By Gesenius, Wilhelm
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Additional resources for A Hebrew and English lexicon of the Old Testament
In Ps. 12-13, the psalmist speaks of Earth having a voice with which to praise God. My aim is to see how this section of the psalm fits within the whole, to ask what the psalm yields in terms of understanding Earth's praise of God, and what contribution this might have for present faith and theology. I will begin with a translation and analysis of the psalm before moving to the broader discussion of God and Earth in the psalm. Some attention to the unity of the psalm in particular is important in this regard.
It is an action which suggests that the water-beings are loyal servants of YHWH. There are a few other places in the Psalter where it is hinted that the waters might be more than just enemies or object; that they might be faithful servants of YHWH (Pss. 3, 26, cf. 8). William Brown has argued that there was a tradition that the waters played an active part in creation, assisting God (1993, esp. 249-51). This tradition is preserved in the LXX version of Genesis 1, but was edited out from the (later, mid-second-century BCE) Masoretic Text.
R. Aibu told a parable of a king to whom, at the very beginning of his reign, a certain legion sang a song of praise. So the king gave the legion an honor which was never to be taken away from it. Just so, when the Holy One, blessed be He, began to reign over His world, the waters were the first to sing a song of praise to Him, as is said Above the voices of many waters (Ps. 4). Thereupon, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to the waters: As ye live, I shall bestow an honor upon you, as is said O Lord...