A Question About Psalm 67

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x.spasitel

Puritan Board Freshman
So, this is an idea I'd formulated a while back..bounced it off my pastor, who thought it was reasonable...but I want to see what other people think of it. It regards the interpretation of the first three verses of Psalm 67.

1 God be merciful to us and bless us
And cause His face to shine upon us
Selah
2 That Your way may be known on earth
Your salvation among all nations
3 Let the peoples praise You, O God
Let all the peoples praise You

Traditionally, the second verse is tied to the first verse. God, be merciful to us...that you way may be known on earth. If you look in any Bible this is the way the punctuation runs. However, when looking at this a while ago, I found it odd that a "Selah" was interrupting a sentence. Now, we don't really know what a "Selah" precisely represents, but most people agree it represents some sort of break in thought. And of course, we all know there is no punctuation in Hebrew.

So I began wondering if the second verse might be better tied to the third verse: [So] that You way may be known on earth...let the peoples praise you. This eliminates the break in the middle of the thought, and also isolates the first verse. When you look at the first verse exactly by itself, without operatives on any other verses, you find that it is the ancient Aaronic blessing, slightly altered (Numbers 6:24-25). Overall it seemed to me a much more sensible way to interpret the verses.

The one problem, of course, is that every commentary I looked it commented on the verses the way it is traditionally believed. So I find myself opposed to centuries of worthy men much more intelligent than I. So I ask: does this seem reasonable to you? What is the Hebrew like, what does it indicate? How might I have erred or made a mistake in my logic?


The good thing, as my pastor pointed out, is that no matter which way you interpret it, you end up with truth that is verified in the rest of Scripture. So it isn't really a big deal one way or another...but still something I'd like to know.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
The one problem, of course, is that every commentary I looked it commented on the verses the way it is traditionally believed. So I find myself opposed to centuries of worthy men much more intelligent than I.

The fact that none of the commentaries you've consulted agrees with you doesn't necessarily mean that you're wrong. It could be that you just need to see more commentaries. Personally, I think you're interpretation works just as well as the traditional view.

What we don't know, of course, is why the ancients put that "selah" where they did. The best guess is that the term "selah" has something to do with music, although we have no idea what. If that's true, then possibly there was a change in the music at that point, or maybe a break in the music. We just don't know. If it is a music term, then that could imply that the "selah" has nothing to do with the interpretation of the words, but merely serves as a guide for the music.

But, again, who knows?

Calvin notes that verse 7 (God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear Him.) is also an allusion to the Aaronic blessing, thus forming an inclusio with the first verse.

So, perhaps Psalm 67 is an expansion of, or a commentary on, the Aaronic blessing.

Just my 83 cents. :detective:
 
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