Journey To Zion

Psalm 84

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 84

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

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Jesus said, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head’ (Matthew 8: 20). (Holes and *nests are where foxes and birds sleep. Son of Man is a name for Jesus.)

Psalm 84

  This is) for the music leader.
(He must use) *Gittith.
(It is) a psalm for *Korah.

v1   *LORD of (*huge) armies
  - people love your *temple very much!

v2   I want very much (to go to) the place where the *LORD lives.
  (I want it so much) that it is making me feel weak!
  All that I am and all that I feel is crying out to the Living God!

v3   Even the *sparrow has found a home
  and the *swallow (has found) a *nest.
  There she may keep her babies.
  (They are in places) near your *altars,
  *LORD of (*huge) armies.
  You are my king and my God.

v4   The people that live in your house are very happy.
  They can always tell you how great you are.   *SELAH

v5   The people that you make strong are very happy.
  They want to come to you (in Zion).

v6   As they pass through a dry valley,
  it (seems) to become a place with wells of water in it.
  The autumn rains cover (the valley) with pools.

v7   The people become stronger as they go,
  (until) each one appears before God in Zion.

v8   *LORD God of (*huge) armies,
  hear the words that I am praying!
  God of *Jacob, listen to me!   *SELAH

v9   God, look at our *shield!
  And look kindly at the face of your king.

v10   One day in your (*temple) *courts
  is better than a thousand (days somewhere else).
  I would rather stand at the door of God’s house
  than sit in the houses of *wicked people.

v11   For the *LORD is a sun and a *shield.
  He gives *grace and *glory (to people).
  He gives good things to people that do what is right.

v12   *LORD of (*huge) armies
  - everybody is very happy that *trusts in you!

The Story of Psalm 84

We do not know who wrote Psalm 84. Some Bible students think that it was the same person that wrote Psalms 42 and 43. We call that person "the *psalmist". The *psalmist is far from the *Temple in Jerusalem. He wants to be one of the people that visit the *Temple. We call these people "*pilgrims". Even if he could be for one day in the *temple *courts, that would be better than a thousand days anywhere else!

*Korah was the name of a group that made music for the *temple. There are notes about *Korah before Psalm 73 in this series of psalms.

What Psalm 84 means

Study the psalm in 4 parts:

  ·  Verses 1 - 4 tell us that many people love the *temple, including the *psalmist.

  ·  Verses 5 - 7 tell us about *pilgrims to Zion.

  ·  Verses 8 - 9 The *psalmist prays for the king.

  ·  Verses 10 - 12 tell us about God.

In this psalm, there are several names for God, and several names for the *temple. The names of God include:

  ·  *LORD of (*huge) armies. These armies are millions of *angels that live with God in *heaven. *LORD is the *covenant name of God. People that agree to love and obey him use it. The *Hebrew words for "*LORD of (very big) armies" are "*Yahweh *Sabaoth". Our translation keeps the word "*Sabaoth" in Psalm 80, but uses "(*huge) armies" here.

  ·  Living God. This means that God will always be alive and that he makes everything else alive also.

  ·  King. This is not the king of Israel, as it is in verse 9, it is God.

  ·  God of *Jacob. *Jacob is another name for Israel.

Other names for the *temple are:

  ·  the place where the *LORD lives

  ·  your house

  ·  God’s house

The *psalmist says in verse 3 that small birds can live in the *temple. But the *psalmist is far away, verse 2. If it is the same *psalmist as in Psalms 42 and 43, then he is hundreds of kilometres away! When he thinks about it, it makes him feel weak. In verses 5 - 7, he tells us about the *pilgrims to Jerusalem. They may come on long journeys, but they really want to come to Zion. The "dry valley" in verse 4 is "Baca Valley" in *Hebrew. The Baca is a tree that lives in dry places. We do not know where this Baca Valley was. But the dry place did not stop the *pilgrims. They found water there, maybe the autumn rains. Christians have always believed that this verse means: when life is difficult, God will send help.

In verse 3, the *psalmist calls God his or her king. But in verses 8 and 9 the *psalmist prays for another king. It is the king of Israel that lives in Jerusalem. He calls this king "a *shield". The king stops other countries hurting his people. The word is not "king", but is "*messiah" in *Hebrew. It means "*anointed". "*Anointed" means "oil poured on". This is how they made kings long ago. All the Kings of Israel were *messiahs, but Jesus is the Great *Messiah! He is our king … if we *trust in him. Then we will be very happy, verse 12. Verse 11 does not say that God is the sun, but a sun. This means that God is *like a sun. He is not the sun that we see in the sky!

Something to do

1.  Study Psalms 42 and 43 in this series.

2.  Find all the different names for God in this Psalm.

3.  Tell God that you are *trusting in him, and in his Son, Jesus.

4.  Learn to say verse 6 of Psalm 84 by heart. (This means that you can say it without looking at the words.)

Word List

Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.

altar ~ part of the *temple.

angels ~ *spirits that live in *heaven with God.

anointed ~ with (*olive) oil poured on.

church ~ all those people that believe all about Jesus.

courts ~ places outside the *temple.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.

forgive ~ take away the results of *sin. (But look in the notes on Psalm 85:2).

Gittith ~ maybe music from a town they called Gath.

glory ~ something that shines very much, maybe *heaven: God has glory because his *righteousness shines from inside him.

grace ~ when someone (here God) is kind and *forgives when he does not have to forgive.

heaven ~ the home of God.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.

huge ~ very, very large.

Jacob ~ another name for Israel, both the people and the land. (Jacob was Abraham’s grandson).

Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.

Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Korah ~ look in the Introduction in Book 3 of the Psalms of David.

like ~ another word for "as".

Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or "master"; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.

messiah ~ in the *Old Testament, the *anointed king. In the *New Testament, Jesus. The word messiah is *Hebrew for *anointed.

nest ~ place where a bird keeps its babies.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught and about the church [see church].

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the *holy things that the writers wrote before Christ’s birth.

olive ~ a fruit.

pilgrims ~ people that make a special journey.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people that love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say that they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of The Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".

righteousness ~ what you have when you are *righteous.

Sabaoth ~ a *huge group of people, usually armies of *angels in the Bible.

Satan ~ the leader of the bad *spirits, known also as the Devil and Lucifer.

SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.

shield ~ what a soldier holds over himself to stop things hitting him.

sin ~ not obeying God, or what you do when you do not obey God.

sparrow ~ small bird that makes *nests in houses.

spirits ~ they are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually known as *angels. Bad spirits (known also as evil spirits, or demons) do not live in *heaven now, but in the air round us. *Satan is their leader.

swallow ~ small bird that makes *nests in houses.

temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.

trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be good to you.

wicked ~ very, very bad.

worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.

Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like ‘I am’ or ‘always alive’.


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2002

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