The Psalter recounts the past of the Israelites selectively and with embellishment. His goal in Psalm 105 is to extoll God so as to prompt loyalty to God’s precepts. The history described stretches from God’s covenant with Abraham, to Joseph and Egyptian servitude, to conquest of the Promised Land. The forty-five verses omit much detail and also add. For instance, the Plagues of Egypt are out of order (starting with the plague of darkness) and a couple are missing (5thand 6th). I chose a phrase from the text for the title- “Egypt rejoiced when they went forth” – as an example of a detail that is added to the Biblical account. As Psalm 104 celebrated God’s creation of the world, Psalm 105 celebrates the creation of God’s people.
In the book of I Chronicles 16, the first fifteen verses of this Psalm are presented, along with an attribution: King David commissioned the Levite Asaph to write a song for the festive procession of the Holy Ark to Jerusalem. Robert Alter surmises that this Psalm was later sung on the Temple Mount as part of ritual celebration.
Join me for an exploration of Psalm 105’s colorful lesson from history.
Today’s morning learning is dedicated to Ed Sussman, marking the completion of his thirty days of mourning for his brother, Allen Sussman.