Updated: Aug 8, 2021
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1 The heavens declare the glory of el, *
and the firmament shows his handiwork.
2 One day tells its tale to another, *
and one night imparts knowledge to another.
3 Although they have no words or language, *
and their voices are not heard,
4 Their sound has gone out into all lands, *
and their message to the ends of the world.
5 In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun; *
it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
6 It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of it again; *
nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
7 The law of Yahweh is perfect
and revives the soul; *
the testimony of Yahweh is sure
and gives wisdom to the innocent.
8 The statutes of Yahweh are just
and rejoice the heart; *
the commandment of Yahweh is clear
and gives light to the eyes.
9 The fear of Yahweh is clean
and endures forever; *
the judgments of Yahweh are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
more than much fine gold, *
sweeter far than honey,
than honey in the comb.
11 By them also is your servant enlightened, *
and in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can tell how often he offends? *
cleanse me from my secret faults.
13 Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me; *
then shall I be whole and sound,
and innocent of a great offense.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
heart be acceptable in your sight, *
Yahweh, my strength and my redeemer.
This is one of two possible Track 1 accompanying songs that can be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 19], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If chose, it will follow the Old Testament selection from Proverbs 7, where Solomon proposed wisdom said: “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic strikes you, when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.” That pair will then precede the Epistle reading from James, where the Apostle wrote, “Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.” All will connect to the Gospel reading from Mark, where it is written: “Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”’
In the above translation provided by the NRSV, one will note that I have amended the text in several places. First, in verse one, the Hebrew written is “el,” which has been translated as a capitalized “God.” I have restored the lower-case, not so much to diminish the status of Yahweh [“the One God of Israel”] but to display how David knew the difference between “el” [“god” in the singular] and “elohim” [“gods” in the plural]. This usage, rather than “Yahweh” can indicate an individual whose soul has married Yahweh, such that one of the “elohim” is then an “el.” In seven other places, twice each in verses 7, 8, and 9, I have restored “Yahweh” [in bold type], where the NRSV has translated “the Lord.” Yahweh is not a generic “Lord.” Many addictions can generalize as a “Lord” over a soul and its flesh. David did not write of a generic god, but his God, specifically by name: Yahweh.
In verse one, David immediately sang about “the heavens.” This immediately brings up images of outer space and distant stars and nebulae. This is a mistake in human thinking. The “heavens” [the Hebrew word “shamayim” in the plural number] are multiple because they are the “elohim,” which are everywhere there is life in the universe. Without “the heavens” the universe is absolutely dead. Thus, “the heavens” should be read at all times in the Old Testament as meaning “the spiritual,” as where "life" abounds in the physical. When the plural number is applied to that, the equivalent is the “elohim,” who are all spiritual lives enhanced by Yahweh’s hand.
By seeing that simple clarity of meaning, the verse then confirms this by singing, “[they] declare the glory of el,” where the singular number means both Yahweh, as the One God, but also the singular powerful creation that is given the power of Spiritual life by Yahweh. Because angels are eternal Spiritual creations made by the hand of Yahweh they equate to “gods.” One angel is an "el." Again, the plural number applied to “el” is “elohim.” When they “declare the handiwork of his “firmament,” that sings of the multiplicity of these divine creations. Yahweh cannot be limited in how many Spiritual creations His hand can give "life" to. In that, the Hebrew word “raqia” means “an extended surface, expanse,” which should be read as the definition of the Spiritual within the expanse of the universe, meaning all Spiritual creations - with form and without form - that inhabit the material and physical are these “heavens.”
Verses two then sings literally in English, “day by day flows promise ; and night by night declares knowledge .” Here, the opposites stated in “day” and “night” need to be read as metaphor for the life that “flows” from “the heavens” that “declare” Yahweh. The light of “day” is the presence of Yahweh’s Spirit that “flows” or “pours out” unto souls. Because the souls are animating bodies of dead matter, they exist in the “night” of death. A soul alone in a body of matter has no Spirit of life, thus it is limited to the time matter can support the presence of a soul. However, the touch of Yahweh’s Spirit brings the “promise” [“omer” means “promise, speech, thing, word”] of the return to “day.” That “promise” becomes the source of true “knowledge” that creates an “el” that is a Saint, a Prophet, a Son of man. It is a soul no longer alone in a body of dead matter.
In verse three is literally said, “no promise and no word ; not is heard their voice .” This is David stating the absence of “knowledge” comes from that of “night” [death]. He sang about there being nothing that can be created by death that is Spiritual. Thus, all souls animating dead matter can say nothing of importance that will lead another soul to return to the light of “day.” In that regard, those souls not filled with the “flow of the heavens” cannot speak for Yahweh, nor heed His Word.
Verse four then literally sings, “through all the earth has gone out their line , to the end of the world their words ; for the sun , he has set a tabernacle for them .” When the Hebrew form of “qav” [“line”] is written as “qaw·wām,” the plural number is reflected as “their line.” This is not a statement of lineage, but more a reflection on sound, as “line” becomes the “string” used on stringed instruments, such as the harp. Sound is waves of vibrations that are unseen, yet detectable by ears, although the range of audible sounds are greater than those detected by human receptors. It is then like this that David said the elohim of Yahweh are everywhere in the material universe, with “eretz” meaning the “earth” and “tebel” meaning the “inhabited world.” Thus, like sound, light is radiated in “lines” from the “sun,” giving life to the material “earth,” our “world.” The “sun” is then metaphor for Yahweh’s truth, so the “tabernacles” of “the world” are the wives of Yahweh, as those souls who receive His Spirit.
Verse five then literally translates into English as saying, “it like a bridegroom coming out of his canopy ; rejoices like a strong man , to run its course .” Here, the use of “bridegroom” [“chathan”] is a clear statement of marriage, with the metaphor being the Spiritual creation of elohim. The “canopy” [“chuppah” also as “chamber”] is symbolic of the covering that keeps Yahweh unseen, until He appears within His brides. The ones “rejoicing” are then both those united as one, as the celebration of nuptials. Still, it is the wife who “exults” the divine presence within, which brings forth the “strength” of a holy union. The Hebrew word “orach” is a “path” or “way,” which is then led by the Husband’s presence. To “run that course” is to enter into ministry and live a life of righteousness, having taken on the name of the Husband.
Verse six then sings out [literally]: “one end of heaven is rising , and coming around to the other end ; and nothing hidden , from the sun .” Once more we are shown opposites, as “one end coming around to the other end.” When the “end of heaven” is remembered to be the “end of Spirit,” this says receipt of Yahweh in marriage elevates one’s soul – it “is rising” [“mō·w·ṣā·’ōw,” from "motsa"]. There, the Hebrew word “motsa” means, “a place or act of going forth, issue, export, source, spring.” That means the “rising” is more like a welling up within, like a “spring” or “fountain” that is the “flow” from Yahweh, as eternal waters. Again, from being cloaked under a “canopy” until the entrance into a holy wife means “nothing is hidden,” as the Spirit knows all. That is the truth of light that comes from the “sun” [“chammah”], which brings the "heat" and "warmth" of faith and trust.
In the next three verses David wrote the name “Yahweh,” twice in each verse. That identifies the Husband that has been discretely mentioned in the previous six verses. Verse seven then literally sings in English, “the direction Yahweh complete returning the soul ; testimony Yahweh confirm , making wise simple .” After having sung about one coming full circle, the warmth of marriage with Yahweh is now praised. By taking on the name of God [“Jesus” means “Yahweh Will Save”] a soul is promised eternal life, which comes from “returning the soul” to Yahweh’s “heavenly” realm. To reap this promise of reward, a soul then must speak the Word of Yahweh that comes from His Spirit. One “confirms” that salvation is possible. In one’s “testimony” the truth comes forth, which is greater than any brain-led wisdom. This verse makes this Psalm be the response to the Proverbs 7 message of goddess worship, where he claimed wisdom was reason to belittle the simple. Here, David sang that Solomon was nothing, even with his Satanic gifts of wisdom and wealth, because he lacked the truth of Yahweh.
Verse eight then literally sings, “the precepts Yahweh straight rejoicing the heart ; the covenant Yahweh is pure , enlightening the eyes .” The first words of verses seven and eight can be read as “laws” and “statutes,” such that “the direction” is the “law” within one’s heart and the “precepts” are the marriage vows of the Covenant. Seeing those as statements confirming a marriage agreement and the commitment that comes, David sang that following the lead of Yahweh makes one walk a “straight” path [righteousness]. This ability makes the soul [“heart”] “rejoice,” as such perfection is impossible alone. When David sang, “the covenant Yahweh is pure,” this means marriage erases all past sins and debts, so one’s soul has been made “pure” by marriage. That divine union of the utmost holy matrimony means Yahweh’s presence will bring forth the “enlightenment” of truth.
Verse nine then becomes the final in a trilogy that repeats Yahweh’s presence with a soul. This verse then states in English, “fear Yahweh pure to take one’s stand perpetually the judgments of Yahweh truth ; righteous unitedness .” This says it is only natural to experience Yahweh with one’s soul and then “fear” losing that presence. It is that “pure fear” that motivates a soul to submit fully to Him and meet all agreements of His Covenant. This becomes a commitment for eternity and adherence to His demands are done lovingly, always accepting His Will as best, without question. The Hebrew word “yaḥ·dāw,” meaning “unitedness,” makes it clear that “righteousness” can only come through divine marriage of a soul to Yahweh’s Spirit.
Verse ten then sings, “more to take pleasure in , than gold and yea pure gold much ; and sweeter than honey , flowing honey from the comb .” Here, David is singing that the presence of Yahweh with one’s soul is beyond comparison to anything worldly. The “unitedness” of divine marriage brings a sense of elation that is unlimited “desire,” coming from true love (given and received). It is a presence that is of greater value than anything on earth can match. It is greater than the sweetest taste, where “sweetness” becomes a statement of the five senses, such that human feelings cannot describe how amazing this presence is. In the last segment, David is saying that the greatness is beyond one’s ability to control it; so, it flows outward from a wife of Yahweh, just as honey flows from a honeycomb.
Verse eleven then literally translates into English as, “moreover your servant is enlightened by them ; in keeping them reward great .” The initial focus is on being “your servant,” which is one’s subjection of self through marriage. By receiving the “light” of Yahweh, one is not entrapped by the dangers the world naturally sets for souls in bodies of flesh. When one is doing the works of Yahweh, one becomes a light that shines upon others. By being obedient and subservient – a dutiful wife – the promise of salvation is earned.
Verse twelve then sings out, “errors ? who can discern , from concealment empty mine .” In this verse, the one word “errors” is presented as itself being a question. The answer is then saying no human soul alone “can discern” what the right path should be. This means that all human beings will make the wrong choices and sin. It is inevitable. However, from divine marriage, where the Spirit of Yahweh is “secretly” within one’s flesh, merged with one’s soul, then all past sins and “errors” will be erased and remembrance of things done wrong become lessons to share with others. Knowing sin and redemption allows a soul to speak with authority, thus demonstrating true faith.
Verse thirteen then literally translates into English, saying “moreover from insolence refrain your servant , not let them have rule over me then I shall be blameless ; and then I shall be empty of transgression much .” Here, the element of redemption is put in focus, as the ability to “refrain” from the “insolence” that is the “arrogance” of human brains, such as Solomon’s worship of his big brain (gifted him by Lady Wisdom), makes their egos become their “gods.” It becomes external sources of power that become the lords who “rule” over their souls, making them be possessed by unclean spirits [demonic possession]. They all bring the blame of sin upon their souls, which David sang not to have that happen to his soul. The prayer is to be cleansed of all past wrongs, which one makes in a plea to have Yahweh come into one’s soul and lead all one's future actions.
The final verse in this companion Psalm to Proverbs 7 then literally sings in English, “become present goodwill speaking from my mouth and be the meditation of my heart in your eyes ; Yahweh my strength and my redeemer .” Here is another prayer to Yahweh, such that David wanted Yahweh to see his actions that spoke of his obedience and displayed the true meditation of his soul, discerning what pleases his Holy Husband. By listening and acting David became strong as a leader of Israel and not only was his soul redeemed, but those also of the Israelites who followed David’s lead.
As a potential Psalm to be sung on the sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson is to turn away from the lures of Solomon – to bow down before intelligence – and find the love of Yahweh that has been sewn into the fabric of every soul. The theme here is of divine marriage, when one’s soul ceases self-idolatry and submits to the highest power possible. Once Yahweh’s Spirit has merged with one’s soul, one fears ever losing that inner presence. The Law is inscribed on the walls of one’s soul and one exudes faith and the light of truth. Ministry cannot be true if one’s soul turns away from Yahweh and only references Him through worship of His Son. The lesson here is to become that Son, regardless of what genitalia one’s body possesses.