Friday, June 09, 2006

"Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people..."

"Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation
with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by
discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah."

~Habakkuk 3:13, King James Version

I got fed up with feeling down today. I wrote a poem, a prayer to God begging him to help me. Shortly after, I picked up the King James Bible that Emilee gave me right after Snow Blast. It was sitting on my bed because I'd grabbed it earlier to look up something. I was thinking of reading one verse (the one about hinds' feet that I think sounds so nice in the King James) but in the end I turned to another verse I've liked for a while, Zephaniah 3:17, and read that and the next few verses first. Then I went back to Habakkuk and found the hinds' feet verse, the last verse in the 3rd chapter. I decided to read the whole chapter -- that old "context" thing I learned back in junior year doing hermeneutics -- and I found the verse above. The wording seemed interesting to me.

I just checked to see what the NIV says. This is its version: "You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. Selah." The Message is even more blunt: "You were out to save your people, to save your specially chosen people. You beat the stuffing out of King Wicked, stripped him naked from head to toe, set his severed head on his own spear and blew away his army." The NLT says, "You went out to rescue your chosen people, to save your anointed ones. You crushed the heads of the wicked and laid bare their bones from head to toe." The older translations (New King James, New American Standard, etc) and even the French translations (Louis Segond, La Bible de Semeune) say basically the same as the King James does.

Somehow I like the King James rendering best.

I saw the word Selah several times in what I wound up reading, which were these passages and some Psalms. Selah is one of those untranslatable words that nobody seems to be able to assign a meaning to, or if they do assign a meaning, it's relative. Like schaddenfreude. The most common interpretation is that it is a signaling word, signaling one to pause and reflect on what one has just read or heard. One Bible I used to have translated the word Selah as "Interlude" in the Psalms, which makes sense since the Psalms are "songs" of a sort, and lots of songs have "interludes."

That was how I treated it. Every time I read the word Selah, I would stop reading for a moment and think. Kind of how...well, you know when someone important dies or something, they ask you to take a moment of silence out of respect? It was sort of like that.

The reading helped some, but I still think my sleep won't be easy tonight. But then again, with how chronically tired I am, I doubt I sleep well any night.

I may go to bed soon. I want to get up early tomorrow and go buy some toothpaste and some more soda since I'm running out of both.

I'm gonna buy a prayer journal when I get the chance as well. And an actual journal too, not just one of those cheap spiral notebooks that I buy on whims all the time, and usually don't do much with. At work, there's one specifically labeled "My Prayer Journal" that's only $4.97. Though there was only one last I checked (we had 3 but I sold 2 to this one customer). If it's not there, I can just get a regular journal, or a different prayer journal if there are any (which I think there are).

I'm going to look into spiritual disciplines as well. No, I'm not thinking of going ascetic and going to the mountains and being a nun. But I need some structure to my spiritual life, and I think something like that would help.

Good night!

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