The Hebrew Word For Meditate in Psalm 1

June 8, 2024

Unlike non-Christian meditation, which often involves sound, chanting and mantras, the biblical practice of meditating on God’s Word is done silently. That’s why it’s also called “quiet prayer” and “quiet reading.” To meditate, select a passage from your daily Scripture reading or one of the Psalms and read it several times aloud while focusing on each word as if it were a jewel in your hand. Then, ponder the meaning of each word and how it applies to your life.

While the KJV translates this Hebrew word hagah as “think,” it actually means something closer to “meditation.” This is because the root verb hagah (Strong’s H1897) has various meanings, including: “to murmur” (in pleasure or anger), “to ponder” (“imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter”), and even to “roar” (as in a lion over its prey).

The Psalmist identifies two kinds of meditation, the wholesome kind originating from God’s Word that occupies the blessed man’s/messiah’s heart, and the futile, self-deceiving kind resulting from world rulers’ intimidation. The Psalmist’s promise is that the former leads to life and peace, while the latter leads to death and destruction.

The other important word in this verse is “way.” In the OT, the word way is usually translated as derek (Strong’s #1870). It has the sense of a well-marked path that may be followed to reach a destination. The Psalmist’s desire in this psalm is for the Lord to lead him on his “way.”


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