Study Guide

Psalms The Royal House of Israel

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The Royal House of Israel

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
'I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.' (NRSV 2:4-6)

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (KJV 2:4-6)

Who knew God had such a mean streak. Oh wait, all of Psalms did. So what's so funny? Thinking someone is powerful other than David.

Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
May he be enthroned for ever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him! (NRSV 61:6-7)

Thou wilt prolong the kings life: and his years as many generations.
He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. (KJV 61:6-7)

Clearly these writers want David to succeed. Why do you think the King James Version translators have turned "may be enthroned" into "shall abide"? What are some differences between the two?

Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king's son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor. (NRSV 72:1-4)

Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the kings son.
He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. (KJV 72:1-4)

What is the connection between the land, the king, and God? Was the writer playing favorites?

Make vows to the Lord your God, and perform them;
let all who are around him bring gifts
to the one who is awesome,
who cuts off the spirit of princes,
who inspires fear in the kings of the earth. (NRSV 76:11-12)

Vow, and pay unto the Lord your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.
He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth. (KJV 76:11-12)

If you were in charge of a city, would you put the temple (for God) next to the palace (for the king)? Where is the Davidic monarchy in this passage?

'I will not violate my covenant,
or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;
I will not lie to David.
His line shall continue for ever,
and his throne endure before me like the sun.
It shall be established for ever like the moon,
an enduring witness in the skies.' (NRSV 89:34-37)

My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.
His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me.
It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. (KJV 89:34-37)

If God promises that he won't abandon the Israelites, the only way for the Israelites to explain their destruction is to acknowledge that they've violated the covenant. Yeah, God kind of backed them into a corner on this one.

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