Beginning the Journey (for new Christians).
1, 2, and 3 John
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
2 Peter, Jude
7 Last Words of Christ
Christ Powered Life (Rom 5-8)
David, Life of
Jesus and the Kingdom
Lamb of God
Names of God
Names of Jesus
Sermon on the Mount
7. God our Fortress and Protector
Audio (31:45) |
Perhaps the ultimate fortress in Israel is Herod's fortress in Masada (from metsûdâ), a symbol of Jewish resistance to Roman oppression.
In many of the passages that use metaphors of God our Protector, we find several metaphors (or perhaps titles) used in parallel.
So instead of discussing the definitions as we come to them, it'll be helpful to display a number of them together and then see how they're used in Scripture.
God Our Refuge and Fortress
Unlike Europe and Asia, America has little history of refuges and fortresses, except perhaps the western stockade where settlers might gather during times of unrest. But in Old Testament days, especially before the Romans brought peace to Palestine, a refuge or fortress was a very real need. Unwalled villages were clustered around walled stronghold cities, where residents in the region would flee in times of war. High towers and ramparts could be defended against a force many times their size. A number of words describing fortresses are used as metaphors of God's defense and protection.
"Place of refuge, shelter," from the verb chāsā, "to seek refuge, flee for protection."1
"Fastness, stronghold, fortress." Apparently related to metsād, which means "mountain-height" or "summit"; then "fortress, castle." Masada, Herod the Great's fortress-palace plateau near the Dead Sea comes from this word.2 In 1 Samuel 23:14, 19, and 29, David hides from Saul in the natural mountain strongholds (metsād) in the wilderness and near Engedi
"Great or tall place, tower," is from the verb gādal, "grow up, become great." probably deriving from early times when the tower was the largest (greatest) structure in a town.3 Strong tower is a pair of words: pair of words, `ōz, "strong" and migdāl.
Stronghold, high tower
"High place, refuge," from the verb śāgab, "be inaccessibly high," and is used in the Piel stem in Psalm 91:14 with the connotation, "to set on high," and "to defend" or "protect."4 Miśgāb is also used as a descriptor of God in 2 Samuel 22:3 and Psalm 46:7, 11.
"Place of strength," hence, of safety. The verb carries the idea of taking shelter quickly. While the noun can be used of various types of places of security, it is most commonly used figuratively, designating God as the refuge of his people.5
"Place of escape." From the verb nûs, "flee," a verb which denotes rapid movement away from, or escape from real or imagined danger.6
Refuge, strong habitation
"Place of habitation, dwelling," from `ûn, "to dwell."7
While each of these words has its own flavor, as suggested by the verbs they derive from, when used as a metaphor of God's protection, they are often used in synonymous parallelism as near synonyms, rather than emphasizing the differences between the words.
God Is our Rock, our Shade, and our Hiding Place
God is a place of refuge during siege, but also a place of personal refuge. The Ancient Near East was plagued by bandits, gangs of marauding raiders who would pounce on an unprotected village, take its plunder, rape its women, and perhaps take slaves or slaughter the inhabitants. In times like these, God is seen as a great rock in which to hide, a hiding place, and a shade.
Massive rock. This word is used for boulders or formations of stone, and for the material which composes mountains. The caves of the rocks are places where David and his men sought safety when they were being hunted by King Saul and his armies. Yahweh is called a Rock many times.8
"Split rock, cleft rock, rock, cliff," related to an Arabic root sala`a, "to split." Thus sela` refers basically to a cleft in a rock, thus a rock or cliff.9
Both words for Rock are used of God. With the metaphor of Rock, God himself is seen as a place of security and refuge. In the New Testament, Christ also takes on the image of our Rock (1 Peter 2:6ff.; 1 Corinthians 10:4)."
A related pair of words describe the safety found in the shelter of God.
"Hiding place," from the verb sātar, "to hide, conceal." Yahweh is a place of refuge and protection from all the dangers that a believer may experience.10
The word conveys positive ideas of shade, protection, and defense. Shade from a boulder or rock provides some relief from the scorching heat of the Near Eastern noonday. Shadow can also be used figuratively for the protection offered by a nation. Yahweh is the shade or source of protection for his people.11
God our Shield and Buckler
A third kind of metaphor of protection is that of defensive armament.
"Smaller and more common type of round shield carried by light infantry and officers," from gānan, "cover over, shield from danger." Sometimes māgēn is used figuratively of princes as protectors of the realm, and perhaps of a suzerain as benefactor and protector.12
"Large rectangular shield" covering the whole body.13
Usually understood as the small shield used in closest combat or some type of armor ... and is clearly related to the verbal root, sāchar, 'go around, turn about/away.'"14
We'll meet a few more words, but that these are the main words used as metaphors for God.
A Psalm of God's Protection (Psalm 91)
But just an analytical study of words doesn't give us the flavor of how the Scripture uses these words. Let's look at one longer passage, Psalm 91, a hymn celebrating God's protection. Why don't you begin by reading the whole psalm aloud from your Bible. Along the way, revel in your God the Protector. We'll comment on a few of the words, using this occasion to examine God our Protector.
A Hiding Place and Shade (Psalm 91:1a)
In verse 1 the psalmist pictures tucking oneself into a place in God where he cannot be seen and attacked by outsiders.
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High...." (Psalm 91:1a)
God has a "secret place" (KJV, NJB), a "hiding place" (sēter), a "shelter" (NRSV, NIV) for us. The word is a metaphor for God elsewhere:
"You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble...." (Psalm 32:7)
"You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word." (Psalm 119:114)
God our Shade (Psalm 91:1b)
".... Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:1b)
God's "shadow" (sel) is another way of describing his protection. In a couple of verses, "Shade" might be seen as a metaphor for God himself:
"The LORD is your keeper;15
the LORD is your shade at your right hand." (Psalm 121:5)
"For you have been a refuge16 to the poor,
a refuge16 to the needy in their distress,
a shelter17 from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat." (Isaiah 25:4)
The psalmist in Psalm 91 will "rest" (NIV), "abide" (KJV, NRSV), "spend your nights" (NJB) here, using the word "to dwell." God's protection is a constant habitation, not just an occasional escape.
It's interesting to see in the first two verses, in addition to the protection metaphors, four names and titles of God: Most High (elyon), Almighty (shaddai), Yahweh, and God (´elohim). The psalmist is almost savoring the care of the one God under all these names and concepts.
My Refuge and Fortress (Psalm 91:2)
Now he testifies that Yahweh is his refuge and fortress, the one he runs to for protection when enemies are on the prowl.
"I will say of the LORD,
'He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.'"18 (Psalm 91:2)
Most English Bibles use the same translations for refuge (machseh) and fortress (metsûdâ). Here the image is God as a fortification against the enemy's attack. God himself is the Refuge (Psalm 14:6; 46:1; 61:3; 62:8; 91:9), and Strong Refuge (Psalm 71:7). In a few minutes we'll examine some more verses along this line.
Refuge under His Wings (Psalm 91:3-4)
"Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence." (Psalm 91:3)
Now the psalmist extols God's protection from other kinds of dangers. The fowler's snare is figurative of those who try to trap us. The fowler caught birds with a snare or net for food. Deadly19 pestilence refers to the dangers of disease and epidemics.
"He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge."20 (Psalm 91:4a)
This metaphor draws the picture of a bird providing protection to its children by the "shadow of his wings" as in Psalm 17:8; 36:7. Jesus used this metaphor with reference to unbelieving Jerusalem: "How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Luke 13:34)
"His faithfulness will be your shield and buckler." (Psalm 91:4b)
Now the metaphor changes to military armor. God's "faithfulness" (NIV, NRSV; KJV "truth") to protect his own is compared to a shield (sinnâ) and buckler (sōchērā).
You Will Not Fear (Psalm 91:5-8)
The Psalmist continues describing the security that the Lord will provide. Notice that God's protection isn't just limited to one kind of threat or at one time of day.
"You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day...." (Psalm 91:5)
Fear often comes at night. God is there. The arrows of battle or the marketplace may zing by day. The Lord is with us then as well.
"... nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday." (Psalm 91:6)
Disease that might strike by day or night cannot penetrate God's defense around us.
"A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked." (Psalm 91:7-8)
The psalmist depicts a believer surviving amidst the wholesale slaughter of a battleground, a city devastated and crushed, or a multitude laid low by sickness and death. Many a soldier has prayed using this verse as a springboard.
Our Refuge and Dwelling Place (Psalm 91:9-10)
"Because you have made the LORD your refuge,
the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent." (Psalm 91:9-10, NRSV)
Now the psalmist returns to the fortress image (machseh). And he picks up the theme of verse 1, dwelling with the Most High. God is both his fortress in times of distress and his constant home (mā`ōn). See also Psalm 90:1, "Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations."
"For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." (Psalm 91:11-12)
Satan quoted verse 11 to Jesus in the wilderness and Jesus quoted right back to him Deuteronomy 6:16: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test" (Matthew 4:6-8).
Protection and Salvation (Psalm 91:13-16)
"You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent." (Psalm 91:13)
Both the lion and the snake are deadly and both attack from hiding. Treading on the serpent has faint echoes of the promise that the seed of man (the Messiah) will crush the serpent's (Satan's) head (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20)
"'Because he loves me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.'" (Psalm 91:14)
When we love God and "know" his name, he watches out for us, with both protection21 and rescue (pālat), whichever is appropriate to our need.
"He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation." (Psalm 91:15-16)
Because the psalmist knows Yahweh's name, he can call upon him. And whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.
|Q1. (Psalm 91) What is the protected one required to
do in times of danger (verses 1-2, 9). What metaphors are
used of God's protection in this psalm?
God our Shield
Psalm 91 is a wonderful assurance of God's protection. In verse 4 we saw God as our Shield, usually māgēn. In the ancient Near East, warriors used two kinds of shields:
- Small shield , used in hand-to-hand combat, that covered about half of the soldier's body. It had to be light enough to allow for mobility, but hard enough to ward off blows of an attacker. Shields were made of leather, wood, and metal. Their shape often reflected the tradition of the particular people. The round shield was widely copied, perhaps originating in the Aegean, used by the sea peoples.
- Large shield , used in sieges. It was full length, covering the whole body, so that archers could fire arrows and still be protected.22
God reveals himself as our Shield in the Pentateuch:
"Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward." (Genesis 15:1)
"He is your shield and helper23
and your glorious sword."24 (Deuteronomy 33:29; also Psalm 115:9-11)
But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. (Psalm 3:3)
He shields and protects us. When we are weak and tired, God lifts our head and gives us renewed strength.
|Q2. (Psalm 3:3) In what ways is God a shield? In what
ways is he our glory? In what ways is he "the lifter up of my
head"? What does this teach us about God? About
God our Strength
Shield appears along with Strength, Refuge, and Fortress as a metaphor of God our Defender.
"The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress25 of salvation for his anointed one." (Psalm 28:7-8)
"Strength" is `ōz, "strength, power," used primarily of deity, particularly in the Psalms.26 In the next verse there's an obvious play on these words that have a similar sound -- `ōz "strength" and mā`ōz "fortress",
"O LORD, my strength and my fortress,
my refuge in time of distress...." (Jeremiah 16:19)
"The LORD is my strength and my song;27
he has become my salvation." (Psalm 118:14; also Isaiah 12:2; Exodus 15:2).
"The LORD is my light and my salvation--
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold28 of my life--
of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1)
Let's add yet another descriptor of God -- "horn of my salvation."
"My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (2 Samuel 22:3 = Psalm 18:2b)
The word "horn" is qeren, commonly used for an animal horn. We'll be considering the idea of "horn of my salvation" in chapter 11. "Horn" is a sign of military strength, probably originally from the horn of the wild sheep or of oxen who used their horns in fighting for superiority. God is the Mighty One who saves us, our Defender as our Shield and Stronghold.
God our Rock
Now look again at more of this verse to add yet another word -- Rock.
"The LORD is my rock (sela`) and my fortress29 and my deliverer,30
My God, my rock (tsûr), in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."31 (2 Samuel 22:2 = Psalm 18:2)
Natural rock stronghold above En Gedi in the area where David and his band of men hid from Saul and his army (1 Samuel 24).
As defined above, two words for Rock are used synonymously in this verse. Psalm 144:1-2, also, is rich in synonymous words to describe God's protection:
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
He is my loving God32 and my fortress,33
my stronghold34 and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me." (Psalm 144:1-2)
Many, many times God is referred to as the Rock, both the Rock of the nation Israel and the Rock of the individual who trusts in him. Here are a few, each with a slightly different flavor. Read them out loud and savor the words:
"But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel." (Genesis 49:24)
"He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just....
He abandoned the God who made him
and rejected the Rock his Savior." (Deuteronomy 32:4, 15)
"Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock (tsûr) of refuge,35
a strong fortress36 to save me.
Since you are my rock (sela`) and my fortress,37
for the sake of your name lead and guide me. " (Psalm 31:2-3)
"From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,38
a strong tower39 against the foe." (Psalm 61:2-3)
"Be my rock (tsûr) of refuge,40
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock (sela`) and my fortress."41 (Psalm 71:3)
"He will call out to me, 'You are my Father,
my God, the Rock my Savior.'" (Psalm 89:26)
"The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock,
and there is no wickedness in him." (Psalm 92:15)
"Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal."42 (Isaiah 26:4)
"Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one." (Isaiah 44:8)
"Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn." (Isaiah 51:1)
Many other verses refer to God is a refuge and fortress, such as: Psalm 9:9; 18:2; 27:1; 28:8; 37:39; 42:2; 59:15-17; Proverbs 10:29; Isaiah 17:10; 25:4; 27:5; Jeremiah 16:19; Joel 3:16. Here's a final one:
"The LORD is good,
a stronghold43 in a day of trouble;
he protects those who take refuge in him." (Nahum 1:7)
|Q3. In what ways is God a Rock in the above verses.
What functions does a rock perform in Palestine?
God our Keeper
We looked at this verse in conjunction with Psalm 91:1, but God our Keeper bears another look. Look at the whole Psalm 121 as a psalm of protection and care:
"1I lift up my eyes to the hills --
from where will my help come?
2My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore." (Psalm 121, NRSV)
"Keep" and "keeper" (NRSV, KJV), or "preserve" (KJV), or "watches over" (NIV) are from the verb shāmar, "keep, take care of, guard." The basic idea of the root is "to exercise great care over." The word can be used in tending a garden, a flock, or a house, guarding against intruders, of gatekeepers or watchmen.44 Cain asks, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9). We're focusing on "Shepherd" in chapter 8, one of the roles of a shepherd is to protect and defend the flock against all enemies.
God does not ignore us. He is never surprised. He is constantly aware of us and our surroundings to protect us, perhaps through guardian angels. At night he stands guard. During the day he is at watch. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is God our Keeper.
|Q4. (Psalm 121). What does it mean that God is our
Keeper. In what ways does he "keep" or "guard" us?
Needing a Crutch
I've heard some critics accuse Christians of embracing Christianity because they are weak, because they need a crutch. The truth is, we do need a Protector, we do need a Hiding Place, we do need a Refuge in time of trouble. Because we trust God for our protection does not mean that we are weak. When we do trust in God we become all the stronger. Though we may take a breather in our Hiding Place, we do not retreat from society. We face it knowing that our Defender is with us. No, Christians are not weak, they are strong. They are humans who recognize their inherent weakness and find strength that God intended in God himself.
Our Final Bastion -- Eternal Life
When you look back at the history of mankind you see much violence and injustice. Many have been oppressed, many killed, many slaughtered. This side of the cross we know that whether we are preserved or die, we are ultimately going to be all right. Our Defender will have the last word, which is "eternal life." Consider these two verses:
"You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life." (Luke 21:16-19)
"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; they cried out with a loud voice, 'Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?' They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed." (Revelation 6:9-11)
We may see the horror of death and even martyrdom. But our Defender has not failed us. He knows that for us to be absent from the body is to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8), and that is far better (Philippians 1:23). Our final defense is vindicated before God's judgment and at rest in his presence.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" (Revelation 21:3-4)
Now available as in paperback and e-book formats. Includes Hebrew & Greek word studies, discussion questions and handouts for groups or classes, suggests songs, comprehensive with 120 core names, titles, etc., total of 219 varieties. Detailed index. Modestly priced. Buy your copy today.
"God is my Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). Though I fear evil in the "valley of the shadow of death," his rod and his staff, they comfort me (Psalm 24:4). And when I stand before the throne of God, who will speak in my defense? Jesus Christ the Righteous One is my Advocate with the Father. He is now my refuge and my strength, and will be my Savior. Come soon, Lord Jesus.
O Lord, when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. You are my Refuge and Strength, and always have been. You are my Shield and Fortress. When people threaten me with words or actions, you are my Defender, my Judge, and Vindicator. Ultimately, O Lord, you will stand with me on judgment day as my Savior. Thank you. Help me never quail in fear, but be strong in you, my Rock. Strengthen my faith. Lift up my head that I might trust in you. In Jesus' mighty name, I pray. Amen.
Names of God
- Dwelling Place
- Glorious Sword
- Hiding Place
- High Tower
- Horn of My Salvation
- Lifter Up of My Head
- My Glory
- My Song
- My Strength
- Rock Eternal
- Rock of Israel
- Rock of Refuge
- Strength of His People
- Strong Fortress
- Strong Refuge
- Strong Tower
- Stronghold of My Life
- Very Great Reward
"A Mighty Fortress Is our God, a Bulwark Never Failing," by Martin Luther (1529)
"A Shelter in the Time of Storm," words: Vernon J. Charlesworth (1880), music by Ira D. Sankey (1885)
"Be Thou My Vision," words attributed to Dallan Forgaill (8th century), translated from Ancient Irish by Mary E. Byrne (1905) and set to verse by Eleanor H. Hull (1912), music is Irish folk tune. The third verse, not often sung, goes: " Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight; / Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight; Thou my soul´s Shelter, Thou my high Tower: Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power."
"Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" (chorus: "Be thou still my Strength and Shield....") words by William Williams (1745), music by John Hughes (1907)
"He Hideth My Soul in the Cleft of the Rock," words by Fanny Crosby (1890), music by William J. Kirkpatrick
"I Will Call upon the Lord" (Chorus: "The Lord liveth and blessed by my Rock...."), words and music by Michael O'Shields (©1981, Sound III, Inc., Admin. by Universal - MCA Music Publishing)
"Make Me Glad," words and music by Miriam Webster (©2001 Hillsong Publishing, Admin. in U.S. & Canada by Integrity's Hosanna! Music). The chorus goes: "You are my shield/My strength my portion/Deliverer/My shelter strong tower/My very present help in time of need."
"My All in All" ("You are my Shield, O God..."), by Frank Hernandez and Sherry Saunders Powell (©1975 Sparrow Song, a div. of EMI Christian Music Publishing, Admin. by BMG Music Publishing)
"My Glory and the Lifter of My Head" (Thou, O Lord, art a Shield about me..."), by Ruth (Mae) McAlister (© 1967 Ruth (Mae) McAlister), from Psalm 3:3.
"Praise the Name of Jesus," ("He's my Rock, He's my Fortress...."), words and music by Roy Hicks, Jr. (©1976 Latter Rain Music, Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
"Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me," words by Augustus Toplady (1776), music by Thomas Hastings (1830)
"The Rock that Is Higher than I," words by Erastus Johnson (1871), music by William G. Fischer (1871)
"The Shadow of the Rock," words by Fannie Crosby, music by Ira D. Sankey.
"To Every Generation" ("You have been a Shelter, Lord"), words and music by Bill Batstone (© 1986 Maranatha Praise, Inc., Admin. by The Copyright Company)
"You Are My Hiding Place," words and music by Michael Ledner (© 1981 Maranatha! Music, Admin. by The Copyright Company)
"Sing to the Lord, the Rock of our Salvation," words (paraphrase of Psalm 95) by Theodore Maynard, music by George W. Chadwick (1890)
Standard Abbreviations http://www.jesuswalk.com/names-god/refs.htm
- Donald J. Wiseman, chāsā, TWOT #700b.
- John E. Hartley, tsûd, TWOT #1885i.
- The same pair of words for "strong tower" is used in Proverbs 18:10. Elmer B. Smick, gādal, TWOT #315f, g.
- BDB 960; Gary G. Cohen, śāgab, TWOT #2234a.
- Carl Schultz, `ûz, TWOT #1578a.
- Leonard J. Coppes, nûs, TWOT #1327a.
- `Ûn, TWOT #1581a.
- John E. Hartley, tswr, TWOT 1901a.
- R. D. Patterson, sl`, TWOT #1508a.
- R. D. Patterson, sātar, TWOT #1551a.
- John E. Hartley, tsālal, TWOT #1921a.
- James E. Smith, gānan, TWOT #367c.
- BDB 857.
- R. D. Patterson, sāchar, TWOT #1486c. NIV translates it "rampart" in Psalm 91:4b. The Targum saw it as a small round shield. The New English Bible and NIV translations as "rampart" follows a Syriac root with the idea of "walled enclosure, bulwark" (Marvin E. Tate, Psalms 51-100 (Word Biblical Commentary 20; Word: 1990), p. 448). "Technically the buckler is a small rounded shield usually worn on the forearm rather than carried in the hand." The large shield may be a better interpretation of sinnâ (James K. Hoffmeier, "Weapons of War," ISBE 4:1040-1041).
- Shāmar, "keep, take care of, guard" (TWOT #2414).
- Mā`ōz, "place of refuge or safety."
- Machseh, "place to which to flee for safety."
- "Trust" is bātach, "trust in, feel safe, be confident... Bātach expresses that sense of well-being and security which results from having something or someone in whom to place confidence. (John N. Oswalt, bātach, TWOT #233). In the Septuagint it is translated consistently as elpizō, "to hope," rather than pisteuō, "believe in."
- "Deadly" (NIV, NRSV) or "noisome" (KJV) is hawwâ, "calamity" (TWOT #483a.) The KJV word "noisome" doesn't mean noisy, but "noxious, harmful" (Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary).
- "Trust," chāsā, "to seek refuge, flee for protection."
- "Protect" (NIV, NRSV) and "set ... on high" (KJV) is śāgab, "to be inaccessibly high" and "to defend." The noun form is miśgāb, "high place, high tower, refuge" (Gary G. Cohen, śāgab, TWOT #2234).
- James K. Hoffmeier, "Weapons of War," ISBE 4:1040-1041.
- `Ēzer, "help," from `āzar, "help, support," a verb which is used 80 times in the Old Testament, usually of military assistance. God is the "Helper of the Fatherless" (Psalm 10:14), also Psalm 54:4 (CS, `āzar, TWOT #1598a).
- Chereb, "sword, dagger," from chārab, "to slay, fight."
- Mā`ōz, "fortress."
- Carl Schultz, `āzaz, TWOT #1596b.
- Zimrâ, "song."
- Mā`ōz, "stronghold."
- Metsûdâ, "fortress."
- We'll consider "Deliverer" from pālat, "escape, save, deliver" in chapter 11.
- Miśgāb, "stronghold."
- Hesed,"steadfast love, lovingkindness," translated here as "my loving God" (NIV), "my goodness" (KJV), "my faithful love" (JB). This reading has been emended by the RSV and NRSV translators to read "my rock," with Psalm 18:2 and 2 Samuel 22:2.
- Metsûdâ,"fortress," "bastion" (NJB).
- Miśgāb, "stronghold," "citadel." (NJB).
- Mā`ōz, "refuge."
- Meṣûdâ, "strong fortress" (NIV), "house of defence" (KJV).
- Meṣûdâ, "fortress."
- Mahseh, "refuge."
- "Strong tower" is formed from `ōz, "strength" and migdāl, "tower, high place."
- Mā`ōn, "refuge."
- Meṣûdâ, "fortress."
- "Rock eternal" (NIV), "everlasting strength" (KJV), "everlasting rock" (NRSV).
- Mā`ōz, "stronghold."
- Shāmar, TWOT #2414.
Copyright © 1985-2016, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastorjoyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.
In-depth Bible study books
You can purchase one of Dr. Wilson's complete Bible studies in PDF, Kindle, or paperback format.
- 1, 2, and 3 John
- 1 Peter
- 2 Peter & Jude
- 1 & 2 Thessalonians
- 1 & 2 Timothy
- 1 Corinthians
- 2 Corinthians
- Abraham, Faith of
- Christ Powered Life (Romans 5-8)
- Christmas Incarnation
- Colossians and Philemon
- David, Life of
- Great Prayers of the Bible
- Jacob, Life of
- Jesus and the Kingdom of God
- JesusWalk: Beginning the Journey
- John's Gospel
- Lamb of God
- Lord's Supper
- Luke's Gospel
- Moses the Reluctant Leader
- Names and Titles of God
- Names and Titles of Jesus
- Resurrection and Easter Faith
- Sermon on the Mount
- Seven Last Words of Christ