During Pesach we read a special Parsha about the Red Sea parting. We also read a special Haftarah. For a change, let’s look at the Haftarah instead of the Torah portion. It’s from 2nd Samuel, Chapter 22.
This Haftarah is a poem that the prophet Samuel tells us was written by King David. People think of poetry as prissy and wishy-washy, but in this poem David the poet describes God as anything but.
The Lord thundered forth from heaven…
The foundations of the world were laid bare
By the mighty roaring of the Lord
It’s such beautiful poetry.
In my anguish I called on the Lord…
In His temple He heard my voice…
Then the earth rocked and quaked,
The foundations of heaven trembled —
Smoke went up from His nostrils,
From His mouth came devouring fire;
Live coals blazed forth from Him.
He bent the sky…
Isn’t that gorgeous? Isn’t the poet amazing to picture God that way? Isn’t it mind-blowing that, apparently, a man whom we know as a king and a warrior could write so beautifully?
Of course, David refers to God as “He”. Perhaps he did that because, as a man, he couldn’t picture God as anything else. Or perhaps it’s because, in Hebrew, all nouns are either male or female. “He” is certainly not how we think of God today.
Food for Thought
How do you picture God? Has your picture changed after you read this poetry?