Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Tour through Psalms 119: Yodh

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
This week's Hebrew letter is Yodh...which sort of looks like an apostrophe, a punctuation mark instead of a letter, to my western eye. But it is a letter, and, in the Hebrew it begins each of the verses in the section beginning in verse 73 and concluding in verse 80.  Here's how it is in my NIV 84:

Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.
I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,  for your law is my delight.
May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;  but I will meditate on your precepts.
May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes.
May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

You'd think by now I'd be catching on to the Hebrew...maybe I am, just a little.  At least, some of the words are starting to look familiar.   I'm in awe of anyone who can actually write Hebrew; so many letters are so very incredibly similar.  Basically, though, I still feel like I'm muddling through.  But even muddling through will eventually get through...and here's my cobbled up paraphrase, based on the Hebrew dictionary:

Your commandments [and] your two hands have fashioned me and established me;  give me understanding and I shall learn.
Reverent ones consider me and rejoice because I have waited for your word.
I have been afflicted and I have known, Yahweh, the righteousness and steadfastness of your judgements.
I pray now, let your faithfulness become my consolation according to your word to your servant.
Your mercies come upon me so that I will live, because your law is my delight.
By your precepts the arrogant are confounded for their lying subversion, but I meditate [upon them].
Return to [you? me?] those who are reverent, who have known your divine testimonies.
My inner man - mind, will and understanding- stands soundly on your statutes so that I will not be ashamed.

My greatest struggle is the pronouns, and the...well, for want of a better term, the pleading.  Look at how many of the verses start with 'May' or 'let' in the NIV translation.

I really only found one verse that clearly started with a beseeching structure (verse 76, which I rendered 'I pray now'); it really isn't obvious in the others.  Of course, I'm using a purely amateur translation process, so I'm sure I'm missing obvious clues, but as I'm working through it the psalmist seems much more declarative....I believe, therefore such and such...not, please, I believe, so let such and such... 

But maybe I'm perceiving a difference that really isn't much of a difference.

However, I'm finding much more encouragement in the declaration than in the entreaty, and it seems more in character with what God does...he blesses, he comforts, he encourages, the folks who are committed to him and his word.

God's precepts confound the arrogant...but they are the source of joy and comfort to the one who will meditate on them. 

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