Now I Fee? The use of “f” as a Long “s”

Because of the Thanksgiving Holiday and all the wonderful things that are a part of it (mhmmmm leftover smoked turkey sandwiches) I’m running a little behind my normal sermon preparation. So at the moment I am sitting at the Mission Coffee House, after not being able to access the internet at Emy J’s and finding Zest Coffee & Bakery closed for the day, listening to a young man and a young woman talk about his possible engagement to another young woman, while I work on the message for tomorrow (yep I am late this week). If you are curious it is my ease-dropping self’s belief that she is really into this guy because she is smiling a great deal, playing with her hair, leaning in a great deal, and trying to convince this guy that an engagement wouldn’t be the best thing at the moment. I’ll put my headphones back on so that I’m less tempted to be creepy.

“Now I FEE”????? That changes the meaning of the song a little. 🙂

Anyhow one of the things that I love about preparing messages is that I inadvertently learn random things that aren’t a part of the message. Today’s random lesson is that at one time the letter “f” was often substituted in print for the letter “s” to signify that this should be a long “s” sound. Many of you, if not most, probably knew this already because the few who read my blog are amazingly smart people (which confuses me as to why you would read my blog). I learned this factoid when I was looking for a photo of a hymnal version of “Amazing Grace” specifically to discuss the line “was blind, but now I see”. I found the photo attached to this post and started to use it as an image slide for the message tomorrow until I zoomed into the specific line and noticed the “fee”.  Of course, I had to chase this rabbit and see why it was printed as “fee”. Here’s a Wikipedia article discussing the Long S.

It is a good reminder that language changes because it is organic in nature. This is incredibly important to remember when we are talking about scripture because the temptation is to take our modern meaning of a word or concept and place that on the lips of biblical authors. We always have to go back as far as possible to understanding what they were saying/writing in their time and discovering how that relates to our times and life. In many ways we are exactly the same as Ancient Near Easterners and in other ways we are completely other than them. My general rule of thumb is that if it costs me nothing then I am interpreting the verse wrong. 🙂

Now to get back to my image slides for tomorrow’s message.

SIDE NOTE – The guy just said “I’m basically dating my mother” loud enough for me to hear through my headphones. This just got too interesting to ignore, so I am going to pack up and go home to I get away from the conversation. 🙂

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