Monday, October 28, 2013

Psalm 119 again

Selected recurring words - Psalm 119 words recurring between 11 and 20 times
Word 12345VsRoot
דרך the way
1דרך
בדרכיו in his ways
3דרך
דרכי my ways
5דרך
בלמדי when I learn
7למד
למדני teach me
12למד
בדרך by the way of
14דרך
עבדך your servant
17עבד
אחיה I will live
17חיה
עבדך your servant
23עבד
חיני give me life
25חיה
דרכי my ways
26דרך
למדני teach me
26למד
דרך direct in the way of
27דרך
דרך way
29דרך
דרך a way of
30דרך
דרך directed by
32דרך
דרך the way of
33דרך
הדריכני have me go
35דרך
בדרכך in your way
37דרך
חיני give me life
37חיה
לעבדך to your servant
38עבד
חיני give me life
40חיה
אהבתי I have loved
47אהב
אהבתי I have loved
48אהב
לעבדך to your servant
49עבד
חיתני gives me life
50חיה
דרכי my ways
59דרך
למדני you will teach me
64למד
עבדך your servant
65עבד
למדני teach me
66למד
למדני teach me
68למד
אלמד I will learn
71למד
ואלמדה and I will teach
73למד
לעבדך to your servant
76עבד
ואחיה and I will live
77חיה
עבדך your servant
84עבד
חיני give me life
88חיה
עבדיך your servants
91עבד
חייתני you have made me live
93חיה
אהבתי I love
97אהב
מלמדי my teachers
99למד
חיני give me life
107חיה
למדני teach me
108למד
אהבתי I have loved
113אהב
ואחיה so I will live
116חיה
אהבתי I have loved
119אהב
עבדך your servant
122עבד
עבדך your servant
124עבד
למדני teach me
124למד
עבדך your servant
125עבד
אהבתי I have loved
127אהב
לאהבי to those who love
132אהב
בעבדך on your servant
135עבד
ולמדני and teach me
135למד
ועבדך and your servant
140עבד
אהבה loves it
140אהב
ואחיה and I will live
144חיה
חיני give me life
149חיה
חיני give me life
154חיה
חיני give me life
156חיה
אהבתי I love
159אהב
חיני give me life
159חיה
אהבתי I love
163אהב
לאהבי to those who love
165אהב
ואהבם and I love them
167אהב
דרכי my ways
168דרך
תלמדני you have taught me
171למד
תחי to live let
175חיה
עבדך your servant
176עבד
Time it was for me to reread Psalm 119. I recall thinking when I was young that this Psalm is long and boring. If we fail to see the game it will be boring. But it is adoration and even that might be sufficient without the game. And it is also game - a 22 x 8 alphabetic acrostic. It reads well. As I read I was somewhat unaware of each of the major recurring words - the eight synonyms in this adoration of the Torah of HaShem:

Psalm 119 - the eight synonyms
  1. instruction תורה
  2. testimony עדה
  3. command צוה
  4. precept פקד
  5. statute חק
  6. judgment שׁפט
  7. word דבר
  8. promise אמר
All these have appeared by verse 11 and they continue with regular density till verse 176.

There are also words that recur for the first time in the Psalter in this psalm from take note נבט in the first 3 parts to oppress עשׁק in parts 16 and 17, but this time as I read through I thought I noted another pattern.

The pattern appears in selected words used between 11 and 20 times in this long poem. I have excluded heart and righteousness in this list. The remaining 5 words are in the table - do they reveal some organization in the mind of the poet? I note first that way recurs heavily at the beginning, in the first 40 verses.  The plea for life begins in verse 17 in Parts 3, 4, and 5 (twice). Parts 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, and 19 have it once each. Then there is an increase in usage in part 20 (three times) with a final mention in part 22. Learning / teaching is the third word and the last of these five words is love. One could imagine then that the poem, more than adoration, is also a plea for learning for the servant, that the servant might live and love.