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Jason Silver

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Thoughts and Reflections on Scripture

2017

December

Thursday, December 14th, 2017
Related Song

This is one of those Psalms that varies quite a bit from one translation to the next. For example, it seems to be addressing “you gods” in the first verse, and some translations make it “Lords,” or “Rulers.” I chose the latter, since that seemed to be the general consensus among the translations.

Another phrase, “untimely birth” is perplexing, but I chose to use what I read in one translation: stillborn.

All that to say, this is a rather unusual Psalm. Singing about bathing in the blood of the wicked, and singing about snails and slime, about the pots in the fire of thorns-- well, just a little on the awkward side of things.

Perhaps this is why Psalm 58 seems to be avoided in the lectionary - I did a search through the Revised Common Lectionary and the Lutheran Service Book lectionary, and at least in those, it was nowhere to be found.

But what can we take from this scripture? Surely it's been included in the Bible canon and part of Israel's and Christianity's worship for thousands of years for a reason?

The main point of this Psalm, in my opinion, is summarized in the last line: people will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous, surely there's a God who judges on earth.”

This is a valid point, because it is difficult to see the merit of living righteously. People who live sinfully often seem to have everything they want. Whether it be power, fame, or wealth, these are the rewards for cut-throat behaviour. But what do those who live a life of gentle love and holiness get?

No “pat answers” allowed here, no trite response; it's a valid question.

It's easy for me, since I'm an idealist: I just believe it's intrinsically better, because I want it to be. I try to live a life of gentle love and righteousness because it's beautiful to do so.