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Contributed by Mark Darroch: Published 07/04/2002

Dividing the Waters of the Word

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters ...

Isaiah 55:1

For as the rain and the snow comes down from the heavens ... so shall My Word be which goes out of My mouth

Isaiah 55:10 - 11

All Scripture is God-breathed ...

2 Timothy 3:16

He causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.

Psalm 147:18

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Exodus 14:16

As has been clearly demonstrated elsewhere, the Hebrew letter Beyt (related to the number 2, and the second spoke of the wheel), encompasses the concepts of duality, division, image and reflection. It is interesting to note in this context, that the second substance to be divided in Holy Scripture is WATER, a symbol of The Word (as a repository of the wisdom of God).

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ... [Rom 11:33]

Note that this same WATER is the opening and recurring theme of Is. 55, and that the Hebrew word HaYam ("the sea") has a numerical weight of 55 as well, and is used with this spelling exactly two times in the creation story cycle, sections of which we will be turning to shortly.

Now, it is a simple fact that in Holy Scripture there are 594 chapters before psalm 117, and 594 chapters after psalm 117. Thus, this simple symmetry divides scripture into two equal segments; with Psalm 117 occupying a central position in the midst of these two isometric subdivisions.

But this simple symmetry becomes elegantly simple when it is noticed that the first phrase in Holy Scripture to have the value of 117 is "and let it divide" (between water and water). This division occurs on the second day of the creation story cycle. Thus, we have the identity that divides the waters of scripture into two isometric subdivisions linked with the division of the waters in the creation story cycle itself.

Now it is also a simple fact that the 117th chapter of Psalms, so strongly identified with division of The Word, has two verses. (The only chapter in scripture with that number). And that the total number of letters in these two verses is 62.

But again, the simplicity begins to look elegantly simple when we notice that 62 is exactly the numerical weight of the Hebrew word between (BeYN); the second use of which occurs in the verse already noted "and let it divide between water and water".

It seems fitting that the physical form of the Psalm itself (i.e. the number of letters as opposed to say, the gematria value) is related to the word between, and in fact lies between the two physical (i.e. textual) symmetric subdivisions of the living Word.

But what of the gematria of this Psalm that "lies between"? Are there no unusual or striking identities to be found? The gematria of its two verses is 2294, which it turns out, is the same as the following two verses (88 and 89) of Psalm 119:

88. Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

89. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Again, the elegance of this identity is not immediately apparent. But the connection to our theme is found in the fact that the first verse (v. 88) is the last verse of the Kaph stanza and the last verse (v. 89) is the first of the Lamed stanza. In other words, this identity divides the Hebrew Alphabet into two isometric subdivisions (i.e. it is the division between the letters Kaph and Lamed!).

But there's more: this identity has implications not only with the Word in its linear format (Genesis to Revelation), but also in its embodiment in The Wheel as correlated with the Hebrew Alphabet. The bilateral symmetry of The Wheel falls between the letters Aleph and Tav (the first and the last), and between the letters represented in our new found identity above: Kaph and Lamed. What is interesting here is that the four letters along this line of symmetry (Aleph-Tav and Kaph-Lamed) have a numerical weight of 451, the same as that of TeHUM (tehume), the waters of the deep! In fact, it is these very waters that are divided in Gen 1:6, the first use of the numerical weight 117: "and let it divide (between water and water)". Thus it seems, in this case at least, that the object occupying the central position in a symmetric relationship can be seen to be representative of the entire set of relationships as well. This idea is strengthened by the fact that the letters Kaph-Lamed (central to the Hebrew alphabet) spell the word ALL, and are translated "everything" in Gen 1:31 "And God saw everything that he had made ..."

In closing it is also interesting in light of these insights (the number 117 occupying a central role in Scripture) to note that the canonical division of N.T. History has exactly 117 chapters (again a physical or textual identity), and Christians have throughout the ages contended that those very books contain the written record of the pivotal event in human history.