26 February 2015

Dwell in the House... בֵּית ba yith

illumination of Psalm 27 by James S. Freemantle
The Psalms of David, William Morrow, 1982

I taught in October 2013  but failed to post my Hebrew word study of
 בֵּית  ba yith  which means House, Household, Home, Family, Temple, Palace, Shelter, Stronghold, Door, and, surprisingly, Daughter
Strong’s # 1004                      http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/1004.htm
It is a masculine noun and derives from a primitive root, also masculine noun Strongs #1129,
  בָּנָה   ba nah meaning
to Build, to Repair, to Restore, to Get Children in particular Sons, to Fortify
Hidden in this word are ideas of home, refuge, provision, and conflict/warfare.
All of these meanings are carried in the Hebrew word and specific meaning is deduced from context.
Very often the meaning connotes not a place but set of intimate relationships like those of a family.
There are 2,056 occurrences of בֵּית  ba yith in Hebrew Scripture.  

Bethlehem    בֵּית לֶ֫חֶם     “House of Bread”
 ba yith בֵּית  appears in the place name of the birthplace of Jesus, the city of David:

Bethlehem was indeed a House of Bread for an exiled Jewish widow returning home in poverty with her Gentile daughter-in-law to glean grain from the fields of Boaz with which to bake bread and survive at the margins of the community. Later, Ruth and Boaz’s grandson, Jesse, would send his youngest son, David, with bread for his brothers encamped with the army of Israel against the army of the Philistines. In doing so, Bethlehem provided not only bread for an army but a champion to defeat the enemy. (1 Samuel 17) This theme of provision has an important place in our considerations of the meanings folded into the phrase “House of God.”

David would build his own house and desire to build a בֵּית The House of the Lord. He would gather treasure for the task which his son would bring to fruition.
In time, through “the root of Jesse” which was the royal house of David, God would provide the Messiah, the eternal king.

Bethlehem—the house of bread—is the birthplace of Jesus, the place where God provided the bread of life. (John 6:35) Each week we treasure these things in our hearts as we “partake of the bread, the body Christ.” At every Eucharist, we enter the House of Yahweh and gather around the Lord’s Table and together eat the Bread provided by God, our Father.

Note: a similar word in the Semite language of the New Testament (Aramaic) means house and, in that language, Bethlehem becomes house of meat (flesh) making a wonderful word play for the place of incarnation where The Word became flesh and dwelt among us...

Today we will examine the use of בֵּית  ba yith in the Psalms and develop an understanding of what it means to "dwell in the House of the Lord."

Psalm 5:1-8   In the morning I will pray and watch – a cry for help
1 To the Chief Musician. With flutes. A Psalm of David.

Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my meditation. 2 Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. 3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. 4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. 7 But as for me, I will come into Your house בֵּית in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple בֵּית. 8 Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face. NKJV

   Note: One of my other Hebrew words appear in this passage
           5:7        “But as for me by your steadfast love חָ֫סֶד   #2617 Checed
                                    Here translated “in the multitude of Your mercy”

When Jesus said “My house shall be called a house of prayer…” [Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46], he quoted Isaiah 56: 6-8:

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord  and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant--these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house בֵּית of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house בֵּית shall be called a house בֵּית of prayer for all peoples.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.”

The House of the Lord is a house of prayer; it is a good place to be in the morning.
It is a place where the foreigner/the outcast/the “other” is welcomed.
It is a place where evil does not dwell.
It may be entered by meditation and prayer.
It is a place of worship.

Psalm 23
1 A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy חָ֫סֶד shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house בֵּית of the Lord Forever.

The House of the Lord is a place of provision, a place of rest, a place of restoration, a place of guidance. It is the place where the sheep are with the shepherd.
It is a place with no fear where evil does not sit at the table, a place of safety for the sheep..
It is a place of celebration, abundance, goodness and mercy חָ֫סֶד  checed forever. It is eternal.

Psalm 26
1 A Psalm of David.
Vindicate me, O Lord, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. 2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. 3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth. 4 I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites. 5 I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked. 6 I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O Lord, 7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works. 8 Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house בֵּית, And the place where Your glory dwells. 9 Do not gather my soul with sinners, Nor my life with bloodthirsty men, 10 In whose hands is a sinister scheme, And whose right hand is full of bribes. 11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; Redeem me and be merciful to me. 12 My foot stands in an even place; In the congregations I will bless the Lord.
Note in verse 8:   the movement from habitation (city) to  house to the place where glory dwells  (the Holy of Holies in the Temple)
The House of the Lord is a habitation, a city, a place to settle.
It has an altar; it is a place where God’s glory dwells.
It is an even ground, a broad expanse “a wide extended plain” where there is a congregation.

Psalm 27:4-6
1 A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident. 4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house בֵּית of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple בֵּית. 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock בֵּית. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. 7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek." 9 Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me. 11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. 12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
 The House of the Lord is a place where I may dwell forever.
It is beautiful and I can meditate there.
It is my hiding place, my shelter, my rock, my stronghold.
It is a tent, a shelter in the wilderness;  it is a tabernacle, the presence of the LORD wherever I am.
The House of the Lord is a place of thanksgiving and worship, joy and singing.
Psalm 30 offered at the dedication of The House of David
                             “joy comes in the morning”

Turning to a Psalm that Jesus quotes:
Psalm 31:1-8, 19-24    Refuge, deliverance,
1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness. 2 Bow down Your ear to me, Deliver me speedily; Be my rock of refuge בֵּית, A fortress of defense to save me. 3 For You are my rock and my fortress; Therefore, for Your name's sake, Lead me and guide me. 4 Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength. 5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. 6 I have hated those who regard useless idols; But I trust in the Lord. 7 I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, 8 And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place. 9 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; My eye wastes away with grief, Yes, my soul and my body! 10 For my life is spent with grief, And my years with sighing; My strength fails because of my iniquity, And my bones waste away. 11 I am a reproach among all my enemies, But especially among my neighbors, And am repulsive to my acquaintances; Those who see me outside flee from me. 12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the slander of many; Fear is on every side; While they take counsel together against me, They scheme to take away my life. 14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." 15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. 16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies' sake. 17 Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You; Let the wicked be ashamed; Let them be silent in the grave. 18 Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. 19 Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! 20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues. 21 Blessed be the Lord, For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city! 22 For I said in my haste, "I am cut off from before Your eyes"; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried out to You. 23 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. 24 Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.
 The House of the Lord is a house of defense, a place of refuge,  a stronghold, a fortress, a rock of strength.
The House of the Lord is a large place, a level ground.

Psalm 52:8   9
1 To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of David when Doeg the Edomite went and told Saul, and said to him, 'David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.'
Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. 2 Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. 3 You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah 4 You love all devouring words, You deceitful tongue. 5 God shall likewise destroy you forever; He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah 6 The righteous also shall see and fear, And shall laugh at him, saying, 7 "Here is the man who did not make God his strength, But trusted in the abundance of his riches, And strengthened himself in his wickedness." 8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house בֵּית of God; I trust in the mercy חָ֫סֶד of God forever and ever. 9 I will praise You forever, Because You have done it; And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good.
 “I am like a green olive tree IN THE HOUSE OF GOD (Elohim) Olive trees denote: 
Fruitfulness, resilience, wisdom, faithfulness steadfastness, continuity, and peace.
The House of the Lord is a place of olive trees.
It is a place of growth and rootedness, of חָ֫סֶד steadfast love forever.
It is a place of waiting in the presence of the godly.

Psalm 65           A celebration of God’s provision in Creation O GOD OF OUR SALVATION
1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. A Song.
Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. 2 O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come. 3 Iniquities prevail against me; As for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them. 4 Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house  בֵּית, Of Your holy temple בֵּית. 5 By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us, O God of our salvation, You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth, And of the far-off seas; 6 Who established the mountains by His strength, Being clothed with power; 7 You who still the noise of the seas, The noise of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. 8 They also who dwell in the farthest parts are afraid of Your signs; You make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice. 9 You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it. 10 You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth. 11 You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance. 12 They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, And the little hills rejoice on every side. 13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; The valleys also are covered with grain; They shout for joy, they also sing.
               65:4      “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
                                           To dwell in your courts!
                                           THE HOLINESS OF YOUR TEMPLE!
 The House of the Lord is a place of blessing, of justice, of satisfaction and contentment, of goodness, of holiness, and worship.

Psalm 84:1-4, 10-12
1 To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home בֵּית, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young-- Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house בֵּית; They will still be praising You. Selah 5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed. 10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house בֵּית of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!
               84:1      “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts… Yahweh Sabbaoth
              84:3      “Even the sparrow finds A HOME and the swallow a nest for herself,
                             Where she may lay her young at your altars, O Lord of Hosts…
84:4      BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO DWELL IN YOUR HOUSE Ever singing your praise.
                             Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
The House of the Lord is a beautiful dwelling place.
It is a home for even the very small, the very weak, the most insignificant.
It is a place for family, for mothers and children.
It is a place of worship,  blessing, and singing.
It has a door. There is no wickedness, no evil there.

Psalm 892:12-15
1 A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath day.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; 2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night, 3 On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, And on the harp, With harmonious sound. 4 For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. 5 O Lord, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. 6 A senseless man does not know, Nor does a fool understand this. 7 When the wicked spring up like grass, And when all the workers of iniquity flourish, It is that they may be destroyed forever. 8 But You, Lord, are on high forevermore. 9 For behold, Your enemies, O Lord, For behold, Your enemies shall perish; All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. 10 But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil. 11 My eye also has seen my desire on my enemies; My ears hear my desire on the wicked Who rise up against me. 12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those who are planted in the house בֵּית  of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts בֵּית  of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, 15 To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, בֵּית  and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Note: palms and cedar are evergreen e.g. like them we are ever green, alive, growing
Note: The Temple is built with the cedars of Lebanon. The righteous build and are the stuff of which the House of the Lord is built.
 The House of the Lord is where we flourish (grow and are fruitful) and where we are evergreen (always alive) and deeply rooted.
It is the place where we declare that our Lord God is righteous and true and just.
It is where we proclaim that God is the rock, the foundation of our life.
Being in the House of the Lord is what gives our old age life, creativity, and meaning.
It is, indeed, our home.

Do you have a favorite Psalm (or other scripture) that might be called a HOUSE where you dwell?
Describe a time when you beheld beauty and felt the presence of the Lord.
What description of the House of the Lord is special for you? Why?
Materials not used with the LBC study:
Psalm 101                       describes not God’s House but ours
 Psalm 127:                      A song of Ascent. Of Solomon
127:1    UNLESS YAWEH BIULDS THE HOUSE,               
Psalm 128                       A song of ascent.
                             128:3    “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
                                           Your children will be like olive shoots around your table.”
 Repeated themes:       Dwelling, no evil, rescue, steadfast lovingkindness חָ֫סֶד Checed,
provision: abundance, beauty, creation, space room, joy, worship
 Jesus in John 14:
“In my father’s house are many mansions (rooms, houses)
I go to prepare a place for you
That where I am, you may be also.”
There is ample room in the house of God, in “the Father’s” extended family, where the righteous hope to dwell forever, where Jesus is in company with his friends. 





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