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Saturday, January 21, 2017

One more look while following the steps of David...

PSALM 151?


I found this psalm in Adam Clarke's Commentary (published in 1732).  You won't find it in your Bible.  It is not in the accepted sacred scriptures, by the Hebrew, Chaldee, or Vulgate, but has been included by the Syriac, Septuagint, Aethiopic, and Arabic versions.  I find it a beautiful reminder of the shepherd boy who became king; appropriate, perhaps, as I write this on the day of the Inauguration of our forty-fifth president, which is just a small pebble in the ripple of history. 


PSALM 151

"I was the least among my brethren; 
and the youngest in my father's house;
and I kept also my father's sheep.
My hands made the organ;
and my fingers jointed the psaltery.
And who told it to my Lord?
The Lord himself, He is my Master,
and the Hearer of all that call upon him.
He sent His angel, and took me away from my father's sheep;
and anointed me with the oil of His anointing
(the oil of His mercy).
My brethren were taller and more beautiful than I;
nevertheless the Lord delighted not in them.
I went out to meet the Philistine,
and he cursed me by his idols.
In the strength of the Lord
I cast three stones at him.
I smote him in the forehead,
and felled him to the earth.
And I drew out his own sword from its sheath,
and cut off his head,
and took away the reproach from the children of Israel."


"Only a boy named David"

He has been the most popular man in the Old Testament, the one we taught our children about.  I wonder how many times I have sung this little ditty, not only when I was a child, but to my own children as well as in the many, many years as I taught children's church.


I love how he speaks of being the youngest, the least, the "deplorable" as just a shepherd boy; it was not a respectable job, even in a family, not one worth calling up to meet the prophet.  He said he wasn't one of the most beautiful or tallest, certainly not as tall as Goliath.  One of my favorite sculptures in the Smithsonian was one of the lad David holding Goliath's head.


I love how he gives the credit to God for his musical abilities, the very ones which gave us the book of Psalm.  "Who told it to my Lord?"  The fingers that played the harp, picked up three stones.  The one who sang unto the Lord, spoke in defiance to the curses of a blasphemous giant.  He not only struck the Philistine down, but cut off his head.  God gave him the ability to do both, sing and play as well as to lead an army with the sword. That sums up the reign of David, only a boy named David.  He stood for the children of Israel, to take away her reproach.  This is still a stance we take as a nation as well.

Adam Clarke quotes, "The General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, added by an act of 1749, a number of verses and portions of the Sacred Writings (among which are several of the above,) to their authorized Version of the Psalms of David in metre, to be sung in all kirks and families." So I conclude that even way back then, the "Only a boy named David," was sung in some form or other in all kirks and families in Scotland!  May it ever be, the singing of the Psalms, beginning by teaching them to our children.
 


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