When I read a Psalm for the first time, in my mind I hear, “Blah, Blah, Blah.” And yet, I also anticipate that if I take the time I will find surprise in the words and in some way be touched and challenged. After all, each Psalm has endured as part of our people’s core expression of yearning and celebration before God.
A close reading of Psalm 32 leaves uncertainty as to who is singing accompanied by a ten-string harp: Is it the Psalter throughout? A community that he has invited to join him? Or a mix of the two? And raises for us the question, What would prompt us to sing God’s praises? And what words would we sing?
A close reading reveals a structure that adds a question to the questions above. The opening verses invite community to sing to God and then (verses 4-19) evocatively describes God’s as the Creator with a chosen people. Verses 18-19 offer a reward for praising God. If the group only sings the final three verses, in which the plural first appears and is repeated seven times, then has the Psalter enticed participation only for his personal benefit?