Thursday, December 03, 2015

Psalm 10 and Proverbs 3:5-12

Psalm 10
1. The Hebrew of this psalm is difficult, and English translations have done their best to render a good sense. It mostly has the character of a corporate complaint or imprecatory psalm. Why has the LORD not avenged his people?

Verse 12 calls on the LORD to rise up (10:12), to break the arm of the wicked (10:15). LORD, do justice (meaning social justice).

2. The main complaints are that the wicked abuse the poor (10:2, 9) and the oppressed (10:12). God cares for the orphan and the oppressed (10:14, 18). They murder the innocent in the village (10:8).

3. Meanwhile, the wicked deny that there is a God (10:4) or they deny that he is watching (10:11). He won't do anything (10:6).

4. Psalm 10:7 is quoted in Romans 3:14 as one of a string of descriptions of human wickedness. We are reminded, though, that Paul has strung together verses that were originally not about all humanity, but about the wicked. Psalm 10:7 is not describing all human beings, but the godless. As is often the case, he interprets the Old Testament in a "fuller sense."

5. In the early Greek translation of the Psalms, Psalm 9 and 10 are one psalm. Psalm 9 is roughly half an acrostic psalm (the verses approximately move through over half the Hebrew alphabet). The problem is that Psalm 10:2-11 interrupt the alphabet, leaving some to wonder if this psalm has gone through some stages in its history. Robert Alter (2009) suggests that an early psalm may have been damaged in some way, then with about 10 new verses substituted in. Some of the verses that remain are difficult to interpret.

Robert Alter. (2009). The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007).

Proverbs 3:5-12
Proverbs 3:5-6 are some of the most quoted verses in Proverbs: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Our tendency is to be wise in our own eyes, but we know nothing next to God.

3:9-10 admonish us to honor God with our substance, giving him the first fruits, with a probable outcome of prosperity.

3:11-12 then tell us not to despise the discipline of the LORD, indicating that God's discipline is an expression of God's love. Hebrews 12:5-6 quote these verses and apply them to the difficult situation that its audience was undergoing.

Psalm 1 and Proverbs 1:1-7
Psalm 2 and Proverbs 1:8-14
Psalm 3 and Proverbs 1:15-19
Psalm 4 and Proverbs 1:20-27
Psalm 5 and Proverbs 1:28-33
Psalm 6 and Proverbs 2:1-5
Psalm 7 and Proverbs 2:6-15
Psalm 8 and Proverbs 2:16-22
Psalm 9 and Proverbs 3:1-4

No comments: