Turning Seventy and Psalm 90

It is the day after a heavy snowstorm in Delaware.  Kids have off from school and driving is still hazardous in places, so we feel obligated to leave the roads to those who have need to be out and try to get interested in postponed chores around home.

Cleaning up a “miscellaneous” pile on my desk, I found a Christmas card from Dave Hall and his wife, Georgeann, from St. Paul, Minnesota, the land of Garrison Keillor.  Dave commented that he just turned 70, but could not think of anything clever to say about it.

I turn 70 in May, and I always considered 70 a landmark because my mother used to say the Bible tells us we are all entitled to three score and ten years, and anything more is just gravy.  (The part about gravy is her own scriptural addition.)

I never knew any more about it, so I looked it up.  The Internet has several web sites for searching specific phrases in the Bible, and this one was easily found.

It comes from Psalm 90, but it doesn’t say anything about seventy being an entitlement.  It just says our normal life span is three score and ten, and the stronger of us may live to four score.  It’s a dismal, depressing Psalm.  Never write a Psalm if you are having a bad day.  It says those years, however long, are full of anxiety and trouble, pass in a moment, and then we are gone.  The author ends by begging Yahweh to put away his wrath and show his sweet side before it is too late.

I like my mother’s version better.

Roger Walck

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About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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