Sunday, June 12, 2011

Understanding the desert images

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When one needs strength, consolation, encouragement, hope, or help--the 23rd Psalm is the best psalm to know by heart.
Or so I have found in times and places that I was lost.
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Since today's psalm is already so well-known, I want to do something a little different for Robert's weekly PsalmChallenge. I want to recommend a book.

You can enlarge the photo and read a sample.
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The book is a must for those who have never walked Israel's deserts or never herded sheep and goats (I have done both, but I still need this book!).
-- This because so much of the imagery of David, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and other prophets and sages assumes an understanding of such things.
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As the dust jacket says
One of the Bible's best-known and best-loved psalms begins with the words of the young David: "The Lord is my shepherd" (23:1). The experiences of David as a shepherd in the Judean Desert affected the imagery of his psalms, his escapes from the pursuit of Saul, and even the judgments he rendered as king.

Each chapter bears the name of a verse from Psalm 23.
For example
Chapter IV "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
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Terrifying cliffs and canyons
. An arid land, a land of the shadow of death
A land of darkness
Cliff and fortress
. Rock of Ages
The shepherd's staff
The late great Nogah Hareuveni, of blessed memory, wrote Desert and Shepherd in Our Biblical Heritage several decades ago.
There are three in his Biblical Heritage series.
He also founded Neot Kedumim, the only Biblical Landscape Reserve in the world.
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Enjoy the Neot Kedumim website.
You can order the book there too. I would be lost without it.
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PSALM 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

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7 comments:

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Shalom Dina. This is a post after my own heart...and you probably already know that I will be ordering this book. Thank you so much for sharing with us about it today.

JM said...

What a great book this might be! The idea that all deserts look alike is so very wrong. Each one has its own charm and I still haven't visited 'yours'... :-)

ρομπερτ said...

What a joy for the senses of sight and thought this entry of yours is indeed !

Thank you very much for your effort and kind participation. Please have a good new week.


daily athens

Spiderdama said...

Thanks for this great tips of this book. I will order it!:-) The desert in Israel is one of the most beautiful places I now.
Shalom and happy week to you!

VP said...

I think this is the most famous of all Psalms, the only one I know by heart...

zeder said...

Hallo Dina,
thanks for your teaching. The word of God is unsearchable. We need the holy spirit every day.
Regards from Berlin,
Uwe-jens

Suzanne said...

Neot Kedumim is where I shephered sheep, awesome experience and what a wonderful book.