Psalm 119

This chapter of the Psalms is a rather interesting one.

Not only is it long but it is broken into stanzas of 8 verses. The lines of these verses each originally began with a word that had a Hebrew letter corresponding to a particular place in the Hebrew alphabet.

In other words, the first 8 verses all begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph) and the next 8 begin with the next letter (bet) and then the next for the next 8 and so on.

This is why in English translations you will find “Aleph”, “Beth”, “Gimel”, etc. every 8 verses to emphasize this.

So to get this “mini-series” of sorts started, here’s the first 8 verses or the 1st stanza in both English and Hebrew.

English

Aleph

How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the Lord.
How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.
They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.
You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.
Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Your statutes!
Then I shall not be ashamed
When I look upon all Your commandments.
I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
I shall keep Your statutes;
Do not forsake me utterly!

NASB

Hebrew

 אַשְׁרֵ֥י תְמִֽימֵי־דָ֑רֶךְ הַֽ֝הֹלְכִ֗ים בְּתוֹרַ֥ת יְהוָֽה׃

 אַ֭שְׁרֵי נֹצְרֵ֥י עֵדֹתָ֗יו בְּכָל־לֵ֥ב יִדְרְשֽׁוּהוּ׃

 אַ֭ף לֹֽא־פָעֲל֣וּ עַוְלָ֑ה בִּדְרָכָ֥יו הָלָֽכוּ׃

 אַ֭תָּה צִוִּ֥יתָה פִקֻּדֶ֗יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֥ר מְאֹֽד׃

 אַ֭חֲלַי יִכֹּ֥נוּ דְרָכָ֗י לִשְׁמֹ֥ר חֻקֶּֽיךָ׃

 אָ֥ז לֹא־אֵב֑וֹשׁ בְּ֝הַבִּיטִ֗י אֶל־כָּל־מִצְוֺתֶֽיךָ׃

 א֭וֹדְךָ בְּיֹ֣שֶׁר לֵבָ֑ב בְּ֝לָמְדִ֗י מִשְׁפְּטֵ֥י צִדְקֶֽךָ׃

 אֶת־חֻקֶּ֥יךָ אֶשְׁמֹ֑ר אַֽל־תַּעַזְבֵ֥נִי עַד־מְאֹֽד׃

WLC

Note: you may have noticed I spelled bet two different ways – bet & beth. It is more common to see it spelled beth but the h isn’t pronounced so it sounds more like bet like you would pronounce in English.

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