(א) לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר: (ב) יָקוּם אֱלֹקִים יָפוּצוּ אוֹיְבָיו וְיָנוּסוּ מְשַׂנְאָיו מִפָּנָיו:
(1) For the musician, a mizmor by David, a song. (2) Let G-d arise. Let His enemies be scattered. And let His foes flee from before Him.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev. 0]
Key Concepts OF Mizmor 068 – On Silver Wings
This mizmor takes the form of an extended song in which David visualizes the people in Exile praying earnestly for their Geulah (Redemption). The tefillah is is modeled on the journey that Yisrael took through the Midbar (Wilderness) as they escaped the slavery of Mitzrayim, ultimately being gratified with entry into their own Land, the place where they would establish a permanent relation with Hashem in their midst.
The song recognizes that the progress of Yisrael to its goal was marked by periods in which Hashem distanced Himself from His people because of their sins. However, they never gave up their emunah and their hope that the relationship would be renewed.
When the people were at their low point the song compares their situation to that of a wretch laying in the dirt among the cooking pots on an open hearth. But no matter how bad things were, they continued to foresee that the day would come when they would take flight and their essential purity would take the form of a white dove against the sky, its wings sheathed in silver.
Exploring the Mizmor
PART 1. PLEA FOR REVELATION. The song begins with a plea for Hashem to rise and establish His sovereignty for all to see. The first evidence of this will be that Hashem’s enemies, who are now united in their hatred, will be scattered. This plea is reminiscent of the plea that Moshe Rabbeinu made to Hashem whenever it was time for the Ark of Testimony to begin another leg of its journey through the Wilderness. (See Bamidbar 10:35.)
(א) לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר: (ב) יָקוּם אֱלֹקִים יָפוּצוּ אוֹיְבָיו וְיָנוּסוּ מְשַׂנְאָיו מִפָּנָיו: (ג) כְּהִנְדֹּף עָשָׁן תִּנְדֹּף כְּהִמֵּס דּוֹנַג מִפְּנֵי־אֵשׁ יֹאבְדוּ רְשָׁעִים מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים: (ד) וְצַדִּיקִים יִשְׂמְחוּ יַעַלְצוּ לִפְנֵי אֱלֹקִים וְיָשִׂישׂוּ בְשִׂמְחָה:
(1) For the musician, a mizmor by David, a song. (2) Let G-d arise. Let His enemies be scattered. And let His foes flee from before Him. (3) [Hashem,] May You disperse [them] as smoke is dissipated. As wax melts before fire, so may the wicked perish from before G-d. Let the righteous rejoice. Let them exult before G-d. Let them revel in joy.
PART 2. A SONG OF PRAISE. The revelation of Hashem will elicit from the righteous a song of gratitude and praise:
(ה) שִׁירוּ לֵאלֹקִים זַמְּרוּ שְׁמוֹ סֹלּוּ לָרֹכֵב בָּעֲרָבוֹת בְּיָ־הּ שְׁמוֹ וְעִלְזוּ לְפָנָיו: (ו) אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים וְדַיַּן אַלְמָנוֹת אֱלֹקִים בִּמְעוֹן קָדְשׁוֹ: (ז) אֱלֹקִים מוֹשִׁיב יְחִידִים בַּיְתָה מוֹצִיא אֲסִירִים בַּכּוֹשָׁרוֹת אַךְ־סוֹרֲרִים שָׁכְנוּ צְחִיחָה:
(5) Sing to G-d, make music to His Name. Exalt the One Who rides upon the highest heavens, with His Name Y-ah. And exult in His presence. (6) Father of orphans and Defender of widows, G-d in the abode of His holiness. (7) G-d establishes solitary individuals to [form] a home. He releases [the slaves] bound in shackles. But the rebellious [are left to] dwell in a parched land.
PART 3. APPROACH TO SINAI. The travels through the Midbar are again recalled as the song visualizes the national experience of approaching Sinai and witnessing the power of Hashem and His kindness.
(ח) אֱלֹקִים בְּצֵאתְךָ לִפְנֵי עַמֶּךָ בְּצַעְדְּךָ בִישִׁימוֹן סֶלָה: (ט) אֶרֶץ רָעָשָׁה אַף־שָׁמַיִם נָטְפוּ מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים זֶה סִינַי מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: (י) גֶּשֶׁם נְדָבוֹת תָּנִיף אֱלֹקִים נַחֲלָתְךָ וְנִלְאָה אַתָּה כוֹנַנְתָּהּ: (יא) חַיָּתְךָ יָשְׁבוּ־בָהּ תָּכִין בְּטוֹבָתְךָ לֶעָנִי אֱלֹקִים:
(8) O G-d, when You went forth before Your nation, when You strode through the wilderness, Selah. (9) The earth quaked. But the heavens dripped [with rain] before G-d. Even Sinai itself [trembled] before G-d, the G-d of Yisrael. (10) O G-d, You lavished a generous rain. Your heritage, was weary [but] You firmly established [them]. (11) Your creatures settled there. You prepared for the poor in Your goodness, O G-d.
PART 4. SILVER WINGS. The song continues with Hashem’s promise of the great renewal that will take place when the enemies of Hashem are defeated. The people of Yisrael will emerge from the darkness of Exile and soar in flight like the wings of a dove sheathed in silver.
(יב) אֲדֹ־נָי יִתֶּן־אֹמֶר הַמְבַשְּׂרוֹת צָבָא רָב: (יג) מַלְכֵי צְבָאוֹת יִדֹּדוּן יִדֹּדוּן וּנְוַת בַּיִת תְּחַלֵּק שָׁלָל: (יד) אִם־תִּשְׁכְּבוּן בֵּין שְׁפַתָּיִם כַּנְפֵי יוֹנָה נֶחְפָּה בַכֶּסֶף וְאֶבְרוֹתֶיהָ בִּירַקְרַק חָרוּץ: (טו) בְּפָרֵשׂ שַׁדַּי מְלָכִים בָּהּ תַּשְׁלֵג בְּצַלְמוֹן:
(12) Hashem has issued a declaration. The heralds [are announcing the defeat] of] a mighty host. (13) The kings of the [enemy] legions flee. They flee and the woman of the house divides the booty. (14) Even if you lie among the cooking pots, [you will emerge like] the wings of a dove sheathed in silver and her feathers in precious gold. (15) When the A-lmighty scatters kings, [the people] in shadowy darkness will be whitened [like snow].
PART 5. THE DIVINE PRESENCE. The song recall the Divine Presence at Sinai, and then again at Mount Moriah, which He has chosen as His permanent abode, the location of the Bais HaMikdash.
(טז) הַר־אֱלֹקִים הַר־בָּשָׁן הַר־גַּבְנֻנִּים הַר־בָּשָׁן: (יז) לָמָּה תְּרַצְּדוּן הָרִים גַּבְנֻנִּים הָהָר חָמַד אֱלֹקִים לְשִׁבְתּוֹ אַף־ה’ יִשְׁכֹּן לָנֶצַח: (יח) רֶכֶב אֱלֹקִים רִבֹּתַיִם אַלְפֵי שִׁנְאָן אֲדֹ־נָי בָם סִינַי בַּקֹּדֶשׁ:
(16) The mountain of G-d [provides sustenance like the fertile] Mount Bashan. A mountain [Moriah] among high mountains [is also like] Mount Bashan. (17) Why do you prance, O you high mountains? [Mount Moriah is] the mountain that G-d desired for his abode. Hashem will even abide there forever. (18) [Accompanying] the chariot of G-d’s glory were myriads of thousands of angels. Hashem’s Presence was in their midst at Sinai, in His holiness.
PART 6. DIVINE ASCENT FROM SINAI. But now the flow of glory is interrupted, as the song recalls Hashem’s departure and ascent from Sinai to Heavemly realms. This event, signaled the advent of Exile, which was brought about by the sins of Yisrael.
(יט) עָלִיתָ לַמָּרוֹם שָׁבִיתָ שֶּׁבִי לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹת בָּאָדָם וְאַף סוֹרְרִים לִשְׁכֹּן יָ־הּ אֱלֹקִים:
(19) You ascended on high. You took captives [from Yisrael]. You took [back] the gifts from man. Even those who rebelled [made plans] to take up residence [in the precincts] of G-d.
PART 7. APPEAL FOR YESHUAH. But Yisrael has not given up its hope and trust that the relationship with Hashem will once again be restored. The song expresses this by recalling the small kindnesses that Hashem does for us every day, even in the darkest Exile. There are many kinds of yeshuah (salvation) and ultimately there are many kinds of death that Hashem may choose in defeating His enemies.
(כ) בָּרוּךְ אֲדֹ־נָי יוֹם יוֹם יַעֲמָס־לָנוּ הָאֵ־ל יְשׁוּעָתֵנוּ סֶלָה: (כא) הָאֵ־ל לָנוּ אֵ־ל לְמוֹשָׁעוֹת וְלֵה’ אֲדֹ־נָי לַמָּוֶת תּוֹצָאוֹת: (כב) אַךְ־אֱלֹקִים יִמְחַץ רֹאשׁ אֹיְבָיו קָדְקֹד שֵׂעָר מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּאֲשָׁמָיו: (כג) אָמַר אֲדֹ־נָי מִבָּשָׁן אָשִׁיב אָשִׁיב מִמְּצֻלוֹת יָם: (כד) לְמַעַן תִּמְחַץ רַגְלְךָ בְּדָם לְשׁוֹן כְּלָבֶיךָ מֵאוֹיְבִים מִנֵּהוּ:
(20) Blessed is Hashem, every day. Let Him load us up with yeshuah for He is the G-d of our yeshuah, Selah. G-d is for us a G-d of [many kinds] of yeshuah. Hashem/Elokim, my L-rd, has many avenues toward death [against our enemies]. (22) Indeed, G-d will crush the heads of His enemies, [including] the hairy crown of the one who goes about [insolently] with his guilt. (23) Hashem has promised, “I will bring you back from Bashan; I will bring [you back] from the depths of the sea. (24) So that your foot will be stained with blood, the tongue of your dogs will be stained with them.”
PART 8. PARTING OF THE SEA. The ultimate yeshuah is once again made real, by recalling the parting of the Sea of Reeds and the inspired song that Yisrael sang when they were privileged to see the destruction of Mitzrayim.
(כה) רָאוּ הֲלִיכוֹתֶיךָ אֱלֹקִים הֲלִיכוֹת אֵלִי מַלְכִּי בַקֹּדֶשׁ: (כו) קִדְּמוּ שָׁרִים אַחַר נֹגְנִים בְּתוֹךְ עֲלָמוֹת תּוֹפֵפוֹת: (כז) בְּמַקְהֵלוֹת בָּרְכוּ אֱלֹקִים ה’ מִמְּקוֹר יִשְׂרָאֵל: (כח) שָׁם בִּנְיָמִן צָעִיר רֹדֵם שָׂרֵי יְהוּדָה רִגְמָתָם שָׂרֵי זְבֻלוּן שָׂרֵי נַפְתָּלִי: (כט) צִוָּה אֱלֹקֶיךָ עֻזֶּךָ עוּזָּה אֱלֹקִים זוּ פָּעַלְתָּ לָּנוּ:
(25) They saw Your ways, O G-d, the ways of my G-d, my King, in holiness. (26) First went the singers, afterwards musicians, and in the middle were [Miriam with] tambourine-playing maidens. (27) [Exiled people of Yisrael in far-flung] congregations, bless G-d, the L-rd, [all you who are] from the fountain of Yisrael. (28) There [at the Sea], Binyamin, although the youngest, [was chosen] to rule them. The princes of Yehudah [were there] in their embroidered robes, the princes of Zevulun, the princes of Naftali [were also chosen]. (29) Your G-d has decreed your strength, O G-d, this strength, it is You Who has wrought this for us.
PART 9. PLEA FOR GEULAH. As the nation senses that the time for the Geulah (Redemption) is once again approaching, the people renew their plea for the glory of Hashem to be revealed and for His present enemies to suffer the fate that was decreed upon the enemies of former times.
(ל) מֵהֵיכָלֶךָ עַל־יְרוּשָׁלָם לְךָ יוֹבִילוּ מְלָכִים שָׁי: (לא) גְּעַר חַיַּת קָנֶה עֲדַת אַבִּירִים בְּעֶגְלֵי עַמִּים מִתְרַפֵּס בְּרַצֵּי־כָסֶף בִּזַּר עַמִּים קְרָבוֹת יֶחְפָּצוּ: (לב) יֶאֱתָיוּ חַשְׁמַנִּים מִנִּי מִצְרָיִם כּוּשׁ תָּרִיץ יָדָיו לֵאלֹקִים:
(30) From Your Temple, beyond Yerushalayim. Kings shall deliver tribute to You. (31) Rebuke the wild beast of the marsh, the herd of bulls among the nations that are like calves, [until they] cower in the mud for pieces of silver. Scatter the nations who are eager for war. (32) Nobles will come from Mitzrayim. Cush will hasten to stretch out its hands to G-d.
PART 10. SONG OF THE GEULAH. David’s song concludes with a call to all the nations of the world to recognize the truth of Hashem and to respect the bond that Hashem has made with His faithful people, Yisrael.
(לג) מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ שִׁירוּ לֵאלֹקִים זַמְּרוּ אֲדֹ־נָי סֶלָה: (לד) לָרֹכֵב בִּשְׁמֵי שְׁמֵי־קֶדֶם הֵן־יִתֵּן בְּקוֹלוֹ קוֹל עֹז: (לה) תְּנוּ עֹז לֵאלֹקִים עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל גַּאֲוָתוֹ וְעֻזּוֹ בַּשְּׁחָקִים: (לו) נוֹרָא אֱלֹקִים מִמִּקְדָּשֶׁיךָ אֵ־ל יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא נֹתֵן עֹז וְתַעֲצֻמוֹת לָעָם בָּרוּךְ אֱלֹקִים:
(33) O Kingdoms of the earth, sing to G-d, make music to the L-rd, Selah. (34) To [the One] Who rides upon the highest heavens of old. Indeed, He expresses [His power] with His voice, the voice of invincible might. (35) Acknowledge the invincible might of G-d, Whose majesty [shines] upon Yisrael. His invincible might is in the skies. (36) The awesomeness of G-d [emanates] from Your Mikdash, O G-d of Yisrael. It is He Who grants might and power to the people. Blessed is G-d.
Learning the Mizmor
PART 1. PLEA FOR REVELATION.
(א) לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר:
This song has been prepared for the musician — לַמְנַצֵּחַ , who will perform it. It is a mizmor composed by David — לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר – in the form of a song — שִׁיר – that expresses impassioned gratitude to Hashem for the judgment He will bring to the world at the time of the Geulah.
(ב) יָקוּם אֱלֹקִים יָפוּצוּ אוֹיְבָיו
וְיָנוּסוּ מְשַׂנְאָיו מִפָּנָיו:
Let G-d arise — יָקוּם אֱלֹקִים – to show His might and execute justice. Let our enemies, which are also His enemies be scattered — יָפוּצוּ אוֹיְבָיו – and dissuaded from attempting to attack us. And as for His foes, who are more aggressive, even though they have attacked, let them flee from before Him — וְיָנוּסוּ מְשַׂנְאָיו מִפָּנָיו . It will be as it was in the Midbar, when Moshe Rabbeinu said, קוּמָה ה’ וְיָפֻצוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ וְיָנֻסוּ מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ מִפָּנֶיךָ , “Arise Hashem, let Your foes flee and let Your enemies be scattered from before You” (Bamidbar 10:35)
(ג) כְּהִנְדֹּף עָשָׁן תִּנְדֹּף
But even more, may their defeat be so complete that Your role in bringing it about is clearly discernible. May You disperse them as smoke is utterly dissipated by a slight breeze — כְּהִנְדֹּף עָשָׁן תִּנְדֹּף . Initially, a column of black smoke appears substantial, but it quickly fades away and no trace remains.
כְּהִמֵּס דּוֹנַג מִפְּנֵי אֵשׁ
יֹאבְדוּ רְשָׁעִים מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים:
As wax melts before fire — כְּהִמֵּס דּוֹנַג מִפְּנֵי אֵשׁ , so may the wicked perish from before G-d — יֹאבְדוּ רְשָׁעִים מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים . Even as wax cannot abide the presence of fire, so the enemies of G-d’s Law will all melt away.
(ד) וְצַדִּיקִים יִשְׂמְחוּ
יַעַלְצוּ לִפְנֵי אֱלֹקִים
Let the righteous rejoice — וְצַדִּיקִים יִשְׂמְחוּ – with a sense of inner inner growth because the freedom from the oppression of the wicked will give them the opportunity to reach their full potential. Furthermore, let them exult before G-d — יַעַלְצוּ לִפְנֵי אֱלֹקִים – with a sense of relief from restraining bonds. Let them revel in joy — וְיָשִׂישׂוּ בְשִׂמְחָה – with a sense of blossoming forth. The very circumstance which makes Hashem’s adversaries melt like wax, i.e. the heat of His fire, will shine for them, and it will be a source of healing.
The very thought that there is a God to Whom we are all accountable is one that the wicked man cannot ignore and is a source of torment in the midst of all his pleasures and success. But for the righteous man, who is faithful to his duty, this very same thought is the source of supreme joy. He derives his own sense of fulfillment from the knowledge that he has lived his life in the presence of G-d, the Judge of all mankind.
PART 2. A SONG OF PRAISE.
(ה) שִׁירוּ לֵאלֹקִים זַמְּרוּ שְׁמוֹ
סֹלּוּ לָרֹכֵב בָּעֲרָבוֹת בְּיָ־הּ שְׁמוֹ
You righteous people who know what bliss the awareness of G-d can bring, do not keep this knowledge to yourselves. Sing to G-d — שִׁירוּ לֵאלֹקִים , make music to His Name — זַמְּרוּ שְׁמוֹ . Exalt the One Who rides upon the highest heavens — סֹלּוּ לָרֹכֵב בָּעֲרָבוֹת as a rider directs his horse. Acknowledge Him with His Name Y-ah — בְּיָ־הּ שְׁמוֹ , the Name that signifies He is the Creator of the world and the One Who gives it existence. And exult in His presence — וְעִלְזוּ לְפָנָיו – in the Bais Hamikdash.
(ו) אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים וְדַיַּן אַלְמָנוֹת
אֱלֹקִים בִּמְעוֹן קָדְשׁוֹ: ֹ
Although the greatness of Hashem is beyond human conception, He is concerned with the personal well-being of even the lowliest of His creatures. He is sensitive to all the needs of the Jewish people and acts to alleviate their suffering. Thus, Hashem is known as the Father of orphans — אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים , for He offers them the guiding hand of a father. And He is the Defender of widows — וְדַיַּן אַלְמָנוֹת , for He champions their cause against any who seek to take advantage. And He does all this in our lowly world while continuing to be G-d in the lofty abode of His holiness — אֱלֹקִים בִּמְעוֹן קָדְשׁוֹ – in all His majesty.
(ז) אֱלֹקִים מוֹשִׁיב יְחִידִים בַּיְתָה
מוֹצִיא אֲסִירִים בַּכּוֹשָׁרוֹת
אַךְ סוֹרֲרִים שָׁכְנוּ צְחִיחָה:
G-d establishes solitary individuals to form a home — אֱלֹקִים מוֹשִׁיב יְחִידִים בַּיְתָה . He releases the slaves bound in shackles — מוֹצִיא אֲסִירִים בַּכּוֹשָׁרוֹת . But the rebellious are left to dwell in a parched land — אַךְ סוֹרֲרִים שָׁכְנוּ צְחִיחָה , for the ground upon which they stand is barren, with no hope for growth or development.
PART 3. APPROACH TO SINAI.
(ח) אֱלֹקִים בְּצֵאתְךָ לִפְנֵי עַמֶּךָ
בְּצַעְדְּךָ בִישִׁימוֹן סֶלָה:
O G-d — אֱלֹקִים , I will sing of the time when You went forth before Your nation — בְּצֵאתְךָ לִפְנֵי עַמֶּךָ – to lead them out of Mitzrayim in a pillar of cloud (Shemos 12:21). I will recall when You strode through the wilderness — בְּצַעְדְּךָ בִישִׁימוֹן – to bring them to Mount Sinai so that they could receive the Torah, Selah — סֶלָה . G-d did not rush them through the desert; He caused Yisrael to stride through it steadily and deliberately, and with each step that the nation took, He let His people sense that He was near.
(ט) אֶרֶץ רָעָשָׁה
אַף שָׁמַיִם נָטְפוּ מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים
At the revelation of the Torah to Yisrael, the earth quaked — אֶרֶץ רָעָשָׁה – together with all the forces of nature, in awe of the Presence of G-d. But even though it does not usually rain in the desert, the heavens dripped with bountiful, blissful rain before the Presence of G-d — אַף שָׁמַיִם נָטְפוּ מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים – as a sign of His fatherly concern for His people.
זֶה סִינַי מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:
Even Mount Sinai itself trembled — זֶה סִינַי – before the Presence of G-d,, the G-d of Yisrael — מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹקִים, אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל . (See Shemos 19:18) When God lowered Himself and came down to earth to give the Torah to His people, all of nature trembled, but Yisrael sensed only His fatherly concern and His loving nearness.
(י) גֶּשֶׁם נְדָבוֹת תָּנִיף אֱלֹקִים
נַחֲלָתְךָ וְנִלְאָה אַתָּה כוֹנַנְתָּהּ:
O G-d, You lavished a generous rain upon us — גֶּשֶׁם נְדָבוֹת תָּנִיף אֱלֹקִים , to restore our spirits. And then, when Yisrael, Your heritage, was weary and broken by their suffering in Mitzrayim — נַחֲלָתְךָ וְנִלְאָה , You firmly established them — אַתָּה כוֹנַנְתָּהּ – by granting them a Mishkan where You would dwell in their midst.
(יא) חַיָּתְךָ יָשְׁבוּ בָהּ
תָּכִין בְּטוֹבָתְךָ לֶעָנִי אֱלֹקִים:
Your creatures — חַיָּתְךָ , restored to life by Your care, settled there in the wilderness — יָשְׁבוּ בָהּ , a place that is ordinarily inhospitable to human habitation. You prepared for the poor, a nation without a land of their own, in Your goodness, O G-d — תָּכִין בְּטוֹבָתְךָ לֶעָנִי אֱלֹקִים .
PART 4. SILVER WINGS.
(יב) אֲדֹ־נָי יִתֶּן אֹמֶר
הַמְבַשְּׂרוֹת צָבָא רָב:
Hashem has issued a historic declaration — אֲדֹ־נָי יִתֶּן אֹמֶר . The heralds — הַמְבַשְּׂרוֹת – are announcing the defeat of a mighty host — צָבָא רָב , the armies of the enemy nations who have invaded Eretz Yisrael.
(יג) מַלְכֵי צְבָאוֹת יִדֹּדוּן יִדֹּדוּן
וּנְוַת בַּיִת תְּחַלֵּק שָׁלָל:
The kings of the enemy legions flee — מַלְכֵי צְבָאוֹת יִדֹּדוּן – from before Yisrael, they completely flee — יִדֹּדוּן – from the land, and the woman of the house — וּנְוַת בַּיִת , who symbolizes the Jewish nation that fulfills its destiny in the quiet, simple practice of the “home virtues,” divides the booty — תְּחַלֵּק שָׁלָל – and emerges victorious at the end of time.
(יד) אִם תִּשְׁכְּבוּן בֵּין שְׁפַתָּיִם
כַּנְפֵי יוֹנָה נֶחְפָּה בַכֶּסֶף
וְאֶבְרוֹתֶיהָ בִּירַקְרַק חָרוּץ:
Even if you are temporarily overwhelmed by your enemy and you lie on the floor of the fireplace, blackened among the cooking pots — אִם תִּשְׁכְּבוּן בֵּין שְׁפַתָּיִם , you will emerge in splendor like the white wings of a dove sheathed in silver — כַּנְפֵי יוֹנָה נֶחְפָּה בַכֶּסֶף – and with her feathers shining in precious gold — וְאֶבְרוֹתֶיהָ בִּירַקְרַק חָרוּץ .
(טו) בְּפָרֵשׂ שַׁ־דַּי מְלָכִים
בָּהּ תַּשְׁלֵג בְּצַלְמוֹן:
When the A-lmighty scatters the kings — בְּפָרֵשׂ שַׁ־דַּי מְלָכִים – who came to contend with it (Yerushalayim), the people who are in shadowy darkness will be whitened like snow — בָּהּ תַּשְׁלֵג בְּצַלְמוֹן .
PART 5. THE DIVINE PRESENCE.
(טז) הַר אֱלֹקִים הַר בָּשָׁן
הַר גַּבְנֻנִּים הַר בָּשָׁן:
Mount Sinai, the mountain of G-d — הַר אֱלֹקִים , is not physically impressive, but because of the Torah that Hashem gave us there, it is like Mount Bashan — הַר בָּשָׁן , a fertile mountain that provides sustenance to the people. Likewise, Mount Moriah, the lowly mountain set among high mountains — הַר גַּבְנֻנִּים , is for us like Mount Bashan — הַר בָּשָׁן – because it is the site of Hashem’s dwelling on earth.
(יז) לָמָּה תְּרַצְּדוּן הָרִים גַּבְנֻנִּים
הָהָר חָמַד אֱלֹקִים לְשִׁבְתּוֹ
אַף ה‘ יִשְׁכֹּן לָנֶצַח:
Why do you smugly prance around — לָמָּה תְּרַצְּדוּן , O you high mountains — הָרִים גַּבְנֻנִּים ? You cannot match Hashem’s preferred mountain. Although Mount Moriah is not high, it is the mountain that G-d desired for His abode — הָהָר חָמַד אֱלֹקִים לְשִׁבְתּוֹ – because it symbolizes modesty and because it is where Avraham demonstrated his devotion when he bound his son Yitzchak. Hashem will even abide there forever — אַף ה’ יִשְׁכֹּן לָנֶצַח !
(יח) רֶכֶב אֱלֹקִים רִבֹּתַיִם אַלְפֵי שִׁנְאָן
אֲדֹ־נָי בָם סִינַי בַּקֹּדֶשׁ:
When Hashem descended to Sinai, He came with an entourage of angels accompanying the chariot of G-d’s glory — רֶכֶב אֱלֹקִים . There were myriads of thousands upon thousands of angels — רִבֹּתַיִם אַלְפֵי שִׁנְאָן . The intensity of Hashem’s Presence was in their midst at Sinai — אֲדֹ־נָי בָם סִינַי , but only in His holiness — בַּקֹּדֶשׁ , while Sinai was performing its sacred mission. It was Hashem’s Presence that lent holiness and importance to Sinai. Afterwards it reverted to the status of an ordinary mountain.
PART 6. DIVINE ASCENT FROM SINAI.
(יט) עָלִיתָ לַמָּרוֹם
שָׁבִיתָ שֶּׁבִי לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹת בָּאָדָם
וְאַף סוֹרְרִים לִשְׁכֹּן יָ־הּ אֱלֹקִים:
When You removed Your favor from Yisrael, it was as though You departed from our midst and ascended on high — עָלִיתָ לַמָּרוֹם . Then Yisrael was defeated by its enemies and taken into exile because You removed Your protection from us. It is as though You took captives — שָׁבִיתָ שֶּׁבִי – from Yisrael. You took back the gifts of Your Presence and Your protection of man — לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹת בָּאָדָם . As a result, the enemies of Yisrael, even those who rebelled against You — וְאַף סוֹרְרִים – made plans to take up residence in the precincts of G-d — לִשְׁכֹּן יָ־הּ אֱלֹקִים .
PART 7. APPEAL FOR YESHUAH.
(כ) בָּרוּךְ אֲדֹ־נָי
יוֹם יוֹם יַעֲמָס לָנוּ הָאֵ־ל יְשׁוּעָתֵנוּ סֶלָה:
But even if Hashem has estranged Himself from us, we readily acknowledge that blessed is Hashem — בָּרוּךְ אֲדֹ־נָי , the Source of all blessing. We thank him for the new blessings that He grants us every day — יוֹם יוֹם . And so we ask that our difficult life in Exile be tempered with yeshuah. We have not forgotten the yeshuos of ancient times and we ask that He load us up with those yeshuos — יַעֲמָס לָנוּ , for He is the G-d of our yeshuah, Selah — הָאֵ־ל יְשׁוּעָתֵנוּ סֶלָה .
(כא) הָאֵ־ל לָנוּ אֵ־ל לְמוֹשָׁעוֹת
וְלֵה‘ אֲדֹ־נָי לַמָּוֶת תּוֹצָאוֹת:
G-d is for us a G-d of many kinds of yeshuah — הָאֵל לָנוּ אֵ־ל לְמוֹשָׁעוֹת – so that no matter how difficult our situation might be, He will always find a way to save us. And by the same token Hashem/Elokim, my L-rd, has many avenues toward death — וְלֵה’ אֲדֹ־נָי לַמָּוֶת תּוֹצָאוֹת , which He will apply to our enemies in order to save us.
(כב) אַךְ אֱלֹקִים יִמְחַץ רֹאשׁ אֹיְבָיו
קָדְקֹד שֵׂעָר מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּאֲשָׁמָיו:
Indeed, G-d will crush the heads of His enemies — אַךְ אֱלֹקִים יִמְחַץ רֹאשׁ אֹיְבָיו , including the hairy crown of the one who goes about insolently with his guilt — קָדְקֹד שֵׂעָר מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּאֲשָׁמָיו , making no effort to repent and possibly even wearing his hair in a style which demonstrates his attitude.
(כג) אָמַר אֲדֹ־נָי מִבָּשָׁן אָשִׁיב
אָשִׁיב מִמְּצֻלוֹת יָם:
Hashem has promised Yisrael — אָמַר אֲדֹ־נָי , “I will bring you back from your Exile, even if you have been driven to the isolated mountains of Bashan — מִבָּשָׁן אָשִׁיב ; I will even bring you back from far across the depths of the sea — אָשִׁיב מִמְּצֻלוֹת יָם .”
(כד) לְמַעַן תִּמְחַץ רַגְלְךָ בְּדָם
לְשׁוֹן כְּלָבֶיךָ מֵאֹיְבִים מִנֵּהוּ:
“You will be victorious in battle so that — לְמַעַן – you will be able to walk through the battlefield strewn with the corpses of your enemies and your foot will be stained with their blood — לְמַעַן תִּמְחַץ רַגְלְךָ בְּדָם . And even the tongue of your dogs will be stained red from them — לְשׁוֹן כְּלָבֶיךָ מֵאֹיְבִים מִנֵּהוּ .”
PART 8. PARTING OF THE SEA.
(כה) רָאוּ הֲלִיכוֹתֶיךָ אֱלֹקִים
הֲלִיכוֹת אֵ־לִי מַלְכִּי בַקֹּדֶשׁ:
When Yisrael faced the might of Mitzrayim at the Sea of Reeds, they saw Your ways, O G-d — רָאוּ הֲלִיכוֹתֶיךָ אֱלֹקִים . They saw how You drowned the enemy in the waters and they understood that the enemy was experiencing the very fate they had intended to impose upon Yisrael. The Jewish people appreciated that it was Your doing and that these were the ways of my G-d — הֲלִיכוֹת אֵ־לִי , my King — מַלְכִּי , Who dwells in holiness — בַקֹּדֶשׁ . Although the heavens are Hashem’s first place of holiness, His Presence is made known on earth.
(כו) קִדְּמוּ שָׁרִים אַחַר נֹגְנִים
בְּתוֹךְ עֲלָמוֹת תּוֹפֵפוֹת:
They were so inspired by what they saw that they sang to You in praise and gratitude. First went singers — קִדְּמוּ שָׁרִים , afterwards came the musicians — אַחַר נֹגְנִים , and in the middle were Miriam and her tambourine-playing maidens — בְּתוֹךְ עֲלָמוֹת תּוֹפֵפוֹת .
(כז) בְּמַקְהֵלוֹת בָּרְכוּ אֱלֹקִים
אֲדֹ־נָי מִמְּקוֹר יִשְׂרָאֵל:
O Yisrael, even in Exile when you are scattered in far-flung congregations — בְּמַקְהֵלוֹת – throughout the world you should continue to bless G-d — בָּרְכוּ אֱלֹקִים . Act in united service, recognizing the L-rd — אֲדֹ־נָי – of the world, all you who are from the fountain of Yisrael — מִמְּקוֹר יִשְׂרָאֵל .
(כח) שָׁם בִּנְיָמִן צָעִיר רֹדֵם
The behavior of the tribe of Binyamin at the Sea of Reeds influenced their future destiny. There at the Sea of Reeds, Binyamin — שָׁם בִּנְיָמִן , although the youngest — צָעִיר – of the tribes, gained authority by bravely entering the waters of the Sea before any other tribe. As a result, Shaul, the first king of Yisrael, was chosen from Binyamin to rule them [the entire nation] — רֹדֵם .
שָׂרֵי יְהוּדָה רִגְמָתָם
For a time Binyamin was to gain supremacy. But Yehudah’s destiny as the true tribe of royalty was recaptured by their prince Nachshon ben Aminadav who jumped into the Sea, leading his tribe and all the other tribes. Yehudah’s stature was suggested by the appearance of the princes of Yehudah in their embroidered robes — שָׂרֵי יְהוּדָה רִגְמָתָם .
שָׂרֵי זְבֻלוּן שָׂרֵי נַפְתָּלִי:
Among the other notable princes of tribes that would gain prominence in future years were the princes of Zevulun — שָׂרֵי זְבֻלוּן , which would gain influence by dominating the nations’s economy and the princes of Naftali — שָׂרֵי נַפְתָּלִי , which would be recognized for its military prowess.
(כט) צִוָּה אֱלֹקֶיךָ עֻזֶּךָ
עוּזָּה אֱלֹקִים זוּ פָּעַלְתָּ לָּנוּ:
People of Yisrael, you have overcome your enemies in the past because your G-d has decreed your strength — צִוָּה אֱלֹקֶיךָ עֻזֶּךָ . This will always be your source of might as long as you observe Hits mitzvos. Whenever you achieve victory, acknowledge it and say, “O G-d, this strength, it is You Who has wrought this for us — עוּזָּה אֱלֹקִים זוּ פָּעַלְתָּ לָּנוּ .”
PART 9. PLEA FOR GEULAH.
(ל) מֵהֵיכָלֶךָ עַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם
לְךָ יוֹבִילוּ מְלָכִים שָׁי:
O G-d, Your Name has been carried by Yisrael in Exile from your Temple — מֵהֵיכָלֶךָ throughout the world, far beyond Yerushalayim — עַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם . Kings shall yet deliver tribute to You — לְךָ יוֹבִילוּ מְלָכִים שָׁי .
(לא) גְּעַר חַיַּת קָנֶה
עֲדַת אַבִּירִים בְּעֶגְלֵי עַמִּים מִתְרַפֵּס בְּרַצֵּי כָסֶף
בִּזַּר עַמִּים קְרָבוֹת יֶחְפָּצוּ:
O G-d, rebuke the enemy power that is compared to the wild beast of the marsh — גְּעַר חַיַּת קָנֶה . Suppress the alliance of Yishmael that is like a herd of bulls among the nations that are like calves — עֲדַת אַבִּירִים בְּעֶגְלֵי עַמִּים . Rebuke them until they cower in the mud for pieces of silver — מִתְרַפֵּס בְּרַצֵּי כָסֶף . Scatter the nations who are eager for war — בִּזַּר עַמִּים קְרָבוֹת יֶחְפָּצוּ against the Jewish people.
(לב) יֶאֱתָיוּ חַשְׁמַנִּים מִנִּי מִצְרָיִם
כּוּשׁ תָּרִיץ יָדָיו לֵאלֹקִים:
When Hashem brings the Geulah and the exiled Jewish people are returned to their Land, nobles will come from Mitzrayim — יֶאֱתָיוּ חַשְׁמַנִּים מִנִּי מִצְרָיִם – to pay homage to Hashem and the distant nation of Cush will hasten to stretch out its hands to G-d — כּוּשׁ תָּרִיץ יָדָיו לֵאלֹקִים .
PART 10. SONG OF THE GEULAH.
(לג) מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ שִׁירוּ לֵאלֹקִים
זַמְּרוּ אֲדֹ־נָי סֶלָה:
O Kingdoms of the earth — מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ , who have gathered to pay homage to the Creator. Reflect upon His greatness and what He has done for His nation. Sense the blessed feeling of being able to call Him your Master and sing about it in praise to G-d — שִׁירוּ לֵאלֹקִים . Express your glorious emotion in tuneful song as you make music to the L-rd, Selah — זַמְּרוּ אֲדֹ־נָי סֶלָה .
הֵן יִתֵּן בְּקוֹלוֹ קוֹל עֹז:
Pay homage to the One Who rides upon the highest heavens of old — לָרֹכֵב בִּשְׁמֵי שְׁמֵי קֶדֶם , and continues to control the entire universe since it was created. Indeed, He expresses His power with His voice of thunder — הֵן יִתֵּן בְּקוֹלוֹ , the voice of invincible might — קוֹל עֹז .
(לה) תְּנוּ עֹז לֵאלֹקִים
עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל גַּאֲוָתוֹ וְעֻזּוֹ בַּשְּׁחָקִים:
Acknowledge the invincible might of G-d — תְּנוּ עֹז לֵאלֹקִים , Whose majesty shines miraculously upon Yisrael when they are worthy — עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל גַּאֲוָתוֹ . Then His invincible might is revealed for their benefit in the skies — וְעֻזּוֹ בַּשְּׁחָקִים .
(לו) נוֹרָא אֱלֹקִים מִמִּקְדָּשֶׁיךָ אֵ־ל יִשְׂרָאֵל
הוּא נֹתֵן עֹז וְתַעֲצֻמוֹת לָעָם בָּרוּךְ אֱלֹקִים:
The reverence for awesomeness of G-d — נוֹרָא אֱלֹקִים in the world emanates from the devotion of Yisrael in Your Mikdash in Yerushalayim and the corresponding Mikdash in Heaven — מִמִּקְדָּשֶׁיךָ . That Mikdash is the focal point of the Shechinah on earth, O G-d of Yisrael — אֵ־ל יִשְׂרָאֵל . It is He Who grants might and power to the people — הוּא נֹתֵן עֹז וְתַעֲצֻמוֹת לָעָם . Blessed is G-d — בָּרוּךְ אֱלֹקִים and His goodness flows to all the world.
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the pesukim of this mizmor are listed below.
א – ספורנו
ב – רד”ק, אבן יחייא, מלבי”ם, נר לרגלי
ג – רש”י, ספורנו, אלשיך, מצודות, רשר”ה,נר לרגלי
ד – אלשיך, רשר”ה, נר לרגלי
ה – רד”ק
ו – אבן עזרא, רד”ק, אלשיך, רשר”ה
ז – רד”ק, אלשיך, רשר”ה
ח – ספורנו, מצודות, נר לרגלי
ט – רד”ק, ספורנו
י – ספורנו, אבן יחייא, רשר”ה
יא – אלשיך, רשר”ה
יב – אבן עזרא, אבן יחייא, מצודות, רשר”ה
יג – רש”י, רד”ק, המאירי, מצודות
יד – רד”ק, המאירי, מצודות
טו – המאירי
טז – רד”ק, מצודות
יז – המאירי, נר לרגלי
יח – רש”י, מצודות
יט – רד”ק, המאירי
כ – רש”י, רד”ק, המאירי, מלבי”ם, נר לרגלי
כא – רש”י, רד”ק
כב – מצודות, נר לרגלי
כג – רשר”ה, נר לרגלי
כד – רד”ק, דעת סופרים
כה – רד”ק, מצודות, נר לרגלי
כו – רש”י, המאירי, רשר”ה
כז – רשר”ה
כח – רש”י, מצודות, תרגום
כט – רד”ק, נר לרגלי
ל – רשר”ה
לא – רש”י, רד”ק, מצודות
לב – רש”י, המאירי, מלבי”ם
לג – רש”י, רד”ק, רשר”ה
לד – מצודות, רשר”ה
לה – אבן עזרא, המאירי, מצודות, מלבי”ם
לו – אבן עזרא, רד”ק, מלבי”ם, נר לרגלי