Happy or Blessed?

The other night in church an old friend was ministering and he was preaching out of the KJV.  I happen to have my HCSB with me (now a days I carry several translations on my Android) and noticed a subtle funny difference between the two.

The HCSB has received some flack about it’s usage of “Bless(ed)” in the Psalms.  For instance in Psalms 1:1

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly… KJV

How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked…HCSB

However, it is backwards in 1 Peter 3:14

But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye…KJV

But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed…HCSB

There you have it, I guess when I am blessed I will be happy.


7 thoughts on “Happy or Blessed?

  1. My wife and I had this discussion about a month ago: “Happy” or “Blessed.”

    It boils down to connotation: “Happy” sort of means anything, really. As for “blessed,” it immediately carries a meaning of God attached to it.

    “Blessed” is church lingo. 😉

  2. Joe says:

    You’re right, it does receive flack, I wonder if it had not used “happy” in Psalm 1:1 if it would still cause such a stir. I say this because even the ESV translates the same word as happy in many places and nothing is said of it. I guess happy, with the right understanding works just fine.

  3. Joe says:

    The NLTSB has some interesting information on this:

    NLTSB: Oh, the joys: This Hebrew term (’ashrey) is used twenty-six times in Psalms. Some translations render it as “blessed,” but a different term (barak) is used in contexts of blessing (5:12; 45:2; 107:38).

    NLTSB: ’ashrey (0835): happy, blessed. This word points to a heightened state or condition of joy and rejoicing, implying very favorable circumstances and enjoyment. It may be implied that it is a state to be envied or highly desired. This “blessed” is somewhat different from divine favor (a blessing).SEE Job 5:17; Ps 1:1; 32:1; 34:8; 41:1; 84:5, 12; 94:12; 106:3; Prov 3:13; 14:21; 28:14; Isa 30:18

    • Out of all the modern translation choices I do prefer the NLT usage of “Oh, the joys”. But to be honest, read anything long enough and you just get use to it. I don’t react at all anymore when I read “How happy is…” in Psalms out of the HCSB I guess I just got use to it 😉

  4. There is a lot to this that I’ve read in commentaries and people who know the original languages well. I used to hate it when they said “happy” because we can be blessed (or joyful) without being happy. But after reading from all these people my perspective has changed. I’m sorry I didn’t save all the things I’ve read on it.

  5. jadambyrd says:

    My Hebrew prof was on the HCSB translation team, which is how I learned about the translation in general. Anyways, he described the text in Psalm 1 as being far beyond simple happiness or blessing, but an incomprehensible joy that is in the life of the righteous because of their relationship with God.

    The relationship brings joy, peace, and happiness in that it is complete and not dictated by situation, but by being close to God.

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