I’m kicking off my year in the Psalms – you know, the five-a-day plan – and today, I came across this prayer: “Keep me as the apple of Your eye” (Psalm 17:8a NIV). I’ve heard the phrase apple of my eye many times, and understand that it denotes someone or something cherished and valued, but I today found myself wondering about the origins of the phrase.
I mean, seriously. What is the apple of an eye and why would anyone ask to be kept as one?
I dug around a bit and found that both the English and Hebrew expressions refer to the eye’s pupil, but apple is not a great – or even good – translation of the Hebrew. The Hebrew is literally translated, “the little man of the eye,” and refers to the reflection of oneself in the pupil of another.
David is not asking God to keep him as the pupil in His eye, but to keep him as a reflection in His pupil. David is asking for God to keep him in His sight, under His watch. Perhaps he was even asking to see God watching out for him.
Pretty cool, huh? To be the little man in God’s eye?