Psalms 103


This psalm seems to exhibit some Aramaic grammar (specifically some feminine pronoun suffixes and some plural nouns) in several verses.  The assumption is that this phenomenon is an influence of the Babylonian exile.  For this reason, the psalm, which is very joyous in mood, is thought to have been composed soon after the exiles returned from Babylon.

לְדָוִד בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת־יְהוָה וְכָל־קְרָבַי אֶת־שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ׃   103:1

Psa. 103:1   David's:

                       O my soul, bless the Lord,

                                 and all in me, His holy name.

בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת־יְהוָה וְאַל־תִּשְׁכְּחִי כָּל־גְּמוּלָיו׃   103:2

Psa. 103:2   Bless the Lord, O my soul,

                                 and may you not forget all His benefits.

הַסֹּלֵחַ לְכָל־עֲוֺנֵכִי הָרֹפֵא לְכָל־תַּחֲלֻאָיְכִי׃   103:3

Psa. 103:3   Forgiver of all your iniquities,

                                Healer of all your diseases,

הַגּוֹאֵל מִשַּׁחַת חַיָּיְכִי הַמְעַטְּרֵכִי חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים׃   103:4

Psa. 103:4   Redeemer from the pit of your life,

                                your Enveloper of loving kindness and compassion,

הַמַּשְׂבִּיַע בַּטּוֹב עֶדְיֵךְ תִּתְחַדֵּשׁ כַּנֶּשֶׁר נְעוּרָיְכִי׃   103:5

Psa. 103:5   Pleasing Satisfier of your interests!

                               Your youthfulness can be renewed like an eagle.

The third word in this verse is strange.  Its meaning is uncertain.  Possible translations of the root word could be ornaments or adornments.  But the object of this phrase is the soul.  Does the soul possess adornments or ornaments?  What could the psalmist have intended?  I suspect the second part of the verse provides a clue.  God’s satisfaction of the soul’s something could lead to youthful renewal (like an eagle).  What might that be?  Could this word mean the soul’s experiences?  Desires?  Interests?  These are all things that could renew the soul as it ages.  I chose interestsDesires might have worked as well.  Another aspect of the word is odd.  Its feminine second-person pronoun suffix is straightforward Hebrew, but the last word in the verse employs an Aramaic-like feminine second-person pronoun suffix.  Quite strange!

עֹשֵׂה צְדָקוֹת יְהוָה וּמִשְׁפָּטִים לְכָל־עֲשׁוּקִים׃   103:6

Psa. 103:6   The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

יוֹדִיעַ דְּרָכָיו לְמֹשֶׁה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲלִילוֹתָיו׃   103:7

Psa. 103:7   He made known His ways to Moses,

                                His deeds to the children of Israel.

רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן יְהוָה אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב־חָסֶד׃   103:8

Psa. 103:8   The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

                                slow to anger and abounding in mercy.

לֹא־לָנֶצַח יָרִיב וְלֹא לְעוֹלָם יִטּוֹר׃   103:9

Psa. 103:9   He would not always contend,

                                 or forever “bear a grudge.”

לֹא כַחֲטָאֵינוּ עָשָׂה לָנוּ וְלֹא כַעֲוֺנֹתֵינוּ גָּמַל עָלֵינוּ׃   103:10

Psa. 103:10   He has not done to us according to our sins,

                                 or repaid to us according to our iniquities.

כִּי כִגְבֹהַּ שָׁמַיִם עַל־הָאָרֶץ גָּבַר חַסְדּוֹ עַל־יְרֵאָיו׃   103:11

Psa. 103:11   For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

                                 so His mercy prevails toward those reverent of Him.

כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת־פְּשָׁעֵינוּ׃   103:12

Psa. 103:12   As far as the east is from the west,

                                 so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

כְּרַחֵם אָב עַל־בָּנִים רִחַם יְהוָה עַל־יְרֵאָיו׃   103:13

Psa. 103:13   Like the compassion of a father is toward children,

                                 the compassion of the Lord is toward those reverent of Him.

כִּי־הוּא יָדַע יִצְרֵנוּ זָכוּר כִּי־עָפָר אֲנָחְנוּ׃   103:14

Psa. 103:14   For He knows our purpose,

                                 mindful that dust we are.

אֱנוֹשׁ כֶּחָצִיר יָמָיו כְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה כֵּן יָצִיץ׃   103:15

Psa. 103:15   A man, his days are like grass;

                                  like a flower of the field, so he might flourish,

כִּי רוּחַ עָבְרָה־בּוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ וְלֹא־יַכִּירֶנּוּ עוֹד מְקוֹמוֹ׃   103:16

Psa. 103:16   but a wind passes by it, and there is nothing of it,

                                 and its place will no longer notice it.

וְחֶסֶד יְהוָה מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד־עוֹלָם עַל־יְרֵאָיו וְצִדְקָתוֹ לִבְנֵי בָנִים׃   103:17

Psa. 103:17   So the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting until everlasting

                                 toward those reverent of Him,

                         as is His righteousness toward the children of children,

לְשֹׁמְרֵי בְרִיתוֹ וּלְזֹכְרֵי פִקֻּדָיו לַעֲשׂוֹתָם׃   103:18

Psa. 103:18   toward the observers of His covenant,

                                 and toward those remembering His precepts to do them.

יְהוָה בַּשָּׁמַיִם הֵכִין כִּסְאוֹ וּמַלְכוּתוֹ בַּכֹּל מָשָׁלָה׃   103:19

Psa. 103:19   The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,

                                 and His kingdom reigns in all things.

בָּרֲכוּ יְהוָה מַלְאָכָיו גִּבֹּרֵי כֹחַ עֹשֵׂי דְבָרוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל דְּבָרוֹ׃   103:20

Psa. 103:20   Bless the Lord, angels of His,

                                 mighty of strength, observers of His word,

                          listening to the sound of His word.

בָּרֲכוּ יְהוָה כָּל־צְבָאָיו מְשָׁרְתָיו עֹשֵׂי רְצוֹנוֹ׃   103:21

Psa. 103:21   Bless the Lord, all His hosts, His ministers,

                                 those celebrating of His pleasure.

בָּרֲכוּ יְהוָה כָּל־מַעֲשָׂיו בְּכָל־מְקֹמוֹת מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת־יְהוָה׃   103:22

Psa. 103:22   Bless the Lord, all His deeds,

                                 in all the regions of His dominion.

                         Bless the Lord, my soul.


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