The Apple Of God's Eye

July 29, 2009

What Do The Words And Symbols Between Verses In Psalm 119 Mean?

Filed under: Bible — melchia @ 9:08 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

There is an ongoing question concerning the words and symbols found between the verses of Psalm 119.

These words are the names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In this psalm each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is
spelled out in English, and in many Bibles the Hebrew symbol is written before it. Here is the reason.

Psalm 119, like the majority of the psalms, was written to be sung as a song of praise to God. But, unlike most other psalms it was written in a unique style. It is divided into twenty-two sections or strophes, each composed of eight lines or verses. In the first strophe (verses 1-8) the first word in each line in the original Hebrew begins with Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the second strophe (verses 9-16) the same style is used and each line begins with Beth, the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This system is continued until all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet have been utilized.

As you can see, Psalm 119 in the original Hebrew is really an intricately written poem. The alphabet was used by translators to separate its twenty-two sections for the reader, because in the English translation this acrostic pattern is not possible to duplicate. Today, in English, we have an accurate translation of the original, even though it is impossible to duplicate the poetic Hebrew form.

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