Exodus 34:6

Hebrew Bible

4 So Moses cut out two tablets of stone like the first; early in the morning he went up to Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded him, and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone. 5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the Lord by name. 6 The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, 7 keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” 8 Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshiped

Psalm 77:8

Hebrew Bible

6 I said, “During the night I will remember the song I once sang; I will think very carefully.” I tried to make sense of what was happening. 7 I asked, “Will the Lord reject me forever? Will he never again show me his favor? 8 Has his loyal love disappeared forever? Has his promise failed forever? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has his anger stifled his compassion?” (Selah) 10 Then I said, “I am sickened by the thought that the Most High might become inactive.

 Notes and References

"... Psalm 77 is an example of a fusion of individual lament and hymn.75 Normally, the individual lament appeared in the setting of familial prayer. In the preexilic period, it was far removed both geographically and in substance from the official temple cult, in which hymns were sung. The national history of Israel normally played no role in these private devotions. Both observations have changed in Psalm 77. Here a psalmist begins his prayer by describing his unceasing lament to God (77:2–3) and then recounts his affliction (77:4–7), as in other individual laments (Psalm 22:3; 42:2–4; etc.). The affliction that he bewails, however, is not the usual threat to life and limb but a theological challenge: meditation on God has plunged him into grief and confusion, especially when he compares God’s present treatment of Israel with God’s actions of old. In 77:8–11 (7–10), he reproachfully states the theological problem that he cannot deal with: Does God spurn forever? Has God’s steadfast love ceased forever? Will God never again show mercy? Or has God’s nature so changed that the ancient liturgical formula of Exodus 34:6, which celebrates God’s great goodness, is no longer true? Psalm 77 shows how deeply the general catastrophe of the exile could affect the personal life of an individual, albeit less as an existential problem than as a theological problem ..."

Albertz, Rainer Israel in Exile: The History and Literature of the Sixth Century B.C.E. (pp. 160-161) Society of Biblical Literature, 2003

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.