In a League of Its Own


    Psalm 119 is a literary masterpiece of the highest order.  It is the crème-de-la-crème of all human music.  It is in a league all its own because of…

  • Its focus. As declared in its initial verses, this psalm seeks to thoroughly explore and explain the blessedness of those who live in harmony with the divine teaching of Jehovah.  “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord!  Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” (vv. 1-2).  One hundred seventy-six verses were needed to accomplish this task!
  • Its structure. Psalm 119 is an acrostic (i.e. alphabetical) poem.  As noted in most standard translations, the praise of Jehovah’s word is sung using each successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet—from Aleph (vv. 1-8) to Tau (vv. 169-176).
  • Its beauty. What the English translators cannot duplicate in translation is the fact that each of the eight verses dedicated to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet begin with the corresponding letter.  For example, each of the first eight verses begin with the Hebrew letter Aleph; each of the next eight verses begin with the Hebrew letter Beth.  This pattern is repeated with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet!  In music, eight is the perfect number, for there are eight notes in an octave.  In essence, the unknown—yet clearly inspired—composer calls each letter of his native tongue to sing an octave’s praise of God and His all-sufficient word.  Imagine how difficult that would be using each of the twenty-six letters of our English alphabet!

What a matchless composition!

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Author: jchowning

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