Psalm (141) Analysis Paper
Psalm 141 is a prayer seeking guidance and hope from the Lord. The speaker seems very worried, and begins the prayer with a desperate plea for the Lord to hear his voice. He does not ask for the Lord to do this though, he instructs him to; he demands it. “Make haste unto me…when I cry unto thee.” he says. This makes me feel as though there is something looming close on the horizon for this person, something that’s struck great fear into them for which they need immediate guidance.
The speaker then proceeds to make the simile of his prayer being “set forth before thee as incense”; inferring his prayer is as a pleasant aroma permeating the air to please the Lord. He follows this by asking that “the lifting up of my hands” be his evening’s sacrifice. I feel as though he’s saying these things to entice the Lord to comply with his demand that he be heard.
The first thing he asks God is to “set watch” before his mouth, and “keep the door” of his tongue. It appears as though he wants the Lord to know he has good intentions, but realizes he will speak evils, and wants the Lords help in staying his tongue. He proceeds to ask that his heart not be inclined to do any evil thing, and that he not be allowed to enjoy the dainties of wicked men. Essentially, he’s further more asking the Lord to make sure that he stays righteous and true. This is where I began feeling like whatever was lurking on the horizon for this person might be something he thinks is going to greatly test his beliefs and values.
The speaker then asks that “the righteous smite him” and “reprove” him. At first I thought this simply meant he wanted his fellow brethren to aid him if he were to stray from the path of the Lord; that it would be “a kindness” as he said. But the more I read over it, the more I feel like there’s a double meaning here. What if he’s using the word “righteous” in a cynical, sarcastic way?
The full verse reads “Let the righteous...
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