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Light Unto my past. I shall light a candle of understanding in Vine heart which shall not be put out. Light unto my path an exploration of the books of the Old Testament from these books through the ages has come our concept of man born in the image of God and made to have dominion over all things. The Bible
is the record of man's understanding of the role of the divine human life. We know examined that record. When it was written. How it was preserved and why it ranks first in our literature. Light unto my path produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. These programs are planned and prepared by Dr. Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Mansoor. It sounds from the Latin. Some of those are from the Greek mass meaning to pull to play upon a string instrument a sacred song or point. I'm reading of course from the dictionary
definition of the word Psalms and we begin with this to take us back to the lonely hill side and the nameless singer of long ago who first plucked his string and sang his song. Who was he. A shepherd and Nomad. A fugitive in the hills. And where was his home. Somewhere in the Near East. We cannot see his face nor can we know his name. But we know his sang in all these lands of the ancient Fertile Crescent and he sang out of human necessity. There is something in the human spirit which cries out in all ages and in all nations and cultures. A cry which takes the form of song. We know there was a song on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris River when the Babylonians enthroned their gods at the festival of the new year. We also have their Him To The Moon Goddess Ishtar the beautiful
forerunner of Venus or Aphrodite. This was sung about sixteen hundred B.C. praise the goddess the most awesome of the goddesses let one revere the mistress of the People's the greatest of the praise Ishtar the most awesome of the goddesses let one revere the queen of women the greatest of the G-G the Goddess. With her there is counsel the fate of everything she holds in her hand. More ancient hymns have come to us from Egypt from the 14th century B.C. when a strange Pharaoh mounted the throne and established his god the sun god as supreme in Egypt at daybreak. Then arises on the horizon. When's our shyness as the eighth time by day thou drivers to wave the darkness and give us dye
rays all the world. They do their work whatever flies and the lights they live when thou hast risen for them the ships are sailing north and south as well. For every way is open at DI appearance the fish in the River Dart before the eye face that I raise are in the midst of the great green sea. Language structure beauty all these poems from Babylon Canaan and Egypt have these elements but the Hebrew Psalms have one quality that makes an enormous difference. They are man speaking to God with the voice of the heart. Other nations sang eloquently but none equal the Hebrew language of the heart the pure expression of man's deepest feeling. It has been said David is the first of the poets of feeling the king of lyricists never has the thought of a poet
risen so high and pure Never has the soul open before man and God in language so tender so sympathetic and moving all the secret cries of the human heart have found a voice through his life. This is the opinion of the French poet and critic Lamartine member of the French Academy in the nineteenth century. But many many centuries before him the songs were recognized as a great treasure among the biblical books. It led the way in making the bible one of the cornerstones of literature in the world. When Christianity emerged from Palestine and began to spread westward the psalter was its hymn book and of all the Old Testament works. Christianity is the greatest inspiration the early church who made constant use of it. It was the first book which the early church put into the hands of our young converts and primarily
religious teaching. And no man could be admitted to the highest order of the clergy unless you knew the psalter by heart. It was used for singing in the first assemblies for Christian worship and it has ever continued to be used sometimes as the sole book of praise and always as the best and most enduring of all. Not only has the official church and its clergy use the sands since the beginning of Christianity but also lay men in every walk of life have felt a special devotion to this book of the Bible and its deep influence on their personal lives. Soldiers explorers statesmen and philosophers the Great of the earth and the humble have found religious inspiration and personal strength in the reading of the Psalms. It is perhaps correct to say that through Christianity the Psalms have become the most influential book in all of world literature.
Of course it's deeply cherished in the faith from which it sprang and the life and thought of the people of Israel. The Psalms have exerted a profound influence through the ages. The Jewish prayer book the first text for purely spiritual worship and the history of religion is almost an echo of the book of sounds many sounds were simply embodied in the service. To this day the regular synagogue services consist largely of sounds or Psalm verses. Praise the Lord Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise Him in His mighty firmament praise him for his mighty deeds praise him according to his exceeding greatness. Praise him with trumpet sound. Praise him with lute and harp praise Him with timbrel and dance. Praise him with strings and pipe praise Him with sounding cymbals praise him with love clashing symbols let
everything that breathes Praise the Lord Praise the Lord. This is the great theme of the Psalms sung out shouted out cried with almost too much intensity. Praise the Lord Ware and his sanctuary and his mighty firmament. Praise the Lord. Why. Because of his mighty deeds and ineffable majesty and how with trumpet lute and harp strings and pipe with sounding cymbals. Let everything that breathe this praise the Lord. This is the great blazing doxology of all time. So man's life is rooted in praise in obedience first and foremost to the commandment Thou shalt love the Lord thy God but man's life is also a struggle against despair. He walks in
valleys as well as on the hilltops his stricken in darkness as well as blasted in the light. His song of praise is sometimes choked by grief his of billions to God diverted by evil to man and his human need in daily living. This sounds speak in a tender and vividly personal way here perhaps lies the their most universal appeal in it is presented the anatomy of all parts of the human soul in it as Highness is our collected sunrise and sunset birth and death promise and fulfillment. The whole drama of humanity. How did this drama come to be written. One hundred of the total hundred fifty sounds are ascribed to definite authors by far the greatest contributor being David. Some are even related to events of his life but undoubtedly David as the sweet singer
of Israel is on a par with the wisdom of Solomon and Moses Law. He established the standard for music before the altar and his traditions were loved by the people of Israel. How did the Psalms enter the lives of these people. We can imagine them at work in their vineyards upon the mountains of scenario. One of the three great annual festivals draws near the voice of the watchman rings out over the valley. Arise and let us go up to Zion to the Lord our God and the people answer with a song. We heard of it for us all. We found it in the fields of the world. We will go into his tabernacle. We will worship at his footstool. Excited crowds thronged the highways going to Jerusalem for the festival. They are glad of heart though it is a long journey difficult for the
older people. Exciting for the young. Over the rocky hill sides they climb toward the holy city singing as they come. At first perhaps a sort of voice begins. I lift up my eyes from whence cometh my help. The words are familiar. The Pilgrims break forth in joyous Ansar. My health comes from the Lord who may have heard. He will not let your foot be moved he who hears you will not slumber. Behold he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Their words seem to grow out of the living experience of the pilgrims out of their hot and dusty land out of their uncertainties and dangers of their existence. The whole earth is your keeper The Lord is your shade on your right
hand. The sun shall not smite you high day nor the night the Lord will keep you from all evil. He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth for more. Now the pilgrims are in sight of the Eternal City Jerusalem. It lies amid its circling hills the Crown City of years of which the Temple is the central jewel. This is not Solomon's temple for the Babylonians had destroyed that but by five hundred and fifteen B.C. a second temple was built to be the dwelling place of God and the bulwark of Jewish life. Here the pious Pilgrim yearns to go to be confronted by the presence of the Living God. Humble and exalted by the holy splendor.
One thing I have asked of the Lord that will I seek after that time in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to be whole. The beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple entering the gates the pilgrims here and mighty and the multitude keeping festival and singing as the procession starts up the hill. And the fullness thereof. The world goes before he has fallen upon the seas and established it on the earth the minstrels a company with the lyre and the sound of melody. The priests in their vestments come forward with trumpets and the Levites with cymbals to praise the Lord and they sing responsibly. And all the people shout with a great shout the question is asked Who shall we say of the Lord
and who shall stand in his holy place. He who has clean hands I love you. Who does not live up to his old Throughout his flaws and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive a blessing from the Lord and the nation from the God of His salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek Him who seek the face of the god to go their procession stands before the temple gates to hear the challenge. Who is the King of Glory. Lol strong and mighty. The Lord might be an Idol Live up your head so case I may be lifted up owing to the horrors that the King of Glory made holy The Lord of hosts. He is looking glory. The gates are open and the procession enters the temple walls. Make a joyful noise to the Lord. All the lines serve the
Lord with gladness come into his presence which singing knows the Lord his God. It is He that made us and we are yours we are his people and the sheep of his pastor. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise give thanks to him bless his name for the Lord is good. It is said fans love him. Your Aura. And his faithfulness to all generation silence falls over the choirs over the multitude of pilgrims over the city of the everlasting gods then a priest exhorts the people to worship. Come let us sing to the Lord. Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise like the sea the roar and all that
the world and those who quietly let the floods clap their hands sing for joy together before the Lord for he comes to rule the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity extol the Lord our God. Worship at his footstool. Who is he. Oh also this is real life for all Also back from lust all over all sleep on Bless the Lord. You that fear the Lord bless us all. Their worship service continues to worship us in the temple of Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the life of Israel. A devotional experience which seems almost incredible when we realize it took place more than twenty four hundred years ago. We think of those times as harsh primitive and insensitive by modern
cultural standards. But these were the feelings of those shepherds programs as they stood in that temple so long ago. I was glad when they said to me Let us go to the house of the Lord. Our feet have been standing within your gates o Jerusalem Jerusalem built as a city which is bound firmly together to which the tribes go up the tribes of the Lord this was decreed for Israel to give thanks to the name of the Lord their thrones for judgment were set the thrones of the House of David. In the memory of these people too is the bitter exile of fierce and Babylon harsh years of separation from their native land from the temple. From all that not rushed and strengthened their spiritual life. Yet that life endured and found expression even in the face of
all the offensive paganism around them by the waters of Babylon there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion on the willows there we hung up our lives for their our captors required of our songs and our tormentors mirth saying sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land if I forget the old Jerusalem let my right and forget her cunning let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. If I do not remember you if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy. Our hypothetical story of a festival and the pilgrims worship has perhaps indicated One great aspect of the Psalms the
expression of the devotional heart. The actual worship of God in his temple. But this does not at all suggest the wide range of emotions found in the Psalms for each paragraph. Returning to his village or to his flocks and the lonely hills to each man. This Psalm spoke giving words to his own experience. Truly God is good to the upright. To those who are pure in heart. But as for me my feet had almost stumbled my steps had well-nigh slipped for I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they had no paying news. Their bodies are sound and sleek. They are not in trouble as other men are. They scoff and speak with malice loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens and their tongue struck us through the earth. There are good people who turn and praise them and find no fault in them. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocense for all day long. I have been stricken and chastened every morning but when I thought how to understand this it seemed to me a wearisome task until I went into the sanctuary of God. Then I perceived there and truly thou didst set then many slippery places and I'll just make them fall to ruin. And the sorry missed long ago on his barren patch of earth beneath the lower circling stars of the eastern sky expressed man's
deepest understanding of himself and his dignity derived from God. When I look at the heavens the work of thy fingers the moon and the stars which the has to stablished What is man that are mindful of him and the Son of Man that are dust care for him. Yet though has made him a little less than God and dust crowned him with glory and honor that has given him dominion over the works of the hands that has put all things under his feet. Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is the name in all the earth. All the range of human feeling the kaleidoscope of life itself is expressed in the Psalms. We cannot explore them all on this sample here and there. Whither shall I go from via spirit or whither shall life flee from thy presence. If I ascend up into heaven
if I make my bed in hell behold dark if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea then shall the hand lead me before I had said in his heart There is no God. Have those who work Evil know understanding who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon God. They they are in great terror or. Any terror was such as has not been as the heart longs for flowing streams so long as my soul for the your god might have been my food day and night while men say to me continually Where is your god. As with a deadly wound in my body my adversaries taunt me while they say to me continually Where is your god.
There is a river whose streams make glad the City of God. God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved. The nations rage the kingdoms taught her. He utters his voice and the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us the God of Jacob is our refuge. My God my God why hast thou forsaken me. Why art thou so far from helping me. They parted my garments among them and cast lots upon my vest sure but be not far from me Oh Lord O my strength haste the to help me. The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament show is his and the work day unto day. Utter it speech and night and tonight show with knowledge the statutes
of the Lord are right rejoicing the heart more to be desired are they than go. Yea that much fine gold sweeter Also than honey and the honeycomb. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in by sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer. We say these samplings are familiar these and many more a living expression of spiritual life today as well as in centuries past. Speaking for the heart of man in all places and all times. Yet no sampling of the sounds can encompass the book itself nor substitute for sensitive reader. Reading the entire book for himself we can only conclude with that song which is the most famous
even in the atomic age of this industrialized planet. Men find in the twenty third Psalm. Man's highest aspiration. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not one. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He lead with me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Here you go I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me. Die rocked and I stand. They comfort me now prepares to table before me in the presence of mine enemies. That wasn't just my head with oil my cup runneth
over Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Like unto my path. Radio programs exploring the old testaments. The series is planned prepared and narrated by Dr Menachem Mansoor chairman of the
department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Script writing by Jay Helen Stanley. Music by Dun vaguely. Production by Carl Schmidt. Light unto my path is produced by radio station w h of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the NEA E.B. Radio Network.
Light unto my path
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the origins and characteristics of psalms.
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This series explores the books of the Old Testament, how they were written, how they were preserved, and why they continue to have influence.
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Composer: Voegeli, Don
Host: Grauer, Ben
Narrator: Manning, Dean
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-50-12 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:52
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Chicago: “Light unto my path; Psalms,” 1960-11-15, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 26, 2024,
MLA: “Light unto my path; Psalms.” 1960-11-15. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 26, 2024. <>.
APA: Light unto my path; Psalms. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from