Don't Trust Translators
Meditation and Muttering
וּֽבְתוֹרָתוֹ יֶהְגֶּה יוֹמָם וָלָֽיְלָה Psalm 1:2 and in his teachings he ___ days and nights
וּלְאֻמִּים יֶהְגּוּ רִֽיק Psalm 2:1 and the peoples ____ emptily (vainly)
Typically, translators tell us these are two totally different words without any indication that in the biblical hebrew they are the same. The KJV has meditates, and the second imagine. The RSV has meditates and plot. The ESV also has meditates and plot. The NIV also has meditates and plot. Yakubovich (Modern) has meditates and mutter. Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi has taught me that the former should be recites, and now I understand why.
This biblical hebrew yhg reminds me of the ge’ez mnbb or nbb. The latter means to read, but never selfishly. To read aloud or to read out loud or to recite, especially in a liturgical or a traditional local communal schooling environment.
StudyLight dot org has three categories of definitions for this biblical hebrew. The first includes roaring, growling, and groaning. The second includes uttering and speaking. The third includes meditating, devising, musing, and imagining. I see the third category of meanings to be the ones we would subscribe from our own point of view. From a neutral third party point of view our speech represents the second category of meaning. In scripture, we have god’s point of view. According to him, our speech is the first category.
We think we are scheming and plotting, our strangers and enemies see us uttering and speaking, god views us as groaning and growling. Fr. Paul and Fr. Marc Boulos often remind us that god is our shepherd, and we are his sheep. The sheep says baa. That’s it. Let us not be arrogant. Let us not be haughty. Let us recite his teaching every day and every night, knowing that our words are no different from the other animals of the animal kingdom, unless we obey the author of life.