Psalm 37 – Confidence in God in the Midst of a Wicked World & A Prayer of Confession to Marduk

A Psalm of David.

 1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy Judgment as the noonday.

7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever.

19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

26He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

28 For the LORD loveth Judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of Judgment.

31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is Judged.

34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

A prayer of a penitent for the remission of his sins.  The third penitential Psalm.  Learning how to be specific in your dealings with the Lord.

 Prayer of Confession to Marduk

Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi (18th century B.C.), started to slowly rise to the position of the head of the Babylonian pantheon, a position he fully acquired by the second half of the second millennium B.C.

In the city of Babylon, he resided in the temple Esagila.

According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, the name Marduk was probably pronounced Marutuk.

The etymology of the name Marduk is conjectured as derived from amar-Utu (“bull calf of the sun god Utu”).

The origin of Marduk’s name may reflect an earlier genealogy, or have had cultural ties to the ancient city of Sippar (whose god was Utu, the sun god), dating back to the third millennium B.C.

In the perfected system of astrology, the planet Jupiter was associated with Marduk by the Hammurabi period.

Since the Psalms originated from the same cultural milieu as other ancient Near Eastern hymns and prayers, Bible readers need not to be surprised to find that Israelite and pagan texts can be similar.

In Psalm 38 David lamented that God was against him.  God, he alleged, came at him like a warrior (v 2), and David felt sick and feeble (vv 3-6, 10, 13-14).

He recognized  that he had sinned against God (vv 3, 18) and concluded the psalm with a plea for the Lord’s help (vv 21-22).

From Akkadian literature comes a similar prayer to Marduk, the chief god of Babylon:

Marduk-apla-iddina I, contemporarily written in cuneiform as dAMAR.UTU-IBILA-SUM-na and meaning in Akkadian: “Marduk has given an heir”, was the 34th Kassite king of Babylon ca. 1171–1159 B.C. (short chronology).

He was the son and successor of Melišipak, from whom he had previously received lands, as recorded on a kudurru, and he reigned for 13 years, during a time when the dark ages cast a heavy cloud over the contemporary events.

Who has not been negligent, which one has committed no sin?

Who can understand a god’s behavior?

I would fain be obedient and incur no sin,

Yes, I would frequent the haunts of health!

Men are commanded by the gods to act under curse.

Divine affliction is for mankind to bear.

I am surely responsible for some neglect of you,

I have surely trespassed the limits set by the god.

Forget what I did in my youth, whatever it

Let your heart not well up against me!

Absolve my guilt, remit my punishment.

(date of composition unknown).

It is the poet bemoaned Marduk’s anger.  He confessed that he had sinned against Marduk and lamented that he was so afflicted that he was bent over like an old man.

He pled for forgiveness and concluded, “O warrior Marduk, let me sound your praise!”

Unlike the psalmist, however, this supplicant was fatalistic about Marduk’s actions (“Who can understand a god’s behavior?” he bemoaned) and also sought the aid of lesser gods and goddesses.

Just as we can cite similarities between Christian and non-Christian worship in contemporary society, so also we can find correlations in the Old Testament world.

The similarities between an Old Testament and a Mesopotamian prayer help us to see what was common to the world of that day in terms of prayer language.

The differences, on the other hand, enable us to recognize the distinctive faith of Israel.