Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Psalms 110-112

These two acrostics, Psalms 111-112, occur with Hallelujahs following the triumphant Psalm 110.

Last night we read the letters to the churches in the first chapters of Revelation. I noted how strongly Psalms 2, 110, and 149 are alluded to in those chapters. The faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth invites the churches, and by implication us also, to rule in the midst of our enemies. This must of course include ruling ourselves according to the pattern of his wounding in the midst of the troubles we see and the turmoil they cause. Such honour have all the saints as Psalm 149 notes, summing up the Psalter and closing the envelope opened by Psalm 2. (For prior posts on these psalms see here. Psalm 111 is the only acrostic I have not translated as acrostic. This is out of deference to the translation by Countess Mary Herbert.)

I am in the midst of experiments at seeing structure blind. Left is a diagram of the recurrence of roots within Psalm 111. Right Psalm 112. This post is stimulated by John's colourful (English) posts of  Psalm 111 (Hebrew) from last week.

You need to stare at them a bit - note how the occurrence of the root is by verse. It is like looking down on a city. Psalm 111 has the feature that the last verse repeats 6 words from the prior verses. Psalm 112 has three words repeated between verse 3 and 9 and also between verses 7 and 8. If you look it up you will see the limitations of graphs (though if you stare at them carefully you will see the overlap). These two inclusios are identical across the two psalms showing that they are a deliberate pairing.

I hope to be able to drive through the Lily palace visually before I learn the surrounding street names. I will do this by varying the parameters I pass to the chart(s) allowing me to see different recurrence structures. Of course I need to get the root right too. And in the 10 chapters of Esther there are too many words to see at once.

I feel I cannot leave this post without trying an acrostic translation of Psalm 111. It is slightly silly.