(November 19, 2014)
I had three thoughts as I read through these chapters today. The first is the interesting thought presented by the psalmist that “[p]recious in the sight of the Lord is the death of [H]is saints.” I had never thought of it this way before, but when Abinidi or Stephen or Peter or any number of other martyrs died, their death was not accompanied by sorrow in Heaven (as opposed to Earth), but rather with triumphal rejoicing. I can imagine the cheers of joy when we saw the Savior complete His earthly ministry and suffer death. The Earth may have trembled and the Sun refused its light on this side of the Veil, but I would like to think that I was among the choir on the other side shouting praises to Him and overwhelmed with joy. Death is only tragic when it is the death of someone not ready to die – but the death of a saint truly is a reason for joy.
The second thought is on the psalmist’s line of gratitude that “the Lord hath chastened me sore, but [H]e hath not given me over unto death.” That really fits me and my situation right now. Over these past five months (really, this past year+), I have been chastened more sorely than I could have imagined. But I look at the chastening that I have suffered, and I am grateful both in the improvement that the Lord has brought about in me and the fact that I am still given the opportunity in mortality to continue to grow and develop.
The final thought was on the use of the Psalms in the Book of Mormon. It is clear that the Book of Mormon focuses on the Northern Kingdom rather than on
– though it originates in Judah,
Lehi and Ishmael are both of Manasseh. Zenos
and Zenock are both described as northern prophets. Isaiah is referenced frequently, of course,
but the Psalms are infrequently referenced – less than what we would
expect, based upon their references in the New Testament. Having read a summary of the references to the
Psalms in the Book of Mormon, the bulk of the references to the Psalms
are found in the writings of Nephi and Jacob (60%+). This is not surprising, since they were raised
and would be the most familiar with them. Of particular note, though, is that the only
citation from the Psalms in Ether (a book we would not expect to
have quoted the Psalms, for obvious chronological reasons) is found in
what is clearly a commentary by Moroni
on the original work.