550 AD to 570 AD, Psalm 75: The horns of the altar.

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tabernacle-shutterstock_144640568This generation is that of the years 550 and the years 560.

At the political level, this generation sees consolidating powers in place in both the East and the West.
In the West (since the Western Roman Empire has disappeared, Byzantium, the former Eastern Christian empire, becomes the West in the face of Persia, the new East in this new division of the world), this generation is marked by the end of the long reign of Justinian I (527-565) followed by that of the beginning of the reign of Justin II (565-578). On the eastern side, Khosro I (531-579) also continues his long reign.
The end of Justinian’s reign marks the end of the Roman model.
Justinian 1st will be a reference in the Byzantine world, the reign of Khosrô also corresponds to a peak of the Sassanid world.
It is a transitional context where great empires are at their peak after succeeding other empires that eventually disappear.
These empires will disappear in their turn to give way to others.
Meanwhile, the Jewish people, devoid of kingdom and scattered among the nations condemned to suffer the bullying of the latter, crosses the time and survives despite all these upheavals of the world while waiting to find his place on his land and near God.
It is this particular destiny that the psalm of this generation evokes.
1024px-Old_Jerusalem_Golden_Menorah_replica_in_the_CardoIn the previous generation, while fighting against Carthage, Belisarius brought back to Constantinople many of the precious objects of the Temple that the Romans had brought in 71 and that had fallen into the hands of Genseric during the sack of Rome in 455.

These objects are returned to the Jews of Jerusalem a few years later, presumably during this generation. The return of these symbols of the past glory of the Jewish people marks the supremacy of the latter over the empires, as prestigious as they are, which succeed one another in the domination of the world. Rome has disappeared, the Jewish people are still there and the link of this people with their land, with Jerusalem and its Temple remains as strong as ever.

This is what the author of the psalm of this generation expresses in the preamble of this psalm:

(extract of the psalm 75 associated to this generation, verses 1 and 2 )

  • For the conductor, al tashcheth, a psalm of Asaph, a song.
  • We have thanked You, O God, we have thanked, and Your name is near; they have told Your wonders.
The following verses of the psalm, relies on the illusions of nations materialized by the empires of this generation to recall the future of this world:

(extract of the psalm 75 associated to this generation, verses 3 to 8 )

  • When I take a festive day, I shall judge with fairness.
  • When the earth and all its inhabitants were melting away, I established its pillars forever.
  • I said to the perverse, « Do not behave perversely, » and to the wicked, « Do not raise the horn. » 
    • The glory of past empires and their disappearance must be a strong message to the new empires that share the world and those who will dominate it in future generations. All the glory of the nations is transitory and there is no reason to boast of it because all have an end.
  • Do not raise your horn on high, [do not] speak with [your] fat neck.
  • For it is not from the east or from the west, neither from the desert does elevation come.
  • But God judges; He humbles this one and elevates that one. 
    • The psalmist relies more pertinently on this generation to support his speech since in fact the (known) world is shared between East and West between Byzantine Empire and Persian Empire. To these empires a troublemaker will redistribute the cards. Soon, from the desert, will appear Muhammad who will create a new Empire in the East relying heavily on the foundations of the Persian empire. All this will lead to a sharing of the (known) world between the Christian West and the Muslim East. Thus when the psalmist quotes « not from the east or from the west, neither from the desert « , he takes into account the empires of the moment and the programmed evolution of the East by the arrival of Islam (of the desert ). He indicates that all these evolutions are not accidental and enter into a destiny desired by the divine who alone is entitled to establish or break the balance of the world (But God judges; He humbles this one and elevates that one).
This generation is rather peaceful for the Jewish people, despite its lot of vexations and forced conversion attempts.
In fact, the psalm of this generation puts more emphasis on the rest of the night by evoking once again the « horns » which is a recurrent theme in the psalms and more broadly in the various books of the Bible.
For the Psalms, the horns are mentioned a first time in Psalm twenty-two. The twenty-second generation symbolizes the entry into the deep night that the Jewish people begins its confrontation with the nations and the individuals with the horns of these (remember that the bull represents the priesthood), mainly Christianity that has already gained a foothold before the present generation and Islam that will soon emerge.
The ancient world will be shared again between East and West, between Christian land and land of Islam, the horns symbolize this sharing of the world.

1024px-Roman-Empire_565ad

The present generation marks the end of a time, indeed, until now, monotheism had been seeded within the nations with a unique doctrine (although it gave birth to many « sects » and « heresies » « ): Christianity.
The end of this uniqueness is initiated at this generation because it ends with the birth of Muhammad (570) who will give birth to Islam himself.
The birth of Islam which is announced by the birth of Muhammad at the end of this generation is the sign of the maturation of the nations which will now be organized between influence of East (Islam) and influence of Occident (Christianity) .
It is in this world that the Jewish people will evolve the rest of the night.
Night during which the Jewish people will continue to suffer the caprices of the nations and pay the price in the image of the blood of the atonement sacrifices projected towards the horns of the altar, to the nations.
This is summarized by the end of the psalm of this generation:

(extract of the psalm 75 associated to this generation, verses 9 to 8 )

  • For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and strong wine, a full mixture, and He pours out of this [cup], but all the wicked of the earth will drain and drink [it]. 
    • Nations can feel free to do as they please against the people of Israel who live within it, because apparently they go unpunished or even seem to benefit. This is a short-term view because God will end up demanding account for actions against his people.
  • And I shall recite forever; I shall sing [praises] to the God of Jacob.
  • And all the horns of the wicked I shall cut off; the horns of the righteous will be upraised.  
    • This is summarized in this last verse: the promise made to Jacob will be respected at the end of time and justice will be done to the nations to which his people will have been confronted. Those who have done well will be rewarded, those who have done wrong will be punished.

 

 

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