Psalm 145:8-16, “The Case of the Missing Nûn”

Psalm 145:8-16,  “The Case of the Missing Nûn” 

(An Exegetical Study)

James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD

JohnKnox-statue-StGilesCathedral.Edinburgh

PSALM 145:8-16 

 חַנּ֣וּן וְרַח֣וּם יְהוָ֑ה אֶ֥רֶךְ אַ֝פַּ֗יִם וּגְדָל־חָֽסֶד׃
9 טוֹב־יְהוָ֥ה לַכֹּ֑ל וְ֝רַחֲמָ֗יו עַל־כָּל־מַעֲשָֽׂיו׃
10 יוֹד֣וּךָ יְ֭הוָה כָּל־מַעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ וַ֝חֲסִידֶ֗יךָ יְבָרֲכֽוּכָה׃
11 כְּב֣וֹד מַלְכוּתְךָ֣ יֹאמֵ֑רוּ וּגְבוּרָתְךָ֥ יְדַבֵּֽרוּ׃
12 לְהוֹדִ֤יעַ׀ לִבְנֵ֣י הָ֭אָדָם גְּבוּרֹתָ֑יו וּ֝כְב֗וֹד הֲדַ֣ר מַלְכוּתֽוֹ׃
13 מַֽלְכוּתְךָ֗ מַלְכ֥וּת כָּל־עֹֽלָמִ֑ים וּ֝מֶֽמְשֶׁלְתְּךָ֗ בְּכָל־דּ֥וֹר וָדֽוֹר׃
14 סוֹמֵ֣ךְ יְ֭הוָה לְכָל־הַנֹּפְלִ֑ים וְ֝זוֹקֵ֗ף לְכָל־הַכְּפוּפִֽים׃
15 עֵֽינֵי־כֹ֭ל אֵלֶ֣יךָ יְשַׂבֵּ֑רוּ וְאַתָּ֤ה נֽוֹתֵן־לָהֶ֖ם אֶת־אָכְלָ֣ם בְּעִתּֽוֹ׃
16 פּוֹתֵ֥חַ אֶת־יָדֶ֑ךָ וּמַשְׂבִּ֖יעַ לְכָל־חַ֣י רָצֽוֹן׃

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  1. Verification of Biblical Text and its English Translation:

The above-quoted text is taken from the Westminster Leningrad Codex (“WLC”) of the Hebrew Bible.  There is no serious controversy about the Masoretic Hebrew text of Psalm 145.  However, some Old Testament sources (and some textual analysts) differ with the Masoretic  Text of verse 13, because it deviates from the otherwise-perfect acrostic structure of Psalm 145.  In other words, the structure of Psalm 145 follows the exact sequence of the Hebrew alphabet’s 22 letters with one exception – the Hebrew letter for N (nûn) is missing!  What explains that?

The obvious question is: why would an otherwise perfectly acrostic psalm have only 21 verses, with each verse beginning with the next Hebrew alphabet letter, except for N (nûn)?

Many textual analysts (typically “critical text” advocates), as well as a few modern English translations (including the New International Version, Revised Standard Version of 1952, Holman Christian Standard Version of 2003), have attempted to “correct” this apparent omission – based upon their self-asserted assumption that the psalmist could not possibly have intended to omit one letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

The skipped-nûn text of Psalm 145, provided in the Masoretic Text – and retained in the Judaica Press Tanach (of 1917, 1936, and 2001) – is followed by the King James Bible, Bishops’ Bible of 1568, Coverdale Bible of 1535, Geneva Bible of 1599, Darby translation, Spanish Reina Valera versions of 1602-1995, as well as many other translations.[1]

But, as will be shown below, that unwarranted assumption has resulted in committing the Pharisaic error of adding to God’s Word, an arrogant practice prohibited by Deuteronomy 4:2.  In trying to (supposedly) “correct” the Biblical text, by supplying a “fitting” phrase to complete the acrostic, the originally intentional omission’s poignant message is forfeited.[2]  (This will be discussed, below.)

So, how have some ancient (and not-so-ancient) sources tried to “correct” the missing nûn?

Although it might seem better to discuss two New Testament passages later in this analysis, those two passages are nonetheless inserted here because they both help to introduce analytical missteps taken by several who have analyzed Psalm 145:13. Specifically, said missteps are based upon the insistent (and unwarranted) assumption that an almost-perfect acrostic psalm (with a missing nûn) “must” reflect a “copyist’s omission” (i.e., a failure in textual preservation and/or transmission), as opposed to possibly being the intentional omission by the human author (David) – due to an intentional almost-perfect acrostic was ultimately intended by the divine Author (God the Holy Spirit), to emphasize something that is or was “missing”.  This concept is sometimes called employing a “loud silence”.

First example of a “loud silence” omission: the opening of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

A review of Paul’s epistles shows that Paul routinely began his correspondence with appreciation for how God was blessing his intended readers, and how Paul was praying for their spiritual growth (see, e.g., 1st Thessalonians 1:28; 1st Corinthians 1:4-9; Romans 1:8-12; Ephesians 1:15-16; Philippians 1:3-11; Colossians 1:3-9), but not so with the Galatians.

As you begin to read Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians, you can tell immediately that something is radically wrong, because he does not open his letter with his usual praise to God and prayer for the saints. He has no time!  Paul is about to engage in a battle for the truth of the Gospel and the liberty of the Christian life.[3]

In short, by noticing the pattern of Paul’s customary beginning to his New Testament epistles, and by noticing how that beginning is “missing” (i.e., excluded) in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, provides us with an insight into a contrast – Paul deliberately departed from his usual letter-writing custom, to provide an emphatic point: the Galatians were in the worst of trouble![4]

Second example: Christ refers to human conduct in the days of Noah and Lot.

When describing the condition of people who would be unprepared when the Lord returns to Earth in glorious power and punitive judgment, the Lord Jesus Christ alluded to the contemporaries of Noah (who were judged by the Flood) and the contemporaries of Lot (who were judged in the fiery destruction of Sodom) – an did so with “loud silence” omissions.

And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.  They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.  Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.  But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.[5]

Notice the behaviors that Christ mentioned, as characterizing the “days of Noah”: eating, drinking, and getting married.  None of these behaviors is per se wrong![6]

Christ surprisingly omitted mention of the overwhelmingly wicked and violent behaviors that dominated pre-Flood humanity (see Genesis 6:5 & 6:11-13). Likewise, when referring to Noah’s contemporaries, Christ omitted mention of the strange sexual sins that the pre-Flood population was known for, which were somehow comparable to how the Sodomites were infamous for “going after strange flesh” (compare Genesis 6:1-4 with Jude 1:6-7).  Why did Christ omit mentioning the pre-Flood perversions, corruptions, and violence?

In similar manner, notice that the behaviors that Christ mentioned, as characterizing the “days of Lot”: eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, and building.  None of these behaviors is per se wrong!  As before, when referring to Noah’s contemporaries, Christ omitted mention of the Sodomites’ perverse and prurient lust for violent and aberrant sexual abominations, a sordid and vile habit that the Sodomites of old are still remembered for today (e.g., in the English word “sodomy” – as noted in Genesis 18 & Jude 1:7).  Why did Christ omit mentioning the perversions, corruptions, and violence for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed?

Try to imagine the reaction of Christ’s original audience, when He spoke the words recorded in Luke 17:26-30. When the contemporaries of Noah and of Lot were so described, by Christ Himself, the “loud silences” must have been jarring – what trait was Christ condemning the antediluvians and Sodomites for?  Was it for their horribly ugly “fruits”, or for the wicked “root” of ignoring God, rejecting God, going about life in a way that excluded God and His Word?

The point here is that Christ surprisingly omitted what His audience expected to hear, and He accomplished this dramatically by a conspicuous omission of what was expected “in context”. Having recognized that there is Scriptural precedent for the usage of conspicuous “loud silence” omissions, a summary of other (so-called) solutions to the almost-perfect acrostic (or Psalm 145) is provided.

The lack of the נ verse has caused some to question whether the verse may have fallen out of the Masoretic Text of the Psalm due to scribal error. They seek to justify this view on the basis that the נ [nûn] verse is found in one medieval Hebrew manuscript, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint and the Syriac.

Indeed, some modern versions, such as the ESV and NIV, add the supposed missing נ verse to Psalm 145 because of its presence in these witnesses. However, we believe that the omission of the נ verse is intentional and not at all due to scribal error, and that the evidence for the proposed נ verse is insubstantial and the verse is rightly omitted.[7]

There is only one medieval Hebrew manuscript that includes an extra phrase, to complete the alphabetic acrostic (saying “the LORD is faithful to all His promises, and loving towards all He has made” – the Hebrew text of which begins with the word ne’emân, the singular masculine  niphal participle form of the verb ’aman, “to be firm”/“to affirm”, i.e., “to be faithful”), yet even that manuscript (in Dublin’s Trinity College) only includes the extra phrase as a marginal writing on the bottom of the page, and appears to be a gratuitous redundancy of Verse 17.

[At Dublin’s Trinity College] there is … one medieval Hebrew manuscript. The נ verse appears in this manuscript as:

 נאמן יהוה  בכל  דבריו וחסיד  בכול מעשיו    

[The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works]

However, this verse does not appear where it might reasonably be expected in the body of the text, but rather at the bottom of the manuscript page, as if it were a suggested correction of the text. Additionally, the proposed verse is similar in its first part and identical in its second part to v17:

צדיק יהוה בכל דרכיו וחסיד בכול מעשיו     

[The LORD is righteous in all his ways and holy in all his works] [8]

Thus, the inclusion of the verse introduces a repetition into the Psalm which otherwise does not contain any repetition. Redundancy, as a repeating emphasis, does sometimes occur in the Psalms.  However, the redundancy that occurs, when this “extra nûn verse” is inserted, does not fit with any contextual pattern of repetition in Psalm 145.  Thus, the extra verse insertion “cures” one anomaly of form, only to introduce an unnecessary anomaly of content!

Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls avoid the awkward omission by including this extra phrase (“saving” the alphabetic acrostic’s “need” for an N, by inserting a phrase that begins with the Hebrew word ne’emân [“faithful”]), but the Dead Sea Scrolls variant doesn’t square with the solitary variant held by Dublin’s Trinity College.

[Regarding the variant reading of Psalm 145:13 found in] the Hebrew Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) … the verse appears as follows:

נאמן אלוהים בדרכיו וחסיד בכול מעשיו    

(God is faithful in his ways and holy in all his works)

There are a number of differences between this verse [Psalm 145:13] in the DSS and the one found in the medieval Hebrew manuscript. The name of God is different, being God ( אלוהים ) rather than LORD ( יהוה ). This is significant since the name of God which is used throughout the Psalm in similar expressions is LORD ( יהוה ) and not God ( אלוהים ): ‘great is the LORD’, ‘the LORD is gracious and full of compassion’, ‘the LORD is good’; indeed, in the very next verse after the supposed missing נ verse, the reading is ‘the LORD upholdeth’. Other differences between the manuscript and the DSS readings are: ‘his ways’ in the DSS as opposed to the Hebrew manuscript ‘his words’, and the omission in the DSS of the word ‘all’, which the Hebrew manuscript includes.[9]

In other words, the Dead Sea Scrolls variant, which includes an “extra nûn verse”, won’t match up with the only medieval Hebrew manuscript that has an “extra nûn verse”.   (In forensic contexts, such as courtroom trials, this does not look good for the two conflicting witnesses  — whose conflicting testimony notably disagrees with the vast majority of “regular” witnesses.)

According to the apparatus in Kittel’s (1973) Stuttgart-printed edition of Biblica Hebraica, this same inserted “extra nûn verse” is also found in some Syriac and Septuagint translation copies, though apparently not all copies of those translations.[10]  Regarding the Septuagint Greek translation’s variant (in Psalm 145:13), Larry Brigden notices worse problems with the Septuagint rendering.

The rendering of the supposed נ verse in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament dating from the second century BC) is:

πιστος κυριος εν τοις λογοις αυτου και οσιος εν πασι τοις εργοις αυτου

 (The Lord is faithful in his words and holy in all his works)

The Septuagint differs in the first part of the verse from the Hebrew manuscript, simply having ‘his words’ rather than the Hebrew’s ‘all his words’. In addition, the Septuagint has ‘his words’ as opposed to the DSS’s ‘his ways’.[11]

Once again, the irregular witnesses – who try to insert an “extra nûn verse” to complete the alphabetic acrostic — can’t get their “stories” to match.

Likewise, appealing to the non-Lamsa Syriac translation variant, which includes yet another variant alternative “extra nûn verse”, provides yet another inconsistent “witness” against the Masoretic Text’s transmission of Psalm 145.

The Syriac translation of the נ verse has:

The Lord is faithful in his words and righteous in all his works.

There is a significant difference between this version and the Hebrew manuscript, the DSS and the Septuagint in the second part of the verse: the Syriac has ‘righteous’, whereas the other three textual witnesses have ‘holy’. As seen from this survey of the [variant] witnesses to the supposed missing נ verse, it is evident that there is no consistent testimony about the reading, but clear disagreement among themselves. This is commonly an indication that a verse is spurious.[12]

Thus, the non-Lamsa Syriac variant further demonstrates that the few-and-far-between efforts, of some textual handlers, to supply an “extra nûn verse” are not rooted in an underlying Hebrew original.  Having reviewed the rare and completely inconsistent variants, the question remains: if God intentionally omitted to include a “nûn verse”, why? How is the message of Psalm 145 furthered by such a literary surprise?

Just as the departure from Paul’s customary correspondence structure gave emphasis to the alarm and danger that he proclaimed to the Galatians, — and just as Christ’s allusions to the ordinary business-as-usual attitudes, in the pre-Flood and Sodomite populations, were surprising descriptions to Christ’s Jewish audiences, — omitting the nûn, in the almost-perfect alphabetic acrostic of Psalm 145, would arrest the (anticipated) Jewish reader with the question: why?

Larry Brigden, senior editorial consultant for the Trinitarian Bible Society, suggests [see Footnote #7] that David is contrasting his own fallibility with the infallibility of God.

“Psalm 145 shows the same deliberate variation from the normal form of the acrostic pattern for an intended purpose. The Psalm is one of praise to God. The acrostic pattern is probably chosen to bring to bear the full resources of the Hebrew language upon this expression of praise. It is to be full-orbed praise where every letter of the Hebrew alphabet evokes a Hebrew word which strikes a new chord in that praise. So verse 3 is ג and the Psalmist thinks of גדול (‘great’), ‘great is the LORD’; verse 9 is ט and the Psalmist thinks of טוב (‘good’), ‘the LORD is good’, and so on. When he comes to verse 13, the letter is מ and the Psalmist thinks of מלכותך (‘thy kingdom’), ‘thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom’. This verse completes a distinct section of the Psalm and is a climax point in the Psalm.

The last part of Psalm 145 begins at verse 14 and continues to the end of the Psalm, in which David praises the Lord for His condescending love. The Psalmist had to decide how to begin this section.

The next letter in the alphabet is נ; what word would this evoke for the Psalmist?

נפל (‘fall’ or ‘fail’) perhaps?

But the Lord does not ‘fall’ or ‘fail’. It is men who ‘fall’ and ‘fail’. So what does the Psalmist do? He makes a striking point by omitting the נ verse and then writing the next verse, the ס (samekh) verse, as:

Psalm145-samekh-verse.png

Every Hebrew reader of the Psalm will notice something striking at this point: it is the Psalmist himself who ‘falls’ ( נפל ) in the omission of the נ verse.

What more graphic way to highlight the frailty of men and the condescending love of God than by omitting the נ verse and following with a verse that speaks of the Lord upholding ‘all that fall’ [lecâl hannōphlîm]?   The structure of the Psalm ‘chimes’, as it were, to the thought expressed by the words of the Psalm. Thus, the omission of the נ verse is deliberate and for an intended effect, an effect that relies on a slight variation from an otherwise closely followed acrostic form.  [Quoting Larry Brigden, footnote #7]

The purpose of the variation, or apparent irregularity, from the normal acrostic form is not the same in all acrostic Psalms, but Psalms 25 and 145 plainly demonstrate that such variation is a deliberate literary device employed for a particular purpose. Clearly, if the Psalmist chooses the acrostic pattern for a purpose, any variation from that pattern is also likely to be for a purpose.”  [Quoting Larry Bridgen  —  see Footnote #7]

So why would the Hebrew verb naphal (“to fall”, i.e., to fail) be a key to solving this alphabet-linked riddle?

Remember, this psalm is uniquely about David’s life of praise to God.  It is not a mizmôr (“praise-song”) authored for the choirmaster, or for the sons of Korah to sing.

Rather, this is the only tehillâh “praise” psalm that David ever wrote—this psalm is quite personal to David’s life of worship.

It is true that David was, for the most part, a “man after God’s heart” (1st Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), yet there was a period of David’s life that failed to worship God (2nd Samuel chapter 11).  That chapter of David’s life is forgiven (Psalm 51), so it is not replayed to David’s shame in eternity.

However, that sin-stained timeframe, of that shameful chapter in David’s life, is a prolonged loss of opportunity to worship God. As a worshiper of God, with temporal opportunities to honor Him, David failed — and those times of failure are now lost forever. (David is a fair representative of all of us – time-wasting sinners – in this tragic respect.)

Those times of sin (for David, and for us), which appeared pleasant “for a season” – those earthly hours and days and weeks – were wasted, and they are forever missing.  (What is not stored up in Heaven, as eternal treasure, perishes (Matthew 6:20).

When David fell (naphal) he lived human experiences that are erased by God’s forgiveness – but those hours cannot count as worship hours; those days were not productive of treasures laid up in Heaven, immune from rust, moths, or thieves.  They are gone.

Psalm145.12-14.Verse14-in-English

Even so, God restores the fallen (Psalm 145:14). This is a hidden-in-plain-view precious gem – if not the most precious theological jewel – within this very personal psalm of David.

In sum, the preponderance of the relevant and reliable evidence shows that the Masoretic Text rendering of Psalm 145 (and of Psalm 145:8-16 in particular) is a faithful transmission of the original text of David’s very personal praise, the tehillâh of Psalm 145.

2. Understanding Literary/Historical Background and Context:

Psalm 145 is a psalm of King David, so it was written about 1000BC.   As noted above, Psalm 145’s literary purpose (as the Hebrew text of its first verse uniquely indicates) is to provide David’s very personal praise (tehillâh) of the LORD, with a blending of God’s greatness as the transcendent holy God He is (Psalm 145:1-7) with God’s mercy-filled goodness to humans like David, who continues with personal gratitude for God’s grace and salvation (Psalm 145:8-21).

Like many (though not all) of the psalms, it focuses on true worship: praising the true God.  However, Psalm 145 has a unique message:  it is David’s personal appreciation for God’s greatness (God’s glory as God, the God of all creation) and God’s special goodness to David (God’s benevolent care of David, as David’s very personal God).

Part of the historical-biographical background, that appears relevant to understanding this passage (Psalm 145:8-16), is the overall trend of David’s life (1st Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), with recognition that David’s life did have one major interruption of very serious sin (2nd Samuel chapter 11) which is now redemptively forgiven and erased – thanks to Christ our Savior — from God’s record-books (Psalm 51; Luke 10:20).  During that time in David’s life he was “AWOL” (“away without leave”) from God’s holy service.  Being “out of service” is a waste of precious Earth-time, and it has other tragic consequences too.

Parallelism in Psalm 145 (discussed at length below) likewise provides other content comparisons that help readers to discern other important details within the text of the psalm.

3. Identification of Literary Structure of the Book:

Psalms appears to be internally divided into five series of chapters: (a) 1-41; (b) 42-72; (c) 73-89; (d) 90-106; (e) 107-145; plus a five-chapter “grand finale” epilogue (146-150), based upon repeating doxology closure verses (which act as literary dividers, somewhat like the toledôth divisions in Genesis) that occurs at Psalms 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48; and 145:21.[13]  If these five sections correspond to the five books of Moses, as ancient Jewish commentators have guessed, Psalm 110 would belongs to the fifth section that corresponds to Deuteronomy.[14]

One overarching literary theme, repeatedly developed throughout all of the Psalms, is that God’s glory is shown (and thus should be rightly recognized by humans) in and through conflict.

Psalm 145 explicitly identifies itself as the only tehillâh psalm “of David”.[15]  Psalm 145, as a tehillâh psalm, contrasts with the “song”-psalms (i.e., psalms introduced as mizmôr psalms) such as the first Hebrew verses (which are often denoted as a “title” in English translation, obscuring the fact that the original Hebrew text includes phrases that English translations render as editorial-appearing “titles”) in Psalm 24, 29, 30, 31, 38, 39, 40, 41, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 73, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 92, 98, 100, 101, 108, 109, 110, 139, 140, 141, and 143.[16]

Not all of the Psalms were authored by David, although David is the most frequently named author (of those whose human author is known).[17]

The fact that David was the human co-author of Psalm 145, and that the Holy Spirit was the divine co-author of Psalm 145, is accented by the first verse in the Hebrew text of Psalm 145, which begins: “a praise of David”.

4. Identification of Grammatical and Syntactical Keys:

The entire book of Psalms has the literary form of Hebrew poetry – which means its content is presented in paralleled sentences.[18]

English poetry is defined by its verbal “hardware,” with the delivery of its pronounced sounds identifying the text as poetry. Hebrew poetry, however, is defined by its “software,” its verbal information and meaning, which is presented with parallelism of thought, not sound.

In short, Hebrew poetry is defined by parallelism in meaning, whereas English poetry is defined by the format of verse and sound (such as rhyme and meter). This is easier to illustrate than to explain. Consider the below examples of both kinds of poetry.

Example of English poetry, using a limerick rhyme and meter format.

Some Get a “Bang” Out of Fables

The Bible, to read, some are able,

Yet prefer to read a false fable;

            Though God’s Word says “six days,”

            A “Big Bang” gets their praise,

Their doctrine, therefore, is unstable.1

Verses of English poetry routinely rely on rhyme. In limerick poems, the rhyme pattern is AA, BB, A (because able, fable, and unstable all rhyme, as do days and praise). Other poems often use other patterns, but almost without exception some kind of rhyme is used to identify English verse-based literature as poetry.

English poetry, being dominated by sound, also relies on meter, the rhythmic “beat” of a poem. The number of stressed syllables in all A lines should match, as should those in the B lines. One English tradition uses iambic pentameter, employed by English poets John Donne, William Shakespeare, and John Milton.2 Note that rhyme and rhythm neither provide nor depend upon a poem’s meaning.

Unlike the rhyme and rhythm of English poetry, Hebrew poetry is defined by informational parallelism—parallelism of meaning.3 The paralleled thoughts may emphasize good and bad, wise and unwise, reverent and blasphemous. They may or may not recount historical events, although time and place, if mentioned at all, are less emphasized than in narrative prose. This informational parallelism―using comparative lines and phrases―portrays similarities and/or contrasts, or comparisons of whole and part, or some other kind of logical associations of meaning.

Knowing this linguistic trait helps us to correctly read biblical Hebrew poetry. Since such poetry requires complementation of meaning (not sound), both halves of a verbal parallelism must be reviewed together as a complementary unit in order to understand fully what either half means, as well as to understand how they complement each other in meaning. Almost always the paralleled lines come in pairs,4 but sometimes a triplet is used.5

Major examples of Hebrew poetry in the Old Testament are Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations, and Song of Solomon—but not Genesis.

Example of Hebrew poetry, illustrating parallelisms of both similarity and contrast.

Psalm 104:29   Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled:
thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

Psalm 104:30   Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created:
and thou renewest the face of the earth.

Note how both lines in verse 29 show parallel similarity of meaning, as do both lines in verse 30. Yet verse 29 informationally contrasts with verse 30—verse 29 tells how God controls the death of certain creatures (like leviathan, mentioned in verse 26), but verse 30 tells how God controls the life of His creatures. In order to get the full meaning of either verse 29 or verse 30, the total parallelism must be appreciated. This is the hallmark of Hebrew poetry.

For another example, read any chapter in Proverbs. They are dominated by parallelism of meaning, verse after verse. Sometimes the parallelism spreads over consecutive verses, as in Proverbs 28:15-16 (“wicked ruler” in verse 15; “the prince” who is a “great oppressor” in verse 16). Sometimes the parallelism is condensed within one verse, as in Proverbs 28:28 (“when the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase”). Parallelism dominates the informational structure of Hebrew poetry. Careful reading cannot miss it.[19]

In sum, Hebrew poetry is recognized by the parallelism used to convey the author’s message. Accordingly, the text of Psalm 145 implements Hebrew parallelism to convey its God-honoring message.  This parallelism in Psalm 145:8-16 can be diagrammed as follows:

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

The LORD being “gracious” and the LORD being “good to all” provides parallel thought. Likewise, God’s “compassion” (which includes being “slow to anger” and being “of great mercy”) matches the fact that His “tender mercies are over all His works”.

10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.

The LORD is to be praised by all His works; He is to be blessed by His saints. Although all of God’s works will glorify Him, one way or another, voluntarily or involuntarily — yet surely God’s own people should lead in lauding Him as He is due!

And what should we glorify and praise God for? God should be lauded for His powerful deeds and for His majestic splendor!

11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power, 12 to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.

13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

Verse 11-12 complement Verse 13 – God’s people shall speak of His glorious kingdom, His power, and His rule over humanity is both glorious and never-ending. As David refers to God’s “kingdom”, and the “glorious majesty” of God’s reign, David can compare God’s kingship (which is absolutely perfect in every way) with David’s own mortal and limited and imperfect  experiences as an earthly king.  This is a sober comparison.

This involves a “bump” in David’s otherwise doxologically prioritized journey – verse 14.

David appears to be recalling how God’s rulership over the affairs of men and women (including their sexual “affairs”) include how God deals with moral failings. (So David’s lost opportunity to praise God, during the time when David was “out of service”, appears as a “missing” letter in the otherwise-complete “alphabet” of David’s life as God’s man.)

But there is hope! God is gracious, God is merciful, God restores the repentant sinner!

14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.

Verses 15-16 continue to focus on David’s restored life, as God’s man. David recognizes that God is the ultimate provider of all that is needful and good. God gives us what is truly valuable, for this life and for life hereafter all “in due season”.[20]

15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. 

16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

Obviously David is serious about living a life of worship!

In sum, the parallel structure of Psalm 145’s verses begin with David extoling God, with parallel content blending God’s transcendent greatness (verses 1-7), followed by a more personal appreciation for Who God is – to David – and how believers (like David) need to appreciate and praise God now and hereafter (verses 8-21).

5. Identification of Lexical Keys (i.e., Biblical word studies):

Several Hebrew words are especially noteworthy in Psalm 145:8-16. As noted above, Psalm 145 is uniquely titled (in the original Hebrew text) as a tihellâh of David, in contrast to the many psalms which are titled as “praise-songs” (singular mizmôr) of David.  That lexical uniqueness alone show grab our attention, prompting us to investigate how (and why) Psalm 145 is different from every other Davidic psalms that is titled as a “praise” psalm.

The word “praise” (as used in the Old Testament) routinely translates one of several Hebrew verbs: barâk (also translated “to bless”), halâl (usually in the piêl form), zamâr (also translated “to sing”), yadâh (“to praise”, with the connotation of stretching out the hands, usually in the hiphîl form), and shabâḥ (“to laud”, usually in the piêl form, with the Aramaic equivalent verb being shebâḥ).[21]

Of these verbs, barâk is used about 330 times (usually translated “bless”),[22] halâl is used about 165 times (usually translated as “to praise” or “to glory”),[23] zamâr is used about 50 times (usually translated “to sing praises”), [24] yadâh is used about 111 times (usually translated “to praise” or “to give thanks”), [25] shabâḥ is used about 11 times (usually translated “to praise”),[26] and shebâḥ is used 5 times (always translated as “to praise”) [27]

Since only Psalm 145 is explicitly titled as David’s psalm of tehillah (Psalm 145:1, Hebrew text), it is useful to see how related words are translated into English.  The root verb, of course, is halâl (usually in the piêl form, translated as “to praise” or “to glory”).  The singular noun tehillah usually appears, yet sometimes the plural form (tehillim) is used (e.g., Isaiah 60:6).

The usages of the Hebrew verb halâl – in the poêl [active participle] form (e.g., Job 12:17; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Isaiah 44:25), and in the puâl [passive intensive] form (e.g., Proverbs 12:8; Psalms 78:63), and in the hithpaêl [reflexive] form (e.g., Psalm 97:7; Proverbs 25:4) — emphasize that “glorying” means to manifest the true character/nature of whoever or whatever is doing the “glorying” – for good or for bad.[28]

In other words, a fool who “glories” in falsity (e.g., Isaiah 44:25; Psalm 97:7; Proverbs 25:4) shows the deluded folly and vainglory by which his empty character has become characterized. A fool glories in his folly.  God’s glory, however, is always virtuous and holy – He is manifested in His holiness, His goodness, His justice, His compassion, His righteousness, His grace, His faithfulness, His truthfulness, His omnipotence, His omniscience, His omnipresence, His creativity, His beauty, His love, etc., etc., etc.!

6. Identification of Biblical Context (e.g., book’s purpose/theme):

The Book of Psalms is “sepher tehillim”, literally the “book of praises”.  But, as noted before, the context of Psalms is that God is being praised (and is glorifying Himself, so that we can learn more about Who He really is) amidst and in the aftermath of huge conflicts.

Why? The universe is at war, as is illustrated by Psalm 1 and Psalm 2, between those who revere God (the “godly”) and those who don’t (the “ungodly”).  It is wise to be godly!  It is sinfully stupid to be ungodly. The end of the ungodly is ruin and doom; the destiny of the godly is goodness. The poetic lyrics of the Psalms provide praise-songs that equip the believer for spiritual-mindedness and godly living (see Colossians 3:16). God’s great and holy deeds, which show His great and holy character, prove that He alone is worthy of worship and exaltation on earth as in Heaven.

Obviously, God’s glory is best presented in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly, the Book of Psalms testify of Jesus (Luke 24:44), and some of the Psalms are overtly Messianic in prophetic content, e.g., Psalm 2 (which is quoted in Acts 13:33), and Psalm 22 (which is quoted in Mark 15:34 and Matthew 27:43), and in Psalm 45 (which is quoted in Hebrews 1:8), and in Psalm 102 (which is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12).

7. Identification of Theological Context (as related to themes):

David’s “Lord” – the Lord Jesus Christ – is recognized as ascended and exalted to the throne of God, at God’s right hand, to sit there till His enemies are made into a “footstool” for Him. Quite obviously, the timeframe for this heavenly exaltation of Christ must be after His resurrection and ascension.

It is David’s Lord (i.e., the LORD, Who has chosen to give faithful mercies to David and to all who are forgiven in Christ) Who forgave David, the sinner, for David’s failings. This is the hidden-in-plain-view lesson of the almost-perfect alphabetic acrostic of Psalm 145.

As the Epistle to the Hebrews emphasizes (in chapters 5, 6, and 7) this immortal and heavenly priesthood of Christ contrasts with the mortal and earthly priesthoods of the sons of Aaron.  This distinction should not be a problem for dispensationalists, because they are routinely sensitive to the difference in roles that Christ has in relation to Israel, to the Church, and to the rest of the world.  But this distinction is often lost to those who use “replacement theology” to commingle prophecies about Israel with prophecies about the Gentile-dominated Church, as they fail to distinguish between Christ’s earthly throne in Jerusalem (which is yet future) as Israel’s King, and Christ’s heavenly throne (where He sits now, and will continue to sit till His enemies are “positioned” into His footstool) at God the Father’s right hand.

The theological importance of Christ’s present throne (and His being seated there) is emphasized in Hebrews chapters 9 and 10, as judicial proof that His self-sacrifice sufficiently satisfied the need to pay for human sins once for all.

What is our real “glory” as Adam’s children, redeemed in Christ?  What kind of creatures are we, truly, when we are at our best?  It is our great privilege to know God, and to make Him known to others:  “That, according as it is written, ‘he that glorieth, let him glory in the LORD’.” (1st Corinthians 1:31, quoting from Jeremiah 9:23-24).  Notice that Paul quoted from the prophet Jeremiah, to show what real glory is – for a child of Adam.

The fuller quotation from Jeremiah 9:23-24 reads: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches, but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

It is our glory, therefore, “to understand and to know the LORD”, and to appreciate how He is a God of lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in all the earth! That is what it means to “glory in the LORD”!  What a Savior we have!  Although we fail Him (as David did), He is nonetheless faithful as our sustaining Creator, our Redeemer, Shepherding, and Advocate.

8. Secondary Verification (i.e., considering the views of others):

The intentional omission of the Hebrew letter nûn – in Psalm 145:13 – has been noticed by others (e.g., Larry Brigden, who has cited and quoted before[29]) who do not jump to the hasty conclusion that the original text was somehow bungled by Masoretic Text copyist-scribes.

9. Development of Exposition (verse-by-verse commentary):

Verses 8-9: The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy; the Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

After objectively emphasizing God’s greatness (e.g., the glorious honor of His majesty, His wondrous works, etc.), David’s objectivity shifts somewhat to personal subjectivity – God is David’s God. Many of God’s created works display His wisdom, His power, and His creativity – such as the sun, the moon, and the stars (see Genesis 1:16-18), but David knows God in a relational way that emphasizes God’s character as the God Who is “gracious” (ḥannûn), full of “compassion” (raḥûm), and of faithful “mercy” (ḥesed).  Although God has a right to be angry with our sinful failings He is “slow to anger” (’apayîm).

David personally experienced God’s kindness, God’s compassion, and God’s faithful mercies (which Jeremiah alludes to in Lamentations 3:22-23), and so do we! – all because Christ has provided us with propitiation for our sins, redemption that liberates our souls, and reconciliation that overcomes our spiritual alienation from the life of God. How often God has a right to be angry with our selfishness, our ingratitude, our covetousness, yet He forbears – we can rejoice (Luke 10:20) that God is slow to anger and quick to restore us to the abundant life that we can only have in Him (John 10:10).

Verse 10: All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee. 

In this verse David moves from the general to the particular, from the universal to the personal. One way or another, voluntarily or involuntarily, all of God’s creation will honor Him – perhaps in mercy, perhaps in judgment, perhaps in showing His power, perhaps in showing His providential care – but all of God’s works will accomplish some kind of glorification of God.

Why? Because glorifying God means manifesting Who He is, what kind of God He is, and what kind of deeds He chooses to do – and all of His creation is ultimately His property, which He utilizes as He is revealing Himself to the sentient creatures He has chosen to create (including us!).  Yet is it only His “holy ones” (a/k/a “saints”) who can enjoy God’s glory, because all who sin and go unredeemed cannot enjoy God’s holiness and justice.

Fallen angels will learn God’s judgment but they cannot enjoy its application to their doomed souls. Likewise, unsaved humans will learn of God’s glory – His holiness, His righteousness, His wisdom, His justice – but they cannot enjoy God’s glory in their doomed destinies.  But the elect angels, as well as the redeemed of Adam’s race, can enjoy God’s glory – imperfectly in time (because we are hindered by sin in and around us) and perfectly in eternity (when sin is completely removed from Heaven and Earth by Christ).

However, the righteous angels can only observe God’s redemptive grace in Christ – only forgiven sinners (like us) can personally experience the glory of redemptively belonging to Christ as personal Redeemer (Luke 10:20; Revelation 5:9) – and can bless Him accordingly.

Verses 11-12: They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power, to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.

As noted above, it is the high honor of God’s redeemed children “to know God and to make Him known” to others. It is our privilege to tell others how great our Creator is, how wise His providence is as He sovereignly rules His creation, and how caringly He loves those for whom Christ sacrificed.  This is part of the privilege and responsibility of being an older member of a multi-generational (extended) family – the opportunity to tell posterior generations of God is a fast-fleeting obligation to be used before it is gone.  As indicated in in fulfillment of Psalm 102:18 and 2nd Corinthians 5:17, it is God’s pleasure to create new lives – and to regenerate them, redemptively, in Christ.

For some of this, this can be improved by taking our family history more seriously – and using it to honor God in a grateful way.

This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.  (Psalm 102:18)

Shakespeare’s Hamlet considered the grave question of whether to end his earthly existence with the famous words “to be, or not to be.”

Yet more basic is the underlying issue of God’s sovereign choice to create us “to be” in the first place.

If God had not chosen to make us as His creatures, we couldn’t think, reflect, or ask any questions. Thankfully God chose otherwise and uniquely created each of us.1 Yet how much do we really enjoy knowing and appreciating God as our personal Creator?

Origins matter.1 Over 150 years ago Darwin’s “natural selection” theory usurped Genesis truth, and the ubiquitous influences of evolutionary mythology have since distracted many from valuing God as their magnificent and multi-generational Creator.2

Does Genesis guide your thinking about your personal origins, including your own family history? How was God working prior to and when He biogenetically knit you together using nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA blueprints? Indubitably God deserves praise for His authorship of our vast genealogical heritages (Psalm 139).

In so many details, beyond the in-the-womb procreation of our physical bodies, we owe gratitude to God for our lives (Romans 8:28). Historical events and geographical realities are ingredients that God carefully and continuously blends to make us exactly who we are.1,2

God providentially plans and engineers the details of life that lead to genealogical relationships. God twice used agricultural conditions to graft Moab’s Ruth into the Jewish family of Naomi, so that Ruth ultimately met and married Naomi’s kinsman Boaz, who became Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 1:1, 6). And God has used family history to fulfill biblical prophecy.3

The value of family history, if appreciated from a Genesis perspective, is truly priceless. It should be learned, treasured, and transferred as a testimony to future generations (Psalm 102:18; Proverbs 13:22a; Daniel 5:20-23).

Since the creation revival began more than 50 years ago, the creation science community has rightly emphasized origins science in general.1 Tragically, however—for at least 200 years and due largely to secularized origins science—many creation scientists have virtually ignored forensic science-qualified study of biogenetic family history, a specialized origins science applying forensic science methodology principles.2,3

Anti-Genesis attitudes have sabotaged appreciation for God’s providential workings in our multi-generational family histories. Lamentably, God’s role as our Creator—at the personal level—has often been denied, dismissed, and/or discounted by the many voices of evolutionary thinking.1,2 No wonder today’s Christians, generally speaking, live at a “poverty level” when it comes to knowing and valuing their own family histories.

Some think Mormons have a monopoly on appreciating family history. Others, ignoring forensic science’s role in clarifying biogenetic family history, think that family history is irrelevant to origins science.2,3 Both assumptions egregiously miss the mark.

It is each Christian’s duty to appreciate God’s creatorship at a personal level. Doing so includes learning and valuing personal family history because God’s creative and praiseworthy providences determine whom each one of us is “to be, or not to be.”[30]

Try to imagine just some of the providential deeds that God needed to accomplish just so you (or I) could be born the specific individual He fore-ordained you (or me) to be. Then add to that the providential workings that He orchestrated in order to provide us with the saving Gospel of Christ, so that you (or I could become a believer in Christ, with eternal life (John 3:16).

Verse 13: Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

Again David is considering the multi-generational reality of God’s reign over the affairs of mankind. God’s rule was not that of a human lifespan, as David’s reign was.  Rather, God rules always, everywhere.  God’s rulership is universal, at all times and in all places.

Even those who defy God are ultimately being ruled by God, even while God gives them a limited time and space to be rebellious (before the Lake of Fire becomes their permanent destiny). As Dr. Martin Luther once said, even Satan is under God’s ultimate control – he may be the devil but he is God’s devil!  (For example, consider the early chapters of the book of Job, to see how Satan must ask permission of God, to be allowed to cause specific kinds of trouble.)

Verse 14: The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.

This is the focal — and most controversial — verse in Psalm 145, as this analysis has already detailed (above).

Psalm145.12-14.Verse14-in-English

The main point to notice, here (in Psalm 145:14), is that God restores His redeemed children – after they fall and fail – yet there is still something missing.  The sin is forgiven (John 1:29; 1st John 1:9), but the time wasted in sin is an opportunity lost forever.  Better to avoid sin; better to capture each opportunity to glorify God, to serve Him, and to enjoy belonging to Him.

Verses 15-16: The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

            This verse reminds us of God’s nature sermon to Job, in chapters 38-41, especially Job 38:41, which notes that even animals depend on God for their necessary daily food.

It is God Who provides necessary food to humans and animals, even to the lowliest “creeping things” that live upon the earth.

In fact, as Acts 14:17 teaches us, God’s providential care of His creatures – which includes providing food, water, and air — is itself an immeasurably huge and unavoidably obvious proof of God’s glorious Creatorship.

Sometimes the proof that God is our Creator comes in the form of a potato, or lingonberries, or cheese, or eggs, or a codfish. Each type of food is a witness to God’s providential care. The meals consumed over a human lifetime offer a huge quantity of proof, from a huge pantry of witnesses!

God never leaves Himself without a truth witness

Food provides strong evidence of God’s wisdom and power as our Creator, as well as His goodness in providing for fallen mankind’s physical needs. In fact, the Bible teaches that the providentially programmed production of all food, anywhere and everywhere on earth, is itself a continuing proof that God is a caring Creator. The apostle Paul taught this:

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (Acts 14:15-17, emphasis added)

Think about God’s providence and how it is displayed on earth. God has demonstrated His immeasurable glory by His many acts of providential care for His creatures, especially humans and animals. Yet some of what God provides is so commonplace that it is routinely ignored, although that ignorance cannot negate the overwhelming proof of God’s providence.

Consider just two of those providential care evidences named above by the apostle Paul: fruitful seasons and food. Both of these blessings provide an ongoing benefit for God’s favorite creature, mankind.

The apologetics of fruitful seasons

Since the Flood, God’s historic providence in providing a dependable cycle of annual seasons has been routine.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

If the “reawakening” of plant life during spring were to occur only once in a human’s lifetime, the wonder of it all would (and should) be recognized as an immense miracle, so majestic and clever that billions of words could not do justice to describe it.

God planned for fruitful trees to provide food for humans, generation after generation, as a long-term renewable provision that was to be considered more important than the immediate activities of any one generation, a resource to be protected even during crises such as military activities. (See Deuteronomy 20:19-20; notice that food availability for multiple generations is also planned for in Deuteronomy 22:6-7.) This reproduction-driven multi-generational provision was preprogrammed by God, with each fruit’s biogenetic reproductive capacity written within its seeds, as Genesis taught from the beginning.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:11-12, emphasis added)

Thus, “fruitful seasons” are a positive proof of the providential care of our Creator.

The apologetics of food

Likewise, God’s provision of an amazing diversity of foods—around the world, in every age, in every culture, to every people group—is proof positive that God is Creator. Food is absolutely necessary to prolong our physical life.

Why? As a result of Adam’s sin, death entered the human race (Romans 5:12). God’s warning to Adam indicated a double-death penalty: “To die thou shalt die” (Genesis 2:17, which includes an infinitive-imperfect “double verb” in the Hebrew text). Sin immediately triggered a relational break between Creator and creature, because God is holy. That relational break was a spiritual death, a separation from God that Paul called being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Also, sin triggered an ongoing process of dying physically—what some scientists call “chemistry eventually wins out over biology”—so our human bodies die.

Before birth, even from the time of conception, our physical bodies are dying, yet the metabolic profit we gain from eating food postpones and prolongs that dying process. (If you doubt food’s necessity, try abstaining from eating for two months!)

In some humans, physical life is prolonged by food for more than a century. But, in time, the condition of mortality takes its toll and we all anticipate death, even if we eat every day.

Food only postpones the inevitable. But while it does, it is a life-sustaining fuel, an amazing and precious gift from our Creator,1 as well as a testimony to the amazingly complex and efficient world He designed, as Dr. Randy Guliuzza notes:

Plants use biological systems that harvest light energy from the sun to convert environmental water and carbon dioxide into tiny carbon/hydrogen energy units stored within them.

When people eat those energy units, the extraordinary human digestive and metabolic systems convert the work of plants into energy that is useful to people and give back water and carbon dioxide to the environment that can be used by plants.…

In this amazing process that powers the human body, nuclear fusion energy in the sun is converted and conveyed as light energy to the earth, where it is captured and converted by plants to food-stuffs, then digested by a person and metabolized to universal energy packets that can be converted to chemical, mechanical, and electrical energy as needed.

The information content behind all of this is truly staggering.

The conversion of sunlight to body energy involves all systems of the body, plus a few plant systems, which must be totally functional.

Credit belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ—the creative genius! The Lord is gracious to all people by freely giving the sun’s light energy, the vital biological systems of plants, and humans’ incredible digestive and metabolic systems.2 [Quoting Dr. Randy Guliuzza]

God has also acted in human history, in the lives of human beings, in ways that so tellingly reveal His intervention that to fail to recognize God’s providential involvement is morally and intellectually inexcusable.

No random “chance” could provide a satisfactory explanation for the results of God’s providential care, and the proof is everywhere for those with eyes to see, even in every bite we eat. No wonder we are obligated to give thanks to God for our food.3

Food helps to prove that Jesus rose from the dead

In fact, even the eyewitness proof of the Lord Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection was accentuated by His eating solid food (such as fish and honeycomb), demonstrating that He was physically raised from the dead.4

No one—man or woman, boy or girl—who has ever eaten a meal, and benefited metabolically from doing so, can honestly say, “God gave me no witness of Himself, so how was I supposed to know He was my Creator?”5

So, the proof is in the pudding—as well as in every other form of food that God provides for us, whether potato, lingonberry, cheese, egg, or codfish.[31]

So, every meal you (or I) eat is yet another proof of God’s caring providence as our Creator!

A fitting way to personally apply these last two verses (i.e., Psalm 145:15-16) would be to eat some wonderful food – while giving thanks to God as our generous Creator-God (1st Timothy 4:3-5; 1st Corinthians 10:31), Whose gracious lovingkindness sustains us, and even restores us when we fail Him.

Hallelujah! What a Savior-God we belong to!

                     ><> JJSJ     (AD2015)

birding-chez-webel.bob-and-jjsj

Chaplain Bob Webel & JJSJ at Webel backyard, birdwatching [photograph by Marcia Webel]

BIBLE TEXTS & TRANSLATIONS USED

The 1599 Geneva Bible (White Hall, WV: Tolle Lege Press, 2008 Calvin Legacy Edition; Raymond G. Vallorani & Brandon R. Vallorani, eds.)

The 1611 King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990 reprint edition)

The Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987; John R. Kohlenberger, III, ed.)

The New Defender’s Study Bible (Nashville: World Publishing, 2006; Henry M. Morris, editor an author of appendices).

The Scofield Study Bible, New King James Version (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2002; C. I. Scofield, orig. ed.)

Biblia Hebraica (Stuttgart, Germany: Württembergische Bibelanstalt Stuttgart, 1973, edited by Rudolph Kittel & others).

The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999, reprint of original 1851 publication by Samuel Bagster & Sons of London).

(The “Leningrad” edition of the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible and the New American Standard Version were both accessed from the www.BibleGateway.com website. Also, the modernistic so-called “Bible translations” that are based upon the “dynamic equivalence” paraphrasing methodology, such as “The Message”, “New International Version”, and “Good News for Modern Man”, were accessed from the  www.BibleGateway.com website.)

OlafTryggvason-hears-Gospel.wood-sculpture

 SUPPLEMENTAL   BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brigden, Larry, “The Supposed Missing נ Verse in Psalm 145”, Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, Issue #602 (January-March 2013).

NOTICE:  indentations, to show the beginning and ending of quoated material, has been problematic in formatting this blogpost — so please notice that Larry Brigden is quoted several times in this blogpost (and Dr. Randy Guliuzza is quoted within a quotation) — and footnote indications are used to show where quotations conclude — hopefully,  based on advice from Lee Dusing (who is the expert on all things blog), I will continue to repair the  indented-quote function of this blogpost.

Cone, Christopher, Prolegomena on Biblical Hermeneutics and Method, 2nd ed. (Hurst, TX: Tyndale Seminary Press, 2012).

Johnson, James J. S., “The Evidence of Nothing: The Silent Witness of Evolution’s Missing Links”, Acts & Facts, 37(4)4-5 (April 2008), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/evidence-nothing/ .

Johnson, James J. S., “Our Daily Bread: How Food Proves the Providence of God”, Acts & Facts, 40(4):8-9 (April 2011), posted at www.icr.org/article/8377 .

Johnson, James J. S., “Genesis Is History, Not Hebrew Poetry: Exposing Hidden Assumptions about What Hebrew Poetry Is and Is Not”, Acts & Facts, 40(6):8-9 (June 2011), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-history-poetry-exposing-hidden/ .

Johnson, James J. S., “People Yet to Be Created”, Acts & Facts, 43(11):20 (November2014), posted at www.icr.org/article/8377 .

McGee, J. Vernon, Briefing the Bible (Pasadena, CA: Thru the Bible Books, 1984).

Morris, Henry M., editor of annotated notes and appendices, The New Defender’s Study Bible (Nashville: World Publishing, 2006).

Morris, Henry M., Treasures in the Psalms (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2001).

Pratico, Gary D., & Miles V. Van Pelt, Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001).)

Ryrie, Charles C., Dispensationalism, rev. ed. (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2007).

Walvoord, John F., & Roy B. Zuck, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985).

Weingreen, Jacob, A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979).

Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary: An Exposition of the New Testament Comprising the Entire “BE” Series (Volume I: Matthew – Galatians; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1989).

Wigram. George V., The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 2001; orig. publ. 1874).

Young, Robert, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879).

Rosemaling-plate.JJSJ

FOOTNOTES

[1] For examples of more-modern English translations that retain the “almost-perfect” alphabetic acrostic version of Psalm 145, see the New King James Version of 1982, New American Standard Version (of 1963-1995), and even liberal Dan Wallace’s NET version.

[2] As an illustration of an intentional omission, this writer recalls a memory from his junior high days, when a wood shop teacher put the following on the blackboard, during December: ABCDEFGHIJKMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. Some boys in the classroom observantly noticed “there’s no L” – which provided the shop-teacher’s seasonal meeting: NOEL!

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, “Bad News about the Good News – Galatians 1:1-10”, The Bible Exposition Commentary: An Exposition of the New Testament Comprising the Entire “BE” Series (Volume I: Matthew – Galatians; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1989), page 682.

[4] Interestingly, the “evidence of nothing” (when there supposedly should be “something”) is a forensic principle that is relied upon in courtroom decision-making. See James J. S. Johnson, “The Evidence of Nothing:  The Silent Witness of Evolution’s Missing Links”, Acts & Facts, 37(4)4-5 (April 2008), posted at  http://www.icr.org/article/evidence-nothing/ .

[5] Luke 17:26-30.

 [6] See 1st Corinthians 10:31 & Hebrews 13:4a.

[7] Quoting Larry Brigden, “The Supposed Missing נ Verse in Psalm 145”, Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, Issue #602 (January-March 2013), page 13.

[8] Larry Brigden (cited in footnote #7, above), at page 15.

[9] Larry Brigden (cited in footnote #7, above), at page 15.

[10] Rudolph Kittel, editor, Biblia Hebraica (Stuttgart, Germany: Württembergische Bibelanstalt Stuttgart, 1973), page 1100.

[11] Larry Brigden (cited in footnote #7, above), at page 15. See, accord, The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999, reprint of original 1851 publication by Samuel Bagster & Sons of London), at page 785.

[12] Larry Brigden (cited in footnote #7, above), at page 16.

[13] Henry M. Morris, “Introduction to the Psalms”, page 827 to the New Defender’s Study Bible.  See also Henry M. Morris, Treasures in the Psalms (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2001), 17.

[14] Morris, Treasures in the Psalms, 17.

[15] See George V. Wigram, The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 2001; orig. publ. 1874), pages 684 & 1337.  See also Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879), pages 766-767.

[16] See George V. Wigram, The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 2001; orig. publ. 1874), page 1337.

[17] Morris, Treasures in the Psalms, 18.

[18] See James J. S. Johnson, “Genesis Is History, Not Hebrew Poetry: Exposing Hidden Assumptions about What Hebrew Poetry Is and Is Not”, Acts & Facts, 40(6):8-9 (June 2011), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-history-poetry-exposing-hidden/ .

[19] Quoting James J. S. Johnson, “Genesis Is History, Not Hebrew Poetry: , Acts & Facts, 40(6):8-9 (June 2011), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-history-poetry-exposing-hidden/ (footnotes omitted).

[20] This truth of God’s providence is echoed, by Paul, in Acts 14:17.

[21] Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879), pages 766-767.

[22] Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879), “Index-Lexicon of the Old Testament”, page 70.

[23] Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879), “Index-Lexicon of the Old Testament”, page 18.

[24] Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879), “Index-Lexicon of the Old Testament”, page 55.

[25] Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879), “Index-Lexicon of the Old Testament”, page 53.

[26] Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879), “Index-Lexicon of the Old Testament”, page 43.

[27] Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 1984; orig. publ. 1879), “Index-Lexicon of the Old Testament”, page 45.

[28] See George V. Wigram, The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson reprint, 2001; orig. publ. 1874), pages 366-367.

[29] Larry Brigden, “The Supposed Missing נ Verse in Psalm 145”, Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, Issue #602 (January-March 2013), pages 13-16.

[30] James J. S. Johnson, “People Yet to Be Created”, Acts & Facts, 43(11):20 (November2014), posted at www.icr.org/article/8377 .

[31] Quoting from James J. S. Johnson, “Our Daily Bread: How Food Proves the Providence of God”, Acts & Facts, 40(4):8-9 (April 2011), posted at www.icr.org/article/8377 .



Pondside-at-Webels.Ducks-on-Pond-1

JJSJ birdwatching, backyard of Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel (St. Petersburg, Florida)


See also this Fathers’ Day message: http://bcctampa.sermon.net/main/main/21403928 .

ON THE CHRISTIAN CONVERSIONS OF OLAF TRYGGVASON, LEIF EIRIKSSON, AND OTHER VIKINGS: FROM VALKYRIE BATTLE-CHANTS TO ANGELIC CHORUSES

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (LUKE 15:10, quoting the Lord Jesus Christ)

ON  THE  CHRISTIAN  CONVERSIONS  OF  OLAF  TRYGGVASON,  LEIF EIRIKSSON,  AND  OTHER  VIKINGS:  FROM  VALKYRIE  BATTLE-CHANTS  TO  ANGELIC  CHORUSES

Col. John Eidsmoe  &  Dr. James J. S. Johnson,   co-authors

(borrowing the tune of “WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING”)

ORIGINAL CHORUS:
When Viking eyes are smiling,
Ja, ‘tis like a day in spring;
In the din of Viking plunder
You can hear the valkyries sing.

Yet Viking ears kept hearing
Of life lived a better way,
And when Viking ears were listening
Some the Gospel would obey.

1st STANZA:
Vikings made many cry,
And it’s no surprise why:
They were vicious, as they were tall;
Seizing loot made them smile,
As their victims they’d rile:
Viking swords doomed many to fall.

But laughter is wrong,
When it fills pirate song:
As pillaging underlies glee.
As some lauded Thor,
They spilt others’ gore:
Such woe! – And such tragedy!

CHORUS REPEAT:
When Viking eyes are smiling,
Ja, ‘tis like a day in spring;
In the din of Viking plunder
You can hear the valkyries sing.

Yet Viking ears kept hearing
Of life lived a better way,
And when Viking ears were listening
Some the Gospel would obey.

2nd STANZA:
Olaf T. played a part,
Sharing truth from his heart:
Preaching Christ, Olaf shone a true light;
And it was, before long,
Lucky Leif joined the song:
Trusting Christ, Leif believed what was right.

Telling father, mother,
Sister, and brothers:
Soon Leif, on Vinland, had landed;
Ja, on ocean-wave foam,
Leif sailed east, for home:
Yet stopped, to save some who were stranded.

LATTER CHORUS:
Viking eyes now kindly smiled,
Good news at the Althing;
Unto God now reconciled,
Christian songs Vikings sing!

Thus Viking hearts had real joy,
Unto idols no more to pray;
For when Viking hearts are Christian,
It’s a feasting holiday!

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (LUKE 15:10, quoting the Lord Jesus Christ)

‘TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER WEEK 1 (AND ALL THROUGH THE SWAMP)

‘TWAS  THE  NIGHT  AFTER  WEEK  1    (AND  ALL  THROUGH  THE  SWAMP)

James J. S. Johnson, Esq.

drain-the-swamp-blackrepublicanblog-imagecredit

“Drain the Swamp !”   (image credit: Black Republican Blog)

‘Twas the night after Week 1
And all through the Swamp,
Not a leftist was purring
With power or pomp.

Liberals with hangovers
Wallowed from binging,
While fake-news reporters
From facts were a-cringing.

With Week 1 concluded
Many slept snug in their beds,
While memories of Trump’s actions
Danced in their heads.

Could all this be true?
How wrong were those polls!
WikiLeaks! Twitter!
Now Trump’s scoring goals!

With media frenzy
There arose such a clatter!
It drove the Left crazy
That, now, all lives matter.

 

(INAUGURATION FRIDAY, in the afternoon)

To halt Bummer-care burdens
Trump moved like a flash
The E.O. issued Friday(1)
Aimed at saving our cash.

Then Priebus’ Friday memo(2)
Stirred buzzing like bees,
Shutting down reg-making
By a reg-making freeze.

 

(MONDAY, January 23rd)

Trump’s memo on Monday(3)
Helped babies unborn,
Restoring a policy
That aborters have scorned.

Also on Monday
A memo was made(4) —
Trashing T.P.P.
To safeguard our trade

So new U.S. trade deals
Must be “one-to-one”,
Helping our workers
Or that deal we’ll shun.

And again, on that same Monday,
A third memo came, in due course,(5)
A hiring freeze is now imposed,
Except to add military force.

 

(TUESDAY, January 24th)

Trump’s E.O. Tuesday(6)
Prioritized goals:
Bridges and airports
Highways with potholes.

Our electric grids
And airport repair,
Pipeline and ports
Must get improved care.

So EPA delays
Should not force us behind;
Go, expedite projects!
Make the process streamlined!

With Tuesday’s actions
So lively and quick,
I knew in a moment
Swamp rats felt a kick!

One memo on Tuesday(7)
Favors business at home,
Streamlining permits
So factories won’t roam.

Our job loss crisis
We must now address;
Factory permitting
We must now assess.

That memo on Tuesday
Aims at this whole mess,
To streamline permits
So regs can cost less.

The goal of Trump’s memo
Is easy to guess:
To promote more goods
“Made in the U.S.”

Also on Tuesday
Came more memos, three(8)  —
On pipeline constructions
To get more energy.

More rapid than eagles
Trump’s memos, they came;
Yet not just talk, action!
(Not like excuses lame.)

“Now, Keystone!” “Now, Dakota!”
“Now, U.S.-produced steel!”
“Expedite a re-app!”
“Rein in those regs! Heel!”

Ninety percent done –
NAPL must be loosed;
While pipelines at home
Use steel there produced.

 

(WEDNESDAY, January 25th)

E.O.s on Wednesday
Made U.S. foes chafe;
Both of those E.O.s
Aimed at making us safe.

Boundaries matter
Like lines in the sand;
One E.O. on Wednesday(9)
Concerns the Rio Grande.

“Go, secure the border!”
“Go, construct the wall!”
“Shoo, drug traffickers!”
“Dash away, all!”

So human trafficking
And life-breaking drugs,
Terrorist networks
And all kinds of thugs . . . .

Must be excluded
Repelled from our nation;
Please, build the wall, now!
Without hesitation!

Some immmigrants aren’t safe
Bearing disease and infection;
With border security
Each must pass inspection.

So that E.O.’s purpose
Is just, and it’s clear:
We need a real border
To guard our nation dear.

Also on Wednesday
Another E.O. came,(10)
Clarifying the law:
This is no “P.C.” game.

Getting federal funds
May make cities merry,
But that party’s over
For each “sanctuary”.

Flaunting the laws
To rebels seems funny;
We’ll see who laughs last
When Trumps stops their money!

 

(THURSDAY, January 26th)

On Trump’s first Thursday
We learned he does care,
About learning in schools,
About how students fare.

And so, to emphasize
More choices in schools,
Trump praised market options
As our best learning tools.

So, public or private
Parents can now select,
Or home school-based learning
If families so elect.

Thus school choice Trump favors
Says Trump’s proclamation(11)  —
Let NEA compete
To its own consternation!

 

(FRIDAY, January 27th)

Trump’s first week in office
Closed with expectations;
Using Friday’s E.O.(12)
Trump secured immigrations.

Some shrink from real vetting
As killers come to serve ISIS;
So what controls are needed
To fix our refugee crisis?

Acting as refugees
In slip many fakes;
Thanks to Friday’s E.O.
Trump slammed on the brakes!

Leftists hate “extreme vetting”;
Terrorists hate it too –
But what good is gatekeeping
If anyone comes through?

 

(SATURDAY NIGHT,  LOOKING BACK ON WEEK 1)

What a week it has been:
How fast, yet how fair!
Trump’s eyes, how they twinkled!
(And, yes, that’s his real hair.)

There’s been more, of course,
Such as cabinet picks,
What of voter fraud?
There’s so much to fix!

Meetings and phone calls:
Mexico and U.K.,
Russia and Israel
So much on each day!

As the cabinet grows
And the White House staff,
The naysayers whine
(But I sit back and laugh!)

Reporters fume on
Bile and disputin’ –
Stunned by the election
Which they blame on Putin!

Yet a wink of Trump’s eye
As he turns up his thumb,
Soon gave me to know
God’s blessing has come!

But I heard Trump exclaim
As the hour grew late,
“This is just my first week
To make America great!”

 

(May God bless you, your family, and your team, President Trump!)

 

References to Executive Actions (during Week 1 of President Trump’s official term of service)

[1] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [‘Obamacare’] Pending Repeal” (1-20-AD2017).

[2] MEMORANDUM “for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies”, issued by Reince Priebus, Assistant to the President & Chief of Staff (1-20-AD2017).

[3] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding the Mexico City Policy” (1-23-AD2017).

[4] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement” (1-23-AD2017).

[5] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding the Hiring Freeze” (1-23-AD2017).

[6] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects”  (1-24-AD2017).

[7] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing” (1-24-AD2017).

[8] PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline” (1-24-AD2017); PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline” (1-24-AD2017); PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM “Regarding Construction of American Pipelines” (1-24-AD2017).

[9] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” (1-25-AD2017).

[10] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” (1-25-AD2017).

[11] “National School Choice Week 2017 Proclamation” (1-26-AD2017).

[12] EXECUTIVE ORDER “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (1-27-ASD2017).

Political Cartoon credit (from Black Republican Blog): http://blackrepublican.blogspot.com/2016/12/donald-trump-drain-swamp.html


 

COMMENTARY:  This poem is intended to encourage Christians to pray for our God-ordained authorities in government, including but not limited to President & Mrs. Trump, and all others who are part of the Trump team (whether seen by the public or not) who are working to “make America great again”.  See 1st Timothy 2:1-3 (“I exhort, therefore, that … supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”).  See also Romans 13:1-8, plus Nehemiah  chapters 1-6 (basis of Dr. Robert Jeffress’ pre-inauguration exhortation to the incoming President and Vice-President and their wives, 1-20-AD2017).

For an earlier poem about President Donald J. Trump (and God’s providence), in limerick format, see “God’s Providential Judgments Reveal His Will (and Sometimes His Mercy, Too)”,  posted at  https://rockdoveblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/gods-providential-judgments-reveal-his-will-and-sometimes-his-mercy-too/ 

><> JJSJ

James J. S. Johnson, Esq.
profjjsj@aol.com
attorney in Texas & Colorado (and several federal courts)
January 28th AD2017

ALPINE TREK ALONG THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.  (JUDE 1:24-25)

appalachiantrail-hiking-presidentialrange

Alpine  Trek   Along   the Appalachian Trail

James J. S. Johnson

 [from a New Hampshire hike in August AD1997, composed 9-17-AD1997]

  I.  DAY ONE

An epic, this is, of a venture begun

Of a hike, that was, by a father and son,

In greenest New Hampshire, to hike for three days

The Appalachian Trail, in rain or sun-rays.

Equipped for hiking, with water and snacks

Two guys prepared to tote their backpacks

Pausing by the trailhead — for goodbyes and prayer

Hearing wifely concerns — and motherly care

From near Crawford Depot; it’s too late to veto …

This is the time, the moment of truth

We’ll hike three days, as father and youth,

Through trees and tundra, — hot, warm, and chilling

And finish at Pinkham, if God be willing …

This was the plan — of the boy and the man

Time to be strong — to endure high and long;

A time to hike on — to be tough as a team,

A time to grow up — to incarnate a dream.

Upward and onward, and into the green

In instants the trailhead is no longer seen;

‘Twas now or never, hike up to the hut,

Mizpah was aimed for, no “if”, “and”, or “but”.

Crawford Path climbed up, up, – and rocks replaced dirt,

Footwork was critical, each step threatened hurt;

Other perils, latent, would also appear,

Such as the crossroads, some far, some near;

A wrong turn at this point — could spell out great loss,

Even if corrected, — ‘twould be at great cost;

Hardwoods, so plentiful, — so thick it’s half-dark,

Sun-rays, by filtering, — flicker on the tree-bark;

This world of green, through which the path’s cut,

Where will it end?  where is Mizpah Hut?

Each turn in the trail, has maples and birch,

With myriad branches for songbirds to perch;

Myriad stepping-stones, — oft broken, jagged,

Multiple resting-stops, — when feeling ragged;

Some rocks are striated, others are wrinkled,

Sky clouds are darkening, then it soon sprinkled …

Enough to wear ponchos?  Now hard it rains —

The rocky path flushes, as rain-flow it drains,

The path being steep, now washed as rains run,

A cascade-like stream, it now has become;

So up through the mud, as our legs wane weak,

The foot-path floods o’er, as it’s now a creek;

Beech, oak, and cherry, — drink in the rain,

As we two stumble and climb up again;

The trail is a run-off ditch, — step and beware!

Don’t slide, slip, or stumble, now, — climb on with care!

Despite our rain-ponchos, with which we are cloaked,

Rain-sponged our backpacks hang, as we trudge on soaked …

The rain became drizzle, and drizzle to mere drops,

Chartreuse forest glistening, as for now, the rain stops;

But then, it sprinkles, then pours down more rain,

And soon, cascading, it’s “ponchos on” again;

There’s no point in stopping, except for a rest,

So onward and upward, just give it your best —

As rainfall washes us, — it’s soaking our stuff,

We keep on, trusting God, — to make us be tough …

But, wait, here come hikers —

From where we now aim,

Let’s ask them how far —

To wherefrom they came …

 “You are just about through

About one mile or two —

And, as you go, do enjoy the view!

Be sure, as you go, to enjoy the view!”

 Though the hikers oft said “one or two” —

(And we made sure we enjoyed each view)

The miles seemed like more

I think — three or four.

At last, it’s stopped raining, — the steepness is less,

The trail’s switching back now, — it turns here, I guess!

The trail still is muddy, — step and beware!

Don’t slide, slip, or stumble, — canter with care!

The forest then opes, to a window-like clearing,

Is that our first hut, that we see (and are nearing)?

A light-hued roof, on rocks built with wood,

Mizpah Spring Hut! — how timely and good!

Smiling, — in a “milestone” mood,

Checked in, — for some rest and food;

Relief at last! — off to our bunk-room,

But then, aghast, — breathed we the funk-fume!

I climbed up to my bunk, atop layer three,

I switched on my flashlight, so that I could see;

Then pillow-placed my backpack, — tonight it must suffice,

Tomorrow ’twill be here soon, — with trees and rocks of gneiss;

Our rain-soaked clothing, below was hung

From makeshift clothesline, on hook and rung;

Some were snoring, — others shivered and coughed,

Body odors, — hovering, wafted aloft …

No cleansing breeze or ‘lectric lights,

Co-lodging as if troglodytes

(Should we sleep out — on bryophytes?

Beneath the stars — our acolytes?)

A dozen hikers, they and we —

Assigned to bunk-beds, layered three,

In our bunks — dark, damp, and dank,

We unbathed suitemates slept and stank.

mizpahspringhut-goodearl-photo

II. DAY TWO

Voices, voices, coming down the hall —

Singing, singing, as a wake-up call;

“You’re so bright, you coulda been a candle …”

(I’m climbing down, if I could find a handle …)

Time to wake up, pack all gear,

‘Twill soon be time, to leave from here;

Lace up those boots, after donning new thick socks

Foot-care is key, to challenge those gray rocks;

So, onto our breakfast, — served at crowded tables,

Then re-yoke our backpacks, — tied with bungee-cables;

How ’bout that breakfast, and coffee-like beverage?

(When did I last eat — <uh!> — something so average?)

How can backpacks gain weight o’ernight?

There’s no retreat, so scale the height —

So, are we, again, ready, — to ascend montane trails?

To stair-step bumpy boulders — which foliage-blanket veils?

Let’s stop, right here — my lungs need air,

Okay, let’s go, — on as a pair;

Onward, upward, using hands and feet, — yet always with due care,

The pathway twists and turns — a labyrinthine stair;

So, up the twisted staircase — yes, it’s hiking time,

As boreal forest’s summer — turns subalpine clime;

While red spruce branches brush us, and also balsam firs,

The forest has awakened, a squirrel looks and stirs …

Tree-limbs brush us on each side,

Each step gravity defied;

A twisted staircase, — gray weathered rocks,

Some broken, some smooth, — some chunky blocks;

Notice how the broadleafs have thinned,

Now it’s moss, conifers, and wind;

Is this now the Hudsonian zone?

The trial’s a mix of pine and stone;

A plateau opening — and what a view!

A valley vista — of emerald hue;

On this table-top of rock, we see our first rock cairn,

‘Twill be a welcome sight hereon, for me and my sole bairn…

O’er peaks and vales the sun does shine

Our second milestone:  timberline!

Let’s sit a moment, — my breathing’s fierce!

Almost we’ve made it, — to Mount Pierce …

On the winding path we two grope,

Oft scratchèd by scrub spruce;

Pressing, curving, o’er montane slope

On stepping-stones oft loose;

Oh, Lord, please guard our ankles, now,

This is no place for harm;

The piney path weaves in and out,

Throughout heath cover charm …

Through clearings leads the path, — the evergreens grow low,

Mountain-slopes the horizon spans, — pierced by a flying crow;

Crowberry and black spruce carpet, — like needly mats appear,

Snowberry and lingonberry, — like garden crops grow here …

This White Mountain panorama,

Our Creator’s art and drama —

Let’s rest awhile, — refresh our souls,

It’s breezy here, — in this krummholz ….

See those birds, sooty-hued, with furry necks like snow?

Stark black eyes, eyeing us, as if we were for show?

Canadian jays, perching so still, — watch us from firs of balsam,

I watch amazed, such alpine birds, — I must say they are awesome.

God’s own fingerwork lives here —  His Creatorship us astounds,

Throughout this ecology, —  with His artistry He surrounds;

Thank You, God, for this summer trek, — here at timberline,

(Of course, You know all this place, — even at winter-time !)

Look, the path descends — to my strained lungs’ relief,

Although, when it does, — ’twill only be so brief;

For descent now means “up” later,

In this montane “elevator”;

And up-down we go — dragging our frames,

As if we were playing — elevation games;

At four-thousand now, — one-thousand more later,

We seem stuck on “up” — in this elevator!

Don’t you feel tired, — you ready to eat?

I’m ready for snacks, — to get off my feet!

Let’s get past this curve, and rest on that boulder,

I’ll don another shirt, for I’m getting colder;

So, close to timberline, — at a bit past midday,

We stopped for lunch, — had we yet gone half-way?

Time for water and food bars, —  what else did we bring?

Time to change socks and rest some, —  and photo something …

But, wait, here come hikers —

From where we now aim,

Let’s ask them how far —

To wherefrom they came …

“You are just about through

About one mile or two —

And, as you go, do enjoy the view!

Be sure, as you go, to enjoy the view!”

Though the hikers oft said “one or two” —

(And we made sure we enjoyed each view)

The miles seemed like more

I think — three or four.

On felsenmeer, a sea of cracked stone,

We curved along the montane “backbone”;

So, on and up, — trudged on we two,

Along the path’s gravelly queue;

As beyond stretched the ridgeline footpath, markèd by each cairn,

We two trekked the alpine tundra, father and his bairn —

Sphagnum moss and dwarf shrubs, — patched in tundra-quilt,

Sedges, heaths, and lichens, — mixed with rocks rough-built;

Tracing the Presidential Ridge,

Trudging to Eisenhower’s mount;

Rocks form a meandering bridge,

More footsteps than any would count;

Find that next rock-cairn, that’s where the Crawford Path swerves,

It zigzags some crags, — then by Eisenhower it curves;

From switch-backs to ditch-cracks, — hike on!

From each rock-tier to felsenmeer, — hike on!

Throughout krummholz and stone atolls, — hike on!

Past ecotone edges and tundra sedges, — hike on!

By alpine-mead grasses and mica-rock masses — hike on!

Follow that rock-cairn, — keep hiking, my bairn!

And then, — a cairn, as if a pyramid-tower

We’re here, — atop, wind-blown on Mount Eisenhower!

Forty-seven sixty-one — is its elevation,

Swivel-view the mountainside, — what a great creation!

Trail dust and wind-gusts blow us, forward from there,

Remembering high Trail winds, we must take care;

The vertebral ridgeline winds on and on still,

This curving backbone’s like an ongoing hill …

Lo, the trail divides the grass alpine,

Bordering flagged krummholz timberline;

The trail changes, — here thin, there wide,

The rock-cairns aid, — a sure trail-guide.

Look!  That lichen-“painted” rock!

Flaked crumbly and sulphur-hued,

Parked, as if in bayside dock,

A winged one seeking its food …

Winged in pastel blues and ashen blacks

Camouflaged almost, by craggy cracks —

Rare wingèd one — blue, black, and spry,

It’s a White Mountain butterfly!

While hiking for leisure,

Who’d seek such treasure?

For such winged ones only live here,

In these mounts that shine like a mirror …

So-long, sporadic shrubs of spruce, (I think black spruce dwarfs)

The mica-laden rocks shine out, — mirroring sun like quartz;

Near sedges, grasses, and rushes, — a quilt of tundra covering,

Edgèd by sphagnum moss-mats, — while Oeneis flits by, hovering …

Franklin now crowns the horizon, a jut,

Who knows when we’ll reach the next hiker’s hut?!

The “topo” map shows it, — but when? — and how soon?

Perhaps we’ll arrive there, in the mid-afternoon …

But, wait, here come hikers —

From where we now aim,

Let’s ask them how far —

To wherefrom they came …

 “You are just about through

About one mile or two —

And, as you go, do enjoy the view!

Be sure, as you go, to enjoy the view!”

 Though the hikers oft said “one or two” —

(And we made sure we enjoyed each view)

The miles seemed like more

I think — three or four.

Passing alpine flora, and tundra lichen,

glancing peripherally, — keep on hikin’!

Crawford Path does curve and ramble,

We follow, onward, and amble …

The map guides us right, as we near Monroe’s peak,

‘Tis five-thousand high, so detour-cairns we seek,

There the cairns are, — convoluting down,

(Comfort it is, — when such cairns are found!)

The rock path meanders, to right and to left,

The trail cuts through mica, in boulders now cleft;

A warning sign says, “the tundra … don’t trample!”

We’re on the right track ( — how ’bout a rock sample?)

Let’s see the “topo” map, — where’s “Lakes of the Clouds”?

We’re curving ’round Monroe, — near cumulus shrouds;

Just beyond the bend, — down, where the trail’s cut,

It’s Lakes of the Clouds, — our next hiker’s hut!

In a jog-canter, — off went one revived lad!

So I called, “Hey, wait!” — (but he left behind Dad),

There the light-hued hut waited, — on Mount Washington’s slope,

It’s crude hospitality, — matched our need (and my hope) …

Air those feet out, — so, off with those shoes!

Eat food, no doubt! — then, lie down to snooze;

See th’alpine sunset, — through the glass window pane,

‘Twill soon be day three, — time to hike out again …

presidentialrange-going-uphill

III.  DAY THREE

To woodwind’s tune, we awoke in the morn,

Showerless still, wearing what we had worn;

At least the wind-gusts, blow here with clean verve,

I glanced out the door, to see our trail’s curve …

In order for us to keep up — our own vim, vigor, and verve,

We ate the hut-served breakfast (or as much as we had nerve!);

My son (and others) would discover, — hours later down the trail,

That something served as food, — deserved the garbage-pail!

We began on the path to Bigelow, not knowing ’twas off-track,

A few hundred feet higher we learned this, and so we turnèd back;

Curving east along Davis Path, — we climbed to its high mound,

Hop-scotching felsenmeer and stones, — we rested on tundra ground;

Still arcing east toward Boott Spur, we trudged by rocks and mats,

The winds blew fiercely, near freezing, and we secured our hats;

Fifty-five hundred feet high, — Boott Spur was cumulus-banded,

Blended lichen and boulders, — it was stark (to be quite candid);

Lo, the “topo” map had news — (not abstract, but “concrete”),

The trail would soon be dropping — thirty-two hundred feet!

My lungs dubbed this as good news, — but what about my legs?

Steep drops o’er this felsenmeer — could be like hikin’ eggs!

The winds were cold, so we wore ponchos,– as we climbèd down,

The footing was scarce, and quite perilous, — often not so sound;

Miles away from normal help, — a false step would be rued,

Praying for the Lord’s watch-care, — quoting a verse from Jude!

Comforting cairns and then a sign, — we’re rightly headed east,

When we get to Pinkham, D.v., — we’re going to have a feast!

But it’s still morn, with hours to go, — keep your concentration,

It’s felsenmeer, furlongs below, — watch that elevation!

There’re miles yet below us,  — I can’t see the road,

We’re above the clouds still, — I sure feel my load …

Whene’er we arrive, — I’m going to weigh this backpack,

(Assuming we live!) — it’s heavy, but I can’t back-track!

Hey, look north, — see that snow-drift o’er there?

It’s August, — but these mountains don’t care …

It’s krummholz again, see the wind-blown “flags”?

Stunted black spruce, — shrubs shielded in crags?

We’re slowly descending, one step at a time,

Were this some months later, we might be all rime!

It’s hard to imagine, how cold it is now,

In August we’re shivering, near freezing (and how!)

We rest at a large cairn, — as if some memorial,

And glancing, I notice, — alpine is now boreal;

As our elevation — drops step by step,

The biome transition — bolsters our pep …

For our slow descent — through vegetation zones,

Continues to prove — we are “conquering” stones;

We now see green pines, birches, balsam firs, and spruce,

As we focus our footwork — on rocks often loose …

Boott Spur Trail, below treeline meanders wildly,

By contrast, its tundra trail wove only mildly;

When the trail seemed to dissolve, ’twas time to pray,

We’d find a blaze-mark, or a cairn in the way …

Down went the dirt-path, steeply through the thick trees,

So, sometimes branch-holding provided us some ease;

The trail still was rocky, to the very end,

But through tree-branch-holding, each tree was a “friend” …

We were taking our breaks, for rest in the way,

Quite tired, we decided, to eat at mid-day;

We drank our dear water, eating food bars galore,

Our strength somewhat returned, though our muscles were sore …

But, wait, here come hikers —

From where we now aim,

Let’s ask them how far —

To wherefrom they came …

 “You are just about through

About one mile or two —

And, as you go, do enjoy the view!

Be sure, as you go, to enjoy the view!”

Though the hikers oft said “one or two” —

(And we made sure we enjoyed each view)

The miles seemed like more

I think — three or four.

As you (and we) guessed, as we went, in descent,

The hours passed slowly, yet we went, Pinkham-bent!

Though our legs were weary, and threatened to cramp,

There was no safe refuge, in this forest damp …

Just to excite us — (or me, at least),

A squirr’l would startle — (whew! a wee beast!)

Meanwhile, balsam fir blended with spruces,

Then they mixed with hardwoods (oh, what phûsis!)

After some rest-stops, on some felled forest timber,

We knew we must hike, ere we might cease to be limber;

Our goal — Pinkham Notch, — so stumble on we did,

Somewhere’s the trailhead, but for then it was hid …

This meandering path, — somewhere it converges,

With Tuckerman Ravine, — then soon it emerges?

What is that sound, — a water-fall, is it?

Crystal Cascade, — shouldn’t we go visit?

The path is so wide, we must be so close now, —

I’m hobbling as fast  as my legs will allow!

My feet want to rest, — my legs want to cramp,

But, no, here we are, — at Pinkham Notch Camp!

And so, God be thanked, — we checked in for the night,

And ‘phoned “we’re here, safe!” (’cause God gave us both might);

Our stuff secured (in our odorous suite), it was time for dinner!

For our God (by His great providence), made us each a winner.

krummholz.AppalachianTrail.jpg

IV.  QUEST QUESTION & GRATITUDE

I wonder, how much of this life, — is like that alpine tourney?

And, can we walk by faith with God — enjoying now the journey?

So, I thank Him — “Him that is able to keep you from falling …”

my Lord Jesus Christ, thanks for walking with us!

One day, due to Your grace, we’ll walk into Your presence with joy!

><> JJSJ

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.  (JUDE 1:24-25)

Lakes-of-the-Clouds-Hut.rock-cairn.jpg

Anne Bradstreet, a Puritan Mother (and Poet)

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.  (Proverbs 1:8)

Anne Bradstreet, In Reference to her Children 

(23 June, AD1659) AnneBradstreet-with-her-birds.stain-window.png

I had 8 birds hatcht in one nest, 4 cocks there were, and hens the rest.

I nursed them up with pain and care, Nor cost, nor labour did I spare,

Till at the last they felt their wing, Mounted the trees, and learned to sing;

Chief of the brood then took his flight, To regions far and left me quite.

My mournful chirps I after send, Till he return, or I do end:

Leave not thy nest, thy dam and sire, Fly back and sing amidst this choir.

My second bird did take her flight, And with her mate flew out of sight;

Southward they both their course did bend, And seasons twain they there did spend,

Till after blown by southern gales, They norward steered with filled sails.

A prettier bird was no where seen, Along the beach among the treen.

I have a 3rd of colour white, On whom I placed no small delight;

Coupled with mate loving and true, Hath also bid her dam adieu;

And where Aurora first appears, She now hath perched to spend her years.

One to the academy flew, To chat among that learned crew;

Ambition moves still in his breast, That he might chant above the rest

Striving for more than to do well, That nightingales he might excel.

My 5th, whose down is yet scarce gone, Is ‘mongst the shrubs and bushes flown,

And as his wings increase in strength, On higher boughs he’ll perch at length.

My other 3 still with me nest, Until they’re grown, then as the rest,

Or here or there they’ll take their flight, As is ordained, so shall they light.

If birds could weep, then would my tears, Let others know what are my fears

Lest this my brood some harm should catch, And be surprised for want of watch,

Whilst pecking corn and void of care, They fall un’wares in fowler’s snare,

Or whilst on trees they sit and sing, Some untoward boy at them do fling,

Or whilst allured with bell and glass, The net be spread, and caught, alas.

Or lest by lime-twigs they be foiled, Or by some greedy hawks be spoiled.

O would my young, ye saw my breast, And knew what thoughts there sadly rest,

Great was my pain when I you bred, Great was my care when I you fed,

Long did I keep you soft and warm, And with my wings kept off all harm,

My cares are more and fears than ever, My throbs such now as ‘fore were never.

Alas, my birds, you wisdom want, Of perils you are ignorant;

Oft times in grass, on trees, in flight, Sore accidents on you may light.

O to your safety have an eye, So happy may you live and die.

Meanwhile my days in tunes I’ll spend, Till my weak lays with me shall end.

In shady woods I’ll sit and sing, And things that past to mind I’ll bring.

Once young and pleasant, as are you,  But former toys (no joys) adieu.

My age I will not once lament,  But sing, my time so near is spent.

And from the top bough take my flight, Into a country beyond sight,

Where old ones instantly grow young, And there with seraphims set song;

No seasons cold, nor storms they see; But spring lasts to eternity.

When each of you shall in your nest, Among your young ones take your rest,

In chirping language, oft them tell, You had a dam that loved you well,

That did what could be done for young, And nursed you up till you were strong,

And ‘fore she once would let you fly, She showed you joy and misery;

Taught what was good, and what was ill, What would save life, and what would kill.

Thus gone, amongst you I may live, And dead, yet speak, and counsel give:

Farewell, my birds, farewell adieu, I happy am, if well with you.


What can be compared to a Christian mother’s caring heart?!

COMMENTARY:   The Lord Jesus Christ once compared Himself to a mother hen, alluding to the maternal care and protectiveness that hens have for their baby chicks, when He said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets, and stone them who are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and ye would not!”  (Matthew 23:37).