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Psalms 146:3

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Psalms 146:3

Postby UK Atheist » Wed May 07, 2014 8:45 pm

I was having a "debate" with a bunch of JW's the other day and somewhere in the chat they started quoting scripture at me. One of the quotes was Psalms 146:3. For those not in the know, that quote reads, thus:

"Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation."

Basically, it is saying "Do not put your trust in any man who cannot bring salvation (i.e J. H. Christ Esq.). I can't believe this quote hasn't been subject to greater scrutiny. Because I thought this quote has grave implications for the average Christian/Catholic/follower of the bible marriage. In a marriage, both parties have to trust each other. However, from the ladies' point of view, if she puts any trust in her man, she is breaking this quote as, unless she has married the son of god (unlikely) then her trust should NOT be in her husband. Not to mention any male whom you interact with cannot be trusted. Which is a great way of dismissing any male evangelist.

This sounds rather simplistic, but I cannot see any other interpretation of this quotes.

Thoughts, anyone....?
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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby zilch » Thu May 08, 2014 8:24 am

Imho, this is what happens when you subject Scripture to logical rigor it wasn't intended to bear. I suspect this is just another case where the authors were sloppy (by modern standards), and meant to say something like "trust God above all others". This kind of thing is rife in the Bible, and makes taking it literally (i.e. logically) an impossible obstacle course.
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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby BeamStalk » Fri May 09, 2014 12:52 am

Exactly Zilch. In fact the next verse helps to make your point, Zilch.

His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.
The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head.
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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Tue May 27, 2014 6:50 pm

Folks,

Context must be the key to Biblical interpretation. What is Psalms? It is a giant song book of the Hebrew people. Do we hold songs to the same absolute-literal interpretation that we do instructional manauals? Or, do we commonly recognize them as artistic literature, and give them more poetic freedom in interpretation? The Hebrew people were no different and had differing kinds of literature, just as we do now.

A reader back then (as they should now) would interpret the passage as expressing that one should not place their hope in a finite human to bring them what only an infinite God could. This is not so much about husbands, but about trusting and making security deals with foreign rulers thinking it would bring them lasting peace.

Perhaps people would not try to force the Psalms into literal illogical interpretations if they could recognize it as poetry. Maybe if it rhymed:

Psalm 146 (in metre - you could sing it to the tunes of "Amazing Grace" or "America the Beautiful" if that helps).
1. Praise God. The Lord praise, O my soul.
2. I'll praise God while I live;
While I have being to my God
in songs I'll praises give.
3. Trust not in princes, nor man's son,
in him there is no stay:
4. His breath departs, to's earth he turns;
that day his thoughts decay.
5. O happy is that man and blest,
whom Jacom's God doth aid;
Whose hope upon the Lord doth rest,
and on his God is stay'd:
6. Who made the earth and heavens high,
who made the swelling deep,
And all that is within the same;
who truth doth ever keep:
7. Who righteous judgment executes
for those oppress'd that be,
Who to the hungry giveth food;
God sets the pris'ners free.
8. The Lord doth give the blind their sight,
the bowed down doth raise:
The Lord doth dearly love all those
that walk in upright ways.
9. The stranger's shield, the widow's stay,
the orphan's help, is he:
But yet by him the wicked's way
turn'd upside down shall be.
10. The Lord shall reign for evermore:
they God, O Zion, he
Reigns to all generations.
Praise to the Lord give ye.

BTW, just because something is poetic literature does not make it untrue, or myth.

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend.

- Chap
I find your lack of faith...disturbing. -Darth Vader
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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby zilch » Tue May 27, 2014 7:36 pm

Hey, Chap! I'll agree with you there- lots of passages in the Bible were obviously not intended to be taken literally. The problem is, how do you know how literally any given passage should be taken? Or does it matter to God? There is a lot of disagreement amongst Christians about this, and no wonder: there's stuff running the whole gamut from obvious metaphor (the Lord being your shepherd doesn't mean He's going to eat you) to questionable stuff (did they literally mean, say, the "four corners of the Earth"?) to pretty straight talk (don't wear linsey-wolsey). I suspect that the authors weren't all that fussed about drawing lines here, but anyone who claims that the Bible is "literally true" has to make all kinds of such lines- and they won't be in the same places as anyone else's.
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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Tue May 27, 2014 8:20 pm

Good to hear from you Zilch.

I agree it can be confusing to discern the proper literary genre for interpretation. Some of it, though, is common sense.

* Psalms is a book of Hebrew songs, so obviously should be read as poetry. This does not make them untrue. There are many poems and songs that express objective truth without having to be literally true.
* Proverbs are wisdom sayings, so they are read with that genre in mind. We do this today. Obviously, "don't count your chickens before they hatch" does not literally mean do not count how many eggs you have. We understand the truth the saying is trying to convey.
* Some books are clearly historical records. 1,2 Samuel; 1,2 Kings; 1,2 Chronicles, etc.
* Some are prophetical, a genre that uses word pictures or actions to communicate messages from God. E.g. the major and minor prophetical books, Revelations.
* Some are historic prose. The gospels would fit into this category.
* Others are personal or public correspondance. Paul's letters come to mind.

Now, sometimes there is a mixture of literary genres within a book. For instance, in Exodus, there is a historical retelling of the Hebrews leaving Egypt. But within that account, there is a poetical section of Miriam singing a song telling of God's defeating the Egyptian army. Miriam's song is a true telling of a historical event, but it is also poetry. So we do not demand that her words literally word for word match the account just prior. We give artistic license.

Sometimes though, and this is why people do go to seminary and learn the original languages, making that distinction is much harder. For instance, in Genesis chapters 1-2, it seems to read (in English) as straight historical account. Which causes some difficulty when you realize that they do not say the exact same thing. This can cause readers, especially if they are reading to find out the "how" of creation, to feel it is inaccurate. However, Hebrew language has a certain literary pattern to it. This can be seen throughout the Psalms as well as other Hebraic sources. This same literary structure exists in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis, but then abruptly switches to historical narrative in chapter 3. This allows us to understand that chapters 1 and 2 are not to be read as scientific manuals on "how," but poetic description of "who." This makes a lot of sense when we consider who is writing it (Moses) and who he is writing it for (the Hebrews, coming from a polytheistic culture in Egypt and moving into a polytheistic culture in Canaan). The Hebrews need to know (or be re-introduced to) who brought them out of Egypt and his authority over all the things in creation. What better way to learn and remember that than through Hebrew poetry?

Please, please don't read this as me saying, "I've been to seminary and know Hebrew so I'm better than you." Nothing can be further from the truth. But I would counsel that just because something seems to not make sense, or to be a contradiction in English, doesn't mean that it really is.

- Chap (from currently sunny Tacoma, Washington)
I find your lack of faith...disturbing. -Darth Vader
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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby zilch » Tue May 27, 2014 9:53 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful and interesting reply, Chap. And no, you needn't worry that I'll think you supercilious: you're obviously not. I'm happy to learn from people who know stuff I don't, for instance about Hebrew.

But as much as my lay understanding of the Bible agrees with your more learned understanding, as far as different literary forms and degrees of poetic license go, I think you skate over the fact that much of what you say is anything but agreed upon by Christians. For example, you say:

For instance, in Genesis chapters 1-2, it seems to read (in English) as straight historical account. Which causes some difficulty when you realize that they do not say the exact same thing. This can cause readers, especially if they are reading to find out the "how" of creation, to feel it is inaccurate. However, Hebrew language has a certain literary pattern to it. This can be seen throughout the Psalms as well as other Hebraic sources. This same literary structure exists in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis, but then abruptly switches to historical narrative in chapter 3. This allows us to understand that chapters 1 and 2 are not to be read as scientific manuals on "how," but poetic description of "who."

Who are the "us" in the last sentence? Not Ray Comfort, or any other fundamentalist: they insist that Genesis 1 and 2 are indeed "scientific manuals on "how"'. And I don't see any way of consistently being able to pigeonhole every bit of Scripture as being either "historical" and literal, or "poetic" and "true but not literal". I suspect there's a great deal of confirmation bias possible here.

But that's okay. Cheers from rainy Vienna, zilch
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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Tue May 27, 2014 10:45 pm

Zilch,

You are absolutely right. Much of what I said is not in total agreement with all Christians. Ray would disagree with me (not that that bothers me) as would many other fundamentalists, YEC folks.

The interpretation that I presented is known as the literary-framework view and was made popular by Meredith Kline, a professor from Westminster Seminary in Escondido, CA. If you, or anyone else is interested in it, I encourage you to look him up (google).

Again, super hesitant to sound like an education snob, but it cuts both ways for non-Christians and Christians. There is a reason why people go to seminary and learn the original languages and sit under professors who have made this their life's work.

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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby zilch » Wed May 28, 2014 6:56 am

Chaplain Entrekin wrote:Again, super hesitant to sound like an education snob, but it cuts both ways for non-Christians and Christians. There is a reason why people go to seminary and learn the original languages and sit under professors who have made this their life's work.

- Chap

To be sure, Chap. Whether or not God exists, you're likely to get closer to understanding the authors' original intentions by knowing the original languages, the various literary forms, etc. If I were a Christian, I would probably take a view of the Bible similar to yours, and also be more motivated to learn Hebrew and Greek.

But I'm not a Christian, and alas, days have no more than twenty-four hours, so I probably won't get around to it. I don't feel it's necessary to go to seminary to be a well-informed atheist. But I always appreciate hearing from those who can teach me something- even if it's about the Bible.

cheers from cool Vienna, zilch

PS- Chap, you seem like a good man. I bet you'd even be good as an atheist. :lol:
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Re: Psalms 146:3

Postby BeamStalk » Wed May 28, 2014 7:42 pm

So why do people use Psalms to say the Bible is against abortion? When every where else it talks about people not being people until their first breath, they breathe in the spirit.
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