Bilingual Devotions in the Psalms – Psalm 76:4

31 PsalmsI have been working on Spanish for a number of years, an embarrassingly large number of years.  One of the things I try to do is read the Psalms in the morning in my Spanish/English (NVI / NIV) bible.  I have two methods:

  • A list of top 31 Psalms that I follow according to the day of the month. 31 Psalms (downloadable)
  • Pastor Dave’s Guilt Free Method:  Simply multiply today’s date by 5, read from the five Psalms that end in that number.  eg  April 16 – 16 x 5 = 80, read from Psalm 76 to Psalm 80.  On day 31 read wherever you wish.  It is guilt free in that you  don’t have to check off any boxes.

What I find is that the two translations are interestingly different.  Sometimes dramatically different in their choice of textual variants.  Consider Ps 76:4

You are radiant with light,

    more majestic than mountains rich with game.  (NIV)

Estás rodeado de esplendor;
    eres más imponente que las montañas eternas. (NVI)

(you are surrounded with splendor, you are more majestic than the eternal mountains

– my translation)

The NVI follows the LXX (Greek Text); the NIV follows the MT (Hebrew).  It would seem that the glory of a game filled mountain is less suggestive of God’s radiance to some that the mountains themselves.  I suppose a Montanan might prefer the game filled mountains and the New York resident the majesty of the mountains themselves.

This is a Psalm that celebrates conquest, so the comparison to hunting seems to fit. It is perhaps disturbing to those with more sensitivities than an ancient Israelite such as Asaph.


Proverbs 2 – One Sentence!

So my kids know that when I edit their essays, it will be to bust up sentences and to kill any passive verbs.  Now I come to find that Pv 2 is one sentence in Hebrew.  Of course this is a bit subjective, in that the punctuation is a later addition to the text.  But, lets go with the idea that the Masorites knew biblical Hebrew better than we do.

The form is 4, 4, 3, 4, 4, 3.  this makes 22 verses, the same number as letters in the Hebrew Alphabet.  This is not an acrostic, but the sections in the first 11 verses start with a particle “if” which is formed with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph), and the second 11 verses has a conjunction at the start of each section starting with the letter lamed, from the middle of the alphabet.

V. 1-11 advocates with 8 verbs the searching out and valuing of Wisdom’s words (nice turn of the tables on Wisdom searching the streets in the close of chapter 1).  The result is fear of the lord and knowlege of God.  (reverence/awe and relationship/faith) as well as protection.

V. 12-22 delineates how wisdom protects from a deceitful man and a smooth tongued seductress, ending with a 3 verse conclusion.

To my eye, v. 1-5 parallel the process found in Colossians 1:5ff where knowledge of God’s will and obedience moves toward knowledge of God.  that is informational knowledge becomes relational knowledge.  (like the difference in Spanish between saber and conocer).

Another interesting NT echo is v. 21 and Jesus’ “the meek shall inherit the earth.” in the Beatitudes.

Pursue Wisdom intensely and She will guard you immensely.


So, to follow up the idea of reading in another language.  I found that in this passage, that the movement is from the eternal, heavenly realm to the earthly.  I noticed that there is an internal logic to the effects: redeemed AND forgiven (so not merely a change of slave ownership).  Informed (so as to be agents no objects) and Sealed by the Spirit (so as to be marked in the terrestrial with the celestial).  It reminds us of the title “Redemption: Accomplished and Applied” that we read in Seminary.  It was accomplished in eternity and applied in time. 

Ephes. 1:3-14
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
    [5] he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
    [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
    [11] In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, [12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. [13] In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.