Give Thanks to Yhwh . . .
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever"
— Psalm 107:1
This study centers on the above Scriptural phrase, which is quoted six times in the Old Testament. We will begin by taking a look at the Hebrew word for "thanks."
The Hebrew root word for "thanks," as used in this portion of Scripture, is the Word "yada."
Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines this particular Hebrew word for 'thanks' in a more assertive, active, and expressive definition such as "to cast forth"; "throw; to point out with the hand; to show by extended hand; to profess and confess.
The three-letter word pictograph for "thanks" shows us some intriguing insights that agree with this definition.
"Yod," "Dalet," and "Hey" are the three Hebrew letters that make up this word.
"Yod," the first letter of the word we are studying, is a picture of a hand and images an intentional action, deed, or behavior indicating that thanks are something deliberately expressed.
I can't help but think of how intentional and deliberate the Psalmist was when he spoke to His own soul and instructed it to praise and bless the Lord. He wasn't passively waiting for a feeling to come over him.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
— Psalm 103:1
"I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth"
— Ps. 34:1
Words Are Things That Go Out and Accomplish
The visual given in this definition is that of something thrown. This letter indicates to us that thanks are about intentionally, expressively, and deliberately throwing out there and pointing out the goodness of God. Hands lifted high could be considered an outward expression of this inward reality.
I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
— Psalm 63:4
The hand throwing also images that what comes out of our mouths in the form of profession and confession is being thrown out there.
The Gospel of Isaiah informs us that God's words go out from His mouth and accomplishes things.
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
— Isaiah 55:11
Perhaps our words, for good or bad, are equally consequential considering a particular exhortation from Christ.
. . . every idle word men may speak, they will give account of.
— Matthew 12:36
When we confess or proclaim something, our words are sent out into the atmosphere, accomplishing what they are sent to do. In this respect, we might see that words are things.
Hosea chapter 14, verse 2 images this for us in saying.
"Take with you words, and turn to the Lord"
There are three Hebrew words translated as "pray," "curse," and "praise" that I find interesting about this topic.
- Palal (pey, lamed, lamed) means to pray.
- Qalal (qoof, lamed, lamed) means to curse or diminish, and
- Halal (hey, lamed, lamed) means to praise.
Each of these words involves the use of our mouths and illustrates for us the "things" that come out of them.
When using the Hebrew word picture concepts, a double letter denotes something perpetual, as seen in these three words. A great example of this is displayed in the Hebrew word galal (gimel, lamed, lamed), which means "to roll." Gimel", the first letter, is represented by a camel that exhibits a rolling behavior. The camel rolling demonstrates a repetitive, continuous action.
The letter "lamed" is a picture of a shepherd's staff and can reference teaching or authority. So in these words, we see that authority is perpetually going forth in various continuous actions.
In the case of "palal." A picture of a mouth illustrates the "pey." Therefore we can see that our prayers are a picture of our mouths going forth in perpetual authority.
O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
— Psalm 51:15
In the case of "qalal," "qoof" is a picture of the back of a head and can indicate what is behind or least, or even moving backward. So here we see that this can mean that to curse someone is like the authority of our words going forth that make people less than, it is behind others, and moves them backward perpetually.
. . . the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature . . .
— James 3:6
In the case of praise, "halal," we see a window of revelation with the letter "hey." When God is revealed to us, perpetual praise is the result. In keeping with the double "lamed" symbolizing authority, we see the revelation of Him going forth carrying authority.
For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
— Isaiah 61:11
All of these words indicate that our terms, for good or bad, are real things that come out of us and go out into the atmosphere and have authority.
. . . out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
— Matthew 12:34b-37
"Dalet," the second letter of the Hebrew word for "thanks," is depicted by a picture of a door carrying the concept of a way into or out of.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
— Psalm 100:4
Thanks is a way into and an invitation to the presence of God.
"Hey," the final letter of the Hebrew word for thanks is a picture of a window symbolizing revelation. When used as a suffix, "hey" can signify "what comes from." A "hey" on the end of a word changes the gender of a noun from masculine to feminine. It symbolizes the idea of the noun being described as having the capacity to give birth, according to Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
The word "yod" without the "hey" is literally "hand." So the Word "yada" comes with the idea of what is coming from the hand.
"Yod," represented by the hand, also indicates "works" and can be symbolic in this verse of being thankful for what God has done.
O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?
— Deuteronomy 3:24
When we tie these concepts together, we can see that "yada" is much more than being grateful. It means to confess God, profess Him, and what He has done out to all, to throw it out there, and cast out there what has been revealed to us, that He is good!! And His covenant love is forever!
Let His covenant deeds of love and goodness be revealed in our giving of thanks. May our extended hands symbolize our confessions and professions that He is good, and His mercy (Chesed-loyal covenant love) will never end. He is faithful in all He does.
In this activity, we give birth to the knowledge and revelation of His goodness to all. In thankfulness and praise of all that He is and all that He has done, we bear fruit for Him.
In conclusion, we see that what comes out of our mouth is very similar to the action of throwing something from our hands. The things we throw from our hands are very real, just as are the words that come forth from our mouth have substance and accomplish something for good or for evil.
May we be so aware and full of the knowledge and revelation of His goodness and covenant love that we cannot help but speak of the things which we see and hear from Him. (Acts 4:20) and may we also be deliberate about what we say and do, proclaiming His goodness and giving birth to the knowledge of His greatness in all we say and d?.
© 2010 Tamarajo