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מוֹשָׁעָה – deliverance

Semantic Fields: Deliverance   
Author(s): James K. Aitken
First published: 2000-06-30
Last update: 2024-06-30
Citation: James K. Aitken, מוֹשָׁעָה – deliverance,
               Semantics of Ancient Hebrew Database (, 2000 (update: 2024)

For a fuller discussion of the lexical field ‘Deliverance’ as a whole, see on this site the ‘Overview of SAHD entries for ‘Deliverance’ words by Graham I. Davies.


Grammatical Type: n.f.
Occurrences: 1x HB (0/0/1); 0x Sir; 0x Qum; 0x inscr. (Total: 1).

  • Ketubim: Ps 68:21.
  • Text doubtful: -

Qere/Ketiv: none.

1. Root And Comparative Material

A.1 See: ישׁע: Root and Comparative Material.

2. Formal Characteristics

A.1 Only the plural form מוֹשָעוֹת is attested. It is not certain either from the form or from the syntagmatic context whether it is masculine or feminine. However, HAL, 532, suggest that it is feminine, the singular form being *מוֹשָעָה (see BL, 490e).

B.1 Briggs and Briggs (1907:110) propose that the lexeme is an Aram. inf. from the verb ישׁע, citing the LXX rendering. The plural form, however, makes this unlikely.

3. Syntagmatics

A.1 The pl. is found preceded by לְ and in predicative position to אֵל, ‘God’ (Ps 68:21). The lamed expresses a relational sense of God to מוֹשָׁעוֹת, perhaps a lamed of specification (see Waltke and O’Connor, IBHS, § 11.2.10 d). Alternatively, the lamed might indicate the possessive, and the expression אֵל לְמוֹשָׁעוֹת would be comparable to the construct chain frequent in the Psalms of אֱלֹהֵי יֵשַׁע (e.g., Pss 18:47; 24:5).

B.1 Gunkel (1933:290) sees the לְ as a dittography after אֵל.

4. Ancient Versions

a. Septuagint (LXX):

  • σώζω, ‘to save’, as articular infinitive: Ps 67:21 (68:21MT).

b. Peshitta (Pesh):

  • no rendering: Ps 68:21.

c. Targum (Tg: K):

  • פורקן, ‘redemption, salvation’: Ps 68:21.

d. Vulgate (Vg):

  • salus, ‘a being safe and sound, welfare’: Ps 67:21 (68:21MT).

A.1 The LXX and Vg clearly understand the root meaning as ‘to save’. Although in the Tg the translation is free, the rendering פורקן, ‘redemption, salvation’, renders a similar sense.

5. Lexical/Semantic Fields

A.1 See: ישׁע: Lexical/Semantic Fields’.

A.2 The noun מוֹשָעָה is a hapax legomenon, found at Ps 68:21. מוֹשָעָה seems to be in parallelism with both יְשׁוּעָה, ‘salvation’, in the previous verse and לַמָּוֶת תּוֹצָאוֹת, ‘escapes from death’, later in the same verse.

6. Exegesis

A.1מוֹשָעָה appears in a Psalm that describes in broad terms God’s saving acts, including the deliverance from Egypt, defeat of the enemies, conquest of the land and protection from evil. The obvious connection of מוֹשָעָה with the verb ישׁע, its parallelism with יְשׁוּעָה and the context indicate that it is a noun denoting ‘deliverance’.

A.2 HAL, 532, glosses מוֹשָעָה as ‘Hilfeleistung’, and BDB, 448, preserves the plural form in its gloss ‘saving acts’.

7. Conclusion

A.1 The evidence from the context, the parallelisms, the Versions and the likely root yšʿ all point to מוֹשָעָה denoting ‘deliverance’ or ‘saving act’, with reference to victories over enemies and even over death/Mot.

A.2 מוֹשָעוֹת is probably the plural form of a feminine noun *מוֹשָעָה.


For the abbreviations see the List of Abbreviations.

Briggs and Briggs 1907
Charles A. Briggs and Emilie G. Briggs, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. 2 (ICC), Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
Gunkel 1933
Hermann Gunkel, Einleitung in die Psalmen: die Gattungen der religiösen Lyrik Israels (HKAT), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Semantics of Ancient Hebrew Database