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

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