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Saturday, March 21 2015

Psalm 119: What Does Acrostic Mean?

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path"

Psalm 119 is unique in structure from most of the other Psalms. It is now classified as "the longest chapter in the Bible" - although the Holy Scriptures did not have chapters or verse numbers as they were originally written. Chapters and verses were introduced much later. Most historians credit the English, specifically Stephen Langton (1150-1228), the Archbishop of Canterbury (1207-1228), with formalizing the chapters as they are today. Verses in the Bible were officially added about 150 years later. Psalm 119 is nevertheless the longest Psalm.

Psalm 119 is also unique in that it is acrostic. While most people in the modern world know the meaning of the word as "A puzzle where you fill a square grid with words reading the same down as across," it also means "Verse in which certain letters such as the first in each line form a word or message" (both definitions from the WordWeb Dictionary from Princeton University).

Psalm 119 uses the Hebrew letters, in sequence from first to last, as the first letter of each stanza. The acrostic structure (with the intent to use all of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet) may account for the length of the Psalm, however a longer work may also be the reason for making it acrostic - as an aid in memorizing the song (keeping also in mind that the Psalms were originally written to be "read" by song and music; see Psalm 45: David's Love Song, Psalm 73: The Songs Of Asaph and Psalm 46: The Women's Song Of Alamoth).

The Hebrew alphabet is shown below. Note carefully that Hebrew writing is from right to left, so the alphabet is also listed right to left i.e. Alef, Bet, Gimmel, Dalet etc.

Hebrew Alphabet

The acrostic structure of the Hebrew is not carried over in the translation into English, or any other language. The Gospel Truth that is written does however make it "across" loud and clear.

"119:1 ALEPH.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 119:3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. 119:4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 119:5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 119:6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 119:7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. 119:8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

119:9 BETH.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 119:10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 119:12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. 119:13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 119:15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

119:17 GIMEL.

David Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 119:19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. 119:20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. 119:21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. 119:22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. 119:23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 119:24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.

119:25 DALETH.

My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. 119:26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. 119:27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. 119:28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. 119:29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. 119:31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. 119:32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

119:33 HE.

Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. 119:35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. 119:36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. 119:37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. 119:38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. 119:39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. 119:40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

119:41 VAU.

Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. 119:42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. 119:43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. 119:44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. 119:46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. 119:47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. 119:48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

119:49 ZAIN.

Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. 119:51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law. 119:52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself. 119:53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law. 119:54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. 119:55 I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law. 119:56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

119:57 CHETH.

Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words. 119:58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word. 119:59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. 119:60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. 119:61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law. 119:62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. 119:64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

119:65 TETH.

Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. 119:66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. 119:68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. 119:69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. 119:70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. 119:72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

119:73 JOD.

Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. 119:74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. 119:75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. 119:76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. 119:77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. 119:78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. 119:79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. 119:80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

119:81 CAPH.

My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. 119:82 Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? 119:83 For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes. 119:84 How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? 119:85 The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law. 119:86 All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. 119:87 They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. 119:88 Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

119:89 LAMED.

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. 119:90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. 119:91 They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants. 119:92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. 119:93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. 119:94 I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. 119:95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies. 119:96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

119:97 MEM.

O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. 119:98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 119:100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. 119:101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. 119:102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

119:105 NUN.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. 119:106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. 119:107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. 119:108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments. 119:109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law. 119:110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts. 119:111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. 119:112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

119:113 SAMECH.

I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. 119:114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. 119:115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. 119:116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. 119:117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. 119:118 Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood. 119:119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies. 119:120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

119:121 AIN.

I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors. 119:122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. 119:123 Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness. 119:124 Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes. 119:125 I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. 119:126 It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. 119:127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. 119:128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

119:129 PE.

Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. 119:131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments. 119:132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. 119:134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts. 119:135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. 119:136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

119:137 TZADDI.

Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. 119:138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. 119:139 My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. 119:141 I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. 119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. 119:143 Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights. 119:144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

119:145 KOPH.

I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. 119:146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. 119:147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. 119:148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. 119:149 Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment. 119:150 They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law. 119:151 Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth. 119:152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

119:153 RESH.

Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. 119:154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. 119:155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. 119:156 Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. 119:157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. 119:158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. 119:159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

119:161 SCHIN.

Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. 119:162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. 119:163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love. 119:164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. 119:166 LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments. 119:167 My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. 119:168 I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.

119:169 TAU.

Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word. 119:170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word. 119:171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. 119:172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. 119:173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts. 119:174 I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight. 119:175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments." (Psalm 119:176 KJV)

Fact Finder: Will there be singing in the Kingdom of God?
See Singing In History And Prophecy and The New Song Of The Messiah


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This Day In History, March 21

537: The Siege of Rome: King Vitiges attempted to assault the northern and eastern city walls, but was driven back at the Praenestine Gate, known as the Vivarium, by the defenders under the Byzantine generals Bessas and Peranius.

Europe
717: The Battle of Vincy; Charles Martel fought Chilperic and Ragenfrid.

1152: The annulment of the marriage of King Louis VII of France and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.

1188: Emperor Antoku acceded to the throne of Japan.

1413: Henry V became King of England.

1556: At Oxford, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake as a heretic.

1788: New Orleans, Louisiana, was nearly completely destroyed by fire.

1800: After being driven out of Rome during a rebellion, Pius VII was crowned Pope in Venice with a temporary papal tiara made of papier-mache.

1801: The Battle of Alexandria was fought between British and French forces near the ruins of Nicopolis in Egypt.

1804: The French civil code, the Code Napoleon, was proclaimed.

1844: The date set by "Adventist" founder William Miller for the day of Christ's return; when his prediction failed, he set a new date, October 22 1844, which also failed, becoming known as "the Great Disappointment" (see also When The Final Countdown Will Begin).

1857: An earthquake in Tokyo, Japan killed over 100,000 people.

1871: German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck opened the first Reichstag (Parliament) in the First German Reich (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

1871: Welsh journalist Henry Morton Stanley began his famous journey to find the Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone (Dr. Livingstone, I presume?").

1917: Czar Nicholas II and his family were arrested by communist revolutionary forces in Russia.

1918: The Second Battle of the Somme, the last German offensive of the First World War, began (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1927: Nationalist Chinese forces of Chiang Kai-shek took the city of Shanghai; communist forces and local warlords fled before they arrived.

1935: Persia was renamed Iran (see Ancient Empires - Persia and Has Another Haman Arisen?).

1963: Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay was closed.

1973: John Dean's "there's a cancer on the presidency" meeting with Richard Nixon.

1980: President Jimmy Carter announced that the U.S. Olympic team would not participate in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The U.S. itself thereafter invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

1990: Namibia became independent after 75 years of South African rule.


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