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#blessed: Lesson 3

We’re moving right along in our study of the word blessed, and I cannot wait to get into this week’s lesson!

BACKGROUND

We’ve learned there are four root words which have been translated blessed in our modern English Bible translations:

Old Testament (Hebrew)

barak

esher

New Testament (Greek)

eulogeo

makarios

For the last two weeks we’ve studied barak and eulogeo. I hope you’ve gotten as much out of what we’ve uncovered so far as I have!

This week I am super excited to get to the other two words translated blessed - esher and makarios. Esher is the word used in the passage in Psalm which opened this study, so let’s take a look at it again:

Blessed [esher] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3, NIV)

Next week we will shift gears and dive head first into studying this passage. But before we do that we need to understand the word it opens with - blessed (esher).

Esher is often stated as an interjection or exclamation, and it literally means “how happy!,” “oh the blessedness of!,” or “oh the happiness of!” It refers to an emphasized state of happiness and prosperity. In fact, its Greek counterpart, makarios, can be translated “supremely blessed, happy” and adds an element of being envied to the word, meaning that this kind of blessedness is enviable.

Esher and makarios are used (for the most part) only of man. There are two exceptions to this in the New Testament when Paul uses makarios to describe God in his first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:11, 6:15). In this case, Paul is literally saying that God is supremely “happy.”

This blessedness is only had by those who, again, are in Christ. It is a state of being which exists apart from material welfare or lack thereof. It exists apart from circumstances or achievements. I want to show a comment by James Strong regarding esher here because I love how he describes it:

“One’s status before God (being ‘blessed’) is not always expressed in terms of the individual or social conditions that bring what moderns normally consider to be ‘happiness.’” (Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, 2001)

This brought me to the following question: