Advent Psalm reading for December 7, 8, 9, & 10: Psalm 85
Introduction to Psalm 85 and Hosea 6:1-6
In the previous post, I examined Psalm 85 as a Korahite psalm emphasizing abundance in the wake of God’s justice. One of the accompanying liturgical readings is Hosea 6:1-6 which picks up in the middle of a story where Israel is admonished for their foolishness and waywardness, which has brought the wrath of more powerful nations upon them. The end of chapter five sets the scene for repentance. In 6:1, Israel speaks:
Come, let us turn back to GOD:
The One who attacked, and so can heal us;
Who wounded, and so can bind us up.
Israel’s Journey from Admonishment to Repentance
It is interesting to note that Israel does not point a finger of blame at their enemies; instead, they believe that God is the sole authority, bringing destruction upon them, and so an appeal to their enemies is not the inclination, rather their appeal is to God, as it is God who must respond. God’s restoration is natural. It takes time.
In two days [God] will make us whole again,
And on the third day, raise us up;
God’s favor will make us whole.
Divine Restoration and Rashi’s Insight
A commentary by Rashi states that the first two days represent two previously destroyed temples, and the third day means raising a new temple for God’s people to worship and start afresh in their devotion. God brings yet another chance for redemption, and the people of Israel rejoice in their promises to make things right this time.
Let us pursue devotion to GOD,
And we shall become devout.
As sure as daybreak is God’s appearance,
Which will come to us like rain,
Like latter rain that refreshes the earth.
Connecting Psalm 85 to Hosea’s Message
This prayer of confession and repentance ends with recognizing God’s presence in nature. The sunrise is evidence of God’s appearance, and the rain clears pollution; the latter rain purifies, refreshes, and brings newness. Just as we saw in Psalm 85 (noted in Part 1), The peace and justice of God bring fresh fruit and abundance from the land.
Coming Up on An Advent Psalm Reflection
Tomorrow, I will continue my exploration of connections between Psalm 85 and accompanying liturgical readings from the prophets and the New Testament.
You can find this entire series and a link to the readings on the Advent Psalm Reflections page.
*The translations are JPS from Sefaria.org
Dr. Erica Mongé-Greer, holding a PhD in Divinity from the University of Aberdeen, is a distinguished researcher and educator specializing in Biblical Ethics, Mythopoeia, and Resistance Theory. Her work focuses on justice in ancient religious texts, notably reinterpreting Psalm 82’s ethics in the Hebrew Bible, with her findings currently under peer review.
In addition to her academic research, Dr. Mongé-Greer is an experienced University instructor, having taught various biblical studies courses. Her teaching philosophy integrates theoretical discussions with practical insights, promoting an inclusive and dynamic learning environment.
Her ongoing projects include a book on religious themes in the series Battlestar Galactica and further research in biblical ethics, showcasing her dedication to interdisciplinary studies that blend religion with contemporary issues.