Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer. Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip. Psa 17:4-5
It surprised me to learn that the “paths” of the destroyer, and YHVH’s “paths”, are two different words in Hebrew!
The paths of the destroyer, is from the primary root in Hebrew, arach, and refers to the wanderings of a nomad as he goes to and fro. This word is most often translated “wayfaring” in the KJV. It put me in mind of the first wanderer, Cain, who was exiled to Nod (which means, “to wander”). In fact, we get our word “nomad” from Nod, with the addition of the m between the n and the d.
The paths of YHVH is from the primary root in Hebrew, agol, and refers to the established cycle or rutted track that an ox trained to turn the grindstone would follow. The same word is the root of the Hebrew for round, circuit, or circle.
The paths of YHVH is therefore a Hebrew idiom that refers to the cyclical returning of the Lord’s feasts, which travel the circle of the year, year after year, so that a rutted track is made by their keeping. Each feast day not only teaches and reminds Israel of something important about YHVH and His ways, but each also prophesies of the Messiah.
The paths of the destroyer refers to aimless wandering, out away from home and family, out away from security, blessing, happiness, and prosperity. The paths of YHVH refers to the yearly return of the Lord’s feasts, as their cyclical keeping year after year makes a rutted path for the household to walk in – YHVH’s path.
For further reading:
Paths or cycles? – Hebrew word study (Brad Scott)