Sunday, November 25, 2007

O is for Observation (this is tedious but gives you an idea of the kinds of observations noted for further study)

Actually, this project and these observations represent a fraction of the readings and observations I normally make. Other projects have involved observations in of Genesis 1-13; Exodus 19-24/Deuteronomy 4,5 and 28-32/Leviticus 26 (this one slew of observations was 31 pages long, if that gives you an idea); and Luke 1-15. The Psalm project was considerably easier than all of the above.

Kid Christmas


Professor Tremper

12 November 2007

IBP # 3: Psalm Project – Psalm 118

I. Observations

A. Theme – God’s love endures forever (1)

B. Key Words – faithful, love, endures, forever, refuge, surrounded, thanks (1)

C. Laws of Composition – figurative language – metaphor, simile, repetition, rhyme of thought, personification, pleonasm, apostrophe, enveloping, refrain (2)

D. Type of Psalm – Thanksgiving [for victory] (2)

E. Observations of Psalm 118

1. Verses 1-4

a. Repeats the same refrain “His faithful love endures forever,” yet calls for this refrain from Israel, house of Aaron, and those who fear the Lord (2)

1) What is it about God’s “faithful love” that is forever enduring?

2) How does this endure forever?

3) Why is this a key characteristic of God in this Psalm?

4) Who is the speaker?

5) Why does the speaker ask for a repetition of the refrain from Israel, house of Aaron, and those who fear the Lord?

6) What does “those who fear the Lord” mean? – synecdoche?

b. The repetition makes a bold statement of rejoicing(2)

c. Forms part of the “envelope” for the entire Psalm with the refrain (2)

d. This stanza states the purpose of the psalm – to give thanks (4)

2. Verses 5-7

a. Recounts the moment of distress (2)

b. Uses a rhetorical question – “What can man do to me?” (2)

c. Uses “a spacious place” as a figure – what does this mean? And is it like a circumlocution? (3)

d. Repeats “I” like a pleonasm (3)

e. Why is God equated to a “helper”? (4)

3. Verses 8, 9

a. These verses use antithetic parallelism by making a statement about trusting God and then comparing God to men/nobles (3)

b. Lays out a spiritual principal about the blessing of trusting God (3)

c. Repeats “It is better” and “take refuge in the Lord” as a kind of emphatic repetition (epanadiplosis or epizeuxis) (3)

d. Why would someone trust nobles and man? (4)

4. Verses 10-14

a. What are “the nations”? – metonymy – why so many enemies? (3)

b. What is “the name of the Lord”? – metonymy (3)

c. Uses simile (like bees, fire) – how does this language affect the image of the enemy? – why use fire and bees? (3)

d. Uses metaphorical language to describe God – strength, song, salvation – how does this work? – what do these qualities confirm about God’s character? – why are these qualities important for victory in battle? (3)

e. Repeats the same phraseology (“in the name of the Lord,” “they surrounded me”) for emphasis – epanadiplosis – why is there such repetition of phrases? – Is this a refrain technique? (3)

f. Action verbs repeated (destroyed, extinguished, surrounded, pushed, helped) – what does this do to the tension of the stanza? (3)

g. Who is “You” in verse 13? – “You pushed me hard to make me fall” (3)

h. Why is the “name of the Lord” required alongside victorious action? (3)

i. This is a description of a battle, but it never says “battle” explicitly – Why? (3)

j. Is God working with, alongside, in, through, or for the speaker? – why would God work against the speaker’s enemies? (4)

5. Verses 15-18

a. “Tents of the righteous” – who are “the righteous”? – Is this a synecdoche? (2)

b. Personification of God – “The Lord’s right hand” – also repeats this description three times exuberantly (3)

c. Why the “right hand” and not the left? (3)

d. Why the “hand” and not the foot? (3)

e. “The Lord’s right hand strikes with power!” frames “The Lord’s right hand is raised!” – these three lines form a refrain or an epanadiplosis within the stanza (3)

f. Verse 17 repeats “I” and uses “but” to show contrast between the first “I” and the second “I” (3)

g. Why does this stanza seem to infer that the speaker was close to death as a result of disobedience (that he/she needed disciplining)? (3)

h. Why would God want to kill the speaker? Is this hyperbole? (3)

i. Why does the speaker want to “proclaim what the Lord has done”? – does this contradict what others might do in the same situation? (4)

6. Verses 19-24

a. To who is “open” a command in verse 19? (3)

b. What/where are the “gates of righteousness”? – circumlocution – why should the speaker enter through them? – is this necessary to give thanks to God? (3)

c. Repeats “You” – pleonasm – why the emphasis of You rather than a name for God? (3)

d. Why is the speaker giving thanks? (3)

e. Uses metaphorical language to describe God (“become my salvation”) (3)

f. Who is the “stone” and “cornerstone”? – metaphor – why is this language being used? (3)

g. In verse 23, what is “This” and “it” that came from the Lord and is wonderful? (3)

h. What does “This is the day that the Lord has made” mean? – what is the day for? – is it different from other days? (synecdoche) (3)

i. Who are the people included in “us” in verse 24? (3)

j. Why do “the righteous” enter the “gates of righteousness”? – why does the gate belong to “the Lord”? – what does God owning the gate indicate about His nature? (4)

k. What was the speaker’s question or call that the Lord would have “answered”? (5)

l. Does the stone and cornerstone allude to Christ? (5)

m. Why were the gates closed? (5)

7. Verses 25-29

a. Who are the “us” in verse 25? (3)

b. What are they being saved from? – does this refer back to the second stanza? (3)

c. Why is the one blessed “who comes in the name of the Lord”? (3)

d. Why do the “we” from verse 26 bless people from “the house of the Lord”? – what is “the house of the Lord”? (3)

e. Why has God given “light”? (3)

f. Why is there a sacrifice being offered? (3)

g. Verse 28 contains a synonymous parallelism – why is the phrase “You are my God” emphasized? – what does using the possessive “my” do to the tone of the phrase? – what does this phrase demonstrate about God’s personal qualities? (3)

h. The psalm ends how it begins with “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever,” completing the envelope (frame) begun in the first lines of the psalm – why does the speaker frame the psalm this way? – what does it emphasize? (3)

i. What kind of “success” is being asked for? (5)

j. What are “the horns of the altar”? (5)

k. Does the speaker represent more than just him/herself at times, like representing the people as a whole? (synecdoche) (5)

F. Basic Outline – Psalm 118

1. The purpose of the Psalm (1-4)

a. Give thanks

b. People give thanks

2. The situation that invokes thankfulness (5-7)

a. A call of distress

b. The rescue

3. A principle of trust (8, 9)

a. God is trustworthy

b. Humans are not trustworthy

4. A description of the battle (10-14)

a. The overwhelming position of the enemy

b. The victory of partnership between God and speaker

5. A declaration of God’s justice (15-18)

a. God’s right hand is praised by those in the tents of righteousness

b. The speaker is thankful for God’s mercy

6. Entering into a place of righteousness and praise (19-24)

a. The speaker enters a good place (in life)

b. The speaker describes the blessing of a secure position

7. Final requests of and blessings to God (25-29)

a. A request for continued success

b. A sacrifice of praise

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