Psalm 84 - Being a house of God

Please, browse the many free commentaries available on

1 How dear to me is your dwelling, Yahweh of hosts! *

[2] My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of Yahweh;

my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living el.

2 [3] The sparrow has found her a house

and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; *

by the side of your altars, Yahweh of hosts,

my King and welohay.

3 [4] Happy are they who dwell in your house! *

they will always be praising you. Selah

4 [5] Happy are the people whose strength is in you! *

whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.

5 [6] Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, *

for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.

6 [7] They will climb from height to height, *

and el-elohim will reveal himself in Zion.

7 [8] Yahweh elohim of hosts, hear my prayer; *

hearken, elohim of Jacob. Selah

8 [9] Behold our defender elohim; *

and look upon the face of your Anointed.

9 [10] For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, *

and to stand at the threshold of the house of elohay

than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.

10 [11] For the Yahweh elohim is both sun and shield; *

he will give grace and glory;

11 [11] No good thing will Yahweh withhold *

from those who walk with integrity.

12 Yahweh of hosts, *

happy are they who put their trust in you!


This is the accompanying Psalm for the Track I option from First Kings, which tells the story of Solomon’s dedication of his new temple. If chosen, that pair will be read aloud before the Epistle from Ephesians, where Paul wrote, “take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” All will precede the Gosple selection from John, where the disciples told Jesus, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?”

This is another Psalm identified as “of the Sons of Korah,” who were the descendants of the cousin of Moses, who staged a rebellion against Aaron and Moses. As punishment, Yahweh opened the earth and sent Korah underground. His descendants [Kohahites] became the “porters” of the Tabernacle and Ark [they maintained the baking pans for meat-offerings]. We last read another of the Psalms dedicated to the Sons of Korah, when Psalm 48 was sung aloud on Proper 9 [sixth Sunday after Pentecost]. That song accompanied the Old Testament reading from Second Samuel, which told about David taking Jebus and building his city there. Because the Old Testament reading this is associated with also involved a change that is relative to the Tabernacle and Jerusalem [Jebus], this psalm must be viewed in that light and seen as a song of praise to Yahweh and to those who honor His holy ground.

In the translation presented above, I have amended the NRSV-Episcopal Church translation so that every place the translation had been “Lord” it has now been restored to “Yahweh” [what was written]. In addition to those changes, every place where “God” has been translated, I have restored the Hebrew transliteration, with the singular “el” and the plural “elohim” is recognized. This becomes important to realize, when one notices “of hosts” [from “ṣə·ḇā·’ō·wṯ” or “tsaba”] must be understood as the angels [minimally], which are “elohim” [“gods”]. Additionally, in two places the Hebrew word “Selah” is written at the end of a verse. Those had been erased in translation, seen as some musical instruction; but I have reinstated those also. Finally, the numbering of the Episcopal Church is wrong, for not reason. Their numbering does not match that of the NRSV, meaning they have presented some paraphrase, as if they are holy enough to do that. I have noted the truth of the verse numbers; and, thay will be how I address the analysis by verse.

In verse one, the literal translation says, “a song how beloved your tabernacle , Yahweh of hosts.” In that, the Hebrew word translated as “tabernacle” [from “mishkan”] can also translate as “dwelling place.” This alternate translation make it clearer that David was speaking of the “beloved” presence of Yahweh within his soul, more than his seeing a tent and altar configuration as a site of beauty. This leads one to be more apt to see “Yahweh of hosts” in the light of David’s soul not being the only one married to Yahweh, because all of Israel under David felt the same inner presence. This use of “of hosts” then allows one to see such devotees as “elohim.”

Verse two then begins with this: “My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of Yahweh.” This is literally stated as, “longs and yes also faints for the courts of Yahweh.” In that, the word translating as “courts” [“lə·ḥaṣ·rō·wṯ,” from “chaster”] means “enclosure.” When one realizes that one’s “soul” can only “long and yes even faint” within the “enclosure” of its body of flesh, the use of “courts” becomes metaphor for the tabernacle of Yahweh being one’s body of flesh. The key is to see the presences of Yahweh, atop the Ark of the Covenant of marriage, is within one’s heart [and “soul”], where love is the bond.

The second half of verse two then literally sings, “my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Here, the Hebrew word “lib·bî” [from “leb”] translates as “heart,” which affirms the condition of love; but the same word also means “inner man, mind, will,” which are elements of a soul, more than the “flesh.” By then adding the word “flesh,” the outer and inner being is the result, such that “heart and soul” equate to “soul and body.” The use of “el” states the singular was indeed possible, making the writing of “elohim” become upheld as meaning “gods,” which are the divine creations of the “living God.” The focus on living says there are lesser “gods” that are dead, which means those gods only last in the physical realm, having no lasting effect on an eternal soul. The dead gods only serve a body through external delights, while Yahweh delights both the body and soul, the only God offering the promise of eternal life.

Verse three then starts by singing, “The sparrow has found her a house and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young.” The missing word that begins this verse is “even,” which makes this be a comparison to birds that are winged creatures. That makes the comparison to a soul suggest the soul has wings in comparison, which makes one become angelic. The focus on a “house” [“bayith”] and a “nest” [“qen”] is then the place built to provide self-security, from which new growth can come. This makes the body of the soul become a sanctuary, where one is then able to bring forth new life within one’s body of flesh, under the protection of Yahweh as the parable Jesus told about the mustard seed made the mustard shrub become synonymous with Yahweh providing a home for such nesting angels.

When the conclusion of verse three sings, “by the side of your altars, Yahweh of hosts, my King and welohay,” the bird comparisons to a soul, in a home built within a bush that is Yahweh, the “altars” are then symbolic for self-sacrifice. The sanctuary that is a metaphoric tree, where trust in the protective branches make a bird lose all inhibitions about entering the tree or shrub. The “altars” [from “mizbeach”] reflect the sacrifice of self-presence, knowing rest and protection means a need for sacrificing individuality to advance one’s life. A shrub, such as the mustard plant provides, becomes the home of many birds, so there are multiple sacrifices within the same sanctuary. When we read “Yahweh of hosts,” the “hosts” are the many angels of God, such that the possessive “my” says one’s soul has submitted to Yahweh, becoming one of His angels, with Him as one’s King to whom a soul submits fully. The use of “welohay” sings of marriage, where each of the soul sacrifices have become married to Yahweh, so His name has been taken and a state of possession exists between His Spirit and one’s soul.

Verse four then sings, “Happy are they who dwell in your house! they will always be praising you. Selah” In this, the word translated as “happy” can equally mean “blessed.” By using “blessed,” the picture becomes more evident that the soul is that “blessed” and “happy.” When this then leads to “those who dwell in your house,” this again relates back to the “hosts” aspect of “elohim.” The “house” is not an external structure, such as a tabernacle or tent of meeting, but the body of flesh that is the “house” of the soul. This then says the state of “blessedness” and “happiness” is because Yahweh now resides within one’s body, having become one with one’s soul. Because this is the “blessed” event of permanent marriage [therefore salvation from past errors of life], the soul “will always be praising” the presence of Yahweh with one’s soul. As noted before, the first appearance of “Selah” comes at the end of this fourth verse, with “selah” meaning “to lift up, exalt.” As a musical direction, it follows the soul’s “praising always,” where the praise is because one’s soul has been “lifted up” to eternal life, from the imprisonment of a corporal body that offers only death.

As a way of continuing this theme of “uplifted praise,” verse five then repeats the first word that began verse four, as singing, “blessed is the man whose strength is in you ; on highway whose soul .” This continues to sing praises of thanks to Yahweh being one with one’s soul, as that union makes one a Son of man. A Son of man is an elohim, because Yahweh is one with one’s soul. In the Hebrew word for “man” is “’ā·ḏām,” which has to be recognized as the name Christians believe Yahweh named His first priestly elohim. One who knows the presence of Yahweh becomes the resurrection of that Yahweh-made “man,” whose “strength” was having been made by the One God. The second half of this verse then sings praises to the ministry that comes on the “highway” [from “mesillah”] that is a pilgrim’s path of righteousness. Again, it is not the flesh that leads one on this path, but the “soul,” which has married Yahweh and become His elohim.

In verse six there is a vertical bar following the first word, which acts as a musical direction to pause [I assume], as a long note held, more than a separation from the words that follow. By seeing that marker, the literal translation becomes, “pass through ׀ the valley of weeping a fountain they make it ; moreover with pools , it envelops oneself the rain”. This translation shows a verse of life without Yahweh having married one’s soul. It shows the true cause of self-sacrifice in marriage to His Spirit. The metaphor of a “valley” [from “emeq”] is an erosion of self-worth into despair, where “weeping” [the meaning of “bakah”] is the misery that leads one’s soul to seek Yahweh. Life is a soul “passing through” from one body of flesh to another, in a long series of reincarnations, each finding the deep rut that comes from refusing to marry Yahweh. It is the “pools” of hope [where the word translated as “pools” is “berakah,” meaning “blessings”] that leads one to pray for forgiveness sincerely, so one’s soul become immersed in the “rain” of Yahweh’s love.

Verse seven then follows by literally singing, “they walk from strength to efficiency , sees before elohim in Zion”. This says the presence of Yahweh within a soul is how it gains the ability to walk a path of righteousness, in a way that is regimented. The words “mê·ḥa·yil ’el-ḥā·yil” pulls in the word “chayil” twice, where the multiplicity of translation allows this to translate as “from strength to efficiency.” Still, the word also means “wealth, army,” where the walking becomes the training and exercises that are demanded to be successful. It is not the strength of self but the strength of many learning the same tactics from a central instructor. The second half of this verse then explains that source, as all the soldiers in this “army” are “seeing” how to “walk” because they all wear the face of Yahweh, as the “elohim” of “Zion.” The word “zion” means “dry place,” where the dampness of self-pity and weeping has been removed, so one relies on the deep pools of strength that is Yahweh’s presence.

Verse eight then begins with the confirmation of this face of Yahweh being that worn by His elohim, as it begins with “Yahweh elohim of hosts.” In that, the use of “hosts” can also have a military-like essence, as it is another word meaning “army,” as an “army of angels.” It is they who have asked Yahweh to marry them, as David sang, “hear my prayer.” That says they have accepted the proposal for marriage and submitted themselves before Yahweh, praying for forgiveness. The second half of the verse then sings, “listens the elohim of Jacob.” Here, it is important to realize that the elohim of Jacob was his elevation from a worldly name [a name that means “Supplanter”] to a divine name – Israel – a name meaning “He Retains God.” Those who “listen” to the commands of Yahweh do so because they have learned to follow orders and march to the instructions of Yahweh.

This verse is the second which ends with the word “Selah,” which means another point of being uplifted is recognized. Hearing the voice of Yahweh give insight to action is worthy of praise. One does not feel forced to do anything unwanted. One is amazed at the ease of the work, no matter how difficult, because one’s soul is assured of eternal life.

Verse nine then literally sings about “our shield,” where the “army” [“hosts” of Yahweh’s elohim are together as one group, where Yahweh is their “shield” against all challengers and obstacles. Whereas the Greeks and Romans were known militarily for tactics where phalanxes were formed by holding shield forward, along with spears protruding outward, it is similar how the Israelites [and true Christians] are “beheld as elohim,” where their personal “shield” of Yahweh gives them no fear in their hearts for those they face. When David sang, “those who look upon the face of your anointed, the “face” [from “paneh”] worn by all Yahweh’s wives [servants] is His “face.” To be “anointed” [from “mə·šî·ḥe·ḵā” or “mashiach”], one’s soul has had Yahweh’s Spirit poured onto it, making all His “messiahs.” This is a holy presence that will be recognized from one’s actions, in the name of God.

Verse ten then sings [NRSV], “For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, and to stand at the threshold of the house of elohay than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Again, the Hebrew word “chatser” is used, which alternative means “enclosure.” The aspect of “a day” [“yō·wm”] means the light of truth has become eternal, such that one day of Yahweh’s presence is equal to “a thousand” years or physical time. While nothing is written that states “in my own room,” the words that literally state, “I choose to be a doorkeeper in the house of my elohim,” such that “elohay” is a statement of possession, as Yahweh’s elohim. To be the doorkeeper becomes synonymous with Jesus saying, “I am the gate” to the sheepfold. The preference is to be the Son of Yahweh, rather than be outside His protection and forced by the world to sleep [metaphor for death] in the “tents of the wicked.”

Verse eleven then includes another bar denoting to hold a note, so it literally sings, “for the sun ׀ and shield Yahweh elohim grace and glory will give Yahweh , not will he withhold good from those who walk uprightly”. The note hold makes the light of truth, which is dwelling in the “sun” of Yahweh’s truth, makes the light of truth be the shield protecting all of Yahweh’s elohim. That, in turn, will have all of Yahweh’s elohim always give full credit to Yahweh for His saving their souls from oblivion. That credit will give all praise to salvation to Yahweh; and, He will never darken His light that shines the path of righteousness before His wives in marriage.

Verse twelve then simply sings, “Yahweh of hosts , blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Once more, Yahweh of hosts says Yahweh is the source of all elohim, which is the army of angels and divine servants in human flesh who serve Yahweh’s needs in the material plane. All who place their souls in the trust of their God will be rewarded with eternal life with Yahweh in heaven, after their mortal flesh has been destroyed.

As the accompanying Psalm that goes along with the First Kings story of Solomon dedicating his glorious Temple in Jerusalem, and his moving the Ark and the Covenant into that enclosure, no longer in a portable tabernacle, the paradox needs to be seen. David sang a song dedicated to the Sons of Korah, which were the spiritual descendants given the task of watching after the holy place [as elohim]. The fact that Solomon constructed a building of stone, against the wishes of Yahweh, as told to David through Nathan, says Solomon was not an elohim. Solomon could not understand the divine language that said the “seed of David” would become a tabernacle of flesh, as a true elohim, in whom the truth of Yahweh would reside. This song of praise sings about the truth of commitment to Yahweh, as Solomon reflects the lie of self-worth. Solomon would lead generations of Israelites and Judeans into the valley of weeping, never again to feels the pools of hope presented by their God, much less be enveloped in the rain of His love.

As a Psalm that stands alone for public reading on the thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is devotion to Yahweh. Oneself [a self is always equal to a soul] must come to the realization that Yahweh does not stay in some distant house, as an external deity who watches down on mere humans from above. Yahweh lives within, and that life comes from a soul marrying Yahweh and feeling the eternal presence of His life in one’s being. One must know Yahweh, not believe in Him. Ministry can only be walking in His light of truth, so that others can be led away from the darkness of death that covers an unwed soul