Psalm 119:9–16 NKJV
9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
I mentioned that Psalm 119 is composed of 22 stanzas of 8 verses each.
All 8 verses of a stanza begin with the same letter.
So, verses 1 to 8 which we read yesterday, in the Hebrew each begins with the Hebrew letter ALEPH. Each verse of what we just read in verses 9 to 16 begins with BETH. Thus the psalm proceeds to use all 22 of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
You may have noticed yesterday, and even more so today, the multitude of different words used to reference the Word of God. Because each one of them are speaking of the Holy Scriptures, it is easy to slip by them with little thought. If we do so, we miss part of the rich blessings contained for us in this psalm.
Let me share with you a summary of ten of these words taken from such Bible scholars as John Phillips, Lawrence O. Richards, and John Walvoord. The number of times they cite the word being used is just its use in Psalm 119!
1. Law (torah) – used 25 times and denotes direction or instruction. This word usually refers to a body of teaching, usually the books of Genesis-Deuteronomy.
2. Word (dabar) – used 20 times and is a general term for God’s revelation. The Ten Commandments are called “Ten Words” (literal Hebrew reading, Deut. 4:13).
3. Sayings (imrath) – used 19 times and may be translated as “words, promises.”
4. Commandments (mitswah) – used 21 times in the plural and once in the singular. It has the idea of a clear, definite, authoritative command.
5. Statutes (huqqim) – used 21 times and means “things inscribed or engraved.” It denotes the permanent, fixed, unchangeable nature of God’s Word.
6. Judgments (mishpot) – used 19 times in the plural and 4 times in the singular. It stands for a legal decision or a ruling from the bench that establishes a precedent.
7. Precepts (piqqudim) – used 21 times and has the idea of taking charge. It refers to God’s edicts, mandates or requirements.
8. Testimonies (edoth) – used 22 times in the plural and once in the singular. It refers to the solemn declarations of God’s standard for human behavior.
9. Ways (derek) – used 5 times in the plural and 6 times in the singular to refer to the pattern of life marked out by God’s Word.
10. Paths (orah) – used 5 times and is similar to “ways.”
Let´s read this portion of Psalm 119 again, and I will substitute the more precise meaning of the Hebrew every time we encounter these words.
Psalm 119:9–16 NKJV
9 How can a young man cleanse his pattern of life? By taking heed according to Your revelation.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your clear, authoritative commands!
11 Your revelation I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your permanent, unchangeable truth.
13 With my lips I have declared All the lasting decisions of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your solemn declarations, As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your divine edicts, And contemplate Your path for me.
16 I will delight myself in Your unchangeable declarations; I will not forget what You have revealed.
May this be our prayer and commitment to the Lord today!
5/1/2020 07:37:40 pm
I appreciate reading it this way. The variety of different words used is indicative of God's aim in revealing himself to us. He has shown, and continues to show, us how great is his love for us.
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