When coming across Psalm 74 the other day, this verse stood out to me:
“It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.”
In looking at various commentaries, they relate it to the destruction of Egyptian armies during the Exodus, but as they were destroyed in the sea, that does not ring true in some ways. I then remembered the “Valley of the Whales” at Wadi Al-Hitan . Though first discovered in modern times in 1902, doubtless desert nomads had come across these ancient whale fossils, and I think it possible that the stories of these bones were integrated in this Psalm.
While interesting to speculate about in its own right, that then led me to consider how we read the Psalms, and whether it differs from how we consider the words as inspired in comparison to other Biblical writing. After all, they are by definition songs, written and sung by worshipers to God, and especially as many of our modern songs have bad theology at times, it makes one take pause. Certainly, we must consider that these particular songs have been preserved through the ages with the same guiding hand of God as the rest of scripture, and canonized through the same process, but still…
At times I look at Psalms as coming from the hand of God, and quote Psalm 19 often supporting the expression of God’s glory through nature, though shy away a bit with looking at Psalm 137 where the singer asks for God to bless anyone who would cast his enemies babies against the rocks.
In any case, I could present my thoughts in a lengthy post, but that would bore you and I am more interested in what you guys think and understand about how we should look at this.
Do you think fossils mistaken as Leviathan’s bones may have been integrated in this Psalm? If so, what does that say for inspiration, and do we see other examples of writer’s contemporary presumptions integrated in scripture, even though those presumptions are factually wrong? (Cue discussion about the size of a mustard seed)
How do we interpret Psalms differently because of its genre and origin? Are we guilty of misusing Psalms in proof texting our positions on origins, whether it be YEC, ID, OEC, or EC?