The Question that Blew up in My Face: Part 1
My Quora Answers: Part 1

Psalm 13 & 14. Correcting Oneself

I came to appreciate more the 13th psalm. I had that Bible reading last night.

“How long, O Jehovah, will you forget me? Forever?”

What’s with the ‘forever?’ Not a bit of complaint there, even sarcasm? 

It’s followed up with three other ‘how longs?’ and then — is it a plea or a demand?: ‘Look upon me and answer me, O Jehovah my God.’ I read it as more the latter than the former, with emphasis on the ‘Look’ and with the exclamation mark that seems to fit the entire line.

HQ narrators get stuck in ‘mildness mode’ and tend to play down the heat. I tried to crank it up. These are real serious complaints, not just pleas. Or so it seems to me.

The psalmist does self-correct, though, forcing upon himself the bigger picture: ‘As for me, I trust in your loyal love; My heart will rejoice in your acts of salvation.’ And even, ‘I will sing to Jehovah, for he has richly rewarded me.’ (I did a long pause before these verses, allowing for the complete reversal of sentiment.)

In its entirety:

Psalm13: How long, O Jehovah, will you forget me? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long will I have anxious concern, With grief in my heart each day?  How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3 Look upon me and answer me, O Jehovah my God. Give light to my eyes, so that I may not fall asleep in death, 4 So that my enemy will not say: “I have defeated him!”  Do not let my opponents rejoice over my downfall. 5 As for me, I trust in your loyal love; My heart will rejoice in your acts of salvation.  6 I will sing to Jehovah, for he has richly rewarded me.

Psalm 14, also in the reading, follows the same pattern of complaint followed by self-correction, only this time he makes God an ally in his complaint—even if an ally who takes his time in setting things straight.

The complaint: ‘Their actions are corrupt, and their dealings are detestable; No one is doing good.’

God as ally: ‘But Jehovah looks down from heaven on the sons of men To see whether anyone has insight, whether anyone is seeking Jehovah. They have all turned aside; They are all alike corrupt.  No one is doing good, Not even one.’

What’s he going to do about it? Not much, at the moment: ‘Do none of the wrongdoers understand? They devour my people as if they were eating bread.’

But then, the self-correction that eventually he will: ‘But they will be filled with great terror, For Jehovah is with the generation of the righteous. You wrongdoers try to frustrate the plans of the lowly one, But Jehovah is his refuge. O that Israel’s salvation may come from Zion! When Jehovah gathers back his captive people.’ (Uh oh—there’s that word ‘generation’ again. I’m not touching it.)

Both psalms are good for conveying that, lacking God’s timetable, it’s easy to become wound up too tight.


See: (with some repetition): Psalm 11 and Psalm 12, even more on Psalm 13, all to be integrated later


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


The comments to this entry are closed.