Saturday, February 10: The women at home divide the plunder
On Saturdays we'll worship God through a selection from the Psalms.
Read Psalm 68:7-18
When you, God, went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,
the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
You gave abundant showers, O God;
you refreshed your weary inheritance.
Your people settled in it,
and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.
The Lord announces the word,
and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
"Kings and armies flee in haste;
the women at home divide the plunder.
Even while you sleep among the sheep pens,
the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver,
its feathers with shining gold."
When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land,
it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon.
Mount Bashan, majestic mountain,
Mount Bashan, rugged mountain,
why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain,
at the mountain where God chooses to reign,
where the Lord himself will dwell forever?
The chariots of God are tens of thousands
and thousands of thousands;
the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.
When you ascended on high,
you took many captives;
you received gifts from people,
even from the rebellious—
that you, Lord God, might dwell there.
This entire psalm has invoked uncertainty and mystery over the centuries. For instance, in the first sentence of the middle stanza in today's portion, who are these women? Quite a few suggestions have been made by scholars and preachers, including that: they're simply doing traditional "women's work" in their culture of celebrating their husbands' and sons' victories and then organizing all the great stuff the boys brought home; they're a special all-women choir that would sing at the temple after a winning battle; or that the margin of victory was so great that "even the women" (keeping in mind the culture they lived in) took part in the victory themselves.
Lord, our own lives are often mysteries to us, and so sometimes parts of your word seem to be. "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." Give us the faith to live in spite of mysteries and the contentment not to need the answer to every question. Amen.