The Counsel and the Eye of God

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8 NKJV)


     The above-quoted verse really is a wonderful verse.  It is rich with meaning despite the fact that it is challenging linguistically.  It promises that God will instruct us and teach us.  He will guide us in the way that we should go.  Similar to a father who teaches and guides his children, so God teaches and guides us.  A similar idea is echoed in the Proverbs which states, “train up a child in the way that he should go.”  Likewise, God will train and guide us.  A parent loving watches over their children and gives them council in the way that they should act.  God will do the same for us.  He gives us the perfect model of what parenting should be and this verse is a great reflection of it.

     The first part of the verse is pretty straightforward, and as previously states, is almost echoed in the Proverbs.  However, the latter part of the verse is challenging linguistically and its full meaning is almost missed by most.  We will examine this and come to some awesome conclusions.

     The last part of that verse reads, “[le nye hxeya” which is roughly translated, I will council my eye upon you.  We would clean this up a bit to translate it into English and say something like, “I will council you with my eye upon you.”  This seems to be the consensus of the older manuscripts of the Old Testament.  The Latin Vulgate has, “I will fix my eye upon you.”  The Aramaic has, “I will follow you with my eyes.  The Psalm is unknown among the Dead Sea Scrolls (one should not read too much into this, neither is the book of Esther among the Dead Sea Scrolls) and finally, the Septuagint reads, “I will establish you with my eye towards you.”  Most of them carry the main idea but they seem to be missing the heart of the verse.  The Masorites left us some clues for exegesis when they translated the Old Testament.  They are called “accents.”  What they do is divide up a verse into parts.  The latter part of the verse generally describes and adds to, the former part of the verse.  In this verse, there is an English comma where the division, called the Athnah, lies.  Hence the second part of the verse is going to modify the first part of the verse.  This makes the translation: “I will council you with My eye.”  As one can see this gives a completely different perspective that what we saw the older manuscripts are giving the verse.  Let me explain by dissecting these words.  The first word is the word to “council.”  It has rich meaning in that it refers to Messiah as the “Wonderful Counselor” and describes the Spirit that would rest upon Him as “as spirit of council.”  Hence, the word speaks of divine wisdom and council.  A supernatural anointing to guidance that comes only from God.  The word for “eye” is equally rich.  Obviously, more than just an organ is implied here.  It represents a process of seeing and by extension, of understanding.  Anthropomorphically, God is watching us because he loves us and He can’t take His eyes off of us.  His eyes are upon the earth.  His eyes search for hearts that are obedient to Him.  His eyes watch over us for good.  The Greek verb used in the Septuagint, “to establish” gives us the crux of the verse.  It denotes that God will establish us and set us firm by guiding us with His supernatural council as His eyes are upon us searching for ways to implement good in our lives.  He is infinitely up to good.  Hence, because He is always looking to implement good in our lives, we should not be resistant to the council that He gives us.  Even if we don’t understand the council that He is giving us, or if it looks extremely unpleasant to us, we must trust the character of God that He is watching over us and imparting supernatural council to us for the purpose of establishing good in our lives.  Subsequently, God tells in the next verse, “Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which has no understanding, which must be harnessed with a bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.” (Psalm 32:9)  God is saying to us, “Listen, I’m going to give you a supernatural spirit of council, it will rest upon you as it rested upon Messiah.  The driving force behind that spirit is the Messiah who is the “Wonderful Councilor.”  (Additionally, the Holy Spirit is called the “Paraclete” in Greek, which means, the “Councilor.”  In secular Greek circles, this word would me “a lawyer.” ) My eyes will continually watch over you and search for way to implement good and avoid evil in your life.  So, when I tell you to do something, be sure to do it because you can trust that I will not implement evil against you.  And in the event that you choose not implement the council that I have given you; I will put a bit in your mouth and a bridle upon your neck and will “beat you into a state of reasonableness” because my love for you is that strong.  Remember Jonah, who spent three days in the belly of the big fish.   Remember the curses of the law; they were given to drive the people to repentance.  Remember the plagues of the book of Revelation; they are designed to drive people to repentance and to turn their hearts towards God.   God is telling us that he battles the Devil, and ourselves, in order to bring about good in our lives.  He is simply asking us to trust him.  Thus, our obedience eliminates one of the enemies that He has to fight in order to establish good in our lives.

     I think this is the correct interpretation and translation of the verse.  It really surprised me that I could find no commentaries that supported it.  At least none in my personal library, there may be some out there, only I couldn’t find them.  This is a wonderful verse that speaks of how God moves towards us and how we ought to respond to Him.  We respond to Him with a heart that loves Him enough to obey Him.  In the New Covenant, we are now free to obey out of love and not out of fear.