Sunday, June 30, 2013

Psalm 20

Lines Scansion

NASB (Verse 1 in the Hebrew Bible is the Superscription)

1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
2 May He send you help from the sanctuary
And support you from Zion!
3 May He remember all your meal offerings
And find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah.
4 May He grant you your heart’s desire
And fulfill all your counsel!
5 We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

6 Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;

He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.
8 They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright.
9 Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us in the day we call.

Effect of the Metric Center on the Psalm’s Development

Psalm 20, a Royal Psalm according to Westermann (The Psalms: Structure, Content & Message, 109)  “are those in which the king plays a role.”  See also Westermann, Praise and Lament in the Psalms, 245. Verses 1-5 consist of a prayer for the congregation.  Following this point in the Psalm an Oracle of Salvation (Called also an “Oracle of Assurance” by Yates in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, 503) may be assumed to account for the change in conviction and tone of the remainder of the poem.  At verse [6a English] Craigie, Psalms 1-50, 186,  writes, “The declaration begins with the word now (עתה), which is the emphatic term, indicating a turning point in the ritual. What prompted the turning point is uncertain: it may have been the completion of the sacrificial acts and accompanying ritual, or it may have been the receipt of a positive oracle in the person of the declarer.”  Verses 6b-9 [English] express absolute confidence in the Lord’s deliverance. 



Psalm 8

Lines Scansion 

NASB (The Hebrew text makes the superscription verse 1)

1 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
2  From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

Effect of the Metric Center on the Psalm’s Development

Westermann, Praise and Lament in the Psalms, 139—Psalm 8 is a creation psalm. Bratcher &  Reyburn, A Translator's Handbook on the Book of Psalms, 77, summarize the whole revealing the turning point at verse 4 (English), 
This psalm is a hymn which celebrates the glory of God and the worth of humankind. It opens with praise of God’s majesty (verses 1–2), followed by a reflection on the human being: though insignificant when compared with God’s creation (verses 3–4), the true worth of human beings is revealed in their having been appointed by the Creator as rulers over all other created beings (verses 5–8). The psalm closes with the same praise of God’s majesty with which it begins (verse 9).


Verse 4 (English) is the metric center and the turning point identified thematically by means of a question after which mankind becomes the subject. Ross, BKC, 797—“The rhetorical questions in verse 4 emphasize that man is an insignificant creature in the universe (cf. 144:3). Yet God cares for him immensely. It amazed David that the Lord of the universe even thinks about man.” Craigie, Psalms 1-50, 110, notes the Christological significance in 1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22; Hebrews 2:6-9.