Tehillim / Psalms 89, ספר תהילים פט, Part 2, You are my Father, My God, and the Rock of my Salvation.

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 89:1-52, the Psalm opens saying, A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. Who is Ethan the Ezahite? The Psalm continues saying, 89:1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. 89:2 For I have said, ‘Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.’ (NASB) What does it mean lovingkindness will be built up forever? How does the Lord establish faithfulness in the heavens? The Lord speaks prophetically though the psalmist saying, 89:3 ‘I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, 89:4 I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations.’ Selah. (NASB) Why did the Lord make a covenant with David? The psalmist continues saying, 89:15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. 89:16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. (NASB) What is the joyful sound? How does the Lord’s righteousness exalt the children of Israel? The psalm continues saying, 89:17 For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted. 89:18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, And our king to the Holy One of Israel. 89:19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, ‘I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. (NASB) What vision did the Lord speak unto the godly ones? The Lord God states, 89:31 If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, 89:32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. 89:33 ‘But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. 89:34 ‘My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 89:35 ‘Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. 89:36 ‘His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. (NASB) It is important to remember that though we are in a covenant relationship with the Lord, the Lord will punish transgression. Though a person commits a transgression, if he repents, the Lord will remain faithful to His covenant. What does it mean that He swears to His holiness? The Lord’s faithfulness to Israel demonstrates His love for His people. The psalmist concludes his psalm saying, 89:48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah. 89:49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness? 89:50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants; How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples, 89:51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed. 89:52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen. (NASB) The Lord says that He will not violate the covenant that He has sworn to His people, nor will he deal falsely in His faithfulness.

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק פט

א מַשְֹכִּיל לְאֵיתָן הָאֶזְרָחִי: ב חַסְדֵי יְהֹוָה עוֹלָם אָשִׁירָה לְדֹר וָדֹר | אוֹדִיעַ אֱמוּנָתְךָ בְּפִי: ג כִּי-אָמַרְתִּי עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה שָׁמַיִם | תָּכִן אֱמוּנָתְךָ בָהֶם: ד כָּרַתִּי בְרִית לִבְחִירִי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְדָוִד עַבְדִּי:

סםר טוביה פרק פט

א שכלא טבא דאיתאמר על ידא דאברהם דאתא מן מדינחא׃ ב חסדא דיהוה לעלם אשבח לדר ודר אהודע קושטך בפומי׃ ג ארום אמרית עלמא בחסדא יתבני שמיא תתקין קושטך בהון׃ ד גזרית קיים לאברהם בחירי קיימית לדוד עבדי׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 89

89:1 συνέσεως Αιθαν τῷ Ισραηλίτῃ τὰ ἐλέη σου κύριε εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ᾄσομαι εἰς γενεὰν καὶ γενεὰν ἀπαγγελῶ τὴν ἀλήθειάν σου ἐν τῷ στόματί μου 89:2 ὅτι εἶπας εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἔλεος οἰκοδομηθήσεται ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἑτοιμασθήσεται ἡ ἀλήθειά σου

ה עַד-עוֹלָם אָכִין זַרְעֶךָ וּבָנִיתִי לְדֹר-וָדוֹר כִּסְאֲךָ סֶלָה: ו וְיוֹדוּ שָׁמַיִם פִּלְאֲךָ יְהֹוָה אַף-אֱמוּנָתְךָ בִּקְהַל קְדשִׁים: ז כִּי מִי בַשַּׁחַק יַעֲרֹךְ לַיהֹוָה יִדְמֶה לַיהֹוָה בִּבְנֵי אֵלִים: ח אֵל נַעֲרָץ בְּסוֹד-קְדשִׁים רַבָּה וְנוֹרָא עַל-כָּל-סְבִיבָיו: ט יְהֹוָה | אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת מִי-כָמוֹךָ חֲסִין | יָהּ וֶאֱמוּנָתְךָ סְבִיבוֹתֶיךָ: י אַתָּה מוֹשֵׁל בְּגֵאוּת הַיָּם בְּשֹוֹא גַלָּיו אַתָּה תְשַׁבְּחֵם: יא אַתָּה דִכִּאתָ כֶחָלָל רָהַב בִּזְרוֹעַ עֻזְּךָ פִּזַּרְתָּ אוֹיְבֶיךָ: יב לְךָ שָׁמַיִם אַף-לְךָ אָרֶץ תֵּבֵל וּמְלֹאָהּ אַתָּה יְסַדְתָּם: יג צָפוֹן וְיָמִין אַתָּה בְרָאתָם תָּבוֹר וְחֶרְמוֹן בְּשִׁמְךָ יְרַנֵּנוּ: יד לְךָ זְרוֹעַ עִם-גְּבוּרָה תָּעֹז יָדְךָ תָּרוּם יְמִינֶךָ: טו צֶדֶק וּמִשְׁפָּט מְכוֹן כִּסְאֶךָ חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת יְקַדְּמוּ פָנֶיךָ: טז אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם יוֹדְעֵי תְרוּעָה יְהֹוָה בְּאוֹר-פָּנֶיךָ יְהַלֵּכוּן: יז בְּשִׁמְךָ יְגִילוּן כָּל-הַיּוֹם וּבְצִדְקָתְךָ יָרוּמוּ: יח כִּי-תִפְאֶרֶת עֻזָּמוֹ אָתָּה וּבִרְצֹנְךָ תָּריּם [תָּרוּם] קַרְנֵנוּ: יט כִּי לַיהֹוָה מָגִנֵּנוּ וְלִקְדוֹשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל מַלְכֵּנוּ: כ אָז דִּבַּרְתָּ-בְחָזוֹן לַחֲסִידֶיךָ וַתֹּאמֶר שִׁוִּיתִי עֵזֶר עַל-גִּבּוֹר הֲרִימוֹתִי בָחוּר מֵעָם: כא מָצָאתִי דָּוִד עַבְדִּי בְּשֶׁמֶן קָדְשִׁי מְשַׁחְתִּיו: כב אֲשֶׁר יָדִי תִּכּוֹן עִמּוֹ אַף-זְרוֹעִי תְאַמְּצֶנּוּ: כג לֹא-יַשִּׁא אוֹיֵב בּוֹ וּבֶן-עַוְלָה לֹא יְעַנֶּנּוּ: כד וְכַתּוֹתִי מִפָּנָיו צָרָיו וּמְשַֹנְאָיו אֶגּוֹף: כה וֶאֱמוּנָתִי וְחַסְדִּי עִמּוֹ וּבִשְׁמִי תָּרוּם קַרְנוֹ: כו וְשַֹמְתִּי בַיָּם יָדוֹ וּבַנְּהָרוֹת יְמִינוֹ: כז הוּא יִקְרָאֵנִי אָבִי אָתָּה אֵלִי וְצוּר יְשׁוּעָתִי:

ה עד עלמא אתקין בנייך ואבני לדר ודר כורסי מלכותך לעלמין׃ ו ויודון נגלי שמיא פרישותך יהוה לחוד קושטך בכינשת קדישין׃ ז ארום מן הוא בשחקי דמשתווי ליהוה דדמי ליהוה באוכלוסי מלאכיא׃ ח אלהא תקיפא ברזיהון דקדישין יתיב על כורסי יקרא ורבא ודחיל על כל מלאכיא דקיימין חזור חזור ליה׃ ט יהוה אלהא ע{י}ל חיילי מרומא מן דכוותך חסינא יהוה וקושטך חזור חזור חזור לך׃ י את שליט בגיותנותא דימא כד מתרבן מתנטלין גלוי גיללוי אנת את תמאיכינון׃ יא את שפיית היך קטיל חרבא רהבא הוא פרעה רשיעא בתקוף אדרע עושנך בדרתא בעלי דבבך׃ יב די לך שמיא לחוד אף די לך ארעא תבל ומלייה את יסדתינון׃ יג מדבריא די בציפונא ויתובין די בדרומא את בראתינון תבור דבמערבא וחרמון די במדינחא בשמך משבחין׃ יד די לך אדרעא עם גבורתא תעשן ידך למפרק עמך תרום ימינך לשכללא בית מקדשך׃ טו צדקתא ודינא מדור כורסי יקרך טיבו וקשוט מקדמין אפך׃ טז טוביהון דעמא דידעין לרצויי ברייהון ביבבא יהוה בנהור זיו אפך יהלכון ויזכון בדינא׃ יז בשמך ירננון כל יומא ובצדקתך יתרוממון׃ יח ארום שיבהור עושניהון את אנת וברעותך תרום תרומם קרנהון יקרנא׃ יט ארום דיהוה הינון תריסינא ודיהוה קדיש ישראל מלכנא׃ כ כהדין הבכין מלילתא בחזונא לחסידיך ואמירת שויתי סעיד לעמי על ידיה דמתגבר באוריתא אפרישית עולים מן ביני עמא׃ כא אשכחית דוד עבדי במשח קודשא רביתי יתיה׃ כב די אידי מתקנן בסעדיה ברם אדרעי תחייליניה׃ כג לא יטעי בעיל דבבא ביה ובר רישעא לא יסגפיניה׃ כד ואשוף מן קדמוי מעיקוי ומסנאוי אגוף׃ כה וקושטי וטובי עמיה ובשום מימרי תרומם יקריה׃ כו ואשוי במחוזי ימא שולטניה וביתבי על נהרותא גבורת ימיניה׃ כז הוא יקרי לי אבא את אלהי ותקוף פורקני׃

89:3 διεθέμην διαθήκην τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς μου ὤμοσα Δαυιδ τῷ δούλῳ μου 89:4 ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος ἑτοιμάσω τὸ σπέρμα σου καὶ οἰκοδομήσω εἰς γενεὰν καὶ γενεὰν τὸν θρόνον σου διάψαλμα 89:5 ἐξομολογήσονται οἱ οὐρανοὶ τὰ θαυμάσιά σου κύριε καὶ τὴν ἀλήθειάν σου ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ ἁγίων 89:6 ὅτι τίς ἐν νεφέλαις ἰσωθήσεται τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ τίς ὁμοιωθήσεται τῷ κυρίῳ ἐν υἱοῖς θεοῦ 89:7 ὁ θεὸς ἐνδοξαζόμενος ἐν βουλῇ ἁγίων μέγας καὶ φοβερὸς ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς περικύκλῳ αὐτοῦ 89:8 κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων τίς ὅμοιός σοι δυνατὸς εἶ κύριε καὶ ἡ ἀλήθειά σου κύκλῳ σου 89:9 σὺ δεσπόζεις τοῦ κράτους τῆς θαλάσσης τὸν δὲ σάλον τῶν κυμάτων αὐτῆς σὺ καταπρανεις 89:10 σὺ ἐταπείνωσας ὡς τραυματίαν ὑπερήφανον καὶ ἐν τῷ βραχίονι τῆς δυνάμεώς σου διεσκόρπισας τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου 89:11 σοί εἰσιν οἱ οὐρανοί καὶ σή ἐστιν ἡ γῆ τὴν οἰκουμένην καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς σὺ ἐθεμελίωσας 89:12 τὸν βορρᾶν καὶ θαλάσσας σὺ ἔκτισας Θαβωρ καὶ Ερμων ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ἀγαλλιάσονται 89:13 σὸς ὁ βραχίων μετὰ δυναστείας κραταιωθήτω ἡ χείρ σου ὑψωθήτω ἡ δεξιά σου 89:14 δικαιοσύνη καὶ κρίμα ἑτοιμασία τοῦ θρόνου σου ἔλεος καὶ ἀλήθεια προπορεύσεται πρὸ προσώπου σου 89:15 μακάριος ὁ λαὸς ὁ γινώσκων ἀλαλαγμόν κύριε ἐν τῷ φωτὶ τοῦ προσώπου σου πορεύσονται 89:16 καὶ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ἀγαλλιάσονται ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν καὶ ἐν τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ σου ὑψωθήσονται 89:17 ὅτι τὸ καύχημα τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτῶν εἶ σύ καὶ ἐν τῇ εὐδοκίᾳ σου ὑψωθήσεται τὸ κέρας ἡμῶν 89:18 ὅτι τοῦ κυρίου ἡ ἀντίλημψις καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου Ισραηλ βασιλέως ἡμῶν 89:19 τότε ἐλάλησας ἐν ὁράσει τοῖς ὁσίοις σου καὶ εἶπας ἐθέμην βοήθειαν ἐπὶ δυνατόν ὕψωσα ἐκλεκτὸν ἐκ τοῦ λαοῦ μου 89:20 εὗρον Δαυιδ τὸν δοῦλόν μου ἐν ἐλαίῳ ἁγίῳ μου ἔχρισα αὐτόν 89:21 ἡ γὰρ χείρ μου συναντιλήμψεται αὐτῷ καὶ ὁ βραχίων μου κατισχύσει αὐτόν

כח אַף-אָנִי בְּכוֹר אֶתְּנֵהוּ עֶלְיוֹן לְמַלְכֵי-אָרֶץ: כט לְעוֹלָם אֶשְׁמָור [אֶשְׁמָר] -לוֹ חַסְדִּי וּבְרִיתִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת לוֹ: ל וְשַֹמְתִּי לָעַד זַרְעוֹ וְכִסְאוֹ כִּימֵי שָׁמָיִם: לא אִם-יַעַזְבוּ בָנָיו תּוֹרָתִי וּבְמִשְׁפָּטַי לֹא יֵלֵכוּן: לב אִם-חֻקֹּתַי יְחַלֵּלוּ וּמִצְוֹתַי לֹא יִשְׁמֹרוּ: לג וּפָקַדְתִּי בְשֵׁבֶט פִּשְׁעָם וּבִנְגָעִים עֲוֹנָם: לד וְחַסְדִּי לֹא-אָפִיר מֵעִמּוֹ וְלֹא אֲשַׁקֵּר בֶּאֱמוּנָתִי: לה לֹא-אֲחַלֵּל בְּרִיתִי וּמוֹצָא שְֹפָתַי לֹא אֲשַׁנֶּה: לו אַחַת נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי בְקָדְשִׁי אִם-לְדָוִד אֲכַזֵּב: לז זַרְעוֹ לְעוֹלָם יִהְיֶה וְכִסְאוֹ כַשֶּׁמֶשׁ נֶגְדִּי: לח כְּיָרֵחַ יִכּוֹן עוֹלָם וְעֵד בַּשַּׁחַק נֶאֱמָן סֶלָה: לט וְאַתָּה זָנַחְתָּ וַתִּמְאָס הִתְעַבַּרְתָּ עִם-מְשִׁיחֶךָ: מ נֵאַרְתָּה בְּרִית עַבְדֶּךָ חִלַּלְתָּ לָאָרֶץ נִזְרוֹ: מא פָּרַצְתָּ כָל-גְּדֵרֹתָיו שַֹמְתָּ מִבְצָרָיו מְחִתָּה: מב שַׁסֻּהוּ כָּל-עֹבְרֵי דָרֶךְ הָיָה חֶרְפָּה לִשְׁכֵנָיו: מג הֲרִימוֹתָ יְמִין צָרָיו הִשְֹמַחְתָּ כָּל-אוֹיְבָיו: מד אַף-תָּשִׁיב צוּר חַרְבּוֹ וְלֹא הֲקֵימֹתוֹ בַּמִּלְחָמָה: מה הִשְׁבַּתָּ מִטְּהָרוֹ וְכִסְאוֹ לָאָרֶץ מִגַּרְתָּה: מו הִקְצַרְתָּ יְמֵי עֲלוּמָיו הֶעֱטִיתָ עָלָיו בּוּשָׁה סֶלָה: מז עַד-מָה יְהֹוָה תִּסָּתֵר לָנֶצַח תִּבְעַר כְּמוֹ-אֵשׁ חֲמָתֶךָ: מח זְכָר-אֲנִי מֶה-חָלֶד עַל-מַה-שָּׁוְא בָּרָאתָ כָל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם: מט מִי גֶבֶר יִחְיֶה וְלֹא יִרְאֶה-מָּוֶת יְמַלֵּט נַפְשׁוֹ מִיַּד-שְׁאוֹל סֶלָה: נ אַיֵּה חֲסָדֶיךָ הָרִאשֹׁנִים | אֲדֹנָי נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לְדָוִד בֶּאֱמוּנָתֶךָ: נא זְכֹר אֲדֹנָי חֶרְפַּת עֲבָדֶיךָ שְֹאֵתִי בְחֵיקִי כָּל-רַבִּים עַמִּים: נב אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ אוֹיְבֶיךָ | יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ עִקְּבוֹת מְשִׁיחֶךָ: נג בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם אָמֵן | וְאָמֵן:

כח לחוד אנא בוכרא למלכיא דבית יהודה אתניניה עילאה על מלכי ארעא׃ כט לעלם אטור ליה טובי וקיימי מהימנא ליה׃ ל ואשוי לעלמין בנוי וכורסיה כיומיא דיקומון שמיא׃ לא אין ישבקון בנוי אוריתי ובדיני לא יהלכון׃ לב אין קיימי יפסון ופיקודי לא ינטרון׃ לג ואסער על ידהון דשיבטא דרשיעין מרדיהון ובמוזיקיא דמכתשין להון עוייתהון׃ לד וטובי לא אבטיל מיניה ולא אשקר בהמנותי׃ לה לא אפיס קיימי ומפקנות סיפותי לא אשני׃ לו חדא זימנא קיימית בשום קודשי אם לדוד אכדיב׃ לז בנוי לעלם יהויין וכורסיה נהיר ניהור היך שמשא לקיבלי׃ לח היך סיהרא דמיתקן לאת לעלם וסהיד בשחקא מהימן לעלמין׃ לט ואת שבקתא ורחקתא ארגיזתא עם משיחך׃ מ אשניתא קיים דעם עבדך אפיסתא לארעא כליליה׃ מא תקיפתא כל כרכוי שויתא פציחוי תברא׃ מב רמסון יתיה כל עברי אורחא הוה קלנא לשיבבוי׃ מג ארימתא ימינא דמעיקוי אחדיתא כל בעלי דבבוי׃ מד לחוד תתיב לאחורא סייפיה חריפא ולא אקימתא אוקימתא יתיה״ידיה בקרבא׃ מה בטילתא כהניא דמדין על מדבחא ומדכין עמיה וכורסי מלכותיה לארעא מיגרתא׃ מו קצרתא יומי עלימוי עולימוי עטיפתא עלוי בהתא וכיסופא לעלמין׃ מז עד אימתי יהוה תסלק שכינתך לעלמין תדליק היך אשתא חימתך׃ מח אדכר די אנא אתבריתי מן עפרא מטול מה לבטלא בריתא כל בני נשא׃ מט מן הוא גברא דיחי ולא יחמי מלאכא דמותא ושזיב נפשיה מן ידיה ולא ייחות לבית קבורתיה לעלמין׃ נ אן האן הינון אינון טבוותך דמן שירויא יהוה דקיימתא לדוד בהימנותך׃ נא אידכר יהוה חיסודא דעבדך סוברית בעטפי כל גידופיהון דסגיעין עממין׃ נב די חסידו בעלי דבבך יהוה די חסידו איחור רושמת ריגלי משיחך יהוה׃ נג בריך שמא דיהוה בעלמא הדין אמן ואמן בריך שמא דיהוה לעלמא דאתי אמן ואמן:

89:22 οὐκ ὠφελήσει ἐχθρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ υἱὸς ἀνομίας οὐ προσθήσει τοῦ κακῶσαι αὐτόν 89:23 καὶ συγκόψω τοὺς ἐχθροὺς αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς μισοῦντας αὐτὸν τροπώσομαι 89:24 καὶ ἡ ἀλήθειά μου καὶ τὸ ἔλεός μου μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου ὑψωθήσεται τὸ κέρας αὐτοῦ 89:25 καὶ θήσομαι ἐν θαλάσσῃ χεῖρα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν ποταμοῖς δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ 89:26 αὐτὸς ἐπικαλέσεταί με πατήρ μου εἶ σύ θεός μου καὶ ἀντιλήμπτωρ τῆς σωτηρίας μου 89:27 κἀγὼ πρωτότοκον θήσομαι αὐτόν ὑψηλὸν παρὰ τοῖς βασιλεῦσιν τῆς γῆς 89:28 εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα φυλάξω αὐτῷ τὸ ἔλεός μου καὶ ἡ διαθήκη μου πιστὴ αὐτῷ 89:29 καὶ θήσομαι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸν θρόνον αὐτοῦ ὡς τὰς ἡμέρας τοῦ οὐρανοῦ 89:30 ἐὰν ἐγκαταλίπωσιν οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ τὸν νόμον μου καὶ τοῖς κρίμασίν μου μὴ πορευθῶσιν 89:31 ἐὰν τὰ δικαιώματά μου βεβηλώσουσιν καὶ τὰς ἐντολάς μου μὴ φυλάξωσιν 89:32 ἐπισκέψομαι ἐν ῥάβδῳ τὰς ἀνομίας αὐτῶν καὶ ἐν μάστιξιν τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν 89:33 τὸ δὲ ἔλεός μου οὐ μὴ διασκεδάσω ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ οὐδὲ μὴ ἀδικήσω ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μου 89:34 οὐδὲ μὴ βεβηλώσω τὴν διαθήκην μου καὶ τὰ ἐκπορευόμενα διὰ τῶν χειλέων μου οὐ μὴ ἀθετήσω 89:35 ἅπαξ ὤμοσα ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ μου εἰ τῷ Δαυιδ ψεύσομαι 89:36 τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα μενεῖ καὶ ὁ θρόνος αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος ἐναντίον μου 89:37 καὶ ὡς ἡ σελήνη κατηρτισμένη εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ ὁ μάρτυς ἐν οὐρανῷ πιστός διάψαλμα 89:38 σὺ δὲ ἀπώσω καὶ ἐξουδένωσας ἀνεβάλου τὸν χριστόν σου 89:39 κατέστρεψας τὴν διαθήκην τοῦ δούλου σου ἐβεβήλωσας εἰς τὴν γῆν τὸ ἁγίασμα αὐτοῦ 89:40 καθεῖλες πάντας τοὺς φραγμοὺς αὐτοῦ ἔθου τὰ ὀχυρώματα αὐτοῦ δειλίαν 89:41 διήρπασαν αὐτὸν πάντες οἱ διοδεύοντες ὁδόν ἐγενήθη ὄνειδος τοῖς γείτοσιν αὐτοῦ 89:42 ὕψωσας τὴν δεξιὰν τῶν ἐχθρῶν αὐτοῦ εὔφρανας πάντας τοὺς ἐχθροὺς αὐτοῦ

89:43 ἀπέστρεψας τὴν βοήθειαν τῆς ῥομφαίας αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἀντελάβου αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ 89:44 κατέλυσας ἀπὸ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτόν τὸν θρόνον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν γῆν κατέρραξας 89:45 ἐσμίκρυνας τὰς ἡμέρας τοῦ χρόνου αὐτοῦ κατέχεας αὐτοῦ αἰσχύνην διάψαλμα 89:46 ἕως πότε κύριε ἀποστρέψεις εἰς τέλος ἐκκαυθήσεται ὡς πῦρ ἡ ὀργή σου 89:47 μνήσθητι τίς μου ἡ ὑπόστασις μὴ γὰρ ματαίως ἔκτισας πάντας τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν ἀνθρώπων 89:48 τίς ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ζήσεται καὶ οὐκ ὄψεται θάνατον ῥύσεται τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἐκ χειρὸς ᾅδου διάψαλμα 89:49 ποῦ εἰσιν τὰ ἐλέη σου τὰ ἀρχαῖα κύριε ἃ ὤμοσας τῷ Δαυιδ ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου 89:50 μνήσθητι κύριε τοῦ ὀνειδισμοῦ τῶν δούλων σου οὗ ὑπέσχον ἐν τῷ κόλπῳ μου πολλῶν ἐθνῶν 89:51 οὗ ὠνείδισαν οἱ ἐχθροί σου κύριε οὗ ὠνείδισαν τὸ ἀντάλλαγμα τοῦ χριστοῦ σου 89:52 εὐλογητὸς κύριος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα γένοιτο γένοιτο

Tehillim / Psalms 89

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. 89:1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. 89:2 For I have said, ‘Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.’ 89:3 ‘I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, 89:4 I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations.’ Selah. 89:5 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 89:6 For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord, 89:7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? 89:8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. 89:9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. 89:10 You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm. 89:11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them. 89:12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 89:13 You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted. 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 89

89:1 A good lesson uttered by Abraham, who came from the east. 89:2 I will praise the kindness of the Lord forever; from generation to generation I will make known your truth with my mouth. 89:3 For I said, “The world will be built by kindness; you will establish your truth in the heavens.” 89:4 I made a covenant with Abraham my chosen; I confirmed it with my servant David. 89:5 I will establish your sons forever; and for every generation I will build your royal throne forever. 89:6 And the heavens will confess your wonders, O Lord; also your truth in the assembly of the holy ones. 89:7 For who in the clouds can be set beside the Lord? Who resembles the Lord in the multitudes of angels? 89:8 God is mighty in the mysteries of the holy ones; sitting on the throne of glory, great and fearsome over all the angels who stand around him. 89:9 O Lord God above the hosts of the height, who is like you in strength, O Lord? And your truth is around you. 89:10 You rule over the pride of the sea; when its waves increase and become high, you will subdue them. 89:11 You have crushed Rahab, that is, wicked Pharaoh, like one slain by the sword; with the might of your strong arm you have scattered your enemies. 89:12 Yours is the heaven, yea, yours is the earth; you have founded the world and all its contents. 89:13 The deserts in the north and those who dwell in the south, you created them; Tabor in the west and Hermon in the east sing praise in your name. 89:14 Yours is the arm with strength; your hand will be strong to redeem your people; your right hand will be raised to perfect your sanctuary. 89:15 Righteousness and justice are the dwelling place of your glorious throne; favor and truth go before your face. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 89

A Psalm of instruction for Ætham the Israelite. 89:1 I will sing of thy mercies, O Lord, for ever: I will declare thy truth with my mouth to all generations. 89:2 For thou hast said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy truth shall be established in the heavens. 89:3 I made a covenant with my chosen ones, I sware unto David my servant. 89:4 I will establish thy seed for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Pause. 89:5 The heavens shall declare thy wonders, O Lord; and thy truth in the assembly of the saints. 89:6 For who in the heavens shall be compared to the Lord? and who shall be likened to the Lord among the sons of God? 89:7 God is glorified in the council of the saints; great and terrible toward all that are round about him. 89:8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like to thee? thou art mighty, O Lord, and thy truth is round about thee. 89:9 Thou rulest the power of the sea; and thou calmest the tumult of its waves. 89:10 Thou has brought down the proud as one that is slain; and with the arm of thy power thou has scattered thine enemies. 89:11 The heavens are thine, and the earth is thine: thou hast founded the world, and the fullness of it. 89:12 Thou hast created the north and the west: Thabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name. 89:13 Thine is the mighty arm: let thy hand be strengthened, let thy right hand be exalted. 89:14 Justice and judgment are the establishment of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. 89:15 Blessed is the people that knows the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. (LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms 89

89:15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. 89:16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. 89:17 For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted. 89:18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, And our king to the Holy One of Israel. 89:19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, ‘I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 89:20 ‘I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, 89:21 With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. 89:22 ‘The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 89:23 ‘But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. 89:24 ‘My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted. 89:25 ‘I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers. 89:26 ‘He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 89:27 ‘I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 89:28 ‘My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 89:29 ‘So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven. 89:30 ‘If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments,(NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 89

89:16 Happy the people who know to please their creator with a shout; O Lord, in the splendid light of your countenance they will walk and be acquitted in judgment. 89:17 In your name they will rejoice all day, and by your righteousness they will be exalted. 89:18 For you are the splendor of their strength, and by your will their horn is exalted. 89:19 For our shields belong to the Lord, and our king belongs to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 89:20 Then you spoke in a vision to your pious ones, and you said, “I have set up a helper for my people by the hand of one mighty in Torah; I have set apart a youth from among the people.” 89:21 I have found David my servant, with the holy oil I anointed him. 89:22 Whom my hands are ready to help; truly my arm will strengthen him. 89:23 The enemy will not make him go astray; the son of wickedness will not afflict him. 89:24 And I will crush his oppressors before him, and I will smite his foes. 89:25 And my truth and goodness are with him; in the name of my word his glory will be exalted. 89:26 And I will place his dominion at the harbors of the sea, and the might of his right hand on those who dwell by the rivers. 89:27 He will call to me, “You are my father (abba), my God, and the strength of my redemption.” 89:28 Also I will make him first-born of the kings of the house of Judah, the highest of the kings of the earth. 89:29 I will preserve my goodness to him forever; and my covenant is constant for him. 89:30 And I will set up his sons forever, and his throne for as many days as the heavens will last. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 89

89:16 And in thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. 89:17 For thou art the boast of their strength; and in thy good pleasure shall our horn be exalted, 89:18 for our help is of the Lord; and of the Holy One of Israel, our king. 89:19 Then thou spokest in vision to thy children, and saidst, I have laid help on a mighty one; I have exalted one chosen out of my people. 89:20 I have found David my servant; I have anointed him by my holy mercy. 89:21 For my hand shall support him; and mine arm shall strengthen him. 89:22 The enemy shall have no advantage against him; and the son of transgression shall not hurt him again. 89:23 And I will hew down his foes before him, and put to flight those that hate him. 89:24 But my truth and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted. 89:25 And I will set his hand in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. 89:26 He shall call upon me, saying, Thou art my Father, my God, and the helper of my salvation. 89:27 And I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. 89:28 I will keep my mercy for him for ever, and my covenant shall be firm with him. 89:29 And I will establish his seed for ever and ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. 89:30 If his children should forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;(LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms 89

89:31 If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, 89:32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. 89:33 ‘But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. 89:34 ‘My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 89:35 ‘Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. 89:36 ‘His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. 89:37 ‘It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.’ Selah. 89:38 But You have cast off and rejected, You have been full of wrath against Your anointed. 89:39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant; You have profaned his crown in the dust. 89:40 You have broken down all his walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. 89:41 All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors. 89:42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have made all his enemies rejoice. 89:43 You also turn back the edge of his sword And have not made him stand in battle. 89:44 You have made his splendor to cease And cast his throne to the ground. 89:45 You have shortened the days of his youth; You have covered him with shame. Selah. 89:46 How long, O Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? 89:47 Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity You have created all the sons of men! (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 89

89:31 If his sons abandon my Torah, and do not walk in my judgments, 89:32 If they violate my covenant, and do not keep my commandments, 89:33 Then I will punish their rebellions by means of the rod of the wicked, and their iniquities by the demons that plague them. 89:34 But my goodness I will not revoke from him, and I will not be false to my faithfulness. 89:35 I will not violate my covenant, and the utterance of my lips I will not change. 89:36 Once I have sworn by my holy name: “I will not lie to David.” 89:37 His sons will exist forever, and his throne is bright as the sun before me. 89:38 Like the moon that is set for an eternal sign, and a faithful witness in the sky forever. 89:39 But you have forsaken and rejected, grown angry with your anointed. 89:40 You have changed the covenant with your servant; you have profaned his crown to the earth. 89:41 You have forced all his strongholds, you have made his open villages a ruin. 89:42 All who pass on the road have trampled him; he has become a disgrace to his neighbors. 89:43 You have raised the right hand of his oppressors; you have gladdened all his enemies. 89:44 Also you will turn aside his sword and you have not supported him in battle. 89:45 You have abolished the priests who sprinkle [blood] on the altar and cleanse his people, and you have cast to the ground his royal throne. 89:46 You have cut short the days of his young men; you have covered him with shame and disgrace forever. 89:47 How long, O Lord, will you remove your presence forever? [How long] will your rage burn like fire? (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 89

89:31 if they should profane my ordinances, and not keep my commandments; 89:32 I will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their sins with scourges. 89:33 But my mercy I will not utterly remove from him, nor wrong my truth. 89:34 Neither will I by any means profane my covenant; and I will not make void the things that proceed out of my lips. 89:35 Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie to David. 89:36 His see shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me; 89:37 and as the moon that is established for ever, and as the faithful witness in heaven. Pause. 89:38 But thou hast cast off and set at nought, thou has rejected thine anointed. 89:39 Thou hast overthrown the covenant of thy servant; thou has profaned his sanctuary, casting it to the ground. 89:40 Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast made his strong holds a terror. 89:41 All that go by the way have spoiled him: he is become a reproach to his neighbours. 89:42 Thou hast exalted the right hand of his enemies; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. 89:43 Thou hast turned back the help of his sword, and hast not helped him in the battle. 89:44 Thou hast deprived him of glory: thou hast broken down his throne to the ground. 89:45 Thou hast shortened the days of his throne: thou hast poured shame upon him. Pause. 89:46 How long, O Lord, wilt thou turn away, for ever? shall thine anger flame out as fire? 89:47 Remember what my being is: for hast thou created all the sons of men in vain? (LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms 89

89:48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah. 89:49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness? 89:50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants; How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples, 89:51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed. 89:52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 89

98:48 Remember that I was created from dust; why have you created all the sons of men for vanity? 98:49 Who is the man who will live and not see the angel of death, who will deliver his soul from his hand, and not go down to his grave forever? 98:50 Where are your favors which were from the beginning, O Lord, which you swore to David in your faithfulness? 98:51 Remember, O Lord, the disgrace of your servant; I have borne in my bosom all the insults of many peoples. 98:52 For your enemies have scorned, O Lord, for they have scorned the delay of the footsteps of your Messiah, O Lord. 98:53 Blessed be the name of the Lord in this age, amen and amen. Blessed be the name of the Lord in the age to come, amen and amen.(EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 89

98:48 What man is there who shall live, and not see death? shall any one deliver his soul from the hand of Hades? Pause. 98:49 Where are thine ancient mercies, O Lord, which thou swarest to David in thy truth? 98:50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of thy servants, which I have borne in my bosom, even the reproach of many nations; 98:51 wherewith thine enemies have reviled, O Lord: wherewith they have reviled the recompense of thine anointed. 98:52 Blessed be the Lord for ever. So be it, so be it.(LXX)

Part 1A

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 89:1-52, the Psalm opens saying, A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. Who is Ethan the Ezrahite? Ethan the Ezrahite is mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31 as a wise man. He was not considered as wise as King Solomon however. The Tanach describes Ethan as “wiser than anyone else…” 1 Chronicles 2:6 provides more information about Ethan, he had four brothers and was the son of Zerah (called Mahol in 1 Kings 4:31). He was descended from the tribe of Levi. Ethan is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 15:17 as being involved in bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Since he is called “Ethan the son of Kushaiah,” so some Christian commentaries say that he is a different person from the author of Tehillim / Psalm 89. However, 1 Chronicles 15:19 adds that the son of Kushaiah was a musician, one of the men to sound the bronze cymbals, and this had led some scholars to assume a link between the names mentioned in the Scriptures, these may be the same person. It is also believed that Ethan was also known as Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 16:38-42), therefore, he may also be associated with the titles of Tehillim / Psalms 62 and 77.

The rabbis connect Ethan the Ezrahite, his psalm, to acts of loving kindness according to the Mishnah and the Mekhilta.

Mishnah Bartenura on Pirkei Avot 1:2:6:

“and on acts of lovingkindness”: As it is written (Ps. 89:3), “The world is built up by your kindness.” And lovingkindness is to regale grooms and to comfort mourners, to visit the sick and inter the dead, and the like. (ועל גמילות חסדים דכתיב (תהלים פ’’ט) עולם חסד יבנה. וגמילות חסדים הוא, לשמח חתנים, ולנחם אבלים, ולבקר חולים, ולקבור מתים, וכיוצא בזה:)

Here the Mishnah speaks of the acts of loving kindness (חסדים) saying that the world is built upon the Lord’s kindness. Grace (חסד) is said to be the motivating factor for a person to comfort mourners, and visit the sick, and to draw near to the dead, in the sense that one is dead who does not “know” the Lord God in heaven.

Mekhilta 31:17, Part 3

“He rested and was restored”: From what did He rest (on Sabbath)? From labor or from judgment”? It is, therefore, written “and He was restored,” (which connotes “from labor”). We are hereby apprised that judgment never departs from Him. And thus is it written (Psalms 89:15) “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; lovingkindness and truth precede Your countenance,” and (Devarim 32:4) “The rock — perfect is His work, for all of His ways are justice, etc. (שבת וינפש וממה שבת מן העבודה או מן הדין. ת”ל (וינפש). מגיד שאין הדין בטל מלפניו לעולם. וכן הוא אומר, צדק ומשפט שבת כסאך חסד ואמת יקדמו פניך (תהלים פט). ואומר הצור תמים פעלו כי כל דרכיו משפט וגו’ (דברים לב).)

The sabbath rest is paralleled to Tehillim / Psalms 89, where righteousness and justice are the foundation of the throne of God, grace and truth precede the presence of the Lord. The Lord provides rest for His people, he brings justice, mercy, and truth, which causes His people to be at peace with one another and with their enemies.

The psalmist opens saying, ב חַסְדֵי יְהֹוָה עוֹלָם אָשִׁירָה לְדֹר וָדֹר | אוֹדִיעַ אֱמוּנָתְךָ בְּפִי: 89:1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. (NASB) Ethan (the psalmist) gives praise to the Lord as a result of His grace (חַסְדֵי, lovingkindness) and it is because of the Lord’s mercy that he is able to make known the faithfulness of God to all the generations. The Mekhilta has the following to say concerning the chesed of the Lord.

Mekhilta 15:13:1:

(Exodus 15:13) “You have led forth in lovingkindness (chesed)”: You have done chesed with us, for we were without (redeeming) deeds, viz. (Isaiah 63:7) “The lovingkindnesses of the L rd will I proclaim, etc.”, (Psalms 89:2) “The lovingkindnesses of the L rd will I ever sing, etc.” And the world in its very beginning was built only with chesed, viz. (Ibid. 3) “I said that the world (with) chesed will be built.” (Exodus, Ibid.) “this people whom You have redeemed”: For all the world is Yours, and You have no people but Israel, viz. (Isaiah 43:21) “This people have I created for Myself, etc.” And thus is it written (Song of Songs 6:8) “Sixty are the queens and eighty, are the concubines”: “Sixty are the queens” — These are the sixty ten thousands (of Israel, who left Egypt); “and eighty, the concubines” — those below the age of twenty; “and young maidens without number” — the minors, who are numberless. Notwithstanding this, (only) “one is My dove” — Moses, who countervails them all. Once, Rebbi was sitting and expounding that one woman bore sixty ten thousands, when a disciple interjected: Rebbi, who is greater, the world or the tzaddik? Rebbi replied: The tzaddik. How so? When Yocheved bore Moses, he countervailed the entire world. And where do we find that Moses countervailed the entire world? In (Numbers 26:4) “as the L rd commended Moses and the children of Israel”, and “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel”, and (Devarim 34:10) “And there arose no prophet again in Israel like Moses.” (Exodus, Ibid.) “You have guided (them) in Your strength”: in the merit of the Torah which they are destined to receive, “strength” being Torah, viz. (Psalms 29:4) “The L rd will give strength to His people; the L rd will bless His people with peace” and (Ibid. 99:4) “… and the strength of the King (i.e., Torah) who loves justice.” (נחית בחסדך, חסד עשית לנו שלא היה בידינו מעשים שנ’ חסדי ה’ אזכיר וגו’ (שם סג) חסדי ה’ עולם אשירה וגו’ (תהלים פט) והעולם מתחלתו לא נבנה אלא בחסד שנ’ כי אמרתי עולם חסד יבנה וגו’ (שם): עם זו גאלת, לפי שכל העולם שלך ואין לך עם אלא ישראל שנ’ עם זו יצרת לי וגו’ (ישעיה מג) וכה”א ששים המה מלכות ושמונים פלגשים (שה”ש ו), ששים המה מלכות אלו ששים רבוא ושמונים פילגשים אלו מבן כ’ שנה ולמעלה ועלמות אין מספר אלו הקטנים שאין להם מנין אף על פי כן אחת היא יונתי תמתי (שם) זה משה שנשקל כנגד הכל. וכבר היה רבי יושב ודורש שילדה אשה במצרים ס’ רבוא נענה תלמיד אחד מלפניו ואמר לו רבי מי גדול העולם או הצדיק א”ל הצדיק. למה כשילדה יוכבד את משה היה שקול כנגד כל העולם כולו וכי היכן מצינו שהיה משה שקול כנגד הכל שנ’ כאשר צוה ה’ את משה ובני ישראל ואו’ אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל ואו’ ולא קם נביא עוד בישראל כמשה (דברים לד). נהלת בעזך, בזכות התורה שהם עתידין לקבל ואין עוזך אלא תורה שנאמר ה’ עוז לעמו יתן ה’ יברך את עמו בשלום (תהלים כט) ואומר ועוז מלך משפט אהב (שם /תהלים/ צט ד))

According to the Mekhilta, the chesed (grace) of God is given without the need for redeeming deeds of the people. That seems to be the definition of grace, the unmerited favor of God according to the Apostolic Writings. The rabbis say the world was created being built with chesed. The Mekhilta connects the grace of God to building the world upon chesed, and to the people who were delivered from Egypt, and to the tzaddik, the righteous one, and to Moshe and the Torah. They say, “You have guided (them) in Your strength”: in the merit of the Torah which they are destined to receive, “strength” being Torah, viz. (Psalms 29:4) “The L rd will give strength to His people; the L rd will bless His people with peace” and (Ibid. 99:4) “… and the strength of the King (i.e., Torah) who loves justice.” The way of God is justice and truth, and these are the things that are taught in the Torah, this is why it is said that the strength of the King is who loves justice. The Law of God established justice among His people, something that was unknown by the nations. The Psalm says, ג כִּי-אָמַרְתִּי עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה שָׁמַיִם | תָּכִן אֱמוּנָתְךָ בָהֶם: 89:2 For I have said, ‘Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.’ (NASB) What does it mean lovingkindness (grace, חֶסֶד) will be built up forever? How does the Lord establish faithfulness in the heavens? It is important to remember the Torah context of what is being said and asked, the Lord God declared his mercy and grace from the heavens, at Sinai. The Mishnah Pirkei Avot has the following to say concerning faithfulness in the heavens.

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:1

Rabbi Meir says: Anyone who involves himself in Torah for its own sake merits many things, and moreover the entire world is worthwhile for his sake; He is called “friend,” “beloved,” “lover of the Omnipresent,” “lover of [all] creatures,” “delighter of the Omnipresent,” “delighter of [all] creatures;” He is clothed in humility and reverence, and it prepares him to be righteous, devout, upright and trustworthy, and it distances him from sin, and draws him near to merit; We enjoy from him counsel and comprehension, understanding and strength, as it is said (Proverbs 8:14): “Mine is counsel and comprehension, I am understanding, mine is strength;” It gives him kingship and dominion, and [the ability to] investigate in judgment, and the secrets of the Torah are revealed to him, and he becomes like an ever-strengthening spring, and like a river that does not stop; He is modest and long-tempered, and forgives insult to him; And it enlarges him and raises him above all [that God] made. ( שנו החכמים בלשון המשנה. ברוך שבחר בהם ובמשנתם. רבי מאיר אומר כל העוסק בתורה לשמה, זוכה לדברים הרבה.ולא עוד אלא שכל העולם כלו כדאי הוא לו.נקרא רע, אהוב, אוהב את המקום, אוהב את הבריות, משמח את המקום, משמח את הבריות, ומלבשתו ענוה ויראה, ומכשרתו להיות צדיק חסיד ישר ונאמן, ומרחקתו מן החטא, ומקרבתו לידי זכות, ונהנין ממנו עצה ותושיה בינה וגבורה.שנאמר (משלי ח) לי עצה ותושיה אני בינה לי גבורה, ונותנת לו מלכות וממשלה וחקור דין, ומגלין לו רזי תורה, ונעשה כמעין המתגבר וכנהר שאינו פוסק, והוי צנוע וארך רוח, ומוחל על עלבונו, ומגדלתו ומרוממתו על כל המעשים.)

Note how the Mishnah invokes studying and performing acts based upon the Torah simply for the sake of doing what the Lord God desires for us to do, to live by His statutes and precepts, and to be free from sin. The Mishnah states that the one who seeks to live for God according to His Torah, is called a friend, beloved, lover of the Lord in heaven, and of all creatures, he is clothed in humility and reverence and prepares himself to live in righteousness, he is upright and trustworthy, and distances himself from sin. The rabbis go on to say in the Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:10 that God’s throne is in heaven and the earth is His footstool.

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:10

Five possessions has the Holy One, Blessed be He, declared His own in His world, And they are: The Torah [is] one possession, Heaven and earth [are] one possession, Abraham [is] one possession, Israel [is] one possession, [And] the Sanctuary [is] one possession. From where [do we infer that] the Torah [is] one possession? For it is written: “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, the first of His of old.” (Proverbs 8:22.) From where [do we infer that] heaven and earth [are] one possession? For it is written: “Thus says the Lord: ‘The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Which house might you build for Me? And which place might be My resting-place?’” (Isaiah 66:1), And it [also] says: “How manifold are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom have You made them all; full is the earth, Your possession.” (Psalm 104:24.) From where [do we infer that] Abraham [is] one possession? For it is written: “And [Melchizedek] blessed him, and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth.’” (Genesis 14:19.) From where [do we infer that] Israel [is] one possession? For it is written: “Till Your people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over whom You have made Your own” (Exodus 15:16), And it [also] says: “As for the holy that are in the earth, they are the excellent in whom is all My delight.” (Psalm 16:3.) From where [do we infer that] the Sanctuary [is] one possession? For it is written: “The Sanctuary, O Lord, that Your hands have established” (Exodus 15:17), And it is [also] said: “And He brought them to His holy border, to the mountain, which His right hand had possessed.” (Psalm 78:54.) (חמשה קנינים קנה לו הקדוש ברוך הוא בעולמו, ואלו הן, תורה קנין אחד, שמים וארץ קנין אחד, אברהם קנין אחד, ישראל קנין אחד, בית המקדש קנין אחד.תורה מנין, דכתיב (משלי ח), יהוה קנני ראשית דרכו קדם מפעליו מאז.שמים וארץ מנין, דכתיב (ישעיה סו), כה אמר יהוה השמים כסאי והארץ הדם רגלי אי זה בית אשר תבנו לי ואי זה מקום מנוחתי.ואומר (תהלים קד), מה רבו מעשיך יהוה כלם בחכמה עשית מלאה הארץ קנינך.אברהם מנין, דכתיב (בראשית יד), ויברכהו ויאמר ברוך אברם לאל עליון קונה שמים וארץ.ישראל מנין, דכתיב (שמות טו), עד יעבור עמך יהוה עד יעבור עם זו קנית, ואומר (תהלים טז), לקדושים אשר בארץ המה ואדירי כל חפצי בם.בית המקדש מנין, דכתיב (שמות טו), מכון לשבתך פעלת יהוה מקדש אדני כוננו ידיך.ואומר (תהלים עח), ויביאם אל גבול קדשו הר זה קנתה ימינו.)

The Mishnah states that the heaven and earth are the possession of God because His throne is in heaven and the earth is his footstool. The Psalm saying,ג כִּי-אָמַרְתִּי עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה שָׁמַיִם | תָּכִן אֱמוּנָתְךָ בָהֶם: 89:2 For I have said, ‘Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.’ (NASB) meaning that the Lord establishes His faithfulness because he sits above heaven and earth, and is not subject to the whims of man. His faithfulness is established because He has spoken of His faithfulness in His word and He has demonstrated His faithfulness in His deeds. The Word of God is eternal (everlasting) and therefore the Lord has established His mercy, and faithfulness forever because of His love for us.

The Psalm continues, we read the Lord speaking prophetically through the psalmist saying, 89:3 ‘I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, 89:4 I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations.’ Selah. (NASB) We read of the Davidic Covenant which refers to God’s Promises to David through the prophet Nathan, and is found in 2 Samuel 7 and is summarized in 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 and 2 Chronicles 6:16. The covenant promise the Lord made with David was unconditional, in which the Lord God promised David and Israel that the Messiah would come from the descendent’s of David and from the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional in the sense that the Lord does not place conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The surety of the promises made rests solely on Lord’s faithfulness. There were several key points in the promises the Lord made to David.

Several Key Points in the Davidic Covenant

  1. The Lord reaffirms the promise of the land that He made with Abraham and Moshe (Israel, 2 Samuel 7:10, “I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore.”)
  2. The Lord promises that David’s son will succeed him as king of Israel and that this son (Solomon) would build the temple. (2 Samuel 7:12–13, “ I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name.”)
  3. “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (7:13),
  4. “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (7:16). What began as a promise that David’s son Solomon would be blessed and build the temple turns into something different-the promise of an everlasting kingdom.
  5. David’s “house,” “kingdom,” and “throne” speaks of a future expectation of the Messiah from the lineage of David and that He will establish a kingdom from which He will reign.

The reason the Lord swore this promise to David was because of this faithfulness to the Lord during his life both before and after he became King of Israel. This illustrates the importance of our call before God to do the same, to live with faithfulness, righteousness, justice, and truth. The Psalmist continues speaking of the heavens giving praise to the Lord, how none compare to the Lord who is in heaven, and that His faithfulness surrounds him.

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 89:5-8

89:5 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones. 89:6 For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord, 89:7 A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? 89:8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. 89:9 You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them. (NASB)

ו וְיוֹדוּ שָׁמַיִם פִּלְאֲךָ יְהֹוָה אַף-אֱמוּנָתְךָ בִּקְהַל קְדשִׁים: ז כִּי מִי בַשַּׁחַק יַעֲרֹךְ לַיהֹוָה יִדְמֶה לַיהֹוָה בִּבְנֵי אֵלִים: ח אֵל נַעֲרָץ בְּסוֹד-קְדשִׁים רַבָּה וְנוֹרָא עַל-כָּל-סְבִיבָיו: ט יְהֹוָה | אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת מִי-כָמוֹךָ חֲסִין | יָהּ וֶאֱמוּנָתְךָ סְבִיבוֹתֶיךָ:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 89:6-9

89:6 And the heavens will confess your wonders, O Lord; also your truth in the assembly of the holy ones. 89:7 For who in the clouds can be set beside the Lord? Who resembles the Lord in the multitudes of angels? 89:8 God is mighty in the mysteries of the holy ones; sitting on the throne of glory, great and fearsome over all the angels who stand around him. 89:9 O Lord God above the hosts of the height, who is like you in strength, O Lord? And your truth is around you. (EMC)

ו ויודון נגלי שמיא פרישותך יהוה לחוד קושטך בכינשת קדישין׃ ז ארום מן הוא בשחקי דמשתווי ליהוה דדמי ליהוה באוכלוסי מלאכיא׃ ח אלהא תקיפא ברזיהון דקדישין יתיב על כורסי יקרא ורבא ודחיל על כל מלאכיא דקיימין חזור חזור ליה׃ ט יהוה אלהא ע{י}ל חיילי מרומא מן דכוותך חסינא יהוה וקושטך חזור חזור חזור לך׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 89:5-8

89:5 The heavens shall declare thy wonders, O Lord; and thy truth in the assembly of the saints. 89:6 For who in the heavens shall be compared to the Lord? and who shall be likened to the Lord among the sons of God? 89:7 God is glorified in the council of the saints; great and terrible toward all that are round about him. 89:8 O Lord God of hosts, who is like to thee? thou art mighty, O Lord, and thy truth is round about thee. (LXX)

89:5 ἐξομολογήσονται οἱ οὐρανοὶ τὰ θαυμάσιά σου κύριε καὶ τὴν ἀλήθειάν σου ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ ἁγίων 89:6 ὅτι τίς ἐν νεφέλαις ἰσωθήσεται τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ τίς ὁμοιωθήσεται τῷ κυρίῳ ἐν υἱοῖς θεοῦ 89:7 ὁ θεὸς ἐνδοξαζόμενος ἐν βουλῇ ἁγίων μέγας καὶ φοβερὸς ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς περικύκλῳ αὐτοῦ 89:8 κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων τίς ὅμοιός σοι δυνατὸς εἶ κύριε καὶ ἡ ἀλήθειά σου κύκλῳ σου

The rabbis translate the faithfulness that surrounds the Lord as a reference to the mystery of the holy ones, and as the angels who stand around Him. The Septuagint translates in a similar manner saying, 89:7 God is glorified in the council of the saints; great and terrible toward all that are round about him. (LXX) Radak comments on Tehillim / Psalms 16 about the holy ones saying the following.

Radak on Psalms 16:3, Part 2

And excellent ones all my delight is in them : To those who are most excellent of heart among all the children of men, and better than they – my delight is in them to do them good, because they keep and do Thy commandments. And for this reason he calls them holy and excellent. And, according to the former interpretation, they interpret for the holy ones (לקדושׁים) thus : “I am not worthy of Thy goodness, but for the holy ones Thy goodness is worthy.” In my opinion the words to the holy ones depend upon Thou hast said to the Lord, meaning, after thou hast said to the Lord that He is thy Sovereign Lord, thou shouldest say also to the holy ones which are in the earth that thou wilt humble thyself before them, and yield them superiority over thyself, and learn from their works ; and all is with a view to perfection, that thou shouldest learn the love of God. And in this way our sages of blessed memory have said (Babli, Pesahim 22 b): “ ‘Thou shall fear the Lord thy God’ (Deut. 6:13) – i.e. to multiply the disciples of the wise.” And he says, which are in the earth, meaning, Walk in the steps of the holy ones whom thou shalt find in thy way, and learn from their works. In my opinion וְאַדִּירֵי (excellent ones) is not construct, for similar examples are to be found, as שׁקופים חַלּוֹנֵי (windows narrow), (1 Kings 6:4) ; נעמנים נטעי (pleasant plants) (Is. 17:10) ; and such like. And the meaning of holy ones and excellent in whom is all my delight is that one should love them and walk in their ways – viz. of the holy ones which are in the earth ; the way of the holy ones, the servants of God, I love, but the way of the others, who serve another god, I hate ; and I say :

The holy ones are interpreted as a reference to the people of God who are obedient to God’s Word. They are the wise ones, who walk in the foot steps of God. Radak exhorts that we are to walk in their ways, to be as they are in their service to the Lord. The phrase “Kedosh Yisrael” (קדוש ישראל), the Holy One of Israel, is often a title that is frequently given by the prophet Isaiah. It serves to place the sins of Isaiah’s society in contrast to God’s moral perfection (Isaiah 30:11) and expresses the absolute separation from evil (Isaiah 17:7). The concept of being holy is to be set apart from the common, the habitual, or the profane. The word holy (קדוש) provides us with awesome magnificence, and even what is “terrible” or “dreadful” (Nehemiah 1:5 and Tehillim / Psalms 68:35). The word holy also draws with it the idea that the Lord being holy is the only one who is worthy of true worship and adoration, since there is no rival in heaven or on earth that can compare to Him (our Father in heaven). Notice how these concepts are all drawn together in Radak’s commentary regarding the holy ones, and the perspective of the psalmist saying, 89:8 God is mighty in the mysteries of the holy ones; sitting on the throne of glory, great and fearsome over all the angels who stand around him. (EMC) The way the Lord God is described as “holy” is an indication that He is infinitely and eternally set apart, known only of Himself as “I AM THAT I AM” (Shemot / Exodus 3:15), and therefore as being called holy and being holy, the Lord is unique, he is to be hallowed, and utterly sacred. It is difficult to find the words to describe the absolute magnificence of God in His holiness.

The psalm continues saying,יא אַתָּה דִכִּאתָ כֶחָלָל רָהַב בִּזְרוֹעַ עֻזְּךָ פִּזַּרְתָּ אוֹיְבֶיךָ: 89:10 You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm. (NASB) What does the psalmist mean that the Lord has crushed Rahab? The Aramaic Targum states, יא את שפיית היך קטיל חרבא רהבא הוא פרעה רשיעא בתקוף אדרע עושנך בדרתא בעלי דבבך׃ 89:11 You have crushed Rahab, that is, wicked Pharaoh, like one slain by the sword; with the might of your strong arm you have scattered your enemies. (EMC) The rabbis interpret this to refer to Pharaoh. Remember in Tehillim / Psalms 87:4 “I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me; Behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia: ‘This one was born there.’” (NASB) Notice how Rahab is considered one who was not a part of Israel, however, she knew the Lord God and the Lord saved her and her household from destruction. Rahab sought the Lord in heaven according to the way in which the Father had revealed on Sinai. She sought the Lord and His ways and therefore she is said to have been born there, in the place (המקום), and possibly be counted as one of the holy ones of God. In Tehillim / Psalms 89:10, the psalmist states that the Lord has broken Rahab to pieces as one who is slain by the sword. Could this be a reference to pride verses humility? The Targum interprets this as Pharaoh who his people and kingdom were broken to pieces by plagues and by the power of God’s right hand. The scattering of the enemies draws in the imagery of the first born being slain and he and his army were broke in pieces at the Red sea, and were seen by the Israelites on the shore, all dead. This was done as one slain with the sword, as the dead who have no life, power, and strength to defend, who are trampled upon, crushed, bruised, and broken to pieces. All of these things may be a parallel to the Lord’s breaking into pieces the proud and insolent, the deceiver, as Rahab may signify. This is in contrast to the holiness of God, the Lord of breaking and destroying the works of the deceiver, the evil one, and spoiling his power. This verse could very well refer to the Lord who humbles the proud.

The psalm continues saying, יב לְךָ שָׁמַיִם אַף-לְךָ אָרֶץ תֵּבֵל וּמְלֹאָהּ אַתָּה יְסַדְתָּם: יג צָפוֹן וְיָמִין אַתָּה בְרָאתָם תָּבוֹר וְחֶרְמוֹן בְּשִׁמְךָ יְרַנֵּנוּ: יד לְךָ זְרוֹעַ עִם-גְּבוּרָה תָּעֹז יָדְךָ תָּרוּם יְמִינֶךָ: טו צֶדֶק וּמִשְׁפָּט מְכוֹן כִּסְאֶךָ חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת יְקַדְּמוּ פָנֶיךָ: 89:11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all it contains, You have founded them. 89:12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 89:13 You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted. 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, יב די לך שמיא לחוד אף די לך ארעא תבל ומלייה את יסדתינון׃ יג מדבריא די בציפונא ויתובין די בדרומא את בראתינון תבור דבמערבא וחרמון די במדינחא בשמך משבחין׃ יד די לך אדרעא עם גבורתא תעשן ידך למפרק עמך תרום ימינך לשכללא בית מקדשך׃ טו צדקתא ודינא מדור כורסי יקרך טיבו וקשוט מקדמין אפך׃ 89:12 Yours is the heaven, yea, yours is the earth; you have founded the world and all its contents. 89:13 The deserts in the north and those who dwell in the south, you created them; Tabor in the west and Hermon in the east sing praise in your name. 89:14 Yours is the arm with strength; your hand will be strong to redeem your people; your right hand will be raised to perfect your sanctuary. 89:15 Righteousness and justice are the dwelling place of your glorious throne; favor and truth go before your face. (EMC) The Septuagint sates, 89:11 σοί εἰσιν οἱ οὐρανοί καὶ σή ἐστιν ἡ γῆ τὴν οἰκουμένην καὶ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτῆς σὺ ἐθεμελίωσας 89:12 τὸν βορρᾶν καὶ θαλάσσας σὺ ἔκτισας Θαβωρ καὶ Ερμων ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ἀγαλλιάσονται 89:13 σὸς ὁ βραχίων μετὰ δυναστείας κραταιωθήτω ἡ χείρ σου ὑψωθήτω ἡ δεξιά σου 89:14 δικαιοσύνη καὶ κρίμα ἑτοιμασία τοῦ θρόνου σου ἔλεος καὶ ἀλήθεια προπορεύσεται πρὸ προσώπου σου 89:11 The heavens are thine, and the earth is thine: thou hast founded the world, and the fullness of it. 89:12 Thou hast created the north and the west: Thabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name. 89:13 Thine is the mighty arm: let thy hand be strengthened, let thy right hand be exalted. 89:14 Justice and judgment are the establishment of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. (LXX) The psalmist describes the glory of God. It is interesting how the Targum translates the Tehillim / Psalms 89:13 to say 89:14 Yours is the arm with strength; your hand will be strong to redeem your people; your right hand will be raised to perfect your sanctuary. (EMC) What does it mean that the right hand of God raises up to perfect His sanctuary? A parallel thought would be to our bodies as a sanctuary and the Lord working in our lives to take away our sins, and to transform our lives for His glory, for a dwelling place.

The psalm states טו צֶדֶק וּמִשְׁפָּט מְכוֹן כִּסְאֶךָ חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת יְקַדְּמוּ פָנֶיךָ: 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. (NASB) The rabbinic commentaries have the following to say concerning righteousness and justice being the foundation of God’s throne.

Mishnah Chagigah 12a, part 33

With knowledge, as it is written, (Proverbs 3:20) “With His knowledge the depths were broken up.” With strength and might, as it is written, (Psalms 65:7) “With His strength He establishes the mountains, being girded about with might.” With rebuke, as it is written, (Job 26:11) “The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke.” With righteousness and judgment, as it is written, (Psalms 89:15) “Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of Your throne.” With mercy and compassion, as it is written, (Psalms 25:6) “Remember Your compassion, O Lord, and Your mercies, for they are eternal.” And R. Yehudah said in the name of Rav,

The Mishnah describes the power and might of the Lord in heaven. He is all powerful, having created the heavens and the earth, setting the mountains in place, and establishing the depths of the Sea, though in His great power, he is merciful, righteous, just, and compassionate. The rabbis in the mishnah believe the mercies of the Lord are eternal based upon the psalms.

Mekhilta 31:17, Part 3

”He rested and was restored”: From what did He rest (on Sabbath)? From labor or from judgment”? It is, therefore, written “and He was restored,” (which connotes “from labor”). We are hereby apprised that judgment never departs from Him. And thus is it written (Psalms 89:15) “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; lovingkindness and truth precede Your countenance,” and (Devarim 32:4) “The rock — perfect is His work, for all of His ways are justice, etc.

The Mekhilta asks the question of what the Lord had rested from on the Shabbat, from labor or from judgment? This is an important question, since the conclusion is that the Lord rested from work as opposed to resting from judgment. The point is that we rest from work, from our labor, and not from doing righteousness and justice. We do not rest from these things (righteousness and justice) since the shabbat is not day given as a license to sin. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne, and his mercy and truth precedes his presence. As His people, we are called to be and do the same.

Akeidat Yitzchak 67:108

Encouraging man to repent before the day of judgment is ever so much more helpful than to wait for the judgment, and then attempt to reverse it. Therefore, the knowledge of when the day of judgment occurs, affords us a chance to prepare for that day. When David proclaims “hail the nation that knows the teruah, they walk in the light of Your countenance,” (Psalms 89:16), he merely points out how fortunate we are to be able to put this knowledge to our advantage. The Talmud Rosh Hashanah 16 discusses timing of celestial judgments. Rabbi Yossi emphasizes that daily judgment of man occurs also, whereas Rabbi Yochanan makes the point that repentance even tears up the evil decree. When the question is raised that even myriads of sacrifices, if they are offered after the Day of Atonement, can no longer change the evil decree, the answer given is that this is so only in the case of individuals. Collective repentance of a congregation is accepted at all times.

Akeidat Yitzchak 67:75

All the quotations in the Bible referring to this judgment, confirm that the Almighty deals with us as if we were equals and had claims upon Him. In Psalms 89:15 we read “Righteousness and justice are the abode of Your throne, kindness and mercy precede Your Presence.” All this is an acknowledgment that G’d has freely subjected Himself to such rules. There had been no legal reason for Him to do so. Our approach therefore, is to stress G’ds majesty rather than His overlordship, ownership etc. by means of the shofar, to remind Him of those of our meritorious deeds which He should not ignore. The psalmist saying “hail the people who understand the meaning of teruah, the sound of the shofar; they can expect to walk in the light of Your favour” is thus vindicated. (Psalms 89:16)

Akeidat Yitzchak states that having the knowledge of a future judgment prepares us; we have the opportunity to prepare for the day. Many sacrifices do not change a decree of judgment, because of the nature of the sin that led to the decree. The choice is to live in righteousness today, and not to wait until tomorrow. It is the continual habitual sin that leads to judgment, which then is meant to lead the sinner to repentance, seeking the Lord for forgiveness, and turning from sin to righteousness and justice. The presence of God is preceded by His mercy, kindness, and grace, because He desires for us to turn from our evil ways without having to bring judgment as a motivating force. Akeidat Yitzchak says that it is more important to “stress G’ds majesty rather than His overlordship, ownership etc.” The shofar is meant to remind the Lord of the maasim tovim in our lives as opposed to the maasim rayim. The commentary states “hail the people who understand the meaning of teruah, the sound of the shofar; they can expect to walk in the light of Your favour” where the Teruah (תְּרוּעָה) is a shout, a battle cry, or a shout of joy with religious impulse (BDB). The concept here is of shouting with joy of the lovingkindness of the Lord and all the mercies that He shows us each day.

The psalmist continues saying, טז אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם יוֹדְעֵי תְרוּעָה יְהֹוָה בְּאוֹר-פָּנֶיךָ יְהַלֵּכוּן: יז בְּשִׁמְךָ יְגִילוּן כָּל-הַיּוֹם וּבְצִדְקָתְךָ יָרוּמוּ: 89:15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. 89:16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. (NASB) What is the joyful sound? The joyful sound is that of the shofar we were just discussing previously. The phrase אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם יוֹדְעֵי תְרוּעָה יְהֹוָה may be translated as “blessed are the people who know the shout of the Lord…” What is this shout but the praises of His people. The righteousness of God is found in the commandments, living for the Lord, doing what is right, just, and true, and having love for one another, etc. These are the things the Torah teaches us, how to live before our Father God in heaven. By the Lord commanding His people to live according to His mitzvot, statutes and precepts, God’s righteousness is found within the commands, and this is how the Lord, His righteousness exalt His people. We become one in agreement with our Father in heaven when we walk in His ways, and live our lives according to His Torah. This is how the Lord’s righteousness exalt the children of Israel and those who have joined themselves with Israel in the Messiah Yeshua.

The psalm continues saying, יח כִּי-תִפְאֶרֶת עֻזָּמוֹ אָתָּה וּבִרְצֹנְךָ תָּריּם [תָּרוּם] קַרְנֵנוּ: יט כִּי לַיהֹוָה מָגִנֵּנוּ וְלִקְדוֹשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל מַלְכֵּנוּ: כ אָז דִּבַּרְתָּ-בְחָזוֹן לַחֲסִידֶיךָ וַתֹּאמֶר שִׁוִּיתִי עֵזֶר עַל-גִּבּוֹר הֲרִימוֹתִי בָחוּר מֵעָם: 89:17 For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted. 89:18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, And our king to the Holy One of Israel. 89:19 Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, ‘I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. (NASB) What vision did the Lord speak unto the godly ones? The Targum states, כ כהדין הבכין מלילתא בחזונא לחסידיך ואמירת שויתי סעיד לעמי על ידיה דמתגבר באוריתא אפרישית עולים מן ביני עמא׃ 89:20 Then you spoke in a vision to your pious ones, and you said, “I have set up a helper for my people by the hand of one mighty in Torah; I have set apart a youth from among the people.” (EMC) Isaiah explains the meaning of the Targum where the translation compares the Torah to the vision of God.

Isaiah 1:1-17

1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 1:2 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the Lord speaks, ‘Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. 1:3 ‘An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.’ 1:4 Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the Lord, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him. 1:5 Where will you be stricken again, As you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick And the whole heart is faint. 1:6 From the sole of the foot even to the head There is nothing sound in it, Only bruises, welts and raw wounds, Not pressed out or bandaged, Nor softened with oil. 1:7 Your land is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire, Your fields strangers are devouring them in your presence; It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers. 1:8 The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, Like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. 1:9 Unless the Lord of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah. 1:10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah. 1:11 ‘What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?’ Says the Lord. ‘I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. 1:12 ‘When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? 1:13 ‘Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. 1:14 ‘I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. 1:15 ‘So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. 1:16 ‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. (NASB)

It is important to note what Isaiah states in the opening to His book, he says that a vision is given, and lists the time in which he lives by the kings who lived while the Lord worked through Isaiah. Isaiah says that the Lord had brought up sons but they have rebelled against him, and that these sons, the people, do not have understanding. The people are a sinful nation, and Isaiah goes on to list the things seen in the vision, and describes saying the Lord does not take pleasure in sacrifice. The reason being the Torah (see Parashat Vayikra) states that the Lord desires obedience in the statements “if you sin…” Isaiah clarifies this when he says, 1:16 ‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. (NASB) The point is that when one lives in sin, trying to go through the motions is detestable to the Lord. Most Christian commentaries on this verse regarding the vision say this is a reference to Nathan the prophet and David and his sin. However, as you can see, there is a deeper Torah concept that is directly applicable to our lives. The Targum translation brings an interesting context and difference on the interpretation of the vision which has application to our lives, an application that is very important saying, 89:20 Then you spoke in a vision to your pious ones, and you said, “I have set up a helper for my people by the hand of one mighty in Torah; I have set apart a youth from among the people.” (EMC).

The Psalm continues saying the following:

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 89:21-29

89:21 With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. 89:22 ‘The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 89:23 ‘But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. 89:24 ‘My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted. 89:25 ‘I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers. 89:26 ‘He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 89:27 ‘I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 89:28 ‘My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 89:29 ‘So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven. (NASB, כב אֲשֶׁר יָדִי תִּכּוֹן עִמּוֹ אַף-זְרוֹעִי תְאַמְּצֶנּוּ: כג לֹא-יַשִּׁא אוֹיֵב בּוֹ וּבֶן-עַוְלָה לֹא יְעַנֶּנּוּ: כד וְכַתּוֹתִי מִפָּנָיו צָרָיו וּמְשַֹנְאָיו אֶגּוֹף: כה וֶאֱמוּנָתִי וְחַסְדִּי עִמּוֹ וּבִשְׁמִי תָּרוּם קַרְנוֹ: כו וְשַֹמְתִּי בַיָּם יָדוֹ וּבַנְּהָרוֹת יְמִינוֹ: כז הוּא יִקְרָאֵנִי אָבִי אָתָּה אֵלִי וְצוּר יְשׁוּעָתִי: כֵי-אָרֶץ: כט לְעוֹלָם אֶשְׁמָור [אֶשְׁמָר] -לוֹ חַסְדִּי וּבְרִיתִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת לוֹ: ל וְשַֹמְתִּי לָעַד זַרְעוֹ וְכִסְאוֹ כִּימֵי שָׁמָיִם: )

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 89:22-30

89:22 Whom my hands are ready to help; truly my arm will strengthen him. 89:23 The enemy will not make him go astray; the son of wickedness will not afflict him. 89:24 And I will crush his oppressors before him, and I will smite his foes. 89:25 And my truth and goodness are with him; in the name of my word his glory will be exalted. 89:26 And I will place his dominion at the harbors of the sea, and the might of his right hand on those who dwell by the rivers. 89:27 He will call to me, “You are my father (abba), my God, and the strength of my redemption.” 89:28 Also I will make him first-born of the kings of the house of Judah, the highest of the kings of the earth. 89:29 I will preserve my goodness to him forever; and my covenant is constant for him. 89:30 And I will set up his sons forever, and his throne for as many days as the heavens will last. (EMC, כב די אידי מתקנן בסעדיה ברם אדרעי תחייליניה׃ כג לא יטעי בעיל דבבא ביה ובר רישעא לא יסגפיניה׃ כד ואשוף מן קדמוי מעיקוי ומסנאוי אגוף׃ כה וקושטי וטובי עמיה ובשום מימרי תרומם יקריה׃ כו ואשוי במחוזי ימא שולטניה וביתבי על נהרותא גבורת ימיניה׃ כז הוא יקרי לי אבא את אלהי ותקוף פורקני׃ כח לחוד אנא בוכרא למלכיא דבית יהודה אתניניה עילאה על מלכי ארעא׃ כט לעלם אטור ליה טובי וקיימי מהימנא ליה׃ ל ואשוי לעלמין בנוי וכורסיה כיומיא דיקומון שמיא׃ )

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 89:21-29

89:21 For my hand shall support him; and mine arm shall strengthen him. 89:22 The enemy shall have no advantage against him; and the son of transgression shall not hurt him again. 89:23 And I will hew down his foes before him, and put to flight those that hate him. 89:24 But my truth and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted. 89:25 And I will set his hand in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. 89:26 He shall call upon me, saying, Thou art my Father, my God, and the helper of my salvation. 89:27 And I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. 89:28 I will keep my mercy for him for ever, and my covenant shall be firm with him. 89:29 And I will establish his seed for ever and ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (LXX, 89:21 ἡ γὰρ χείρ μου συναντιλήμψεται αὐτῷ καὶ ὁ βραχίων μου κατισχύσει αὐτόν 89:22 οὐκ ὠφελήσει ἐχθρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ υἱὸς ἀνομίας οὐ προσθήσει τοῦ κακῶσαι αὐτόν 89:23 καὶ συγκόψω τοὺς ἐχθροὺς αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς μισοῦντας αὐτὸν τροπώσομαι 89:24 καὶ ἡ ἀλήθειά μου καὶ τὸ ἔλεός μου μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου ὑψωθήσεται τὸ κέρας αὐτοῦ 89:25 καὶ θήσομαι ἐν θαλάσσῃ χεῖρα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν ποταμοῖς δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ 89:26 αὐτὸς ἐπικαλέσεταί με πατήρ μου εἶ σύ θεός μου καὶ ἀντιλήμπτωρ τῆς σωτηρίας μου 89:27 κἀγὼ πρωτότοκον θήσομαι αὐτόν ὑψηλὸν παρὰ τοῖς βασιλεῦσιν τῆς γῆς 89:28 εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα φυλάξω αὐτῷ τὸ ἔλεός μου καὶ ἡ διαθήκη μου πιστὴ αὐτῷ 89:29 καὶ θήσομαι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸν θρόνον αὐτοῦ ὡς τὰς ἡμέρας τοῦ οὐρανοῦ)

The psalm states, כב אֲשֶׁר יָדִי תִּכּוֹן עִמּוֹ אַף-זְרוֹעִי תְאַמְּצֶנּוּ: 89:21 With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. (NASB) “With whom My hand will be established;” this seems to be a way of saying that such is the man who has set the Lord God in heaven as His Rock, and is the One in whom he trusts. This is a promise of God’s gracious presence in the life of the one who has placed his faith in the Messiah Yeshua, and who seeks to walk in the Father’s ways. “My arm also will strengthen him,” is a statement of the Lord working in the life of the believer, His support and holding him up by His power and grace. The Targum states, כב די אידי מתקנן בסעדיה ברם אדרעי תחייליניה׃ 89:22 Whom my hands are ready to help; truly my arm will strengthen him. (EMC) saying the hand of the Lord will help which is confirmed by saying His hand will strengthen him. This shows the greatness of God and His love for us, the arm of the Lord moves, just as He moved in the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt. This is the manner in which such a man calls out to the Lord, 89:26 ‘He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 89:27 ‘I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 89:28 ‘My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 89:29 ‘So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven. (NASB) Do you cry out to the Lord as the Psalmist does? Let’s Pray!

Part 1B

Ethan the Ezrahite continues saying, לא אִם-יַעַזְבוּ בָנָיו תּוֹרָתִי וּבְמִשְׁפָּטַי לֹא יֵלֵכוּן: לב אִם-חֻקֹּתַי יְחַלֵּלוּ וּמִצְוֹתַי לֹא יִשְׁמֹרוּ: לג וּפָקַדְתִּי בְשֵׁבֶט פִּשְׁעָם וּבִנְגָעִים עֲוֹנָם: 89:30 ‘If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments, 89:31 If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, 89:32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. (NASB) The significance of the Torah for our lives is discovered by the psalmists declaration of the sons of God forsaking God’s law and not walking according to His judgments. Notice the way the MT renders the psalmists words, אִם-יַעַזְבוּ בָנָיו תּוֹרָתִי וּבְמִשְׁפָּטַי לֹא יֵלֵכוּן saying that if my children forsake (יַעַזְבוּ) my Torah (תּוֹרָתִי). The author did not say if they do not remember (לֹא לִזכּוֹר). This suggests that those who forsake have knowledge of what they are forsaking and they are intentionally walking away from the Torah. The rabbis say of the Lord, “I give you good doctrine, do not forsake my Torah,” therefore it is very unwise. The Mishnah Pirkei Avot describes how the rabbis view the Torah and why it is so significant as Ethan the Ezrahite writes the one who forsakes Torah perishes.

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:6

Greater is Torah than priesthood and kingship, for monarchy is obtained with thirty levels, and priesthood with twenty-four, and Torah is obtained with forty-eight things. And they are these: learning, listening of the ear, preparation of speech, understanding of the heart, reverence, awe, humility, happiness, purity, service of Sages, care in [selection of] friends, debate of the students, clarification, reading, learning, minimal commodities, minimal worldly occupation, minimal pleasure, minimal sleep, minimal conversation, minimal laughter, patience, generosity, trust in Sages, acceptance of suffering, knowing one’s place, gladness in one’s portion, erection of a fence to his words, lack of self-aggrandizement, lovableness, love of God, love of the creatures, love of the righteous, love of the upright, love of rebuke, distancing from honor, lack of arrogance in learning, lack of joy in teaching, lifting of a burden with one’s friend, judgement with the benefit of the doubt, standing for the truth, standing for peace, deliberation in study, questioning and responding, hearing and adding, learning in order to teach and learning in order to act, making his master wiser, focusing one’s words, citing the source, for it is taught that one who cites a source brings redemption to the world, as it says (Esther 2:22): “Esther told the king in Mordekhai’s name.”

The Mishnah describes the one who studies Torah as being patient, a listener, having understanding, reverence for God, humble, he is slow to speak and quick to listen, he is not arrogant, does not seek honor or self aggrandizement, he has love for others, and stands for truth and justice, and learns to act wisely. There is no question why the rabbis say, or why Ethan believes violating the mitzvot leads to punishment and death. The rabbis continue in the Mishnah saying the following:

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:7

Great is Torah, for it gives life to those who do it in this world and in the next world, as it says: ‘For they are life to those that find them, and healing to all his flesh’ (Proverbs 4:22), and it says ‘It will be healing for your navel, and tonic to your bones’ (Proverbs 3:8). And it says ‘It is a tree of life to those who hold it, and those who grasp it are happy’ (Proverbs 3:18). And it says ‘For they are an accompaniment of grace for your head, and a necklace for your throat’ (Proverbs 1:9). And it says ‘She will give your head an accompaniment of grace; with a crown of glory she will protect you’ (Proverbs 4:9). And it says ‘For by me your days will be multiplied, and you will be given additional years of life’ (Proverbs 9:11). And it says ‘Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left is wealth and honor’ (Proverbs 3:16), and it says ‘For length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you’ (Proverbs 3:2), and it says ‘her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace’ (Proverbs 3: 17).

The descriptions given of the Torah are a reference to living our lives for the Lord and doing what is right. The concepts of protection, grace, glory, and years added to life and everlasting life. The idea that the Torah has benefit in the Olam Haba is because the Torah, righteousness, justice, holiness, and truth are eternal, because these are characteristics of the Lord and He is eternal. The Aramaic Targum states, לא אין ישבקון בנוי אוריתי ובדיני לא יהלכון׃ לב אין קיימי יפסון ופיקודי לא ינטרון׃ לג ואסער על ידהון דשיבטא דרשיעין מרדיהון ובמוזיקיא דמכתשין להון עוייתהון׃ 89:31 If his sons abandon my Torah, and do not walk in my judgments, 89:32 If they violate my covenant, and do not keep my commandments, 89:33 Then I will punish their rebellions by means of the rod of the wicked, and their iniquities by the demons that plague them. (EMC) Notice the Lord says that punishment comes by way of the rod with many stripes in the MT. The rabbis interpret the method of punishment the Lord uses is by the “rod of the wicked” meaning that the Lord will raise up a wicked nation to punish Israel if she forsakes His commands. Do you think today, bad things may happen by reason of violation of the Torah?

The psalmist continues saying, לד וְחַסְדִּי לֹא-אָפִיר מֵעִמּוֹ וְלֹא אֲשַׁקֵּר בֶּאֱמוּנָתִי: לה לֹא-אֲחַלֵּל בְּרִיתִי וּמוֹצָא שְֹפָתַי לֹא אֲשַׁנֶּה: לו אַחַת נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי בְקָדְשִׁי אִם-לְדָוִד אֲכַזֵּב: לז זַרְעוֹ לְעוֹלָם יִהְיֶה וְכִסְאוֹ כַשֶּׁמֶשׁ נֶגְדִּי: לח כְּיָרֵחַ יִכּוֹן עוֹלָם וְעֵד בַּשַּׁחַק נֶאֱמָן סֶלָה: 89:33 ‘But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. 89:34 ‘My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 89:35 ‘Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. 89:36 ‘His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. 89:37 ‘It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.’ Selah. (NASB) Note how the Lord will not forsake His people even though they may forsake Him. He speaks of the people Israel, how the Lord will not cause them to be utterly destroyed, because of His covenant and promises with David. The Lord swore that his descendants will endure and will be established forever. This is significant because the psalm demonstrates the unfailing faithfulness of God to His people. This is why the Lord is always seeking for men to repent and turn from their sins, and places things in our lives to lead us to that position, to having understanding, a reverence for God, to be humble, to have love for others, and to stand for truth and justice, and helping us to learn to act wisely. This is why we are always told to walk in His ways or to walk as Yeshua the Messiah walked (1 John 2:4-6). The Aramaic Targum states, לד וטובי לא אבטיל מיניה ולא אשקר בהמנותי׃ לה לא אפיס קיימי ומפקנות סיפותי לא אשני׃ לו חדא זימנא קיימית בשום קודשי אם לדוד אכדיב׃ לז בנוי לעלם יהויין וכורסיה נהיר ניהור היך שמשא לקיבלי׃ לח היך סיהרא דמיתקן לאת לעלם וסהיד בשחקא מהימן לעלמין׃ 89:34 But my goodness I will not revoke from him, and I will not be false to my faithfulness. 89:35 I will not violate my covenant, and the utterance of my lips I will not change. 89:36 Once I have sworn by my holy name: “I will not lie to David.” 89:37 His sons will exist forever, and his throne is bright as the sun before me. 89:38 Like the moon that is set for an eternal sign, and a faithful witness in the sky forever. (EMC) The Targum translates clearly the faithfulness of God to His word, that He will not violate the covenant an that He will maintain a remnant of people in the land. Note what Rashi states concerning what the Lord has promised.

Rashi on Genesis 22:12, Part 2

כי עתה ידעתי FOR NOW I KNOW—R. Aba said: Abraham said to God, “I will lay my complaint before you. Yesterday (on an earlier occasion) you told me, (Genesis 21:12) “In Isaac shall seed be called to thee”, and then again you said, (Genesis 21:2) “Take now thy son”. Now you tell me, “Lay not thy hand upon the lad”! The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, in the words of Psalms 99:35 “My covenant will I not profane, nor alter that which is gone out of My lips”. When I told you, “Take thy son”, I was not altering that which went out from My lips, namely, My promise that you would have descendants through Isaac. I did not tell you “Slay him” but bring him up to the mountain. You have brought him up — take him down again” (Genesis Rabbah 56).

Rashi states that the Lord commanded Abraham to slay his son Isaac, while at the same time He had previously promised that all the world would be blessed in his seed, in the child of promise. It seems almost contradictory in terms. The Lord told Abraham to bring Isaac up the mountain to slay him, and then told him to take him down again. The Lord could have raised Isaac up from the dead, He is fully capable of doing so, and it is thought that this is what Abraham believed when he obeyed the command of God. Based upon the promises and the covenant relationship with the Lord God in heaven, Rambam says the following concerning Israel.

Mishneh Torah, Torah Study 3:1

Yisrael (the Jewish people) is crowned with three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of Priesthood, and the crown of Kingship. Aharon merited the crown of Priesthood, as it says (Numbers 25:13), “And the covenant of the Priesthood became his (Aharon’s) and his descendant’s forever.” David merited the crown of Kingship, as it says (Psalms 89:37), “His descendants will exist forever and his throne will be considered like the sun before me.” [But] the crown of Torah… now, that is [ready] (lit. “placed, standing, and prepared”) for all of Yisrael [to take], as it says (Deuteronomy 33:4), “The Torah was commanded by Moshe, [it is] an inheritance for the congregation of Yakov.” [Meaning] anyone who desires can come and take it. Perhaps you will entertain the possibility (lit. “say”) that the other crowns are more significant than the crown of Torah? Now, [regarding the crown of Torah] it says (Proverbs 8:15-16), “Through me (the Torah), kings will reign and nobles will legislate righteousness. Through me (the Torah), officers are granted authority.” [From here] one learns that the crown of Torah is greater than the other two (the crown of Kingship and Priesthood).

Rambam says that Israel is crowned with three crowns, (i) the crown of Torah, (ii) the crown of Priesthood, and (iii) the crown of Kingship. We know according to past studies in the psalms, the rabbis say studying Torah causes the glory of God to descend upon His people. Walking according to the Torah, this is the way one walks righteously before God. The crown of Torah may be paralleled to a crown of righteousness. This is similar to what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (NASB) We can see Paul’s use of the Torah to describe his future expectation in the Messiah. The crown of priesthood and kingship are common themes through the Tanach and the Apostolic Writings. The Lord desires for His people to function as providers of mercy and peace that is given as a service to the Lord and with authority.

The psalm continues saying, לט וְאַתָּה זָנַחְתָּ וַתִּמְאָס הִתְעַבַּרְתָּ עִם-מְשִׁיחֶךָ: מ נֵאַרְתָּה בְּרִית עַבְדֶּךָ חִלַּלְתָּ לָאָרֶץ נִזְרוֹ: מא פָּרַצְתָּ כָל-גְּדֵרֹתָיו שַֹמְתָּ מִבְצָרָיו מְחִתָּה: מב שַׁסֻּהוּ כָּל-עֹבְרֵי דָרֶךְ הָיָה חֶרְפָּה לִשְׁכֵנָיו: מג הֲרִימוֹתָ יְמִין צָרָיו הִשְֹמַחְתָּ כָּל-אוֹיְבָיו: 89:38 But You have cast off and rejected, You have been full of wrath against Your anointed. 89:39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant; You have profaned his crown in the dust. 89:40 You have broken down all his walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. 89:41 All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors. 89:42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have made all his enemies rejoice. (NASB) Do these words contradict what the Lord had said previously? Rashbam comments on Tehillim / Psalms 89:42(43) with regard to the knife (צָרָיו) mentioned in verse which is translated as the Lord exalting the right hand of the adversary.

Rashbam on Exodus 4:25, Part 1

צר, an expression similar to חרבות צורים in Joshua 5:2 where this expression described the tools used by Joshua to perform circumcision on the Israelites prior to their crossing the Jordan river. A similar expression also occurs in Psalms 89:44 אף תשיב צור חרבו where it refers to G’d blunting and distorting the sharpness of the sword of the Israelites making them ineffective in defending themselves.

Rashbam describes the word צָרָיו as referring to Joshua 5:2 and the plural form used for circumcision of the people prior to entering the Promised Land. The parallel is to the Lord blunting the sharpness of the sword preventing Israel from defending herself. These verses that describe the Lord “casting off” and “rejecting” based upon the wrath against the anointed people, in parallel to circumcision, and the enemy, it appears these verses are describing the manner in which the Lord disciplines and prunes His people to help them to grow, to repent, and to turn from sin. The Lord works in the lives of His people for the purpose of change, to mold us into the people He wants us to be. The Scriptures do describe the Lord bringing calamity for the purpose of refinement. Note how often Jeremiah the prophet and Ezekiel speak of these things. It is also not inappropriate to pray for our loved ones who have walked away from the Lord, that the Lord would do what it takes to draw them back, to bring calamity, or to do something to cause the hearts of His people to turn towards the Lord and His Messiah Yeshua. As Paul said in Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)

Midrash Tanchuma states the following:

Midrash Tanchuma 1:49, Part 7

(3) [23,10] “When a camp goes out against your enemies, you shall beware of everything evil.” (Devarim 23:10) There should be no levity among you so that you do not incur any liability. From whom should you learn? From Yiftach. What is written about him? “…and he was the son of a harlot…” (Shoftim 11:1) R’ Shimon ben Gamliel said that she brought her sister-wife into her house, and our Rabbis say that she was really a harlot, and because there was some levity in him all of the people fell upon him. Therefore it is written ‘you shall beware of everything evil’ and ‘If there is among you a man who is unclean…’ These are Israel who became impure through idolatry, as it says “…scatter them afar like a menstruant; ‘Go out,’ say to it.” (Yeshayahu 30:22) “…he shall go outside the camp…” (Devarim 23:11) that they were exiled to Bavel. “And it shall be, towards evening…”(Devarim 23:12) the evening of the kingdoms, and the Holy One purifies them as it says “…he shall bathe in water…” (ibid.) and it is written “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion…” (Yeshayahu 4:4) “…and when the sun sets…” (Devraim 23:12) When the King Messiah comes of whom it is written “…and his throne is like the sun before Me.” (Tehillim 89:37) “…he may come within the camp” (Devarim 23:12) These are Israel, entering into the Holy Temple. “And you shall have a designated place outside the camp…” (Devarim 23:13) this is the merit of Avraham. R’ Pinchas said- “…so that you can go out there,” to Bavel. “And you shall keep a stake in addition to your weapons…” (Devarim 23:14) Nevuchadnezar demanded that they serve an idol and they said “…let it be known to you, O king, that we will not worship your god…” (Daniel 3:18) “…and you shall return and cover your excrement.” (Devarim 23:14) The covering of idolatry that was in Jerusalem. “For the Lord, your God, goes along in the midst of your camp…” (Devarim 23:15) The Holy One will be revealed to them immediately and saved them from the fire. “Therefore, your camp shall be holy…” (ibid.) Afterwards He will sanctify them as it says “And they shall call them the holy people, those redeemed by the Lord…” (Yeshayahu 62:12)

When we read the Psalm which says, 89:38 But You have cast off and rejected, You have been full of wrath against Your anointed. 89:39 You have spurned the covenant of Your servant; You have profaned his crown in the dust. 89:40 You have broken down all his walls; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. 89:41 All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors. 89:42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have made all his enemies rejoice. (NASB) realize that sin can be the cause of much calamity in our lives. This does not negate the covenant the Lord has sworn to us, but provides evidence for the Love of God working in our lives to draw us back and to turn from sin. The rabbis say in the midrash to be aware of sin and to beware to stay away from evil. Sin incurs a liability meaning that there are consequences to sin, both immediate and future if one continues to practice sin. Sinfulness is described as being unclean, menstruation, and to idolatry, and it is said that such to are unclean are scattered, which draws us back into the context of the Lord bringing the enemy which has the effect of scattering the people. The midrash then shifts to the Holy One blessed be He cleansing His people and washing away the filth of sin. The King Messiah comes and brings with him healing and cleansing. The midrash states that the King Messiah will designate a place outside of the camp, the midrash suggests that the holy people of God will walk according to the Torah both inside and outside of the camp. Holiness and Torah living is not restricted to the Land of Israel only.

The Targum translation states, לט ואת שבקתא ורחקתא ארגיזתא עם משיחך׃ מ אשניתא קיים דעם עבדך אפיסתא לארעא כליליה׃ מא תקיפתא כל כרכוי שויתא פציחוי תברא׃ מב רמסון יתיה כל עברי אורחא הוה קלנא לשיבבוי׃ מג ארימתא ימינא דמעיקוי אחדיתא כל בעלי דבבוי׃ 89:39 But you have forsaken and rejected, grown angry with your anointed. 89:40 You have changed the covenant with your servant; you have profaned his crown to the earth. 89:41 You have forced all his strongholds, you have made his open villages a ruin. 89:42 All who pass on the road have trampled him; he has become a disgrace to his neighbors. 89:43 You have raised the right hand of his oppressors; you have gladdened all his enemies. (EMC) The rabbis say that the Lord has changed the covenant. Does the Lord change the covenant with His people? What does it mean to change the covenant? Throughout history, the Lord God has made various covenants, or agreements, with His people. These covenants lay out the terms of the relationship the Lord wants to have with humanity. Three of the key covenants recorded in the Bible are, (i) the Abrahamic Covenant, (ii) the covenant God made with Israel at Mount Sinai (Mosaic Covenant), and (iii) the “New Covenant,” which was inaugurated by the Messiah Yeshua. Today many Christians believe the new covenant makes the old obsolete, with a common Scripture reference that is often made is to Hebrews 8:13. But the question is, did the Lord create an entirely different set of terms for this new agreement? Just what is “new” about the New Covenant? According to the Scriptures, the Lord God gave Israel His eternal Torah that define sin (disobedience to the command) where the 10 Commandments serve as an outline for all of Torah which is the core of God’s people responsibility to walk in His ways (see Shemot / Exodus 34:27-28, Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:13). The issue is although God’s law was, and is, perfect (Tehillim / Psalm 19:7), people are not. The Lord knows that there is something missing, and that is having the heart to remain obedient to Him (Devarim / Deuteronomy 5:23-29). The motivation of being convicted by the Holy Spirit of God, and to live a victorious life was missing, and so we see historically how Israel fell into repeated disobedience. Over and over again the people broke the covenant, and the Lord states that He will not break the covenant He has made. The point is that the Lord needs to create in us a new heart so that we have the will and desire to serve, to walk, and to truly know God. This illustrates for us how easy it is to sin without these things (1 Corinthians 10:11-12). Under the Covenant in Yeshua the Messiah, God’s people have the opportunity to receive a heart to obey Him. By the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord announced that the time would come when His people would have His laws internalized and written on their hearts, and it is at this time when they would truly be able to know Him (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The Targum translation states that the Lord has changed the covenant with his servant that has profaned His name on the earth through sin. What we have seen throughout the Psalms is the faithfulness of God to His people, always drawing them back, saving them from their enemies, and creating a place for them to worship Him. According to the Scriptures, the Lord raises up an enemy for the purpose causing the people to turn their hearts back to Him.

The psalmist continues in His Psalm saying, מד אַף-תָּשִׁיב צוּר חַרְבּוֹ וְלֹא הֲקֵימֹתוֹ בַּמִּלְחָמָה: מה הִשְׁבַּתָּ מִטְּהָרוֹ וְכִסְאוֹ לָאָרֶץ מִגַּרְתָּה: מו הִקְצַרְתָּ יְמֵי עֲלוּמָיו הֶעֱטִיתָ עָלָיו בּוּשָׁה סֶלָה: 89:43 You also turn back the edge of his sword And have not made him stand in battle. 89:44 You have made his splendor to cease And cast his throne to the ground. 89:45 You have shortened the days of his youth; You have covered him with shame. Selah. (NASB) Notice how the psalmist speaks of the one to whom the Lord does these things, causing him not to be able to stand in battle, shortening his days, causing him to die early, and covering the person with shame, which may allude to his causing himself to be ashamed by his sin, and become unclean, without the tabernacle, remains in his state of uncleanness (shame). The Aramaic Targum states, מד לחוד תתיב לאחורא סייפיה חריפא ולא אקימתא אוקימתא יתיה״ידיה בקרבא׃ מה בטילתא כהניא דמדין על מדבחא ומדכין עמיה וכורסי מלכותיה לארעא מיגרתא׃ מו קצרתא יומי עלימוי עולימוי עטיפתא עלוי בהתא וכיסופא לעלמין׃ 89:44 Also you will turn aside his sword and you have not supported him in battle. 89:45 You have abolished the priests who sprinkle [blood] on the altar and cleanse his people, and you have cast to the ground his royal throne. 89:46 You have cut short the days of his young men; you have covered him with shame and disgrace forever. (EMC) The rabbis pick up on what the author of the psalms in the MT is saying, and translate the Scripture to say that the Lord has abolished the priests, the altar, and the ability to cleanse the people. Notice how the word abolish does not mean that the Lord is doing away with the Temple and the services as is the typical commentary regarding the NT and the New Covenant in Yeshua the Messiah. Ein Yaakov has a little to say concerning abolishing the command.

Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Sanhedrin 6:8

(Ib. 5, 13-14) And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho. . . . And he said. No, for as a captain of the host of the Lord, am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, etc. How could Joshua do so? Did not R. Jochanan say: “One must not greet a stranger with peace, at night, for fear lest he might be a demon?” There it was different, because he said: I am a captain of the Lord, I come now. But perhaps he lied? We have a tradition that even the demons do not pronounce the name of Heaven in vain. (Ib. b) The angel then said to him : “Yesterday you abolished the daily eve-offering, and today you abolished the studying of the Torah.” Joshua asked him : “For which of the two [transgressions] hast thou come?” He answered: “I am now come; i.e., for that of to-day.” Hence it reads (Ib. 8, 18) And Joshua lodged that night into the midst of the valley. And R. Jochanan said : “Infer from this that be had occupied himself the whole night with the intricacies of Halacha.” Samuel b. Unya in the name of Rab said: “The study of the Torah is greater than the sacrifices of the daily offerings, as the angel said : I came for that of to-day.” ((יהושע ה) ויהי בהיות יהושע ביריחו וישא עיניו וירא וגו׳ ויאמר לא כי אני שר צבא ה׳ עתה באתי ויפול יהושע אל פניו ארצה וישתחו היכי עביד הכי והא״ר יוחנן אסור לו לאדם שיתן שלום לחברו בלילה חיישינן שמא שד הוא שאני התם דקא״ל אני שר צבא ה׳ עתה באתי ודלמא משקר גמירי דלא מפקי שם שמים לבטלה (שם ע״ב) א״ל אמש בטלתם תמיד של בין הערבים ועכשיו בטלתם ת״ת א״ל על איזה מהם באת א״ל עתה באתי מיד וילן יהושע בלילה ההוא בתוך העמק וא״ר יוחנן מלמד שלן בעומקה של הלכה אמר ר׳ שמואל בר אויא משמיה דרב גדול ת״ת יותר מהקרבת תמידין שנאמר עתה באתי:)

Ein Yaakov comments pertain to Joshua when an angel spoke with him saying that he abolished the sacrifice and the study of Torah. The idea may be that the people studied performed the sacrifices and studied Torah daily while in the wilderness. When crossing over into the Promised Land, the people ceased since they were preparing for war. The abolishment of the commands also stands in contrast to the words of Jeremiah, who seems at one point to question whether sacrifices were part of the original divine intention at all:

Jeremiah 7:22

7:22 For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt, I neither spoke to them nor commanded them about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey Me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the way I command you, that it may go well with you. (NIV)

Maimonides has a very controversial explanation of these words is given in his book “The Guide for the Perplexed.” Maimonides states that time is an essential element in the transformation of humanity suggesting that just as nature evolves gradually, so does human nature. His point is that through time the collective behavior of societies changes. That is why the Torah contains certain laws whose aim is not immediate and whose effect can only be seen over the course of many generations. Rambam (Maimonides) states the following:

Many precepts in our Law are the result of a similar course adopted by the same Supreme Being [i.e. gradual evolution]. It is impossible to go suddenly from one extreme to the other; it is therefore according to the nature of man impossible for him suddenly to discontinue everything to which has been accustomed … The custom which was in those days widespread among all people, and the general mode of worship in which Israelites were brought up, consisted in sacrificing animals in temples which contained certain images, to bow down to those images and to burn incense before them … For this reason, God allowed these kinds of service to continue. He transferred to His service that which had formerly served as a worship of created beings [i.e. idolatry] … By this Divine plan it was effected that the traces of idolatry were blotted out, and the truly great principle of our faith — the existence and unity of God — was firmly established. This was achieved without deterring or confusing the minds of the people by the abolition of the service to which they were accustomed and which alone was familiar to them.

Rambam comes to an understanding of Jeremiah’s apparent negation of sacrifices. He interprets what the prophet intends to say is that sacrifices were not an end in themselves. They were a means of establishing firmly in the minds of the people that God alone was to be served. This was the particular way in which God had defined Himself for His people, to draw near, and to worship. In Jeremiah’s day the people confused the means with the end, thinking sacrifices were an end in themselves, as if there were no deeper content to the idea of serving God. Rambam did not imply that sacrifices were necessary at one historical period in the development of the Jewish people, but not for all time. Two chapters later in his book he writes, “The laws cannot vary … according to the different conditions of persons and times … It would not be right to make the fundamental principles of the Law dependent on a certain time or a certain place.” Rambam makes two fundamental observations, (i) the commands do not constitute an undifferentiated set of imperatives and prohibitions, each standing, as it were, alone, and (ii) the Torah takes into account what philosophical systems rarely do, namely the dimension of time in social transformation. The Torah was meant to cause certain transformational function in society, to build a place of justice, compassion, and to provide a uniform way of thinking amongst the people. The Torah provides a standard for holiness, truth, and righteousness in a society.

The psalmist continues saying the following, מז עַד-מָה יְהֹוָה תִּסָּתֵר לָנֶצַח תִּבְעַר כְּמוֹ-אֵשׁ חֲמָתֶךָ: מח זְכָר-אֲנִי מֶה-חָלֶד עַל-מַה-שָּׁוְא בָּרָאתָ כָל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם: מט מִי גֶבֶר יִחְיֶה וְלֹא יִרְאֶה-מָּוֶת יְמַלֵּט נַפְשׁוֹ מִיַּד-שְׁאוֹל סֶלָה: 89:46 How long, O Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? 89:47 Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity You have created all the sons of men! 89:48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, מז עד אימתי יהוה תסלק שכינתך לעלמין תדליק היך אשתא חימתך׃ מח אדכר די אנא אתבריתי מן עפרא מטול מה לבטלא בריתא כל בני נשא׃ מט מן הוא גברא דיחי ולא יחמי מלאכא דמותא ושזיב נפשיה מן ידיה ולא ייחות לבית קבורתיה לעלמין׃ 89:47 How long, O Lord, will you remove your presence forever? [How long] will your rage burn like fire? 98:48 Remember that I was created from dust; why have you created all the sons of men for vanity? 98:49 Who is the man who will live and not see the angel of death, who will deliver his soul from his hand, and not go down to his grave forever? (EMC) Due to the sins of the nation, the Lord withdraws Himself, His presence, and becomes silent. The psalmist laments the Lord drawing away due to sin. The Mekhilta describes both the Lord and the people.

Mekhilta 15:13, Part 1

(Exodus 15:13) “You have led forth in lovingkindness (chesed)”: You have done chesed with us, for we were without (redeeming) deeds, viz. (Isaiah 63:7) “The lovingkindnesses of the L rd will I proclaim, etc.”, (Psalms 89:2) “The lovingkindnesses of the L rd will I ever sing, etc.” And the world in its very beginning was built only with chesed, viz. (Ibid. 3) “I said that the world (with) chesed will be built.” (Exodus, Ibid.) “this people whom You have redeemed”: For all the world is Yours, and You have no people but Israel, viz. (Isaiah 43:21) “This people have I created for Myself, etc.” And thus is it written (Song of Songs 6:8) “Sixty are the queens and eighty, are the concubines”: “Sixty are the queens” — These are the sixty ten thousands (of Israel, who left Egypt); “and eighty, the concubines” — those below the age of twenty; “and young maidens without number” — the minors, who are numberless. Notwithstanding this, (only) “one is My dove” — Moses, who countervails them all. Once, Rebbi was sitting and expounding that one woman bore sixty ten thousands, when a disciple interjected: Rebbi, who is greater, the world or the tzaddik? Rebbi replied: The tzaddik. How so? When Yocheved bore Moses, he countervailed the entire world. And where do we find that Moses countervailed the entire world? In (Numbers 26:4) “as the L rd commended Moses and the children of Israel”, and “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel”, and (Devarim 34:10) “And there arose no prophet again in Israel like Moses.” (Exodus, Ibid.) “You have guided (them) in Your strength”: in the merit of the Torah which they are destined to receive, “strength” being Torah, viz. (Psalms 29:4) “The L rd will give strength to His people; the L rd will bless His people with peace” and (Ibid. 99:4) “… and the strength of the King (i.e., Torah) who loves justice.”

The Mekhilta describes the Lord as the one who led the people in Chesed (grace) and the people who were to live as tzaddikim (righteous ones). There can be no doubt why the rabbis come to this conclusion. The reason lies in the mission-statement of Israel, stated immediately prior to the revelation of God and covenant at the Mountain of Sinai, when Moshe told the people, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” This describes the relationship between Israel and God, and between Israel and the nations. Like a priest, God’s people are to be “holy” meaning “set apart” (this is the meaning of Bilam’s famous phrase, “the people that dwells alone, not reckoned among the nations”). God’s people are to mediate between the Lord God in heaven and the world. The Torah commands on purity, the moral imperatives, testify to the call of God on the nation of Israel. Similar to the priest, Israel is called on to live in special proximity to to the Lord. Therefore, the sacrifices, known generically as avodah, “service” are a core element of Israel’s identity. This is why we are called to avodah, perform services unto the Lord by loving one another, and doing justice, righteousness, and holiness as a people set apart for the service of the Lord.

The psalm concludes saying, נ אַיֵּה חֲסָדֶיךָ הָרִאשֹׁנִים | אֲדֹנָי נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לְדָוִד בֶּאֱמוּנָתֶךָ: נא זְכֹר אֲדֹנָי חֶרְפַּת עֲבָדֶיךָ שְֹאֵתִי בְחֵיקִי כָּל-רַבִּים עַמִּים: נב אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ אוֹיְבֶיךָ | יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ עִקְּבוֹת מְשִׁיחֶךָ: נג בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם אָמֵן | וְאָמֵן: 89:49 Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness? 89:50 Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants; How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples, 89:51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed. 89:52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen. (NASB) The Targum states, נ אן האן הינון אינון טבוותך דמן שירויא יהוה דקיימתא לדוד בהימנותך׃ נא אידכר יהוה חיסודא דעבדך סוברית בעטפי כל גידופיהון דסגיעין עממין׃ נב די חסידו בעלי דבבך יהוה די חסידו איחור רושמת ריגלי משיחך יהוה׃ נג בריך שמא דיהוה בעלמא הדין אמן ואמן בריך שמא דיהוה לעלמא דאתי אמן ואמן: 98:50 Where are your favors which were from the beginning, O Lord, which you swore to David in your faithfulness? 98:51 Remember, O Lord, the disgrace of your servant; I have borne in my bosom all the insults of many peoples. 98:52 For your enemies have scorned, O Lord, for they have scorned the delay of the footsteps of your Messiah, O Lord. 98:53 Blessed be the name of the Lord in this age, amen and amen. Blessed be the name of the Lord in the age to come, amen and amen. (EMC) The psalmist seeks the Lord’s help and his favor calling upon the way in which He has helped the great men of faith such as David. The commentary Drashot HaRan and the Mekhilta state the following:

Darashos HaRan 6:8

(Micah 6:6): “With what shall I come before the L-rd?” There is no doubt that all of existence is pure lovingkindness, as it is written (Psalms 89:3): “The world is built of lovingkindness.” For nothing came before us for which we would merit reward. But His good is constantly with us, and because of its very constancy and our having become habituated to it, we are ignorant of it! As it is written (Hosea 11:3): “And I ‘habituated’ Ephraim. I took them by their arms. And they did not know that it was I who healed them!” That is, because of the great good that the Blessed One did to Ephraim, they were ignorant of it and did not regard it as good at all, for one does not feel that to which he becomes accustomed.

Mekhilta 15:21, Part 1

(Exodus 15:2) “The L rd is my strength and my song”: “My strength” is Torah, viz. (Psalms 29:11) “The L rd will give strength to His people,” and it is written (Ibid. 99:4) “And (they will praise) the strength of the King, who loves (the Torah of) justice.” Variantly: “My strength” is kingship, viz. (Ibid. 21:2) “O L rd, in Your strength the king rejoices,” and (I Samuel 2:10) “And He will give strength to His king.” Variantly: “My strength” is “My stronghold,” as it is written (Jeremiah 16:19) “The L rd is my strength and my stronghold.” And (Psalms 28:7) “The L rd is my strength and my shield. In Him does my heart trust, and I was helped, etc.” You are a trust, a help, and a support to all who enter the world — but to me (David) more than to all. He made me distinct and I made Him distinct. He made me distinct — (Devarim 26:18) “And the L rd made you distinct unto Him this day )to be unto Him His chosen people.”) And I, likewise, made Him distinct — (Ibid. 17) “You have made the L rd distinct this day to be unto you a G d.” All the peoples of the world declare the praises of the Holy One Blessed be He, but mine are more pleasing before Him than theirs. As it is written (II Samuel 23:1) “And these are the last words of David: The utterance of David, the son of Yishai, and the utterance of the man set on high, the anointed of the G d of Yaakov, the fairest of the songs of Israel”: Israel says (Devarim 6:4) “Hear, O Israel, the L rd our G d, the L rd is one,” and the Holy Spirit cries out and says (Ibid. 33:29) “Happy are you, Israel! Who is like you, etc.?” Israel says (Ibid. 4:7) “Who … is like the L rd our G d in all our calling unto Him? And the Holy Spirit cries out and says (Ibid.) “And who is a great nation” (“that has G d near to it!”) Israel says (Psalms 89:18) “For You are the glory of their strength, etc.” And the Holy Spirit cries out and says (Isaiah 49:3) “Israel, in whom I glory!” (Exodus, Ibid.) “and He was a salvation unto me”: You are a salvation unto all who enter the world, but unto me, more so. Variantly: “and He was a salvation unto me” — in the past, and thus will He be in the future.

Darashos HaRan describes the Lord as full of mercy, and the Lord God in heaven built the world on mercy (lovingkindness, חסד), and how nothing come prior to this to merit reward. The goodness of God is always with us, and by reason that God’s goodness is always with us we grow accustomed and do not realize His goodness. The Mekhilta states that the strength of God is His Torah, the righteous way in which He instructs His people. The rabbis say that the Lord made David distinct from all others in the covenant that He made with him and his house forever. David was pleasing to the Lord, singing songs in his heart. In the same way, we may trust in the lovingkindness of the Lord and sing songs of joy in our hearts. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 89 has 4 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, 3, and 4. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 89, Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 89, Part 1, 2, 3, and 4

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite (Tehillim / Psalms 89:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “These words are to be considered in the light of the verse, But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands (haskel) and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercise mercy, justice, and righteousness in the earth (Jeremiah 9:23).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of what the Lord delights.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss what the Lord delights in, He desires mercy rather than sacrifice.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Ethan the Ezrahite said to God, You desire mercy, and I will praise You (Tehillim / Psalms 62:13), and not with one mercy alone, but with many mercies, for, as is said, I will make mention of the mercies of the Lord forever (Tehillim / Psalms 89:2).”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “For I have said, The world is built on mercy; in the very heavens You did establish Your faithfulness (Tehillim / Psalms 89:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Not the heavens alone, but the throne, too, is established on nothing other than mercy, as is said, And in mercy will the throne be established (Isaiah 16:5).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis ask the question, what does the throne of God similar to?
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal speaking of the four legs of the throne, and paralleling to four things.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Samuel son of Nakhmani taught, the necessities of life are greater than redemption, for while redemption is at the hand of an angel, as is said, The angel who has redeemed me from all evil (Bereshit / Genesis 48:16), the necessities of life depend from the hand of the Holy One blessed be He, as is said, You open Your hand, and satisfies every living thing with favor (Tehillim / Psalms 145:16). Hence, The world is built on mercy.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “What parable fits the creation of the world?”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The parable of a king who had treasuries filled with good things, and who asked, Two what end are these things laid up?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the Lord providing food and drink for the purpose causing His people to give Him praise.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis parallel this to the Lord raising up and creating the heavens and the earth.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Even so Scripture says, Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Halleluia (Tehillim / Psalms 150:6).”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Blessed be the Lord forevermore. Amen and Amen (Tehillim / Psalms 89:52).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Eleazar said in the name of Rabbi Jose son of Zimra, Amen is used in three ways, as an assent to truth, as an oath, and as showing acceptance.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the meaning of the world “Amen.”
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis provide a reason for the repetition of the word “Amen.”
  • The Concluding phrase says, “When Amen is repeated, one Amen is not for this world, and the other Amen is for the world to come. This is intimated in the words, blessed be the Lord forevermore. Amen, and Amen.”

Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite (Tehillim / Psalms 89:1)” where the rabbis begin their discussion on the opening verse of the MT. The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “These words are to be considered in the light of the verse, But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands (haskel) and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercise mercy, justice, and righteousness in the earth (Jeremiah 9:23).” The child of God is to understand and know the Lord; what does that mean? The entire midrash states the following.

מדרש תהלים פרק פט סימן א

א משכיל לאיתן האזרחי חסדי ה׳ (לעולם) [עולם] אשירה. זהו שאמר הכתוב כי אם בזאת יתהלל המתהלל השכל וידוע אותי (ירמיה ט כג), אמר איתן אני השכלתי, משכיל לאיתן האזרחי, אמר לו הקב״ה השכלת, כי באלה חפצתי (ירמיה שם ט׳), [כל מי שיקלסני לא יקלסני אלא באלה, וכן הוא אומר כי חסד חפצתי] ולא זבח (הושע ו ו), אמר לו חסד חפצת ובחסד אקלסך, שנאמר ולך ה׳ חסד (תהלים סב יג), ולא חסד אחד בלבד, אלא חסדים הרבה, וכן ישעיה אמר חסדי ה׳ אזכיר (ישעיה סג ז), לכך נאמר חסד ומשפט אשירה (תהלים קא א).

Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 1

1. Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite (Tehillim / Psalms 89:1). These words are to be considered in the light of the verse, But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands (haskel) and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercise mercy, justice, and righteousness in the earth (Jeremiah 9:23). When Ethan the Ezrahite said, I understand, hence Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite, the Holy One blessed be He, replied, Do you understand that in these things I delight (Jeremiah 9:23), and that any man who would praise Me must praise Me only with these things? Thus again Scripture says, For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). Ethan the Ezrahite said to God, You desire mercy, and I will praise You (Tehillim / Psalms 62:13), and not with one mercy alone, but with many mercies, for, as is said, I will make mention of the mercies of the Lord forever (Tehillim / Psalms 89:2).

The Hebrew word “to know” (ידע), has a wide range of meanings depending upon the context in which the word is found in the MT. In the midrash, the rabbis say, וידוע אותי meaning “and know me” suggesting a similar usage to our word “know” in English. The Hebrew word can indicate mental knowledge, that a person “understands” or “has knowledge” of something, where that something is to know God. What does it mean to know God? It is important to note that the concept of “knowing” something or someone takes on a special meaning in the Hebrew language, and this meaning is connected to relationship, and specifically a relationship that is based upon a covenant. The section in BDB Lexicon on the word ידע is very long. In the Tanach, we can see how the Hebrew word “know” (Strong’s #3045) can have the meaning “ability (1), acknowledge (4), acquaintances (5), acquainted (1), aware (6), becomes known (1), bring forth (1), cared (1), chosen (2), clearly understand” or “enter into covenant together” such as in the Bereshit / Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (KJV, יט כִּי יְדַעְתִּיו לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר יְצַוֶּה אֶת-בָּנָיו וְאֶת-בֵּיתוֹ אַחֲרָיו וְשָׁמְרוּ דֶּרֶךְ יְהֹוָה לַעֲשֹוֹת צְדָקָה וּמִשְׁפָּט לְמַעַן הָבִיא יְהוָֹה עַל-אַבְרָהָם אֵת אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר עָלָיו:) When the Lord states that “I have known him (speaking of Abraham)” He is referring to, “I have entered into a covenant relationship with Abraham.” In the ancient Hitite Treaty or Covenant, the word ידע means to be loyal to the stipulations of the covenant that is being enacted between a Great King and his vassal. This provides us with the necessary context to Bereshit / Genesis 18:19 when the Lord states that He has “known” Abraham. The question though is “why would the word ‘know’ (ידע) be used to denote a covenant relationship between two people?” It is because in the Ancient Near East, a covenant between two people or between a King and his people was considered to be a relationship that could not be broken and that if it were to be broken, there would be severe consequences (e.g. the curses of the covenant). For example, when Moshe wrote in Bereshit / Genesis 4:1 that “Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived…,” he was using the word “know” (ידע) in its covenant sense. Adam was faithful to the covenant of marriage into which he and Eve had entered, a covenant which meant he would have a spiritual and physical oneness with her and she with him, and they would have no such relationship with anyone else. The “physical” relationship in marriage is an essential part of the “being one” together which the Lord God intends in marriage. However, the physical relationship does not complete the meaning of “to know” in its covenant sense relating to marriage. To “know” one’s spouse means to be faithful to one’s spouse, not only in the physical relationship but also in all aspects of the marriage: support, comfort, friendship, service to each other, and emotionally, etc. As stated earlier, “to know” something has multiple meanings depending upon the context in both English and in the Hebrew language. The word “know” can mean to have understanding of something, to be aware of something, to be able to explain something in detail, to have knowledge of something, to be acquainted with something, etc. To know something also means to have an intellectual understanding of something, and in the semitic cultures, to “know someone” means to have a relationship with that person. In Tehillim / Psalms 139:1-3, we read David saying, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר יְהֹוָה חֲקַרְתַּנִי וַתֵּדָע: ב אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ שִׁבְתִּי וְקוּמִי בַּנְתָּה לְרֵעִי מֵרָחוֹק: ג אָרְחִי וְרִבְעִי זֵרִיתָ וְכָל-דְּרָכַי הִסְכַּנְתָּה: For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. 139:1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 139:2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 139:3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. (NIV) David uses the word “know” (ידע) in a way that is not related to marriage, but demonstrates the intimate relationship that he has with the Lord, who knows him, knows when he sits, when he rises up, and even perceives his thoughts and the intent of his heart, the Lord is familiar with all his ways. David wrote his psalm within the context of covenant, and the word “know” in this Psalm demonstrates how the Lord knows David and his ways very intimately. David is demonstrating for us the faithfulness of God, even in the midst of the Lord knowing the intent of our hearts which are not always pure. The homiletic introduction to the midrash stated, “These words are to be considered in the light of the verse, But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands (haskel) and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercise mercy, justice, and righteousness in the earth (Jeremiah 9:23).” The midrash continues saying the following.

When Ethan the Ezrahite said, I understand, hence Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite, the Holy One blessed be He, replied, Do you understand that in these things I delight (Jeremiah 9:23), and that any man who would praise Me must praise Me only with these things? Thus again Scripture says, For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6).

The idea here is in the act of “knowing” God, we are to behave in a similar manner, to show mercy, to do justice and righteousness in the earth. If we act unmerciful, and are unjust and forsake righteousness, any other thing that we do is meaningless, as in Hosea 6:6, bringing a sacrifice while being filled with unrighteousness in our hearts is meaningless.

Midrash Tehillim 98, Part 1 concludes saying, “Ethan the Ezrahite said to God, You desire mercy, and I will praise You (Tehillim / Psalms 62:13), and not with one mercy alone, but with many mercies, for, as is said, I will make mention of the mercies of the Lord forever (Tehillim / Psalms 89:2).” Note how the rabbis draw to conclusion of the midrash of showing many mercies, and making mention of the mercies of the Lord. Mentioning the mercies of God is coupled to being merciful towards others. So the midrashic conclusion is we are to be merciful, and showing mercy, justice, and truth towards others all of our lives. This is what it means to “know” God. We will make mention of the mercies of the Lord, and this is how we bring glory to the name of the Lord before men.

Midrash Tehillim 98, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “For I have said, The world is built on mercy; in the very heavens You did establish Your faithfulness (Tehillim / Psalms 89:3).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Not the heavens alone, but the throne, too, is established on nothing other than mercy, as is said, And in mercy will the throne be established (Isaiah 16:5).” The throne of God suggests authority and rule, the Lord will establish these over and above all. The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פט סימן ב

ב כי אמרתי עולם חסד יבנה [שמים תכין אמונתך בהם]. לא השמים בלבד, אלא אף הכסא אינו עומד רק על החסד, שנאמר והוכן בחסד כסא (ישעיה טז ה), למה הדבר דומה, לכסא שהיו לו ארבע רגלים, והיה האחד מתמוטט, על שהיא קטנה, נטל צרור וסמכו, כך היה כסא של מעלה כביכול שמתמוטט, עד שסמכו הקב״ה, ובמה סמכו, בחסד, הוי אמרתי עולם חסד יבנה, וכן דוד אמר לעושה השמים בתבונה (תהלים קלו ה), ועל מה הן עומדין, על חסד, שנאמר כי לעולם חסדו (שם שם תהלים קל״ו), לרוקע הארץ על המים (שם שם תהלים קל״ו ו), באיזה זכות, כי לעולם חסדו (שם שם תהלים קל״ו), וכן כל המזמור, ואחר כך נותן לחם לכל בשר (שם שם תהלים קל״ו כה), ללמדך שקשה המזון כנגד כל מעשה בראשית. אמר ר׳ אלעזר משל הפרנסה כגאולה, מה הגאולה פלאים, אף הפרנסה פלאים, מה הפרנסה בכל יום, אף הגאולה בכל יום, אמר ר׳ שמואל בר נחמני הפרנסה גדולה מן הגאולה, שהגאולה על ידי מלאך, שנאמר המלאך הגואל אותי (בראשית מח טז), והפרנסה תלויה על ידו של הקב״ה, שנאמר פותח את ידך ומשביע לכל חי רצון (תהלים קמה טז), הוי אמרתי עולם חסד יבנה.

Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 2

2. For I have said, The world is built on mercy; in the very heavens You did establish Your faithfulness (Tehillim / Psalms 89:3). Not the heavens alone, but the throne, too, is established on nothing other than mercy, as is said, And in mercy will the throne be established (Isaiah 16:5). With what is the throne to be compared? With a throne that had four legs, one of which was short so that he who sat upon the throne was shaken. Therefore, he took a pebble and propped up the throne. Thus also the throne in heaven was shaken, if one dare say such a thing until the Holy One blessed be He, propped it up. And wherewith did God prop it up? With mercy. Hence, it is said, The world is built on mercy. And so David said, To Him that by wisdom built the heavens (Tehillim / Psalms 136:6). Why this blessing? Because His mercy is for the world. And this refrain runs throughout the whole psalm. And besides all these acts of mercy, He gives food to all flesh (Tehillim / Psalms 136:25). This verse tells you that His providing of sustenance outweighs all the other works of creation put together. Rabbi Eleazer taught, The necessities of life are like redemption. As redemption is miraculous, so the necessities of life are miraculous. As the necessities of life come every day, so redemption comes every day. Rabbi Samuel son of Nakhmani taught, the necessities of life are greater than redemption, for while redemption is at the hand of an angel, as is said, The angel who has redeemed me from all evil (Bereshit / Genesis 48:16), the necessities of life depend from the hand of the Holy One blessed be He, as is said, You open Your hand, and satisfies every living thing with favor (Tehillim / Psalms 145:16). Hence, The world is built on mercy.

The rabbis go on to describe the introduction to the midrash with a comparison of the throne saying the following:

With what is the throne to be compared? With a throne that had four legs, one of which was short so that he who sat upon the throne was shaken. Therefore, he took a pebble and propped up the throne. Thus also the throne in heaven was shaken, if one dare say such a thing until the Holy One blessed be He, propped it up. And wherewith did God prop it up? With mercy. Hence, it is said, The world is built on mercy.

The rabbis say that the throne has four legs and one of them is short. Why do you think the rabbis say one of the legs is short and the one who sits upon the throne is shaken? Note what the commentary on Parashat Ki Tavo from Shney Luchot Torah Ohr has to say.

Shney Luchot HaBrit, Ki Tavo, Torah Ohr 1:

The one commandment in this portion which comprises all other commandments is the commandment to “walk in G’d’s ways.” Since man has been created in the image of G’d, it behooves him to emulate G’d to the extent he is able to. He has to see to it that every one of his limbs is in perfect condition, for each limb has been charged with the performance of some commandment. The same applies to our spiritual and emotional faculties. We know that G’d is gracious; hence we too must display this trait in our dealings with other people. Our sages quote G’d as saying: כל זמן שבני עוסקים כסדר הזה, “As long as My children conform to this order (of prayer) they will not leave empty-handed”. [The reference is to the recital of the 13 attributes of G’d which He taught Moses in response to his request for knowledge how to assuage His anger. Ed.] We all know how many times we recite the thirteen attributes and nothing seems to happen and our sins do not seem to disappear. This is because we did not heed the wording of the promise. The sages spoke about G’d having demanded that we practice, עוסקים, the attributes of G’d, not merely recite them during a confessional. [cf. Alshich and Tzror Hamor on Exodus 34,6. Ed.]

The commentary states that the one command which comprises all others is the one which states “Walk in God’s ways,” and that this is connected to the extent that man was created in the image of God, he is to emulate the Lord, and that all his limbs are designed for the purpose of performing a command. These things are applied to both our spiritual and emotional faculties. Being gracious to others is related to our understanding that God has been gracious to us, and the idea is that we are called to practice these attributes of God, not to merely recite to confess them, we are to live the commandments. So taking the commentary from Shney Luchot on Parashat Ki Tavo, the limbs are meant for the performance of the commandment. In the midrash, the reference to the short leg of the throne, could this be a reference to the throne of God being established in the commandment? Could the authority and rule over mankind and the establishment of the throne of God in heaven be achieved by the Lord desiring that man is obedient to the commands? Note that when a man humbles his life by ordering his ways according to God’s ways, he is placing himself under the authority and rule of the Lord God in heaven. This may be why the rabbis in the midrash state that the throne had one leg short, and the Lord propped it up with a small stone, which is God’s mercy. Man imperfectly keeps the commands, and therefore the Lord must show mercy, or else everyone would perish. This may also be the reason why the rabbis believe the world was built on the mercy of God.

The midrash continues saying the following,

And so David said, To Him that by wisdom built the heavens (Tehillim / Psalms 136:6). Why this blessing? Because His mercy is for the world. And this refrain runs throughout the whole psalm. And besides all these acts of mercy, He gives food to all flesh (Tehillim / Psalms 136:25). This verse tells you that His providing of sustenance outweighs all the other works of creation put together. Rabbi Eleazer taught, The necessities of life are like redemption. As redemption is miraculous, so the necessities of life are miraculous. As the necessities of life come every day, so redemption comes every day.

The gift of mercy is a blessing, and the rabbis note that the Lord shows His mercy by providing food for all men, both the righteous and the unrighteous. Note how according to the Torah, the men in the wilderness died due to their sins, and the Lord rained down the manna regardless of their sins. He sustained them even in the midst of their sins. These people who died in the wilderness, we are told in the book of Joshua that they were rebellious and refused to obey the command of God. This is brought out by the record that the people coming out of the wilderness and entering into the Promised Land needed to be circumcised because in their parents rebellion against God they were not circumcised according to the command. The people who came out of Egypt refused to obey the command. The Lord provided the necessities of life for the people, for their parents who were steeped in sin, and we are told in the midrash that the necessities of life are like redemption because it is miraculous, and this may be a reference to the manna that fell; the rabbis are most likely thinking upon the Torah narrative and what took place during the wilderness journey.

Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 2 concludes saying, “Rabbi Samuel son of Nakhmani taught, the necessities of life are greater than redemption, for while redemption is at the hand of an angel, as is said, The angel who has redeemed me from all evil (Bereshit / Genesis 48:16), the necessities of life depend from the hand of the Holy One blessed be He, as is said, You open Your hand, and satisfies every living thing with favor (Tehillim / Psalms 145:16). Hence, The world is built on mercy.” Notice something that is written in 2 Samuel 24:11-16.

2 Samuel 24:11-16

24:11 When David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 24:12 ‘Go and speak to David, ‘Thus the Lord says, ‘I am offering you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.’’‘ 24:13 So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, ‘Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider and see what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.’ 24:14 Then David said to Gad, ‘I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.’ 24:15 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and seventy thousand men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. 24:16 When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, ‘It is enough! Now relax your hand!’ And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. (NASB)

Due to David’s sin of numbering the people, the Lord sent His word to the prophet Gad, and giving David the choice what kind of punishment he was to receive. He is offered the choice between (i) famine, i.e. lack of life’s necessities and comforts, (ii) War, absence of peace, or (iii) Pestilence, i.e. absence of good health. Note how David chose Pestilence due to the mercy of God, that the Lord shows mercy and it is better to fall into His hands than into the hands of others (war), or the weather (famine). David recognized the mercy of God in providing the necessities of life for His people even in the midst of their sins. He also recognized the autonomy that is given to foreign nations to make war and so the safest choice was to fall into the Lord’s hand, and as 2 Samuel 24:16 states, the Lord relented when the angel stretched his hand toward Jerusalem.

Midrash Tehillim 98, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamatil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “What parable fits the creation of the world?” In part 3, the rabbis open with a comment on the creation of the world, and a parable that fits the explanation they are looking for. The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The parable of a king who had treasuries filled with good things, and who asked, Two what end are these things laid up?” The parable speaks of laying up good things. In the creation, the Lord God created and He said “it is good” indicating the good things that He has created. The point may be what we find here in Matthew 6:19-34 when Yeshua stated that we should be seeking to store up treasure in heaven as opposed to storing up treasure here on earth.

Matthew 6:19-34

6:19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 6:20 ‘But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 6:22 ‘The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 6:23 ‘But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 6:24 ‘No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. 6:25 ‘For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 6:26 ‘Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 6:27 ‘And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 6:28 ‘And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 6:29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 6:30 ‘But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 6:31 ‘Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 6:32 ‘For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 6:33 ‘But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 6:34 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NASB)

Yeshua speaks of storing up treasures in heaven, what we allow into our bodies through our eyes, what we allow to master us, and trusting in the Lord to provide for our needs in the necessities of life. The concept of storing up treasure in heaven as opposed to on earth reminds us of what happened following King Solomon’s time, he had stored up great treasures, and the subsequent kings invited other kingdoms to Israel and show them the wealth of Israel, boasting of what they had. These kingdoms later came against Israel and took all the gold and silver they had as thieves do in this world.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פט סימן ג

ג למה עולם דומה, למלך שהיה לו אוצרות, מלאים טוב, אמר על מה אלו מונחים, לוקח אני לי עבדים ומאכילן ומשקן והם מקלסין אותי, כך היה העולם תוהו ובוהו, עמד הקב״ה וברא את העולם, והשליט אותו בכל, ועלינו מה לעשות, אלא לברך ולקלס לבוראינו, וכן הוא אומר כל הנשמה תהלל יה הללויה (תהלים קנ ו).

Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 3

3. What parable fits the creation of the world? The parable of a king who had treasuries filled with good things, and who asked, Two what end are these things laid up? I will get me servants, give them to eat and to drink, so that they will praise me. Just so the world was waste and empty, and the Holy One blessed be He, rose up and created the earth, and let man rule everything. Therefore, what should we do? To bless and praise our Creator. Even so Scripture says, Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Halleluia (Tehillim / Psalms 150:6).

The midrash describes the Lord who stores up good things, and provides the good things to His people as food and drink for the purpose of their praises. In a similar manner, the Lord rose up and created the heavens and the earth by His great power, and He placed man in charge to rule over everything. Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 3 concludes saying, “Even so Scripture says, Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Halleluia (Tehillim / Psalms 150:6, הוא אומר כל הנשמה תהלל יה הללויה (תהלים קנ ו)).” Literally the rabbis say הוא אומר כל הנשמה “he says all the breath…” saying all that have “breath” (נשמה) similar to Revelation 5:13 “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever;” This describes the life that is given to all, and that of the life of the faithful who recognize the significant role the Lord has played in sustaining His people. Not only this, but all life on this earth will give praise to the Lord God in heaven. The concept here is that all of God’s works cause us to praise Him. The example is found in the testimony of God to bless His creatures, where the greatest example is of the Lord revealing Himself to men’s hearts and consciences, which is an act of love for His people.

Midrash Tehillim 98, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Blessed be the Lord forevermore. Amen and Amen (Tehillim / Psalms 89:52).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Eleazar said in the name of Rabbi Jose son of Zimra, Amen is used in three ways, as an assent to truth, as an oath, and as showing acceptance.” Notice how the rabbis describe the word “Amen” (אָמֵן) is used in three ways. This is derived from the meaning of the word as “truly” or “truth.” The word amen (Hebrew: אָמֵן, Greek: ἀμήν) is a declaration of affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible and the Apostolic Writings.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פט סימן ד

ד ברוך ה׳ לעולם אמן ואמן. אמר ר׳ אלעזר בשם ר׳ יוסי בן זמרא אמן אמונה, אמן שבועה, אמן קבלה, אמן אמונה דכתיב ויאמנו דבריכם (בראשית מב כ), אמן שבועה, דכתיב ואמרה האשה אמן אמן (במדבר ה כב), אמן קבלה, דכתיב ויענו כל העם אמן אמן (נחמיה ח ו), אמן בעולם הזה ואמן לעולם הבא, הוי ברוך ה׳ לעולם אמן ואמן.

Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 4

4. Blessed be the Lord forevermore. Amen and Amen (Tehillim / Psalms 89:52). Rabbi Eleazar said in the name of Rabbi Jose son of Zimra, Amen is used in three ways, as an assent to truth, as an oath, and as showing acceptance. Amen as an assent to truth occurs n the verse, So will your words be verified (Bereshit / Genesis 42:20). Amen as an oath occurs in the verse, And the woman will say, Amen, Amen (Bamidbar / Numbers 5:22). Amen to show acceptance occurs in the verse, And all the people answered, Amen, Amen (Nehemiah 8:6). When Amen is repeated, one Amen is not for this world, and the other Amen is for the world to come. This is intimated in the words, blessed be the Lord forevermore. Amen, and Amen.

The word “Amen” (אָמֵן) is now used as a liturgical response in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The word has the same Hebrew root as emunah (faith) and is also connected with the word emet meaning “truth.” The idea expressed is of having a firm trust, acceptance, and reliability in the word that was spoken and in the Lord God in heaven. The word “Amen” (אָמֵן) is found in various places throughout the Scriptures (Bamidbar / Numbers 5: 22, Devarim / Deuteronomy 27:15-26, 1 Kings 1:36, Isaiah 65:16, Jeremiah 2:5 and 28:6, 1 Chronicles 16:36, Nehemiah 5:13 and 8:6, and Tehillim / Psalms 41:14, 72:19, 89:52, and 106:48). In the late second century, a teacher in the Talmud takes the letters of amen (אָמֵן) to represent the words “el melekh neeman,” meaning “God, Faithful King.” A later Jewish commentator to the siddur interprets homileticly the letters (אָמֵן) as an acronym for the words, “ani moser nafshi,” meaning “I offer up myself as a sacrifice.” A rabbinic saying states that “one who responds amen to a benediction is greater than the one who recites the benediction.” The reason given for this statement by the medieval sages is that the one who responds with amen also hears the benediction itself and, since “to hear is synonymous to pronouncing,” he has to his credit both the amen and the benediction. Rabbi Meir said that “a child merits the World to Come from the day he first says amen” (Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 110b). Rabbi Simeon son of Lakish said that all the gates of Paradise open to one who answers amen with his whole being (Talmud Bavli Shabbat 119b). Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayyim 124:1 states the following:

Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayyim 124:1:

לְאַחַר שֶׁסִיְּמוּ הַצִּבּוּר תְּפִלָּתָן, יַחֲזֹר שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר הַתְּפִלָּה, שֶׁאִם יֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל יְכַוֵּן לְמַה שֶּׁהוּא אוֹמֵר, וְיוֹצֵא בוֹ; וְצָרִיךְ אוֹתוֹ שֶׁיּוֹצֵא בִּתְפִלַּת שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר לְכַוֵּן לְכָל מַה שֶּׁאוֹמֵר שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר מֵרֹאשׁ וְעַד סוֹף; וְאֵינוֹ מַפְסִיק; וְאֵינוֹ מֵשִׂיחַ; וּפוֹסֵעַ ג’ פְּסִיעוֹת לְאַחֲרָיו, כְּאָדָם שֶׁמִּתְפַּלֵּל לְעַצְמוֹ.

The translation says, Amen is to be recited only after another’s benediction, not after one’s own benediction and the reason is so that one does not become proud or arrogant in his prayer. After a prayer of petition the intention should be, “May it be Your will that this purpose be realized.” The word Amen is a statement of affirmation and agreement and thus one should take care how one prays (take care what you say to the Lord in heaven). The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch has the following to say:

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:10:

A person should be careful to say the word Amen properly not swallowing the aleph or nun. One should be sure not to answer amen before the person reciting the bracha finishes the bracha because this is called ‘a cutoff amen’. However, one shouldn’t delay too long to answer amen because that’s considered ‘an orphaned amen’. Rather one should answer amen immediately as the one reciting the bracha finishes the bracha. He should raise his voice above the voice of the one making the bracha as it says “aggrandize Hashem with me and praise His name together” (Tehillim 124). (צָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר מְאֹד שֶׁיֹּאמַר תֵּבַת אָמֵן כְּתִקּוּנוֹ, שֶׁלֹּא יַחֲטֹף הָאָלֶף וְלֹא יַבְלִיעַ הַנּוּ”ן. גַּם יִזָּהֵר מְאֹד שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲנֶה אָמֵן קֹדֶם שֶׁסִּיֵּם הַמְבָרֵךְ כָּל הַבְּרָכָה, כִּי זֶהוּ אָמֵן חֲטוּפָה. וְגַם לֹא יְאַחֵר מִלַּעֲנוֹת אָמֵן שֶׁזֶּהוּ אָמֵן יְתוֹמָה, אֶלָּא תֵּכֶף כְּשֶׁמְּסַיֵּם הַמְּבָרֵךְ אֶת הַבְּרָכָה, יַעֲנֶה אָמֵן. וְלֹא יַגְבִּיהַּ קוֹלוֹ יוֹתֵר מִן הַמְבָרֵךְ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, גַּדְּלוּ לַה’ אִתִּי וּנְרוֹמְמָה שְׁמוֹ יַחְדָּו (קכד).)

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch states that one should take care how he pronounces the word Amen. Do not cut off someone’s prayer saying Amen (cutoff) and do not delay in saying the amen (orphaned), one should answer immediately following the Bracha, and should do so raising one’s voice for the purpose of bringing glory to the Name of God.

The midrash continues saying the following.

Amen as an assent to truth occurs in the verse, So will your words be verified (Bereshit / Genesis 42:20). Amen as an oath occurs in the verse, And the woman will say, Amen, Amen (Bamidbar / Numbers 5:22). Amen to show acceptance occurs in the verse, And all the people answered, Amen, Amen (Nehemiah 8:6). (Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 4)

The Rabbis quote from Bereshit / Genesis 42:20, כ וְאֶת-אֲחִיכֶם הַקָּטֹן תָּבִיאוּ אֵלַי וְיֵאָמְנוּ דִבְרֵיכֶם וְלֹא תָמוּתוּ וַיַּעֲשֹוּ-כֵן: 42:20 and bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die.” And they did so. (NASB) using the word וְיֵאָמְנוּ recognizing that this word is from the root “Amen” (אָמֵן) and that this is an assertion of truth. The repetition of the word “Amen” (אָמֵן) is an emphasis on one’s agreement in his own words or agreement in another’s words.

Midrash Tehillim 89, Part 4 concludes saying, “When Amen is repeated, one Amen is not for this world, and the other Amen is for the world to come. This is intimated in the words, blessed be the Lord forevermore. Amen, and Amen.” So the idea is when one states “Amen” (אָמֵן) twice, one Amen is for this world, and one Amen is for the world to come. The word “Amen” (אָמֵן) is found in the last verses of the Bible (Revelation 22:20-21). In the land of Israel, when a prayer or prophecy was made, or when the Torah was read, “All the people said, ‘Amen’” (Nehemiah 5:13, 8:6) and we find in typical fashion, the Lord’s example prayer ends with “Amen” (Matthew 6:13). When we compare an instance of this in book of Mark, with the same statement in Luke, we find Mark wrote the word transliterated as αμην “Amen.” Luke however translated it using the word αληθος meaning “Truly”. (Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27). This reveals to us the first century interpretation and the underlying meaning of the word “Amen” as truth. It is a solemn affirmation. When we say, “Amen” we are saying, Yes before the Lord God and that we are agreeing to what was said, we believe what was said to be true, and we want what was said to be so. Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 89-Part1a_b-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!