Saturday, October 28, 2006


vaD SoH ghaj chenmoHta' ghaH a mach lower than joH'a', je crowned ghaH tlhej batlh je quv.

For you have made him a little lower than God, And crowned him with glory and honor. Psalm 8:5

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It will be no surprise to discover that, among the words we know of Klingon vocabulary, "patlh" is one of them. This is the Klingon word for "rank," as in position in the military or government. There are words for every position from lagh (ensign) to 'aj (admiral) - and no doubt Klingons use them very precisely. For in a military society it is important to be able to, as Webster puts it:

... range in a particular class, order, or division; to
class; also, to dispose methodically; to place in suitable
classes or order; to classify.

This word, and these terms have NOT been included in the KLV, simply because I've not found a place where such vocabulary is needed - but that is not to say matters of patlh, rank, don't matter. This is the subject of today's verse.

vaD SoH ghaj chenmoHta' ghaH a mach lower than joH'a

For you have made him a little lower than God

Having considered the marvels of God and his creation, David in the previous verse marvels that God considers mere humans *at* ALL - and now in this verse, he describes our patlh, or rank: A LITTLE LOWER THAN GOD.

It is interesting to me to note that the precision of this ranking is a little fuzzy. If you were to read this in the King James version, you'd find we are "a little lower than the angels." That's not an impossible reading (though almost every other translation disagrees) - the Hebrew word is elohim, a plural form of "El," God. That word is used throughout the Hebrew scriptures, and usually translated as "God," but it could also be the plural 'gods' - as in angelic beings. The epistle to the Hebrews quotes this psalm, and the Greek very clearly says "angels," because the writer was quoting the LXX, which translated the Bible into Greek, and rendered "elohim" as "angelous," angels.

It is good to know this, because I think it is mistake to get caught up in the precision of this ranking - as if there is some hierachy of creation, an "org chart" that we need to memorize. The points that David developed are important:
  • God is great, his creation is awe-inspiring,
  • and YET he does not overlook us -
  • better yet, despite all expectations to the contrary, he has moved us from mere laghpu', to the 'aj, to the admirals of creation!

Reading the news, of war, or human cruelty and disaster, it is not hard to feel humanity has no hope; God should scrap this world and start again.

But he doesn't.

He's made us, he remembers us, and he's given us what seems an utterly undeserved rank. If he considers me so highly - maybe with his help, we can live like this is true.

In the movie "To Sir, with Love," Sidney Poiter plays a teacher who, faced with utterly incorrigible students, begins to make a difference in their lives when he treats them not as children, but adults. And when he raises his expectation of them, they begin to rise up to it, and become adults, just as he has treated them.

God made you. Not as a cog, a thing or just another animal on a backwater planet. He's given you a rank just short of divine. Now's the time to give thanks, and seek his help to live up to it.

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