Saturday, March 25, 2006

QaH! I need somebody!

law' pa' 'oH 'Iv jatlh vo' wIj qa', " pa' ghaH ghobe' QaH vaD ghaH Daq

Many there are who say of my soul, "There is no help for him in God."
Psalm 3:2

(click for podcast version)

David's words here come from a desperate time - a time when he was in need of help. And his observation is that those watching him would conclude "QaH vaD ghaH Daq joH'a'" "There is no help for him in God.".

Help, or QaH in Klingon, is our word to consider here.

Maybe you are surprised that Klingons, though rugged and independant, DO have a word for help. You can hear it in the expression:

nom QaH yIqem - "Get help quickly!"

Though "Conversational Klingon" advises " what Terrans consider dangerous and unpleasant a Klingon usually finds exhilarating and enjoyable. So, if no ­one comes to your aid at first, shout out the phrase:

tlhIngan jIHbe' - "I am not a Klingon."

"QaH vaD ghaH Daq joH'a'" "There is no help for him in God.".

The Hebrew word here is a familiar one (in different forms it occurs over 250 timse in the Bible), yeshuw`ah (yesh-oo'-aw) - it means something saved, or deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity, health, help, salvation, and save, among other things. We can recognize it in the name Joshua or Jesus - "The LORD saves"

David's situation is dire - and when he echoes the verdict about his plight, he means more than "assistance is not coming" - everyone says he is utterly lost. And it seems clear that this is the majority opinion.

In these first two verses of Psalm 3, David says twice how "MANY" "rise up against" and "many say of" his soul that there is no hope. The Klingon word for this, law' calls to mind a construction Klingons use to express comparisons with two statements "x is law' / y is puS" to show how x is greater or superiour to y. For example,

'IwwIj jeD law' 'IwlIj jeD puS.

Means literally "My blood is thicker than yours," but expresses 'I am much stronger than you.' In this passage, one might feel that David would think

jaghpu' law' QaHwIj puS

(my enemies are greater than my help). Certainly this is an experience that many can understand - the trials and difficulties of life can seem overwhelming. But, as one writer observes, "note that trouble drives David to God in prayer, not from Him in disbelief. ("New Bible Commentary")

I think David would rather say

joH'a' QaH law' Hoch jaghpu'wI' puS - God's help is greater than my enemies!

In the scriptures we gain a context, a vision of the fabric of God's care and his plans - a vision that lifts us above the immediate situation. David, and we, may have uncountable enemies or troubles, but God is so much greater than them all! It's David's gift to us in the this psalm to remind us, where do you find help? nuqDaq QaH? It is with the LORD - let us never forget that!

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