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Hungers of the Heart

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					Literary Genres of Psalms

Individual Psalms of Supplication
Communal Psalms of Supplication
Psalms of Supplication
             Structure of
          Supplication Psalms
• Introduction
  – a) invocation of YHWH in first words
  – b) cry for help (imperative)
  – c) invocation repeated with illustrations and
    comparisons
  – d) self-description of petitioner
• Body
  – a) declaration to pour out one’s nefesh
  – b) narrative of distress: sickness, indictment,
    persecution by enemies, being abandoned to
    forces of destruction, being forsaken by God,
    guilt
  – c) questions: “Why?”, “How long?”
– d) plea made in immediate connection to the
  description of distress
– e) when the plea involves turning back or
  overcoming enemies, it may take the form of
  maledictions or curses
– f) inducements presented for YHWH’s
  intervention: YHWH’s honor, the righteousness
  of the petitioner (declarations of innocence)
• Closing Section
  – Vow
  – Looking forward to YHWH’s intervention
              Themes of
          Supplication Psalms
• Prayer Songs of a Sick Person (Pss 38, 41,
  88; 30, 39, 69, 102, 103; 6, 13, [31], 32,
  [35], [71], 77, 91)
• Prayer Songs of the Accused and
  Persecuted (Pss 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 17, 26, 27, 57,
  63)
• Prayer Songs of a Sinner (Pss 51, 130)
• Psalm of Confidence or Trust (todah)
• Acrostic Summary of Conventional
  Supplications (Ps 25)
      Example of an Individual
     Supplication Psalm (Ps 130)
•   A pilgrimage song.
•   1. From the depth I cry to you, YHWH!
•   2. Lord, hear my voice!
•   Let your ears be inclined
•   to my loud pleading!
•   3. If you impute sin, YH,
•   Lord, who could stand?
•   4. Indeed, with you there is forgiveness
•   that you may be feared.
•   5. I hope, YHWH,
•   my soul hopes;
•   for his word I wait!
•   6. My soul is turned to the Lord
•   more than the watchman to the morning,
•   more than the watchman to the morning!
•   7. Let Israel wait for YHWH,
•   for only with YHWH is there goodness
•   and much redemption from him!
•   8. Indeed, he will redeem Israel
•   from all its sins.
       Example of a Communal
      Supplication Psalm (Ps 137)
•   1. At the streams of Babylon
•   we sat and wept
•   when we thought of Zion.
•   2. On the poplar trees there
•   we hung up our lyres.
•   3. Yes, there we were asked
•   for songs by our guards
•   and for shouts of joy
•   by our oppressors [saying:]
•   “Sing for us
•   one of the songs of Zion.”
•   4. How could we sing a YHWH song
•   on foreign soil?
•   5. If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
•   let my right hand wither away!
•   6. Let my tongue stick to my gums
•   if I do not remember you!
•   If I do not exalt Jerusalem
•   above the best of my joys!
•   7. Keep in mind, O YHWH,
•   for the sons of Edom
•   the day of Jerusalem!
•   Who said: “Tear down! Tear down
•   all the way to the ground!”
• 8. O daughter of Babylon, destroyer,
• blessings to him who pays you back!
• 9. Blessings to him who seizes your
  children
• and dashes them against a rock!

				
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posted:4/6/2013
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