A Question I Was Asked:

What is the Meaning of Psalm 106:24?

My question to you concerns this: Psalm 106, verse 24.

1: Do you speak Hebrew?
2: 'Erets hamda' literally means what?
3: The pronoun (his) in the verse refers to whom? Thanks.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, here is the verse:

Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. (Psalm 106:24).

Obviously to get a fuller sense we need to get more of the context. This Psalm focuses on the trials of Israel in the wilderness and their ingratitude despite the powerful hand of God being at work among them. Let's take in a little more of it:

16. In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord. 17. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. 18. Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. 19. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. 20. They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass. 21. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, 22. miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. 23. So he said he would destroy them - had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. 24. Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. 25. They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord. 26. So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the wilderness, 27. make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands. (Psalm 106:16-27).

So we now have more of the context.

First off, in answer to your questions:

1. No, I don't speak Hebrew but I did study it at university, I have a Hebrew language Old Testament, and have access to both Hebrew/English interlinears and Greek/English ones, so I am probably able to go a little deeper than most on this subject. One module of my degree course required us to translate a section of Genesis whilst only looking at the Hebrew. I did it successfully.

2: You ask, 'Erets hamda' literally means what? In verse 24, the word 'land' is translated from the Hebrew 'erets' - meanings: country, land, ground etc. 'Believe' is translated from the Hebrew 'aman' (pronounciation closer to 'aw-man'), meanings: to trust/to believe/ to be firm/ faithful etc. The translations here seem to do a pretty good job so I am not really sure why the question is raised.

3: The pronoun (his) in the verse refers to whom? The pronoun refers to Moses: they did not believe the word of Moses.
"Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word"
(as in KJV) seems to be the ideal translation here.

The Fuller Meaning...

The events which are described here may be found in Exodus, it speaks of the time when certain of the Israelite leaders rebelled against Moses and Aaron, a movement even got underway to return to Egypt. The eventual punishment was that those who left Egypt would not be allowed to enter the promised land, but their children would be allowed to enter. The Lord even said that He would destroy them all, but Moses 'stood in the breach' (verse 23).

It seems that Moses prevented the avenging justice of the Lord with his prayers. Moses had great power with God. He was certainly a type of our Lord, he is called, for example, in verse 23, 'his chosen one.' So just as our Redeemer stood between the Lord and a sinful world, even so Moses stood between the Lord and the punishment earned by the offending Israelites. The result was that God turned away from the fierceness of his anger. The primary rebels and evildoers were punished but the rest of the people were allowed to live out the remainder of their lives, yet not enter the promised land, that honour was for their children only.

Without question the promised land here was a type of the kingdom of God, we don't enter that kingdom if we are in rebellion against God, or against the people He chooses to lead us, or against His Master Plan of salvation; we need to be meek and humble and to continue to be 'teachable.'

Robin A. Brace. March 8th, 2017.