Seeking Yahweh (Ps 77:1-77:3)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Jeduthun, a psalm of Asaph

“I cry aloud to God!

I cry aloud to God!

Thus he may hear me!

In the day of my trouble

I seek Yahweh!

In the night

My hand is stretched out without wearying.

My soul refuses to be comforted.

I think of God!

I moan!

I meditate!

My spirit faints!”

Selah

Psalm 77 is another in the choral psalms of Asaph, the Temple singer.   This time it is according to Jeduthun, the name of one of the Levite Merari families that David appointed as music master in 1 Chronicles, chapters 16 and 25. Jeduthun was a trumpet player. His sons led the music in the Temple. His name appears here and in Psalms 39 and 62. Once again this is a lamentation about how bad things are. Asaph or this psalmist is seeking Yahweh with a personal cry to God. He cried out aloud so that God could hear him. When he was in trouble he always sought Yahweh. He spent his nights with outstretched arms in prayer. He refused to be comforted. He was thinking of God. He moaned and meditated as his spirit became faint. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

The power of God (Ps 76:7-76:9)

“But you indeed are awesome!

Who can stand before you?

When once your anger is roused?

From the heavens

You uttered judgment.

The earth feared.

The earth was still.

God rose up to establish judgment.

He wanted to save all the oppressed of the earth.”

Selah

God was awesome! No one could stand before him once his anger was aroused. From heaven he uttered his judgment. Thus the earth feared and was still. God established his judgment. He wanted to save all the oppressed of the earth. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

Praise of Zion (Ps 76:1-76:3)

“In Judah

God is known.

His name is great

In Israel.

His abode has been established

In Salem,

His dwelling place is

In Zion.

There he broke

The flashing arrows,

The shield,

The sword,

And the weapons of war.”

Selah

Psalm 76 is another in the string of Asaph choral psalms. This one is a song with stringed instruments about the ultimate victory of God in Judah and Jerusalem. God was known in Judah, the southern stronghold. His name was great in northern Israel. His home was in Jerusalem or Salem, the ancient name of Jerusalem. He dwelt in Zion, the Temple on Mount Zion. There he broke all the instruments of war of the people who were attacking Jerusalem. He broke the arrows, shields, and swords. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

God is a steady hand (Ps 75:2-75:3)

“At the set time,

That I appoint,

I will judge with equity.

When the earth totters,

With all its inhabitants,

It is I who keep its pillars steady.”

Selah

Now we have some kind of oracle by a prophet spoken in the Temple by a prophet who spoke in the name of God. He pointed out that at a set time, when he decided when it would be, God would judge the earth with equity or fairness. Thus when the earth totters, God would keep it steady for all its inhabitants. This might indicate that they were familiar with earthquakes. This section then ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.

Sing to Yahweh (Ps 68:32-68:32)

“Sing to God!

O kingdoms of the earth!

Sing praises to Yahweh!”

Selah

Those at the Temple should sing to God. However, it is not just the Israelites who should sing to Yahweh, but all the kingdoms on earth. Everyone should sing praises to Yahweh. Once again, this verse ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.

Yahweh came from Sinai (Ps 68:17-68:19)

“With mighty chariots,

Twice ten thousand,

Thousands upon thousands,

Yahweh came from Sinai

Into the holy place.

You ascended the high mountain.

You lead captives in your train.

You received gifts from people,

Even from those who rebel against

Yahweh God’s abiding there.

Blessed be Yahweh!

He daily bears us up!

God is our salvation!”

Selah

Yahweh had 20,000 chariots lead him from Mount Sinai to the new Mount Zion in Jerusalem. This seems a little exaggerated. He came into the new holy place leaving many captives along the way. Everyone gave him gifts, even those opposed to his stay at Mount Zion. Once again, this section ended with the musical interlude pause, the Selah. This came after the refrain that Yahweh was blessed, that God was their salvation.

Remembering the wilderness march (Ps 68:7-68:7)

“O God!

You went out before your people!

You marched through the wilderness!”

Selah

The psalmist remembers that God led his people through the desert. God was the leader of the march through the wilderness. They could not have made it without God. Once again, this verse ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.

Gracious God (Ps 67:1-67:1)

A song to the choirmaster leader, with stringed instruments, a psalm

“May God be gracious to us!

May God bless us!

May God make his face to shine upon us!”

Selah

Psalm 67 is another short psalm of thanksgiving for a great harvest. This is another choral song and psalm, without any Davidic attribution. The psalmist wanted God to be gracious to him and his people. He wanted the face of God to shine on them. Once again, this verse ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.

Temple offerings (Ps 66:13-66:15)

“I will come into your house

With burnt offerings.

I will pay you my vows

That my lips uttered.

My mouth promised

When I was in trouble.

I will offer to you

Burnt offerings of fatlings,

With the smoke of the sacrifice of rams.

I will make an offering of bulls and goats.”

Selah

Now this psalm turns personal as the psalmist tells what he was going to do. He was going to make Temple offerings at the house of God. He was going to make burnt offerings, which was common in the Middle East, but became more important with the altar just outside the Temple. It is mentioned in Genesis, chapters 8 and 22, (well before the Temple) Exodus, chapter 29, Leviticus, chapters 1, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, Numbers, chapters 6, 8, 15, and 28, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 2. The psalmist has made a vow to offer this sacrifice. His lips and mouth had uttered this vow when he was in trouble. Now he was able to offer the burnt offering of rams, bulls, and goats. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.

The power of God (Ps 66:5-66:7)

“Come and see

What God has done.

He is awesome in his deeds among mortals.

He turned the sea into dry land.

They passed through the river on foot.

There we rejoiced in him.

He rules by his might forever.

His eyes keep watch on the nations.

Let the rebellious not exalt themselves.”

Selah

Come and see the power of God and what he has done. He is awesome! Among the mortals he turned the sea to dry land, as the crossing of the Red Sea dominates among the powers of God. They were able to pass through the sea as if on dry land. Of course, the sons of Israel rejoiced because his rule is forever. He keeps an eye on all the nations, so that any rebellious group ought to be careful. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.