Friday, April 30, 2021

Psalms 11

When we were doing the psalms in sequence, (in March) we got to the first acrostic, Psalms 9-10. The next set is Psalms 11-25, then 26-34, then 35-37. Each of the last psalms in the series (bolded) is an acrostic. Will it make sense to see these as being like chapters in the first book of the Psalter, Psalms 1-41? Each of the four acrostics in book 1 is broken. One or more letters are missing. Psalms 9-10 is treated as a single psalm in the Greek and Orthodox and Latin translations. Two psalms are trying to make up one broken acrostic.

The fifth book, Psalms 107-150 (using Hebrew numbering - as is used by most English versions) similarly has 4 acrostic poems. They are all perfect. Looking at sequences leading up to acrostics gives us Psalms 106-111-112, (two acrostics in a row here) 113-119, (one enormous acrostic). Then come the psalms of ascent and three psalms following (120-134, 135, 136, 137 - no acrostics here), finally the fourth acrostic comes at the end a series of Davidic psalms, 138-145, and then the final 5, the doxology for the whole Psalter. 

We are still at the beginning, but there is some discernible structure to this collection.

These are poems full of violence. The poet takes refuge in Yahweh, in the one who was, who is, and who is to come. Confidence grows. Tension is high.

Are the fundamentals overthrown today? No preparation for the pandemic, profit before people in long term care, but the economy! balance the books, open up in the name of freedom (at whose expense?), essential workers at minimum wage, undocumented workers escaping from violent governance, and we haven't even looked at the Near East and the utter destruction there. How does a righteous one, (i.e. Yahweh) work in this disordered environment?

thlim ia Psalms 11 Fn Min Max Syll
a lmnxk ldvid
bihvh ksiti aiç tamru lnpwi
nudi hrcm xipor
1 For the leader. Of David.
In Yahweh I take refuge. How do you say to me,
Flit away to your mountain, bird?
3e 4B 7
b ci hnh hrwyim idrcun qwt connu kixm yl-itr
lirot bmo-aopl liwri-lb
2 For behold: the wicked. They direct a bow. They prepare their arrows on the bow-string,
to shoot in gloom at the upright of heart.
C 3d 4C 18
g ci hwtot iihrsun
xdiq mh-pyl
3 For the fundamentals are overthrown.
How does a righteous one work?

B 3e 4B 8
d ihvh bhicl qodwo ihvh bwmiim cisao
yiniv ikzu
ypypiv ibknu bni adm
4 Yahweh is in his holy temple. Yahweh in the heavens his throne.
His eyes gaze on,
His eyelids test the children of humanity.
3d 4C 14
h ihvh xdiq ibkn
vrwy vaohb kms
wnah npwo
5 Yahweh will test a righteous one,
but the wicked and lover of violence ...
he hates.

3d 4B 6
v im'tr yl-rwyim pkim
aw vgoprit vruk zlypot mnt cosm
6 He rains snares on the wicked.
Fire and pitch and ferocious wind are the portion of their cup.
3e 4B 8
z ci-xdiq ihvh xdqot ahb
iwr ikzu pnimo
7 For Yahweh is a righteous one. He loves righteousness.
His faces gaze on the upright.
3e 4B 9

You can observe from the syllable counts that there are 3 tricola, and 4 bicola. And the music is below. (No available performance as yet.) Take the trouble to sing it - if you only know English, remember it is plainsong, sing the syllables in Hebrew, and read the English line by line. It's only the first page in the chapter. Let's see where it takes us.


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