17 May 2014

Update: Psalms 101 and 104

I have added two more Psalms to my Genevan collection, Psalms 101 and 104, making for a cumulative total of 85.

Psalm 101 may have been a coronation Psalm for the Davidic monarch, who swears thereby to uphold justice and to root out wickedness within his kingdom. It is perhaps ascribed to David himself or, alternatively, it may simply be of or about David, following the heading in the Septuagint. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon believes that its applicability extends beyond the political and into the private household, whose integrity requires proper governance along godly patterns. According to Matthew Henry, this psalm teaches that all charged with authority, presumably in any setting, are "to use it so as to be a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well." As with so many of the Davidic psalms, Psalm 101 may be seen to find its ultimate fulfilment in the person of the coming Messiah, Jesus, who will pronounce final judgement on the wicked and salvation for the righteous and whose kingdom will have no end.

Here are the first three stanzas in my versification, covering verses 1-4 in the standard prose translations:

Of justice and fidelity will I sing;
to you, O LORD, my songs of praise will I bring,
and to your righteous ways I'll firmly cling.
When will you come?

Integrity shall be the path I pursue;
within my house I vow to give all to you.
I will not place whatever is untrue
before my eyes.

I hate the deeds that faithless people perform;
to all their evils I will never conform.
My heart will not let wicked ways deform,
but shun all sin.

The poetic metre is and the versification follows an a-a-a-b rhyming scheme. The melody is in the hypoionian mode, which is roughly equivalent to what we would call a major key.

Psalm 104 is traditionally associated with Pentecost and the sending of the Holy Spirit to the church. I will have more to say about this psalm as we get closer to this feast day.

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