Psalm 63 - Thy Lovingkindness is Better than Life

work in progress
This psalm seems to rhyme. I have included the transliteration with each verse.
There are no requests in this psalm, but the entire psalm is addressed to God. When I sing this song in the morning, I request these experiences.

heading - This psalm takes place in 1Sam 22-25 when David lived in the Judean wilderness as a fugitive from Saul. (Some think it is 2 Sam 15-17 when David fled from Absalom, his son, but this psalm is too joyful for that, and also David prays clearly about those who seek his life. In Absalom's case, David still loved Absalom and did not want him to die.)

Gramatically this psalm is divided into 3 parts: Verses 1-8, verses 9-10, and verse 11. The vav-nouns at the beginning of verses 9 and 11 start new paragraphs.

In this short psalm, there are many repeated words and phrases:
"my soul" is repeated 4x (v1, 5, 8, 9). There is a progression there: my soul thirsts, my soul is satisfied, my soul follows You closely, and there are people seeking my soul to destroy it.
"My lips" commend Thee in v 3 and sing aloud in v5.
"My mouth" sings praises in v5 but the "mouth speaking lies" shall be shut.
The 2nd person pronoun is used to refer to God 18 times:
"You" (as subject) are my God in v1, and became my helper v7
"You" (as object of my actions) 10x:
v1 I seek You early, my soul thirsts for You, how often my flesh for You
v2 to see You in the sanctuary
v3 my lips commend You
v4 thus I will bless You while I am living
v5 my mouth praises You
v6 I remember You on my bed, in the night watches I meditate and speak in You
v8 my soul cleaves to You
"Your" 6x:
v2 to see Your strength and Your glory
v3 Your mercy is better than life
v4 in Your name I life my palms
v7 in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy
v8 Your right hand supports me
"life" 2x - Your mercy is better than life v3, Thus I will bless You while I am living v4
"thus" 2x - As my soul and flesh thirst for You, Thus I've seen You in the sanctuary (vv1-2) & As Your mercy is better than life, Thus I will bless You while I live (vv3-4).
"hallel" praise 2x - as my soul is satisfied, my lips praise you v5, and all that swear in Him shall glory
my lips "sing aloud" v5 and in the shade of Your wings I "sing aloud".
 
v1 "Early I seek Thee" - the Hebrew word shachar also means "dawn".
Most translate the last phrase as "my flesh yearns for Thee." The Hebrew word kama which they translate as "yearns" never means that anywhere else. So that is a guess based on the context.
The Hebrew word kama which means "how many" or "how many times" which is used 13 times besides this verse. That is how LXX translated it. I would translate the last 2 phrases as:
My soul has thirsted for You how many times? How many times my flesh for Thee?
Elohim Eli Atah!  7
O God, my God are You!
AshacharehChah. 5
Early I seek You.
Tsamah leChah 4
Thirsted for You
naphshi 2
my soul
Kamah leChah 4
How many times for You?
bshari 3
my flesh
beretz-tsiyah 5
in a dry land
vih ah yaif bli-mayim. 7
and weary, without water
 
v2 - As I am now in the desert, I long for God as I've seen Him in church meetings.
God's power and glory may include powerfully delivering me.
Cain bakodesh chaziytiyCha 8
As in the sanctuary I have seen Thee
liroat oozCha 4 or 5
To behold Your power
oochvoa dehCha. 4
and Your glory.
 
v3
Ki tov chasdCha  5
Because better is Your mercy
maichayiym. 3
than life
Shfawtai yishabchoonCha. 7
my lips commend Thee.
The Hebrew word shabach, usually translated "praise" is a calming, soothing commending (Eccl 4:2; 8:15; Prov 29:11). It is used for God stilling the raging seas (Ps 89:9; 65:8).
 
v4 - The division between the 2 sentences in this clause could be cut in 3 ways. If David wanted to make it clear, he could have added a vav to divide it, but he didn't.
"while I live" could modify the preceding verb (bless) or the following verb (lift).
"in your name" could modify the preceding verb (live) or the following verb (lift). I think the meaning is that all of these are true:
Thus will I bless Thee while I live in Your name. While I live in your Name I will lift my palms in Your name.
Cain avarehchiCha 6
So I will bless Thee
bchayay  3
while I live
bshimCha 3
in Your name
ehsa chapay. 4
I lift my palms.
 
v5 - The Hebrew word chaylev meaning "fat" could also be translated "milk" with different vowels. Followed by the word dashehn which means either fat or ashes from fat, chaylev should mean "fat" here rather than "milk".
lit. and with lips of singing my mouth will praise.
Kmoh chaylev vadashehn tishbah naphshiy. 11
As fat and ashes satisfied is my soul
Vsiphtay rinanoat yehallel-piy. 10
and with lips of singing my mouth will praise
My soul's selfishness has been burned up to ashes which is satisfying to God and thus to my soul also (Ps36.8; etc).
 
v6 - David's bed at this time was the desert ground.
When David can't sleep he thinks of all the good that God has done for him.
Im zchartiyCha 5
If I remember You
al yetzooai 4
upon my bed
bashmooroat ehgeh bawCh. 7
in the night watches I meditate on Thee.
 
v7 - This is what David speaks about in the night.
The desert sun is oppressive. It is such a relief to be in a shadow.
Ki hayiyTah 4
For You became
ezratah 3
help
li oovtzail kinapheyCha. 7
to me and in the shadow of Your wings
Aranain. 3
I sing aloud
 
v8 -
 Davkah 2
Cleaved
naphshiy 2
my soul
achariyCha. 4
after you.
Biy tamcha 3
In me taken hold
yimiynehCha. 4
Your right hand.
 
v9 -
Vehaimah lishoaah yehvakshoo 9
And those that  to destruction seek
naphshiy yavoo 4
my soul, they shall enter
bitachtiyoat haharetz. 7
into the lower parts of the earth.
 
v10 - lit. given over to the hand of the sword
Yagiyroohoo 4
They cause him to be poured out
al-yeday-chehrehv 5
upon the hands of the sword
minat shooaliym yehyoo. 7
a portion of jackals they will become.
 
v11 - Saul is king at this time, trying to kill David. David has been annointed king by Samuel the prophet, but is living in the desert as a fugitive. David's rejoicing is as the king of God's people.
Vehamehlech yishmach 6
But the king shall rejoice
baElohim. 3
in God.
Yithallel cal hanishbah 7
shall boast all that swear
bo ki 2
in Him for
yisachar pi 4
shall be stopped the mouth
doavray shakehr. 4
speaking a lie.

- Steve Miller
copyright 1/6/2021 voiceInWilderness.info