Monday, April 25, 2011

Instead of backwards

In my last tossed off post in the middle of glossing psalm 78, I threw up in the air (not out as if to discard) the hope that I might learn to identify with the elect poet and see things from the point of view of that time rather than through the 2000 years of answers to questions that constitute dogmatics. A thought stimulated in part by the Sacred Page here.

One example. Who intercedes for us? Is this expected as a role for the Messiah? How would you read this? (Psalm 72:15) - why is it rendered as passive in the KJV? (Nice paragraph on it in Lambdin in section 177 - reflexive yes, passive no mention.)
וְיִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעֲדוֹ תָמִיד
lit: and he will intercede on behalf of him continually
My conclusion - the Anointed King is a man of prayer for himself and all those whom he represents - who are 'in' him. This anticipates the claim in Hebrews that he lives to make intercession for those who come near to God through him. (Hebrews 7:25). How does the hope expressed in psalm 72 express itself in the poet's time so that the mind of the poet might be able to formulate it?

Psalm 72 (of Solomon) reads to me clearly as a source for the full scope of the Anointed King and his roles. Clearly Solomon was not up to the task. My thanks to Bruggemann who made this clearer to me and taught me to read with skepticism. My apologies that I don't go as far as he does - but that's because I don't see the need to go beyond the record - and Solomon's record is dismal for all its glory. But the praise due to God by the end of the Psalter is due indeed without any need for excuses - after all God teaches mercy and works against oppression.

Perhaps that's a way of seeing how and why the poet wrote - as a contrast to what was observed concerning horses and concubines. I read the Song with a similar anti-Solomon sentiment - a sort-of love is not what you thought it was, King Solly. And I read Ecclesiastes both as a romp and as a serious critique of Solomon's experiment in earthly glory at the expense of the oppressed.

My translation of the above is
and he will intercede in and for him continually

who will write me an essay on that preposition בַּעֲד? (who will bring me a fortified city?)

Here is the flexibility of a preposition: this one might be - in separation from, away from, behind, about, on behalf of, out through, in through, upon, in among, - Good for BDB p 126 - four times intercession Genesis 20:7, Numbers 21:7, 1 Samuel 7:5, and this Psalm 72:15 -  also with כפר atone! (Exodus 32:30, Leviticus 16:6). So here we see Abraham, Moses, and Samuel, and Aaron all playing an intercessory role anticipating the role of the Christ to pray in and for his people.  This is the kind of thinking that makes me see the Anointed in the 'Old' Testament.  This anointing and incarnation is already present in the world through the elected example of these things that were written aforetime of Israel for our learning.

I think I have found a section of the wall that will hold my grappling hook. I continue to climb. If I fall, I will sprout wings.