Bible 911-Psalm 91:1

Psalm 91:1 (KJV) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

This Psalm and verse has been a comfort to people in trouble for a long time. It took on a new roll when the terrorist attacked New York on 9/11. I know, I say a version of verse 5 and 6 when I go out in public because of the pandemic.

I view Psalms 90-100 (Book IV) as having been written by Moses. I can see teaching and encouragement in these psalms for a people who have come out of Egypt and years of bondage. Putting a psalm into a scriptural context helps me see the Father better and how He deals with us. This psalm could have been written after the Amalekite attack in Exodus 17.

For this Bible 911 series I focused on the “secret place” and the “shadow of the Almighty”. I believe the “shadow” refers to the pillar of cloud that shaded the Children during their forty years of wandering in a very hot desert. The secret place of the Most High God could be His Mercy Seat, that is part of the Ark. It was here that Aaron would put the blood of the sacrifice to roll back judgment for another year. The heavenly one is where Jesus put His blood when He finished His work and went to the Father.

Psalm 130

Psalm 130 is a song of ascent. This probably means that pilgrims sang them as they traveled to Jerusalem to go to the Temple/festivals. It is becoming clear that each has its own tone or voice. This one seems about contrition and waiting on God. I imagine it had a mellow or easy listening tune.

An element of this psalm is its use of Lord and LORD. Many English translations use this technique to distinguish between Adonai and YHWH (Jehovah). I am going to wander a bit here and talk about different names that are used for lord and how God is referred to in more casual conversation. The Chosen highlights some of this and many people may miss it.

Lord-This is the word Adon (Strong’s H113) or Adonai (y) (H136). This is more of a title than an attribute. They also used lord for humans-Ex. Sari called Abram adonay. My NIV Concordance has some form of this word used over 900 times in the Scriptures. Americans do not use lord, unless we are talking about an important person in the UK, so I know I don’t really appreciate this title.  

LORD-Christians know this word as Jehovah, but Hebrews/Jews do not say this name out of reverence, so they may use Adonai or Hashem (The Name). We can replace it with the Eternal (I like this.) This is an attribute of who God is. It is a shame that we have reduced it to slang and cussing.

Back to Psalm 130-This is one of thirty-five Psalms that use Adonai (Lord). This has a pattern of using Jehovah (H3068) and then Adonai. We see this in 1+2, 3 (has both), and 5+6. Verse seven has two Jehovah in it. Verse three uses Yah for LORD. Waiting and hope seem to be the main ideas for this song of ascent, with forgiveness and redemption being the reason for waiting and hoping.

Psalm 126

Psalm 126 is a joyous song. You can almost hear the up-tempo beat and see everyone dancing, jumping, and skipping to this musical delight as they went to Jerusalem and the Temple for the pilgrimage festivals. It has a classic statement/response style and would have had everyone in the group singing along. (I will italicize the response parts below.)

If I could pick a writer or when it was written, it has to be Ezra the priest in the time of Cyrus of Persia. This comes at the end of the seventy years of exile predicted by Jeremiah. This book rightfully follows 2 Chronicles 36:22-23. Jeremiah was dead. Ezekiel probably was dead, but Daniel was an old man (Daniel 10:1) and I can imagine the joy he had in seeing the captives returning to Jerusalem. (Reference Daniel 9:1-3) I forget these three prophets lived and spoke during the time in Babylon and the fall of Jerusalem.

My NIV has, in its footnotes, that verses one and four could be different, so I will use the KJV and change those two verses.

1When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. (When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like men restored to health.)

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.

The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. (Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev.) NIV

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Ezrahite-Ethan and Heman

This study started with Psalms 88 + 89. The authors are Heman and Ethan the Ezrahites. I thought a quick look in Bible Gateway and Strong’s and it will be done quick-wrong. Please note that the names of Heman and Ethan are used many times in Scripture and they are not the same people. We normally associate those names with two descendants of Levi who led worship for David and probably Solomon in the First Temple. This took some time to sort out the Ezrahites appear to be from the tribe of Judah

Ezrahite—This name appears to originate with Zerah, the second son of Tamar and Judah (Genesis 38:27-30). Perez, the first twin out, is the one in David and Jesus’ lineage (Matthew 1, 1 Chronicles 2:10-12). Reference Strong’s #250 Hebrew. They must have been very intelligent because King Solomon in 1 Kings 4:31 is said to be wiser than them. 1 Chronicles 2:6 list the same names and calls them the sons of Zerah. Mahol could be an “unnamed father” who was not important in the family tree, they did things like that in making these lists. 1 Kings could give the idea that they were contemporaries of Solomon, while 1 Chronicles 2 gives the impression that they are much older, like Moses or before. To add to the possibilities, Heman was a seer for King David and Psalm 89 (Ethan) mentions David (more on this later). I will hold on to the older idea and offer some ideas why.

Heman (Psalm 88) – The “title” to this Psalm is imposing. It is a song. It is a psalm. (Yes, those are slightly different according to Strong’s.) It is for the music director. No one is sure what mahalath leannoth really is, and Heman wrote it. To me, that just seems like it had been around a while by the time it got to David. There are no timestamps in this psalm, as far as I could tell. So, trying to place it in history by the association with events or names is hard.

I think it has a somber tone, but many of the entries in Book Three are “dark”. I have felt that way in my life. If Heman wrote it during a period of struggle when nothing seems to be happening in his life, the tone is understandable. Verses 8-18 are very Messianic and show what Jesus endured starting in the Garden and going through the statements He made on the cross.

On a different note-Heman means faithful, and Ezrahite is cherished. It is the only psalm identified as belonging to Heman the Ezrahite, so he must have been special to have had it included in Scripture.   

Ethan – The meaning of Ethan is permanent, so is extended out to be the idea of a chieftain. According to Strong’s, the word is translated as strong or strength.

This Psalm seems to be in the time of David because it uses his name and the promises of God to David seem to be repeated in the psalm. Okay, I am stepping out on a limb here without a lot of proof. David, as a Hebrew word, is very special. If you convert the letters to numbers, it adds up to fourteen (see Matthew). It also means “beloved”. There are many websites, Jewish and Christian, that explore the meaning and etymology of this name. So, if you replace David with beloved and refer the passages to Israel/Judah, it still seems to make sense. Yes, that is weak at several levels, but it works. 

This psalm also has some negative parts and a section 26-37 that are Messianic and refer to the time Jesus was on the cross.

Well, studies may not always answer questions, but I learned many things doing this. So, my time was well spent and I hope you got something from reading this post of Heman and Ethan the Ezrahite.     

Psalm 23 Rearranged

This is Psalm 23 rearranged using all of the words. (Comments below.)

The KJV

KJV in a response format, imagine two groups of singers calling to each other.

KJV- just grouped differently.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The Lord is my shepherd. 

I shall not want.

The Lord is my shepherd. 

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: * he leadeth me beside the still waters.

The Lord is my shepherd. 

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. * 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

The Lord is my shepherd. 

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; * thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The Lord is my shepherd. 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: * thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

The Lord is my shepherd. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: * and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Each star * could be another repeat of the Lord is my shepherd, that might require changing words.

The Lord is my shepherd. 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

David, like Moses and Miriam, composed, played, and sang songs. Some of his songs are identified as to where and when they were written. Following that thought, it was a fun study to place some of his other songs into context. No, I can not prove the circumstances that David composed his songs in.

I think that Psalm 23 was possibly his first song. I can see David watching his sheep and realizing that is how Father God took care of him. Many of David’s psalms carry and advance the lyrics of this song. To further the setting, it may have been written right before or shortly after his anointing by Samuel (16:1-13). Then the supernatural anointing took over and he excelled in his music. I think that David was a young shepherd, like his grandmother Rachel, about twelve years old when God and Samuel changed his life. Personally, I think that David did not go into Saul’s service for several more years, maybe seven or eight. In that time he excelled as a musician and killed his lion and bear. These are the things that brought him into Saul’s service.

To offer a reason for the variations of the words, I will sight Psalms 14 and 53 and how close Psalms 135 and 136 are worded.