Advent Psalm Reflection: Psalm 85, When Justice and Peace Kiss (Pt. 2 of 4)

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

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