Friday, February 27, 2009

Psalm 23:6 Goodness and Love Chases Me

"Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD


We must not miss the irony here. The word translated here as “follow” is the Hebrew word “radaf”. In the rest of the Old Testament, it was never used in connection with blessing. This word usually expresses hostility between two opposing parties. One lexicon says it usually “... refers to a man or a group pursuing another for the purpose of taking revenge.” (TWOT).

A note from the NET Bible says: "This verb is often used to describe the hostile actions of enemies. One might expect the psalmist’s enemies (see v. 5) to chase him, but ironically God’s “goodness and faithfulness” (which are personified and stand by metonymy for God himself) pursue him instead. The word “pursue” is used outside of its normal context in an ironic manner and creates a unique, but pleasant word picture of God’s favor (or a kind God) “chasing down” the one whom he loves."

So the word usually carries the idea of violence with it. The doer of the action has the intention of inflicting harm on the subject.

The psalmist used the word outside of its normal usage. It is not the enemies who will pursue and catch the psalmist, but the Lord’s goodness and love, not for a temporary period but for the rest of the Psalmist’s lifetime. It is not harm that will pursue us, but the Lord’s divine favor. The closest bible verse I could relate it to is Deut. 28:2 where God says that “blessings shall come upon you and overtake you”. But I think Psalm 23:6 is even stronger, for with comes the idea of violence. The author of this Psalm is a warrior, a veteran of so many battles. He knows what it means to chase an enemy, and he also knows what it means to be chase by an enemy.

Kung nanunuod po tayo ng mga Police Report sa mga newscast, karaniwan nang maririnig natin yung mga bayolenteng linguahe tulad ng “tinadtad ng bala” o “tinadtad ng saksak”. Sa gayong paraan, tayo ay hinahabol ng Panginoon upang tadtarin, pero hindi ng mga bala o saksak, kundi ng kanyang kabutihan at pag-ibig.


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