Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Royals - 20 and 21 - prayer and response

Royal psalms have a variety of royal aspects to them. Psalm 2 begins with the son / anointed of יְהוָה. Psalm 9-10 - the first acrostic, does not feel like a royal psalm but more like a personal one, picking up some aspects of Psalm 7 - but there is one line that for the first time in the Psalter names יְהוָה king everlasting and for ever. This anticipates several psalms that will celebrate יְהוָה as king. Psalms 20-21 below are a prayer for the king and the recognition of the response to that prayer. This is clearly not יְהוָה as king - so who is king? The question is important if we are to avoid disappointment - as if this poetry was only for one time and one place a long time ago in a primitive and brutal age when the powerful got their own way and demanded praise as a cover for their privilege.

For the leader
A Psalm of David
יְהוָה answer you in the day of trouble
the name of the God of Jacob set you on high
send you help from his holiness
and from Zion establish you
remember all your offerings
and fatten your holocausts
May he give you your heart's desire
and fulfill all your counsel
We will rejoice in your salvation
and in the name of our God we bear our standard
יְהוָה will fulfill all your requests

Now I know יְהוָה will save his anointed
he will answer from his holy heaven
in the strength of the salvation of his right hand
Some in the chariots and some in the horses
but we ourselves the name of יְהוָה our God remember
They are cut down and fallen
but we ourselves are risen and restored
יְהוָה save the king
and answer us in the day of our call

For the leader
A Psalm of David
A king joys in your strength יְהוָה
and in your salvation how greatly he will rejoice
You have given him his heart's desire
and the request of his lips you have not withheld
for you go before him with blessings of good
you place on his head a crown of pure gold
Life he asked of you
you have given him length of days now and for ever
Great is his glory in your salvation
splendor and adorning you lay upon him
for you will place on him blessings for ever
you have filled him with the joy of your presence
for the king trusts in יְהוָה
and in the loving-kindness of the highest he will not be moved

your hand will find out all your enemies
your right hand will find those hating you
you will place them as a furnace of fire in the time of your presence
יְהוָה in his wrath will swallow them
and fire will devour them
you will destroy their fruit from the earth
and their seed from the children of the dust
for they stretched out evil against you
they planned a device they cannot do
for you will place them on their backs
with your bow-strings you will be ready for their presence
be exalted יְהוָה in your strength
we will sing and praise your power

Five times the poet uses the same word. How can I find a word or device that will signal the shape in this foreign tongue?

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