750 BC to 730 BC, Psalm 10: Prophecies.

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1024px-Congonhas_sanctuary_of_Bom_Jesus_prophet_HoseaThis generation is that of the years between 750 BC and 730 BC.

Psalm 10 (the present psalm) was associated with Psalm 9 by the Christian tradition. Psalms 9 and 10 thus forming only one psalm: Psalm 9.
In spite of this, the Christian tradition still retained a hundred and fifty psalms since Psalm 147 was divided into two psalms: the psalms one hundred and forty-six and one hundred and forty-eight. This translation error, presumably due to the fact that Psalm 10 is not preceded by a title, was corrected in the Protestant Bible. Today the « classical » numbering can be considered as recognized by all religions that have adopted the psalms in their holy books.
However, this psalm is in the continuity of Psalm 9, on the one hand by the kings in place: King Ouzzia continues to reign over the kingdom of Judah. This kingdom will continue to be managed by Jotham for the second half of the generation completed by King Ahaz’s reign. King Jeroboam ends his long reign over the kingdom of Israel. His succession will be relatively chaotic with the succession of kings Challum, Zechariah, Menahem, Pekahia and Pekah. On the other hand, by the continuity of Isaiah’s prophecy. Other prophets appear during this generation: Amos, Hosea and Micah.
The prophecy of Isaiah continues in effect in the same content as the supplications of David in the Psalms.
Isaiah also evokes the length of the night and its trials: the hundred and forty-seven generations of curse. It also evokes the dawn (« morning »), the final redemption of the people of Israel. Redemption that will be accompanied by the triumph of justice for all peoples:
  • Yes, [1] LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
  • My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.
It is the spirit of this redemption that is a response to David’s astonishment at the beginning of this generation’s psalm:

(extract of the psalm 10 associated to this generation, verses 1 to 6 )

 

  • O Lord, why do You stand from afar? [Why do] You hide in times of distress?
  • With the haughtiness of the wicked man, he pursues the poor man. They are caught in the plots that they have devised.
  • For the wicked man boasts about the desire of his soul, and the robber congratulates himself for having blasphemed the Lord.
  • A wicked man at the height of his anger; « He will not seek; there is no God, » [say] all his thoughts.
  • His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are far removed from him. All his adversaries-he blows at them.
  • He says to himself, « I will not fall; for all generations I will not be in adversity. »

 

For the passage from the second part of Isaiah’s prophecy is itself preceded by:
  • On [2] that day
    • the day of the final redemption
  • this song shall be sung in the land of Judah: « The city that was our strength-salvation shall He place [for] walls and a bulwark.
  • Open the gates, so that a righteous nation,
    • the people of Israel who through the night did not fail in their covenant with God
  • awaiting the realization [of God’s promise], may enter.
  • The creature that relied, You shall guard, [that there be] peace, peace, for they trusted in You.
  • Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah the Lord, is the Rock of eternity.
  • For He humbled the inhabitants of the high places, the fortified city; He brings it low, he brings it low even to the earth, he makes it reach even to the dust.
  • A foot shall trample it, the feet of a poor man, the soles of the impoverished.
  • The way of the righteous that is straight-O Upright One, the path of the righteous, You shall weigh.
Recall that this quote is in the pursuit of it in the previous psalm of the end of Moab which was at the initiative of attempts to mesh Balaam and therefore the symbol of triumph on the earth to the detriment of the just.

Wicked who seems to triumph during these generations of curses as Isaiah pursues after evoking the expected dawn:

 

  • Shall [3] the wicked be favored-who did not learn righteousness? In the land of uprightness he deals unjustly, and he does not see the pride of the Lord.
The rest of Isaiah’s prophecy then echoes the end of Psalm 10:
  • A vile [4] person shall no longer be called generous, nor shall a deceitful person be said to be noble.
  • For a vile person speaks villainly, and his heart works iniquity, to practice flattery, and to speak lies about the Lord, to empty the soul of the hungry, and the drink of the thirsty he causes to fail.
  • As for the deceitful person, his instruments are evil; he plans wicked plots, to destroy the poor with false words, and when the needy speaks a plea.
  • But the generous person plans generous deeds, and he, because of generous deeds, shall stand.
This sequel of the prophecy can thus be put in parallel with the rest of the psalm of this generation:

(extract of the psalm 10 associated to this generation, verses 7 to 18 )

 

  • His mouth is full of oaths and deceits and guile; under his tongue is mischief and iniquity.
  • He sits in the lurking-places of the villages; in hidden places he slays the innocent; his eyes spy on Your army.
  • He lurks in a hidden place; like a lion in his den, he lurks to seize a poor man; he seizes a poor man when he draws his net.
  • He crouches, he bows down, and an army of broken people shall fall by his signals.
  • He says in his heart, « God has forgotten; He has hidden His face, He never sees. »
  • Arise, O Lord God, lift up Your hand; do not forget the humble.
  • Why did a wicked man blaspheme God? He said in his heart that You do not seek.
  • You saw, for You look at mischief and provocation to give with Your power; upon You Your army leaves [its burden]; You would help the orphan.
  • Break the arm of the wicked, but as for the evil one-You will seek his wickedness and not find [it].
  • The Lord is King forever and ever; nations perish from His land.
  • You shall hear the desire of the humble, O Lord; may You prepare their heart, may Your ear hearken.
  • To judge the orphan and the crushed one, that he no longer continue to break the weak from the earth.

 

In fact, the tenth generation is also the end of the reign of Jeroboam, king of Israel. His successor Zechariah, will hold only six months: he will be assassinated by Challoum who will succeed him ending the reign of the descendants of Jehu. God had indeed promised Jehu that his descendants would reign over Israel for another four generations. Zechariah represents this fourth generation.
This psalm, which condemns injustice, and which follows on from Psalm 9, which is also focused on injustice, is a reminder of the moral and religious decay of the kingdom of Israel, which gradually leads it to disaster, to the exile.
This is what Hosea prophesies who is contemporary to the generation that interests us and who foretells the coming end of the kingdom of Israel, recalling the faults of the kingdom:
  • Hear [5] the word of the Lord, O children of Israel; for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land; for there is neither truth nor loving-kindness nor knowledge of God in the land. 
    • only the kingdom of Israel is concerned 
  • There is swearing and lying and killing and stealing and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and blood touches blood.
  • Therefore shall the land mourn, and all that dwell therein shall be cut off, along with the beasts of the field, and the fowl of the heavens; also the fish of the sea shall be diminished.

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[1] Yeshayahu – Isaiah – Chapter 26, verses 8 and 9. (Translation from « New International Version« )

[2] Yeshayahu – Isaiah – Chapter 26, verses 1 to 7

[3] Yeshayahu – Isaiah – Chapter 26, verse 10

[4] Yeshayahu – Isaiah – Chapter 32, verses 5 to 8

[5] Hoshea – Hosea – Chapter 4, verses 1 to 3