Saturday, June 16, 2012

Comparing Psalms 96 and 98

I was looking at old posts, playing the role of archivist, and I noted - of course we all knew how psalms 96-99 seem to be one song, but I had forgotten how closely related psalms 96 and 98 are, sharing over 50% of their words.

If we assume that such grand repetition frames other text, then the framed text is Psalm 97. Imagine yourself observing these three pictures in a gallery. You attention would be drawn to the picture in the middle, between two such similar images. Why, you ask, would the curator have placed that picture between the other two? Surely like things should be adjacent? Maybe the one in the middle is worth a gander. So you stop for a moment and stretch your neck to stare at the words. You find you are in the midst of ascension and the words recall Psalm 47, bringing to mind the command to Abraham to offer Isaac as a whole burnt offering. It's a remarkable reach that these psalms have.

יְהוָה מָלָךְ
תָּגֵל הָאָרֶץ
יִשְׂמְחוּ אִיִּים רַבִּים
1יְהוָה reigns
let the earth rejoice
let the multitude of coasts be glad
עָנָן וַעֲרָפֶל סְבִיבָיו
צֶדֶק וּמִשְׁפָּט מְכוֹן כִּסְאוֹ
2clouds and dark turbulence surround him
righteousness and judgment are the stability of his throne
אֵשׁ לְפָנָיו תֵּלֵךְ
וּתְלַהֵט סָבִיב צָרָיו
3fire walks in his presence
and will blaze his surrounding foes

הֵאִירוּ בְרָקָיו תֵּבֵל
רָאֲתָה וַתָּחֵל הָאָרֶץ
4his lightnings light the world
the earth saw and was in birth
הָרִים כַּדּוֹנַג נָמַסּוּ
מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה
מִלִּפְנֵי אֲדוֹן כָּל הָאָרֶץ
5hills melted like wax
from the presence of יְהוָה
from the presence of the Lord of all the earth
הִגִּידוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם צִדְקוֹ
וְרָאוּ כָל הָעַמִּים כְּבוֹדוֹ
6the heavens make evident his righteousness
and all the peoples see his glory

יֵבֹשׁוּ כָּל עֹבְדֵי פֶסֶל
הַמִּתְהַלְלִים בָּאֱלִילִים
הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לוֹ כָּל אֱלֹהִים
7all servants of a graven image will be ashamed
boasting in the good for nothing
worship him all gods
שָׁמְעָה וַתִּשְׂמַח צִיּוֹן
וַתָּגֵלְנָה בְּנוֹת יְהוּדָה
לְמַעַן מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ יְהוָה
8Zion heard and was glad
and the daughters of Judah rejoiced
on account of your judgments יְהוָה

כִּי אַתָּה יְהוָה עֶלְיוֹן
עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ
מְאֹד נַעֲלֵיתָ עַל כָּל אֱלֹהִים
9for you יְהוָה are Most High
over all the earth
you are utterly ascended over all gods
אֹהֲבֵי יְהוָה שִׂנְאוּ רָע
שֹׁמֵר נַפְשׁוֹת חֲסִידָיו
מִיַּד רְשָׁעִים יַצִּילֵם
10those loving יְהוָה hate evil
he guards the beings of those who know his mercy
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked
אוֹר זָרֻעַ לַצַּדִּיק
וּלְיִשְׁרֵי לֵב שִׂמְחָה
11light is sown for the righteous
and gladness to the upright of heart
שִׂמְחוּ צַדִּיקִים בַּיהוָה
וְהוֹדוּ לְזֵכֶר קָדְשׁוֹ
12be glad in יְהוָה you righteous ones
and give thanks for the remembrance of his holiness
Hebrew words: 95. Percentage of Hebrew words that recur in this psalm: 43%. Average keywords per verse: 3.4.

2dark turbulence ערפל (`rpl) only here and in Psalm 18, recalls the darkness of Exodus 20:21 and of the people, perhaps ironically in Isaiah 60, the Surge Illuminare.
7[Hebrews 1:6]
9Ascended, עלה (`lh) is used for offering, for going up, for ascent, even climbing. It is the word of the offering of Isaac. The ascension of Jesus written of in the NT is part of the whole offering of his life and its acceptance. It is not then a magical space journey, but a recognition that the offering is complete and accepted. In the same way, the goodness of יְהוָה is noted in his superiority to other things that might be worshiped.
Selected recurring words in relative order

Word and gloss * first usage123456789101VsRoot
תגל let rejoice
הארץ the earth
ישׂמחו let be glad
סביביו surround him
צדק righteousness
ומשׁפט and judgment
לפניו in his presence
סביב surrounding
האירו light
ראתה saw
הארץ the earth
מלפני from the presence of
מלפני from the presence of
כל all
הארץ the earth
צדקו his righteousness
וראו and see
כל all
כל all
כל all
ותשׂמח and was glad
ותגלנה and rejoiced
משׁפטיך your judgments
כל all
הארץ the earth
כל all
אור light
לצדיק for the righteous
שׂמחה gladness
שׂמחו be glad
צדיקים you righteous ones
Psalm 97
Translation and Notes last updated on 2012.06.16-11:27

Selected words occurring in each of psalms -96,-98 - The frame for Psalm 97.

Word and gloss * first usage123456789101234567892012VsStem
שׁירו sing
שׁיר a song
חדשׁ new
שׁירו sing
כל all
הארץ the earth
שׁירו sing
ישׁועתו his salvation
בגוים among the nations
בכל to all
העמים the peoples
נפלאותיו his wonders
כל all
כל all
העמים the peoples
עשׂה made
לפניו are in his presence
במקדשׁו in his sanctuary
עמים the peoples
ובאו and come
קדשׁ holiness
מפניו from his presence
כל all
הארץ the earth
בגוים to the nations
מלך reigns
* תבל the world
עמים the peoples
במישׁרים with uprightness
הארץ the earth
ירעם let thunder
הים the sea
ומלאו and its fullness
וכל and all
ירננו will shout for joy
כל all
לפני in the presence of
בא he comes
בא he comes
לשׁפט to judge
הארץ the earth
ישׁפט he will judge
* תבל the world
בצדק in righteousness
ועמים and the peoples
באמונתו in his faithfulness
שׁירו sing
שׁיר a song
חדשׁ new
נפלאות wonders
עשׂה he has done
הושׁיעה brought salvation
קדשׁו holy
ישׁועתו his salvation
הגוים the nations
צדקתו his righteousness
ואמונתו and his faithfulness
כל all
ארץ the earth
ישׁועת the salvation of
כל all
הארץ the earth
ורננו and shout for joy
לפני in the presence of
המלך the king
ירעם let thunder
הים the sea
ומלאו and its fullness
תבל the world
ירננו shout for joy
לפני in the presence of
בא he comes
לשׁפט to judge
הארץ the earth
ישׁפט he will judge
תבל the world
בצדק in righteousness
ועמים and the peoples
במישׁרים in uprightness