WORD STUDY – DWELL AT EASE
Psalms 25:13: “His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.”
The soul of the man that fears God will dwell at ease. This has many different renderings in different modern translations. I looked at twelve different English translations and got twelve different renders which are the following: They will spend their days in prosperity, they will live in prosperity, his soul will abide in wellbeing, he will live a good life, his soul will abide in prosperity, he will have good things, he will experience good things, he will experience favor, his soul will lodge in grace, he will abide in prosperity, he will rest in good things, his soul in good will remain. I list all of these to show that hardly any two modern English translations seem to agree at the proper wording. Yet, they all pretty much say the same thing and that is that the man who fears God will live a peaceful life.
The phrase dwell at ease in Hebrew is nepheshu betov talin. Everyone of the renderings I list above correctly reflects this Hebrew phrase. However, each has a little difference in its nuance. Each is reflecting the translator’s personal feelings, bias and world view of God.
The first word nephesh has many meanings and usages. It can be rendered as soul, self, life creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion and passion. Anyone of these renderings would be correct but would not necessarily fit in this context.
The reference to something being at ease is referencing once’s emotional life. So we would probably interpret nephesh in this context to be one’s desires, emotions or passions. Here the soul could be the seat of you emotions or passions. So basically you will be emotionally at ease.
Again, as expressed in the last chapter, fear of the Lord could not mean being afraid of God because that would make this verse contradictory. If you are afraid of God you will not find you emotions to be at ease. If you live in reverence of God, protecting his heart and not wounding his heart by following the way He has chosen for you, you will feel emotionally at ease knowing that the one you love will not be offended by anything you do. You will feel safe and secure in your relationship with God.
A relationship with another person can create a sense of security and well being if you are secure in that relationship, knowing that that person is pleased with you and that you are pleasing that person. That you don’t have to do anything to impress that person. You are free to be yourself. To be in a relationship with God where you are secure in knowing that you are pleasing God and God is pleased with you will create a real sense of security and well being or a soul at ease.
The word for ease is tov which in an earlier study was explained as being in harmony. Thus if you fear the Lord or make protecting His heart a priority and He reveals the way you should live that will protect his heart and give Him pleasure you will be in harmony with Him To be harmony with Him means you will share His peace and comfort.
It is interesting that the word used for dwell is lun which means to lodge temporarily or just spend the night. This would suggest that this harmony with God is intended to express our physical existence on earth. This peace and comfort is not something we put off until we get to heaven, it is something that we can have right now and for the remaining of our lun or temporary lodging here on earth.
What I am drawing from this from the use of the word lun is that our existence on this earth is just a temporary resting place on our journey to our real home. Something even more interesting is that the word lun is also used for murmuring and complaining. This journey through this physical world is filled with things that are unpleasant and not joyful, things that will cause murmuring and complaining. But that is all just a temporary thing on our journey. Our final destination will be a place filled with that harmony with God yet devoid of the lun, the things that cause us to murmurer and complain.
Psalms 25:13 is not just telling me that my soul will be at ease if I fear the Lord and follow His ways, but that I also have a future home, an ultimate destination to look forward to. This journey to our final destination or heavenly home can really be rough at times, filled with many sorrows and pain. Yet, God is promising that even our journey through this world to our heavenly home can be eased if we follow the ways of God and live to protect his heart and bring pleasure to Him.
“And his seed shall inherit the earth.” This expression of inheriting the earth is also found in Matthew 5:5 where we learn the meek shall inherit the earth. What this is referencing has been debated. Some say it is a reference to the future Kingdom of God here on earth where the chosen will be given dominion over the entire world. Some see it as a spiritual inheritance, but the general belief is that it is a reference to the children of Israel receiving the Promised Land.
This expression became an idiomatic expression. It is sort of like we would say: “The Eagle has landed” when we arrive at a destination. Many people who did not live during the time of the moon landing would not quite understand what we mean. If we use that expression before the moon landing no one would make a connection. Also, we in American would be more prone to use this expression that someone in another country as this was a very monumental event for the American people and very meaningful where to other nations it is just a point in history.
So too with the phrase inheriting the land as a reference to the Exodus and the claiming of the land that God gave the Jewish people. This expression would be much more meaningful to them than to those of us who are not Jewish. So we would not be as quick to pick up on this expression as the Jews would especially during the time of David and Jesus. To the Jews to hear this expression they would not literally think of occupying land so much as the blessings that came with occupation, freedom from slavery, having a home of their own with land that was fruitful.
So in the context of Psalms 25:13 I would see this verse assuring us that if we fear the Lord and walk in His ways we will live our life at ease or in harmony with God sharing his joy and happiness in this world filled with sorrow and pain. But this is only one leg of our journey to our heavenly home which will be free of sorrow and pain. Once we leave this world for our permanent home our descendents will inherit the land which is to say they will have a blessed life.
My earthly father was a man who feared God and loved Him all his life. He lived his life in the way of God and he live a life above the stress and sorrow of this world. If someone would cut him off in traffic he would just smile and say: “Well, at least he did not cause an accident.” After he left this world I was the beneficiary, I inherited the land so to speak for he left me with an example of walking with God, fearing God and smiling when someone cuts me off on the highway.