Day 193

Psalms 146-150

The last 5 psalms are all anonymous, so we’re done with David. Collective cheer!

#146

There’s not much in this one. V 3-4 tell us not to put our trust in people, for there is no help there; and once they’re dead, they’re gone. Again, death is mostly seen as final in the OT. The rest is just wishful thinking about how good the lord is. zzzzz

stars

Can you count them?

#147

More wishful thinking and rosy images. These last few psalms must all be by the same author. In v 4, god “counts the stars and calls them all by name”. That’s pretty impressive – ask any astronomer how many stars there are. V 11 – there’s that emphasis on fear again. And lots more examples of pre-scientific thinking here, too.

#148

Yup, there’s a definite trend here – another happy song based on wishful thinking, creationism, and bad science. These last few psalms all sound like hymn lyrics to me, and this one is the basis of All Creatures of our God and King. If you haven’t heard Mr Bean sing this traditional hymn, here’s your chance. He’s hilarious! In the video, the congregation sings only the first and last verses (thank goodness!) out of 7, and you’ll never understand the words by listening to him, so you can find them here.

#149

Here’s another joyous praise song, except it doesn’t paint quite so rosy a picture in the middle section – let’s all praise god as he “executes vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron” (v 7-8). I like how the more modern translations always tame the language down a notch, eg ‘heathen’ becomes ‘nations’.

#150

We end the Book of Psalms on a high note, with a lofty hymn full of pomp and circumstance – a favorite of the royal family.

And that’s it! Do I hear an Alleluia? You’re probably as glad to be rid of all my links to sacred music as you are to be done with the psalms themselves. But it’s been cathartic for me to review all this; it helps me make peace with my past. I didn’t link every single hymn that I know that was based on a psalm because we’d be discussing Psalms for the rest of the year. Some hymns use lyrics lifted straight out of the bible, while others are just loosely based on a theme from a particular psalm. If you want to get a better idea of just how pervasive psalms are in Christian music, take a look at this search which turned up thousands of results. I only looked at the first couple of pages, and I know almost all of these hymns. So if you’re curious about lyrics or a tune you just can’t quite place, here’s where to look.

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