Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Psalms
Psalm 6:1-4(1-3) – Part 1

Psalm 6:1 For the music director, on the eight-string lyre, a psalm of David. 2 Adonai, do not rebuke me in Your anger! Do not discipline me in Your wrath. 3 Be gracious to me, Adonai, for I am weak. Heal me, Adonai—for my bones are shuddering with fear, 4 as is my soul—and You, Adonai—how long?

Note to the reader: If you’re short on time and need a short cut, skip down to the last two paragraphs.  What comes before is a bit tedious (by my own admission).  My apologies in advance.  End Note.

I don’t want to “over-do” the Hebrew today, but “that’s just what I went and done.”  Nevertheless, please give me a moment to appreciate and enlighten what is being said here from a Hebrew perspective.  We are reading the product of King David’s Hebrew poetry.  His word choices and structures have captured my attention.  There are many ways in Hebrew (like in English) to say the same thing.  Let’s add to that thought.  In addition to being David’s poetry, this is also sacred Scripture, which means none of it is chosen for the reader by accident.

Verse 2 starts with two “do nots.”  They are both couplets to provide internal rhyme with each other.  Just listen to the symmetry of the poetry (without regard to the meaning at this moment).  I’ll provide the transliterated Hebrew here.  The verse begins with David addressing the YHVH(Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey) ineffable name of God.

Rabbi Trail: “Al” (sounds almost like the short name for someone named “Allan,” but a shorter “A.”  “Al” is formed from two Hebrew letters, “Aleph – Lamed,”  meaning “don’t.”  Reverse these letters to form the word “Lo” meaning “no.”  Interestingly, the last five of the Ten Commandments start with this Hebrew word, “Lo.”  “No murder, no committing adultery, etc.” End RT.

Al B’af’cha To’chi’chey’ni…. “V” means “and,” connecting the two couplets.

Al Ba’cham’at’cha T’Yas’rey’ni…

Can you see the similar structures and sounds, “Al B___cha T___ey’ni…?”

B___cha means “in Your ___.” (We capitalize the “Y” in “Your” because David is addressing God.  T___ey’ni means “You will ___ to me.”  However; since we start with “Al” we’re asking God NOT to do ___ to me.  Put these together and we get…  In Your ___, don’t do ___ to me.

The first of these two couplets says, “In Your anger, don’t rebuke me.”  The second says, “In Your wrath, don’t discipline me.”  The Hebrew word for “anger” is “Af,” literally meaning “nose.”  It gets the idiomatic meaning of “anger” from the nostrils which flair suddenly when we get angry.  The next word, which we don’t want God to be angry about is “Ya’kach,” meaning “to prove, argue, or debate.”  Apparently, David doesn’t want God to be angry when rebuking him, and neither do we.

The second couplet says “In Your hot (displeasure), don’t discipline me.”  The reason I put “displeasure” in parenthesis is that the Hebrew is simply “Cham” meaning “hot.”  We have to infer that God’s “hotness” is indicative of His displeasure.  The word for “discipline” is “Yasar” (Yud-Samech-Resh).  It has to do with ethical or moral discipline.

Now that you’ve waded through all the Hebrew, (I promise all of these devotionals are not like this.  For proof, check the archives at www.syknox.org/blog ) what’s the “payoff?”  Are you familiar with Franz Delitzsch?  If not, here is a link to the “wiki” page of a good, and well educated, Jewish boy who received the Messiah as his Lord and Savior 200 years ago, before it was made popular by the Jesus revolution in the late 1960s.… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Delitzsch Here is what he, in his commentary “Keil & Delitzsch,” had to say about this verse.

“There is a chastisement which proceeds from God’s love to the man as being pardoned and which is designed to purify or to prove him, and a chastisement which proceeds from God’s wrath against the man as striving obstinately against, or as fallen away from, favour, and which satisfies divine justice.”

Here’s what the Bible says… Proverbs 3:12 For Adonai loves those He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights. This is amplified in Hebrews 12:5,6.  David is not asking for a “pass” to being corrected, just that God would not be hot with anger when doing it.

Our take-away today… receive God’s correction and receive His blessing… Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore, be zealous and repent.  It is always a good time to repent, and repentance hinges on humility.  1Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may lift you up at the appropriate time.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
16 Nissan Wednesday 24-Apr-24 Pesach II
Leviticus 22:26-23:44; Numbers 28:16-25 II Kings 23:1-9; 23:21-25 Matthew 16:1-14; 1 Corinthians 15:12-28