Tehillim / Psalms 62, Part 2, Calling out to the Soul to Remain Silent

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 62:1-12, the psalm opens saying, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-יְדוּתוּן מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. (NASB) David states, ב אַךְ אֶל-אֱלֹהִים דּוּמִיָּה נַפְשִׁי מִמֶּנּוּ יְשׁוּעָתִי: ג אַךְ-הוּא צוּרִי וִישׁוּעָתִי מִשְֹגַּבִּי לֹא-אֶמּוֹט רַבָּה: 62:1 My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. (NASB) He waits upon the Lord silently meaning he is not complaining. He believes the Lord is his rock, salvation, and stronghold, and will not be shaken. He continues with a description of the wicked saying, ד עַד-אָנָה | תְּהוֹתְתוּ עַל-אִישׁ תְּרָצְּחוּ כֻלְּכֶם כְּקִיר נָטוּי גָּדֵר הַדְּחוּיָה: ה אַךְ מִשְּׂאֵתוֹ | יָעֲצוּ לְהַדִּיחַ יִרְצוּ כָזָב בְּפִיו יְבָרֵכוּ וּבְקִרְבָּם יְקַלְלוּ-סֶלָה: 62:3 How long will you assail a man, That you may murder him, all of you, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence? 62:4 They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position; They delight in falsehood; They bless with their mouth, But inwardly they curse. Selah. (NASB) David reiterates his previous statements, ו אַךְ לֵאלֹהִים דּוֹמִּי נַפְשִׁי כִּי-מִמֶּנּוּ תִּקְוָתִי: ז אַךְ-הוּא צוּרִי וִישׁוּעָתִי מִשְֹגַּבִּי לֹא אֶמּוֹט: 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. 62:6 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. (NASB) His hope truly is in the Lord, ח עַל-אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁעִי וּכְבוֹדִי צוּר-עֻזִּי מַחְסִי בֵּאלֹהִים: ט בִּטְחוּ בוֹ בְכָל-עֵת | עָם שִׁפְכוּ לְפָנָיו לְבַבְכֶם אֱלֹהִים מַחֲסֶה-לָּנוּ סֶלָה: 62:7 On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. (NASB) He again speaks of the wicked saying, י אַךְ הֶבֶל בְּנֵי-אָדָם כָּזָב בְּנֵי אִישׁ בְּמֹאזְנַיִם לַעֲלוֹת הֵמָּה מֵהֶבֶל יָחַד: יא אַל-תִּבְטְחוּ בְעשֶׁק וּבְגָזֵל אַל-תֶּהְבָּלוּ חַיִל | כִּי יָנוּב אַל-תָּשִׁיתוּ לֵב: 62:9 Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath. 62:10 Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them. (NASB) David concludes his psalm saying, יב אַחַת | דִּבֶּר אֱלֹהִים שְׁתַּיִם-זוּ שָׁמָעְתִּי כִּי עֹז לֵאלֹהִים: יג וּלְךָ-אֲדֹנָי חָסֶד כִּי-אַתָּה תְשַׁלֵּם לְאִישׁ כְּמַעֲשֵֹהוּ: 62:11 Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God; 62:12 And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, For You recompense a man according to his work. (NASB)What does David mean “once God has spoke, twice I have heard?” David’s concluding statement of God who recompenses a man for his works sounds very similar to John 5:29.

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק סב

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-יְדוּתוּן מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: ב אַךְ אֶל-אֱלֹהִים דּוּמִיָּה נַפְשִׁי מִמֶּנּוּ יְשׁוּעָתִי: ג אַךְ-הוּא צוּרִי וִישׁוּעָתִי מִשְֹגַּבִּי לֹא-אֶמּוֹט רַבָּה: ד עַד-אָנָה | תְּהוֹתְתוּ עַל-אִישׁ תְּרָצְּחוּ כֻלְּכֶם כְּקִיר נָטוּי גָּדֵר הַדְּחוּיָה: ה אַךְ מִשְּׂאֵתוֹ | יָעֲצוּ לְהַדִּיחַ יִרְצוּ כָזָב בְּפִיו יְבָרֵכוּ וּבְקִרְבָּם יְקַלְלוּ-סֶלָה:

סםר טוביה פרק סב

א לשבחא על ידוי דידותן תושבחתא לדוד׃ ב ברם לאלהא שתקא נפשי מיניה פורקני׃ ג ברם הוא תוקפי ופורקני משזבי לא אזוע איזדעזעביום עקא רבא׃ ד עד אן אתון מתרגשין על גבר חסיד תתעבדון קטולין כולכון היך שור דמטי דסטי היך גודא רעיעתא׃ ה ברם כד יומאן לאוטבא מתמלכין למנדח יחוון כדבותא כדכובא בפומהון יברכון ובלבהון ילטטון לעלמין׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 62

62:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ὑπὲρ Ιδιθουν ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ οὐχὶ τῷ θεῷ ὑποταγήσεται ἡ ψυχή μου πα αὐτοῦ γὰρ τὸ σωτήριόν μου 62:2 καὶ γὰρ αὐτὸς θεός μου καὶ σωτήρ μου ἀντιλήμπτωρ μου οὐ μὴ σαλευθῶ ἐπὶ πλεῖον 62:3 ἕως πότε ἐπιτίθεσθε ἐπ᾽ ἄνθρωπον φονεύετε πάντες ὡς τοίχῳ κεκλιμένῳ καὶ φραγμῷ ὠσμένῳ 62:4 πλὴν τὴν τιμήν μου ἐβουλεύσαντο ἀπώσασθαι ἔδραμον ἐν ψεύδει τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν εὐλογοῦσαν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῶν κατηρῶντο διάψαλμα

ו אַךְ לֵאלֹהִים דּוֹמִּי נַפְשִׁי כִּי-מִמֶּנּוּ תִּקְוָתִי: ז אַךְ-הוּא צוּרִי וִישׁוּעָתִי מִשְֹגַּבִּי לֹא אֶמּוֹט: ח עַל-אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁעִי וּכְבוֹדִי צוּר-עֻזִּי מַחְסִי בֵּאלֹהִים: ט בִּטְחוּ בוֹ בְכָל-עֵת | עָם שִׁפְכוּ לְפָנָיו לְבַבְכֶם אֱלֹהִים מַחֲסֶה-לָּנוּ סֶלָה: י אַךְ הֶבֶל בְּנֵי-אָדָם כָּזָב בְּנֵי אִישׁ בְּמֹאזְנַיִם לַעֲלוֹת הֵמָּה מֵהֶבֶל יָחַד: יא אַל-תִּבְטְחוּ בְעשֶׁק וּבְגָזֵל אַל-תֶּהְבָּלוּ חַיִל | כִּי יָנוּב אַל-תָּשִׁיתוּ לֵב: יב אַחַת | דִּבֶּר אֱלֹהִים שְׁתַּיִם-זוּ שָׁמָעְתִּי כִּי עֹז לֵאלֹהִים: יג וּלְךָ-אֲדֹנָי חָסֶד כִּי-אַתָּה תְשַׁלֵּם לְאִישׁ כְּמַעֲשֵֹהוּ:

ו ברם לאלהא שתוקי נפשי ארום מיניה סברי׃ ז ברם הוא תוקפי ופורקני משיזבי לא אזדעזע׃ ח על אלהא פורקני ויקרי תקוף עושני סיברי באלהא׃ ט סברו במימריה בכל עידן עמא דבית ישראל שדו קדמוי דחוחי זהוהי לבכון וצלו קומוי בכל לבכון אמרו אלהא סבר לנא לעלמין׃ י ברם למא בני נשא כדיבא כדכובא בני גבר כד יסבון נשין במסחתא יתקלון מתקלין מזליהין הינון אינון גרמיהון מן למא הוון כחדא׃ יא לא תיכלון בטלומא ובאונסא לא תקבלון ממונא ארום ישבח לא תשוון לבא׃ יב אוריתא חדא ממליל אלהא ותרתין זימנין דנן שמעית ותנייתא דנא שמענא מן פום משה ספרא רבא ארום עושנא קדם אלהא ולית איפשר לביסרא ודמא לקבלא מפומיה׃ יג ולך אלהא למעבד טיבו לצדיקיא ארום את אנת משלם לאינש היך עובדוי׃

62:5 πλὴν τῷ θεῷ ὑποτάγηθι ἡ ψυχή μου ὅτι πα αὐτοῦ ἡ ὑπομονή μου 62:6 ὅτι αὐτὸς θεός μου καὶ σωτήρ μου ἀντιλήμπτωρ μου οὐ μὴ μεταναστεύσω 62:7 ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τὸ σωτήριόν μου καὶ ἡ δόξα μου ὁ θεὸς τῆς βοηθείας μου καὶ ἡ ἐλπίς μου ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ 62:8 ἐλπίσατε ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν πᾶσα συναγωγὴ λαοῦ ἐκχέετε ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν ὁ θεὸς βοηθὸς ἡμῶν διάψαλμα 62:9 πλὴν μάταιοι οἱ υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ψευδεῖς οἱ υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐν ζυγοῖς τοῦ ἀδικῆσαι αὐτοὶ ἐκ ματαιότητος ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό 62:10 μὴ ἐλπίζετε ἐπὶ ἀδικίαν καὶ ἐπὶ ἅρπαγμα μὴ ἐπιποθεῖτε πλοῦτος ἐὰν ῥέῃ μὴ προστίθεσθε καρδίαν 62:11 ἅπαξ ἐλάλησεν ὁ θεός δύο ταῦτα ἤκουσα 62:12 ὅτι τὸ κράτος τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ σοί κύριε τὸ ἔλεος ὅτι σὺ ἀποδώσεις ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ

The traditionally “correct” text of the Hebrew Bible was established by a group of scholars known as the Masoretes, whose activity extended from the sixth to the tenth centuries CE. The Masoretes examined the existing biblical manuscripts, and noted divergences within the various manuscripts, seeking to determine which rendition is the more accurate. Comparing the Westminster Leningrad Codex (1008 CE) and the Aleppo Codex (10th Century CE), the Scriptures are identical:

Westminster Leningrad Codex

לַמְנַצֵּ֥חַ עַֽל־יְדוּת֗וּן מִזְמֹ֥ור לְדָוִֽד׃ אַ֣ךְ אֶל־אֱ֭לֹהִים דּֽוּמִיָּ֣ה נַפְשִׁ֑י מִ֝מֶּ֗נּוּ יְשׁוּעָתִֽי׃

Aleppo Codex

א למנצח על-ידותון– מזמור לדוד ב אך אל-אלהים דומיה נפשי ממנו ישועתי

This adds to the confidence that we have in the reliability of the Hebrew Scriptures. In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 62:1-12, the psalm opens saying, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-יְדוּתוּן מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. (NASB) Jeduthun is from the Levites, of the family of Merari, and one of the three masters of music appointed by David according to 1 Chronicles 16:41-42 and 25:1-6. Jeduthun is called in 2 Chronicles 35:15 “the king’s seer” (חוֹזֵה הַמֶּלֶךְ) or in other words, he appears to have functioned as David’s prophet. His descendants are mentioned as singers and players on instruments according to Nehemiah 11:17. It is speculated that he was probably the same person as Ethan mentioned in 1 Chronicles 15:17-19. We also read the same the superscriptions in Tehillim / Psalm 39 and 77. The words עַל-יְדוּתוּן “upon Jeduthun” has led to much speculation. Some Lexicon’s state that this probably denotes a musical instrument, or may denote the style or tune invented or introduced by Jeduthun, or that the psalm was to be sung by his choir. I would speculate that this introductory line is a reference to this psalm being sung by his choir and not specifically to a musical instrument or style of singing. It is interesting that according to Hitchcock’s Bible Names, “Jeduthun” means “His law; giving praise.” The Torah does in fact does give praise to the Lord, of His wonderful works and the power of His delivering right Hand.

Tehillim / Psalms 62

For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. 62:1 My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. 62:3 How long will you assail a man, That you may murder him, all of you, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence? 62:4 They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position; They delight in falsehood; They bless with their mouth, But inwardly they curse. Selah. 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. 62:6 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. 62:7 On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. 62:9 Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath. 62:10 Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them. 62:11 Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God; 62:12 And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, For You recompense a man according to his work. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 62

62:1 For praise, by Jeduthun. A psalm of David. 62:2 Truly for God my soul is quiet; from him is my redemption. 62:3 Truly he is my strength and my redemption, my savior, I shall not be shaken on the day of great distress. 62:4 How long do you rage against a pious man? All of you will be slain, like a crooked wall, like a broken fence. 62:5 Truly when they swear to do good, they take counsel to attack; they will tell lies; with their mouth they will bless and with their heart they will curse forever. 62:6 Truly be silent for God, O my soul, for my hope comes from him. 62:7 Truly he is my strength and my redemption, my savior, I shall not be shaken. 62:8 My redemption and my honor is on God; the strength of my might, my hope, is in God. 62:9 Hope in his word at all times, O people of the house of Israel; pour out the pride of your hearts in his presence; say, “God is our hope forever.” 62:10 For the sons of men are nothing, the sons of a man are deceit; when they take wives, their fates are weighed in the balances; they themselves came to be altogether out of nothing. 62:11 Do not trust in oppression, and do not receive money gained by coercion; for [though] it will increase in value, do not set your mind [on it]. 62:12 God speaks one Torah, and now two times I have heard it, from the mouth of Moses, the great scribe, for there is might in the presence of God. 62:13 And it is yours, O God, to show favor to the righteous, for you repay each man according to his works. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 62

For the end, a Psalm of David for Idithun. 62:1 Shall not my soul be subjected to God? for of him is my salvation. 62:2 For he is my God, and my saviour; my helper, I shall not be moved very much. 62:3 How long will ye assault a man? ye are all slaughtering as with a bowed wall and a broken hedge. 62:4 They only took counsel to set at nought mine honour: I ran in thirst: with their mouth they blessed, but with their heart they cursed. Pause. 62:5 Nevertheless do thou, my soul, be subjected to God; for of him is my patient hope. 62:6 For he is my God and my Saviour; my helper, I shall not be moved. 62:7 In God is my salvation and my glory: he is the God of my help, and my hope is in God. 62:8 Hope in him, all ye congregation of the people; pour out your hearts before him, for God is our helper. Pause. 62:9 But the sons of men are vain; the sons of men are false, so as to be deceitful in the balances; they are all alike formed out of vanity. 62:10 Trust not in unrighteousness, and lust not after robberies: if wealth should flow in, set not your heart upon it. 62:11 God has spoken once, and I have heard these two things, that power is of God; 62:12 and mercy is thine, O Lord; for thou wilt recompense every one according to his works. (LXX)

David opens his psalm making a very significant statement saying, ב אַךְ אֶל-אֱלֹהִים דּוּמִיָּה נַפְשִׁי מִמֶּנּוּ יְשׁוּעָתִי: ג אַךְ-הוּא צוּרִי וִישׁוּעָתִי מִשְֹגַּבִּי לֹא-אֶמּוֹט רַבָּה: 62:1 My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. (NASB) He waits upon the Lord silently meaning he is not complaining. What do the Scriptures say about the person who complains before God? Are there different types of complaining, one that is OK and another that is not OK? This reminds us of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthians saying in 1 Corinthians 10:10, 10μηδὲ γογγύζετε, καθάπερ τινὲς αὐτῶν ἐγόγγυσαν, καὶ ἀπώλοντο ὑπὸ τοῦ ὀλοθρευτοῦ. 10:10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. (NASB) The Greek manuscript (Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition © 1979, www.greekbible.com) uses the word gogguzete (γογγύζετε) meaning “1) to murmur, mutter, grumble, say anything against in a low tone 1a) of the cooing of doves 1b) of those who confer secretly together 1c) of those who discontentedly complain,” essentially referring to one who is not satisfied and discontented with his lot in life. This is synonymous to the word “grumbler” and the NASB translates the word as such. A few sources from the Torah speaking of the people complaining are as follows:

Grumbling against the Lord

Shemot / Exodus 16:2

16:2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. (ב וַיִּלֹּינוּ [וַיִּלּוֹנוּ] כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְֹרָאֵל עַל-מֹשֶׁה וְעַל-אַהֲרֹן בַּמִּדְבָּר:)

Bamidbar / Numbers 14:37

14:37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD. (לז וַיָּמֻתוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים מוֹצִאֵי דִבַּת-הָאָרֶץ רָעָה בַּמַּגֵּפָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה:)

Bamidbar / Numbers 16:11

16:11 It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?” (יא לָכֵן אַתָּה וְכָל-עֲדָתְךָ הַנֹּעָדִים עַל-יְהוָֹה וְאַהֲרֹן מַה-הוּא כִּי תַלִּונוּ [תַלִּינוּ] עָלָיו:)

Bamidbar / Numbers 16:41

16:41 The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said. (ו וַיִּלֹּנוּ כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְֹרָאֵל מִמָּחֳרָת עַל-מֹשֶׁה וְעַל-אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר אַתֶּם הֲמִתֶּם אֶת-עַם יְהוָֹה:)

Bamidbar / Numbers 16:49

16:49 But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. (יד וַיִּהְיוּ הַמֵּתִים בַּמַּגֵּפָה אַרְבָּעָה עָשָֹר אֶלֶף וּשְׁבַע מֵאוֹת מִלְּבַד הַמֵּתִים עַל-דְּבַר-קֹרַח:)

Bamidbar / Numbers 17:5

17:5 The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.” (כ וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אֶבְחַר-בּוֹ מַטֵּהוּ יִפְרָח וַהֲשִׁכֹּתִי מֵעָלַי אֶת-תְּלֻנּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר הֵם מַלִּינִם עֲלֵיכֶם:)

Bamidbar / Numbers 17:10

17:10 The LORD said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” (כה וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה הָשֵׁב אֶת-מַטֵּה אַהֲרֹן לִפְנֵי הָעֵדוּת לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת לְאוֹת לִבְנֵי-מֶרִי וּתְכַל תְּלוּנֹּתָם מֵעָלַי וְלֹא יָמֻתוּ:)

A few choice verses from Bamidbar / Numbers 16 illustrates the point on why we should not complain. The Scriptures say that the people banned together to complain against Moshe and Aaron, and that 14,700 people died from a plague due to their complaints. The Targum Onkelos provides the rabbis Aramaic translation saying, ב וְאִתְרַעֲמוּ כָּל כְּנִישְׁ תָּא דִבְנֵי יִש רְָֹאֵל עַל משֶׁה וְעַל אַהֲ רֹן בְּמַדְבְּרָא: using the word “ve’itraimu” וְאִתְרַעֲמוּ meaning “to cause a sound, to cause grief, to grumble, complain, to murmur.” Targum Pseudo-Jonathan states ובההוא יומא פסק להון לישא דאפיקו ממצרים ואתרעמון כל בני ישראל על משה ועל אהרן במדברא indicating that the people grumble/complain/murmur against Moshe and Aaron in the wilderness (ואתרעמון כל בני ישראל על משה ועל אהרן במדברא) leading with the statement “with regard to the separating or cutting them off from, bringing them out, expel, or punishing, in the wilderness” the Aramaic translation (Targum, תרגם) suggests that the people considered their deliverance a form of punishment. This seems to be consistent with the MasoreticText that they wanted to be left alone in Egypt to serve the Egyptians. They believed that they will die in the wilderness. Commentators such as Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak) suggest that this may be the moment when the children of Israel ran out of the bread and meat they had carried away with them from Egypt.

The Hebrew text draws a parallel in Bamidbar / Numbers 16:7 ז וּבֹקֶר וּרְאִיתֶם אֶת -כְּבוֹד יְהֹוָה בְּשָׁמְעוֹ אֶת -תְּלֻנֹּתֵיכֶם עַל -יְהוָֹה וְנַחְנוּ מָה כִּי תַלִּונוּ [תַלִּינוּ] עָלֵינוּ: the phrase “Your grumblings against us,” also may suggests the people grumbling against Moshe and Aaron is equivalent to grumbling against the Lord (ח וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה בְּתֵת יְהוָֹה לָכֶם בָּעֶרֶב בָּש רָֹ לֶאֱכֹל וְלֶחֶם בַּבֹּקֶר לִשְֹבֹּעַ בִּשְׁמֹעַ יְהוָֹה אֶת -תְּלֻנֹּתֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר -אַתֶּם מַלִּינִם עָלָיו וְנ חְנוּ מָה לֹא -עָלֵינוּ תְלֻנֹּתֵיכֶם כִּי עַל -יְהוָֹה:). In the Modern Hebrew dictionary, the word תַלִּינוּ has the meaning מוציא להורג meaning “one who puts or sentences people to death” essentially saying that Moshe has brought an “executioner” upon them. Moshe says “And what are we,” to indicate that both he and Aaron are not anyone of significance, the point being is that the people are complaining against God (תְלֻנֹּתֵיכֶם כִּי עַל -יְהוָֹה) and calling God their executioner. So essentially the people are putting a spin on what is happening, rather than glorifying the Lord God for delivering them they say the Lord has brought them out to execute them in the desert. The interesting part of this verse is found in the Qere and Ketiv on the word תַלִּינוּ which appears to be written in the Hiphil verbal form. The Hiphil stem occurs more frequently than any other derived stem occurring 9,496 times in the Tanach (Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar: Second Edition, Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt, 155 Zondervan, 2007). The meaning of the Hiphil stem can be (i) causative, (ii) simple action, (iii) declarative, and (iv) factitive (effective in producing an outcome). In our text, the Qere and Ketiv indicates that the Hiphil stem is used to express a causative type of action with an active voice. There are both literal and idiomatic translations of the Hiphil forms. The Hebrew word with the י (yod) appears to be in the infinitive construct form of the Hiphil imperative. Additionally, according to the Qere and Ketiv the ל is marked with a dagesh in the marginal Masorah to indicate virtual doubling by the way it is read. This makes the ל hard rather than soft (without the dagesh) which would place the in the simple Qal verbal pattern similar to the word וילן in the phrase “And the people complained against Moshe” (ספר שמות פרק יז:ג וַיִּצְמָא שָׁם הָעָם לַמַּיִם וַיָּלֶן הָעָם עַל -מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר לָמָּה זֶּה הֶעֱלִיתָנוּ מִ מִּצְרַיִם לְהָמִית אֹתִי וְאֶת -בָּנַי וְאֶת -מִ קְנַי בַּצָּמָא:). If the dagesh was missing, the word would not be read as if it had a י and it would have been read as תַלִּונוּ meaning “they complain.” According to the Qere and Ketiv, תַלִּינוּ has both the dagesh and the י and thus the meaning changes and reads “you cause them to complain.” The marginal note here suggests there were individuals within the congregation that caused the people to complain against Moshe and Aaron. An alternative interpretation would be that they are saying Moshe and Aaron caused them to complain or even that God has caused them to complain passing the blame onto the Lord. The note in the marginal Masorah on the oral tradition for the reading of Bamidbar / Numbers 16:7 suggests that they caused everybody to voice their discontent against Moshe, Aaron, and God. It seems everyone was discontented, their sons, wives, daughters, and the great company (mixed multitude) who came out of Egypt. It is interesting that here within the Hebrew text a picture is forming that provides us reasons for why the children of Israel were to spend 40 years wandering in the desert before going into the Promised Land. There was a preexisting condition within the people that lead to the need to eliminate (remove) those people who doubted the Lord and to raise a generation of people in the ways of the Torah prior to entering the Promised Land. The Torah text also provides us with compelling information on why David said in his psalm 62:1 My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. (NASB)

Complaining is not a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and is detrimental to the peace, joy, and patience that are supposed to proceed from the Spirit that dwells within. Complaining is destructive and debilitating and only serves to make our witness to the world more difficult. For example, who would be attracted to a faith or to the Lord God in heaven whose adherents are dissatisfied with life and who continually grumble and complain? According to the Scriptures, the first complainer was Adam. After both Adam and Eve disobeyed the word of the Lord, they complained about their situation (e.g. “the woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it,” Bereshit / Genesis 3:12). Eve blamed the serpent. Adam’s son Cain also complained to the Lord (Bereshit / Genesis 4:6). Moshe complained at the burning bush (see Shemot / Exodus 3-4) and later cried to the Lord repeatedly for deliverance from the Israelites’ grumbling and idolatry (Shemot / Exodus 17:4, 32:31-32). David complained in Tehillim / Psalm 2:1, 12:1-2, 22:1, and there are complaints made by the prophets concerning the idolatry of the Jewish nation. In addition, in the book of Job we find the most occurrences of complaints toward God, and yet Job did not sin (Job 1:22, 2:10). The point of Job’s complaints was that he was able to sanctify his complaints in humility before God and thus did not sin. Based upon the book of Job, it is possible to complain and not sin and therefore there are different types of complaining, where one is OK and another that is not OK.

Studying these Scriptures, we are challenged not to grumble or complain (Philippians 2:14-15, 1 Peter 4:9); rather, we are to love one another deeply so that we may become “blameless and pure” in God’s eyes. If we grumble and complain about our circumstances, it shows the nature of our hearts. James had a few words to say concerning complaining in James 4:1-3.

James 4:1-3

4:1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 4:2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. (NASB)

There is a sense of worldliness in the one who quarrels, conflicts, and complains. Is it wrong to complain to the Lord? There is a difference between bringing our complaint before the Lord, and by complaining we are bringing accusation against the Lord. According to the Torah, those that did complain blaming God met the anger of the Lord, such as in the case of Moses’ sister Miriam (see Bamidbar / Numbers 12) and Korach and Datan (Bamibar / Numbers 16). These examples from the Scripture show us that they spoke against God’s servant and, in doing so, spoke against God Himself. If we must complain, let it be to Him about our own sinfulness so that He will forgive and cleanse us (1 John 1:9) and put within us a new heart, one that rejoices rather than complains, and a heart that desperately seeks the Lord in heaven and His Messiah Yeshua.

David said, ב אַךְ אֶל-אֱלֹהִים דּוּמִיָּה נַפְשִׁי מִמֶּנּוּ יְשׁוּעָתִי: ג אַךְ-הוּא צוּרִי וִישׁוּעָתִי מִשְֹגַּבִּי לֹא-אֶמּוֹט רַבָּה: 62:1 My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. (NASB) He believes the Lord is his rock, salvation, and stronghold, and that he will not be shaken. If we are willing to seek the Lord in all things, not behave wickedly, and walk in His ways, the Lord will be our rock, our salvation, and our stronghold which is not shaken. On the other hand, if we live as David describes the wicked, this will not be true. We cannot live in both worlds, and the Apostle John understood this and taught this in his epistles (1 John, 2 John, and 3 John).

David continues with a description of the wicked saying, ד עַד-אָנָה | תְּהוֹתְתוּ עַל-אִישׁ תְּרָצְּחוּ כֻלְּכֶם כְּקִיר נָטוּי גָּדֵר הַדְּחוּיָה: ה אַךְ מִשְּׂאֵתוֹ | יָעֲצוּ לְהַדִּיחַ יִרְצוּ כָזָב בְּפִיו יְבָרֵכוּ וּבְקִרְבָּם יְקַלְלוּ-סֶלָה: 62:3 How long will you assail a man, That you may murder him, all of you, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence? 62:4 They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position; They delight in falsehood; They bless with their mouth, But inwardly they curse. Selah. (NASB) David’s words “ad-anah” (עַד-אָנָה) are a reference to time where the word עַד as a preposition means, “as far as, even to, up to, until, while” and anah (אָנָה) as an adverb meaning “where,” he is asking “until when” or “where,” “up until what point is enough” for a man to assail another? When is enough? The murder of a man is paralleled to a leaning wall and tottering fence. The word that is translated “assail,” “tehotetu” (תְּהוֹתְתוּ) is a hapax legomenon, A hapax legomenon is a word that occurs only once within a context, either in the written record of an entire language, in the works of an author, or in a single text. The words “Hapax legomenon” is a transliteration of Greek ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, meaning “something said only once.” For example, this word “tehotetu” (תְּהוֹתְתוּ) is the only occurrence in the Tanach making its translation difficult. The English translators give various meanings, NIV = assault, NASB = assail, ESV and NKJV = attack, and Wycliffe = fall on. Alter’s translation of the Psalms does not even mention the word. TWOT (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) suggests the meaning is to “shout at.” Whatever David had in mind, what is implied is not pleasant. In addition to the translation of this word, another question is who is the one referred to with the pronominal suffix “you?” The NASB places the translation of the word כֻלְּכֶם (all of you) before the verb to ensure that David is not speaking to lay blame on the Lord God Almighty. Studying the various English translations, a similar attempt is made to alter the translation to prevent David from laying blame upon the Lord. The MT however places כֻלְּכֶם following the word “tehotetu” (תְּהוֹתְתוּ) “murders” suggesting that the word may be connected to the reference to the wall crushing and the position of the men who are about to be crushed. This would imply that the “you” would refer to the Lord God and not to all the other men. Does this verse suggest that God attacks and kills men? Does the Lord smash men like the tottering fence? The rabbis say according to the Aramaic Targum, ד עד אן אתון מתרגשין על גבר חסיד תתעבדון קטולין כולכון היך שור דמטי דסטי היך גודא רעיעתא׃ ה ברם כד יומאן לאוטבא מתמלכין למנדח יחוון כדבותא כדכובא בפומהון יברכון ובלבהון ילטטון לעלמין׃ 62:4 How long do you rage against a pious man? All of you will be slain, like a crooked wall, like a broken fence. 62:5 Truly when they swear to do good, they take counsel to attack; they will tell lies; with their mouth they will bless and with their heart they will curse forever. (EMC) The emphasis here is that the Lord God does slay men. According to the rabbis, there is no difficulty in theology of a merciful and loving God who also slays the wicked for their evil deeds. Why do you think it is so difficult today for Christian theologians to accept this aspect of God’s justice?

From what I can find in the Hebrew Lexicon, the root word for “tehotetu” (תְּהוֹתְתוּ) is derived from the word ratsah (רצח) meaning “murder” where one occurrence is found in Shemot / Exodus 20:13, יג לֹא תִרְצַח 20:13 “not murder.” It may be that David was thinking on Shemot / Exodus 4:24-26 which states, 4:24 Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. 4:25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, ‘You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.’ 4:26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, ‘You are a bridegroom of blood’ because of the circumcision. (NASB) David may be laying down a description of how the world appears from a Hebraic perspective. The point of the Hebrew-isms and the Hebraic perspective is that the Hebrew language is phenomenological, unlike Greek and English. Hebrew speaks of the way things look and not about the hidden spiritual reality. In David’s time, an observer of the world as compared to our time, David would have certainly come to the conclusion that the Lord God allows His children to go to the slaughter. One could even conclude that the Lord causes His children to be exterminated due to their sin based upon the Hebraic perspective. The Torah mandate of the blessings and the curses (Devarim / Deuteronomy 11:26) suggests that disobedience may lead to the eventual destruction of God’s people. A similar principle is laid down in 1 Corinthians 10. David may be viewing the world from the perspective that God’s people are crushed by the surrounding nations. Why does the Lord allow such evil to come upon His people? Murders, thefts, slanderers, mass graves (holocaust), tragedy? It is no wonder David cries out “ad-anah” (עַד-אָנָה) “until when?” Based upon the MT text, we can see David’s frustration with his situation.

David reiterates his previous statements of hope and trust in the Lord saying, ו אַךְ לֵאלֹהִים דּוֹמִּי נַפְשִׁי כִּי-מִמֶּנּוּ תִּקְוָתִי: ז אַךְ-הוּא צוּרִי וִישׁוּעָתִי מִשְֹגַּבִּי לֹא אֶמּוֹט: 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. 62:6 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, ו ברם לאלהא שתוקי נפשי ארום מיניה סברי׃ ז ברם הוא תוקפי ופורקני משיזבי לא אזדעזע׃ 62:6 Truly be silent for God, O my soul, for my hope comes from him. 62:7 Truly he is my strength and my redemption, my savior, I shall not be shaken. (EMC) The Septuagint states, 62:5 πλὴν τῷ θεῷ ὑποτάγηθι ἡ ψυχή μου ὅτι πα αὐτοῦ ἡ ὑπομονή μου 62:6 ὅτι αὐτὸς θεός μου καὶ σωτήρ μου ἀντιλήμπτωρ μου οὐ μὴ μεταναστεύσω 62:5 Nevertheless do thou, my soul, be subjected to God; for of him is my patient hope. 62:6 For he is my God and my Saviour; my helper, I shall not be moved. (LXX) Here David calls out to his soul to remain silent before the Lord. He appears to be calling out to his soul, his deepest self to wait upon the Lord in silence. Is this a form of Monastic silence? The concept of Monastic silence is a spiritual practice that involves being silent, settling our thoughts, and waiting upon the Lord. It is thought that by being silent, one may approach the Lord by somehow achieving a higher spirituality. The Roman Catholic Church has a highly developed system where the practice teaches that silence is a means to access God, to develop self knowledge, and to live more harmoniously. (“Silence That Screams,” http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/misc/allen_silence_that_screams.htm, Access Date: Feb. 19, 2015) The practice of silence is observed during different parts of the day, Scripture such as found in Tehillim / Psalms 39:3 “I was silent and still; I held my peace to no avail; my distress grew worse, my heart became hot within me. While I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue” or here in Tehillim / Psalms 62 have been used as proof texts for Monastic silence.

Judaism also has a tradition of silence in sacred places such as synagogues, yeshivas, and beit midrash (house of study). It is important to note that not all silences are equal. There is an angry silence, a silence that is given during trauma, or a moment of silence during a funeral out of respect for the passing of the dead. There is also the holy silence of quieting the soul, which is something David is referencing in his statement that he trusts in the Lord for salvation. What is interesting is in Parashat Vayera, the Torah portion opens with a suggestion of silence where Abraham is sitting at the opening of the tent in the heat of the day and then God appears to him. There are other forms of silence, for example, Sarah’s laughter (Bereshit / Genesis 18:12), Sarah did not appear to laugh aloud. She seems to have laughed to herself and this may be why she rejected the idea that the angel knew she had laughed when he said “why do you laugh?” Sarah also was silent when Abimelech (Bereshit / Genesis 20) took her, she was advised by Abraham to tell the king a half lie about their marriage. The Torah also describes Lot’s wife who did not utter a word, turns, and becomes a pillar of salt (Bereshit / Genesis 19:26) therefore, silence may also take on a form of rebellion to the word of the Lord. Note also how Hagar cried out in Bereshit / Genesis 21:16, however the Scriptures say that “God heard the cry of the boy” (Bereshit / Genesis 21:19). In addition to this, Isaac was silent after asking Abraham “Where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” as he and his father approach Mount Moriah (Bereshit / Genesis 22:8), it is interesting to note how Isaac does not speak to his father again. These passages from the Torah speak of the Lord drawing near to the one who remains silent. Based upon the Torah perspective on silence, David appeals to his soul to remain silent before the Lord because his hope truly is in the Lord, ח עַל-אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁעִי וּכְבוֹדִי צוּר-עֻזִּי מַחְסִי בֵּאלֹהִים: ט בִּטְחוּ בוֹ בְכָל-עֵת | עָם שִׁפְכוּ לְפָנָיו לְבַבְכֶם אֱלֹהִים מַחֲסֶה-לָּנוּ סֶלָה: 62:7 On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. (NASB)

David then continues making statements about the wicked again saying, י אַךְ הֶבֶל בְּנֵי-אָדָם כָּזָב בְּנֵי אִישׁ בְּמֹאזְנַיִם לַעֲלוֹת הֵמָּה מֵהֶבֶל יָחַד: יא אַל-תִּבְטְחוּ בְעשֶׁק וּבְגָזֵל אַל-תֶּהְבָּלוּ חַיִל | כִּי יָנוּב אַל-תָּשִׁיתוּ לֵב: 62:9 Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath. 62:10 Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, י ברם למא בני נשא כדיבא כדכובא בני גבר כד יסבון נשין במסחתא יתקלון מתקלין מזליהין הינון אינון גרמיהון מן למא הוון כחדא׃ יא לא תיכלון בטלומא ובאונסא לא תקבלון ממונא ארום ישבח לא תשוון לבא׃ 62:10 For the sons of men are nothing, the sons of a man are deceit; when they take wives, their fates are weighed in the balances; they themselves came to be altogether out of nothing. 62:11 Do not trust in oppression, and do not receive money gained by coercion; for [though] it will increase in value, do not set your mind [on it]. (EMC) The Septuagint states, 62:9 πλὴν μάταιοι οἱ υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ψευδεῖς οἱ υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐν ζυγοῖς τοῦ ἀδικῆσαι αὐτοὶ ἐκ ματαιότητος ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό 62:10 μὴ ἐλπίζετε ἐπὶ ἀδικίαν καὶ ἐπὶ ἅρπαγμα μὴ ἐπιποθεῖτε πλοῦτος ἐὰν ῥέῃ μὴ προστίθεσθε καρδίαν 62:9 But the sons of men are vain; the sons of men are false, so as to be deceitful in the balances; they are all alike formed out of vanity. 62:10 Trust not in unrighteousness, and lust not after robberies: if wealth should flow in, set not your heart upon it. (LXX) It is interesting how the rabbis draw in the concept of the wicked taking wives and how their fate are weighed in the balances. Why do the rabbis make this kind of comparison in contrast to the MT that states “Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up?” It might be that in the taking of a wife, a man foresees his future as secure in the hopes (expectation) of having children. The point may be that it is the Lord God Almighty who gives the blessing of children. It is the Lord who enables us to procreate and the future generations are dependent upon our instructing our children in the Torah, to walk in God’s ways, to live peaceful lives, and serve the Lord. The wicked do not raise their children in God’s ways, as David said, according to the rabbis in the Targum, they trust in oppression, and in money gained by coercion. If these principles are taught to one’s children, their lives will be cut short, they will not be at peace, and they will never know the Lord God Almighty, our Father in heaven and His Messiah Yeshua because one cannot live in these ways and claim to be in fellowship with God or his Messiah (1 John 1).

David concludes his psalm saying, יב אַחַת | דִּבֶּר אֱלֹהִים שְׁתַּיִם-זוּ שָׁמָעְתִּי כִּי עֹז לֵאלֹהִים: יג וּלְךָ-אֲדֹנָי חָסֶד כִּי-אַתָּה תְשַׁלֵּם לְאִישׁ כְּמַעֲשֵֹהוּ: 62:11 Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God; 62:12 And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, For You recompense a man according to his work. (NASB)What does David mean “once God has spoke, twice I have heard?” The Aramaic Targum states, תין זימנין דנן שמעית ותנייתא דנא שמענא מן פום משה ספרא רבא ארום עושנא קדם אלהא ולית איפשר לביסרא ודמא לקבלא מפומיה׃ יג ולך אלהא למעבד טיבו לצדיקיא ארום את אנת משלם לאינש היך עובדוי׃ 62:12 God speaks one Torah, and now two times I have heard it, from the mouth of Moses, the great scribe, for there is might in the presence of God. 62:13 And it is yours, O God, to show favor to the righteous, for you repay each man according to his works. (EMC) The Septuagint states, 62:11 ἅπαξ ἐλάλησεν ὁ θεός δύο ταῦτα ἤκουσα 62:12 ὅτι τὸ κράτος τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ σοί κύριε τὸ ἔλεος ὅτι σὺ ἀποδώσεις ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ 62:11 God has spoken once, and I have heard these two things, that power is of God; 62:12 and mercy is thine, O Lord; for thou wilt recompense every one according to his works. (LXX) The rabbis answer the question on David’s statement regarding “once God has spoke, twice I have heard?” God has spoken in His Torah (ref to once) and he has heard it from the mouth of Moshe (ref to twice). In all three texts, the MT, Targum, and Septuagint, David concludes saying the Lord God will recompense a man for his works. Meaning that He will repay a man for what he has done (his works). This sounds very similar to Yeshua’s words in John 5:29.

John 5:28-30

5:28 ‘Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 5:29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. 5:30 ‘I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (NASB)

In addition, Tehillim / Psalms 62:12 also directs our attention to other Scripture, in Matthew 16:27 and Romans 2:6 which state the following:

Matthew 16:24-28

16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 16:25 ‘For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 16:26 ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 16:27 ‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. 16:28 ‘Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.’ (NASB)

Romans 2:1-11

2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2:2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 2:3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 2:6 who will render to each person according to his deeds: 2:7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 2:8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 2:9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 2:10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 2:11 For there is no partiality with God. (NASB)

What is interesting about comparing those texts from Matthew 16:27, Yeshua is saying that he will return with the glory of God’s angels in judgment to repay every man according to their deeds. The Apostle Paul says (Romans 2:6) that God will render to each person according to their deeds. The contrast is to those who do good deeds, who seek for the glory and honor of God, the good deeds themselves lead to eternal life, whereas the wicked seek self, oppression, and deceit, these deeds lead to eternal death. This comes on Yeshua’s words (John 5:29) that he will return and give resurrection of life to those who do good deeds, and judgment to those who do evil deeds. How does that fit into the once saved always saved, or faith alone theologies?

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 62 has 3 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, 3, and 4. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 62, Part 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 62, Part 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “For the leader; for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. Wait, my soul, only for God, for HaShem (Tehillim / Psalms 62:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, Wait upon the Lord forever (Isaiah 26:4).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis state that the Lord God created two worlds, this present world and the world to come, which is present in the letters of His name, the yod and the heh.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal providing examples from the Masoretic Text as proof texts the Lord used the letters of his name to create the two worlds.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Hence, it is said With Jeduthun. Truly my soul waits upon God, from Him comes my salvation (Tehillim / Psalms 62:2). Similarly, Scripture says, Neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon You (2 Chronicles 20:12).”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “He only is my Rock and my salvation (Tehillim / Psalms 62:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “What does Rock mean?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis describe the Rock as being the One who causes both distress and salvation in this world.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal by discussing the wicked, Hell, judgment, and the Lord who saves.
  • The Concluding phrase states, “The Lord will be a refuge unto His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So, too, the sons of Korach said, Nations were in tumult, kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge, etc (Tehillim / Psalms 46:7-8).”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “Trust in Him at all times (Tehillim / Psalms 62:9).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Hiyya son of Abba of Joppa said, A man’s breathing in and out shows that his spirit is striving to except from him.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis say the breathing in and out is synonymous to striving and ask how the spirit of a man is made to remain in the body?
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the explanation is that the whole earth is filled with God’s glory, and the spirit of a man remains because of the presence of God in this world.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “That as long as the breath goes in and out of a man’s body, we are bound to sing Halleluiah unto God, for He does wonders for us. Hence David said, Since God works so many miracles for us all the time, take care not to be diverted from Him for one instant, Trust in Him at all times; you people pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us forever (Tehillim / Psalms 62:9).”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “Also unto You, O Lord, belongs mercy; for You render to every man according to his work (Tehillim / Psalms 62:13).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “What is meant by the words, Also unto You, O Lord, belongs mercy, etc?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis quote from Isaiah and describe the thing the Lord renders according to one’s work, the work of righteousness reaps much reward by the fruits of one’s labor, unrighteousness however does not bear fruit. A man will eat or partake of his fruits, whether or righteousness or of unrighteousness which has no fruit to consume.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal by discussing the differences between righteousness and unrighteousness, and how the Lord compensates each man according to his deeds.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “The Holy One blessed be He, also said to David, Even if you are not to build the Temple, nevertheless, since you thought to build it, I will record it in your name, as is said, A song at the dedication of the house of David (Tehillim / Psalms 30:1), Scripture does not say the house of Solomon, but, the house of David. Why? Because David thought in his heart to build the Temple. Thus, we learn that when a man things of doing a good work, even if he is prevented from doing it, the Holy One blessed be He, reckons it as though he had done it.”

Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “For the leader; for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. Wait, my soul, only for God, for HaShem (Tehillim / Psalms 62:1).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, Wait upon the Lord forever (Isaiah 26:4).” The midrash continues saying the following:

The Holy One blessed be He, said, know upon whom you wait? Upon Him who created two worlds with the two letters of his Name “Y” and “H” He formed the worlds, this world as well as the world to come. This world was created with the letter “he” (H), for in the verse, These are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were created (bhbr’m, בְּהִבָּרְאָם) (Bereshit / Genesis 2:4), bhbr’m (בְּהִבָּרְאָם) is not to be read, When they were created, but with “heh” created He them. And the world to come was created with the letter “yod” (Y). Hence, With Y and H, He formed worlds. And why was this world created with the letter “he?” To tell you that in the same way as a man utters the sound of “heh,” letting it slip from his mouth without movement of the lips and without pressure from the tongue, so God created the world without any drudgery and without any labor, as is said, By the word of the Lord were the heavens made (Tehillim / Psalms 33:6). (Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 1)

אמר הקב״ה הוו יודעין במי אתם בוטחים, במי שברא שני עולמים בשתי אותיות, כי ביה ה׳ צור עולמים (שם שם ישעיהו כ״ו), העולם הזה והעולם הבא, העולם הזה נברא בה״א, שנאמר אלה תולדות השמים והארץ בהבראם (בראשית ב ד), אל תקרי בהבראם, אלא בה״א בראם, והעולם הבא נברא ביו״ד, הוי כי ביה ה׳ צור עולמים. ולמה נברא העולם הזה בה״א, לומר לך מה ה״א כשאדם מוציאה מתוך פיו, אין בה לא ריחוש שפתים, ולא חריצת לשון, כך בלא עמל ובלא יגיעה ברא אותה, שנאמר בדבר ה׳ שמים נעשו וגו׳ (תהלים לג ו)

The rabbis discuss the introductory or title verse in the MT on Tehillim / Psalms 62, with regard to “my soul waits only for God, for HaShem.” Isaiah 26:4 is referenced to say that man is to wait upon the Lord forever. The midrashic explanation is that the Lord God says we should know who it is that we wait upon. The One whom we wait upon is who created the two worlds with the two letters of His name, the yod (י) and the heh (ה). The idea that God created the two worlds, this world and the world to come by the use of the two letters from his name is a kabbalistic concept. In summary, this midrash speaks of the human soul that waits upon the Lord God in heaven and of knowing who God is in the creation of two worlds, heaven and earth.

The rabbis appear to draw in kabbalistic concepts in their interpretation on this first verse from the Psalm. Kabbalah sees the human soul as mirroring the Divine which is derived from the verse in Bereshit / Genesis 1:27, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” In order to understand this world and the world that God lives in, the rabbis have developed a diagram called the Sephirot and also known as “the tree of life.” The Sephirot is designed to describe the spiritual life of man, which provides the conceptual paradigm in Kabbalah for understanding everything that we know about this world which then enables us to speculate about the world to come (or heaven). The Sephirot (סְפִירוֹת‎) means the emanations of God and are the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah, through which Ein Sof (The Infinite) reveals himself. The Sephirot is designed to describe the relationship between the soul of man and the Lord God in heaven. Kabbalah however stresses that one must avoid corporeal interpretation of the Sephirot, and therefore the references found in the kabalistic literature are to the “Divine” rather than to say this is the Lord God of Israel. Now, because of the design and structure of the Sephirot in the kabbalistic interpretation of the world, Kabbalah teaches that there are ten levels which are associated with the four different “Worlds” or planes of existence (from the Zohar). Note however in the midrash, the rabbis speak of only two worlds. Kabbalah however allows for the existence of four worlds. This interpretation is designed to link the Infinite Divine Ein Sof (without end) with our finite, physical realm. In all four Worlds, the 10 Sephirot radiate, and are the Divine channels through which every level is continuously created from nothing. The structure of the Four Worlds arises from the idea that a certain Sephirot dominates in one of the four worlds. The rabbis describe these four worlds in the following way:

The 4 worlds according to Kabbalah

  1. World of Emanation (אֲצִילוּת‎): The light of the Ein Sof radiates and is united with its source. Divine (Ein Sof) Chochmah, the limitless wisdom of God beyond grasp, predominates.
  2. World of Creation (בְּרִיאָה or בְּרִיָּה‎): This refers to the first creation ex nihilo, where the souls and angels are given self-awareness, but without form. Divine (Ein Sof) Binah, the intellectual understanding, predominates.
  3. World of Formation (יְצִירָה‎): On this level, creation is related to form. The Divine (Ein Sof) emotional Sephirot of Chesed to Yesod predominate.
  4. World of Action (עֲשִׂיָּה‎): This is the physical aspect, the only physical realm and the lowest World, this present world with all its creatures. The Divine (Ein Sof) Kingship of Malchut predominates, the purpose of Creation. (e.g. think about the concepts of the King Messiah in Midrash Tehillim 61, Part three where the rabbis describe the King Messiah as having no end of days, he will be eternal or everlasting.)

In the Zohar and elsewhere, there are these four Worlds or planes of existence. In Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 1, the rabbis draw upon this method of interpretation to describe the way in which God created the heavens and the earth. How does the Yod (י) and the Heh (ה) help one to understand the One upon whom we wait? The midrash states that the letter Heh (ה) is said to be uttered without effort, without work, and in a similar manner God created this world without effort or work. Is this consistent with Scripture? The Torah states that God worked six days creating and then rested on the seventh day. What are the rabbis trying to say? The concept that might be emphasized here is the explanation of the letter Heh (ה) on the creation of the world and drawing near to or waiting upon the Lord God in heaven. The Midrash states אין בה לא ריחוש שפתים which translates literally to say, “he did not come, did not shake or move the lips” and is translated more loosely as “without movement of lips” and ובלא יגיעה ברא אותה “and not labor, toil, strain in creating her,” the letter “Heh” (ה) and the ease at which one speaks the letter Heh (ה) is without effort, as compared to the letter khet (ח). Notice how this is paralleled to the soul who waits for the Lord. We do not labor to wait upon the Lord. Is there something we must do (a work) in order to wait upon the Lord? The idea here may be that one does not labor in waiting upon the Lord, one gives up and gives in to the uselessness of trying to do things ourselves and we finally turn toward the Lord God in Heaven for His help. So the concept of knowing the creator, the Lord God in heaven, is found within the action of waiting upon the Lord, studying His word, through prayer, and walking in His ways (1 John 2:6).

The midrash continues saying,

The verse, For He has brought them down that dwell on high (Isaiah 26:5), and the verse, The foot will tread it down, even the feet of the poor (Isaiah 26:6), and also the verse, Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion (Micah 4:13), imply that the Holy One blessed be He, spoke thus to the children of Israel, I will redeem you. But not before you have known trouble. And by what means will I make you know trouble? With Jeduthun, that is, with the judgments and trials You will impose upon us. Hence, it is said With Jeduthun. Truly my soul waits upon God, from Him comes my salvation (Tehillim / Psalms 62:2). Similarly, Scripture says, Neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon You (2 Chronicles 20:12). (Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 1)

The midrash continues with this perspective, that the Lord brought down those who dwell on high, those whose feet oppress the poor. The Lord brings tribulation and troubles for the purpose of humbling us if we are not walking humbly before Him on a daily basis. The word “Jeduthun” is translated to refer to judgments and trials. This is why David said in Tehillim / Psalms 62:1-2, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-יְדוּתוּן מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: ב אַךְ אֶל-אֱלֹהִים דּוּמִיָּה נַפְשִׁי מִמֶּנּוּ יְשׁוּעָתִי: For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. 62:1 My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. (NASB) With Jeduthun (trials) he will wait in silence for the Lord. In order to know the One in whom we wait upon, we are to be silent and humble before Him. This is the way of the Lord God in heaven, it is also the way of His Messiah Yeshua. Yeshua walked humbly before God and men. Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 1 speaks of the One who created the heavens and the earth, and the manner in which we are to wait upon the Lord, we are to wait without effort, or labor, or toiling. There is no manner in which we can cause the Lord to move, we wait and trust and believe He will move and bring His salvation when the time is right.

Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “He only is my Rock and my salvation (Tehillim / Psalms 62:3).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “What does Rock mean?” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק סב סימן ב

ב אך הוא צורי וישועתי. מהו צורי, [תוקף], בתוקף בא עלי בעולם הזה, ובשביל התוקף שבא עלי יושיעני. משגבי לא אמוט רבה. גיהנם נקראת רבה, מקום שהרשעים נופלים שם ועומדים, וכן הוא אומר השיקו היקבים כי רבה רעתם המונים [המונים] בעמק החרוץ (יואל ד יג יד), מהו בעמק החרוץ, שכל מי שנופל בו דינו חרוץ לעולם, אותה שעה לא אמוט רבה, שנאמר וה׳ מציון ישאג ומירושלים יתן קולו (שם שם יואל ד׳ טז), אותה שעה וה׳ מחסה לעמו ומעוז לבני ישראל (שם שם יואל ד׳), וכן בני קרח אמרו המו גוים מטו ממלכות נתן בקולו תמוג (הארץ) [ארץ], ה׳ צבאות עמנו וגו׳ (תהלים מו ז ח).

Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 2

2. He only is my Rock and my salvation (Tehillim / Psalms 62:3). What does Rock mean? It means, duress, God puts me under duress in this world, and because of the duress He puts me under, He will save me. Therefore, the verse concludes He is my defense, I will not be moved into the great place (Tehillim / Psalms 62:3), the great place being a name for Gehenna, the place into which the wicked fall and stay. So too, in the verse, The vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision (Joel 3:13-14), what can valley of decision mean except that if a man fall into this valley, the judgment upon him is decided forever. But in the hour of judgment I will not be moved into the great place, for though The Lord will roar out of Zion, and utter His voice form Jerusalem (Joel 3:16), at the same time The Lord will be a refuge unto His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So, too, the sons of Korach said, Nations were in tumult, kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge, etc (Tehillim / Psalms 46:7-8).

The midrash comments on Tehillim / Psalms 62:3 and David’s words that the Lord is his Rock and salvation, which may be a reference to Parashat Haazinu on the Lord being our Rock and salvation. The interpretation on this verse is that the Rock means “duress” (תוקף) where the Hebrew word used means “attacker, assailant, mugger, or assaulter.” Is the concept here the midrash is putting forward saying that God is the attacker or does He cause others to attack? The midrash states, מהו צורי, [תוקף], בתוקף בא עלי בעולם הזה, ובשביל התוקף שבא עלי יושיעני. where a rough translation say, “what is my Rock, [attacker], the attacker upon me in this world, and in the path of the attacker that comes upon me, He will save me.” So the idea that the Lord is the attacker and the Savior is not what the rabbis are trying to say. The midrash continues saying:

Therefore, the verse concludes He is my defense, I will not be moved into the great place (Tehillim / Psalms 62:3), the great place being a name for Gehenna, the place into which the wicked fall and stay. So too, in the verse, The vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision (Joel 3:13-14), what can valley of decision mean except that if a man fall into this valley, the judgment upon him is decided forever.

The Lord will be the defense of the one who trusts in Him. According to the midrash, the Lord will be the defense in the way that He will not allow the person who trusts in Him to be moved to the place of the wicked, Gehenna (Hell), the place where the wicked fall (מקום שהרשעים נופלים שם ועומדים). The rabbis reference the valley of decision and say that the man who falls into the valley of decision, the verdict (judgment) upon him is eternal. The concept here is the Lord will stand to give testimony on behalf of the people. If the Lord is the judge, how can the judge give testimony and be a judge between two people? Who are the one’s being judged? What standard will God used as a basis for making a legal ruling or judgment? In Jewish Law, the testimony that is acceptable is given by eligible witnesses to a Beit Din (court). The Beit Din is authorized to render decisions according to halakhah (Jewish law). According to the Torah, here on earth, eligible witnesses must in almost all cases be free men who are not deaf, mentally or morally unsuitable, or too young for Bar Mitzvah. A valid witness is characterized according to halakhah to having seen the event with his eyes or heard it with his ears. Generally hearsay from another person is inadmissible, except in rare cases such as confirming that a missing husband has died. A Beit Din may accept testimony only from a witness who speaks directly to the judges, not from a written deposition. A witness may not recant his testimony. The Torah says in Devarim / Deuteronomy 19:15, “One witness shall not arise against a man for any sin or guilt that he may commit; according to two witnesses or according to three witnesses a matter shall stand.” Therefore, two witnesses are considered to having the ability together to provide conclusive proof of what happened, and on the other hand, one witness does not.

According to the gospel of John, Yeshua said that the Scriptures plainly testify of him (John 5:39). Yeshua was saying that the Scriptures bear witness of him as the Messiah and the King of Israel (Matthew 2:2, 27:11). We also read the Apostle Paul was raised a Torah observant Jew who studied under Rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3). Paul said that he was very knowledgeable in halakhah, and he was in good standing with the Sanhedrin and the High Priest (Acts 9:1-2), and even after his Damascus road experience with Yeshua (Acts 9:1-21), he still defined himself as Torah observant, and even calling himself a Pharisee. He declared himself to be observant of the Torah, that he was “blameless,” which indicates that he was observant all of his life until his dying day (Philippians 3:6). He declared this fact over and over again (see Acts 25:7-8 and 28:17). The point is as the children of God, and disciples of Yeshua, the Scriptures should also bear testimony to our lives. Note also an important concept here is that we are not justified by the keeping of the Torah, for we have all fallen short at one point or another. As James said in James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. (NASB) we all have fallen short, and our justification comes by faith in God’s Messiah Yeshua. The biblical definition of salvation is found within the covenant relationship that we have with the Lord God, our Father in heaven. We enter into that covenant by faith in God’s Messiah Yeshua. Now being a member of the covenant in the Messiah, we are expected to live according to the terms of the covenant (1 John 2:6). The Lord will keep us and protect us if we do the best that we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to live according to His ways for His glory and not our own.

Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 2 concludes saying, “But in the hour of judgment I will not be moved into the great place, for though The Lord will roar out of Zion, and utter His voice form Jerusalem (Joel 3:16), at the same time The Lord will be a refuge unto His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So, too, the sons of Korach said, Nations were in tumult, kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge, etc (Tehillim / Psalms 46:7-8).” Though the Lord causes the enemy to come because of our sinfulness (see 1 Corinthians 11), He is there to rescue us of we turn in repentance, turning away from our sins and towards the Lord God in heaven and His Messiah Yeshua. The Torah says in Bamidbar / Numbers 32:23 “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (NASB) Be sure that sin will find you out if you are living in sin while at the same time trying to have a relationship with the Lord God in heaven.

Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Trust in Him at all times (Tehillim / Psalms 62:9).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Hiyya son of Abba of Joppa said, A man’s breathing in and out shows that his spirit is striving to except from him.” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק סב סימן ג

ג בטחו בו בכל עת. אמר ר׳ חייא בר אבא דמן יפו הנשמה שבאדם כל שעה שהיא עולה ויורדת מבקשת היא לצאת ממנו, והיאך היא עומדת בגופו, אלא הקב״ה מלא כל הארץ כבודו, כשהיא באה לצאת ורואה את יוצרה חוזרת לאחוריה, והיכן היא פירשוה, אנשי כנסת הגדולה פירשוה, אתה הוא ה׳ לבדך (השמים ושמי השמים לא יכלכלוך) [אתה עשית את השמים שמי השמים וגו׳] ואתה מחיה את כולם (נחמיה ט ו), מנין שכבודו של הקב״ה מלא חללו של עולם, שנאמר הלוא את השמים ואת הארץ אני מלא (ירמיה כג כד), אמר ר׳ נחמני בשם ר׳ לוי מעלי הביכורים כך היו משמרים, כל הנשמה תהלל יה (תהלים קנ ו), מהו תהלל יה, כל שעה ושעה שהיא עולה ויורדת בגופו, אנן חייבין לו הללויה, שהוא עושה פלאות עמנו, אמר דוד הואיל וכל הנסים הללו הוא עושה עמנו בכל שעה, תנו דעתכם שלא להפליג ממנו שעה אחת, הוי בטחו בו בכל עת [עם] שפכו לפניו לבבכם אלהים מחסה לנו סלה.

Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 3

3. Trust in Him at all times (Tehillim / Psalms 62:9). Rabbi Hiyya son of Abba of Joppa said, A man’s breathing in and out shows that his spirit is striving to except from him. And how is he made to remain in his body? The Holy One blessed be He, fills the whole earth with His glory, and when the spirit, close to escaping, sees its Maker, it turns back. And where was this thought plainly expressed? Among the men of the Great Synagogue who expressed it plainly in their comment on You are the Lord, even You alone; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, the earth, and all things that are thereon, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all (Nehemiah 9:6). Whence do we know that the Holy One blessed be He, fills the whole space of the universe? Because He said, Do not I fill heaven and earth? (Jeremiah 23:24). Rabbi Nahmani said in the name of rabbi Levi, They who brought the first fruits used to sing the song Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 150:6). What is meant by the words Let everything that has breath praise the Lord? That as long as the breath goes in and out of a man’s body, we are bound to sing Halleluiah unto God, for He does wonders for us. Hence David said, Since God works so many miracles for us all the time, take care not to be diverted from Him for one instant, Trust in Him at all times; you people pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us forever (Tehillim / Psalms 62:9).

According to the midrash on Tehillim / Psalms 62:9 which says “Trust in Him at all times” (בטחו בו בכל עת), is compared to a man who is breathing which is a physical representation of the spirit within a man that wants to leave the body. Why would the spirit of a man be striving to leave the body? The verse from the Psalm speaks of the one who trusts in the Lord at all times. This is a reference to a righteous man. The idea here is that the spirit is pure and does not want to reside in the body which is impure. The midrash states, “And how is he made to remain in his body? The Holy One blessed be He, fills the whole earth with His glory, and when the spirit, close to escaping, sees its Maker, it turns back. And where was this thought plainly expressed? Among the men of the Great Synagogue who expressed it plainly in their comment on You are the Lord, even You alone; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, the earth, and all things that are thereon, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. (Nehemiah 9:6)” The Scriptures say that the whole earth is filled with His (God’s) glory and so the spirit of a man does not want to remain, but turns back to the body and remains because of the Lord’s glory that fills all the earth. The spirit leaving or running comments may be a reference to the spirit having a part in sin and unrighteousness and seeking to escape, however, the glory of God fills the earth, there is no place to escape besides to remain in the body the spirit resides within. Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 3 appears to be providing a discussion on differences between the body, soul, and spirit. There is a war going on within the righteous man to do what is right, the body desires sin, the spirit desires the way of God. These concepts sound very similar to what the Apostle Paul was writing to the Romans in Romans 7:6-25 regarding the war that is waging between the body and the spirit.

Romans 7:6-25

7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ 7:8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 7:9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 7:10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 7:11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 7:12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 7:13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. 7:14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 7:16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 7:17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 7:19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 7:20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 7:21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 7:22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 7:23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (NASB)

Reading through Romans 7:6-25, Paul says that if it had not been for the Law, he would not have known sin. He says that we are released from the Law by reason that we have “died to that by which we are bound.” By what are we bound? Before our faith in Yeshua God’s Messiah and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we were bound to sin. Paul clarifies his statement asking the question of whether the Law is sin? His point is that sin is disobedience to the Torah, and his conclusion is that 7:12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (NASB) Paul makes an interesting statement saying, 7:14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. (NASB) and then continues saying that he does not do what he wants to do, which is to obey God and agreeing with the Law that the Law (Torah) is good (7:16). Paul’s summary of the war that is taking place within the body, between sin and righteousness, the flesh and the spirit, he says that there is a different law in the members of his body, as compared to that of the spirit. (7:23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?) He concludes this line of reasoning thanking the Lord God in heaven for Yeshua the Messiah that enables us to serve the Law of God in the mind, and the law of sin in his body. The point appears to be related to thanking the Lord that both his mind and body are not in agreement. If his mind and body were in agreement, he would be considered the lost and unrighteous, and numbered among the wicked. If his mind were in agreement with sin, he would have been seeking sin all the days of his life. However, in Yeshua and by the power of the Holy Spirit, His mind has been renewed and set free from sin. This seems to parallel the Midrash in the sense that the spirit seeks to leave the body of sin, the spirit strives to leave but encounters the glory of God which fills all the earth when leaving and then returns to the body. Paul is saying here in Romans 7 that the Torah works hand-in-hand with the grace of God. The Lord has written His Torah upon our hearts, He has transformed us into His likeness and conforming us unto the image of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah. That is why Paul argues saying that 7:23 … I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. (NASB) The Law of his mind is the Torah which has been written upon his heart. This occurred when he placed his faith in the Messiah Yeshua and was filled with God’s Holy Spirit. In addition, we are called to cooperate with the leading of the Spirit and to live according to His ways and to show mercy towards others.

Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 2 concludes saying, “Rabbi Nahmani said in the name of rabbi Levi, They who brought the first fruits used to sing the song Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 150:6). What is meant by the words Let everything that has breath praise the Lord? That as long as the breath goes in and out of a man’s body, we are bound to sing Halleluiah unto God, for He does wonders for us. Hence David said, Since God works so many miracles for us all the time, take care not to be diverted from Him for one instant, Trust in Him at all times; you people pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us forever (Tehillim / Psalms 62:9).” The Aramaic Targum states, Tehillim / Psalms 62:9 Hope in his word at all times, O people of the house of Israel; pour out the pride of your hearts in his presence; say, “God is our hope forever.” (EMC) The NASB states, 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. (NASB) The midrash expands the verse to say that God works miracles for us all the time, whereas the Targum states to hope in His word, and the MT, to trust in Him, in the Lord at all times. The difference between the righteous verses the unrighteous man is that the righteous struggle with sin and seek the Lord God in heaven for help to be delivered from their sins. The unrighteous revel in their sin and seek to commit more and more without regard for the Lord God in heaven or His holy Word. The question for you is whether your mind is in agreement with the sin you commit, or do you struggle with sin like Paul did in Romans 7? We were created for the purpose of giving glory to God, the rabbis say, “That as long as the breath goes in and out of a man’s body, we are bound to sing Halleluiah unto God, for He does wonders for us.” This is not possible without His help, and by the power of the Spirit of God that dwells within.

Midrash Tehillim 62, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Also unto You, O Lord, belongs mercy; for You render to every man according to his work (Tehillim / Psalms 62:13).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “What is meant by the words, Also unto You, O Lord, belongs mercy, etc?” The midrash continues with rabbi Judah and rabbi Nehemiah differing in opinion on the interpretation of this verse of the Lord rewarding one according to his work. The differences in opinion are listed below.

Rabbi Judah

Rabbi Judah maintained that good works are not barren, but bear fruit, as is said, You say of the righteous, for they will eat the fruit of their doings (Isaiah 3:10); sin, however, is barren, for it is said Also unto You, O Lord, belongs mercy; for You render to every man according to his work (Tehillim / Psalms 62:13). Consider a man with ten good works and with ten sins. Do the good works and the sin cancel one another out? No; the Holy One blessed be He, permits no such thing. He first makes a man pay for his iniquities and only afterwards gives him his reward for his good works. Our Masters taught that God pays him a reward for his good works, but does not deal strictly with him for the sins he has accumulated; that is, God does not minutely examine the sin in order to punish him exactly as much as he sinned, for it is said You our God has punished us less than our iniquities deserve (Ezra 9:13). Here also, the verse says literally, You render to every man somewhat like his work (Tehillim / Psalms 62:13), not according to his work, but somewhat like his work. And what is meant by the words less than our iniquities deserve? That God makes a man pay for these iniquities out of what comes into his possession. How? When a young man is so inflamed by lust that he deserves death, what does the Holy One blessed be He, do but suspend the punishment of the young man until after he has taken a wife and begotten sons. Then the Holy One blessed be He, takes one of his sons instead of punishing the man himself for the sin he committed. Thus the Holy One blessed be He, makes a man pay what is due Him out of what a man comes to possess. Is there greater mercy than this? Hence it is said, Unto You, O Lord belongs mercy.

Rabbi Nehemiah

Rabbi Nehemiah, however, had a different interpretation of You render to every man according to his work, What is meant by the words, according to his work? This, say that a man considers committing a sin, but does not commit it; the Holy One blessed be He, does not write it down against his name unless he commits it. But if he considers doing a good deed and is prevented from doing it, the Holy One blessed be He, writes it down in his favor as though he had done it. From whose life can you learn this? From David’s for he grievously desired to build a Temple, as it is said, Lord remember unto David all his grief; how he swore unto the Lord, Surely I will not come into the tent of my house until I find out a place for the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 132:1-5), and again, Now behold, in my grief have I prepared for the house of the Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold (1 Chronicles 22:14). To this grief Scripture refers also to the verse, And it came to pass, when the king dwelt in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies round about (2 Samuel 7:1). At that time, as David was meditating in his heart the building of the Temple, he said to Nathan the prophet, See now I dwell in a house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwells within curtains (2 Samuel 7:2). Thereupon, Nathan the prophet replied, If the thought that you should build Him a house had not come into the heart of the Holy One, blessed be He, neither would it have come into your heart, as is shown by the verse which the Holy One blessed be He, ordered me to write of you, The Lord has sought a man according to that which had come into His heart (1 Samuel 13:64). And at once, through Nathan, the Holy One blessed be He, made His thought known to David, as is said, And it came to pass the same night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus says the Lord, You will build Me a house for Me to dwell in. (2 Samuel 7:4-5). But another verse says, You will not build Me a house to dwell in. (1 Chronicles 17:4). How can the two statements be maintained? Thus, even though you son Solomon is to build the house, it will be called by your name. Though David deserved to build the house, the prophet Nathan cane and said to David, You will not build a house unto My name, because you have shed much blood upon the earth in My sight (1 Chronicles 22:8). When David heard this, he was afraid, and he said, Behold I am unfit to build the Temple. According to rabbi Judah son of Ilai, the Holy One blessed be He, said to David, be not afraid. By your life, all the blood you have shed is no more to me than the blood of the hart or of the gazelle, of which it is said, The unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the gazelle and as of the hart. Only you will not eat the blood; you will not shed it upon the earth as water (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:15-16).

Rabbi Judah says works are not barren, they bear fruit, on the other hand, sin is barren and does not bear fruit. Rabbi Judah continues asking whether sins and good works cancel one another out? His conclusion is they do not, one must make restitution for one’s sins first (found within the concepts of Redemption and Sacrifice) and only afterwards does the Lord reward a man for his good works. Based on this context, the rabbis do not believe one can work their way to salvation, this example is a case in point regarding the opinion the rabbis believe one can work their way into heaven, or that the Torah teaches the same. Rabbi Judah goes as far to say that the Lord God pays a man for his good works in full, and does not deal strictly for his sins, the Lord is merciful. (God has punished us less than our iniquities deserve. (Ezra 9:13) Rabbi Nehemiah however says the way the words are written, “according to his work” are important, that if a man considers committing a sin but does not commit it, the Lord does not write it down against him. The proof text for this is from the life of David and his desire to build the Temple and the grief that he suffered throughout his life. The idea here is the intention to sin is not as important as the one who has both the intent and the action of committing the sin. Do you think intention to sin, what is conceived in the heart, by reason of intent we are guilty before God? If we place in our hearts to sin, even if we do not end up committing the sin are we guilty? Yeshua taught on this subject in Matthew 5:27-28, he said the following, 5:27 ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 5:28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (NASB) The importance of this midrash is connected to the previous midrash which speaks of the spirit striving to leave and Paul’s words in Romans 7:23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (NASB) It is the Lord God in heaven to whom we are bound in the Messiah Yeshua. If one has the intent to commit sin, that intention would suggest that one is not transformed on the inside to obey God’s Torah as the Paul says happens for those who are in Christ (Romans 7:23). There is a connection between the mind and sin, James 1:15 states that sin is conceived within the heart. If both the mind and body are in agreement to sin, one would be considered the lost and unrighteous, and numbered among the wicked. Yeshua expanded upon this by saying that if the mind conceives to sin by Lust, it is as if one has already committed adultery. By our faith in Yeshua and by the power of the Holy Spirit, our mind should be renewed and set free from sin. Does your mind consistently conceive of and determine to perform acts of sin? This is a very important point to examine in your life because if you find this to be true in your life, it is imperative that you seek to change this with God’s help.

The midrash concludes saying “The Holy One blessed be He, also said to David, Even if you are not to build the Temple, nevertheless, since you thought to build it, I will record it in your name, as is said, A song at the dedication of the house of David (Tehillim / Psalms 30:1), Scripture does not say the house of Solomon, but, the house of David. Why? Because David thought in his heart to build the Temple. Thus, we learn that when a man thinks of doing a good work, even if he is prevented from doing it, the Holy One blessed be He, reckons it as though he had done it.” The idea here is that on the one hand, when one conceives to sin in his heart, he is guilty, when one conceives to do a good work but is prevented from doing so, he is rewarded even though he was not able to perform the good deed. The study on the midrash speaks of the manner in which we should be studying our own lives. Do you have a desire to turn from sin or a desire to commit sin? Do you consistently seek the Lord for His help, or do you seek to help yourself? These are very important points especially when seeking to walk in God’s ways by the help of the Holy Spirit. Can you see how walking in God’s ways according to His Torah go hand in hand with grace and the kind of people we are called to be in the Messiah Yeshua? Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 62-Part1-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!