Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Psalms
An Introduction, Psalms 1 and 2
Part 17, Psalm 2:10,11

Psalm 2:10 So now, O kings, be wise, take warning, O judges of the earth! 11 Serve Adonai with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Why did God give us the Torah and all the Scriptures?  Because He has a message, and this is one of His chief means of communicating it.  This message has been referred to as the metanarrative of Scripture.

Rabbi Trail: The more I study what a “metanarrative” is, the more I like the use of the term here.  A metanarrative (it can also be hyphenated as “meta-narrative”) is defined by Wiktionary as “a grand story that is self-legitimizing.”  But, as with everything related to Scripture, it is all that and so much more.  It’s not just the historical account, but a revelation of the mind of God.  Think of Scripture as an “owner’s manual” for everyone with a body, soul and spirit.

1Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of shalom Himself make you completely holy; and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept complete, blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 24 Faithful is the One who calls you—and He will make it happen!  End RT.

We love to ask God for a revelation of His will.  How should I handle this or that?  Here, in Psalm 2:10 and 11, God is communicating something that is both valuable and important, even urgent.

Another Rabbi Trail:  Urgent things to you are usually things that are important to someone else, typically your boss.  When he/she takes what is important to them and makes it your responsibility, it becomes urgent to you (if you’re smart).  God is the “someone else” with a message that is important.  He is giving it to us in the expectation that it will become urgent to us (His children) for our good and prosperity and so much more.  End ART.

In verse 10, the message of the following verse is addressed to “wise kings.”  Judges are also warned.  I’m going to take a minute to unpack the Hebrew.  The English translation loses some of meaning because there is much to be gained from the choice of the Hebrew words used here.  There are four such words in these two verses.

First, the word translated as “be wise” is in Hebrew “Sachal” (sin-kaf-lamed).  We have a similar Yiddish word, “Sachel.”  It means to be prudent or circumspect.  More than wisdom, it implies the application of wisdom.  What is wisdom?  It is the ability to apply the lessons of someone else’s experience to alter your own behavior.  Wisdom is not touching a hot stove because you saw someone else burn their hand.

In the second part of verse 10, we have the Hebrew word “Yasar” (yud-samech-resh) meaning “discipline, chasten, or admonish.”  The Lord wants to minister something to you, His child, because He is your loving Father.  While the Scripture is addressed to kings and judges, you don’t have to be one to receive the intended blessing.  Or, if you like, we are all ruling in our own lives and making judgments concerning how to follow the Lord, so in that sense, we are all kings and judges.

In the first part of verse 11 we are told, as a servant of the Lord, to serve Him from a place of fear, “Yara” (yud-resh-aleph).  This is not the fear of being afraid, but the fear of reverence and respect.  It is the last Hebrew word (translated “awe”) in the verse we sing as “Ma Tovu…” Psalm 5:8 But because of your great lovingkindness, I will enter Your House. I will bow toward Your holy Temple, in awe of You.”

Finally, in the last half of verse 11, we have in Hebrew “Ra’ad” (resh-ayin-daled) meaning “trembling.”  It is frequently coupled with fear, as it is here… Psalm 55:6(5) Fear and trembling come upon me and horror has overwhelmed me. It does mean trembling but here it is strangely coupled with rejoicing.  “Rejoice with trembling!”  We are being admonished to never forget, especially as we rejoice, we are always under God’s loving command.

The point of all this Hebrew (probably more than you wanted) is to bring forth an amplified translation that will give a more accurate picture of God’s intended communication.

Psalm 2:10 So now, O kings, be wise prudent, take warning chastening, O judges of the earth! 11 Serve Adonai with fear respect, and rejoice with trembling.  This introduction to the rest of the Psalms is addressed to kings and judges, so we don’t forget that our God is the ultimate King and Judge.

Psalm 96:11 Let the heavens be glad, let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar—and all that fills it. 12 Let the land exult—and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy— 13 before Adonai, for He is coming! For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
9 Adar II Tuesday 19-Mar-24
Leviticus 2:7-16 Isaiah 5 Psalm 144 Acts 11 Revelations 5