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Psalm 36:5-10 - Get your decoder rings and read between the lines

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

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5 Your love, Yahweh, reaches to the heavens, *

and your faithfulness to the clouds.

6 Your righteousness is like the strong mountains,

your justice like the great deep; *

you save both man and beast, Yahweh.

7 How priceless is your love, elohim! *

your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings.

8 They feast upon the abundance of your house; *

you give them drink from the river of your delights.

9 For with you is the well of life, *

and in your light we see light.

10 Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, *

and your favor to those who are true of heart.


This is the Psalm that will be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. This song will follow a reading from Isaiah, where the prophet wrote: “for Yahweh delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you.” That pair will precede a reading from Paul’s first letter to the true Christians of Corinth, telling them: “There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from John, where Jesus performed his first miracle, as we read from this: “Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.”’

These six verses chosen from this song of praise will only be sung on this Sunday in Year C [verse eleven will be added for a presentation on Monday of Holy Week each year]. The other verses will never be sung in an Episcopal church, with reason. The NRSV gives this Psalm 36 the title: “Human Wickedness and Divine Goodness.” My BibleHub Interlinear reference for the Hebrew text calls it, “There is No Fear of God Before His Eyes.” From those differences in title, “human wickedness” and “fear” leading one’s soul-flesh are linked. That focus is found in the omitted verses; so, that omission – focusing only on “divine goodness” – is the intent of these selected verses being sung during this “after the Epiphany” time period.

You will take note that I have restored the specific proper name, “Yahweh,” and placed each in bold type, to highlight the error that must be recognized to come when one calls Yahweh “the Lord.” Such a translation into English is a dangerous aspect of semantics, where a generic term like “the Lord” leans the sheeple to keep a distance from the God they say they worship. True worship of Yahweh means to love Him intently, so one’s soul is asked to wholly sacrifice itself to His Spirit, at the sacrificial altar of divine marriage. To come into a deeply spiritual relationship with one’s Husband means no marriage can be consummated when the wife feels forced into submission, thereby calling her dominator her “Lord” and “Master.” These selected verses are heavily seeped in words of “love” and affection, meaning David’s soul was a wife to Yahweh; and, a wife in true love of her Husband knows His name … because marriage means a wife takes on that name forevermore. The name “Jesus” – the child born of divine marriage – means “Yahweh Saves” (not “the Lord Saves”).

When one sees this state of “love” being equated to “divine goodness” [NRSV title], then the “human wickedness” must be seen as reflecting the traits of people who refuse to marry Yahweh [preferring to call Him some forceful over-“Lord”]. In reality, all human beings [souls occupying bodies of dead flesh for a period of linear time] are born pure, only to be turned away from Yahweh as worldly existence grows. This means the reason David began with the filthy and fearful, before changing the tune to love and roses, is because that is the path all humans follow. Unless you are Jesus, John the Baptist, young Mary and young David, you begin life leaning towards waywardness, not salvation. Thus, the omitted verses are the dirty little secrets we all know from our pasts; and, now [the second Sunday after the Epiphany, when everyone is supposed to have given all that up for good] is not the time to air dirty laundry.

When the NRSV translates verse five to sing, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds,” that is not a good presentation through paraphrase. Perhaps their seeing “Yahweh” being clearly written and their “fear” of that being a name only Jews use made their perception be clouded? The literal translation of the Hebrew text written is this: “Yahweh in the heavens your goodness ; your fidelity , even to the dust .” There is great meaning here, which is not seen in the nebulosity of “heavens” and “clouds.” Let me explain.

When Old Testament writers speak of “heaven” or “the heavens,” this is not to be understood as them imagining the depths of outer space or the endlessness of the atmosphere surrounding the earth. That imagery becomes metaphor for the all encompassing spiritual presence that reflects a soul married to Yahweh [the specific name written]. Next, the possessive personal pronoun “your” must not be read as oneself having any ability to project upon Yahweh, as “your goodness” to give, or “your” expectations that Yahweh will maintain “fidelity.” The possession is one’s soul being totally that of Yahweh’s possession, so David was singing about his “goodness” that had been given to him by Yahweh, through His presence within that was leading David. Likewise, it was David displaying commitment to Yahweh, such that “your fidelity” is not Yahweh being faithful, but Yahweh’s presence brings true faith to David, which he never wanted to lose. David was faithful to Yahweh out of love, so David’s return gift to Yahweh was his “fidelity.”

When the translation of “šə·ḥā·qîm” [from “shachaq”] is most often translated as “clouds,” this misses the viability of the word to fully mean “a powder (as beaten small): by analogy, a thin vapor; by extension, the firmament -- cloud, small dust, heaven, sky.” [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance] When “fine dust” is seen as the minute cells of one’s body of flesh, all of which came from dust and to dust they will return, the commitment being expressed by David (his “fidelity” to Yahweh) is then stated to last forever – “even to the dust”. When one reads the prior verses that speak of wickedness, a soul in human flesh can now be seen as an invisible shape that has been covered with a fine powder that gives it appearance in the material realm. Seeing this, David was singing about the wickedness being powder that would be blown away by the winds of divine love [like “the clouds” shift and dissipate], with the “fine dust” having no ability to blind one from the “goodness” beheld of Yahweh, leading to absolute trust in Him.

When verse six then begins by stating “your righteousness” [“ṣiḏ·qā·ṯə·ḵā,” form of “tsedaqah”], here again it is impossible for any human being to ever think he or she has any right or ability to determine Yahweh to be “righteous.” Yahweh IS. When one’s soul-flesh becomes the possession of Yahweh [the intent of “your”], then that previously “wicked” soul-flesh suddenly knows what “righteousness” is [an Epiphany]. The actions of the soul in the flesh cannot be equated to the totality that is unfathomably Yahweh.

By seeing that, the following comparison that mere human beings make is the great heights and impossible strength and inner depths that are the manifestations of “mountains.” This is then a statement that it would be easier for a soul-flesh entity to become as great as “a mountain,” than to ever begin to compare one’s tiny soul-flesh to His magnitude. Still, when one has been given the ability to become upright and righteous, through the presence of Yahweh, one becomes “like the mountains” because one has become an extension of Yahweh on the physical plane; and, here, unrecognized by the NRSV translation, one’s soul-flesh is said to be an “el,” which means one has become one of the many angels in the flesh that are Yahweh’s elohim. A soul married to Yahweh is transformed into an “el” that carries with it (invisibly) the “righteousness” possible in Yahweh’s elohim.

This then leads to David singing about “your judgments,” where (again) these are the “judgements” of Yahweh made possible for one of His elohim to understand. When this is then said to be “the great deep,” which is both “the abyss” and a “sea” of knowledge that the subconscious mind has access to, the word translating as “great” is better realized as “many.” This becomes reminiscent of David singing about the Leviathan and the “sea” of souls it swims among. The Leviathan is both a “sea monster” that devours those trying to maintain self-identity amid turbulent storms; but it also is the Spirit that overtakes a soul and leads it, making it synonymous with Spiritual possession. To then combine “judgment” with the “sea” or “deep” is then David singing that marriage to Yahweh offers the promise of eternal life, among the sea of souls He has released into the physical realm.

It is in this remembrance of the Leviathan that one can see the combined words – “’ā·ḏām- ū·ḇə·hê·māh” – which have been translated separately by the NRSV, as “man and beast.” Here, it is first important to see the use of “adam” and realize verse seven will again repeat that word, where it must be seen that “adam” is a double-edged word that cuts one way as “man,” but the other way as “Adam” – the Son of Yahweh. When one realizes “adam” is the soul of the Son, when it is then combined into one word, as “Adam within the beast,” this is the “goodness” meaning to the Leviathan in a “sea” of souls. The union of “Adam-and-beast” is the truth of an “el,” which is one soul married to Yahweh, who has received His Son to give them a “mountain” of strength, able to live “righteously.” This then leads to the words “ṯō·wō·šî·a‘ Yah weh,” which the NRSV translates as “you save … O Lord.” That is David singing the name of “Jesus,” which says “you save Yahweh” [“Yahweh Saves”]. The soul of “Adam” is the same soul in Jesus.

In verse seven, David then sang about “your loving kindness,” where the Hebrew word “checed” is repeated from verse five” [translated there as “your love” (NRSV) or “your goodness” (literal)]. The word still means the same: goodness, kindness. The aspect of the possessive state [“your”] again needs to be seen as that received by David, known only through the presence of Yahweh in a human body. There is no way for David to know Yahweh, thus know what is His. He does, however, know the goodness that overcomes his soul-flesh after marriage to Yahweh.

In this verse, that knowledge of “goodness” in himself is then separated by a comma mark, leading him next to explain how he knows “goodness.” The NRSV has paraphrased this to say, “How priceless is your love, O God!.” The reality of that written literally translates as this: “how splendid your goodness , elohim sons of Adam”. This explains how David knew the “goodness” of Yahweh, as Yahweh’s presence is a gift to him, because David knew his soul-flesh was one of Yahweh’s “elohim” – “angels in the flesh” – who were all “the sons adam” – the Sons of Yahweh reborn in different human flesh. The plural number ("sons") were all of the same one ("adam").

This means when the NRSV translates the remainder of verse seven to sing, “take refuge under the shadow of your wings,” these words show the “angel” metaphor as those human forms with “wings.” The use of “shadow” [from “tsel”] must be seen as one reads “heavens” and “clouds,” as the word reflects that which becomes hidden from clear view. A "shadow" is a 'twin' that is non-material, like a "cloud" within projecting outwardly. In this metaphor, the “wings” can be seen as the clothes of “righteousness,” which drape over one’s body of flesh, keeping one from sinning. Those “wings” can then also be relative to “yasha Yah-weh,” as the “sons of Adam” bears the name “Yeshua.” When one is in the name of Yahweh, then one has divine (unseen) protection, which is less concerned with the flesh and more concerned with the soul.

When the NRSV translates verse eight to say, “They feast upon the abundance of your house; you give them drink from the river of your delights,” this once again projects “your house” as if Yahweh has provided some place to live. Now the possessive is a reference to one’s body of flesh, in which a soul has been given a “house” to animate. An eternal soul is placed by Yahweh, at birth, in dirt, dust, or clay [human cells constantly changing to grow and adapt]. One’s body of flesh is possessed by its soul; but souls have a tendency to invite unwelcome guests, who move in and take over [demonic spirits]. When one has reached the depths of despair and begged Yahweh for His help, He will cast out the demons and take up residence in “your body,” which gives one the impression 'self' is a new “house” of God.

As far as the translation that places focus on “feasting,” which sounds to me like plenty of food to eat, the reality of the Hebrew word “ravah” [the root of “yir·wə·yun”] is it means “to be saturated, to drink one’s fill.” This then implies that “to feast upon the abundance of your house” means to get drunk on free drinks. Instead, it says a soul can never contain all the Spiritually that Yahweh pours outward, upon a soul. This is Yahweh’s Spirit overflowing upon one's soul [as in “my cup runneth over”]. There is so much more than one little soul in a body of flesh can imagine.

The implication of a feast comes from the word “deshen” meaning “fatness.” This should not be seen as a statement of gluttony, but instead as a well-nourished sacrificial animal, where the essence of altar sacrifice is the burning of the carcass. The smoke created represents the soul’s release to Yahweh, while the fat makes for tasty drippings on the charred meat that will be served to those coming to the ceremony [seekers]. This makes the “house” be the Tabernacle, wherein is the Ark of the Covenant [the marriage vows] - the Law written upon one's heart [soul] by Yahweh. So, the presence of the Son of Yahweh becomes the High Priest handing out the tasty morsels to the devoted.

When verse eight then concludes with the NRSV singing, “you give them drink from the river of your delights,” this speaks of the ministry of a servant-wife-soul of Yahweh. The purpose of divine marriage is not to make anyone special [higher than thou], but to provide a receptacle from which others can freely become intoxicated on the proposal to marry Yahweh. This should be seen in terms of Jesus telling the Samaritan woman of a presence that would be the well that provided living waters, which never needed to be replenished. When Jesus is the Son of Adam in one’s soul, then one’s body becomes his house, with his words and deeds being the food and drink that saves the souls of others [oneself having been saved].

This is then confirmed in verse nine, where the NRSV translates it to sing: “For with you is the well of life, and in your light we see light.” When David wrote “mə·qō·wr ḥay·yîm,” this literally sings of “the fountain of life” or “the spring alive.” To call this a “well” is to be reminded of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Here. It is vital to see this verse in the light of today's Gospel reading from John, where the belief is that Jesus changed water into wine. To think that means this verse of David is implying that Yahweh makes His apostles be the source of the finest wine in town. That is not the intent (in either reading), as living water is more intoxicating than any earthly wine containing the highest alcohol content. Jesus did not change water into wine. He changed water placed into purification jugs [those used for cleaning dirty bodies] into living waters of salvation. In that, “life” must be seen as eternal salvation, because without marriage of a soul to Yahweh, one’s soul is destined to repeat life in a dead body of dirt [reincarnation]. Getting drunk on wine merely allows sinners to forget their sins … until the hangover comes.

When verse nine then says, “in your light we see light,” once more the possessive is applied. Now it is “your light.” This gives the impression that Yahweh is reaching down from heaven with a flashlight, pointing the way for His ministers to see and go. The reality is it is the apostles who are each a “light,” possessed by Yahweh. His “light” is found in the ones who speak the truth so others can see. To “see the light” is to understand the truth. The key words involved there are combined as one – “nir·’eh-’ō·wr,” meaning “to see light.” Until one’s soul is married to Yahweh, it is like Jesus said, “You have eyes [physical flesh things], but you cannot see [understand spiritual matters].” Thus, “to see light” means to understand the truth. The truth will set you free; so, an apostle shines the light of truth so brightly that the blind are made to see.

When these elements of verse nine are seen clearly, verse ten can then be understood as connecting “the fountain of life” and “the light of truth” to the two themes set in verses five and six: “goodness” and “righteousness.” When the NRSV translates verse ten as singing, “Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you, and your favor to those who are true of heart,” this is again misleading. Simply by reading-singing “continue your loving-kindness” … and “your favor,” sheeple think David is singing like a Socialist Liberal Democrat politician. That translation makes is seem David was singing, “Everybody get in the free God stuff line. You deserve it! Just because He has it, then He can afford to give it to you. Therefore, you deserve it for doing nothing!!!” That is a bad message to send.

The truth of what David wrote literally translates to sing, “continue your goodness to those who you know ; and your righteousness to the upright in heart .” This takes the ministry of apostles shown in verse nine and then sings about them “continuing” the spread of the promise of salvation, through the light of truth. Those who know Yahweh are the souls married to His Spirit; and thus, are those reborn as the ‘sons of Adam.” They have been entrusted with the “goodness” of Yahweh expressed in their soul-bodies, so they take the message of divine marriage to the blind and let them see. Those who hear the truth being told will take a stand and take the steps of “upright” living, to attract Yahweh to propose marriage to them. When the word “heart” is found in Scripture [“leb”], it should be read as “soul.” An “upright soul” is one who will repeat verses five through nine. They will sing songs of praise to Yahweh, just as did David.

As a song of praise specifically chosen to be sung on the second Sunday after the Epiphany, the reason should be to understand the deeper message that hides from those who cannot see. The clouds of dust and them looking up into the sky to find an external God has been the result of bad translations and false shepherds. One needs to learn to have faith that one can be reborn as Jesus and then enter ministry with him doing as he did in the Gospels, in your body of flesh. The Epiphany is realizing one can be Jesus reborn. The after period is learning the value of why Yahweh chose your soul-body to be His house.

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