Pack 2following—the final two chapters of the book, 55 and 56—begins the book’s conclusion andthus parallel many of the themes in the first chapter. “Thus, we find references to the peopleforsaking Yahweh, to their rebelliousness, to their acts that displease Yahweh, to their religiousobservances in gardens, to their destiny to be shamed, and to the unquenchable fire” (Goldingay365). Apart from these rather chillingreferences, much of the content of 56-66 is filled with thefuture blessings of the people of God (Dillard/Longman 281). Some important ones aresalvation/deliverance (56:1), the foreigner/eunuch (56:3-8), fasting (58:3-7), the coming/blessingof nations (60:5-16), new creation and Jerusalem’s blessing (65:17-25).63:7-64:12 is, generally speaking, a psalm. Psalms were musical poems (Fee/Stuart 206)and thus were intended to instruct “the mind through the heart,” to “evoke feelings… and tostimulate aresponse on the part of the individual that goes beyond a mere cognitiveunderstanding of certain facts” (Fee/Stuart 207). Additionally, psalms were also stronglymetaphorical (Fee/Stuart 208). But more specifically, 63:7-64:12 is a lament.
Laments, whether individual or corporate, as explained by Fee and Stuart, “help a person [or group] to expressstruggles, suffering, or disappointment to the Lord”(212). Though 63:7-64:12does not followthe
pattern and structure of a lament, it clearly has the main elements weaved throughoutas well asthe tone and overall feeling of one. And though most likely it was written by anindividual, it would have been used in ancient Israelite corporate worship (Fee/Stuart 210). Inwriting this lament on behalf ofGod’s people,the prophet yearns forGod’s attention so to speak.He is tired of the silence and hiddenness of Yahweh and thus desires God to “look” (63:15) and“return” (63:17b), that God’s activity and involvement might be restored as in the days of oldwhen God performed amazing miracles and ledthem with the power of his arm (63:11-14).
This passage could be further categorized as a
psalm. Instead of the solely victimizing language of laments, protests seek divine action through direct, confronting and often radical language.For a relevant discussion seeGoldingay, John.
Old Testament Theology: Israel's Life
. Vol. 3. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2003. Print.