Continuing translation with comment of Psalms 90-106
Come let us sing for joy to Yahweh;
A victory shout to our rock of rescue.
Let us greet his face with the gift of gratitude
Let us shout to him in a procession of praise.
For Yahweh is a high God,
A high King over all Gods.
Depths of the earth are in his hand
The strength of hills is his.
The sea is his for he made it
His fingers formed the dry land.
Come, let us bend, let us bow down,
Let us kneel before Yahweh our maker.
For he is our God and we the people of his pasture,
The sheep of his hand. 0 hear his voice today!
“ Do not harden your hearts, as you did at Merivah,
As on the day at Massah in the desert,
When your fathers investigated me
And put me to the proof
Although they had witnessed my work.
For forty years I hated that generation,
I said, ‘They are a people who go wrong in their hearts;
They do not recognise my roads.’
So I made an oath in my anger:
‘They will never enter my ease.’
The abrupt ending of the psalm is surprising, given its opening with a happy call to praise the God who has made the world. The people are summoned to a holy procession of thanksgiving to their God who has been their shepherd. What is not to like?
The answer is the history of this relationship between people and God. Once (and again, and again) they treated God as simply a source of goodies. This insult so angered God that he barred a whole generation from entering the land of promise. Now and always that contempt and that refusal are possible. To praise God must lead to hearing his voice today. The succession of three alliterative verbs in Hebrew, nishtachweh, nichrahah, nivrichah, all meaning more or less to prostrate oneself, here translated, bend, bow, kneel, define the surrender required by God the maker of all.