Sunday, January 13, 2013

A darkness psalm

For PsalmChallenge, hosted by Robert Geiss in Athens, here is the dark Psalm 88.

1. A song. A psalm of the Korachites. For the leader. On mahalat le’annot.  A maskil  of Heman the Ezrahite.

2. O LORD, God of my deliverance, daily I cry out at night in front of You.
3. Let my prayer come before Your face; incline Your ear to my cry.
4. For my soul is sated with evils; my life has arrived at the brink of Sheol.

5. I am reckoned with those who go down into the Pit; I am become like a man without strength,
6. loosed among the dead, like slain corpses lying in the grave whom You remember no more, for they are cut off from Your hand.
7. You make me be at the bottom of the Pit, in utter darkness, in the depths.
8. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and so all Your waves; You cause affliction.   Selah.

9. You have distanced from me my companions; You make me an utter abhorrence to them; I am imprisoned, unable to get out.
10. My eyes throb from affliction; I call to You, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to You.

11. Will You work wonders for the dead? Will the shades rise to praise You?   Selah.

12 Will Your steadfast love be recounted in the grave, Your faithfulness in Perdition?
13. Will Your wonders be made known in the Dark, Your righteous beneficence in the land of oblivion?

14. As for me, to You, O LORD, I cry out, and in the morning my prayer greets You.
15. Why, O LORD, do You rebuff my soul, do You hide Your face from me?
16. Afflicted and dying from my youth, I suffer Your terrors wherever I turn.
17. Your fury overwhelms me; Your dread assaults destroy me.
18. They swirl around me like waters all day long; they encircle me totally.
19. You have distanced from me loving friend and neighbor, my companions. Darkness.
Translation by Rabbi Benjamin Segal.   It is well worth reading his explanations, especially for this unusually dark psalm.
He also points out that "It is of note that the Church prescribed this psalm for Good Friday, implying an appropriate description of Jesus’ suffering on the cross."
1.  The newer section of the ancient cemetery of Tiberias.
2.  Me struggling in Fribourg, Switzerland. 
3-4. Ancient burial caves, some still with the bones!, under St. Etienne/St. Stephen's in Jerusalem.
5.  Man praying at a tomb in Tiberias cemetery. 
UPDATE:  See how Orthodox Christians made the blessing of the waters for the Feast of Theophany, not at the Jordan, but on a frozen lake in Minnesota!   Great photos at Leif's blog.


Tania said...

Jepp, it is a very sad psalm and Your picture fits well. I like the picture of you best:-)

Wish you a wonderful week Dina!

VP said...

Nice to see you in a picture!

Dina said...

VP, Spiderdama--even if it's such a funny picture? hehe
The Swiss picture is from 6 or 7 years ago. sigh . . .

Richard Lawry said...

A Psalm that we all can relate to.

An Arkies Musings

Anonymous said...

Went out twelve hours before posting to find an appropriate picture, to the main cemetery of the city. Yes, such walks make silent and remind of the pricelessness of life.

Thank you very much for your kind participation and these interesting impressions.

Onward to life and a happy new week ahead, I'd like to wish you a great Monday.

Cloudia said...

You tell so much with your photos to illuminate the Psalms, Dina

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Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I see I neglected to comment here. There are stones in every photo, there are many graves in Jerusalem and I guess it was probably no different when this psalm was written. Sometimes thinking about that city and its history blows me away in wonder and awe...everything happened there.

Kay said...

You know, of course, that my favorite photo is the one with you in it.