Psalm 119:105ff 13 July 2014

Enter ‘119’ in the Search field at right and you come up with four posts on this psalm over less than a year — this one makes five. Five times out of 150 psalms is favouritism, surely? No; at 176 verses this is longest psalm — and the longest chapter in the Bible. So we’ve been taking small bites.

As an acrostic psalm, in the original Hebrew each section of eight verses is identified by a letter of their alphabet. Further, the verses begin with that letter. This was perhaps a teaching aid, or perhaps a touch of poetic flair. The alliteration is lost in the English versions.

This Sunday we sing Psalm 119:105-112 (click for text), in a section with the letter נ (Nun) that sits well-nigh in the middle of the Bible, starting at a well-known verse 105:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path

Old family Bible

Music

Two different refrain tunes have been used for the four recent readings turned up by that search. This week we use the Isaac Everett tune that we have enjoyed twice before with text by J Snodgrass, this time drawn from נ and the previous section, מ (Mem):

Mindful of your truth inside meCandleholder from Abbé Fontenay

Meditate with every breath

Needing only you to guide me

Never turning from your path.

This is not a direct quote of the text of the psalm. The author has taken a step back, zoomed out and looked at the whole psalm to summarise the ideas. Everett explains in The emergent psalter (page 19) that taken sequentially, these short sectional refrains can be sung together as a song, using this tune or any 8,7,8,7 metre.

And by the way, noting that the four phrases or lines above start with MMNN for sections M and N, we get the hint that the full song is also acrostic! Maybe we’ll try it one day.

Singers

All welcome, as we have a four-part arrangement for both refrain and verses that we have found suitable and enjoyable.

3 thoughts on “Psalm 119:105ff 13 July 2014

  1. Pingback: Psalm 139, 13 July 2014 | Psalms in the South

  2. Pingback: Psalm 17, 3 Aug 14 | Psalms in the South

  3. Pingback: Psalm 119, 16 July 2017 | Psalms in the South

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s