The letter “teth” ט is shaped like a womb and is the number 9 which parallels the 9 month gestation period where new life develops while being nourished and protected. The letter “teth” also represents inner reflection.
Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
The word Good in Hebrew is “Tov” and means: good, agreeable, pleasant and beautiful. The first time the letter “teth” is used in scripture is in the word good: God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. Tov, essentially means to be in harmony with God, His thoughts, desires, words, and statutes.
Good “for me” (לי) is a preposition and a pronoun. This word (לי) is there in the Hebrew, both as an individual word and as a pronoun built into the word afflict (as an inseparable pronoun suffix). Therefor, since it is redundant and grammatically awkward, you have to wonder why it is there in the first place. When you see something like this in scripture it calls you pause and consider why the author wrote it in. David was taking poetical licence in order to express his heart. This word (לי) is simply spelled ל and when this letter is spelled out , it is the word for learning “lamed” (למד). It looks like David, whom I believe is the Author, is using a play on words to emphasize that this learning, even learning through times of “affliction”, is good because it will bring us into greater unity and harmony with God.
David states that it is his affliction (ענה) that is good because he is going to learn from it. The Hebrew word affliction means: afflicted, depressed, humbled, poor and needy. It also means: on account of, intent, end, purpose, for the sake of, so that…etc. If in your life you are walking with the Lord and as He leads, then where ever you may find yourself know that God is with you, and there is purpose and learning to be found. Every situation and season of life should be taken as an opportunity for personal growth. Esoterically in the spelling of this word it reminds us to, see our situation through God’s eyes (ע) because it will give us the faith (נ) to remain where He is (ה), allowing God to complete the good work He began in us. Psalm 119:75 says: I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Also, affliction here is in a pual verbal form which means the subject receives the action of the verb and that the verb is intensified. So affliction is a good translation choice as this experience was not something light, but quite intense.
The words: that I was (afflicted) is a preposition spelled (כי). When not used as a preposition it is the word for “palm”. The Ancients believed that the heart was in the palm of the hand, so I believe that I was (כי) is a play on words, and that David is trying to express the idea that though we may have to endure some “affliction”, we are still in the loving hand of God as in Gen. 50:20: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good (tov) in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
Next we have, that I (ענה )may learn “Lamed” (למד ). That I (ענה) is a preposition but when not used as one, it is the same word as affliction (ענה). I believe it is another play on words to drive home his point that though many are the afflictions of the righteous, God is not only there with us but He is working out His plans in and through us. We must see our situation through God’s eyes and remain where He is in order to grow, to learn, and give birth to our destiny.
There is a difference between head knowledge and an experiential knowledge. The word statutes (חקק) means an engraving of His words and laws (on our hearts). When we are humbled by difficult situations, one thing we grow in is empathy towards others as well as becoming more sensitive to God’s heart and His feelings…and that’s a good (tov)thing!