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In Sarah Liberman's music video she sings Psalm 103 in Hebrew, but the video obviously portrays the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Is there a connection in meaning between these two?

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  • It is a rather tenuous connection - Ps 103 only mentions "oppressed" once in V6. The primary focus of Ps 103 is about the need of sinners of salvation not physical needs. Therefore, I struggle to see a direct connection.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 21:03

3 Answers 3

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I struggle to see any direct link between the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and Ps 103. The two are discussing completely different themes.

The Good Samaritan

The famous parable essentially teaches Christ's followers should be:

  • personally responsible for anyone in need
  • racially blind, ie, be non-racist and kind to all people

Psalm 103

By contrast, Ps 103 is a celebration and rehearsal of:

  • God's forgiving character and that our sins are removed forever
  • contrast to man's mortality
  • God's redeeming nature for all sinners
  • God's justice for the oppressed

Further, the parable of the Good Samaritan never quotes nor has any significant words/phrases in common with Ps 103. The only tenuous connection between the two is the word "oppressed" which does not even occur (explicitly) in the Luke 10:25-37. Even in this case, the "oppressed" are those who are needy in a legal sense and not a physical sense.

CONCLUSION

I do not see any direct link, either thematically or lingustically, between Ps 103 and Luke 10:25-37.

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  • Thia seems to be the best answer. The only way I see a strong connection is if one claims the Samaritan represents God, which would be a difficult connection for a Jew.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 22:01
  • Not that I would make the connection, but this verse opens the possibility of saying the Samaritan represents Jesus: The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” (John 8:48, ESV)
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 10:15
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    Robertson's Harmony of the Gospels puts John 8:48 before but near Luke 10:25-37. There is a question about Jesus' lack of response to being called a Samaritan. In a sense, maybe this was Jesus' response.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 23:40
  • @PerryWebb - very good thought!
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 23:45
  • Found the question here hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/21366/…
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 1:33
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There is a thematic connection in that both the Psalm and the parable emphasize God's compassion.

6 The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed...
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.,,
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him

17 the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting... 18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

The Samaritan showed compassion for the man who had been nearly killed by robbers. In so doing he followed the commandment of Moses (love your neighbor as yourself - Leviticus 19:18) more faithfully than either the priest or the Levite who put the letter of the law (not to touch a possibly dead body) ahead of its spirit. Like the symbol of the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Samaritan also symbolized God's compassion for those who have been wronged, and indeed for all of God's children.

So the parable and the psalm are connected through the theme of compassion and keeping the key commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself. This is probably what the artist had in mind by linking the two.

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  • This is a very good answer. It was difficult to choose the best.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 23:24
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While I gave a good hermeneutical question and there are hermeneutical answers here, our hermeneutics probably overthinks the connection Sarah Liberman made. The setting of this song is COVID-19's impact on the world, and the need for healing mentally, spiritually, and economically, as well as physically. Most songs written in English based on the 103 Psalm have the tone of celebration only. Sarah restores the tune in the psalm of pleading for God's help. While it's difficult to say the Good Samaritan represents God, he does show godly compassion in the parable.

What has also been noted about Psalm 103 is unlike many worship psalms, it is address to "my soul" rather than the LORD. Thus, it has the sense of encouraging one to worship when not feeling like it. Thus, it pleas for mercy.

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