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 #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).

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.

Why Study Koine Greek?

Why would you want to study a particular version (Koine) of Greek that no one speaks anymore?

The straightforward answer is because it is the language in which the New Testament (NT) was written. In addition, there was written a Koine Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint.

Koine (sounds like coin-ay) effectively means common so we have “common” Greek and this was the common tongue in the time of Jesus and the Apostles as well as beyond. Any time you study languages, you will come across the term lingua franca which is used to refer to the common language of a time. For NT times, this was Greek.

  1. With the above in mind, you have to study Koine Greek if you want to be able to read the NT in its original language and grasp a deeper understanding of the text.
  2. What was written in Greek may not have a direct counterpart in English. This is a great reason for the different translation approaches used between the different English translations of the Bible. Read the Greek to get to the source.
  3. The culture in which the original text written in Greek is different from our own present-day culture. This is important for understanding difficult texts that our present-day culture hates or is confused about. 1 Timothy 2:9-15 is a great example. People have often responded to such a passage by siding with worldly culture and thereby rejecting the Scripture (at least on the target passage), or you get those who read it without seeking to understand the full context and thereby conclude, improperly, to take on abusive, error-filled practices. This point also serves to re-emphasize point 2.
  4. Revival. Historically, the early church did all its worship in Greek. This became a problem as the western church and the eastern church grew further and further apart. Eventually, the west broke entirely and did things in Latin and the people largely spoke their own native tongue at this point. This brought about a period of spiritual darkness that stuck around until the Reformation. We are in danger of the same sort of spiritual darkening if we fail to continue to seek out the Greek, the original text of the NT Scriptures. Thankfully, we do have many good English translations today, but we wouldn’t have had them without the Greek; if we forget the Greek, we can endanger ourselves to those who would push forward altered translations of the Bible.
  5. For the one studying Greek (or any language for that matter), their minds become sharpened. As you learn Koine Greek, you come to understand the Scriptures as those did in the times that it was written and beyond. You also become sharper at noticing key details in the text that can have profound implications to its interpretation. For one, this helps to notice what was originally being said in a given text when in the English it may look like something contradictory is being said when compared to another area of Scripture. Such a scenario speaks to the difficulties of translation and emphasizes the benefit of understanding the original language in which it was written.

I’m sure I could make more points but already you can see how each point made easily feeds into the others. Also, many of these reasons to study Greek would also apply to study Hebrew which is the original language of the Old Testament Scriptures. Sure, you could just stick to the Greek Septuagint but that work is a translation of the original Hebrew. Once again, it is good and profitable to get to the original language.

Now, with all that said, I am not trying to say that every Christian must learn Greek, Hebrew, or whatever other languages. I would highly recommend it though. Between Greek and Hebrew, most English speakers will find Greek relatively easier to learn as there are clear similarities between the two languages.

Other languages used in the time of Christ and thereafter include Aramaic and Latin which can also prove useful.


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Messiah

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. the promised and expected deliverer of the Jewish people.
  2. Jesus Christ, regarded by Christians as fulfilling this promise and expectation. John 4:25, 26.
  3. (usually lowercase) any expected deliverer.
  4. (usually lowercase) zealous leader of some cause or project.
  5. (italics) an oratorio (1742) by George Frideric Handel.

Etymonline.com

c. 1300, Messias, from Late Latin Messias, from Greek Messias, from Aramaic (Semitic) meshiha and Hebrew mashiah “the anointed” (of the Lord), from mashah “anoint.”

This is the word rendered in Septuagint as Greek Khristos (see Christ). In Old Testament prophetic writing, it was used of an expected deliverer of the Jewish nation. The modern English form represents an attempt to make the word look more Hebrew, and dates from the Geneva Bible (1560). Transferred sense of “an expected liberator or savior of a captive people” is attested from 1660s.


Discussion/Explanation

Messiah has counterparts, as can be seen above, in Late, Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. It is in the Septuagint – the Greek translation of the Old Testament (OT) – that we see the related term from which we get Christ.

Regardless of which translation used, it remains a term that marks the deliverer, the anointed one foretold to come and save His people. As Christians, we know the Messiah to be Jesus. We call Jesus the Christ or Jesus Christ as this designates the same thing, the same truth about Jesus. The works of the New Testament (NT) were written in Greek which is why we see the term “Christ” so often whereas the OT commonly used “Messiah” as it was written in Hebrew.


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Exegetical Theology

Dictionary.com & Etymonline.com

— see Exegesis —     also    — see Theology


Discussion/Explanation

It is all that explains and interprets the Holy Scriptures in the study of theology.

This area of study involves the study of ancient languages like Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic in order to study the Scriptures from primary sources – the original/early manuscripts of the Bible.

This also includes archeology and study of the canon of Scripture. Archeology in the study of ancient cultures and people surround the original writings. Canon in the study of the process involved in bringing the various books of the Bible together into the Bible as we know it today which was also against a historical background.

Exegetical theology therefore also includes criticism of the Scriptures and, by relation, the interpretation. This probably becomes obvious to you as you stop to think about what would be logically involved in the above-mentioned elements.

In the end, this is a very important branch of theology as it directly connects to historical theology in its studies and therefore directly impacts practical theology. Biblical theology becomes closely tied with the work carried out in exegesis such that it isn’t uncommon for people to argue biblical theology to be little more than part of exegetical theology (more on this later).


Source/Link for Additional Reading:

http://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/E/exegetical-theology.html


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Exegesis

Dictionary.com

noun, plural exegeses [ek-si-jee-seez] (Show IPA)
1. critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible.


Etymonline.com

1610s, “explanatory note,” from Greek exegesis “explanation, interpretation,” from exegeisthai “explain, interpret,” from ex “out” (see ex-) + hegeisthai “to lead, guide,” from PIE root *sag- “to track down, seek out” (see seek (v.)). Meaning “exposition (of Scripture)” is from 1823. Related: Exegetic; exegetical; exegetically.


Discussion/Explanation

This week’s term, exegesis, is straight-forward and the above definition hits its meaning clearly. Even so, there are a few things I’d like to point out about its use.

Exegesis is at the center of exegetical theology as it deals with the text thoroughly. Because of this, it is closely related to what is called biblical theology. All of this includes particular attention to the original languages that the biblical texts were written in (namely Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic). We also pay close attention to the historical context of the texts and the writers. I don’t want to dive too deep here as this term (exegesis) will be addressed again when I post on exegetical theology. With that in mind, I’ll leave things here for now.

Remember past posts can be easily found under the Series Links which is also where you will find the other series I have created.


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Torah & Pentateuch

Dictionary.com

Torah

noun, ( sometimes lowercase)

1. the Pentateuch, being the first of the three Jewish divisions of the OldTestament.Compare Tanach.

2. a parchment scroll on which the Pentateuch is written, used in synagogue services.
3. the entire body of Jewish religious literature, law, and teaching as contained chiefly in the Old Testament and the Talmud.
4. law or instruction.

Etymonline.com

Torah

“the Pentateuch,” 1570s, from Hebrew torah, literally “instruction, law,” verbal noun from horah “he taught, showed.”

Pentateuch

first five books of the Bible, c. 1400, from Late Latin pentateuchus (Tertullian, c.207), from Greek pentateukhos (c. 160), originally an adjective (abstracted from phrase pentateukhos biblos), from pente “five” (from PIE root *penkwe- “five”) + teukhos “implement, vessel, gear” (in Late Greek “book,” via notion of “case for scrolls”), literally “anything produced,” related to teukhein “to make ready,” from PIE *dheugh- “to produce something of utility” (see doughty). Glossed in Old English as fifbec.


Discussion/Explanation

In this week’s post, things are easily defined. The Torah is the Hebrew term for what is also called the Pentateuch (Greek/Latin). In other words, they are two names from different languages for the exact same thing. You will also hear it called “The Law” in English as this is a translation of the Hebrew term.

Personally, I find both terms helpful. Torah = the law which is very telling of the content contained within. Also, to call it the Pentateuch is helpful as Penta means 5 as is seen above in the etymonline entry. There are 5 books in the Pentateuch/Torah which include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy which are the first 5 books of the Old Testament section of the Bible.

That’s all there is to it. Of course, there are other names for other sections of the Bible but that’s out of the scope of this post. Look’em up if you’re curious!

 


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