Friday, November 15, 2013

Psalms 74-77


Today's psalms are all attributed to Asaph.

Psalm 74 is a communal lament over the destruction of the temple. The psalmist is eloquent in expressing a sense of forsakeness. Verses 12-17 speak of God's power in creation. These verses seem to reference a creation myth unlike those in Genesis. Although the psalm asks for God's help, it does not ask revenge.

In contrast, Psalm 75 is a communal prayer of thanksgiving. It declares that God is judge over the nations. Verses 2-5 are spoken by God (through a prophet or priest?) in the first person. "Horns" in verse 10 are figurative symbols of power.

Psalm 76 declares the God of Israel to be sovereign over all nations. The intended meaning of verse 10 is unclear:

Human wrath serves only to praise you,
when you bind the last bit of your wrath around you.

Psalm 77 depicts the psalmist's sleepless night wondering whether God has forgotten or abandoned him. It recounts some of God's "wonders from of old" (particularly the parting of the Red Sea), probably as a cause for confidence.

Next: Psalms 78-79

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