Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Royals - 24

This psalm has elements of both Torah acceptance and the kingship of יְהוָה. As such, it links themes from Psalm 1 and the hints of יְהוָה's kingship not yet developed in the Psalter taken in sequence.

We are people who think in sequence because we are married to books - but did the ancients even conceive of order in the scroll? Certainly they have order in the individual poems and later they have order in books as the historian collects the primary history (perhaps as late as the exile). I expect that by this time a concept of sequence is evident if only from the act of writing itself.

Note re 'the world' תבל - This word is never used with an article in the Psalter, but often in parallel with a noun having the definite article, so I have translated it as 'all the world', since it seems to have a sense of universality. [Update - may also be a 'later' post-exilic word. Seeing and hearing with the Psalms, Tournay JSOTS 118 1991]

[Update] Note re עולם - what should this be - literally 'of an age' i.e. perhaps of any age. So God is addressing the earth and in particular our 'generation'. Yes of course it could be a constructed liturgy - or Solomon commanding the doors to raise their heads for the Ark... but what about the door of the temple that is our body? Or what about the gates of scholarship or religion or governance or business in any period of time? (That's my reasoning for the translation 'the era'.)

of David A Psalm

The earth is יְהוָה's and her fullness
the world and those living in her
for he set it on seas
and in torrents establishes it

who will go up to the hill of יְהוָה
and who will rise into his holy place?
those clean of hands and pure of heart
one who has not lifted up my life to emptiness
and not promised in deceit

Such will take away a blessing from יְהוָה
and righteousness from the God of their salvation
this generation is searching him out
by seeking your face O Jacob
gates, lift up your heads
and be lifted up, doors of the era
and the king of glory will enter
who is this king of glory
יְהוָה strong and mighty
יְהוָה mighty in battle

gates, lift up your heads
and be lifted up, doors of the era
and the king of glory will enter
who is he - this the king of glory
יְהוָה of hosts
he is the king of glory

Update see here for some background on the odd phrasing of 'not lifted up my life'. I am always torn with third person singular pronouns. The opportunity to suddenly change to the unambiguous first person singular creates some remarkable tension in this verse and relieves me of circumlocution. Even if it is a mistake in the manuscripts - let it stand and ponder its application to us as individuals and to the 'King' in all 'my ambiguity of interpretation'.

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