What is the significance of the words Aleph, Beth, Gimel, etc., listed in Psalms 119?


Psalms 119:1 - 176

ESV - 1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 29 2023 Cb24f886 7985 42ac 8ea1 f78d740cff11 Muriel Lark

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Mini Shirley H Wife, mother, veteran in the spiritual war we all face!
Psalm 119 is an acrostic. Each "title" of the twenty-two stanzas is introduced by a different "letter" of the Hebrew alphabet. The letters are presented in sequence (A,B,C). The whole Psalm is an appreciation for, celebration of, and a dependency on the Word of God to help us to journey the wilderness we trod each day on this earth.

March 30 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
These words are the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm 119 is an alphabetic acrostic. In each stanza of eight verses, each verse begins with the letter heading that stanza.

Acrostics are a feature of poetic creativity and serve to help remember and memorize. The Bible has a number of acrostic poems: Psalm 9 and 10 (together as one), 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 145, Proverbs 31:10-31, and all of Lamentations. Lamentations 3 closely parallels the Psalm 119 pattern of 22 sections. 

Psalm 119 spells out the immense value of the Word of God, as if “from A to Z.” Nearly all of the 176 verses have a word for the Scriptures, such as Law, Judgments, Testimonies, Commandments, Statutes, Precepts, and Word. 

In 1867, a book, “The Psalms Chronologically Arranged by Four Friends,” provided an example of the first stanza that is headed by “aleph” or “alef.” The letter is silent, but it is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet as “a” is in English. The paraphrase goes:

1. A blessing is on them that are undefiled in the way 
and walk in the law of Jehovah; 
2. A blessing is on them that keep his testimonies, 
and seek him with their whole heart; 
3. Also on them that do no wickedness, 
but walk in his ways. 
4. A law hast thou given unto us, 
that we should diligently keep thy commandments. 
5. Ah! Lord, that my ways were made so direct 
that I might keep thy statutes! 
6. And then shall I not be confounded. 
While I have respect unto all thy commandments. 
7. As for me, I will thank thee with an unfeigned heart, 
when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. 
8. An eye will I have unto thy ceremonies, 
O forsake me not utterly. 

Another example by Theodore Kuebler covers the second stanza that begins with “beth” that corresponds with the English “b.”

9. By what means shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. 
10. By day and by night have I sought thee with my whole heart: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 
11. By thy grace I have hid thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. 
12. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. 
13. By the words of my lips will I declare all the judgments of thy mouth. 
14. By far more than in all riches I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies. 
15. By thy help I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. 
16. By thy grace I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

The 22 octaves glorify God and reveal the refreshing qualities of the Word. Charles H. Spurgeon suggested the variety was as if looking into a kaleidoscope. It also tells of the writer’s strong personal attachment to God’s Word, Psalm 119:14, 47, 97, 103, 127, 140.

June 03 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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