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Author Topic: Psalms 68:21......can anyone tell me what the exact meaning is?  (Read 2882 times) Average Rating: 0
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eleni
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« on: May 31, 2006, 12:45:47 PM »

Hi all.....
I was hoping if anyone knows the exact meaning of these words...
I came across it it another forum about the Bible and Koran...

"But God will shatter the heads of his enemies..."
Psalms 68:21
Would that be a symbol for BABTISM?
An  anyone would greatly appreciated, thanks.

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TomS
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2006, 12:50:07 PM »

http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/psalms/psalm68.htm
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donkeyhotay
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2006, 12:56:04 PM »

Especially when read in context, I should think the meaning is obvious and straightforward.  How in the world could it possibly be a symbol for baptism?
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FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006, 01:44:47 PM »

Let's see what I can quickly jot down before I go to work..I don't have my Septuagint handy, and there may be a translation difference in the verse from the website used by TomS.The website seems to list this verse as v22 while others place this verse as v21:

http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/psalms/psalm68.htm

21
Our God is a God who saves; escape from death is in the LORD God's hands.
22
God will crush the skulls of the enemy, the hairy heads of those who walk in sin.

Assuming the NAB's v22 is everyone else's Ps68:21, there are two ways to look at this:

--One is reassurance that God will be victorious over His enemies. This, btw, is also the usual understanding of Hab 3:13 which uses approximately the same verbiage.

--From this point we get to the related point of the events occurring during the Harrowing of Hell. A Resurrectional hymn sung makes reference to this with: Forseeing Thy divine emptying of Thyself on the Cross, Abbakoum (Habbakuk) cried out in amazement, "The dominion of the might did Thou destroy, O good One, as One omnipotent, Thou didst encounter them that were in Hades" (italics mine)

--On a different tangent, this can also be seen as spiritual advice. Fr. Eugene Pentiuc, Old Testament professor at Holy Cross, has been known to refer to verses similar to this (as well as Ps 137:9) as 'the difficult ones..' because they seem to rationalize killing babies and infants.

But that is only if you take the verses in their literal way. Metaphorically, the infants and babies to be dashed against the rocks can be seen as the darts thrown our way by the Evil One---the initial urgings of temptations that lead us to sin if we indulge them.

Thusly, Ps 137:9 talks about how we should control these urges and eliminate them. Ps 68:21 then assures us that with the Lord on our side our victory against these urges is assured.

Again, my apologies for not having all my tools handy for this, and these are just some quick and undeveloped thoughts.
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FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2006, 01:47:36 PM »

One more thing...the 'hairy heads' or 'hairy crowns' etc. is frequently a metaphor for the Evil One and his minions. This is why in the Nativity Icon the Evil One speaking to St. Joseph is wearing furs and skins.

Thi sis also reminiscent of those who are fallen in sin, as making coverings were one of the first things Adam and Eve did after the Fall.
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Philotheos
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2006, 01:32:07 AM »

Perhaps Orthodox understanding of baptism, death and ressurection with Christ, can shed light into this otherwise ambiguous association. I believe eleni is drawing a parallel between our daily dying to sin, as taught by the Church concerning baptism, and the destruction described in the Psalm.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2006, 01:43:42 AM »

"But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses. The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same." - Ps. 68:21-23

People can spiritualize it all they want, for the original authors it meant exactly what it said. Put simply, it's about people dying because they were on God's bad side. According to the mythology in the Old Testament, humanity, and especially the "chosen people" the Jews, were the tools of God. "Take vengeance on the Midianites," God supposedly ordered, and the Old Tesatment says that it was so (Num. 31:1-54).
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2006, 02:39:49 AM »

I agree with Asterikos, the meaning is clear and God's enemies will have their heads smoten. The enemies, then, are the oppressors of Israel and those who turn themselves against God himself.

God is to be understood as the King, the Sovreign, the Lord. Those who oppose him (IOW, Israel), challenge that Kingship; in the ancient world, those who oppose are real dangers since they can easily gain followers (there's a reason why Alexander hunted down all those Darius IIIs). It is, therefore, just to ask that their impious dealings may be smoted (I like the word, smite, btw) so that Israel may be safe.
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eleni
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2006, 02:44:33 AM »

Thank you all......i will read into them.
Its actually a forum i write into.

And ppl are having a go at the Bible...God being a cruel God..
Thanks again.
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2006, 04:00:45 AM »

Quote
And ppl are having a go at the Bible...God being a cruel God..

Cruel? Remember Job 1:21: "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."

Moreover, death of the body is not death of the soul. When Christ preached to the dead in limbo, surely those who deserved to be taken were taken with him up into heaven and will enjoy the body once more in the Resurrection.
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FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2006, 08:44:45 AM »

For those of you who feel that 'the meaning is clear'...

Why is God so particular with His wrath towards those with hairy scalps? Is it then possible to escape the worst aspects of God's wrath by adopting a Yul Brynner/Telly Savalas hairstyle?

It is the position of the Church that the Old Testament points towards the New, and is fulfilled through Christ and His Church.

How is this verse then fulfilled through the literal meaning of 'God smiting His enemies, especially those with hairy scalps'?

(Asteriktos---I realize you have now defined yourself as an agnostic, and so I am unsure if the fulfillment of the OT in the NT is actually something you agree with today.)

Just for clarity, I am curious how those who believe the meaning of the verse is self-evident actually interpret the specification of those with hairy scalps. It is a very interesting descriptor....
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2006, 03:16:41 AM »

I believe it to be academically dishonest to strip an OT verse/passage of its immediate social, cultural and historical significance, as if the author was merely conveying some spiritual message that could only be deciphered by those enlightened by the Grace of God in the New Testament era. I certainly do not deny that such spiritual implications exist—whether they exist in the absence of, or by virtue of the author’s intention is another question—I am merely saying that they do not negate alternative interpretations that would make sense to their immediate audience.

As such, my position would be a compromise between that of Chris and Asteriktos
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2006, 06:06:18 PM »

I also raise strong objections to those who completely disregard socio-cultural context of OT in scriptural interpretation. However, the original author of this post seemed to have drawn a parallel between the Psalm verse and baptism, which is far from being egregiously flawed. I felt that such comparison is sound and merely provided my personal opinion of their correlation within the context of the teachings of the church. It is not uncommon to witness the symbols and practices of OT taking on new meanings and significance in the post-Biblical era.ÂÂ  Take, for example, the analogies of Noah's ark and incarnation of the Word through Theotokos or disobedient Eve and obedient Virgin Mary.ÂÂ  
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FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2006, 01:13:22 PM »

There is no doubt that this verse does mean exactly what it says: that the Lord will be victorious over His enemies. This is the first meaning given in my original post on this thread.

However, the specification of the 'hairy scalps' intrigues me...is there anyone out there who would like to posit a hypothesis regarding the meaning of this?

« Last Edit: June 05, 2006, 01:13:52 PM by chris » Logged

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TomS
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2006, 01:20:10 PM »

However, the specification of the 'hairy scalps' intrigues me...is there anyone out there who would like to posit a hypothesis regarding the meaning of this?

Well, isn't it obvious - if it is hairy, then it must be referring to the Turks!  ÃƒÆ’‚ Grin Cheesy
« Last Edit: June 05, 2006, 01:20:48 PM by TomS » Logged
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