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Friday Bible Blogging - Psalms 91 to Psalms 100

This entry is part of a series. For a listing of all entries in the series, go to the Index. Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). All headings are links to those Bible chapters.

BibleWow. It's been a while since I've done one of these entries. I fell off the routine of posting regularly back in March, and have only had a handful of posts in the series since then, mostly explaining why I was too busy to post a review. But I'm back. The big work project that was keeping me super busy is over, and the big personal event that the whole family was busy preparing for is over. So, I should once again have the time to come up with a new post every Friday (the only concern now is motivation).

This week's entry covers Psalms 91 through 100. I guess that's a bit of a milestone - reaching the 3 digit mark. This is the only book of the Bible where that's even a possibility. I forgot to mention this in the last entry, but Psalm 90 marks the beginning of Book IV in Psalms. Book IV only goes through Psalm 106, so this weeks entry actually covers the bulk of that book.

I wish I could say that the chapters this week were exciting, but it's really just more of the same. Even a 5 month break isn't enough to make this material seem fresh.

Psalms, Chapter 91

This Psalm brought back memories from when I used to go to church as a kid, the hymn Blest Be the Lord. Read verse 5.

You will not fear the terror of the night,
   or the arrow that flies by day,

And compare it to the refrain from the hymn (which I'll now have stuck in my head all day).

Blest be the Lord; blest be the Lord.
the God of mercy, the God who saves.
I shall not fear the dark of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day.

The hymn has plenty of other references to the Psalm, but none quite so closely copied.

One note for this chapter from the New Oxford Annotated Bible (NOAB), the 'under his wings' language from verse 4 may be "a reference to protecting bird as in Egyptian iconography..."

Psalms, Chapter 92

Psalm 92 is 'A Song for the Sabbath Day'. It's pretty typical - praise, thanksgiving, fallen enemies, etc. There's a little insult at the people that can't see God's mighty works, "The dullard cannot know, / the stupid cannot understand this..." One interesting aspect I wouldn't have noticed if not for the NOAB is that God's name was used seven times, almost certainly symbolic in a psalm about the Sabbath.

Psalms, Chapter 93

This psalm is full of imagery I've mentioned before, representing Yahweh as a storm god, and showing the primordial fight against chaos. According to the NOAB, this is "referring to the Canaanite myth in which Baal, the storm god, defeats Sea".

Psalms, Chapter 94

This is another typical psalm, asking God to right all the wrongs committed against the community.

Psalms, Chapter 95

This one's mostly a psalm of praise and worship, with a reminder of the rebellion after the Exodus that brought on the 40 years of wandering the desert.

Psalms, Chapter 96

Another psalm praising God and his glory.

Psalms, Chapter 97

Psalm 97 included more storm god imagery, "Clouds and thick darkness are all around him...", "His lightnings light up the world..." There was also mention of other gods.

All worshippers of images are put to shame,
 those who make their boast in worthless idols;
   all gods bow down before him.

I think it's interesting that those first two lines indicate that the other gods are just images or idols, but then the third line has them bowing before Yahweh. It sounds to me like the first two lines are meant to belittle other gods, but that the author still believed they were deities.

Psalms, Chapter 98

Similarly to Psalm 93, this one is about God winning a battle over forces of evil.

Psalms, Chapter 99

And another hymn praising God. According to the NOAB, this was part of a group of "enthronement hymns", including Psalm 93, and Psalms 95-99, which were about God establishing his throne and his "authoritative decrees".

Psalms, Chapter 100

Psalm 100, 'A Psalm of thanksgiving', was rather short, calling on "all the earth" to worship the Lord.


Ugh. My first week back, and I'm right back to remembering why I was getting so bored with this book. It's not that it's horrible. It's just so repetitious. And I'm sure these reviews are reflecting my boredom. I'm doing my best to try to find interesting tidbits, but I know I'm just making more and more chapter reviews like "Another psalm praising God and his glory" or "This is another typical psalm..." At least I'm two thirds of the way through this book, so there's only 5 more weeks of me whining about how boring it is.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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