4. The Experience of Harmony: Justice and World Order
(23) Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other (24) Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (Ps. 85: 10–11) Commentators who have discussed this psalm have focused mainly on other aspects of it1 – especially the relationship between its opening verses (1–3) and its third section (vv. 8–13),2 or the difficulties arising from its change from plural first person to singular (“I will hear” – v. 8).3 In the conventional view, the above verses are thought to pose no difficulties, since they offer an optimistic ending, as one might expect in a prayer of this sort.4 Commentators appear not to have con- sidered the actual meaning of the text – whether it is metaphorical or a turn of phrase – nor have they enquired into significant and internal 1 See our discussion of this psalm above in chapter 1, section 3. 2 Gunkel rejects the notion that the first part of the psalm alludes to past sal- vations in the hope that the impending salvation will be similar. He believes (particularly in view of the alliteration of the root sh-b-t in the Hebrew of v. 1: shavta shvut Yaacov. (“thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob“) that the psalm’s first part, like the third, is also future-oriented to the End of Days – as it were, a kind of perfectum propheticum. See: H. Gunkel, Die Psalmen, Göttingen, 19685, p. 373. 3 Weiser thinks this psalm...
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