A long-winded recount of tales of the good old days back during the exodus. (It’s important to recount these stories for the kids.) There’s a lot of violence in the tale, because as we all know, Yahweh was a nasty character. Gotta love v 34 “When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously.” Well if threats are what it takes to bring people to god…. But there’s nothing new to see here if you’ve read the history section of the OT. zzzzz
This was obviously written after Jerusalem was sacked. The author isn’t very happy with the new neighbors…. He figures that the reason this was allowed to happen is because Yahweh is angry, so he suggests that Yahweh take out his anger on someone else, preferably any one of those heathen nations, since foreigners don’t matter. (v 5-6) Actually, reading the whole psalm it’s kind of pitiful the way every tragedy and misfortune is blamed on superstition. The psalmist is literally groveling at the feet of an imaginary friend, pleading for help that will never come.
Even though most of the psalms are boring and inane, I actually also find some of them very sad. It’s easy to dismiss them from our 21st century vantage point, but they represent the honest feelings of the people who wrote them; sort of like a diary or blog. The authors express fear and torment, and beg for mercy, wondering why they have been forsaken. These musings offer a glimpse of how cruel and terrifying life must have been in a pre-literate and pre-scientific society, where every illness, every tragedy, and every stroke of bad luck is blamed on either sin or the whim of some capricious god.