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A Look Into Psalms 119 Essay

2506 words - 11 pages

Everyday millions of Americans read stories to their children before they go to bed. I often read Dr. Seuss books to my son Seth, who is four years old. He loves the rhythm and rimes that are those books. One of his favorites is Green Eggs and Ham. Seth has begun to answer the questions of Sam, answering him for the other character saying “he does not like green eggs and ham”. It caught my attention that some of the Psalms also have a repetitive nature. Psalm 119 is the longest of all the Psalms and is very repetitive. Many people only read one section of the Psalm because of the repetitive nature and do not look at the chapter as a whole. There is a lack of churches teaching on the ...view middle of the document...

In most sections you will find these eight Hebrew words; תורה (torah), עדת (decrees), פקודים (precepts), חקים (statues), מצות (commandments), משׁפטים (ordinances), דבר (word), אמרה (promise). Just as the Green Eggs and Ham, for my son, is repetitive about asking where you would like your green eggs and ham. This system of repeating emphasizes there importance in the life of Christians. The author of Psalm 119 also has made a conscious effort to setup the chapter by using every Hebrew letter, in order, to start every verse of each section. Each section is eight verses long, and begins with the same Hebrew letter. A setup that is based on the Hebrew alphabet provides a system that would help the reader remember the Psalm.
The first section Psalm 119:1-8 starts with the Hebrew letter א or Aleph and is as follows:
1Those whose way is blameless—who walk in the LORD’s Instruction—are truly happy! 2 Those who guard God’s laws are truly happy! They seek God with all their hearts. 3 They don’t even do anything wrong! They walk in God’s ways. 4 God, you have ordered that your decrees should be kept most carefully. 5 How I wish my ways were strong when it comes to keeping your statutes! 6 Then I wouldn’t be ashamed when I examine all your commandments. 7 I will give thanks to you with a heart that does right as I learn your righteous rules. 8 I will keep your statutes. Please don’t leave me all alone! (Psalm 119:1-8)
The psalmist is portraying that people who follow in God’s teachings are truly happy, because the person who does as instructed is free of wickedness and guilt. The author believes that happiness comes from following instructions and that everything is well when serving the Lord. Six of the eight thematic words are in the first eight verses, starting with them right out of the gate does not leave any question about what the author is trying to discuss. In verse one we read about the Lord’s instruction, in Hebrew it is תורה (torah). The torah can be translated several ways and many of the other eight thematic words are actually synonyms for torah. Torah is one of the most important words in this section of text. A major part of Psalm 119 is about following God’s teaching, walking in God instructions or following his decrees.
The scripture continues on calling people to “guard God’s laws” , the Hebrew root there is עדת which could be translated as decrees. The change can be attributed to the translator, but the meaning is the similar. The decrees are given to man by man from God, which in essence could be considered decrees given to man from God. The third verse is the only verse in the section not to contain one of the eight words. Instead it talks about walking in God’s way and not doing evil, this guides the reader to do righteousness in the sight of God. The remainder of verses all have at least one of the eight thematic words. In verse seven we see the thematic word משׁפטי in the Common English Bible it...

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