Thursday, October 3, 2013

Psalm 33

Lines Scansion


1    Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones;
      Praise is becoming to the upright.
2    Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
      Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
3    Sing to Him a new song;
      Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
4    For the word of the LORD is upright,
      And all His work is done in faithfulness.
5    He loves righteousness and justice;
      The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.
6    By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
      And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
7    He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
      He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
8    Let all the earth fear the LORD;
      Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9    For He spoke, and it was done;
      He commanded, and it stood fast.
10  The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations;
      He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11  The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
      The plans of His heart from generation to generation.
12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
      The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.
13  The LORD looks from heaven;
      He sees all the sons of men;
14  From His dwelling place He looks out
      On all the inhabitants of the earth,
15  He who fashions the hearts of them all,
      He who understands all their works.
16  The king is not saved by a mighty army;
      A warrior is not delivered by great strength.
17  A horse is a false hope for victory;
      Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.
18  Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
      On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
19  To deliver their soul from death
      And to keep them alive in famine.
20  Our soul waits for the LORD;
      He is our help and our shield.
21  For our heart rejoices in Him,
      Because we trust in His holy name.
22  Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,
      According as we have hoped in You.
Effect of the Metric Center on the Psalm’s Development
Psalm 33 falls into the literary category of Descriptive Praise. Such a Psalm has two basic parts: “the summons to praise and the unfolding of that praise” (Westermann, The Psalms, 85). Westermann (The Psalms, 94) outlines the Psalm with these particulars: Summons to praise (1-2) and God’s activity (4-19) with verses 10-12 serving as a transition from God’s transcendent activities in the world, creation and absolute sovereignty, to His immanent activities in relationship to His people, deliverance and preservation. To once again use Westermann’s words (Praise and Lament in the Psalms, 236), “This section [verses 10-12] is transitional, leading to the development of the grace of God (13-19).” Craigie (Psalms, 273) comes to a similar conclusion, “(33:10-12). There is now a transition from the praise of God in creation to the praise of God in his control of human history.”
The metrically-centered transitional verses 10 and 11 reveal two distinct contrasts touching on Yahweh’s immanent activities: (1) the “counsel of the nations” and the “counsel of the Lord, and (2) the “plans of the peoples” and the “plans of His heart.” Not only does Yahweh reign broadly over the whole of creation (verses 1-9) but also narrowly over the inward plans and thoughts of peoples and nations. See also Bratcher and Rayburn, A Translator's Handbook on the Book of Psalms, 314. It is this narrower aspect that comprises verses 13-19. Verses 13-15 highlight Yahweh’s involvements in human activities, and verses 16-19 explains that mankind’s safety and well-being rests in the power of God and not in human efforts. Finally, verses 20-22 flow naturally into praise of the Creator and Sustainer echoing verse 12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.”