Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Symbolism of the Psalms: A Comprehensive Spiritual Commentary

I am very happy to announce the (final) publication of a massive spiritual commentary on the Psalms, entitled The Symbolism of the Psalms:

It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and as paperback.  It is published by Apocryphile Press, here is a link to the publisher's web site: The Symbolism of the Psalms, Vol. 1: A Spiritual Commentary.  They publish a number of books on spiritual topics related to Christianity, and they have a free book available on their website.

So what is here is a massive amount of research, on everything (and more) that one would want to know on the spiritual symbolism of the Psalms.  To summarize:
  • It is a complete commentary on each Psalm, which gathers and collates relevant passages from Emanuel Swedenborg on the spiritual sense of the Psalms. These are scattered across over 39 volumes (available here: The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem: Expanded Edition (Hyperlinked Works of Emanuel Swedenborg), so its now presented here for ease of study. If Swedenborg didn't quote the passage, a similar passage was included that had the same Hebrew word (e.g., the spiritual meaning of the word "happy").
  • It is a new translation closer to the literal sense of the original Hebrew, but still in the same style as the KJV to retain familiarity with general readers. A long time ago someone had a clairvoyant dream about this work, you can read about it here (from 2014): A Clairvoyant Dream of a New Translation of the Psalms
  • Each Psalm is restored to its original poetic structure. The verse structure is corrected to show the parallelism in Hebrew poetry, which was first noted by Emanuel Swedenborg in advance of Robert Lowth. However this goes beyond the parallelism in each verse, it shows the stanza and substanza structure for each Psalm.
Every reader will gain new insight into the interpretation of each of the Psalms. Every single Psalm has a mistranslation in it, and in many cases it affects the interpretation. For example, from Psalm 8, here is what we have in the King James Version:
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Ps. 8:4-5) 
There is a mistranslation: angels, highlighted in bold. Here is the correct translation:
What is man, that You remember him? (4)
And the son of Man, that You visit him?
But You have made him a little lower than God, (5)
And have crowned him with glory and grandeur.
The word translated as "angels" is Elohim, which is "God" in most other instances in scripture. This is the only occasion where it is translated as "angels," because translators don't know what to make of it. When one understands the spiritual sense of Psalm 8, in the highest sense it is not speaking of man in general, but rather the Son of Man, the Messiah in human form, God in the flesh, who lowered himself in our human form. And once lowered, the human form was "crowned" - that is was made into a Divine Human, the God-Man, upon the resurrection.

The other point one can see here is that verses 4-5 of Psalm 8 is actually 4 lines in the Hebrew poetic structure. Lines 1 and 2 of verse 4 repeat each other, and lines 3 and 4 of verse 5 repeat each other. This is significant: this is known as parallelism, where one line will have reference to love and the other repeating line will have reference to truth. Different Hebrew words are used to reference our will and thought, which receive God's love and God's truth, two aspects of the Divine. Love and Truth are pervasive in the creation of the universe, and it is the hidden reason why there is female and male versions of the human form. Thus the secondary spiritual interpretation of Psalm 8 is it speaks of man in general who spiritually grow to receive a Divine influx of love and truth in how each person lives and thinks in their life. This is the hidden meaning of man being created in the "image of God."

Another point: verses 1-4 form one stanza of Psalm 8, and verses 5-8 form the second stanza. The first stanza speaks of the spiritual heavens, and the second stanza speaks of the "lowering" of the Divine into human form.

Volume 1 covers Psalms 1-41. Subsequent volumes (vols 2 and 3) will cover the rest of the Psalms - it is all ready, we just had to split it because this work is so massive.  Once this is done we will have a complete spiritual commentary of the Psalms, just as we do for Genesis and Exodus in the work, Heavenly Arcana (Hyperlinked Works of Emanuel Swedenborg).

Some of you blog readers have seen draft copies of earlier versions, and you are the lucky ones as those versions included footnotes on the translation, and research on the numerical analysis of the Psalms.  The book got so big, we had to take out those footnotes plus the research on the numerical symbolism of each Psalm. That I will have to publish separately in the future, so stay tuned.


As I was preparing the cover of the book, a person I know had a clairvoyant dream about preparing a book cover for a book project.  The cover was first painted blue, then red, then a bit of orange, and then she decided to put a big splash of yellow in the center (see the book cover above, which this person had not seen before). Moreover, she said this book project was divided into 5 sections. And the Psalms happens to have a five-fold division:
  • Book 1 - Psalms 1-41 (this is covered by volume 1 of the spiritual commentary)
  • Book 2 - Psalms 42-72
  • Book 3 - Psalms 73-89
  • Book 4 - Psalms 90-106
  • Book 5 - Psalms 107-150
The odd feature about the dream is that she thought the yellow was a circle of fire, and on the front cover there was one dog and on the back cover there were two dogs. That has been the puzzling part of the dream, however it is perhaps related to the dog star Sirius (one can see one bright star in the upper right corner). And it just so happens, there are TWO dog constellations, Canis Major (Sirius) and Canis Minor (Procyon):

Which is interesting, as the star Sirius played a major role in the ancient religion of Egypt. Not only that, but the cycle of Sirius determined the time of the flooding of the Nile. And notice the woman in the book cover is standing in water. I also have a few books on ancient Egypt which mention how the arrangement of the Pyramids and the nile river was designed to "reflect" the above constellations, especially the belt of Orion (e.g., The Orion Mystery: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids, by Robert Bauval). And this person has no knowledge of this. This may be related to the symbolism of one of the Psalms discussed in this work, at least that is my speculation. If true it is interesting indeed.

The Psalms were meant to be sung to music, and music elevates the soul to higher states.  One can see this in the following song, Fear not this Night:

Here is an image of the back cover of the book:

If you have the book, please drop me a note or leave a comment and let me know what you think.  My hope here is that it will be a useful study tool in opening up the spiritual sense of the Psalms.