Sunday, August 26, 2007

Psalm 137

There was a long - very long - dozens of posts - talk on the Biblical Studies list about Psalm 137. It culminated with a post from Chris Heard that knocked my socks off.

The last verses of the Psalm are not a plea for vindictiveness but a matching of the mockery of the beginning. The poet turns his own beloved letters of fire into darts. The weaned child plays at the hole of the asp indeed.

גָּמַל is a word I first met in Gimel, part 3 of Psalm 119 as gmol which I rendered grow for the G for my exercise in keeping the acrostic. Notice also the use of Shalom, of course.

At the beginning of this Psalm, the exploitative, insincere, forced, and mocking request of the captors for a song when the instruments are hung on a weeping tree, is met poetically at the end of the psalm with a melody that is played on the tenderest of lutes, the human body as giver of milk to the helpless.

No comments: