Is Psalm 118:8 the middle verse of the Bible? Two thoughts to consider.
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Many years ago, I was told that the middle verse of the Bible, based on a word count in the original languages, was Psalm 118:8. The verse was given to me out of the King James Bible ... “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
I thought: “How can you prove that Psalm 118:8 is the middle verse of our Bible? Do we even have a provably accurate version of the Bible in the original languages?”
But I also thought: “That is a great verse – a great truth. If it is not the middle verse of the Bible, it should be, in the way it speaks to me.”
I cannot prove that Psalm 118 verse 8 is the middle verse of the Bible. But I believe it is.
Many contemporary Bible versions have improved on the translation of this verse from Hebrew into English. They say, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” This word here (“lachasot”) ... “to take refuge” ... has a similar thought to trusting in, but really the only way to accurately translate “lachasot” from Hebrew to English is “to take refuge”.
There are five words in the verse in Hebrew. The middle word is “be'Adonai”. The BET as a prefix means "in" ... “in the LORD”.
These four letters ... YUD HEH VAV HEH ... represent the unpronounceable name of God. Because we don't pronounce a made-up name like Jehovah or Yahweh, we simply say "Adonai", the Hebrew for “LORD”. It is a hint of the name of Jesus. Jesus is the LORD. We take refuge in Jesus. Our lives are hidden in Him.
Note that there are two words to the right of “be'Adonai”, and two words to the left of “be'Adonai”. There are eight letters in the two words on the right, and eight letters in the two words on the left. Eight is the number that speaks of the new birth, of resurrrection life, in Jesus.
This middle word “be'Adonai” (in the LORD) has five letters. And the middle letter is HEH. In Session 5 (Introducing pictograms), we saw that HEH conveys the idea of “Revelation ... Behold!” And also of “Spirit” – the Spirit within.
In Session 7, we saw that the first and last letters of the Bible are BET (in Hebrew) and NI (in Greek). They are letters from two different alphabets, but NI in Greek is akin to NUN in Hebrew. There is no confusion with any other letter sounds in either alphabet. So we can say that the first and last letters of the Bible spell “ben” (in Hebrew) ... “Son”, as in “Son of God” or “Son of man”. (See downloadable pdf "First and last letters" for a fuller explanation.)
Now, if HEH is the middle letter of the Bible, then the first, middle and last letters of the Bible spell “bohan” ... BET HEH NUN.
“Bohan” is an interesting word. We find two references to this Hebrew word in the book of Joshua, in chapter 15 verse 6, and again in chapter 18 verse 17. “Even Bohan ben Reuven” ... “the stone of Bohan, son of Reuben”. This was a marker stone between the tribal territory of Judah and the territory of Benjamin. “Even Bohan” means “the stone of Bohan”. “Ben Reuven” means “son of Reuben”.
Reuben was the first child born to Jacob and Leah, and his name means “See, a son!” So in the phrase “even Bohan ben Reuven”, in each of the four words we have a hint of the Son ... the Son of God, the Son of man.
“Even” ... “stone” ... has the letters BET NUN in it, spelling “Son”. “Bohan” ... the outside letters spell “Son”, BET NUN. “Ben” means “Son”, and “Reuven” means “See, a Son!”
If “Bohan” is the word spelled out in the first, middle and last letters of the Bible, then it points to Jesus ... to the Son of God.
In Hebrew, the word for “life” is “chai”, spelled CHET YUD. CHET in Hebrew has a numeric value of 8. YUD has a numeric value of 10. 8 plus 10 is 18. To Jewish people 18 is a “lucky number”. It means something to them, because it has the numeric value of the word for “life”. When Jewish people drink a toast, they say, “l'chaim” ... “to life”.
Now, look at Psalm 118:8. Do you see? 18 inside 18. Life within life. As believers in Jesus, our lives are hidden in Him.
Colossians chapter 3 verses 2 and 3 say. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Over and over in the Bible we are told that we are "in Jesus", “in Christ”, "in the beloved". That is how we are to see ourselves. Not just looking to Jesus ... not just believing in Jesus. We are – we are doing those things, but it is deeper than that. It is more intimate than that. We are “in Him”.
In the Old Testament, David and others often spoke of “taking refuge” in God. Taking refuge in the LORD.
If you have been following these seminar sessions it will now not surprise you to know that the Hebrew for “take refuge” occurs exactly 37 times in the Old Testament. (See downloadable pdf "Take refuge" for the Scripture references.) Take refuge ... take refuge in Him.
In similar vein, Psalms speak of God being “a refuge for me. A tower of strength against the enemy.” (Psalm 61:3)
Proverbs chapter 18 verse 10 says, “The name of the LORD ...” (most certainly that is the name of Jesus) ... “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.”
The Hebrew word for “tower” is “migdal”. And, guess what? It occurs exactly 37 times in the Hebrew of the Old Testament. (See downloadable pdf "Tower" for the Scripture references.)
To wrap up this session, let me go one step further. Is Psalm 118:8 the middle verse of the Bible? I think it is. This is not a Bible trivia question. It is not just that it means the first, middle and last letters of the Bible spell “Bohan”, pointing to Jesus, the Son. It is not just that it means that the middle word of the Bible is “be'Adonai” ... “in the LORD”, which is what true believers are ... “in the LORD” ... in the LORD Jesus.
It is that Psalm 118:8 presents a contrast. In other words, you are either in one position in God, or in another. “Tov lachasot be'Adonai mi'btoach ba'adam”. This is not saying, you can trust in men (including in yourself), OR you can trust in God, but you will be doing better if you trust in God.
It is saying “mi'btoach be'adam” ... literally, “from trust in man”. In other words, depart from all trust and confidence in any man, including in self, and including institutions of man. Get your eyes off human beings. And it is not as if I am presenting any new or strange doctrine to you. The Bible does say this.
Jeremiah chapter 17 verse 5 has a strong statement. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength ...”. And, in complete contrast, “Tov lachasot be'Adonai ... ” ... “Good (the good) is to take refuge (to hide yourself) in the LORD (in the Lord Jesus)”. Be found in Him. Be clothed in Him. Make Him your righteousness. Everything that commends you to God.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15)
With understanding of Hebraic thought, and awareness of design elements in the Scriptures, we take a journey of growth in Christ Jesus.
The seminar “Bringing sons to glory” starts with Session 1: “You are gods” What did Jesus mean? ... and continues through the Psalms of Ascent.
This series will increase your knowledge of biblical Hebrew.