Friday, October 5, 2012

Blog Action Day 2012


Blog action day 2012 is about 'the power of we'.  Is there such a power? The hashtags are #powerofwe and #bad12 - Last year I wouldn't have known what a hash-tag was. I learned that from the Raonic ad (that's Milos, the Canadian tennis star).

Anyway - are you writing for Blog Action Day? As far as I know, I am not going to writing on current politics. Instead, I am thinking of writing on the use of first person plural in Psalm 44.

The first person plural is rare in Book 1 (Psalms 1-41) occurring fewer than 20 times,

  • first in Psalm 8 (twice), יהוה our Lord how majestic your name in all the earth. Psalm 8 gives notice that the mortal child of humanity reigns over what יהוה has made.
  • We/our occurs once each in Psalms 12, 17, 18. They seem incidental in the poem - but they are not without interest. 
  • Psalm 12 is another swipe from the kings of Psalm 2 - let us break their bonds  - meaning the kings want to break bonds of יהוה and his anointed. (not the other way around). Who can control the opposition of the tongue that says: with our tongue we will prevail, our lips are ours, who is Lord to us! 
  • The poet of Psalm 17 feels surrounded - our steps now - they surround us. The our is יהוה and the poet, not an amorphous crowd of self or other. 
  • The first person plural creeps in for a brief moment in the long Psalm 18: for who is God apart from יהוה? and who a rock except our God?
  • Psalm 20 is the first poem where the people are explicit. The first person plural occurs 4 times ending with יהוה save, let the king answer us in the day of our call. This is not only a prayer for the king but also for the people who pray.
  • In Psalm 22, the individual, aware of the cost of ruling, appeals to the example of the congregation of the past: In you our ancestors trusted
  • In the last verses of Psalm 33, the people again pray for themselves.
  • But the first person plural remains rare in the poems of Book 1, occurring only once more in Psalm 40 where the individual claims: he gave into my mouth a new song, praise to our God, many will see and will fear, and will trust in יהוה.

Then in Book 2, the first person plural breaks out in full - 40 times in Psalm 44 alone, more than twice as many as in Book 1 taken together.

What power lies here? I don't know what I will write yet - I hope I am able to write about it.