Hebrew Question - Psalm 62:10

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Alex Scott | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Aug 31 2010 2:08 PM

A bit of background: I'm in a bit of a spiritual battle at the moment.  A church leader has hurt both my wife and I by his words and conduct.  My nature is to react strongly (one of my 'life verses' is Proverbs 12:18, "There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword" and believe me, I'm good at it).  I'm trying to restrain myself and handle this rightly but it has been hard given a life long habit of reacting.

Anyway, I was looking for something to encourage me to do the right thing and I seemed to be led to Psalm 62, and it does seem to have spoken to me.

Where I have the question is verse 10.  "Do not trust in oppression, And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them."

Several things seemed to attract my attention here.  First of all, the supplied words (in the NASB) is always a caution to me about the translation.  Secondly, the whole psalm seems to be about our own strength versus God's strength.  So where did the word "riches" get in here - it seems totally out of context here.  That prompted a study of the Hebrew word and it would seem the "strength" or even "pain or sorrow" would fit my situation better.  In other words, "Don't strike back just because you have the ability or strength to do so" or if "sorrow", then, "Don't set your heart on it, in other words, don't dwell on it, rather look to God."  The problem is that every single English translation uses the word riches or equivalent.  I'm never comfortable putting my own interpretation on something when I can't find a single support for it, and yet, looking at the Hebrew words and forms involved it would seem to be an acceptable interpretation. Any thoughts would be welcome.

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Scot Jefferies | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 31 2010 2:23 PM

Alex Scott:
I'm trying to restrain myself and handle this rightly but it has been hard given a life long habit of reacting.

Alex, I'm sorry that you are experiencing this difficulty in Christ's church for you and your bride.  I am encouraged in my own life by your humility and devotion to the Lord Jesus as expressed in your statement.  Thank you for your example.

I'm no Hebrew scholar so I'll leave your original language question to the far more capable folks of the forum.  I do know from many past experiences that God is so very interested in bringing greater dependency upon Him into my life.  Conflicts in my life in any form have been one of the ways He has been gracious to me.  He loves to reveal "specks" in those He loves.  He has also impressed on me how much He wants me to become perfected in His love.  That almost always means that whether in my marriage or in any other relationship I stay focused on Him and persist in the conflict out of faithfulness to Him alone.  He takes all my weakness and continues to complete so many things that are lacking in me.  God bless you.  God isn't finished by a long shot!

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Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 31 2010 2:28 PM

Alex Scott:
So where did the word "riches" get in here - it seems totally out of context here.  That prompted a study of the Hebrew word and it would seem the "strength" or even "pain or sorrow" would fit my situation better.

I'd say it is contextual, especially since it's contrasted with extortion and robbery (ESV), which have more to do with possessions than strength or ability.

NIDOTTE has a long article on the word, and it has a section on when it means "riches" than begins:

"Often, חַיִל means wealth or riches, as is confirmed by those occasions when it is used in parallelism with another word meaning wealth (תְּמוּרָה, exchange/trade [Job 20:18]; רְכֻלָּה, trade/merchandise [Ezek 28:5]; הֲמֹן, wealth/abundance [29:19]; אֹוצְרֹת, treasures [Isa 30:6; Jer 15:13])."

VanGemeren, W. (1998). Vol. 2: New international dictionary of Old Testament theology & exegesis (122). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

 

But in some ways, riches do equal strength.  They are both means of control and obtaining what we want.  And we are not to rely on them.  Only on God.

 

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David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 31 2010 2:33 PM

"wealth" is more appropriate because of the verb  ינוב "bear fruit" also the clause is a conditional.

If wealth increases, do not pay attention to it.

Posts 308
James W Bennett | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 1 2010 4:44 AM

While the noun could be translated as power, in context it seems to require a translation of wealth. You can see this in the Septuagint where the Greek word that translates this noun cannot have a meaning such as power but only refers to wealth.

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Posts 408
Ken Shawver | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 1 2010 4:19 PM

Alex, thanks for your post...

My wife has experienced a similar issue and I - like you by your comment - have something in common. We have both agreed to turn it over to the Lord and let Him handle it and do what we are suppose to do. Your comment on the verse just brought a revelation to me that I had not seen previously in our situation.

Thank you and may God bless you and your bride.

In Christ,

Ken

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