The first half of tonight's study explores Hezekiah's canticle of thanksgiving in Is 38:10-20. We examine the context, the interesting side bar that God left him to himself after his illness so that he could see and repent of his pride, several linguistic nuances sometimes lost in the English translation, and various verses that appear corrupt. We also briefly review Sheol, discuss the idea of death at the completion of God's work in us and the challenges we often face for our own welfare.
The second half expounds Psalm 85. We briefly review who the Sons of Korah were and posit a couple of reasons why there is both a statement that God's anger has turned away and a plea the He turn His anger away. We look at some significant variations in translation, briefly touch upon the relationship between righteousness and the health of a nation, but spend most of our time discussing the differences between the Jewish and Christian perspectives on the promises in this psalm. This leads us to examine the importance of Jesus as fully human and fully divine and the source of our righteousness.
We began tonight's study with an outline of the rankings of liturgical days: Solemnities, Feasts, and Obligatory and Optional Memorials.
We continued with the burst of praise that is Psalm 113. We explained the meaning of the word Hallelujah and the reasons behind the different spellings and pronunciations. We looked at its cultural context amidst the return from the Babylonian exile and its praise of a God who is both transcendent and immanent. Finally, we discussed how a Jewish and Christian understanding of the reference the barren woman bringing forth children might be different.
We conclude with another explosion of praise — Psalm 147:12-20. We explain why the Divine Office starts in the middle of the psalm and its context around the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem with several references to the Book of Nehemiah. We end in appreciation of how what God is doing in Christianity is different than any other religion and how that is a source of our praise.
Tonight's study covers most of Psalm 95 including its place in the Divine Office, its context, and its abrupt shift of mood. We examine the novelty of the view of God as creator of all nature and review the historical background in Exodus and Numbers. We touch upon the idea of God forgiving sins and at that same time exacting punishment. Finally, we begin an examination of the use of this psalm in the Book of Hebrews.
We suggest you begin here:
Foundations of Bible Study