How does the Psalmist describe justice, and its consequences, in Psalm 9? Do we recognize that description as justice, that is, as what we ourselves mean by “justice” when we use the word? This could be a big question for us as we study this psalm for Sunday, October 10. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are a couple more questions we might want to think about, or discuss in class:
The psalm opens with a declaration of thanksgiving. For what is the Psalmist giving thanks – can we tell from the text of the psalm? Do we have any thoughts or feelings about this? What are they? Why?
[More personal] Do we ourselves have enemies like those of the psalmist? Or, have we had? Do we think our experience affects the way we understand the meaning of “justice”? In this psalm, or more generally? How, do we think?
In verses 7-8, the psalm portrays God as a ruler, and a judge. How do we feel about this image? Why, do we think? What does that tell us about ourselves, do we think?
[More personal] Do we think of ourselves as people who look forward to God’s judgment? Why, or why not?
In verses 9-10, the psalm calls God a “stronghold” for the oppressed, in trouble, who know and seek God. How do we feel about this image? Why, do we think? What does that tell us about ourselves, do we think?
[More personal] Do we think of ourselves as people for whom God is a stronghold? Why, or why not?
[More theoretical, but maybe also more personal] How does God who is a ruler, and a judge, relate to God who is a stronghold for the oppressed? What thoughts or questions does that collection of images of God raise for us? Why?
Overall, it might be important for us to consider who this psalm is “for,” and how similar or different those ancient people were to us. This may lead us to think about where we see ourselves in this psalm, and where we think we want to see ourselves. And that might get us thinking about what that means for the way we live our lives.
Image: “Christ and the Samaritan woman at the Well,” [crop] John Linnell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons