Saturday, September 27, 2008

Psalm 87 - Rahab

Of the children of Korah
A Psalm, A song
His foundation is on the holy hills
יְהוָה loves the gates of Zion
among all the dwellings of Jacob
Glorious things are spoken in you, the city of God
I will remember monster and confusion
to those who know me
and here is the stranger and the hard-nosed with the children of Ham
This one was born there

And of Zion it will be said
This one and that one were born here
And the Most High will establish her
יְהוָה counts when he records the peoples
This one was born there
So it is for the singers and the profane alike
All my springs are in you

Notes: since in the last verse, the verb XLL is not piel, I have translated the verb as profane rather than player. I have played the psalm as a riddle - so monster (Rahab), confusion (Babel) and the stranger (Philistia), the hard-nosed (Tyre=rock) and the children of Ham (Cush/Ethiopia) - are chosen for their contrast - as if such Gentiles could ever penetrate the mystery of the Holy Hills of Zion.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Holiness - learning backwards 2

Here is QD$ - holy - in the psalter. More spread out - the two peaks are psalms 68 and 89.

Psalm 2: ו - הַר-קָדְשִׁי - my holy hill(1)
Psalm 3: ה - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 5: ח - אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ - in the temple of your holiness(1)
Psalm 11: ד - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 15: א - קָדְשֶׁךָ - of your holiness(4)
Psalm 20: ג - מִקֹּדֶשׁ - from holiness(1)
Psalm 20: ז - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 24: ג - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 28: ב - קָדְשֶׁךָ - your holiness(4)
Psalm 29: ב - בְּהַדְרַת קֹדֶשׁ - in majesty of holiness(2)
Psalm 29: ח - קָדֵשׁ - Kadesh(1)
Psalm 30: ה - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 33: כא - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holines(16)
Psalm 34: י - קְדֹשָׁיו - his holy ones(1)
Psalm 43: ג - אֶל הַר קָדְשְׁךָ - to your holy hill(1)
Psalm 46: ה - קְדֹשׁ מִשְׁכְּנֵי - the holy dwellings of(1)
Psalm 47: ט - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 48: ב - הַר קָדְשׁוֹ - his holy hill(1)
Psalm 51: יג - קָדְשְׁךָ - your holiness(1)
Psalm 60: ח - בְּקָדְשׁוֹ - in his holiness(3)
Psalm 63: ג - בַּקֹּדֶשׁ - in your holiness(4)
Psalm 65: ה - קְדֹשׁ - your holy(1)
Psalm 68: ו - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 68: יח - בַּקֹּדֶשׁ - in the holy(4)
Psalm 68: כה - בַקֹּדֶשׁ - in the holy(1)
Psalm 68: לו - מִמִּקְדָּשֶׁיךָ - from your sanctuary(1)
Psalm 73: יז - אֶל מִקְדְּשֵׁי אֵל - to the holy place of God(1)
Psalm 74: ג - בַּקֹּדֶשׁ - in the sanctuary(4)
Psalm 74: ז - מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ - from your sanctuary(1)
Psalm 77: יד - בַּקֹּדֶשׁ - in holiness(4)
Psalm 78: נד - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 78: סט - מִקְדָּשׁוֹ - his holiness(1)
Psalm 79: א - קָדְשֶׁךָ - your holiness(4)
Psalm 87: א - בְּהַרְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ - on the hills of holiness(1)
Psalm 89: ו - קְדֹשִׁים - of holy ones(2)
Psalm 89: ח - קְדֹשִׁים - the holy ones(2)
Psalm 89: כא - קָדְשִׁי - of my holiness(1)
Psalm 89: לו - בְקָדְשִׁי - in my holiness(1)
Psalm 93: ה - נַאֲוָה קֹדֶשׁ - holiness fits(1)
Psalm 96: ו - בְּמִקְדָּשׁוֹ - in his sanctuary(1)
Psalm 96: ט - בְּהַדְרַת קֹדֶשׁ - in the beauty of holiness(2)
Psalm 97: יב - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 98: א - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 99: ט - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 102: כ - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 103: א - קָדְשׁוֹ - holy(16)
Psalm 105: ג - קָדְשׁוֹ - his holiness(16)
Psalm 105: מב - קָדְשׁוֹ - holiness(16)
Psalm 106: מז - קָדְשֶׁךָ - your holiness(4)
Psalm 108: ח - בְּקָדְשׁוֹ - in his glory(3)
Psalm 110: ג - בְּהַדְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ - in the beauties of holiness(1)
Psalm 114: ב - לְקָדְשׁוֹ - his sanctuary(1)
Psalm 134: ב - קֹדֶשׁ - holy(1)
Psalm 138: ב - אֶל-הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ - to your holy temple(1)
Psalm 145: כא - שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ - his holy name(1)
Psalm 150: א - בְּקָדְשׁוֹ - in his holiness(3)

Learning the Psalter backwards

To learn backwards, begin with praise. Here is my selection of all uses of praise (הלל) in the Psalter. (The little letters in red are the verse numbers - to help with counting and sequencing).

For vocabulary, you will have to go beyond praise, since praise as you can see from the graph, is highly weighted towards Book 5 of the psalter.

Psalm 10: ג - כִּי הִלֵּל - For boasted(1)
Psalm 18: ד - מְהֻלָּל - praising(1)
Psalm 22: כג - אֲהַלְלֶךָּ - I will praise you(1)
Psalm 22: כד - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(1)
Psalm 22: כז - יְהַלְלוּ - they will praise(1)
Psalm 34: ג - תִּתְהַלֵּל - will glory(1)
Psalm 35: יח - אֲהַלְלֶךָּ - I will praise you(1)
Psalm 44: ט - הִלַּלְנוּ - we will boast(1)
Psalm 48: ב - וּמְהֻלָּל - and to be praised(1)
Psalm 49: ז - יִתְהַלָּלוּ - boast(1)
Psalm 52: ג - מַה תִּתְהַלֵּל - why do you boast(1)
Psalm 56: ה - אֲהַלֵּל - I will praise(3)
Psalm 56: יא - אֲהַלֵּל - I will praise(3)
Psalm 56: יא - אֲהַלֵּל - I will praise(3)
Psalm 63: ו - יְהַלֶּל פִּי - gives praise my mouth(1)
Psalm 63: יב - יִתְהַלֵּל - he will boast(1)
Psalm 64: יא - וְיִתְהַלְלוּ - and they will shine(1)
Psalm 69: לא - אֲהַלְלָה - I will praise(1)
Psalm 69: לה - יְהַלְלוּהוּ - let them praise him(1)
Psalm 74: כא - יְהַלְלוּ - will praise(1)
Psalm 84: ה - יְהַלְלוּךָ - they will praise you(1)
Psalm 96: ד - וּמְהֻלָּל - and to praise(1)
Psalm 97: ז - הַמִּתְהַלְלִים - boasting(1)
Psalm 102: יט - יְהַלֶּל יָהּ - will praise Yah(1)
Psalm 104: לה - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(1)
Psalm 105: ג - הִתְהַלְלוּ - Glory(1)
Psalm 105: מה - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(1)
Psalm 106: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 106: ה - לְהִתְהַלֵּל - to praise(1)
Psalm 106: מח - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 107: לב - יְהַלְלוּהוּ - will praise him(1)
Psalm 109: ל - אֲהַלְלֶנּוּ - I will praise him(1)
Psalm 111: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(1)
Psalm 112: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(1)
Psalm 113: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 113: א - הַלְלוּ - Praise him(1)
Psalm 113: א - הַלְלוּ אֶת שֵׁם - Praise the name of(1)
Psalm 113: ט - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 113: ג - מְהֻלָּל - to be praised(1)
Psalm 115: יז - יְהַלְלוּ יָהּ - will praise Yah(1)
Psalm 115: יח - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(1)
Psalm 116: יט - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(1)
Psalm 117: א - הַלְלוּ - Praise(1)
Psalm 117: ב - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(1)
Psalm 119: קסד - הִלַּלְתִּיךָ - do I praise you(1)
Psalm 119: קעה - וּתְהַלְלֶךָּ - and I will praise you(1)
Psalm 135: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(3)
Psalm 135: א - הַלְלוּ אֶת שֵׁם - Praise the name of(1)
Psalm 135: א - הַלְלוּ - Praise him(1)
Psalm 135: כא - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(3)
Psalm 135: ג - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(3)
Psalm 145: ב - וַאֲהַלְלָה - and I will praise(1)
Psalm 145: ג - וּמְהֻלָּל - and to be praised(1)
Psalm 146: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 146: א - הַלְלִי - praise(1)
Psalm 146: י - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 146: ב - אֲהַלְלָה - I will praise(1)
Psalm 147: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 147: יב - הַלְלִי - Praise(1)
Psalm 147: כ - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 148: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 148: יד - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 148: יג - יְהַלְלוּ - let them praise(2)
Psalm 148: ז - הַלְלוּ - Praise(1)
Psalm 148: ה - יְהַלְלוּ - Let them praise(2)
Psalm 148: ד - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(6)
Psalm 148: ג - הַלְלוּהוּ - praise him(6)
Psalm 148: ג - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(6)
Psalm 148: ב - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(6)
Psalm 148: ב - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(6)
Psalm 148: א - הַלְלוּ אֶת יְהוָה - Praise the LORD(1)
Psalm 148: א - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(6)
Psalm 149: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 149: ג - יְהַלְלוּ - let them praise(1)
Psalm 149: ט - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 150: א - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)
Psalm 150: א - הַלְלוּ אֵל - Praise God(1)
Psalm 150: א - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ב - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ב - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ג - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ג - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ד - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ד - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ה - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ה - הַלְלוּהוּ - Praise him(9)
Psalm 150: ו - תְּהַלֵּל - praise(1)
Psalm 150: ו - הַלְלוּ יָהּ - Hallelu Yah(2)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The second pivot - Psalm 89

Ethan is unique as is this Maskil, a massive complaint to complete book 3. I know you're supposed to call it a lament - but technical terms aside - a lament is a complaint to God. If you read this as a Christian, I think you will see Christ in the shame and reproach of Israel. If you read this as a servant of any stripe, you will see a faithful call to the God who is good, and you can take your place with the reproach of his chosen people who act as a gift to the whole world.

Slowly, slowly I begin to hear how the first century reader could find the Gospel in the Psalter.

A song of insight (Maskil) of Ethan the Ezrahite
For ever I will sing of your loving kindness יְהוָה
from age to age I will make known your faithfulness with my mouth
for I said,
For ever loving kindness accumulates in the heavens
you will establish your faithfulness in them

I have cut a covenant with my chosen
I have sworn to David my servant
For ever I will establish your seed
and I will build up your throne from age to age
Let the heavens praise your wonders יְהוָה
the end of your faithfulness in the congregation of holy ones
For who in the skies will compare with יְהוָה
Who has the likeness of יְהוָה among the sons of the mighty
God is terrible in the assembly of the holy ones
and much to be feared among all around

יְהוָה my God of hosts, who is like you, Yah invincible
and your faithfulness all around you
You rule over the pride of the seas
when their waves exult you give them rest
You crushed Rahab pierced through as defiled
With the arm of your strength you have scattered your enemies

Yours are the heavens and yours the earth
The world and its fullness, you set them up
North and south you created them
Tabor and Hermon to your name will sing

Yours is a mighty arm, strong is your hand
and lifted up your right hand
Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of your throne
Loving kindness and truth precede your face
Happy are the people knowing the jubilation of יְהוָה
In the light of your face they will walk
In your name they will rejoice every day
and in your righteousness they will be lifted up
for you are the beauty of their strength
and in your acceptance our horn will be lifted up
For from יְהוָה is our defense and the Holy One of Israel our king

Then you spoke in a vision to your beloved and said
I have placed help on a mighty one
I have lifted up a chosen from the people
I have found David my servant
with the oil of my holiness I have anointed him
that my hand will be established with him

Surely my arm will strengthen him
and an enemy will not take anything from him
The son of injustice will not answer him
and I have crushed his troubles before his face
and those hating him I will strike

And my faithfulness and my loving kindness are with him
and in my name his horn will be lifted up
and I have set his hand in the sea
and his right hand in the rivers

He will say to me - you are my father
my God and the rock of my salvation
Surely I will make him firstborn
on high with the kings of the earth

For ever I will keep my loving kindness with him
and my covenant will be his amen
And I have set his seed for ever
and his throne as the days of the heavens
How will his children break my law or fail to remain in my judgment
How will they profane my statutes or fail to keep my commandments
I will attend to their transgression with the scepter
and with stripes their guilt
but my loving kindness will not be frustrated in him
and will not be proven false in my faithfulness

I will not break my covenant
and I will not change what emerges from my lips
Once I have sworn in my holiness
would I lie to David?
His seed will be for ever and his throne as the sun in my sight
As the moon it will be established
everlasting in perpetuity, faithful as the sky
But you have rejected and abhorred
You have yourself sown destruction against your anointed
You have spurned the covenant of your servant
You have profaned his consecration to the earth
You have breached all his walls
You have set his strength in ruin

All passing his way plunder him
He becomes a reproach to his neighbours
You have lifted up the right hand of his adversaries
You rejoice all his enemies

Surely you will turn the edge of his sword and not make him stand in the battle
You have ceased his purity and you have cast his throne to the earth
You have shortened the days of his youth
You have wrapped him in shame
How long, יְהוָה, will you hide
Will you always kindle your rage like fire
Remember my transience
to what emptiness you made all the children of dust
How will anyone live and not expect death
or deliver his own life from the hand of the pit?
Where are your former loving kindnesses, my Lord
the ones that you swore to David in your faithfulness
Remember, my Lord, the reproach of your servants
that I bear in my body a multitude of peoples
that your enemies יְהוָה have reproached
that they have reproached the heel prints of your anointed

Bless יְהוָה for ever amen and amen

Two great pivots

Greater souls than I have named Psalms 73 (Bruggemann) and 89 (Wilson) as pivotal. To date I have looked for arches and pillars, but where is the altar in this cathedral? And are there chapels? Is there a crossing? (These are the beginning and end of book 3.)

Psalm 73 like 75 is an 'I' psalm using the Hebrew pronoun (אֲנִי) explicitly - here rendered as I myself. Psalm 74 in contrast is a 'you' psalm again using the pronoun explicitly in the middle section 7 times. I have inconsistently applied the emphasis, translating you (אַתָּה) as you alone.

Psalm 73

A Psalm of Asaph
Surely God is good to Israel, to the pure in heart
but I myself, I bent my foot a little
but my steps did not need to be so molded
For I was jealous of the polluters
I was seeing wholeness in the wicked

For there are no pangs in their death and their gut is fat
The human condition in trouble is nothing to them
and they are not touched as earthlings
so they are necklaced with pride
wrapped with their cloak of violence

Their eyes bulge
They go beyond imagination in their heart
They mock and speak with wickedness
of oppression on high they speak
They set their mouth in the heavens and their tongue struts in the earth

"Hey! his people will return here where they can be fully milked."
And they say - how will God know?
Is there knowledge in the most high?
These are wicked, at ease for ever, increased in wealth
Surely I have purified my heart for nothing

I keep washing my hands in innocence
and I am touched every day
with my own special rebuke every morning
If I had said, This is how I will recount it
then I would have betrayed a generation of your children

And I consider that I know this
but it is trouble to my eyes
When I come to God's holy place, I see their end
Surely you will assign them portions
You will make them fall into destruction

How suddenly they are wasted
Stopped, filled full with terrors
like awakening from a dream
My Lord, when you wake
you will despise their image

For my heart was embittered
and I was struck in my vitals
I myself was a brute without knowledge
I was before you as behemoth
And I myself am continually before you

You have grasped my right hand
In your counsel you will guide my eyes and after you will take me into glory
Who is for me in the heavens - and with you I have no desire on earth
My flesh and my heart are full
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever

For these who are distant from you will perish
You will put an end to all who prostitute themselves from you
But I myself approach God - to me, good
I have made my Lord יְהוָה my refuge
so I will be able to recount all your affairs

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The wicked in the psalms

Besides enemies, distresses and so on, the wicked are referred to frequently in the psalms - about 90 times. The number following the phrase is the phrase count for the given psalm. Note that you can likely guess that in some psalms there is a recurrence pattern with this word.

Psalm 1: בעצת רשׁעים - in the advice of the wicked(1)
Psalm 1: לא-כן הרשׁעים - Not so the wicked(1)
Psalm 1: רשׁעים - the wicked(2)
Psalm 1: רשׁעים - wicked(2)
Psalm 3: רשׁעים - wicked ones(1)
Psalm 5: רשׁע - wickedness(1)
Psalm 7: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 9: רשׁע - violence(2)
Psalm 9: רשׁע - the wicked(2)
Psalm 9: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 10: רשׁע - criminal(5)
Psalm 10: רשׁע - criminal(5)
Psalm 10: רשׁע - Criminal(5)
Psalm 10: רשׁע - the criminal(5)
Psalm 10: רשׁע - the criminal(5)
Psalm 10: רשׁעו - his wickedness(1)
Psalm 11: הרשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 11: ורשׁע - and the wicked(1)
Psalm 11: על רשׁעים - on the wicked(1)
Psalm 12: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 17: רשׁעים - wicked ones(1)
Psalm 17: מרשׁע - from the wicked(1)
Psalm 18: ולא רשׁעתי - and I have not been evil(1)
Psalm 26: ועםרשׁעים - and with evil doers(1)
Psalm 28: עםרשׁעים - with the wicked(1)
Psalm 31: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 32: לרשׁע - to the wicked(1)
Psalm 34: רשׁע - their evil(1)
Psalm 36: לרשׁע - of the wicked(1)
Psalm 36: ויד רשׁעים - and a hand of wickedness(1)
Psalm 37: רשׁע - wicked(5)
Psalm 37: רשׁע - are the wicked(5)
Psalm 37: רשׁעים - the wicked(7)
Psalm 37: רשׁעים - of the wicked(7)
Psalm 37: רשׁעים - the wicked(7)
Psalm 37: רשׁעים - the wicked(7)
Psalm 37: רשׁע - the wicked one(5)
Psalm 37: רשׁעים - the wicked(7)
Psalm 37: רשׁע - the wicked(5)
Psalm 37: רשׁעים - are the wicked(7)
Psalm 37: רשׁע - the wicked(5)
Psalm 37: רשׁעים - the wicked(7)
Psalm 37: מרשׁעים - from the wicked(1)
Psalm 39: רשׁע - a wicked one(1)
Psalm 45: ותשׂנא רשׁע - and hate wickedness(1)
Psalm 50: ולרשׁע - but to the wicked(1)
Psalm 91: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 73: רשׁעים - of the wicked(2)
Psalm 73: רשׁעים - wicked(2)
Psalm 55: רשׁע - a guilty one(1)
Psalm 58: רשׁעים - are the wicked(1)
Psalm 58: הרשׁע - the wicked(1)
Psalm 68: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 71: רשׁע - the wicked(1)
Psalm 75: ולרשׁעים - to the wicked(1)
Psalm 75: רשׁעי ארץ - the wicked of the earth(1)
Psalm 75: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 82: רשׁעים - the wicked(2)
Psalm 82: רשׁעים - the wicked(2)
Psalm 84: באהלי רשׁע - in the tents of wickness(1)
Psalm 92: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 94: רשׁעים - wicked(2)
Psalm 94: רשׁעים - wicked(2)
Psalm 94: לרשׁע - for the wircked(1)
Psalm 97: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 145: כל-הרשׁעים - all the wicked(1)
Psalm 119K*: רשׁעים - the wicked(2)
Psalm 119K*: רשׁעים - the wicked(2)
Psalm 119K*: כל רשׁעי ארץ - all the wicked of the earth(1)
Psalm 119VY: מרשׁעים - for the wicked(1)
Psalm 119VY: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 119TsT: מרשׁעים - from the wicked(1)
Psalm 101: כל רשׁעי ארץ - all the wicked of earth(1)
Psalm 104: ורשׁעים - and the wicked(1)
Psalm 106: הרשׁענו - we are guilty(1)
Psalm 106: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 109: פי רשׁע - the mouth of wickedness(1)
Psalm 109: רשׁע - a criminal(2)
Psalm 109: רשׁע - a criminal(2)
Psalm 112: רשׁע - rebel(1)
Psalm 112: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 125: הרשׁע - the wicked(1)
Psalm 129: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 139: רשׁע - wicked(1)
Psalm 140: רשׁע - wickedness(2)
Psalm 140: רשׁע - the wicked(2)
Psalm 141: ברשׁע - in wickedness(1)
Psalm 141: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 146: רשׁעים - the wicked(1)
Psalm 147: רשׁעים - those who are wicked(1)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Psalm 11

[Updated Nov 20] Psalm 11 foreshadows hell where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die. With slightly over half the psalms in my structural map, I am wondering how to complete the process. Of course it is moot whether I have found significant or supportable connections in theme and verbal content.

Next along the route, I will review the remaining psalms and see how they fit the current frame. Psalm 11 in my first rough cuts I labeled 'test' - the same as the label for Psalm 7. Then as I look at Psalm 11 I see it is strongly related to Psalm 1 - why I ask? - there is no Torah in Psalm 11 and 7 and 11 share a hellish description. Then I see the connection to Psalm 1 - it is through the wicked. The pattern (histogram) for wicked is here and shows Psalms 1-7-11 so connected and 37 as the pinnacle of usage - with several other mentions through the Psalter including 119 and 149. So the map is adjusted to include psalm 11 and a grey line connecting these psalms. Surely God is very interested in the wicked!

For the leader
of David
In יְהוָה is my refuge
How will you say to my life
flee to your mountain, bird
For consider: the wicked bend a bow
They make ready their arrows on the string
to shoot in the darkness at the upright of heart
For the foundations are destroyed
what will the righteous one do?
יְהוָה is in his holy temple
יְהוָה in the heavens his throne
his eyes see
his eyelids will test the children of dust
יְהוָה will test the righteous
but his life hates the wicked and lover of violence
He will rain on the wicked burning fire and pitch and rushing wind
raging heat is the portion of their offering
for the righteous יְהוָה loves righteousness
his faces see the upright

The wicked is not a simple problem - an us versus them problem. While our refuge is in יְהוָה, the destruction of the wicked cannot help but affect us. If indeed the foundations are destroyed - what will the righteous do? He - that one who is incarnate for us, will by his work in his flesh reestablish the foundations. He it is who absorbs the fires let loose by the destroyers of life. Only then would it possible to call creation good. Without redemption, such goodness is not. We might as well eat and drink and be merry, eh? or confuse the serious with joy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Psalms 14 and 53

We have discussed these psalms before.
[These psalms] lie on the axis of nihilism and joy - deeply expressing for us the reality of being counted among of God's people.
Short they are, both. Psalm 14 is of יְהוָה , Psalm 53 of Elohim. Read closely - there are some significant differences. What was the reason for duplicating such a poem?

Psalm 14
For the leader of David
Senseless said in his heart
God? Nothing
They oppress, they make abomination, wantonness
There is none doing good

יְהוָה leaned over from the heavens to have a look at the children of dust
to see if there is anyone with insight seeking God
The lot of them are stubborn, altogether corrupt
There is none doing good, not a single one

Did they not know, all these working iniquity -
eating my people as they eat bread?
יְהוָה they do not call

There they fear fear
because God is in the time of the righteous
They shame the advice of the poor
but יְהוָה is their refuge

Let the salvation of Israel arise from Zion
When יְהוָה turns the captivity of his people
Jacob will rejoice
Israel will be glad

Psalm 53
For the leader in the dance
A song of insight, of David
Senseless said in his heart
God? Nothing
They oppress, they make abomination, injustice
There is none doing good

God leaned over from the heavens to have a look at the children of dust
to see if there is anyone with insight seeking God
Every one spineless, altogether corrupt
There is none doing good, not a single one

Did they not know, these working iniquity -
eating my people as they eat bread?
God they do not call

There they fear fear where fear is not there
for God scattered the bones of those terrorizing you
He shamed them, for God rejected them

Let the salvation of Israel arise from Zion
When God turns the captivity of his people
Jacob will rejoice
Israel will be glad

Trouble - distress - enemies

Of trouble - iniquity (so as not to imagine that happiness is the all!) [update - 2011.01.22 - I think אָוֶן in the psalms is better glossed as mischief.]

Psalm 5:ו trouble אָוֶן
Psalm 6:ט sorrow אָוֶן
Psalm 7:יד sorrow אָוֶן
Psalm 10:ז and emptiness וָאָוֶן
Psalm 28:ג or with doers of trouble וְעִם פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן
Psalm 36:ד are trouble אָוֶן
Psalm 36:ה trouble אָוֶן
Psalm 36:יג trouble אָוֶן
Psalm 40:ג of tumult שָׁאוֹן
Psalm 41:ז he gathers iniquity יִקְבָּץ אָוֶן
Psalm 14:ד these working iniquity פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן
Psalm 90:י and trouble וָאָוֶן
Psalm 55:ד before me iniquity עָלַי אָוֶן
Psalm 55:יא and trouble וְאָוֶן
Psalm 56:ח in iniquity עַל אָוֶן
Psalm 59:ג trouble אָוֶן
Psalm 59:ו inquity אָוֶן
Psalm 64:ג iniquity אָוֶן
Psalm 66:יח iniquity אָוֶן
Psalm 92:ח trouble אָוֶן
Psalm 92:י trouble אָוֶן
Psalm 94:ד iniquity אָוֶן
Psalm 94:יד iniquity אָוֶן
Psalm 94:כג their iniquity אֶת אוֹנָם
Psalm 53:ה these working iniquity פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן
Psalm 119:קלג any iniquity כָל אָוֶן
Psalm 101:ח iniquity אָוֶן
Psalm 125:ה the iniquity הָאָוֶן
Psalm 141:ד workers of iniquity פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן
Psalm 141:ט iniquity אָוֶן

Of distress - very non-concordant am I!

Psalm 3:ב distress me צָרָי
Psalm 13:ה My foe צָרַי
Psalm 27:ב my troublers צָרַי
Psalm 27:יב my enemies צָרָי
Psalm 44:ו our enemies צָרֵינוּ
Psalm 44:ח from our enemies מִצָּרֵינוּ
Psalm 89:כד his troubles צָרָיו
Psalm 89:מא his strength מִבְצָרָיו
Psalm 89:מג of his adversaries צָרָיו
Psalm 60:יד our troubles צָרֵינוּ
Psalm 78:סו he struck his troubles וַיַּךְ צָרָיו
Psalm 81:יד their troubles צָרֵיהֶם
Psalm 84:יא in your courts בַּחֲצֵרֶיךָ
Psalm 97:ג his adversaries צָרָיו
Psalm 119:קלט my troublers צָרָי
Psalm 119:קנז and my troublers וְצָרָי
Psalm 105:כד than their oppressors מִצָּרָיו
Psalm 106:יא their troublers צָרֵיהֶם
Psalm 108:יד our troubles צָרֵינוּ
Psalm 112:ח in his distress בְצָרָיו
Psalm 116:ג and pains of Sheol וּמְצָרֵי שְׁאוֹל
Psalm 136:כד from our enemies מִצָּרֵינוּ

Of enemies - a bit more consistent here...

Psalm 8:ג enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 7:ו an enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 9:ד In turning my enemy בְּשׁוּב אוֹיְבַי
Psalm 9:ז The enemy הָאוֹיֵב
Psalm 42:י enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 43:ב troubled אוֹיֵב
Psalm 18:לח my enemies אוֹיְבַי
Psalm 25:ב my enemies אוֹיְבַי
Psalm 31:ט in the hand of the enemy בְּיַד אוֹיֵב
Psalm 31:יד from the hand of my enemy מִיַּד אוֹיְבַי
Psalm 41:ו my enemies speak אוֹיְבַי יֹאמְרוּ
Psalm 44:יז an enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 45:ו the enemies of אוֹיְבֵי
Psalm 89:יא your enemies אוֹיְבֶיךָ
Psalm 89:כג an enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 89:מג all his enemies כָּל אוֹיְבָיו
Psalm 89:נב being your enemies אוֹיְבֶיךָ
Psalm 55:ד an enemy before me אוֹיֵב מִפְּנֵי
Psalm 55:יג not an enemy לֹא אוֹיֵב
Psalm 56:י my enemies אוֹיְבַי
Psalm 61:ד an enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 64:ב an enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 68:ב those hostile to him אוֹיְבָיו
Psalm 71:י my enemies אוֹיְבַי
Psalm 74:ג an enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 74:י an enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 74:יח the hostile reproached אוֹיֵב חֵרֵף
Psalm 78:נג and their enemies וְאֶת אוֹיְבֵיהֶם
Psalm 81:יד their enemies אוֹיְבֵיהֶם
Psalm 83:ג your enemies אוֹיְבֶיךָ
Psalm 102:ט my enemies אוֹיְבָי
Psalm 106:י an enemy אוֹיֵב
Psalm 106:מב their enemies אוֹיְבֵיהֶם
Psalm 127:ה with enemies אֶת אוֹיְבִים
Psalm 132:יח her enemies אוֹיְבָיו
Psalm 139:כב enemies לְאוֹיְבִים
Psalm 143:ג the enemy אוֹיֵב

Can't be without a persecutor

Psalm 23:ה hunt me all my days life יִרְדְּפוּנִי כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּי
Psalm 7:ב from all my persecutors מִכָּל רֹדְפַי
Psalm 7:ו let persecute יִרַדֹּף
Psalm 31:יד and those persecuting me וּמֵרֹדְפָי
Psalm 34:יד and hunt for it וְרָדְפֵהוּ
Psalm 35:ג my persecutors רֹדְפָי
Psalm 35:ו their persecutor רֹדְפָם
Psalm 38:כא my following רָדְפִי
Psalm 69:כז they persecute רָדָפוּ
Psalm 71:יא pursue him רִדְפוּ
Psalm 83:יד hound them תִּרְדְּפֵם
Psalm 119:פד for my persecutors בְרֹדְפַי
Psalm 119:פו they persecute me רְדָפוּנִי
Psalm 119:קנ are those following רֹדְפֵי
Psalm 119:קנז runners after me רֹדְפַי
Psalm 119:קסא persecute me רְדָפוּנִי
Psalm 109:יד but he persecuted וַיִּרְדֹּף
Psalm 142:ז from my persecutors מֵרֹדְפַי
Psalm 143:ג pursues רָדַף

Delight - happiness

These psalms are of pleasure

Psalm 16:ו in pleasures בַּנְּעִמִים
Psalm 16:יא pleasures נְעִמוֹת
Psalm 27:ד in the delight of the LORD בְּנֹעַם יְהוָה
Psalm 90:יז beauty of נֹעַם
Psalm 141:ד in their delights בְּמַנְעַמֵּיהֶם
Psalm 141:ו for they are sweet כִּי נָעֵמוּ

These are of delight

Psalm 1:ב is his delight חֶפְצוֹ
Psalm 5:ה who takes pleasure in חָפֵץ
Psalm 16:ג all my delight in them כָּל חֶפְצִי בָם
Psalm 18:כ for he delighted כִּי חָפֵץ
Psalm 22:ט for he delights כִּי חָפֵץ
Psalm 34:יג desiring הֶחָפֵץ
Psalm 35:כז those favouring חֲפֵצֵי
Psalm 35:כז who favours הֶחָפֵץ
Psalm 37:כג he will delight יֶחְפָּץ
Psalm 40:ז you did not desire לֹא חָפַצְתָּ
Psalm 40:ט I delighted חָפָצְתִּי
Psalm 40:יד that desire חֲפֵצֵי
Psalm 41:יב for you delight כִּי חָפַצְתָּ
Psalm 51:ח you take pleasure חָפַצְתָּ
Psalm 51:יח you will not delight in לֹא תַחְפֹּץ
Psalm 51:כא you will delight in תַּחְפֹּץ
Psalm 73:כה I have no desire לֹא חָפַצְתִּי
Psalm 68:לא they take delight יֶחְפָּצוּ
Psalm 70:ג desiring of חֲפֵצֵי
Psalm 119:לה I have delighted חָפָצְתִּי
Psalm 107:ל their delight חֶפְצָם
Psalm 109:יז and he did not delight וְלֹא חָפֵץ
Psalm 111:ב of all delighting in them לְכָל חֶפְצֵיהֶם
Psalm 112:א he delights much חָפֵץ מְאֹד
Psalm 115:ג that he delighted in אֲשֶׁר חָפֵץ
Psalm 135:ו that pleased אֲשֶׁר חָפֵץ
Psalm 147:י will he delight יֶחְפָּץ

These encourage our happiness

Psalm 1:א Happy the man who אַשְׁרֵי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר
Psalm 2:יב Happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 32:א happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 32:ב happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 33:יב happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 34:ט happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 40:ה happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 41:ב happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 89:יד Happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 65:ה Happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 84:ה Happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 84:ו Happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 84:יג happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 94:יב Happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 119:א A-joyed אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 119:ב a-joyed אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 106:ג happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 112:א a man happy there is אַשְׁרֵי אִישׁ
Psalm 127:ה happy is אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 128:א Happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 128:ב pleasure for you אַשְׁרֶיךָ
Psalm 137:ח happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 137:ט happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 144:יד happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 144:יד happy אַשְׁרֵי
Psalm 146:ה happy who has the God אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁאֵל

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Psalm 52

John is blogging about this - so I though I had better read the psalm first - before reading his notes.

I am not going to follow John's lead in translating mercy as shame, though he makes it with reasoning I can almost follow. Every word needs a prayer or a dream and time to interpret.

Why is this psalm a Maskil - insight - of David? The king sees that God has acted.

If I were to look for the trope here, I think it must be again the complete destruction of the wicked. I think also that it is significant that this psalm comes between Psalms 51 - the proof of God's righteousness, and 53 - the Elohistic repetition of Psalm 14 - God agreeing, as it were, with the Yawistic recognition that there is none that doeth good - no not one. It is vital that mercy also be shown to Saul and Doeg. Even the Edomite will be saved!

But I may be stretching a point - could one read the El of חֶסֶד אֵל (XSD El vs 2) different from the בְחֶסֶד אֱלֹהִים (bXSD Elohim vs 9)? Douay-Rheims has for instance:
Why dost thou glory in malice, thou that art mighty in iniquity?
Here El is taken as might, not as a name for God. But Rashi disagrees.

In this psalm even the inscription contributes to the opening and closing parentheses - contrast the house of Ahimelech and the house of God, the mercy (shame) of Doeg with his careless act and the mercy of God - the essence of his act - which is before all time, so seen in all time, even if we must wait.

For the leader an insight of David
In comes Doeg the Edomite and he tells Saul saying to him: David goes to the house of Ahimelech

Why do you boast in the evil of power
God's mercy is for every day
You devise calamities with your tongue
like a honed razor that acts treacherously
You love evil over good
lying over a word of righteousness
you love all words of destruction on a tongue of deceit
But God will overcome you permanently
he will take hold of you and pluck you from your tent
and root you out of the land of the living
And the righteous will see and fear and laugh at him
So this is the one that did not make God his strength
but trusted in the abundance of his riches
and strengthened himself in his own thoughts

But I am like an olive tree, green in the house of God
I trust in God's mercy now and for ever
I will praise you for ever for you have acted and I wait
for your name is good among those of your mercy

Friday, September 12, 2008

Psalm 148

Hallelu Yah
Praise יְהוָה from the heavens
Praise him in the high places
Praise him all his angels
Praise him all his hosts

Praise him sun and moon
Praise him all stars of light
Praise him the heavens of heavens
and the waters which are above the heavens

Let them praise the name of יְהוָה
for he gave the commission and they were created
and he will establish them for now and for ever
he made a decree and it will not pass away

Praise יְהוָה from the earth
monsters and all depths
Fire and hail snow and vapour
tempestuous wind doing his bidding

Hills and high places fruit trees and all cedars
You living beings and all beasts
creepy-crawlies and birds of the wing
rulers of the earth and all peoples

princes and all judges of the earth
youths in their prime and all maidens
old men with children
let them praise the name of יְהוָה

for excelling is his name, his alone,
his splendour over earth and heaven
and he will lift up the horn of his people
a prayer of all those of his mercy, of the children of Israel, a people near him
Hallelu Yah

Psalm 147

Hallelu Yah
for it is good to sing praises to our God
for pleasant and beautiful is praise

יְהוָה is building Jerusalem
the oppressed of Israel he will gather
this is healing to those of a broken heart
and a boundary for their injuries

he tells the number of the stars
to them all he gives names
Great is our Lord and of much power
there is no number to his understanding

He raises the poor
יְהוָה brings low the wicked to earth
respond to יְהוָה with thanksgiving
sing praise to our God on a harp
Who covers the heavens with clouds
who prepares rain for the earth
who makes grass to grow on the hills

giving to the beast her bread
to the children of the raven who call
not in the strength of a horse will he delight
not in the legs of the rider will he take pleasure
pleasing יְהוָה are all those fearing him
and those waiting for his loving kindness

Laud יְהוָה Jerusalem
Praise your God Zion
for he has strengthened the bars of your gates
he has blessed your children in your midst
making your borders a peace
with a fatness of wheat he fills you

He sends his message earthward
and swiftly his word runs
He gives snow like wool
frost like ashes he scatters
throwing his ice like fragments
in the face of his cold who will stand

He sends his word and melts them
he makes his wind to blow
waters flow
revealing his word to Jacob
his statutes and his judgments to Israel
Not has he done so to all nations
and his judgments they have not known
Hallelu Yah

Psalm 146

Hallelu Yah
Praise יְהוָה O my being
I will praise יְהוָה in my life
I will sing praises to my God while I am

Do not rely on princes or children of the dust
where there is no salvation
Their breath goes forth and returns to their dust
In that day their thoughts perish

Happy are all who have the God of Jacob for their help
Their hope is in יְהוָה their God
who makes heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in it

keeping truth for ever
executing judgment for the oppressed
giving bread to the hungry
יְהוָה freeing prisoners
יְהוָה giving sight to the blind
יְהוָה raising the humiliated
יְהוָה loving the righteous
יְהוָה preserving the stranger

orphan and widow he restores
and the way of the wicked he bends
יְהוָה will reign for ever
your God Zion from age to age
Hallelu Yah

Notes: By this time in the message of the psalter the covenant people are plural so I have taken the liberty of making singulars plural in verses 4 and 5.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A neglected Psalm - Rebuke

Psalm 50 reminds me of Romans 2. Notice the variety of words about speaking and keeping silence.

A Psalm of Asaph
The God of Gods יְהוָה spoke
and he called earth from the rising of the sun to its going down
God has shined, the perfection of beauty, from Zion
our God comes and and will not keep silence

Fire from his presence will devour
and about him will be exceeding terror
He will call to the heavens from the height
and to the earth to judge his people

Gather to me my mercied ones
those cutting my covenant of sacrifice with me
And the heavens will declare his righteousness
for God himself is judging
Hear, O my people, and I will speak
O Israel, and I will bear witness in you
I am God your God
Will I not rebuke you for your sacrifices?
or your burnt offerings which are before me continually?

I will not receive a bull from your house
nor goats from your flocks
for every beast of the forest is mine
and the cattle on a thousand hills

I know all the birds of the hills
and the creatures of the field are mine
If I were hungry I would not say so to you
for the world is mine and its fullness
Will I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

Sacrifice thanksgiving to God
and pay your vows to the Most High
and call on me in the day of trouble
I will invigorate you and you will glorify me

But to the wicked God said
What is it to you to recount my statutes
and that you would take my covenant in your mouth
for you hate correction and cast my words behind you

If you see a thief then you are pleased with him
and if those committing adultery, you want your portion
your mouth you cast in evil and your tongue joins deceit
you sit and speak against your brother
You assign blame to your mother's son

These things you have done and I kept silent
Did you think that because I am, I would be like you?
I will rebuke you and I will arrange it in your sight
Consider then this your forgetting of God
lest I tear and there is none to deliver

One sacrifice of praise glorifies me and defines a way
I will show that one the salvation of God.

On translation and limits

I guess after even a little short experience in translating from a strange tongue into a strange culture (about 2 years), I should try to give my words of advice on what constitutes communication in a translated text.

There is a quite comprehensive article here which I have 'breezed' through. I have this problem about reading - from that fellow Francis Bacon - some books are worth it - you remember the passage.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.*
In tasting this article, I came across a few claims that caught my attention for a moment.
Those who insist that literal translations are superior probably do the greatest damage to people incapable of going behind the translated text to discover the meaning of the original manuscripts.
This phrase begs two questions: Who is incapable of going behind the translated text? Who is capable of discovering the meaning of the original manuscripts?

Well, I looked further and reread the first paragraph in green. Maybe this is where I part company with the writer - who no doubt has more experience in translation and pastoral care than I do.
The argument in these articles is that a common claim that literal translations are superior to meaning-based translations is incorrect and can be harmful to the body of Christ.
I could harm the body of Christ with a literal translation? - come, come. Does the ark of the covenant need my support lest it fall off its wagon?

There is no meaningful translation possible that ignores word usage. Words take their meaning by position in relation to other words. Translation without form is chaos. Will it harm the body? No? Perhaps like a corn soup it will give some roughage - but buttered, salted, and peppered on the cob it is not.
insistence on using those versions exclusively or primarily serves to keep people from engaging God’s word with the clarity offered by meaning-based versions.
Really? - does one assume that the written text is the word and that engagement with text is the primary issue, and that meaning-based versions offer clarity? In this strange culture, I do not make any of these assumptions. I assume that God's Word is seeking to engage us - and is not confined to text and that meaning cannot be substituted for form without being bland or clearly one-sided. One translator's meaning is to another misunderstanding, worse - it is confining.

There is even more than theology in any translation - there is politics, keeping the masses in order and bums in the pews.

Spare me the pabulum. Set me a riddle. Illustrate a thought form that makes me puzzle and stops me from maintaining my comfortable umptions. Leave in the ambiguous antecedents. Tell me you do not understand. Do not imply you know the original.

Am I incapable? then leave me to God's devices. God's Original will not allow me to fail. Don't make me more incapable by telling me what I should understand in a particular text. God's Work will allow me a sufficient meaning.

Those who are sure of their meaning are more likely to harm themselves and others than not.

[Addendum: the section in the subject article on translating "the cat in the hat" illustrates the point. Discovering a rhyming word couplet in the target language would be the 'literal' translation bringing the reader in contact with the spirit of Dr. Seuss. Our problem is that we would scarcely see such play in the ancient Biblical texts given our propensity to 'appropriate' piety.

*Update Francis Bacon 1561-1626, On Studies, in W. Peacock, Selected English Essays, 1903 reprinted 1954.]

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Doctrine of Creation

Von Rad's essay on Righteousness and Life in the Psalms is quite delightful (From Genesis to Chronicles, chapter 13).

Suppose for a moment that we render Genesis 1:1 as: At the head of all things is God's creating of the heavens and the earth. What if that create verb wasn't qal perfect? What if we didn't take the heavens and the earth for granted? What if we had to create them every day, every moment, every quantized pico-second? Perhaps those 3 or 7 hidden dimensions (depending on what view of string theory you hold) are for God's upholding the universe by the word of his power - keeping perfect reasonable track of every particulate decision of us his images in the world, eyes, hands, feet, and nerve recreating the cosmos with every thought, word, and deed. What terror there is in sin now! The earth might not continue. The heavens might fall. Good thing those 'extra' dimensions are not only directly manipulated by us, eh?

I am just musing about the 'ongoing' nature of the creation implied by the use of the participles of Psalm 136. But one thing is past and unrepeatable - the defeat of Pharaoh and the great kings, though we participate in the wonders through his memory of our low estate (verse 23). We remember in the Eucharist or at Passover - but maybe it is God's remembrance that is the key...

The earth divides into land and sea, mountain and beach, wind, wave, and distant shadow. Down to the sea go the ships. Buoys mark their path and bring them to harbour. Breakwater gives them shelter. Lovers wade in the shallows. The aged read, ensconced among the driftwood and seaweed. What does one read on the earth? Von Rad on Righteousness in the Psalms. This world I believe was here before I came to the beach today - but today, it was created for my reading pleasure. Reading creation into words.

Von Rad starts with a problem about righteousness - how could those psalmists be so righteous! But then he happily abandons the problem with allusion after allusion to the beauty of יְהוָה in the psalms. What a testimony to joy. He confines such joy to the levites - but perhaps he will allow the extension to all flesh that is implied in Psalm 136.

Having started with Psalm 136, which he mentions at the beginning of the first essay, I will, I think, work through the essays again and use them as a stimulus to reworking some of my imaged translations into English. Here I may find help in identifying some of the thematic content of the Psalter.

Psalm 136 - just how did I get here so fast

Psalm 136
I do wish I was better at verbs - but see below how careful I have been to see what is complete and what is ongoing. Note that even the created order is ongoing - represented in the Hebrew by an active participle. But some actions are once only and completed such as the death required for rebirth.

[Update: 08.11.05 see this critique - I used 'for' in the first half of each somewhat carelessly - 'in' or 'as' gives the verbal distinction between ki = causative 'for' in the second half of each verse compared to the leading lamed 'l' indicating something less than a causative preposition.
Update: 08.11.10 - I think I prefer my accidental causative original! - The inordinate repetition of English 'for' will have to stand as a historical or poetic accident. Why do we praise - because of all these things - should we be so lucky to see hope rather than transient opportunism.
Another change - to be really difficult - I am going to change the chorus - see if you can see why.
Update 08.12.11 - detailed alternative here - to be analysed later...]

Invocation to the hymn

Give thanks to יְהוָה for he is good, and his loving-kindness is for ever
Give thanks to the God of gods, for his loving-kindness is for ever
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his loving-kindness is for ever
for doing great wonders for his servant, and his loving-kindness is for ever
for making the heavens with understanding, and his loving-kindness is for ever
for stretching out the earth over the waters, and his loving-kindness is for ever
for making the great lights, and his loving-kindness is for ever
even the sun to rule by day, for his loving-kindness is for ever
even the moon and stars to rule by night, for his loving-kindness is for ever
for smiting the first-born of Egypt, and his loving-kindness is for ever
and he brought Israel from their midst, for his loving-kindness is for ever
with a strong hand and an extended arm, for his loving-kindness is for ever
for parting the sea of rushes into parts, and his loving-kindness is for ever
and made Israel pass through in its deeps, for his loving-kindness is for ever
and shook off Pharaoh and his hosts in the sea of rushes, for his loving-kindness is for ever
for leading his people in the wilderness, and his loving-kindness is for ever
and he smote great kings, for his loving-kindness is for ever
and he destroyed majestic kings, for his loving-kindness is for ever
so Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his loving-kindness is for ever
and so Og, king of fruitful Bashan, for his loving-kindness is for ever
and gave their lands as inheritance, for his loving-kindness is for ever
the inheritance of Israel his servant, for his loving-kindness is for ever
Universal Eucharist
our humiliation he remembered for us, for his loving-kindness is for ever
and tears us from our enemies, for his loving-kindness is for ever
giving bread to all flesh, for his loving-kindness is for ever
Completing the circle
Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for his loving-kindness is for ever