Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Comparing conceptually related and unrelated psalms

I expect I might be surprised at word usage. What sort of impact does volume make for instance?

But first, some conceptually related psalms 1 (67 words), 15 (55 words) and 24 (89 words) seem conceptually related - and here they are.
Psalm 15 shares only 4 words with psalm 1 - mostly No
Psalm 24 shares 13 words (~25% of psalm 15) with psalm 15 and uses them 27 times (~30%). We already sensed these were conceptually related.

Words in psalm 24 in the order of word usage in psalm 15
Word and gloss * first usage12345678910123VsStem
לדוד of David
1דוד
מזמור a psalm
1זמר
מי who
3מי
בהר to the hill of
3הר
ומי and who
3מי
קדשׁו his holy
3קדשׁ
נקי those of innocent
4נקי
לבב heart
4לבב
לא not
4לא
* נשׂא has lifted up
4נשׂא
ולא and not
4לא
נשׁבע sworn
4שׁבע
* ישׂא such will take away
5נשׂא
וצדקה and righteousness
5צדק
* שׂאו lift up
7נשׂא
* והנשׂאו and be lifted up
7נשׂא
עולם everlasting
7עלם
* הכבוד glory
7כבד
מי who
8מי
* הכבוד glory
8כבד
* שׂאו lift up
9נשׂא
* ושׂאו and lift up
9נשׂא
עולם everlasting
9עלם
* הכבוד glory
9כבד
מי who
10מי
* הכבוד glory
10כבד
* הכבוד glory
10כבד

Now here's a surprise - Psalm 21 (104 words) seems to me an answer to psalm 20 (70 words ) but the sharing is not striking - only 11 words. On the other hand, psalm 22 reuses 19 of the words in psalm 21 - 39 of 254 words. That's not too high - roughly 15%. But psalm 23 at 57 words shares 17 of them with psalm 22. In both these cases I think the volume of psalm 22 distorts the potential statistical linkages. Nonetheless, the recurrence of trust and all in psalm 22 after the answer to prayer of psalm 21 is conceptually significant, confirming our sense that psalm 22 is after all a positive psalm in spite of its difficult beginning section.

Words in psalm 22 in the order of word usage in psalm 21
Word and gloss * first usage12345678910123456789VsStem
למנצח For the leader
1נצח
מזמור a psalm
1זמר
לדוד of David
1דוד
מישׁועתי from my salvation
2ישׁע
בטחו trusted
5בטח
בטחו they trusted
5בטח
בטחו they trusted
6בטח
תולעת am a worm
7עת
אדם humanity
7אדם
כל all
8כל
בשׂפה their lips
8שׂפה
ראשׁ their head
8ראשׁ
מבטיחי giving me trust
10בטח
כל all
15כל
לבי my heart
15לב
ידי my hands
17יד
כל all
18כל
מיד away from the paw
21יד
הושׁיעני save me
22ישׁע
כל all
24כל
זרע the seed of
24זרע
כבדוהו glorify him
24כבד
כל all
24כל
זרע the seed of
24זרע
פניו his presence
25פנה
יאכלו will eat
27אכל
* יחי may live
27חיה
לעד for ever
27עד
כל all
28כל
ארץ the earth
28ארץ
לפניך in your presence
28פנה
כל all
28כל
אכלו they will eat
30אכל
כל all
30כל
ארץ the earth
30ארץ
לפניו in his presence
30פנה
כל all
30כל
* חיה he could keep alive
30חיה
זרע a seed
31זרע