Psalm 106 is linked with Psalm 105 as creative, historical retellings and yet, they are quite different. Psalm 105 describes God’s grace: wonders leading to trust and the entry into the land as covenantal promise fulfilled. Psalm 106 describes the Israelites’ disgrace: reoccurring sins, marked by nine rebellions with the failure to enter the Promised Land at the center. God, nonetheless, repeatedly forgives the people. Moses is described as having had the courage and faith to “stand in the breach,” protecting the people from God’s wrath and enabling forgiveness.
This recounting is either spoken from a yearning for renewed relationship with God or from a physical exile such as in Babylon or both. The past offers hope of God’s renewal, with Moses as a model for the Psalmist stepping forward on behalf of the people. This Psalm was used across generations as words of penitence and hope. Both Psalms assume that the audience knew the Biblical accounts well and intertwine the past with the present and the individual with the community. With the study of Psalm 106, we conclude the fourth of the five books of Psalms.
Our study is dedicated to Rabbi Stephen Einstein, a mentor for me and the Orange County Jewish community.