I'll start by saying how much I love this Psalm. It reads a little bit like the epic poems of Homer and Vigil with a warrior king led on by his God. The warrior king even becomes boastful claiming he can jump over walls (makes me think of Superman able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound) and crush enemy troops, but the warrior soon gives credit to God. I wish I had a more poetic translation, because I somehow feel that the psalm is a bit clunky. With all the detail it must be particularly beautiful in its original Hebrew.
I'm really excited to re-read the story of Moses. It's one I've studied over and over again. As a matter of fact, I use to have an old King James Bible that my Granny gave me when I was a little boy. We read the story of Moses so many times that Exodus had come loose from the binding. Exodus made and exodus of its own.
I was really interested to read the footnote concerning God's answer to Moses that "I Am who I Am". I had no idea that YHWH (which we today pronounce Yahewh) was the verb "to be". According to the footnote YHWH in the third person form may mean "He causes to be". How interesting that the God of Israel's name means creation. It implies a God continually working in the world. He "causes to be" or is making things in the past, present, and future. In previous readings of Exodus, I thought God was giving an answer that would annoy me if I were Moses:
Who are you?But in understanding that God answers with a name that means I am causing all to be, Moses gets a sense that God's work isn't done yet. A fitting answer for a man who is about to lead people through the wilderness for forty years.
I am who I am.
Gee, thanks, God.
Speaking of enlightening footnotes, I love the phrase Moses uses to explain that he is not a good speaker. What the NRSV translates as "I am a poor speaker" literally says in the Hebrew "I am uncircumcised of lips." Besides making me giggle in a juvenile way, it has an interesting religious connotation. Circumcision was a way Israelites identified each other and separated themselves from other people. I think this implies that not only does Moses feel he isn't a good public speaker, the religious connotation of circumcision means Moses doesn't feel he can speak for God.
On a completely non-religious note, I cannot read the story of Moses without thinking of the brilliant Mel Brooks and his take on the Moses story. Makes me laugh!