I actually noticed this by accident.
Okay I lied. It was a miracle that I noticed this, and I am very grateful to God that He showed it to me. 🙂
I was meditating on this Psalm, and was struck by the beauty of its promises and truths, but was also struck by the oddity of the word choice in the KJV in verse 13 (http://bit.ly/9vJLku).
“Psalms 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”
Why ‘pity’? The context is comparing us to God, and how weak and frail we are, so the regular meaning for ‘pity’ fits in fine… but it still stuck with me.
So I looked it up in Strongs, and sure enough it had the ‘regular’ definition: compassion, mercy, etc. Very nice. (http://sir-emeth.com/bible/?T=OT&N=7355) It even has the word ‘fondle’ in there, which conjures up some beautiful images of our Father holding and loving us.
The next word in the Strong’s concordance caught my eye. (Like when can I ever read just *one* word in a dictionary?)
Pitieth (the original word I looked up) was raw-kham’ (a verb). The next word was rakh’-am (the noun). Same word, two different accents, two different word forms. But the meaning made me weep.
The Hebrew language and culture is built upon vivid word pictures, analogies, and similes. That is how they think. That is how they create their words. And the word for pity in the Hebrew…
Because it *cherishes* the fetus.
Think about it.
God. The sovereign Lord of the universe and Savior of the world. He is as a womb to us, and we are as fetuses to Him. That is the word picture that David painted in Psalm 103, and that is the image that would have come to his hearer’s minds.
We are absolutely helpless, incapable of sustaining ourselves, feeding ourselves, protecting ourselves, growing ourselves, or anything. We are utterly dependent upon God and His grace, which gives us everything we need and much more. He is a comfort, a protection, our source of life, our all, our universe. He is all around us.
We are in Him.