Psalm 34:18

One of the ways I like to study the Bible is to take a passage or verse and try to dig in and pull it apart. I love it when preachers/teachers go back to the original Hebrew and Greek words because there is such depth and significance there that is sometimes lost in translation. I try to do that on my own as much as I'm able - which isn't a whole lot since I'm illiterate in both languages. Still, I do find some rewarding things by at least trying to dig deep. I like to go through a passage word by word with a word study book and dictionary to look up the definitions for each word and the grammatical construct of each word. Then, I like to re-write the passage in my own words based on what I've learned. Sometimes it ends up basically the same - but sometimes I discover "hidden treasures". The following verse is one I found some "hidden treasures" in.

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

My paraphrase from my word study -
The Lord (the covenant keeping God) is near to those whose hearts are (continued action) breaking, bursting, and shattered; and He keeps saving and delivering those who are crushed and crumbled in spirit.

Some treasures I found -
"Lord" in English is pretty generic - at least in my mind. But in Hebrew (Yahweh, Jehovah) it refers to the covenant keeping character of God. That's such a beautiful promise and assurance to start this verse with.
Brokenhearted is a great description, but I found the other definitions for this word to be really meaningful as well. In particular, I keep coming back to the word "shattered". It seems to indicate a kind of violent bursting of something into hundreds of tiny pieces - much like dropping glass on a tile floor. As I've learned first hand - glass doesn't just break - it shatters! And it's tiny pieces go far and wide over the floor. also the "crushed" can be defined as a crumbled substance or something that has been crushed into a powder. That's a pretty significant and destructive crushing! Not what I generally associate with crushing. I was reminded of grinding something in a mortar and pestle.
I also loved the fact that the actions in the verse were continuous. God's not just near to us when we are broken and shattered *one* time, but every time. God doesn't just deliver and save us *one* time, but He keeps doing it every time we are feeling crushed and ground down. What a beautiful assurance!

*Disclaimer - I am not a student of Hebrew and Greek. Nor have I been taught how to exegete Scripture. As such, the above may not be entirely accurate or true though I certainly don't intend to say anything unbiblical or false. I simply am trying to do the best that I can with the resources and understanding that I have.

Comments

  1. Wow, great thoughts dear! Thanks so much for sharing them with us and your interpretation of this wonderful passage!

    You described it very well with the use of the images of the shattering glass and crumbling something as if in the mortar with a pestle. :) It gave me the feeling of utter pain - something that could be a horrible experience for us, but loved the part where God is *continuously* near to us even in these times and helps us each time we have trials. :D

    I love to study in a similar way to the way you like to...I've been doing other types lately though like reading through the entire bible we just did, and now I'm hoping to go through the book of John and using a study guide for fun so maybe I'll do some of the word studying when I do that like you have been doing. :) It's amazing the treasures you can find when picking apart the real meaning of God's word! :D

    Thank you again for sharing! :)

    Love and Hugs!
    Pray you have a blessed week!
    ~Rachel~

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