Blessed is the man to whom YHWH does not charge iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Psalm 32:2
Guile – There are two important verbs for blessing in the Hebrew text. The first is barak. This is the verb used to bless God and it is the verb used by God to bless. The second verb for “bless” is ‘ashar. This verb means “to be called blessed or to be made happy.” In the phrase, “Blessed is the man,” the word is ‘esher. It is a noun, not a verb. It means a state of bliss. It is never applied to God. Why? Because this state of bliss is something that men bring about. To be blessed, we have to do something.
When God blesses, He is the actor, not us. When God blesses, it doesn’t matter if men deserve the favor. Often they do not. God never blesses with the verb ‘ashar because the state of bliss from ‘ashar depends on human action and implies an envious circumstance. If you really want to notice the difference between these two verbs, try re-reading the Beatitudes with the recognition that Yeshua is using ‘ashar, not barak. Every Beatitude is about something we do, not something God grants.
So, let’s try this translation of Psalm 32:2 again. “A state of bliss for the man to whom YHWH does not charge iniquity.” Why does this man experience bliss? Because he did something. ‘esher tells me that this man did not receive divine favor for no reason at all. He experienced redemption because he repented. Then God removed his guilt. Human action came before the declaration of bliss.
Since we know that Hebrew poetry rhymes ideas, we look to the second part of the verse to find an amplification of the first. What did this man do in his act of repentance? He purified his spirit of deceit. The word “guile” is the Hebrew term remiyyah. It means treachery, fault and deceit. It is about whatever is not true. It is also connected with laziness, negligence and sloth. In other words, remiyyah is a character flaw. It covers all forms of lying, all kinds of deception and all varieties of deliberate avoidance. “A state of bliss is experienced by the man who has removed these characteristics from his life.” The result is guilt-free living. Why? Because this man has nothing to hide.
Blessing in the Bible comes in two forms. Blessings from God fall upon us because God is good, merciful and compassionate. We don’t deserve them, but He loves to give them. All other blessings are the result of our diligence, obedience and alignment with His instructions. All other blessings are available to anyone who sets his heart on achieving them. God does not withhold the promised results because the promised results are up to us. Do you want a blessed life? Then just do what God says. You don’t have to wait for His favor to fall on you. My guess is that it will whenever He wishes it to do so. In the meanwhile, get to work on making bliss in your life. It’s there for the taking.
Topical Index: blessed, ‘ashar, barak, bliss, Psalm 32:2, Beatitudes