Thursday, May 10, 2007

God's Delight

Here is a list of psalms which mention delight - some of them I have not yet translated. I was curious to see if one could approach the issue of theodicy that Rachel Barenblat and Chris Heard both raised for me yesterday by a side-door - what is it which delights or does not delight God? The word is חָפֵץ or XPTS.

(sorry about the Hebrew numbering - and the verse numbers are not guaranteed correct since I set them by a late addition to my algorithm for creating my lexicon, but there is still a challenge for me to learn the recognition and order of letters - so I let them stand in my query results.)

The first query looked for nodes surrounding ones that contained the letters XPTS in the right order (no unicode in our database yet). I kept results where God is the one to whom the delight is attributed.

Psalm --5 ה not a God who takes pleasure חָפֵץ in wickedness - of what God does not delight in
Psalm -16 ד all my delight חֶפְצִי in them - (? - who) delights in the holy of the earth
Psalm -18 כ for he delighted in me - the LORD's delight in David
Psalm -22 ט for he delights in him - scoffers on the LORD's delight
Psalm -35 כז my delight, my righteousness, ...
and the LORD delights in the peace of his servant
Psalm -37 כג and in his way, he [the LORD] delighted יֶחְפָּץ
Psalm -51 ח So truth you take pleasure חָפַצְתָּ in the inward parts
Psalm -51 יח for you will not delight לֹא-תַחְפֹּץ in sacrifice and I would do it
Psalm -51 כא Then you will delight תַּחְפֹּץ in a sacrifice of the righteous
Psalm 115 ג but our God in the heavens, all that he delighted in he did
Psalm 135 ו whatever he pleased, he did (=115)
Psalm 147 י He does not take delight in the strength of a horse

Perhaps I should add ratzon (will, pleasure, favour, etc) also: - it has taken me time to check my Hebrew search strategies, for the word occurs with parts of the root missing and other words fit my strategies. It is hard to know if I have hit them all and I had a few false positives like variations on to run יְרֻצוּן which has the same letters plus or minus a mater or a suffix.

The second query looked for nodes surrounding ones that contained the letters RTSN or RTSH in the right order. I kept the results where God is the implied subject or judge.

Psalm -30 ו life, his favour
Psalm -30 ח LORD, in your favour, stands my mountain strong
Psalm -40 ט I come to do your will
Psalm -40 יד be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me
Psalm -44 ד for you favoured them
Psalm -51 כ Do good in your acceptance of Zion
Psalm -68 יז which God desired to dwell in - different word חָמַד אֱלֹהִים
Psalm -69 יד O LORD in an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your mercy
Psalm -85 ב You have been favorable, O LORD
Psalm -89 יח and in your acceptance will be lifted up
Psalm 106 ד Remember me, O LORD, when you favour your people
Psalm 119-K-S קח The offerings of my mouth, accept, O LORD
Psalm 143 י Teach me to do your will
Psalm 145 טז Perfect (for the acrostic), you open your hand, satisfing all that is, acceptance
Psalm 147 יא The LORD takes pleasure in those that fear him
Psalm 149 ד The LORD takes pleasure in his people

The subject of 'who God is in God's self' compared with 'the way that the Poets of the Psalms wrote or recited about God' is a difficult starting point but I have to take it as given that we work from the ancient record of experience and see where it leads.

So, here are the two (twin?) issues

  1. of faith ( 'engagement' as a deliberate act of will)
  2. or of evil (how is it that God who is good allows the evil we see?)
Will it help to approach them from the point of view of the attributions of delight and will (favour, acceptance) as listed above?

That's enough of a stimulus to thought for the moment and enough for a single blog post. I realize that there are lots of questions begged - not the least of which is the scandal of particularity, but let the stars burst where the original inconsistency of expansion manifests itself.

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