Friday, June 01, 2007

Psalm 123

I haven't read any commentaries (except a snippet of Calvin) on this Psalm yet - and Calvin doesn't cut it. As reported in Psalms in community : Jewish and Christian textual, liturgical, and artistic traditions / edited by Harold W. Attridge and Margot E. Fassler, Calvin says that the contempt repeated in verse 3 is because the Church will always be scorned by the at ease and the proud. Or something of that nature. The poem I hope will admit of a different interpretation - for Calvin here smacks of a persecution complex. It would be more like a son, in my opinion, to be considering the love he has for those who are offended - or even contemptuous, proud, and at ease. What kind of projection am I reading into this rather odd Psalm - which starts and does not finish? Maybe when I finish all the songs of ascent, there will be a further clue as to the meaning of this stark unpoem. Can you imagine singing this on your ascent to the festival? You should be running for cover!

Speaking of songs of ascent - is this also a construct form? for it is shir הַמַּעֲלוֹת hama`aloth - which looks just like a king of the glory. So maybe there is some decision in hearing and translation as to whether two consecutive nouns are in a construct relation or not... and if they are not, one might stretch the tongue a bit to make its timing have a quizical, playful, or other impact on the sequence of processing in the brain. So I modified Psalm 24 to play a bit more with the he, this, a and the - as if the poet was finally going to get to the full impact of the construct only in the last verse.

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