Psalm 119:9-24

We continue where we left off from last time and move onto the Beth and Gimel stanzas of this chapter of the Psalms.

Beth

English

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances 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 regard Your ways.
16 I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.

NASB

Hebrew

 בַּמֶּ֣ה יְזַכֶּה־נַּ֭עַר אֶת־אָרְח֑וֹ לִ֝שְׁמֹ֗ר כִּדְבָרֶֽךָ׃

 בְּכָל־לִבִּ֥י דְרַשְׁתִּ֑יךָ אַל־תַּ֝שְׁגֵּ֗נִי מִמִּצְוֺתֶֽיךָ׃

 בְּ֭לִבִּי צָפַ֣נְתִּי אִמְרָתֶ֑ךָ לְ֝מַ֗עַן לֹ֣א אֶֽחֱטָא־לָֽךְ׃

 בָּר֖וּךְ אַתָּ֥ה יְהוָ֗ה לַמְּדֵ֥נִי חֻקֶּֽיךָ׃

 בִּשְׂפָתַ֥י סִפַּ֑רְתִּי כֹּ֝֗ל מִשְׁפְּטֵי־פִֽיךָ׃

 בְּדֶ֖רֶךְ עֵדְוֺתֶ֥יךָ שַׂ֗שְׂתִּי כְּעַ֣ל כָּל־הֽוֹן׃

 בְּפִקֻּדֶ֥יךָ אָשִׂ֑יחָה וְ֝אַבִּ֗יטָה אֹרְחֹתֶֽיךָ׃

 בְּחֻקֹּתֶ֥יךָ אֶֽשְׁתַּעֲשָׁ֑ע לֹ֭א אֶשְׁכַּ֣ח דְּבָרֶֽךָ׃

WLC


Gimel

English

Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.
19 I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
20 My soul is crushed with longing
After Your ordinances at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed,
Who wander from Your commandments.
22 Take away reproach and contempt from me,
For I observe Your testimonies.
23 Even though princes sit and talk against me,
Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
24 Your testimonies also are my delight;
They are my counselors.

NASB

Hebrew

גְּמֹ֖ל עַֽל־עַבְדְּךָ֥ אֶֽחְיֶ֗ה וְאֶשְׁמְרָ֥ה דְבָרֶֽךָ׃

גַּל־עֵינַ֥י וְאַבִּ֑יטָה נִ֝פְלָא֗וֹת מִתּוֹרָתֶֽךָ׃

 גֵּ֣ר אָנֹכִ֣י בָאָ֑רֶץ אַל־תַּסְתֵּ֥ר מִ֝מֶּ֗נִּי מִצְוֺתֶֽיךָ׃

 גָּרְסָ֣ה נַפְשִׁ֣י לְתַאֲבָ֑ה אֶֽל־מִשְׁפָּטֶ֥יךָ בְכָל־עֵֽת׃

 גָּ֭עַרְתָּ זֵדִ֣ים אֲרוּרִ֑ים הַ֝שֹּׁגִים מִמִּצְוֺתֶֽיךָ׃

 גַּ֣ל מֵֽ֭עָלַי חֶרְפָּ֣ה וָב֑וּז כִּ֖י עֵדֹתֶ֣יךָ נָצָֽרְתִּי׃

 גַּ֤ם יָֽשְׁב֣וּ שָׂ֭רִים בִּ֣י נִדְבָּ֑רוּ עַ֝בְדְּךָ֗ יָשִׂ֥יחַ בְּחֻקֶּֽיךָ׃

 גַּֽם־עֵ֭דֹתֶיךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָ֗י אַנְשֵׁ֥י עֲצָתִֽי׃

WLC


Clarification: Each line in the Hebrew section is a new verse. Verses do not run into a new line.

WLC = Westminster Leningrad Codex

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.

Hebrew Tidbit #7

It was mentioned before that Hebrew has a cursive style of writing. So today I want to share with you what that looks like and the best source I have found is in the following video.

The “written” or “handwriting” form they keep referencing in the video is also called the cursive.

Of course, this video covers more than simply handwriting. If you’ve read the other Hebrew Tidbits, some of this material will seem already familiar.


This concludes the Hebrew Tidbit mini-series. Further Hebrew material will be coming separately.

Hebrew Tidbit #6

Hebrew is not a tense-based language.

This can be a difficult component for not only English native speakers to grasp but for most who learned a western language first.

Hebrew is a language of aspect and in order to translate into English which has tenses you have to consider which aspect you are translating from and the context.

So let’s unpack that a little bit.

  1. Hebrew is an aspect language.
  2. You have to consider the aspect when translating meaning there are multiple types of aspects in Hebrew. These aspects are focused on the verbs in the language.
  3. With the above in mind, a single aspect may have more than 1 English translation. In order to know which translation is the correct to use, you must consider the context of the surrounding text you are translating.

The point is that not every language has a 1 to 1 easy translation and that is particularly the case when you compare an aspect language like Hebrew to a tense language like English.

As a side note, Biblical Greek (Koine Greek) is also considered to be aspect driven but it is odd in that it actually does have some tense characteristics like that of English (in other words, it is sort of between Hebrew and English on this topic).

Greek Word: αγαπη

Today – agape

In the Greek: αγαπη

Pronunciation (Erasmian): ag-ah’-pay

Definition/approximate English equivalent: love, charitably, dear

Example of its use:

  • Romans 5:8 (Tischendorf): συνίστησιν δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀγάπην εἰς ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ὅτι ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὄντων ἡμῶν Χριστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀπέθανεν:

Hebrew Tidbit #5

One of the things I have craved in studying Hebrew is being able to hear the words I was studying being spoken. However, the dilemma I quickly ran into was that I was actually studying Biblical Hebrew and most sources out there like electronic dictionaries and such are Modern Hebrew.

Why is this a problem?

Well, comparing the two is like comparing a King James version of English to modern English. Sure, there is going to be crossover and things understood but the vocabulary, word frequencies, etc. have changed over time. What’s more, new words have had to be added for things like computers which simply didn’t exist in biblical times.

Strangely, realizing this actually was a comfort to me as I was able to start squaring why I would sometimes find a word in the Bible used in modern Hebrew but other times find the modern using a derivative term or entirely different term for a word I knew in the Bible.

Greek Word: και

Today – kai

In the Greek: και

Pronunciation (Erasmian): kih (long vowel I sound)

Definition/approximate English equivalent: (conjunction) and, also, even, indeed, but

Example of its use:

  • Matthew 20:19 (Tischendorf): καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εἰς τὸ ἐμπαῖξαι καὶ μαστιγῶσαι καὶ σταυρῶσαι, καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθήσεται.

Hebrew Tidbit #4

Let’s look at a Hebrew word for this one. A rather well-know word would be shalom meaning peace. It is also commonly used as a greeting.

In Hebrew characters only, the word appears as follows . . .

שלום

If vowel markings are added, shalom takes on the following appearance . . .

שָׁלוֹם

The dot above the shin (the w looking character to the right) is not a vowel marker but the others are vowels.

Remember! Hebrew is read right to left. It is that w looking character that provides the sh sound to shalom.

Hebrew Tidbit #3

There are varying font styles in Hebrew as you would also find in other languages like English. Hebrew even has a cursive method of writing, but what I want to focus on today is how Hebrew can be found written with or without vowel markings.

Personally, I prefer Hebrew written with the vowel markings but there is much modern material written without them and you simply have to have memorized the right vowel sounds or infer from context the correct pronunciation.

Here are the vowel names: (Please note that if you look around online you will likely find multiple spellings to some of these.)

  • patah
  • segol
  • hireq
  • qames-hatup
  • qibbus
  • qames
  • sere
  • holem
  • qames-he
  • sere-yod
  • hireq-yod
  • holem-waw
  • sureq

In addition, there is a shewa as well which is more like a “half-vowel” when pronounced.

Hebrew Tidbit #2

We are used to calling our collection of letters the alphabet and we use them for our many words including every thing I have written in this sentence. Hebrew has its own set of characters and its own “alphabet” except it goes by a slightly different name.

In Hebrew, their collection of letters is the aleph-bet. It looks and sounds very similar to our own name in English. The name comes specifically from the first two characters of the Hebrew aleph-bet. They are א (aleph) and ב (bet). Rather simple, right?

That’s all for now!