Truth, Understanding, Insight

Psalm 133

18th December 2003, hej


1) Psalm 133 is poetry

Below is a literal word-for-word translation from Hebrew of the well-known Psalm.

Here what good and what pleasant praise brothers also together. 1

Just as the-good on the head comes down the beard- Aaron’s beard. 2

that comes down on facing of (robe?). 3

As dew (of)Hermon that comes down on mountains Zion. 4

For there decreed Yahweh the blessing life until the-ever. 5

It should be noted that this is poetry in song. Poetry tends to use language devices and word associations. By translating it word-for-word it no longer flows and at first reading it hardly makes sense. Let us examine the words of this song.

Structure of Psalm 133

This is a ‘tight’ poem, as the whole poem is one thought. The first line introduces the thought and the last line summarises that same thought, as the use of the word “for” indicates. The three centre lines introduced by “as” are similes or analogies of that one thought. They are pictures. Let us take out the analogies of the oil, beard and dew and connect the thoughts in lines 1 and 5.

Here what good and what pleasant praise brothers also-together

For there decreed-Yahweh the blessing - life until the-ever.

With these two lines tied in juxtaposition by the use of the word ‘for’ that links ‘here’ in line 1 with ‘there’ in line 5, we can see the blessing of eternal life is the ‘good’ referred to in line 1. The “what good” in line 1, which is the subject of the poem’s thought, is the Hebrew ‘ma-tov’. In modern Israeli idiom ma-tov means “so much better!” or “what an improvement!”.

The‘so much better’ of brethren being “also-together” is the “there” or location. In this ‘location’ is decreed or ordained the blessing – which is life forever – chaiyim ad-haOlam.

Topics: psalms, exegesis

Therefore judge nothing before the time

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)

This may be one of the most misunderstood passages of the Bible. Paul is notorious for long sentences of connected thoughts, and this is part of a complex wide ranging thought which lasts 2 chapters, and includes what seems opposite advice:

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Cor. 5:11-13)

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As I was thinking to write this article, having just read Psalm 46 as I do each year on that day, on January 25th a Bible was found untouched after a tornado hit Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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