Lectionary Year B
December 5, 1999
Second Sunday in Advent
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

Step III: Immediate Context


(FS) B. COMPOSITIONAL WHOLE

Mowinckel suggests that this Psalm was used for the Harvest Festival and Feast of Tabernacles (Vol. 1, 191) or perhaps at the New Year (ibid, 223). Both he and J.L. Mays suggest that it was paired with Psalm 126, with both being corporate pleas for salvation in the present, based on past need and Yahweh's response. (J.L. Mays, Psalms {Interpretation Series of Commentaries}, 276-8).

Thomas White Currie noted that Psalms 85 and 126 are catalogued in the ancient liturgies of the Church to be read on Christmas Day. He suggested that the Psalm celebrates the restoration of Israel from the Babylonian captivity (Studies in the Psalms, Kingsville, TX: The Tex.-Mex. Printery, 1941, pp. 58-59) If this is the case, one remembers how disappointing the return to a ravaged land was, and how arduous the task of reconstruction.




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