Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Psalms 90 and 91

Next week I will be presenting psalms 90-91 as prayer and answer to prayer at a local bible study. Ideas welcome. Where does Psalm 90 fit in the psalter? Why of Moses? What does the structure tell us? Is 91 an answer to 90? Why does the accuser quote 91 to the anointed Jesus in the temptations?

Psalm 90
Psalm 91
Psalm 90 begins Book V. Moses begins and ends Book IV and is mentioned only once outside of Book IV (psalm 77). relation to psalm 40
תְּפִלָּה לְמֹשֶׁה אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים
The prayer of Moses the man of God

Psalm 91 has no inscription
Adonai - is not the tetragrammeton here. Does the poet emphasize 'attah' 'you' through the word order (lanu being so far away from ma`on)?1 אֲדֹנָי מָעוֹן
אַתָּה הָיִיתָ לָּנוּ בְּדֹר וָדֹר

You O Lord,  have become our habitation from generation to generation
יֹשֵׁב בְּסֵתֶר עֶלְיוֹן
בְּצֵל שַׁדַּי יִתְלוֹנָן

One dwelling in the secret of the Most High
in the shadow of the Sufficient will remain

Verse 1 and 2 are a unit bound by Lord-you-gen-to-gen and age-to-age-you-God. What is in the middle? It is important. Our habitation + the birth of creation.2בְּטֶרֶם הָרִים יֻלָּדוּ
וַתְּחוֹלֵל אֶרֶץ וְתֵבֵל

וּמֵעוֹלָם עַד עוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל

from ere the mountains were born
or earth and the world writhed
even from age to age you are God

אֹמַר לַיהוָה
אֶבְטַח בּוֹ

I will say to יְהוָה
my refuge and my fortress
my God
I will trust in him
Note how many uses of first person imperfect there are in  psalm 91 and not in psalm 90
Dust as a translation is misleading - it is not parallel to 'adam' nor is it 'aphar' but 'that which is crushed' - so poetry for contrition. Turn = repent.3תָּשֵׁב אֱנוֹשׁ עַד דַּכָּא וַתֹּאמֶר שׁוּבוּ בְנֵי אָדָם
you turn a human to contrition and you say
Turn children of humus

כִּי הוּא יַצִּילְךָ מִפַּח יָקוּשׁ מִדֶּבֶר הַוּוֹת
For he will deliver you from a trapper's snare
from a plague of desires

The crushing of the elect is represented by the lament of Psalm 89 - rehearsing 'recent days' of the promises4כִּי אֶלֶף שָׁנִים בְּעֵינֶיךָ כְּיוֹם אֶתְמוֹל
כִּי יַעֲבֹר וְאַשְׁמוּרָה בַלָּיְלָה

for a thousand years in your eyes is like a recent day
for it is over as a watch in the night

בְּאֶבְרָתוֹ יָסֶךְ לָךְ וְתַחַת כְּנָפָיו תֶּחְסֶה
צִנָּה וְסֹחֵרָה אֲמִתּוֹ

With his feathers he will cover you and beneath his wings you will take refuge
a grappling hook and shield his truth
feathers sounds like fury

5 זְרַמְתָּם שֵׁנָה יִהְיוּ
בַּבֹּקֶר כֶּחָצִיר יַחֲלֹף

you inundate them, sleep they become
in the morning like grass they grow up

לֹא תִירָא מִפַּחַד לָיְלָה מֵחֵץ יָעוּף יוֹמָם
You will not fear for dread by night
for an arrow that flies by day
day and night appear in both psalms

6בַּבֹּקֶר יָצִיץ וְחָלָף
לָעֶרֶב יְמוֹלֵל וְיָבֵשׁ

in the morning it flourishes and grows up
in the evening it is cut down and withers

מִדֶּבֶר בָּאֹפֶל יַהֲלֹךְ
מִקֶּטֶב יָשׁוּד צָהֳרָיִם

for the plague that walks in gloom
for destruction that wastes at noon
noon sounds like mountains

7כִּי כָלִינוּ בְאַפֶּךָ וּבַחֲמָתְךָ נִבְהָלְנוּ
for we are consumed in your anger
and in your wrath we are troubled

יִפֹּל מִצִּדְּךָ אֶלֶף וּרְבָבָה מִימִינֶךָ אֵלֶיךָ לֹא יִגָּשׁ
A thousand will fall at your side
and ten thousand at your right hand
to you it will not come near

8שַׁתָּה עֲו‍ֹנֹתֵינוּ לְנֶגְדֶּךָ עֲלֻמֵנוּ לִמְאוֹר פָּנֶיךָ

you put our iniquities in front of you
our secret in the light of your face

רַק בְּעֵינֶיךָ תַבִּיט וְשִׁלֻּמַת רְשָׁעִים תִּרְאֶה
but with your eyes you will be attentive
and the reward of the wicked you will see

three different words for anger - I will try to be concordant9כִּי כָל יָמֵינוּ פָּנוּ בְעֶבְרָתֶךָ
כִּלִּינוּ שָׁנֵינוּ כְמוֹ הֶגֶה

for all our days face away from your fury
we complete our years as a groan

כִּי אַתָּה יְהוָה מַחְסִי
עֶלְיוֹן שַׂמְתָּ מְעוֹנֶךָ

For you יְהוָה are my refuge
You have made the Most High your habitation

year is singular irregular in Hebrew - always considered plural - note the plural feminine construct10יְמֵי שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה
וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה
וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן כִּי גָז חִישׁ וַנָּעֻפָה

the days of our years, in them seventy years
and if in strength eighty years
but their pride is labor and mischief for it is cut off soon
and we flutter away

לֹא  תְאֻנֶּה אֵלֶיךָ רָעָה
וְנֶגַע לֹא קְרַב בְּאָהֳלֶךָ

evil is not allowed to come to you
and illness will not come into your tent

11 מִי יוֹדֵעַ עֹז אַפֶּךָ
וּכְיִרְאָתְךָ עֶבְרָתֶךָ

Who knows the power of your anger
and for your fear your fury

כִּי מַלְאָכָיו יְצַוֶּה לָּךְ לִשְׁמָרְךָ בְּכָל  דְּרָכֶיךָ

for he will instruct his messengers about you
to keep you in all your ways

12לִמְנוֹת יָמֵינוּ כֵּן הוֹדַע
וְנָבִא לְבַב חָכְמָה

To number our days so make known
that we may come to the heart of wisdom

עַל כַּפַּיִם יִשָּׂאוּנְךָ פֶּן תִּגֹּף בָּאֶבֶן רַגְלֶךָ
in their hands they will lift you up
in case you strike your foot with a stone

13שׁוּבָה יְהוָה עַד  מָתָי
וְהִנָּחֵם עַל עֲבָדֶיךָ

Turn יְהוָה , how long? And sigh over your servants
עַל שַׁחַל וָפֶתֶן תִּדְרֹךְ תִּרְמֹס כְּפִיר וְתַנִּין
over lion and adder you will make your way
you will trample young lion and dragon

14שַׂבְּעֵנוּ בַבֹּקֶר חַסְדֶּךָ
וּנְרַנְּנָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בְּכָל יָמֵינוּ

sustain us in the morning of your loving kindness
and we will rejoice
and be glad all our days

כִּי בִי חָשַׁק וַאֲפַלְּטֵהוּ אֲשַׂגְּבֵהוּ כִּי יָדַע שְׁמִי
Because he loved me so I will deliver him
I will set him on high for he has known my name
chashak - an interesting word - used of the building of the tabernacle and translated as desire and longing in various places

15שַׂמְּחֵנוּ כִּימוֹת עִנִּיתָנוּ
שְׁנוֹת רָאִינוּ רָעָה

Make us glad for days you afflicted us years we have seen evil
יִקְרָאֵנִי וְאֶעֱנֵהוּ עִמּוֹ אָנֹכִי  בְצָרָה אֲחַלְּצֵהוּ וַאֲכַבְּדֵהוּ
he will call me and I will answer him
I am with him in trouble
I will rescue him and I will glorify him

16יֵרָאֶה אֶל עֲבָדֶיךָ פָעֳלֶךָ
הֲדָרְךָ עַל  בְּנֵיהֶם

Let your work appear to your servants
and your honor to their children

אֹרֶךְ יָמִים אַשְׂבִּיעֵהוּ וְאַרְאֵהוּ בִּישׁוּעָתִי

With length of days I will satisfy him
and I will show him in my salvation

Notice the palindrome with verse 1 - find an English word that might do this?17וִיהִי נֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה
יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ
וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ

And let be the beauty of the Lord our God be on us
and the work of our hands establish on us
and the work of our hands establish

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