In the NIV 84:
Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law.
Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise.
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees.
Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to your laws.
Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes.
I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word.
See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love.
All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.
And, here's the results of my crawl through the dictionaries:
Perceive my misery and deliver me, because your law [I] never ignore.
Act as a kinsman-redeemer in my dispute and ransom me; by your word restore my life.
Distant from [the] wicked [is] salvation, because your statutes [they do] not consult.
Your compassion is great, Yahweh; by your judgments sustain my life.
Many [are] my persecutors and adversaries; from your testimonies [I do] not turn aside.
I perceive treacherous [ones] who give no heed to your word and [my self] grieves.
See how I love your precepts, Yahweh; cause me to flourish in your compassion.
The totality of your words is truth; all your righteous judgments are everlasting.
Ok...I'm going to be straight up honest; there was a particular verse that prompted this whole study.
A quote I'd heard years ago mentioned a verse that I wanted very much to find, but the concordances didn't turn it up in the NIV or the King James. I figured it *had* to be in Ps. 119, so I decided to do a fine-toothed comb study to see if I could find it.
I knew when I read verse 160 that I had found what I was looking for, but not the NIV translation. Not the KJV, either (Thy word is true from the beginning: and everyone of thy righteous judgments endureth forever).
I grabbed the Parallel Study Bible and found that the translation I'd heard was the NASB:
The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.
At least the use of 'Thy' explains why I thought it was King James...
But while I was in the Parallel Bible, I checked the other translation listed there...the Amplified:
The sum of Your Word is truth [the total of the full meanings of all Your individual precepts] and every one of Your righteous decrees endures for ever.
Do you see it? We have a definition of truth...the totality of the word of God.
The Hebrew word which is translated 'all' in NIV, 'sum' in NASB and AMP, 'totality' in my paraphrase and 'Beginning' in King James is the word rosh (Strong's 7218) and has this entry on the Blue Letter Bible site:
- head (of man, animals)
- top, tip (of mountain)
- height (of stars)
- chief, head (of man, city, nation, place, family, priest)
- head, front, beginning
- chief, choicest, best
- head, division, company, band
I can sort of see where the KJV translators got 'from the beginning', but, honestly 'total' and 'sum' are the best fitting translations. And the dictionary indicates that the word has a particular construction that makes it dependent upon another noun...in this case, it would be either 'word' or 'truth'; there's no indication of a preposition.
The sum of your word is truth. That means one passage cannot be interpreted or applied in a way that is inconsistent with the rest of the word. It also means that one passage or instruction cannot be pulled out and called 'out of date' and discarded; that takes away from the sum. Not to mention that the rest of the verse indicates that those decrees are everlasting; they do not have an expiration date.
It also lends a new light to John 1:1, 1:14 and 14:6
...In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God ...And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us....It was he who said, 'I am the way, the truth and the light...'
God's word is truth...both the word he spoke and the word incarnate.
To borrow another great word from the Psalms...Selah.
Just two more letters to go...