Thursday, June 6, 2013

Memorizing the Psalms - 6 (50-55 Asaph-David)

In this series, I am considering strategies for memorizing all the psalms of the Hebrew Psalter. Of course these strategies have to be combined. Others include singing, circling and drawing the structures, and so on.

This post brings us to psalm 50, 1/3 of the way through numerically - and it's not a bad dividing point. Psalm 50 is a universal call from (you guessed it).
אֵל אֱלֹהִים יְהוָה דִּבֶּר50:1The God of Gods יהוה spoke
חָנֵּנִי אֱלֹהִים כְּחַסְדֶּךָ51:3Be gracious to me, O God according to your loving-kindness
מַה תִּתְהַלֵּל52:3Why do you boast
אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ53:2Senseless said in its heart
אֱלֹהִים בְּשִׁמְךָ הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי54:3O God in your name save me
הַאֲזִינָה אֱלֹהִים תְּפִלָּתִי55:2Give ear O God to my prayer
  • Psalm 50 (Asaph) bears an uncanny relationship to Romans 1 and 2. Paul may well have taken the structure of his argument from this psalm. Or one could think that the mind of the apostle was informed by the same spirit as the mind of the elect poet.
  • Psalm 51 (David) reveals the murderer and the adulterer in the chosen king David. 
  • Psalm 52 critiques the lowly Doeg, as David's enemy, but considers the dangers of the tongue. 
  • Psalm 53 is the Elohist double of Psalm 14. 
  • Psalm 54 considers the Zipites as David's enemy. 
  • Psalm 55, recalled in the music of Felix Mendelssohn, then requests help from a host of enemies including the most intimate.
smoother than clotted cream his mouth
but close combat in his heart
his mollifying words oily
but they were swords unsheathed