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Blessed be God that my hut is safe because the winds are so strong that the whole settlement would blow away.

I am not a native English speaker. I am translating my mother tongue into English. Does Blessed be God mean to thank God? If yes, why did the writer not use as “be blessed by God”?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Praises

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In the linked reference it is the title of a prayer book, but it can be used in conversation and writing as well. The general meaning is "may God be praised (blessed)." So the writer could not have instead said "be blessed by God" because this means God is blessing people. The book intends to say for the people to bless (praise) God. Therefore, "God be praised" could be an alternative.

It's really an older and more formal version of the common phrase "praise God."

Praise God that my hut is safe because the winds are so strong that the whole settlement would blow away.

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"Blessed" is, in my humble opinion, a difficult word to define or translate. But basically it means, "I wish good things for". Like it's common if someone coughs or sneezes to say "Bless you", which basically means "I hope you get well".

In this example, the writer is basically saying "praise God" or "thank God". "Blessed" here means "I want to say good things about ..." The writer is thanking God that his hut has survived the wind storm.

It's not the same as "be blessed by God". "Bless God" means that I want to say something positive about God. "God bless you" means that you want God to do something good for this person. Those are very different ideas. It's like the difference between saying, "I thank Bob for loaning me the money I needed" and "I hope Bob is willing to loan you money".

(Not intending to be blasphemous by comparing a person loaning money to God bestowing favors. Hope no one finds that offensive.)

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  • I don't find it at all offensive, but I think that your definition is a little off because in this context I think the best definition (via google) is "(of God or some notional higher power) endow (someone) with a particular cherished thing or attribute" since "God" is mentioned. In this particular case the person is endowing God with the thing he cherishes, which is praise. This is quite different from "hoping" or "thanking." So I would briefly define "bless" in my own words as "The giving of a special thing or attribute to someone/something."
    – Eli Harold
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 19:49
  • To use your example I think the more relative version would be "I pray someone (maybe Bob) gives me the money as a gift so I don't have to get a loan." This would be religiously (Christian) a poor prayer, but it would be a blessing if it happened. In case anyone cares "I pray I am able to make this work, God please allow me to do this (regardless of what happens with Bob)."
    – Eli Harold
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 19:55
  • @EliHarold I don't disagree so maybe the problem is just that I wasn't clear. My point in the loan analogy was not on the "hoping" but the giving. I suppose you could say that the analogy to "May God bless you" is not "I hope Bob loans you the money" but "May Bob loan you the money". But what does "may" mean here, in both cases, except "I hope" or "I wish"? I certainly can't force God to grant you his favors, and I'm assuming I can't force Bob to loan you the money.
    – Jay
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 19:56
  • Well the problem with that wording is you are comparing the wrong thing. For :"May God bless you" and "May Bob loan you the money." "loan" takes the place of "bless" not "hope" so the comparison would be "bless" to "loan" because those are the similar acts of "bestowing something upon."
    – Eli Harold
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 20:00
  • @EliHarold I was trying to construct a "secular" analogy. If you pray to God that someone loans you the money, you're still asking for a gift from God, albeit it through a human mediator. This complicates the subject. I was trying to say that asking a person for a favor is analogous to asking God for a favor.
    – Jay
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 20:01

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