I got away with discussing Psalms 9 and 10 together because they are really part of one psalm (see relevant post here>). No such excuse for 11 and 12 (also skips) but let’s dig and delve briefly in both anyway; they are both attributed to David and have similar statements of trust in divine inspiration, protection or refuge in times of trial and oppression.
Another strong pillar of these psalms is one that emerges throughout the Psalter — the congruence of justice and divine intent woven into the fundamental make-up of the world and our DNA, despite evidence to the contrary. (See for example Psalm 99)
Psalm 11 warns us not to “flee like a bird to the mountains” in the face of opposition. (v. 1) Why? Because of divine discernment — “God’s eyes behold … examine humankind … test the righteous and the wicked … hate violence” (vv. 4-5) — and exercising judgement. (vv. 6, 7)
Psalm 12 seems to follow this trajectory, the psalmist expressing concern that a remnant of upright souls is shrinking in number, then declaring trust in divine protection and — here are the scales of justice again — concern for the downcast:
Because of the cries of the poor and the needy, I will arise. I will place them in the safety for which they long. (v. 5)
A good reminder, but it won’t happen without our own actions.
These two short songs of David hardly get a mention in the regular musical sources:
- There are very few settings by classical composers listed in Wiki
- None in Together in song (they are ‘skips’ after all)
- A few regulars like Goudimel and Ravenscroft line up with offerings, though they are rather sedate hymns with no antiphonal or responsorial dimensions
- Even the normally magnanimous and wide-ranging selections in Psalms for all seasons dwindle to but one setting each.
- Everett in TEP chooses good verses for his refrains: Ps.11:1 and Ps.12:5 quoted above.
The perfect opportunity for a group to compose one of their own.