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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Psalm 103

I am going to break again from the discussion of the spirit and come back to that later. In response to Lingamish's post on 1 Cor. 13 I want to post Psalm 103 with notes. (I had my last Hebrew Psalms tutorial this afternoon so I will just share a few thoughts.)
    1Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name.
    2Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and do not forget all his benefits—
    3who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
    4who redeems your life from destruction,
    who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
    5who satisfies you with good as long as you live
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
This first section is all addressed to the self. "You" is in the feminine since the soul/self is feminine. The inflections are feminine in other psalms also where Zion or Jerusalem are addressed. The Psalms don't seem as masculine when I read in them Hebrew as they do in English.

    6The Lord works vindication
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
    7He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
    8The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
    9He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger for ever.
    10He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
    11For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him;
    12as far as the east is from the west,
    so far he removes our transgressions from us.
    13As a father has compassion for his children,
    so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
    14For he knows how we were made;
    he remembers that we are dust.

The language here is very reminiscent of 1 Cor. 13.

    15As for mortals, their days are like grass;
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
    16for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
    17But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
    on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
    18to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.

Mortals here is enosh, a word for humans which emphasizes our frailty.

    19The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
    20Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    obedient to his spoken word.
    21Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers that do his will.
    22Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
    Bless the Lord, O my soul. NRSV/ KJV


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