Thursday, April 25, 2013

Memorizing the Psalms - 3 (26-34)

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. The first has to do with hearing the first few words of a psalm (not always unique). Along with this is the observing of a story line in the sequence of psalms.

We have seen to date the first 10, and the second 15, continuing the theme of refuge and containing a series concerning the elect from Psalm 18-24. Here are the next 9, from Psalm 26 to Psalm 34 in book 1, ending with the third acrostic.
שָׁפְטֵנִי יְהוָה כִּי אֲנִי בְּתֻמִּי הָלַכְתִּי 26:1Judge me יהוה for I myself have walked in my completeness
יְהוָה אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי מִמִּי אִירָא27:1יהוה my light and my salvation whom will I fear?
אֵלֶיךָ יְהוָה אֶקְרָא 28:1To you יהוה will I call
הָבוּ לַיהוָה בְּנֵי אֵלִים29:1Ascribe to יהוה children of gods
אֲרוֹמִמְךָ יְהוָה30:2I will exalt you יהוה 
בְּךָ יְהוָה חָסִיתִי31:2In you יהוה I take refuge
אַשְׁרֵי נְשׂוּי פֶּשַׁע32:1happy transgression borne away
רַנְּנוּ צַדִּיקִים בַּיהוָה33:1Shout for joy, righteous ones, in יהוה 
אֲבָרְכָה אֶת יְהוָה בְּכָל עֵת34:2I will bless יהוה at all times
  • Psalm 26 is bold  in our ears. Who would invite judgment? Note how it recalls the central portion of Psalm 18 and the language of Psalm 1.
  • The central verse 7 of Psalm 27, Hear יהוה my voice, I will call // and be gracious to me and answer me, repeats the requests of Psalms 3 and 4.
  • 28 is a plea that יהוה not be silent.
  • 29 responds with the voice of יהוה. Voice occurs 7 times in this poem.
  • 30 is praise for healing and the poet sings and so is also not mute.
  • 31 continues the statement of refuge and trust in יהוה.
  • 32 is cited by Paul in Romans and contains instruction concerning horses and mules. 
  • 33, a poem that has no inscription, stands out among the psalms inscribed 'of David' (3 to 41). It is the first to instruct the singing of a new song. This poem is worthy of the celebratory acrostic that follows.
  • 34, recalling the madness of taste, (the inscription and verse 9, Hebrew numbering) closes this section. Its words strongly reflect those of Psalm 33.