The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and protected by the Massorah. On the attached copy of a page from the Hebrew manuscript, you can see the smaller writing around the edges of the text. This is the Massorah, giving the necessary information for that page so that there could be no loss or misplacement of a single letter or word. It locks all the words and letters in their places by recording the exact number of times the different letters occur, the precise number of words, and the middle word of each book. The Massorah also records the number of verses for each book, the middle verse of the book, and many other minute and important details. The Lord set this up to protect His Word over time so that all people from all generations can trust it.
When the English translators got a hold of the Hebrew text, they chose English words to best express their understanding of the Hebrew. A good concordance gives me that same opportunity. I can look up the etymology of any Hebrew word and the intricacies of its definition. As I meditate on the definitions, the Holy Spirit teaches me beyond what I get from just reading the words the particular translator has used.
Often the extended definitions from Strong’s Concordance can give us a much deeper understanding of even the most familiar scriptures. (You can see Strong’s online @ https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=buckler&t=KJV#s=s_primary_0_1 )
We’ll look at two verses from Psalm 91, and I’ll show you how I look up the meanings of the words, meditate on them, then make them personal without compromising on integrity or how the scripture fits with the rest of the Bible. All of the definitions I’ve used come from Strong’s except as noted in the definition of “Almighty.”
The first verse is Psalm 91:1. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
The word “dwelleth” is the Hebrew yashab defined as sitting down with, remaining, settling down with, continuing with, marrying, being still with. “Secret” is cether, a place where you’re covered, a hiding place, a place of protection. “The most High” is El Elyon, the Highest, Supreme, uppermost. There is no one and nothing higher. “Abide” is the Hebrew lyin which means to stop (usually overnight), implying to stay permanently, remaining, continuing. “The Almighty” is El Shaddai. Young’s Concordance defines this as the God of overflow, constant supply, and source of all sufficiency.
When I meditate on those definitions and put it all together this is what I come up with for myself: “Carolyn, sit down a few minutes and make yourself relax. Settle down, be still and picture yourself snuggled up in the protected hiding place of God, up next to the One Who is the Highest Being ever to exist. He wants you there. You can stay overnight, and then in the morning you’ll be right by His side, and go wherever He goes, close enough that you’re in His shade, enjoying a constant overflow from Him. This is where you are always protected and where the source of everything good comes from and it’s your special place. No one and nothing bad is allowed to get to you here.”
The next verse I want to look at is Psalm 91:4. “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
The word “cover” is translated from the Hebrew sakak which means to join together and shut up, entwining as a screen, to fence in or hedge in for protection and defense. “Feathers” are from the root word abar which means to soar or fly. “Truth” is emeth meaning stable, certain, sure, faithful, established and right. “Shield” is the Hebrew tsinnah, a word for pointed hook, prickly like thorns or a cactus hedge. It is a large shield that guards by prickliness. It also carries the definition of being piercingly cold. “Buckler” is translated from cochera, a shield that completely surrounds a person.
I meditate on these definitions and put this verse in words that communicate to me: “I am joined together close to the Most High, entwined so close in His screen that nothing and no one can come close to me to cause me harm in any way. I soar with Him and trust His wings over me as we fly together. I only need to believe and speak His truth, which is certain. Since He is the Most High God, His truth is always right. With it I have a shield which not only protects me, but encases me entirely. With it I am the one who hooks and pierces the enemy, not the other way around. When the enemy tries to come against me, the certainty of God impales him as if he fell into a hedge of barbed cactus. The piecing cold freezes the enemy, and without remorse I pierce him through, destroying his power and rendering him ineffective.”
Studying the scriptures by meditating on them in the method I’ve shown here, is something we can use to personalize God’s truths and make our everyday lives more victorious.
QUESTIONS FOR PONDERING OR DISCUSSION
- Look again at the definitions I’ve given you from the verses in Psalm 91. Meditate on them for a few minutes. How would you write up those verses for yourself without compromising the integrity of the scripture?
- What are some other passages you’d like to look at, using this method?
FOR FURTHER STUDY
The Companion Bible with notes and appendices by E.W. Bullinger
Appendix 30 – 33 pages 31-33 The Massorah
Appendix 93 – page 133 The Alleged Corruptions of the Hebrew Text
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