Give Thanks to YHWH for He is Good and His Mercy (Chesed) Endures Forever—Part One
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever"
— Psalm 107:1
This is the first of a three part study on this particular scriptural phrase quoted six times in the Old Testament. Part one begins with a study of the Hebrew word for "thanks".
The Hebrew root word for thanks as used in this portion of scripture is the Word "Yada".
When we hear the word "thanks" we commonly think of simple appreciation or gratitude.
"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, point out with the hand, show by extended hand, profess and confess.
the three letter word pictograph for "thanks" shows us some interesting insights and agrees 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 is something that is 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, blessHis holy name!
— Psalm 103:1
"I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth"
— Ps. 34:1
The visual given in the definition is that of something thrown out there for all to see and pointed out, This letter indicates to us that thanks is about intentionally, expressively and deliberately 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 for us that what comes out of our mouths in the form of profession and confession is being thrown out "there".
God tells us in Isaiah 55:11 that His words go out and accomplish things. I believe that ours do too, for good or for bad, and may be the reason that Jesus said...
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 that I find interesting in reference to this topic. They are
- 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 word involves the use of our mouths as well as examples for us the "things" that come out of them. When using the Hebrew word picture concepts, whenever there is a double letter, as seen in these three words, it denotes something that is perpetual. A great example of this is displayed in the Hebrew word galal (gimel, lamed, lamed) which means to roll, as discussed in my previous Hub "Bless and Knee" it is discussed how "gimel" is imaged by a camel who exhibits a rolling behavior. W, therefore, have a picture of the continuous action of a camel rolling in the word "galal". The letter "lamed" is a imaged by a picture of a shepherd's staff and can be a reference to teaching or authority. So in these words we see that authority is perpetually going forth in various continuous actions.
In the case of "palal". The "pey" is imaged by a picture of a mouth. 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 backwards. So here we see that this can mean that to curse some one is like the authority of our words going forth that make people less than, behind others, or even move them backwards 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
And in the case of praise "halal", we see a window of revelation. 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 words for good or for bad are actual 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 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 this 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 to feminine and 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" is 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 to "yada" is much more than being grateful. It means to confess Him, 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.
It is in this activity that we give birth to the knowledge and revelation of His goodness to all. It is in thankfulness and praise of all that He is and all that He has done that we bear fruit for Him.
wrapping this up once again with the idea of "yada". We see that what comes out of our mouth is very similar to the action of throwing something from our hand. 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 things for good or for bad.
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