the nation of Israel he was instructed to make a copy of Jehovah’s law, and was told (as rendered in many Bible versions) to “meditate” thereon day and night. (Josh. 1:8; AS, AV, JB, RS) The New World Translation retains the same flavor but gives greater force by rendering the Hebrew term ha·ghahʹ, appearing here, as, “You must in an undertone read in it.” (See also Psalm 1:2.) Reading in an undertone would impress more indelibly on the mind the material on which one was meditating. Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Tregelles’ translation, p. 215) supports this translation of ha·ghahʹ, saying of the word: “Prop[erly] to speak with oneself, murmuring and in a low voice, as is often done by those who are musing.”—Compare Psalms 35:28; 37:30; 71:24; Isaiah 8:19; 33:18.
The apostle Paul told Timothy that he should ponder over or be meditating on his conduct, ministry and teaching. As an overseer, Timothy had to be unusually careful that he taught sound doctrine and that his way of life was exemplary.—1 Tim. 4:15.
After the apostles Peter and John had been arrested by the captain of the temple and the Jewish rulers had threatened them and charged them not to teach further on the basis of Jesus’ name, the apostles returned to the other disciples. These prayed to God, referring to David’s prophetic words, saying: “‘Why did the nations become tumultuous and peoples meditate upon empty things?’ . . . Even so, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with men of nations and with peoples of Israel were in actuality gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, in order to do what things your hand and counsel had foreordained to occur.”—Acts 4:1-3, 18, 21, 23-28.
The “empty things” here spoken of are shown by the context to be, not the things that people ordinarily seek in life, but things that are devoid of all good, actually thinking, speaking and attempting to fight against Jehovah and his servants—an utterly futile thing.
King David said of those who hated him and sought his death: “Deceptions they keep muttering [form of ha·ghahʹ] all day long.” (Ps. 38:12) These meditations were not mere passing thoughts. They were deep-rooted in the heart, their inclination being toward that wicked pursuit. The writer of Proverbs says of such men: “Despoiling is what their heart keeps meditating, and trouble is what their own lips keep speaking.”—Prov. 24:2.
Jesus said to those hating him: “Why are you reasoning these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8) Of all who would ‘suppress the truth in an unrighteous way,’ the apostle Paul says: “They became empty-headed in their reasonings and their unintelligent heart became darkened.” Such meditation proves fatal to those indulging in it.—Rom. 1:18, 21.
Mildness of temper, without haughtiness or vanity. The mental disposition that enables one to endure injury with patience and without irritation, resentment or vindictive retaliation. It is a close companion of and seldom found separate from such other virtues as humility, lowliness of mind and gentleness. (See HUMILITY.) Whereas gentleness is appropriate as to actions, pra·yʹtes connotes more specifically a condition of the mind and heart. “Meekness” is therefore an appropriate English translation of the Greek term.
In the Bible meekness is emphasized as one’s mental attitude first of all toward God, then toward fellow creatures. For example, it is written, “The meek ones will certainly increase their rejoicing in Jehovah himself.” (Isa. 29:19) Meek persons are teachable—Jehovah “will teach the meek ones his way” (Ps. 25:9)—and they are willing to endure discipline from the hand of God, though such is grievous at the time. (Heb. 12:4-11) Meekness causes persons to wait upon Jehovah to right the wrongs and injuries unjustly suffered, rather than becoming heated up with anger. (Ps. 37:8-11) Such persons are not disappointed, for Jehovah’s appointed one, the “twig out of the stump of Jesse,” will give reproof in righteousness “in behalf of the meek ones of the earth.”—Isa. 11:1-4.
Moses was just such a man, “by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground,” one who could take criticism without resentment. (Num. 12:3) The occasion of this comment on his meekness was the time when Miriam and Aaron murmured against Moses. In reality, it was an uncalled-for complaint against Jehovah and one that he quickly took note of and reproved.—Num. 12:1-15.
Some commentators charge that for Moses to record this reference to his own meekness was unjustified self-praise. Other critics claim the statement was added later by someone else, while still others offer this as evidence that Moses did not write the Pentateuch after all. However, in his Bible commentary, F. C. Cook says concerning these words: “When we regard them as uttered by Moses not ‘proprio motu [of his own initiative],’ but under the direction of the Holy Spirit which was upon him (cf. xi. 17), they exhibit a certain ‘objectivity,’ which is a witness at once to their genuineness and also to their inspiration. There is about these words, as also about the passages in which Moses no less unequivocally records his own faults (cf. xx. 12 sqq.; Ex. iv. 24 sqq.; Deut. i. 37), the simplicity of one who bare witness of himself, but not to himself (cf. St Matt. xi. 28, 29). The words are inserted to explain how it was that Moses took no steps to vindicate himself, and why consequently the Lord so promptly intervened.”—Vol. I, Part II, p. 693.
Jesus Christ demonstrated meekness by enduring all manner of personal injury without a word of complaint, even allowing himself to be led to the slaughter as a lamb without opening his mouth in protest. (Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 12:2; Acts 8:32-35; Isa. 53:7) This Greater-than-Moses also recommended himself to others as a meek or mild-tempered person. (Matt. 11:28, 29, AS, AV, ED, NW, Ro) As Isaiah 61:1 foretold, he was anointed with Jehovah’s spirit “to tell good news to the meek ones.” After reading this prophecy in the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus declared: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.” (Luke 4:16-21) In thus sending his beloved Son to teach the meek concerning salvation, God was indeed showing them a very special favor.—Ps. 149:4; Prov. 3:34.
Jealousy and contention, if allowed to take root and grow, will lead to disorders of every sort. Meekness, on the other hand, will prevent such conditions from developing among the followers of Christ. Hence, the Bible writer James urges those who are wise and understanding in the congregation to display “fine conduct” of mildness and long-suffering toward others, cultivating “a meekness that belongs to wisdom,” “the wisdom from above.”—Jas. 3:13, 17.
The invitation expressed by the prophet Zephaniah is still extended to meek persons of the earth: “Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3) Above and beyond that are other wonderful promises extended to such ones. For example: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Ps. 37:11) In both a spiritual and literal sense, “the meek ones will eat and be satisfied.”—Ps. 22:26.
So, in contrast with the wicked who lead the meek