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Psalm 119:1-8 - A song for Aleph, with the Law step one

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

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1 Happy are they whose way is blameless, *

who walk in the law of Yahweh!

2 Happy are they who observe his decrees *

and seek him with all their hearts!

3 Who never do any wrong, *

but always walk in his ways.

4 You laid down your commandments, *

that we should fully keep them.

5 Oh, that my ways were made so direct *

that I might keep your statutes!

6 Then I should not be put to shame, *

when I regard all your commandments.

7 I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, *

when I have learned your righteous judgments.

8 I will keep your statutes; *

do not utterly forsake me.


This is the accompanying Psalm that will happily be read in unison or sung aloud by a cantor on the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 26], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow a reading from Deuteronomy, where Moses told the people [without the errors of translation in the way], “Hear, you who have been reborn as those Who Retain Yahweh as His extensions on earth [Saints or Angels in the flesh]: Yahweh is the creator of us as His gods [Saints or Angels], Yahweh alone.” This set that is designated for churches on the Track 2 path will precede a reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote [adjusted to match the truth of the written text], “Christ came as a high priest of the good who have arrived, through the greater and perfect tabernacle not made by human hands.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where Jesus heard a scribe give him a good answer about the foremost law, saying, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

It is worthwhile to realize that Psalm 119 is 176 verses long. This length then sets eight verses for each of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. These first eight verses are then assigned to the letter “Aleph.”

The Episcopal Church will set aside eight groups of these verses for reading over eleven Sundays and the day designated for “St Simon & St Jude.” These eight verses will also be assigned for reading on two Sundays in Year A, designated for “Epiphany 6” and “Proper 1.” While every verse is not given attention by the Church, this preponderance of attention shows that Psalm 119 is an important song of David.

Repeated in these first verses are the words translated as “law, decrees, ways, commandments (twice), statutes (twice), and judgements” [from “torah, edah, derek, tsavah, choq, mitsvah, mishpat, and choq”] While some of these translations into English are off the mark, the whole creates a strong theme that is the Law brought to the Israelites from Yahweh, for them to agree to be His people. That amounts to a marriage contract between Yahweh and each soul within all the human bodies of flesh that were the descendants of Jacob. Therefore, it is appropriate that this Psalm selection accompany an Old Testament selection that is Moses quoting elements of their marriage vows.

Verse one literally translates into English, saying “happiness the complete in the distance ; who come , in the direction of Yahweh .” While this can be translated to infer “walking,” that physical act is less meaningful than “to come.” While it can be translated “a way” of the “blameless” is traveled by walking, the greater impact says “the complete,” in the sense that being “blameless” means one has become united with Yahweh, so a cycle of return has been “completed.” It represents the “soundness” of being one, rather than being separate. Thus, a “way” or a “path” means more concisely “in the direction of Yahweh.” Here, the Hebrew word “torah” is translated as “direction,” more than “the law.” As a marriage agreement between a soul and Yahweh, one submits self-will so one is “directed” in how to act, do, go, and be. This needs to be seen as the truth of what Moses said, as recorded in Deuteronomy six.

Because verse two also begins with the same Hebrew word that has been translated as “blessedness” or “happiness,” this sense of elation should be realized as a state of joy being presence. This should then be related to the joy of marriage, where a wife [males and female bodies surrounding a soul] welcomes being given away to her Husband. This makes “happiness” be the time of celebration when one has been transformed by taking on the name of one’s Husband. It also says the union is out of love and welcomed. It says one’s desires for union have been met, making one’s soul be happy.

Verse two then literally translates into English as saying, “happiness those who guard his witness , with whole heart seek him .” In the translation “guard his witness,” this can also say, “keep his testimonies.” The meaning is a state of vigilance that makes listening to the inner voice be always on guard, as one seeks to make Yahweh happy, while pleasing Him brings oneself happiness. The “testimonies” are the marriage vows [the Covenant], but when those are all written within the walls of one’s heart [one’s soul], then one has personal witness to when a law comes up in one’s life path, hearing the divine voice of Yahweh leading one to always do the right thing.

Verse three then translates into English saying, “also not they make unrighteousness ; in his manner they go .” Here, it is easy to turn this around and say “they do not walk with iniquities,” which is true; but the focus on themselves making a point of not sinning is better stated as “not they make unrighteousness.” That becomes a willing desire to please Yahweh, with His divine assistance in the ways one acts being based on that desire to be righteous. Together “they go,” where the same word earlier translated as “who come,” means the marriage of a soul with divine Spirit is the plural number that “goes” forth. That duality is then multiplied by the number of Israelites “going” the same way.

Verse four then says literally in English, “you have given charge your precepts , to preserve diligently .” In this, “given charge” can equally mean “your commandments,” which says one’s soul is “ordered” to act righteously. A better translation, based on knowing love and marriage is the desire to please one another, is “given charge your precepts,” where the “general rules that guide behavior” are decisions of agreement that these rules are best. With those laws written on the walls of one’s soul, the soul then “diligently” acts within those parameters of agreement, so the Covenant between a soul and Yahweh are preserved. This is not to be seen as an order to go against one’s will, as acts of compliance. The acts are from common ownership of the values the rules set stand for.

Verse five is then seen to say, “oh that were firm my ways , to keep your prescriptions !” Here, again, the delight is seen in the exclamation point at the end of the verse. David is singing of the wonder that one’s brain is no longer distraught in having to decide what to do and what not to do. Because the Covenant with Yahweh makes “firm” the course to take, one loves letting Yahweh lead one always to make the right decisions. This path is always prescribed by the Mind of Yahweh overriding one’s fleshy brain.

Verse six then sings, “at that time not I would be ashamed ; when I look , towards all your commandments .” The word translated as “at that time” (or “then”) is a statement of whenever the potential to sin comes to one’s place, inviting one to make an error of judgment. When one’s soul is not married to Yahweh, one easily becomes tricked, thus one afterwards feels shame from one’s sinful acts and deeds. The word translating as “when I look” is then a statement of having been given clear vision to see sin coming and know not to be tricked into shaming one’s soul. This inner vision is then directed “towards all” times in life (post-marriage with Yahweh), because one is then led totally by Yahweh’s Covenant.

Verse seven then sings, “I will cast out uprightness of inner self ; when I exercise in , judgments your rightness .” This becomes a statement of one becoming a model of Yahweh within, which is the truth of the Frist Commandment – I will wear the face of no other gods before your face – as one becomes a reflection of Yahweh in the flesh. Wearing that holy face makes one act righteously, which become the daily “exercises” of Yahweh’s ways in His wives. It will be those acts of righteousness that will be how one’s soul will be judged after the soul is released from its flesh.

Verse eight then sings, “your statutes I will keep ; not to leave me up to force .” This says that once a soul has married Yahweh it will not be swayed to break any marriage vows. The Covenant will gladly be maintained for the rest of one’s life. This is the meaning of the second segment of words, which speaks of death as “up to force” or “until abundance.” That speaks of when a soul is freed of the limitations of the physical realm and can truly become one with the All-Powerful Yahweh in Spirit.

As the companion Psalm to the reading of Moses telling the Israelites to love Yahweh totally, David wrote a divinely inspired song of praise to the Law that seals one in marriage to Yahweh. When sung on the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is to find happiness in the proposal for marriage. If one does not know the delight of this song for the aleph letter, then one must prepare as a bridesmaid [regardless of one’s human gender] and do all the work that keeps a light burning brightly for Yahweh to come take your soul in marriage. The oil that keeps the light burning is one’s efforts to let Yahweh see your love for Him. Study of Scripture is one way that He enjoys watching. So many Christians these days have little time to put oil in their lamps, meaning when darkness comes they sin, thinking no one can see or feel their shame. They like to huddle with other sinners who change the laws to suit their needs. They will be left behind, never finding the pleasure of marrying their souls to Yahweh. As a song for aleph, the law becomes the first step of many steps one’s soul must take.

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