64. "From the fear of my enemy, save me!" Walking the dog tonight, two rats crossed my path, pursued by a raccoon. I saw the raccoon, in its own right a frightening, potentially predatory creature, to be a God-send, a heroic man of the wood, come to crush the foes of the netherworld. I have to admit it was terrifying, and disgusting. "Who have whet their tongue like a sword, and have aimed their arrow, a poison word." Blech! Give me a Tea Party to eradicate *these* creatures--that's a platform I can get behind. Poison, Ernest Borgnine. Nothing seems to stop these things.
65. The way I see it, what David is really saying here is: "We are difficult, sinful creatures. "The tale of our sins overwhelm me." And so we are left to the fields, to work, to plant, sow and reap--by the sweat of our brow like Adam the First--and You, in your infinite wonder and generosity, have rewarded us with a good harvest. There's a beauty and graciousness in this psalm, yet also a hint of Eddie Haskel sucking up to the Cleavers.
The Hebrew here is, without question, some of the most moving and poetic Hebrew I've encountered thus far. Its rhythm and simplicity makes it clear that this was a kind of Harvest Song. Wonderful, both patient and urgent. It exemplifies a tenuous gratitude to the reader, knowing how brutal a drought or famine can be. Yet while bounty and beauty are fleeting, they are celebrated.
66. Shir Mizmor. Mizmor Shir. There have been so many musical versions written to Mi Chamocha, celebrating the moment of Exodus that we sing in our prayers, none more annoying, in my mind, than the current folky bunch that are sung in the Reform camping movement but seem to have made their way across the Interstate system and remain entrenched in our liturgy year round. I mean, it's great for the kids but let's get serious. We need a song writing contest for a new way to sing about and celebrate the Exodus and I hereby commission a song-writing contest for Psalm 66. If you're following along here (and God knows, I think seven people read this blog--and you're one of them!) I strongly encourage you work your way through the Hebrew. There are some really terrific turns of phrase.
Have a good day.