Seeking the Dawn

Daybreak-for-poem1{A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah} O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;    -Psalm 63:1

The picture that David is painting here with his words is wonderful. A little context to help. The first part (some call it a title line), gives David as the author and states where he wrote the psalm. He was in the dry desert area of Judah, and he uses that picture to help convey his inner thoughts and feelings as he talks to God.

The first verb (after the title line) of this verse is translated as “early will I seek thee,” but is actually only one word in the Hebrew. The root of the verb is “shahkar” which is from the noun of the same spelling.  In the noun form it is typically translated as “dawn” or “morning” or “daybreak.”

With that idea, the translators take a verbal sense and bring it into English as “look early” or “look diligently” because of the sense that there is an earnest desire to see the light as it comes in the early morning and the darkness of night turns to the brightness of day.

Additionally, since this is a poem, translation must take into account the poetic structure. The clauses that follow give more information; the next two clauses “my soul thirsteth for thee” and “my flesh longeth for thee” provide a clearer view of what David meant by “shahkar.” Structuring it as a poem helps me…(my translation): A Psalm of David as he existed in the desert of Judah: God, You are my God! I look for You, [as I look for the dawn], *provided for clarity, not in the actual text* My soul thirsts for you, My flesh yearns for you, As in a land, drought and weary, with no water. David was known as a “man after God’s own heart,” and he sought after God as a man thirsting after water in a desert, as a man seeking the light of dawn after a long night in a wilderness area.

How much do you seek the dawn?

May God bless as we seek Him!


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