Thursday, November 10, 2016

Psalm 10

By chance, today is the 10th day of the month and so the 10th Psalm is the first of the five I just listened to and read.  I think it would make a great blues song  or a great country song for our current condition. Here it is in the Contemporary English translation.

A Prayer for Help

10 Why are you far away, Lord?
    Why do you hide yourself
    when I am in trouble?
2 Proud and brutal people
    hunt down the poor.
    But let them get caught
    by their own evil plans!
3 The wicked brag about
    their deepest desires.
    Those greedy people hate
    and curse you, Lord.
4 The wicked are too proud
to turn to you
    or even think about you.
5 They are always successful,
though they can’t understand
    your teachings,
    and they keep sneering
    at their enemies.
6 In their hearts they say,
    “Nothing can hurt us!
    We’ll always be happy
    and free from trouble.”
7 They curse and tell lies,
and all they talk about
    is how to be cruel
    or how to do wrong.
8 They hide outside villages,
    waiting to strike and murder
    some innocent victim.
9 They are hungry lions
    hiding in the bushes,
    hoping to catch
    some helpless passerby.
They trap the poor in nets
    and drag them away.
10 They crouch down and wait
    to grab a victim.
11     They say, “God can’t see!
    He’s got on a blindfold.”
12 Do something, Lord God,
    and use your powerful arm
    to help those in need.
13 The wicked don’t respect you.
    In their hearts they say,
    “God won’t punish us!”
14 But you see the trouble
and the distress,
    and you will do something.
The poor can count on you,
    and so can orphans.
15 Now break the arms
    of all merciless people.
    Punish them for doing wrong
    and make them stop.
16 Our Lord, you will always rule,
    but nations will vanish
    from the earth.
17 You listen to the longings
    of those who suffer.
You offer them hope,
    and you pay attention
    to their cries for help.
18 You defend orphans
    and everyone else in need,
    so that no one on earth
    can terrify others again.

I'd take this a lot more seriously than I would some guy with a degree from an Ivy League school insulting and condescending to me and blaming me for getting duped by their classmates into voting for my oppressors. .


  1. You remind me I don't read the Psalms daily as I used to.
    Time to take the practice up again.

    1. I never did it before a couple of months ago. Hearing Brueggemann talking about trying to imagine who wrote particular psalms and why they wrote it, going through the different emotional and intellectual ranges of them, I think a lot of people would find it a lot more useful as therapy than going to complain about why they're so unhappy with their affluent lives only to have the shrink tell their customer that it's everyone elses fault but theirs. It's led me to read a lot of the things I hadn't read that way before and it makes all the difference in the world.

      I like what Brueggemann said in one of his lectures that he thinks historical criticism gets it wrong, that the Rabbis have the right idea that the scriptures require commentary, not criticism. Least of all they need to be treated like history and natural philosophy. Though it's remarkable how much of it, against the idiotic belief of those who haven't read it, is an extravagant love of nature, land, plants, animals.

  2. Though it's remarkable how much of it, against the idiotic belief of those who haven't read it, is an extravagant love of nature, land, plants, animals.

    I know. There are atheists who read it through the wrong lens (the subject of Brueggeman's critique), and atheists who don't read it at all, but claim to, because the know the story of Elijah and the she-bears, or some such.

    It's tiresome, so I let them be. There is a reason those works have been so important to so man people for so many millennia, and it's not because they were children and "we" are adults.