Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Psalms compared in sequence

I did some rather random work 5 years ago in the stretch to learn letters. How do psalms relate to each other. One possibly interesting question concerning the thesis that the psalms are a Book intended for sequential reading, would be to examine the shared vocabulary between consecutive psalms.

So for instance, (apart from the very common roots: על יהוה  אל סלה כי אלוה את)

Psalm 2 with 92 words uses 9 words from psalm 1.
Psalm 3 with 70 words uses 9 words from psalm 2.
Psalm 4 with 77 words uses 17 words from psalm 3.

Clearly psalms 3 and 4 are much more tightly tied to each other than psalms 3 and 2.

Psalm 5 and 4 are related in a clear pattern - curious.  These 3 are all psalms of David so I wonder if we might see expect some patterning.

16 of 111 words in psalm 5 in the order of word usage in psalm 4
Word and gloss * first usage12345678910123456VsStem
למנצח For the leader
1נצח
מזמור a psalm
1זמר
לדוד of David
1דוד
אמרי my promise
2אמר
אתפלל I pray
3פלל
תשׁמע you will hear
4שׁמע
* אתה you are
5אתה
כזב a lie
7כזב
אישׁ a person of
7אישׁ
דמים blood
7דמם
ברב in the greatness of
8רב
חסדך your loving kindness
8חסד
בצדקתך in your righteousness
9צדק
לפני in my face be
9פנה
ברב in many
11רב
וישׂמחו and they will be glad
12שׂמח
אהבי loving
12אהב
* אתה you yourself
13אתה
Psalm 6 we know is different, being penitential, and the pattern also changes though 16 of 84 of its words occur in psalm 5.

In psalm 7 (15/142) we are back down from the 20% range to the 10% range.