The false worship of natural forces (Wis 13:1-13:2)

“All people who were ignorant of God

Were foolish by nature.

They were unable

From the good things that are seen

To know the one who exists.

They did not recognize the artisan

While paying heed to his works.

They supposed that either

Fire,

Or wind,

Or swift air,

Or the circle of the stars,

Or turbulent water,

Or the luminaries of heaven

Were the gods that rule the world.”

All these vain foolish men (πάντες ἄνθρωποι) are ignorant of God (Θεοῦ ἀγνωσία). They see the good things of this earth, but they do not recognize the creative artisan who made them. Instead they worship the very works that he has made such as fire, wind, air, stars, water, or other heavenly bodies. They claim that these are the gods that rule the world (κόσμου θεοὺς ἐνόμισαν).

Listen up kings and judges! (Wis 6:1-6:3)

“Listen therefore!

O kings!

Understand!

Learn!

O judges of the ends of the earth!

Give ear!

You that rule over multitudes!

You boast of many nations!

Your dominion was given you

From the Lord.

He is your sovereignty

From the Most High.

He will search out your works.

He will inquire into your plans.”

There is a call to kings (βασιλεῖς) and judges (δικασταὶ) to listen, understand, and learn. The most powerful on earth have their sovereignty from the Lord (παρὰ τοῦ Κυρίου), the Most High God (παρὰ ῾Υψίστου). Once again, we have the divine right of kings as all power comes from God through the kings. God would search out and inquire about their works and plans.

The kingdom of Yahweh (Ps 145:10-145:13)

Yod

“All your works shall give thanks to you!

Yahweh!

All your faithful shall bless you!

Kaph

They shall speak of the glory

Of your kingdom.

They shall tell of your power.

Lamed

They shall make known to all people

Your mighty deeds.

They shall make known

The glorious splendor

Of your kingdom.

Mem

Your kingdom is

An everlasting kingdom.

Your dominion endures

Throughout all generations.”

David wanted all the works of Yahweh to give thanks. He wanted all the faithful to bless him. They should speak of the glory and the power of his kingdom. They should tell everybody about his mighty deeds. They should let everyone know about the glorious splendor of his kingdom. Yahweh’s kingdom is everlasting and endures forever through all generations. The next 4 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found here in italic.

Yahweh is powerful (Ps 145:4-145:7)

Dalet

“One generation shall laud your works to another.

One generation shall declare your mighty acts.

He

I will meditate

On the glorious splendor of your majesty.

I will meditate.

On your wondrous works.

Vav

The might of your awesome deeds

Shall be proclaimed.

I will declare your greatness.

Zain

They celebrate the fame

Of your abundant goodness.

They shall sing aloud

Of your righteousness.”

Each generation will declare the mighty acts and works of Yahweh. David will meditate on the splendor of the majesty of Yahweh and his wonderful works. His awesome deeds should be proclaimed because he is great. They should celebrate the abundant goodness of Yahweh. They should sing about his righteousness. The next 4 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found here in italic.

Remembering the good old days (Ps 143:5-143:6)

“I remember the days of old.

I think about all your deeds.

I meditate on the works of your hands.

I stretch out my hands to you.

My soul thirsts for you

Like a parched land.”

Selah

David remembered the good old days when Yahweh had done so much. He meditated on the works of Yahweh. He stretched out his hands to Yahweh.  His soul was thirsting for Yahweh like a parched land seeking water. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

Impotence of idols (Ps 135:15-135:18)

“The idols of the nations are silver and gold.

They are the work of human hands.

They have mouths,

But they do not speak.

They have eyes,

But they do not see.

They have ears,

But they do not hear.

There is no breath in their mouths.

Those who made them

Shall become like them.

All who trust in them,

Shall become like them.”

Many countries have idols of silver and gold. Obviously, these are the works of human hands. Very famously, the psalmist says that they have mouths but do not speak. They have eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear. They have no breath in their mouths. Thus they are impotent idols. The makers and followers of these idols are like them, without any power also.

The futility of other gods (Ps 115:4-115:8)

“Their idols are silver and gold.

They are the work of human hands.

They have mouths,

But do not speak.

They have eyes,

But do not see.

They have ears,

But do not hear.

They have noses,

But do not smell.

They have hands,

But do not feel.

They have feet,

But do not walk.

They make no sound in their throat.

Those who make them are like them.

So are all who trust in them.”

The contrast of Yahweh with these gold and silver idols is stark. These idol gods are the works of human hands. They have mouths, eyes, ears, noses, hands, and feet. However, they cannot speak, hear, see, smell, feel, or walk. Thus these impotent idols could not utter any sound. The idols were like those who had made them. They were trusting in themselves. The implication here was that Yahweh, whose name was in the Temple, had the anthropomorphic ability to speak, hear, see, smell, feel, and walk among his people. Many of the Israelite prayers assume this ability as they often pray that Yahweh might speak, hear, and see them.

Introductory hymn to Yahweh (Ps 105:1-105:5)

“O give thanks to Yahweh!

Call on his name!

Make known his deeds among the peoples!

Sing to him!

Sing praises to him!

Tell of all his wonderful works!

Glory in his holy name!

Let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice!

Seek Yahweh!

Seek his strength!

Seek his presence continually!

Remember the wonderful works he has done!

Remember his miracles!

Remember the judgments he has uttered!”

Psalm 105 is usually combined with Psalm 106 to be recited at some major feast, since it recalls all the great events in the life of the Israelites. However this long psalm has no introductory title. The first section is a hymn to Yahweh. Some of the texts have an Alleluia to start this hymn. We give thanks to Yahweh. We call on his name. We tell everybody about him. We sing praises to him. We glory in his holy name. Those who seek Yahweh can rejoice. We seek his strength and his presence continually. We remember his wonderful works, his miracles, and his judgments.

Yahweh controls the seas (Ps 104:24-104:26)

“Yahweh!

How manifold are your works!

In wisdom,

You have made them all.

The earth is full of your creatures.

Yonder is the great wide sea.

Innumerable creeping things are there.

There are living things,

Both small and great.

There go the ships!

There is Leviathan

That you formed to play sport with it.”

The works of Yahweh are marvelous. Yahweh created all these things out of wisdom. The earth is full of all Yahweh’s creatures. Then the psalmist turned to the seas and how great and wide they are. However, he then talked about the innumerable living things, both great and small in the sea. Even today, we are still just beginning to understand all the living creatures in the seas. Of course, there were the ships that transported goods and people around. However, there also was the great sea monster Leviathan. Interesting enough here it is considered some kind of sport rather than a menace as outlined in Job, chapter 41.

The great works of Yahweh (Ps 92:5-92:9)

“How great are your works!

Yahweh!

Your thoughts are very deep!

The dullard cannot know this.

The stupid cannot understand this.

The wicked sprout like grass.

All evildoers flourish.

They are doomed to destruction forever.

But you are on high forever!

Yahweh!

Your enemies!

Yahweh!

Your enemies shall perish.

All evildoers shall be scattered.”

The works of Yahweh are great. His thoughts are very deep. The dullards and stupid people do not know and understand this. The wicked and the evildoers are flourishing like grass. However, they are doomed to eternal destruction. Yahweh is on high forever and thus his enemies will perish. All the evildoers will be scattered.