May he sit enthroned before God forever.
In Psalm 61:7, it says, “May he sit enthroned before God forever”, and this word ‘enthroned’ is used in my HCSB and many other translations, like the ESV, NIV, CEB and the NRSV. The NLT goes further and has ‘reign’, and the CEV has ‘rule’. My reasoning is that king David is the author and could there be any influence upon translators from New Testament theology, from Paul, that teaches that we are seated in heavenly places, with Christ (Eph. 2:6)?
Paul also says that believers will judge the world and judge the angels, in 1 Cor. 6:2-3. These are interesting considerations, but I am going to assume that the translators did not have these New Covenant concepts in mind, when they broke down Psalm 61 into English. The question really is, “What did David have in mind and how do his words apply to us?”
David’s story is that of a humble shepherd who was the youngest of seven or eight sons. He became, “A man after God’s own heart”. He also had a problem on his life’s resume, in that he was conceived in sin (Ps. 51:5). How did he know this and was he ashamed or was he looked down on for this by his family and community?
When David sinned with Bathsheba and tried to cover it up and killed her husband, he reflected on this secret of his ‘sinful conception’. I mention this to point out that David did not have a ‘charmed life’ and suffered in dimensions of shame and humiliation. David is a passionate man and a man’s man who was a great leader and warrior as well as a guy who had a big heart with big brokenness.
That all boils down to, “He was a man like us”. He was subject to pride and arrogance, but he also learned humility. David’s psalms are filled with working out our walk with God, in humility.
All that is to say that I think David was humbled by God’s grace, favor and blessings upon him. He said something here, that can can be translated several ways, because Hebrew is wider and deeper than English. The particular Hebrew word here which occurs 32 times, is translated ‘sit’, ‘sits’ or ‘sitteth’, 11 times. All the other times, it says things like ‘dwell’, ‘abide’, ‘remain’ and ‘live’; and I am only looking at the NASB, KJV and the INT; in my concordance.
I believe that David saw his relationship with God as a bigger deal or far more important than being Israel’s king.
I prefer the words ‘abiding’ and ‘dwelling’, to describe what I want to do with God and what I hear Psalm 61 saying to me. Abide (“He shall abide” or “He will abide”) is the way that the KJV and the NASB have this line. ‘Dwell’ is how the Young’s Literal has it, as well as the Geneva Bible and the Wycliffe Bible:
Thou shalt give the King a long life; his years shall be as many ages.
He shall dwell before God forever; prepare mercy and faithfulness, that they may preserve him.
So will I always sing praise unto thy Name, in performing daily my vows. -Psalm 61:6-8 (Geneva Bible)
Thou shalt add, either increase, days on[to] the days of the king; his years till into the day of generation and of generation. (Thou shalt add days onto the days of the king; yea, year upon year for many generations.)
He dwelleth [into] without end in the sight of God; who shall seek the mercy and truth of him? (He shall live before God forever; may thy love, and thy faithfulness, preserve, and protect him.)
So I shall say psalm to thy name into the world of world; that I yield my vows from day into day. (And I shall sing songs, or praises, to thy name forever and ever; as I offer my vows each day.) -Psalm 61:6-8 (Wycliffe Bible) (italics from the translators)
I love, “He shall dwell before God forever”, and “He dwelleth [into] without end in the sight of God. (He shall live before God forever.)”
“Abide” is the chosen word, instead of “Enthroned”, in the KJV, NASB and NKJV. But the one I like and think captures the Hebrew best, combining ‘dwell’, ‘abide’ and ‘live’; and makes great sense as a current translation for the season that we are in, is The Voice (2012) that goes like this:
Extend the king’s life, day after day;
increase his years for many generations.
May he be ever present before God,
attended and guarded by Your loyal love and truth.
So I will never stop singing Your praise;
as long as I live, I will fulfill my promise. -Psalm 61:6-8 (Voice)
This is the backstory on my previous post. Or some of the study I did to come up with what I said that might have been a leap that did not make sense, since I did not quote the context of the text and talk about the other dimensions of this Hebrew word “yê·šeḇ”, יֵשֵׁ֣ב. I’m not a Hebrew scholar, but just a student.
Yes, get a copy of The Voice or check it out on Bible Gateway. It is really good.
Mercy season. Being with God, being in life, living, loving, discovering God’s mercy; having mercy on other people.
Here is a song that captures the feeling I have that relates to being with God today. I like this video of one of my favorite places to be. And the toy piano, for me, reflects on childlike living.
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