Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Personification


** an earlier post on literary devices in the Psalms is linked here **


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I am excited to be attending an event The Psalms in the Christian Life as presented by Moore Theological College's Centre for Christian Living.  The goal of the event "is to deepen  appreciation of the Psalms—as poetry, as a book, as a part of Christian Scripture—in order to deepen our experience of the Psalms as a crucial resource for Christian living." (source: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=270706)

 

The Psalms have always been fascinating to me theologically and as literature. Many literary devices are used in the Psalms.  Four literary devices are found in Psalm 1 alone.

Psalm 19 is wonderful for its inclusion of a double personification.  A personification arises when an object is identified to a human form.  Psalm 19 verse 5 (NIV) is:

 

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

 

An understanding of verses 1 to 4 helps explain the personification.  Those verses identify how nature – the heavens, the skies, the earth – all declare the glory of God the maker.  With this setting the author then turns to the sun.

 

The heavens are said to be a “tent for the sun”.  The focus on the sun is in its role as a created object that is essential to the life of man.  The sun visibly attests to God as it sweeps across the earth and provides for every creature  “Nothing is hidden from its heat” Psalm 19:6 NIV.

 

And, the sun is personified:

 

  • As a bridegroom coming out of his chamber – representing the sun’s daily emergence from the distant horizon, and,



  • As a champion rejoicing to run his course – representing the sun’s daily and persistent track across the sky.

 



Paul adopts the verse in Romans 10:18.  Paul identifies that it is the gospel preachers that have been a voice to go out to nourish the world.  That is, they like the sun were providing sustenance.  Interestingly, Paul also perhaps uses the running champion personification in his writings as he speaks of persisting to the end of the Christian race.

 

Shalom,
Ozhamada

 

Note: all links good as at 15 August 2017

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