When looking for humour in Psalms, towards the end of the marking season, when teachers are always at a low ebb, I again cheated, asking Bob MacDonald (who has been studying the psalms closely for years now). I’ll repeat some of his general insights about the book, and then take up his suggestion about Psalm 94 (his rendering of the psalm is here). I invited him to do a guest post, but for a mix of reasons he declined. So please do not blame Bob for what follows, it’s my reading of the psalm suggested by his idea… This psalm works for me because IRead More →

There are some technical details to explain: what a “hymn” is (not a long old-fashioned worship song), what it means to “bless God” and the meaning of hesed. But mainly this podcast aims to encourage you to  hear the celebration of the creator God who is gracious, even to those who do not deserve it, merciful and above all faithful. It’s a beautiful psalm, that expresses how God is not “a god” clearly and sharply, and it just begs us to join in blessing Yahweh! http://5minutebible.com/audio/E100ps103.mp3Read More →

The biblical text tells us how to read this psalm. Whether or not we agree with those who see the words “build the walls of Jerusalem” at the end as a reference to the need to (re)build after the destruction of 586, and so (perhaps along with other reasons) see the psalm as actually written later, we are told to read the psalm against the story of David’s sin and Nathan’s visit NB: the headings like <To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.> are often printed as if they had lessRead More →

Perhaps the best known and popular psalm among both Jews and Christians but not easy to categorise, except that it expresses trust in God. The imagery makes even better sense when some geography and culture is understood: sheep follow shepherds, they are not left on the hills and then driven green pastures, means land where there is some green vegetation, not just rocks and dust wadis: steep sided gorges, semi-desert little vegetation, quick run off from  hills = flash floods For more on this see also my “Psalm 23 in context” http://5minutebible.com/audio/E100ps23.mp3Read More →

This week’s 5 is a somewhat artificial collection, putting together two different things. Yet both Psalms and Proverbs work differently from the narrative/history and prophecy that comprise the bulk of the Old Testament, and both are used a lot by Christians along with Genesis and Isaiah (while most of the Old Testament lies unread the Two-Thirds Bible). In this podcast we’ll look at how different genres (see the posts here, especially: Genre matters: 1- Why genre matters) work. This will help understanding and applying the week’s readings. In doing this we’ll learn for example why so often proverbs contradict each other! Incidentally in the BibleRead More →