The happy ones (Ps 32:1-32:2)

A psalm of David, a Maskil

Happy are those

Whose transgression is forgiven.

Happy are those

Whose sin is covered.

Happy are those

To whom Yahweh imputes no iniquity.

Happy are those

In whose spirit there is no deceit.”

Once again, Psalm 32 is assigned to David. However, it is called a Maskil, which is the Hebrew word for wisdom. It was a term later used for the German Jewish Enlightenment Reform of the 18th and 19th century. Thus this might be considered a wisdom psalm. Who are the happy people? They are the ones whose transgressions have been forgiven. Their sins have been covered because Yahweh did not impute any iniquity to them. They have no deceit in their spirit. These are the happy or wise people.

Yahweh should be merciful (Ps 25:6-25:7)

Zain   

“Be mindful of your mercy!

Yahweh!

Be mindful of your steadfast love!

They have been from of old.

Het     

Do not remember the sins of my youth!

Do not remember my transgressions!

According to your steadfast love,

Remember me!

For your goodness’ sake!

Yahweh!”

David wanted Yahweh to be merciful. He wanted him to remember his love from long ago. Yahweh was not to remember the sins of his youth or other transgressions. However, he was to remember only love because Yahweh is good.

The fate of the wicked ones (Ps 5:9-5:10)

“There is no truth in their mouth.

Their hearts are destruction.

Their throats are open graves.

They flatter with their tongues.

Make them bear their guilt!

O God!

Let them fall by their own counsels!

Because of their many criminal transgressions,

Cast them out!

They have rebelled against you.”

Now David attacked his enemies, the wicked ones. They were liars. They have cruel destructive hearts. Their throats were like open graves. They flattered everyone. David wanted them to confess and bear their guilt. He wanted vengeance. He wanted them to fall because of their many transgressions. They were to be cast out from the sight of Yahweh. They had rebelled against Yahweh. There was no greater sin than that.

The true sense of God’s justice (Job 36:5-36:12)

“Surely God is mighty.

He does not despise anyone.

He is mighty in strength of understanding.

He does not keep the wicked alive.

He gives the afflicted their right.

He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous.

With kings upon the throne

He sets them forever.

They are exalted.

If they are bound in fetters,

And caught in the cords of affliction,

Then he declares to them their work.

He declares their transgressions.

They are behaving arrogantly.

He opens their ears to instruction.

He commands that they return from iniquity.

If they listen,

If they serve him,

They complete their days in prosperity.

They complete their years in pleasantness.

But if they do not listen,

They shall perish by the sword.

They die without knowledge.”

Elihu ascribes to God the qualities that he believes a divine power should have. The almighty God does not despise anyone. He is mighty in strength and understanding. He does not keep the wicked alive. He watches the righteous. The kings have their thrones forever. However, if there are transgressions as when they act arrogantly, God would open their ears to instruction. He commands them to open their ears to instructions on how to return from their iniquity. If they listen properly and serve God, they will complete their years in pleasant prosperity. If they do not listen they will perish by the sword without any knowledge. The choice was simple, follow God, and all will be good. Go against God, and you will die.

Elihu maintains that Job speaks out of ignorance (Job 35:9-35:16)

“Because of the multitude of oppressions

People cry out.

They call for help

Because of the arm of the mighty.

But none says.

‘Where is God my Maker?

Where is one who gives strength in the night?

Where is one who teaches us more than the animals of the earth?

Where is one who makes us wiser than the birds of the air?’

There they cry out,

But he does not answer,

Because of the pride of evildoers.

Surely God does not hear an empty cry.

Nor does the Almighty Shaddai regard it.

How much less when you say

That you do not see him.

The case is before him.

You are waiting for him!

Now because his anger does not punish,

He does not greatly heed transgression.

Job opens his mouth in empty talk.

He multiplies words without knowledge.”

Elihu said that people are always crying out because of oppression. However, God does not hear the empty cry of the evil doer. The almighty God does not hear because of the pride of the evil doer. Job claimed that he was waiting for a reply to the transgressions against him. However, the problem was that of Job since he used empty talk without any knowledge.

Job never gloated over others (Job 31:29-31:34)

“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,

If I have exulted when evil overtook them,

I have not let my mouth sin.

I have not asked for their lives with a curse.

If those of my tent ever not said

‘O that we might be sated his flesh!’

The stranger has not lodged in the street.

I have opened my doors to the traveler.

If I have concealed my transgressions as others do

By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,

Because I stood in great fear of the multitude,

If the contempt of families terrified me,

That I kept silence,

I did not go out of doors.”

Job never rejoiced in the ruin of others, even if they were his enemies. He had never cursed anyone or wished them death. He had always passed the food in his tent so that no one went hungry, that is known as passing the flesh. He never let strangers sleep in the street as he opened his doors to travelers. He never hid any of his transgressions in his bosom. He kept silent about those that terrified him.

Job speaks about Sheol (Job 14:13-14:17)

“O that you would hide me in Sheol!

O that you would conceal me until your wrath is past!

O that you would appoint me a set time!

O that you would remember me!

If mortals die,

Will they live again?

All the days of my service

I would wait until my release should come.

You would call me.

I would answer you.

You would long for the work of your hands.

Then you would not number my steps.

You would not keep watch over my sin.

My transgression would be sealed up in a bag.

You would cover over my iniquity.”

Job wanted to hide in Sheol, or the underworld of the dead, what we often call hell. He wanted to stay there until the wrath of God against him had subsided. He wanted a set time. He wanted to know if mortals lived after their death. Job was willing to wait in Sheol if he had a release date. He would answer if called. He wanted God to remember that he was the work of God. He wanted him to remember his steps. He wanted his sins and transgressions covered up in a sealed bag. He wanted Sheol or hell to be transitory, not permanent.