Friday, September 7, 2007

Jehovah-Keren-Yish'i

Horn of Salvation

Psalm 18:2

Psalms 18:1-6
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spoke unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. (2) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (3) I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (4) The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. (5) The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. (6) In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.


This is fascinating. I have run across this name for God in the past and greatly desired to know just what it means. There are certainly mysteries in the Bible that we will never know the secrets of until we can ask the writers or the author first hand, but let us make an attempt to solve this little puzzle together today.

The phrase just doesn't make any sense to me, 'horn of my salvation'. The two concepts just don't seem to be very related in my mind. It is probably some kind of idiom, a phrase that is understood by the native speaker of the language, that does not make much sense to an outsider. English has many many idiomatic phrases. Some examples:

I have an ace up my sleeve.

He's about ready to kick the bucket.

It was close going, but we were saved by the bell.

In these phrases, the words themselves don't really convey the intended meaning. You can research and puzzle about sleeves, buckets, and bells for a long time without understanding what is happening in the above situations. They all have to do with what was at one time a commonly known story or custom. These usages don't need explaining to someone in our culture. The native speakers read right through them without giving them a second thought, never really thinking about them. I suspect that the usage by David, 'the horn of my salvation' probably falls into a similar category, but we have to remember that even though the Bible was written down by men, it was underneath all that authored by God for our guidance and that if we do a little diligent digging, open our hearts, meditate and pray about it I am confident that we will be able to discover the wisdom that God intended to bestow upon us with these words.

The word translated as horn: (queren), appears 76 times in the Old Testament. It is translated as horn 75 times, and as hill 1 time. I always love to look at the first use of a word. It is very instructive how a word is first used in the Bible. In this case queren appears first in:

Genesis 22:13
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.


As I read this, the passion and the vividness of the scene washes over me. When I read this passage, my focus is most usually on Abraham. The heaviness of his heart, the huge strength of his great faith demonstrated here. . . lashing his son to the wood pile. . . bringing forth his knife, dedicated to one purpose only, from underneath his robes. . . raising his arm to slay his beloved son. . . the horror of the scene. . .

But the scene is even doubly dramatic for Isaac. . . how often do we think of him? How often do we place ourselves on our back on the wood pile?. . . watching our loving and trusted father. We are no mere infant. We are not unaware. We know. It was obvious that a sacrifice was going to take place. . .

We have the wood. . .
We have the fire. . .
We ask where is the lamb???

Father!
Father!
I've carried all this wood.
We've come so far. . .
Where is the lamb?. . .
I don't understand. . .
Where is the lamb?. . .

God will provide my son. . .

God will provide?
What does he mean by that?
We've always had a lamb with us before. . .
Father why are you tying me down?
I am getting wet. . . your eyes. . .
Father what is going on?
You are weeping. . .
What is wrong?
What are you doing?
Why do you have that knife out???
Father!!!. . .

What are you doing???
I'm afraid. . .
I don't want to die. . .
Father!!!
GOD!!!!
MY GOD!!!!
HELP ME LORD!!!!

He put his arm down. . .
He's walking away. . .

Where are you going?
Oh, what is that noise? . .
There's a ram in the thicket.
What is wrong?
He's caught. . .
Entangled in the thicket. . .
Caught by his horn. . .
Caught by the horn.
Where did he come from?
He wasn't there a minute ago. . .

Yes!!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you God. . .
It saved me. . .
That ram. . .
Caught by the horn.
It is caught.
I am free.
God did provide. . .
Father was right!
He did. He did. . .
It became the sacrifice.
It saved me.
It took my place.
It became my salvation. . .
Oh Thank you God for ram caught, the horn of my salvation. . .
Thank you Lord!
Thank you my God. . .

I have no idea. . . but I'm not going any further. I'm not searching any more. This has a feel to it of rightness. I have literally thought about this phrase for several years, wondering what it meant. I'll never know until I can talk to my namesake, the original David, until I can ask him, but I believe that this is very close to what he intended. . . Surely every Jew knew of this story. The reference would need no explaining. . . the horn of his salvation. . . the horn of my salvation. . .the seemingly random happenings. . . the huge array of coincidences in my life, the chain of events that for long decades led up to my eyes being opened. . . the ram so fortunately caught in the bushes at just the right time, that with mere seconds to spare freed me, that made a way, that paid the great price in my stead. . .

Psalms 18:2-6
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (3) I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (4) The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. (5) The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. (6) In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.


Thank you my Lord. . .
Thank you my God. . .

Dave Stokely

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