Archive | August, 2016

Keeping a record of the population

Keeping a record of the population (87:6) was a very important task in the ancient world. In fact, sometimes entire cities were employed for this purpose. People who performed such royal duties were sometimes rewarded by being exempt from imprisonment and military service, and from having to pay taxes.

En-dor

En-dor (83:10) is perhaps most famous for being home to a spiritual medium whom Saul consulted on the eve of his final battle (1 Sam. 28:7–25).

Blessed

The word blessed (84:4, 5, 12, etc.) refers to someone who has received—or who will receive—something good from the Lord. It is not just a temporary feeling of happiness but a state of well-being in relationship to God.

How long?

How long? This question (79:5) occurs nearly twenty times in the Psalms, more than any other question. It is almost always associated with a psalm of lament, such as Psalm 79.

Zoan

Zoan (78:12) is the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis, one of many cities in the area where the Israelites lived around the time of Moses. The city’s ruins were surveyed by Napoleon Bonaparte in the late 1700s.

Horn

The horn could be a symbol of power and military strength, and thus to lift up or exalt it was to publicly assert power. God warns the ungodly not to lift up their horns (75:4), and promises that he will lift up the horn of the faithful.

Hope

Hope means putting one’s full confidence in God, who always keeps his promises. Believers can have hope for the future because of what God has done in the past. Created things will always ultimately disappoint. God alone is the source of true hope.