TH asks this excellent question:
In Psalm 119, there are bold titles about every eight verses. What are these?
Psalm 119 is an alphabet Psalm.
There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
Each letter gets eight verses in Ps 119. That is why this is the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible, having 176 verses (22 times 8).
Verses 1-8 all start with the first Hebrew letter, aleph.
Verses 9-16 start with the 2nd letter, beth.
By the way, notice that in Hebrew the first two letters are aleph beth. Greek is almost the same, with alpha beta the first two letters. We get the word alphabet from the first two letters of Greek and Hebrew.
Verses 17-24 start with the 3rd letter, gimel. (Hebrew has no “c”).
That pattern continues down to the last 8 verses, Ps 119:169-176, which all start with the last Hebrew letter, tav.
I found no English translations that even try to start each verse in each grouping of eight to start with the right English letters (e.g., a, b, g…).
Here is my paraphrase of verses 1-4 to have them all start with the letter “a”:
A blameless one is blessed, who walks according to the law of the Lord.
A person who keeps His statutes and seeks Him with all his heart is blessed.
Also, he does nothing wrong; he walks in His ways.
And You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.
Here is my paraphrase of 9-12 to have them all start with the letter “b”:
By what method can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.
By my whole heart I have sought You; do not let me stray from Your commands.
By hiding Your word in my heart, I have sought not to sin against You.
Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.
Could we come up with an English translation of Psalm 119 that had each verse start with the correct letter to reflect what the Hebrew does? I would think we could.
Here is a poem in English that does this, but with just one use of each letter:
Again I’m sitting with pen in my hand and paper in front of me,
Breaking all the doors, trying to set my feelings free.
Carefully I’m choosing the words to write.
Don’t want to keep anything inside.
Everything inside me I want to say.
For so long I’ve been trying day after day.
Guessed it’s easy, but it’s not in any way.
How hard I tried to tell you
In every way, but I couldn’t do so.
Just simple words I have to write,
Kinda magical words that’ll make everything right.
Love you deeply from the bottom of my heart.
My life means nothing when we’re apart.
No one but you can make me feel that complete.
Ooh, my love we are meant to be; that’s our fate.
Please stay with me for always and forever.
Quit anything, but leave me never.
Right inside my heart you will always be.
So happy I feel when you are with me.
To you I hope to be always near.
Unique is the way along you I feel.
Very happy, flying without wings.
What a joy to my heart your touch brings.
X-tremly perfect I feel near you.
Yes, my love, that’s what I want you to know.
Zillions of words I have in my heart to say, and all of them are true.