The Long Song

The ancient Hebrew people loved their alphabet.

They viewed the 22 letters as gifts from Yahweh
and they believed that each of the characters
held special meaning about the coming Messiah.
Nobody used that alphabet better than King David.


Although David was a mighty warrior and military leader, the man had a way with words. He had the heart of a poet and could write lyrics like nobody’s business. He was a true wordsmith who enjoyed playing with different styles and forms.

David became quite an expert at acrostic poems (he wrote at least seven of them), but you’d never know it by reading your English Bible. That’s because David wrote in Hebrew, with an alphabet that looks strange to our western eyes and sounds like someone clearing their throat to our western ears.

The queen of all acrostic poems is Psalm 119, which has 22 stanzas, each stanza having eight lines. In the first stanza, all eight lines start with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the second stanza, every line starts with the second letter, and so on.

It’s a triumph of creativity and craftsmanship.
It’s too bad we miss out on how cool it is. 

After finishing fifteen days worth of posts in the six verses of Psalm 23, I asked God, “So, what’s next?” I’m not sure if it’s a good sign or a bad sign that I feel drawn to the longest chapter in the Bible. But here we go. As long as we’re staying home, we might as well learn something.

Besides, Psalm 119 just might save your life.

George Wishart, a bishop in the 1600’s, was sentenced to death by hanging. As was the custom of the time, the condemned man was allowed to choose one psalm to be read aloud before dying. He chose Psalm 119, with its 176 verses, and before it was over, his pardon arrived and his life was spared.

God’s Word still wants to save our lives.

psalm 119

13 thoughts on “The Long Song

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