stone; thick forests of oak, etc., cover the sides, affording covert to wolves, boars, lynxes, and reptiles. The summit is a mile and a half in circuit, surmounted with a four–gated fortress' ruins, with an Arabic inscription on one of the gateways recording its building or rebuilding by the sultan Abu Bekr.

Fausset continued

Named among Issachar's boundaries (Joshua 19:22), but the fortified city at Mount Tabor's base may be meant there (see CHISLOTH TABOR). From Tabor, Barak descended with his 10,000 men into the plain, at Deborah's command, and conquered Sisera at the Kishon (Judges 4:6–15). Here Zebah and Zalmunna slew Gideon's brothers (Judges 8:18–19). Herder makes Tabor to be meant when Moses says of Issachar and Zebulun (Deut. 33:19), "they shall call the people unto the mountain, there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness." The open glades on the summit would form a suitable sanctuary, and were among "the high places" which ensnared Israel in idolatry; “a net spread upon Tabor." (so Hosea 5:1).

Fausset continued

Jewish tradition states that those lying in wait in Tabor and Mizpah intercepted and murdered Israelites going from the northern kingdom up to Jerusalem to worship in Jehovah's temple (compare Hosea 5:2). Jer. 46:18: "as Tabor is among the mountains," i.e. as it towers high and unique by itself, so Nebuchadnezzar is one not to be matched as a foe. The large, beveled stones among the ruins at the top belong to Roman times.

Fausset continued

The Lord's transfiguration Jerome and others assigned to Tabor. But the buildings on Tabor (see Josephus, B.J. 4:1, section 8, and 1Chron. 6:77) are inconsistent, with the solitude "apart" of which the narrative (Matt. 17:1–2) speaks. Moreover, the transfiguration took place near Caesarea Philippi; this fact, and the reference to the "snow," accord best with Mount Hermon being the scene (Mark 8:27; Mark 9:1–3). Footnote

Gill

Tabor was a mountain in the western part of Galilee, in the tribe of Zebulun, (Joshua 19:12). This mountain, according to Mr. Maundrell, stands by itself in the plain of Esdraelon, about 1200 to 1800 yards within the plain; it has a plain area at top, most fertile and delicious, of an oval figure, extended about six hundred yards in breadth, and twice that in length; this area is enclosed with trees on all parts, except towards the south, in which there are in several places cisterns of good water. It is generally thought to be the mountain Christ was transfigured upon before his disciples; and if so, it might then be said to rejoice in his name, when he appeared in so glorious a form upon it; Moses and Elias talking with him, and a voice from the excellent Glory declaring him his beloved Son; and especially the disciples rejoiced in his name there and then, who could say, It is good for us to be here (Matt. 17:1). Footnote

Smith

Tabor means a mound.

Smith continued

One of the most interesting and remarkable of the single mountains in Palestine. It rises abruptly from the northeastern arm of the plain of Esdraelon, and stands entirely insulated, except on the west, where a narrow ridge connects it with the hills of Nazareth. It presents to the eye, as seen from a distance, a beautiful appearance, being symmetrical in its proportions and rounded off like a hemisphere or the segment of a circle, yet varying somewhat as viewed from different directions.

Smith continued

The body of the mountain consists of the peculiar limestone of the country. It is now called Jebel–et–Tur. It lies about six or eight miles almost due east from Nazareth. The ascent is usually made on the west side, near the little village of Deburieh –– probably the ancient Daberath of Joshua 19:12 –– though it can be made with entire ease in other places. It requires three quarters of an hour or an hour to reach the to the top [which sounds like a rather casual and easy uphill walk to me]. The top of Tabor consists of an irregular platform, embracing a circuit of half an hour's walk, and commanding wide views of the subjacent plain from end to end.

Smith continued

Tabor does not occur in the New Testament, but it makes a prominent figure in the Old Testament. The book of Joshua, Joshua 19:22, mentions it as the boundary between Issachar and Zebulun (see Joshua 19:12). Barak, at the command of Deborah, assembled his forces on Tabor, and descended thence, with "ten thousand men after him," into the plain, and conquered Sisera on the banks of the Kishon. Judges 4:6–15. The brothers of Gideon, each of whom "resembled the children of a king," were murdered here, by Zebah and Zalmunna. Judges 8:18–19.

Smith continued

There are, at present, the ruins of a fortress round all the summit of Tabor. The Latin Christians have now an altar here, at which their priests from Nazareth, perform an annual mass. The Greeks also have a chapel, where, on certain festivals, they assemble for the celebration of religious rites.

Smith continued

The idea that our Saviour was transfigured on Tabor prevailed extensively among the early Christians, and still reappears, often, in popular religious works. It is impossible, however, to acquiesce in the correctness of this opinion. It can be proved from the Old Testament, and from later history, that a fortress or town existed on Tabor, from very early times, down to B.C. 53 or 50; and as Josephus says that he strengthened the fortifications there about A.D. 60, it is morally certain that Tabor must have been inhabited during the intervening period that is in the days of Christ. Tabor, therefore, could not have been the Mount of Transfiguration; See Hermon; for when it is said that Jesus took his disciples "up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them", Matt. 17:1–2, we must understand that he brought them to the summit of the mountain, where they were alone by themselves. Footnote

I realize that there was some overlap here.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Here is what is known about Mount Hermon:

Mount Hermon

Theologian

Commentary

Easton

A peak, the eastern prolongation of the Anti–Lebanon range, reaching to the height of about 9,200 feet above the Mediterranean. It marks the north boundary of Palestine (Deut. 3:8, Deut. 4:48; Joshua 11:3, Joshua 11:17; Joshua 13:11; Joshua 12:1), and is seen from a great distance. It is about 40 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. It is called “the Hermonites” (Psalm 42:6) because it has more than one summit. The Sidonians called it Sirion, and the Amorites Shenir (Deut. 3:9; Son. 4:8). It is also called Baal–hermon (Judges 3:3; 1Chron. 5:23) and Sion (Deut. 4:48). There is every probability that one of its three summits was the scene of the transfiguration. The “dew of Hermon” is referred to (Psalm 89:12). Its modern name is Jebel–esh–Sheikh, “the chief mountain.” It is one of the most conspicuous mountains in Palestine or Syria. “In whatever part of Palestine the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there, terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the plateau of Bashan, the pale, blue, snow–capped cone forms the one feature in the northern horizon.”

Easton continued

Our Lord and his disciples climbed this “high mountain apart” one day, and remained on its summit all night, “weary after their long and toilsome ascent.” During the night “he was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun.” The next day they descended to Caesarea Philippi. Footnote

Fausset

Hermon means "mountain nose, or peak."

Fausset continued

The highest of the Antilibanus range, at its S. end. N.E. of Palestine (Joshua 12:1), over against Lebanon (Joshua 11:17), adjoining Bashan (1Chron. 5:23). Called Sion, "the lofty," distinct from Zion at Jerusalem (Deut. 4:48); among the Amorites Shenir, rather Senir, i.e. cataract or else breast–plate, from senar "to clatter" (Deut. 3:8–9; Eze. 27:5); among the Sidonians Sirion, the breast–plate, a name given from the rounded snowy top glittering in the sun, from shaarah "to glitter" (Psalm 29:6). A center to Syria and Palestine; the watershed of the Jordan fountains, and of the Syrian Abana and Pharpar of Damascus, the Orontes of Antioch, and the Leontes. Bashan, Damascus, Syria, and Israel converged there. It had numerous Baal sanctuaries, which gave it a name very anciently. (See BAAL HERMON.)

Fausset continued

Rising 9,500 feet, it is seen even from the Jordan valley and the shores of the Dead Sea. Lebanon means the "white" mountain, the Mont Blanc of Palestine. Now Jebel es Sheykh, "the old white–headed man's mountain," referring to the long streaks of snow remaining in the ravines radiating from the center, when the snow has disappeared elsewhere, like an old man's scanty white locks. Jebel esh Tilj, "the mount of ice." Shenir and Hermon are mentioned distinctly, Song. 4:8. The whole was called Hermon. The part held by the Sidonians was "Sirion," that by the Amorites Shenir, infested by devouring "lions" and swift though stealthy "leopards," in contrast to "the mountain of myrrh" (Son. 5:6), the mountain of the Lord's house (Isa. 2:2), the good land (Isa. 35:9). In Psalm 89:12 Tabor is made the western, Hermon the eastern landmark.

Fausset continued

Thus, north, south, east and west represent the whole earth. "The dew of Hermon" (Psalm 133:3) is used proverbially of an abundant, refreshing dew. (See DEW.) The distance precludes the possibility of the literal dew of Hermon "descending upon the mountains of Zion." But a Hermon dew was a dew such as falls there, the snow on the summit condensing the summer vapors which float in the higher air, and causing light clouds to hover round and abundant dew to fall on it, while the air is elsewhere without a cloud and the whole country parched. The "ointment" sets forth "how good" and "precious" is brotherly "unity"; the dew "how pleasant" it is. Zion is the mountain where this spiritual dew descends, as pleasant as the natural dew that descends on Hermon. It has three summits, a quarter of a mile from each other; hence arises the plural "Hermons" (Psalm 42:6), not "Hermonites."

Fausset continued

A rude wall of massive stones surrounds the crest of the peak, within are the remains of a small ancient temple. Jerome refers to this, and no doubt it is one of those Baal high places set up by the former inhabitants, and so often condemned in the Old Testament. A circle of temples surrounded Hermon, facing its summit, so that Hermon seems to have been the great sanctuary of Baal. At the top, says Capt. Warren, is a plateau comparatively level; here are two small peaks lying north and south, about 400 yards from each other. The third peak is 500 yards to the west. On the southern peak a hole scooped out is surrounded by an oval of hewn stones; at its southern end is the temple nearly destroyed, with Roman moldings, and of later date than the stone oval, of stones from 2 to 8 ft. long, 2 1/2 broad and thick. Footnote

Gill

Hermon was a mountain called by the Sidonians Sirion, and by the Amorites Shenir, Deut. 3:8 and was in the east; and so Mr. Maundrell, speaking of Tabor, says, not many miles eastward you see Mount Hermon, at the foot of which is seated Nain, famous for our Lord”s raising the widow”s son there, Luke 7:11, there was an Hermon near Mount Tabor, thought likely to be here meant; but, be these mountains where and what they may, they were no doubt very high and fruitful ones, clothed with fruitful trees and grass, and covered with flocks; which made the proprietors and all the beholders rejoice in the goodness, wisdom, and power of God: the Targum in the king”s Bible gives the four quarters very truly, "the desert of the north, and the inhabitants of the south, You have created; Tabor on the west, and Hermon on the east, praise in Your name.”“  Footnote

ISBE

The name of the majestic mountain in which the Anti–Lebanon range terminates to the South (Deut. 3:8, etc.). It reaches a height of 9,200 ft. above the sea, and extends some 16 to 20 miles from North to South. It was called Sirion by the Sidonians (Deut. 3:9; compare Psalm 29:6), and Senir by the Amorites (Deut. 3:9). It is also identified with Sion (Deut. 4:48). See SIRION; SENIR; SION. Sometimes it is called “Mt. Hermon” (Deut. 3:8; Joshua 11:17; 1Chron. 5:23, etc.); at other times simply “Hermon” (Joshua 11:3; Psalm 89:12, etc.).

ISBE continued

The Hermons: Once it is called “Hermons” (חרמונים, ḥermōnīm). the King James Version mistakenly renders this “the Hermonites” (Psalm 42:6). It must be a reference to the triple summits of the mountain. There are three distinct heads, rising near the middle of the mass, the two higher being toward the East. The eastern declivities are steep and bare; the western slopes are more gradual; and while the upper reaches are barren, the lower are well wooded; and as one descends he passes through fruitful vineyards and orchards, finally entering the rich fields below, in Wādy et–Teim. The Aleppo pine, the oak, and the poplar are plentiful. The wolf and the leopard are still to be found on the mountain; and it is the last resort of the brown, or Syrian, bear. Snow lies long on the summits and shoulders of the mountain; and in some of the deeper hollows, especially to the North, it may be seen through most of the year.

ISBE continued

Mt. Hermon is the source of many blessings to the land over which it so proudly lifts its splendid form. Refreshing breezes blow from its cold heights. Its snows are carried to Damascus and to the towns on the seaboard, where, mingled with the sharāb, “drink,” they mitigate the heat of the Syrian summer. Great reservoirs in the depths of the mountain, fed by the melting snows, find outlet in the magnificent springs at Ḥasbeiyeh, Tell el–Kāḍy, and Bāniās, while the dew–clouds of Hermon bring a benediction wherever they are carried (Psalm 133:3).

ISBE continued

Sanctuaries: Hermon marked the northern limit of Joshua's victorious campaigns (Joshua 12:1, etc.). It was part, of the dominion of Og (Joshua 12:5), and with the fall of that monarch, it would naturally come under Israelite influence. Its remote and solitary heights must have attracted worshippers from the earliest times; and we cannot doubt that it was a famous sanctuary in far antiquity. Under the highest peak are the ruins of Ḳaṣr ‛Anṭar, which may have been an ancient sanctuary of Baal. Eusebius, Onomasticon, speaks of a temple on the summit much frequented by the surrounding peoples; and the remains of many temples of the Roman period have been found on the sides and at the base of the mountain. The sacredness of Hermon may be inferred from the allusion in Psalm 89:12 (compare Enoch Psalm 6:6; and see also BAAL–HERMON).

ISBE continued

Some have thought that the scene of the Transfiguration should be sought here; see, however, TRANSFIGURATION, MOUNT OF.

ISBE continued

The modern name of Hermon is Jebel eth-thilj, “mount of snow,” or Jebel esh-sheikh, “mount of the elder,” or “of the chief.”

ISBE continued

Little Hermon, the name now often applied to the hill between Tabor and Gilboa, possibly the Hill of Moreh, on which is the sanctuary of Neby Daḥy, has no Biblical authority, and dates only from the Middle Ages. Footnote

Smith

Her'mon. (a peak, summit). A mountain on the northeastern border of Palestine, Deu_3:8; Jos_12:1, over against Lebanon, Jos_11:17, adjoining the plateau of Bashan. 1Ch_5:23. It stands at the southern end, and is the culminating point of the anti-Libanus range; it towers high above the ancient border city of Dan and the fountains of the Jordan, and is the most conspicuous and beautiful mountain in Palestine or Assyria.

At the present day, it is called Jebel esh–Sheikh, "the chief mountain", and Jebel eth–Thelj, "snowy mountain". When the whole country is parched with the summer sun, white lines of snow streak the head of Hermon. This mountain was the great landmark of the Israelites. It was associated with their northern border almost as intimately as the sea was with the western. Hermon has three summits, situated like the angles of a triangle, and about a quarter of a mile from each other.

Smith continued

In two passages of Scripture, this mountain is called Baal–hermon, Judges 3:3; 1Chron. 5:23, possibly because Baal was there worshipped. (It is more than probable that some part of Hermon was the scene of the transfiguration, as it stands near Caesarea Philippi, where we know Christ was just before that event –– Editor). The height of Hermon has never been measured, though it has often been estimated. It may safely be reckoned at 10,000 feet. Footnote

It would be a good idea for me to get in here and severely edit this material.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Barnes understands these two mountains to simply stand in