THE FOLLOWING ARE NOTES FOR LECTURES GIVEN AT NEW COLLEGE, BIRMINGHAM. I AM NOT AN EXPERT AND BOOKS WILL BE CREDITED TO SHOW WHERE MY INFORMATION IS COMING FROM. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, COMMENT ON THIS POST AND I WILL TRY MY BEST TO ANSWER.
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
To switch things up a bit, we are going to looks at this psalm together rather than me just lecturing to you. You have seen how I have split psalms up and looked into the detail, and now you will do so to. I have provided questions you might like to think about
Split the psalm into 3 parts and they work on it in small groups. Approx 15 minutes.
(This is something anyone can practice doing themselves, and is a good skill to learn when looking at texts of any kind.)
Part a: 1-2
Part b: 3-4
Part c: 5-6
- Read the text a number of times.
- Think about who is speaking? What does the text tell you about them?
- Who are they speaking to?
- Is this for them only or on behalf of other people?
- What genre does this fit into?
- What other passages does it remind you of?
- Are there literary devices (repetition, metaphors, etc) seen in the text?
- Now look into the commentaries and see what they say?
- Do you agree, why/ why not?
We will then bring it together and see how we can look at it from start to finish.
- What is the effect now that you have the whole psalm rather than just a small part?
- The whole psalms structure, does it remind you of anything?
- Anything you remember in relation to other psalms?
A few observations I made:
- Time – how long, how long, how long
- Past tense of The lord has been good
- In the future I will sing another song
- Light and dark, the feeling that god has turned his face away is a huge deal for David, it is life in comparison to death.
- David will continue to praise in the hardest of situations, no matter what he has gone through he continues to praise.
- Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary on Book I and II of the Psalms (Inter-Varsity Press, England, 1973).
- Spurgeon, C. H. The Treasury of David, Volume 1, Psalm I to LVII (Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusetts).
- Society of Biblical Literature. The Harper Collins Study Bible (New Revised Standard Version).
- Walton, John H. Chronolgical and Background Charts of the Old Testament (Zondervan, Michigan, 1978).