Comparison of Psalm 14 and 53

Is there a deep spiritual significance to having two nearly identical Psalms in the Bible?  – No, not that I could find but I think it is kind of neat. They appear in two different parts or books within Psalms. The first “book” goes from #1 to # 41 and the second “book” is #42 to #72. The books end with “Amen and Amen” and #72 announces, “This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.”

Psalm 14For the director of music. Of David. The fool says in his heart,  “There is no God.”They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the Lord.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
 for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

Psalm 53

For the director of music. According to mahalath. Amaskil of David.

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good,
not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on God.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you; you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

You have to wonder if David changed the music with #53?  Did the change from Jehovah (Lord) in #14 to Elohim (God) change how it was sung or were they for different types of worship services or a special occasion? Jehovah means “The Eternal” and Elohim means “Supreme God” of the two I would think that Psalm 14 might be the more formal one.

I am guessing Psalm 52 and 53 were written after 1 Samuel 22 when Doeg the Edomite killed the priest. I think that time period would have given David a lot of inspiration to write several psalms. (Please see the blogs on David, LORDWhen Psalms Were Written and Jacob/Israel )  There is also a study on Psalm 60 and 108.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Exodus Story in Other Places

glory 1

People may argue parts of the Exodus story and how it could not have happened. But the fact that the story is retold throughout the rest of scripture should speak volumes about its validity and its credibility. (This may not be all of them but you get the idea.)

  • Gideon  – Judges 6:13 – Questioned about the miracles
  • Jephthah – Judges 11:15-27 – Retold conquest story
  • Micah 6: 1-5 – The Lord had a case against Israel and highlighted the Exodus to prove his point.
  • Ezekiel 20:4 – God giving a discourse to the elders of Israel about their love for idols of Egypt even though He brought them out of Egypt and gave them a good land.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:4 – Spiritual lesson about Israel being baptized into Moses and Israel sharing spiritual food and drink and still some died in the desert.
  • Moses’ Psalms 90 -100 – I still think they are a series of songs to teach the people about God and His requirements.

Psalms

  • 66: 5-12 A highlight telling of Israel’s time in Egypt and their leaving.
  • 77: 11-20 A call for Jeduthum to remember and meditate on the miracles of God; the parting of the Red Sea is the focus with what God did.

Just a thought, look at Psalm 78-83 as a block for teaching people after Jerusalem fell.

  • 78 A comparison of Israel’s testing God and His mercy and miracles.
  • 80: 7-11 A call to God to remember that He did bring Israel out of Egypt and to have mercy on them again.
  • 81:3-10 To remember that God brought Israel out of Egypt and established that He should be praised.
  • 95: 8-11 Not to harden your heart as people did at Meribah.
  • 105:16-45 A Sunday School lesson of Abraham, Joseph, the plagues and the joseph-dreams of wheatExodus.
  • 106 A history of God’s faithfulness in not destroying Israel starting in Egypt and going through the Conquest into the unfaithfulness in the Promise Land.
  • 114 It reminds Judah who they belong too and that mountains, hills, and the “waters” obey the Lord.
  • 135:8-14 That man (Egypt, Pharaoh, Sihon, Og, and the kings of Canaan) will not stop God’s people.
  • 136:10-22 Resembles Ps. 135 

Picture of Sheaves from http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/joseph-dreams/

Comparing Psalm 135 and 136

Even though I do not think these were written by the same person or even in the same time period it is interesting that Psalm 135 and 136 have similar elements. Please image David in 1 Chronicles 15:11 instructing his Praise Team to sing Psalm 135 as they carry the Ark to Jerusalem. Then image Ezra in Chapter 3:11 separating the congregation into halves and having one group singing the first part of each verse while the other group responds with “His love endures forever.

These Psalms are included in the section of the “songs of ascents” which were traditionally sung as people went up to the Temple in Jerusalem. Psalm 115 and 118 share the idea of verse 19 and 20 of Psalm 135; the house of Israel, Aaron, Levi and those who fear Him. Psalm 135:4 talks about Jacob and Israel giving each a different emphasis. They also have a historical component remembering God’s great deliverance form Egypt and the defeat of Og and Sihon which marked the beginning of the conquest of the Promised Land. The blue sections highlight His control over nature and thus being in charge of their daily lives.

See the studies on Psalm 14 and 53  and Psalm 60 and 108.

Thanks to BibleGateway.com they are a great resource.

Moses’ Psalms

Psalm 90 is actually the only Psalm that has a sub-heading that identifies Moses as its writer (some Bibles do not include these) but it is fairly clear that his family was musical. Look at Exodus 15 even though Moses may not be credited with writing that song he did lead the Israelites in its singing and verse 21 Miriam follows his lead and starts playing the tambourine and dancing. He also leads (recites) a song in Deuteronomy 32 so he seems to at the very least have been a songwriter.  Over the years as I have read Psalms 90 through 100 I have wondered why most of them have no subtitles and that Psalm 101 is clearly marked as being written by David? The exception is Psalm 92, which is identified as being for the Sabbath Day. (possible placement of Psalms)

Ok, now for an active imagination because there is no proof for this other than contextual clues and some people may think that is a bit thin.  Look at the job that Moses actually had to do; teach the children of Israel about God after they had been in a pagan land for 400 years. They were more knowledgeable about Egyptian gods than they were about Yahweh just because they were around those demon gods’ art and statues. He had approximately one million people who knew very little about God that had to be instructed in His ways. What better way to do that than through song; so now read these Psalms as Sunday School lessons and focus on themes. Also think about the trials and problems the Israelites had in Exodus through Deuteronomy.

  • Psalm 90 – (think Exodus 15:26)
  • Psalm 91 – (think Exodus 17:15) to make God your fortress and He will protect you
  • Psalm 92 – (think Exodus 16:27)
  • Psalm 93 – (think Deuteronomy 5,6) shifting thinking from Egyptian gods
  • Psalm 94 – (think Exodus 10:29) a call for justice
  • Psalm 95 – (a lesson after Meribah and sending out the first spies) exhortation to praise God and not tempt Him
  • Psalm 96 – to praise God for His general judgements
  • Psalm 97 – the majesty of God’s kingdom
  • Psalm 98 – a general call to praise God
  • Psalm 99 – the mercifulness of God and His right to reign (some sources suggest that it may not have been the Samuel of 1 Samuel)
  • Psalm 100 – (think Exodus 40) giving praise to enter the new worship area

Thompson Chain-Reference Bible was a resource. NIV usually includes subtitles on Psalms.

Moses picture: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Moses_Pleading_with_Israel_(crop).

Fruit and Nuts – Figs and Nabal

Figs

Let us start our discussion of figs by talking about apples. In the Garden of Eden there were two fruit trees that Adam and Eve were not to eat from; according to Wikipedia, it is probable that they “became” apple trees during the Renaissance. I would like to make the case for them being fig trees; after all, what did they sew together to cover their shame, fig leaves. Most of this is a retake of a sermon I heard several years ago that used figs as a metaphor for the church/religion. The preacher made the point that where figs are mentioned just insert the idea of  “religion.”  I will not cover all of the references to figs and I am not sure all of them fit neatly into that box but let’s take a look at a few of them.

Genesis 3:7 Adam and Eve disobey and instead of trying to get back to God they cover themselves in fig leaves and people have been doing that ever since.

The phrase “under his own vine and fig tree” is found several places in Scripture and can be a symbol of Israel being at peace but both of those plants are symbols for the church. Ex. 1 Kings4: 25, 2 Kings 18:31

Jeremiah 24: 1-10 is a vision where the prophet sees two baskets of figs in front of the Temple one good and one bad. This reminds me of Luke 6:43-46, which is the parable of the trees and the wise and foolish builder; this is where Jesus ask why call Him Lord, Lord and do not do what He says.

John 1: 48 – Philip was under his fig tree and when he was called to come to meet Jesus.

Finally, the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree because it has no fruit and it dies.               Ex. Mark 11

Now in Israel, there is a sycamore fig, it is not a true fig, but the analogy still works. And my final thought is something that is talked about in Scripture that I did not know; fig trees can bear two crops of figs, the first crop is called breba figs that grow from the old wood. The main crop follows on the ends of the branches- new wood. We can make all kinds of analogies here: natural vs spiritual Israel, former church latter church, new wineskins vs old wineskins, etc.

Please visit this blog to see more about figs.  http://ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/zaccheus-climbed-up-into-a-sycamore-tree/  The fig pic is from – http://www.raysfiginfo.com/graphics/sycamore04.jpg

Nabal

Proverbs 18:11 – The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall.             :23 – A poor man pleads for mercy, but a rich man answers harshly. (NIV)

I think these two verses are examples of why I picked Nabal as my first “nut.” But we will get back to him, let us look at 1 Samuel 25 and get some background. Carmel means, “Planted orchard” and is in the area of En Gedi, which is south of Jerusalem (yes there is an Mt. Carmel that is in northern Israel).  Abigail (Nabal’s wife) means “a father’s cause of joy” and after she married David she had his second son, Daniel     (1 Chronicles 3:5).  The Desert of Maon, which means “dwelling”, is in the land of Judea and became a hiding place for David.

Nabal was a descendant of Caleb who was one of the two faithful spies in the book of Numbers; so he was loosely related to David. This leads us to why I think he was a “nut.” In verse 10 when Nabal harshly answers David’s men he knew exactly who David was and what he was capable of doing so verse 10 and 11 is really a high-level insult. David’s request for a gift was for protection that he and his men had given Nabal’s flocks.  So insulting a “warlord” with 600 men when a few sheep would have made him happy is a “nutty” thing to do. Now the problem actually started in verse 9 when the young men “waited.” This word is only translated twice as “wait” many of the times it is used it is “rest” and many of those references are inferring a LONG rest. So as it says in Proverbs 18 Nabal thinks his money is his fortress and so he answers people harshly and made the men wait a long time. (see Judas)

Fortunately for David and all the men around Nabal’s house, Abigail had good judgment. Note – part of the gift was pressed figs.

As I enjoy trying to place Psalms where they may have been written I would put Psalm 109 after verse 35.

Also, the Lord’s use of “tens” in this text is interesting; Nabal was in a coma ten days, which also was the number of men David sent for the gift.

Map of Carmel and Maon from http://home.comcast.net/~davebowser/bible/david/david15.html