A radical glimpse in Psalm 124

Verse 7 of Psalm 124 reads:

Our life force (nefesh) has escaped as a bird from the snare of the bird-catchers;

the snare is broken, and we are free!

A radical glimpse? These are precisely the types of texts that radicals have treasured, along with famous texts such as Matthew 16:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Back to the Psalm. I am intrigued by Calvin’s comments:

Of the same import is the third similitude, That they were on all sides entrapped and entangled in the snares of their enemies, even as little birds caught in the net lie stretched under the hand of the fowler; and that when they were delivered, it was just as if one should set at liberty birds which had been taken. The amount is, that the people of God, feeble, without counsel, and destitute of aid, had not only to deal with bloodthirsty and furious beasts, but were also ensnared by bird-nets and stratagems, so that being greatly inferior to their enemies as well in policy as in open force, they were besieged by many deaths. From this it may be gathered that they were miraculously preserved (Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 5. pp. 87-88).

Uncannily reminds me of Lenin, who observes that a revolution is like a miracle. More pointedly, after the victory of the ‘civil’ war, he points out that his was indeed ‘a miracle without parallel, in that a starving, weak and half-ruined country has defeated its enemies—the mighty capitalist countries’.


4 thoughts on “A radical glimpse in Psalm 124

  1. “By creating the expectation of a radical alteration in human affairs, Christianity—the religion that St Paul invented from Jesus’ life and sayings—founded the modern world…. Christian myth seems to me deep and interesting, at times also beautiful, whereas the myths of its secular successors strike me as shallow, banal and ugly.”
    John Gray

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