« Prev Psalm CVIII. Next »

169

PSALM CVIII.

1 Steadfast is my heart, O God,

I will sing and harp, yea, my glory [shall sing].

2 Awake, harp and lute,

I will wake the dawn.

3 I will give Thee thanks among the peoples, Jehovah,

And I will harp to Thee among the nations.

4 For great above the heavens is Thy loving-kindness,

And to the clouds Thy troth.

5 Exalt Thyself above the heavens, O God,

And above all the earth Thy glory.

6 That Thy beloved ones may be delivered,

Save with Thy right hand and answer me.

7 God has spoken in His holiness,

I will divide Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth.

8 Mine is Gilead, mine Manasseh,

And Ephraim is the strength of my head,

Judah my baton of command.

9 Moab is my wash-basin,

Upon Edom will I throw my shoe,

Over Philistia will I shout aloud.

10 Who will bring me into the fortified city?

Who has guided me into Edom?

11 Hast not Thou, O God, cast us off,

And goest not out, O God, with our hosts?

12 Give us help from trouble,

For vain is help of man.

13 In God we shall do prowess,

And He, He will tread down our oppressors.

Two fragments of Davidic psalms are here tacked together with slight variations. Vv. 1-5 are from Psalm lvii. 7-11; and vv. 6-13 from Psalm lx. 5-12.170 The return from Babylon would be an appropriate occasion for thus revivifying ancient words. We have seen in preceding psalms that Israel's past drew the thoughts of the singers of that period, and the conjecture may be hazarded that the recent deliverance suggested to some devout man, whose mind was steeped in the songs of former days, the closeness with which old strains suited new joys. If so, there is pathetic meaning in the summons to the "psaltery and harp," which had hung silent on the willows of Babylon so long, to wake their ancient minstrelsy once more, as well as exultant confidence that the God who had led David to victory still leads His people. The hopes of conquest in the second part, the consciousness that while much has been achieved by God's help, much still remains to be won before Israel can sit secure, the bar or two in the minor key in ver. 11, which heighten the exultation of the rest of the song, and the cry for help against adversaries too strong for Israel's unassisted might, are all appropriate to the early stages of the return.

The variations from the original psalms are of slight moment. In ver. 1 the reduplication of the clause "Steadfast is my heart" is omitted, and "my glory" is detached from ver. 2, where it stands in Psalm lvii., and is made a second subject, equivalent to "I." In ver. 3a Jehovah is substituted for Lord, and the copula "and" prefixed to b. Ver. 4 is not improved by the change of "unto the heavens" to "above the heavens," for an anti-climax is produced by following "above the heavens" with "unto the clouds."

In the second part, the only change affecting the sense is in ver. 9, where the summons to Philistia to "shout aloud because of me," which is probably meant171 in sarcasm, is transformed into the plain expression of triumph, "Over Philistia will I shout aloud." The other changes are "me" for "us" in ver. 6, the omission of "and" before "mine Manasseh" in ver. 8, the substitution of a more usual synonym for "fenced" in ver. 10, and the omission of the pronoun "Thou" in ver. 11.

« Prev Psalm CVIII. Next »





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |