Good morning! Happy Independence Day to those who are marking the holiday in the United States! Today’s reading (Psalms 107-110) starts the fifth and final section of the Psalms.
The opening verses of Psalm 107 invoke the worldwide embrace of God “from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south”. I’ve occasionally heard this used in communion liturgies, and appreciate its universal invitation. Later on, we read a four-fold formula where God’s rescues the famished and lost, the repentant prisoner, the sick, and the seafarer caught in a great storm. In these and all situations where people cry out for deliverance, what matters to God is whether or not a person shows humility and willingness to repent.
One interesting dynamic of Psalm 108 is that its second half is identical to the second half of Psalm 60, but the part before “God has promised” is different. Psalm 60 has a mournful, pleading opening, whereas here the writer is confident in God’s steadfast praise. I like to imagine a “psalm-writing contest” where various entrants wrote alternate beginnings to a given prompt. It’s pure fantasy, but I’m not sure how else to explain the similarity and difference.
Psalm 109 lists a series of bitter curses against the psalmist, who pleads with God to turn them against the accuser instead. The final chapter in this passage addresses the sovereign of Israel, who is promised every good thing because of God’s steadfast care. The writer includes a declaration that shows up elsewhere in the Bible also, perhaps a promise verse from an ancient ritual: “You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.” This mysterious Melchizedek character shows up again in the New Testament letters as well. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Psalms 111-118. Thanks for reading!