- it assumes we can identify the significant opening words.
- it has trouble with opening words repeated in more than one psalm.
So - an alternative strategy has occurred to me - what is(are) the central verse(s) of each psalm? I have had one response to 'famous' verses. But 'central' verse is a challenge also. I will continue the current series (more rapidly) - but will allow 'central' to be a recurring question.
We have reached Book 3 which I will treat in a single post - a big chunk for memory. Book 3 begins with 11 psalms of Asaph. (Psalm 50 was the first.)
|אַךְ טוֹב לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֱלֹהִים||73:1||Surely God is good to Israel|
|לָמָה אֱלֹהִים זָנַחְתָּ לָנֶצַח||74:1||Why O God? will you reject us in perpetuity?|
|הוֹדִינוּ לְּךָ אֱלֹהִים הוֹדִינוּ||75:2||We give thanks to you O God we give thanks|
|נוֹדָע בִּיהוּדָה אֱלֹהִים||76:2||Renowned in Judah is God|
|קוֹלִי אֶל אֱלֹהִים וְאֶצְעָקָה||77:2||my voice to God and I cried out|
|הַאֲזִינָה עַמִּי תּוֹרָתִי||78:1||Listen my people to my instruction|
|אֱלֹהִים בָּאוּ גוֹיִם בְּנַחֲלָתֶךָ||79:1||O God the nations have come into your inheritance|
|רֹעֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל הַאֲזִינָה||80:2||Shepherd of Israel give ear|
|הַרְנִינוּ לֵאלֹהִים עוּזֵּנוּ||81:2||Shout for joy to God our strength|
|אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת אֵל||82:1||God takes a stand in the divine assembly|
|אֱלֹהִים אַל דֳּמִי לָךְ||83:2||O God not mute for you|
- Psalm 73 is a singular personal reflection on touch and the heart. The poet is assured of presence: Even so, I myself am continually with you.
- Psalm 74 is a corporate lament on the destruction of the temple. Axes and crowbars smite the ornate carving of the wood.
- Psalm 75 reflects on the horn - both self-exaltation and the chopping off thereof.
- Psalm 76 contains the central verse: the shattering of fire-brand and bow in Salem.
- Psalm 77 ponders days, years, and eras, and continues the praise of the works of God from the prior psalms. It gives rise to
- Psalm 78, a full recital of the canonical history of Israel.
- Psalm 79 continues lament on the pouring out of Jerusalem.
- Psalm 80 pleads for presence and salvation.
- Psalm 81 commands joy, music as a statute, a judgment, and as a response to the testimony and the secrecy of the thunder.
- Psalm 82 commands right judgment.
- Psalm 83 pleads with God for help against the enemies, reaching back to the children of Lot.
|מַה יְּדִידוֹת מִשְׁכְּנוֹתֶיךָ יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת||84:2||How beloved your dwellings יהוה of hosts|
|רָצִיתָ יְהוָה אַרְצֶךָ||85:2||You were favorable יהוה with your land|
|תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד הַטֵּה יְהוָה אָזְנְךָ||86:1||Bend יהוה your ear|
|יְסוּדָתוֹ בְּהַרְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ||87:1||His foundation is on the holy hills|
|יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יְשׁוּעָתִי||88:2||יְהוָה the God of my salvation|
|חַסְדֵי יְהוָה עוֹלָם אָשִׁירָה||89:2||Of the loving-kindness of יהוה forever I will sing|
- Psalm 84 celebrates the courts of יהוה. It contains three beatitudes. This is respite in the midst of lament.
- Psalm 85 in spite of fierce anger, celebrates the truth that grows from the earth.
- Psalm 86 is the lone psalm of David in Book 2. It celebrates the character of God as portrayed in Exodus 34:8.
- Psalm 87 celebrates the holy city and the multitude of peoples who were born there.
- Psalm 88 is a personal lament with a central verse that recalls the troubles of Job. It leads directly to
- Psalm 89, a long rehearsal of the promises to David and a list of 12 accusations against God for the sorry state of affairs with respect to the promise of a line of succession from David.