The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 7, 2013


THIS psalm, like Psalm xxiii, has two clearly distinguishable parts. In the first (verses 1-6) the singer expresses his complete trust in the Lord, and his love for the Lord’s dwelling-place which guarantees protection against all danger. In the second part (7-14) he pleads for pity and mercy in his need; he is abandoned, and he is attacked by foes, but he is still full of confidence that the Lord will rescue him, and give him peace.

The great contrast between the two parts has here also suggested the theory that the psalm is a combination of two originally unconnected poems. Yet the two parts seem, somehow, to balance each other, and to refer to each other. Compare the hope expressed in verse 4 with that expressed in verse 13. The whole psalm might be taken as the song of an Israelite in exile and oppressed, who longs to share again in the liturgy of the Divine Service, and whose courage is upheld by the thought of the protecting presence in the Sanctuary of Israel of the God who has, in all times of need, sustained His servants of the chosen race. The longing to share in the ritual, and the desire to see ‘the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,’ belong to the same frame of mind which shows itself in Pss 21, 22,  and 24 (cf. especially 24:6-8). It is difficult, but not, of course, impossible, to suppose that David was thus full of longing to share in the liturgy of the Tabernacle during his troubles with Saul. The superscription ‘before he was anointed’ is not in the Hebrew, and is wanting in most of the Greek codices. (There are three Biblical accounts of the anointing of David: 1 Sam 16; 2 Sam 2, and 2 Sam 5, and the superscription may be referred to any one of them.)

One Response to “Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27”

  1. […] Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27. […]

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