Sunday, November 23, 2008

Psalm 102

I am tempted to soften face to presence - but this is a prayer 'in your face' - why not let the strength of the prayer take some strength even from the potential or actual defiance of the common English expression. (Face could be construed as plural but I doubt that the idiom should hold such a plural.) Notice how Hebrews interprets the final stanza - not as a continuation of the words of the prayer, but as a response to the prayer and as addressed to the Son.

A prayer of the poor when disabled
before the face of יְהוָה he pours out his talk

יְהוָה hear my prayer and let my cry for help come to you
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my trouble
incline to me your ear in the day I call
speedily answer me

for my days are full of smoke
and my bones as a burning mass are scorched
smitten like withered grass is my heart

for I forget to eat my bread
from the chatter of my groaning
my bones cling to my flesh

I am like an unclean bird of the wilderness
I have become like an owl of the desert
I watch
and I am as a bird isolated on a roof

All the day my enemies reproach me
seeing me as fool
having cursed me

for I eat ashes for bread
and I mingle my weeping with my drink
from the face of your indignation and your anger

for you have lifted me up and cast me down
my days extend like a shadow
and I am like withered grass

but you יְהוָה to the age will remain
and your remembrance from generation to generation
You will arise and will have mercy on Zion
for the time to favour her
the appointed time has come
for your servants take pleasure in her stones
and her dust they favour

The nations will fear the name of יְהוָה
and all the kings of the earth your glory
for יְהוָה will build up Zion
and will appear in his glory
he will face the prayer of the destitute
and he will not despise their prayer

This will be written for a generation to come
and a people to be created will praise Yah
for יְהוָה looked from his holiness above
from the heavens to earth he pays attention
to hear the groaning of of the prisoner
to free the children of death
to recount in Zion the name of יְהוָה and his praise in Jerusalem
to gather peoples together and kingdoms to serve יְהוָה

He has humbled my power in the way
he has shortened my days
I said
my God, do not remove me in the midst of my days
your years are in all generations
in the face of the earth you established
and the work of your hands, the heavens

These will perish but you - you will stand
and they all like clothing will decay
as a garment you will change them and they will be changed
but you are the same - and your years will not end
The children of your servants will live
and their seed before your face will be established

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