Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Acrostics (2)

Psalm 25 is the next acrostic. By my observation, it is missing bet, vav and qof. Perhaps the second word בְּךָ בָטַחְתִּי of the second verse is the bet word.

Apart from the alef-bet nature of this psalm, there are 5 recurring words shared by the first three verses and the last five [my life, shame, lifting up, enemy, and waiting]. The verbal relations are color-coded in the English below and visible through color and connectors in the first draft in the diagram. This is one of the psalms analyzed in A Rabbi Reads the Psalms, by Jonathan Magonet, a very fine piece of work to help us read these prayers. The center of the work, verses 4-17, is also filled with recurring words.

One has to ask - what is the essence surrounded by the opening and closing structural elements? I think on reading, even with the oddball word choices, you will see that the direction is a good covenant, a knowledge of grace - that salvation is God's initiative, justification - that our dependence for what is right is on God's goodness, the fruits of the Spirit - that the sinner and the poor are given personal direction, and love - that we wait for his loving kindness and redemption from all troubles. Here as in many psalms, the individual gives voice to the knowledge of God with him and therefore God with Israel and therefore ultimately, God with us. (As usual, there is the odd word added in English to form the acrostic.)

Of David
I will lift up my life to you יְהוָה my God
because in you I have trusted
I will not be ashamed
My enemies will not rejoice against me

God, moreover, all who wait on you will not be ashamed
they will be ashamed who act treacherously for nothing

Directions from you יְהוָה let me know
Teach me your paths

Head me in your truth and teach me
for you are my God, my salvation
on you I wait every day

Zero in with your mercies יְהוָה and your loving-kindness
for they are from everlasting

Heavy sins of my youth and my transgressions do not remember
in your loving-kindness remember you are with me
for your goodness יְהוָה

Top notch and upright is יְהוָה
so he will set sinners direction

Yes he will direct the poor with judgment
and will teach the poor his direction

Known paths of יְהוָה
loving-kindness and truth
to those keeping his covenant and his testimonies

Let it be for your name יְהוָה
to pardon my guilt for it is great

My, what's this? that for anyone fearing יְהוָה
he will set him with direction that he will choose?

Now his life he will live in good
and his seed will inherit land?

Special intimacy of יְהוָה with those fearing him
and his covenant to know them

Eyes, my eyes are continually to יְהוָה
for he will deliver my feet from any net

Phase in to me and have mercy for I am solitary and afflicted
the troubles of my heart are enlarged
bring me out of my distress

Regard my afflictions and my pain and lift up all my sins
Regard my enemies for they multiply and they hate
with violence they have hated me

Shelter my life and deliver me
let me not be ashamed for I have sheltered in you

Translate me complete and upright for I have waited for you
Redeem O God all Israel from all their troubles

Notes - Direction, head, direct are the same root DRK.
I am sure you could all improve on some of my crazy word choices.

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