Thursday, February 24, 2011

Psalms 116-120: the long and short of it

Psalm 116

God finally talks to the psalmist, who uses the opportunity to bitch about how he's sooo close to dying. Rather than leave him to it, god restores him to the land of the living (v. 9), where he promises to devote his life to praise.

Psalm 117

The only notable thing about this Psalm is that it's the shortest chapter in the bible, so short it doesn't even have time to ask god to smite anybody.

Psalm 118

Mercy, mercy, mercy. God destroyed my enemies. Praise, praise, praise.

Psalm 119

Ugh. The longest chapter in this entire book and it's a love poem to god's laws.

First, people who keep god's laws are perfect. Like Gwyneth Paltrow perfect.

In the next section, the psalmist is pretending to be a young man seeking to make his way in the world. The best advice he's given? Follow god's laws. Or start your own religion and make up your own laws.

Next, the psalmist tells us how hot and bothered he gets just thinking about being judged by god and begs him to make him understand it better. If you substitute 'spanking' for 'law' it gets pretty kinky.

Then there's the inevitable request for mercy and a recap of all the times it helped him in the past and the invariable plea for more attention. And of course to punish the wicked. Never forget to curse the wicked!

Then he starts bragging about how, thanks to god's law, he's smarter than anyone. No self-awareness whatsoever, after all those verses about proud and arrogant people.

The psalmist loves law more than gold. I guess no one told him how frequently those two things go together. He also pants when he thinks about how much he loves it (v. 131). I told you it's kinky.

Then there are several verses about how god's word is so beautiful, it hurts to look at it. He also informs us that he prays seven times a day.

Psalm 120

This is the Psalm of the expat gone mad: he complains about how much he hates the locals, how they're all lying war-mongerers and asks god to please let him go home. You can never go home again, my friend.

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