Manual The Identity of the Individual in the Psalms (JSOT Supplement)

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By beginning the Psalms with a blessing for faithful meditation on the Torah, this introduces the book as a shift from Temple performance of the psalms to usage as guidance in meditation, whether in private or in a Synagogue setting [57]. This opening setting also introduces the concept of the two ways, the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked, which sets the stage for a dramatic struggle between the two ways throughout all of the psalms which follow [58]. While the Psalms often show the righteous the subject of oppression, it is their ultimate fate which is much of the subject matter of the Psalms; their eschatological redemption by YHWH [59].

It also shows solidarity between those who walk the path of the righteous and YHWH, because it is the divine king Messiah who must also walk this path and face these trials. Because the way of the righteous begins with meditation upon the Torah, the Psalms becomes a source of wisdom and reflection on the Torah to aid in pious interpretation of the Torah [60].

The emphasis upon the Torah also recurs in key places in the structure of the Psalms, Psalms 19 and , as well in the fact that the fivefold structure of the Psalms mirrors the fivefold structure of the Torah.

By emphasizing the Torah, the message brought forth is that faith in YHWH begins in devotion to obedience to His instructions because this exhibits trust in the kingship of YHWH that He will be faithful to respond [61]. Wilson puts forward that there is evidence pointing to an original editorial period in which the first three books Ps were compiled and that the final two books Ps were compiled at a later date [62]. Whether or not this is true, there certainly is a heavy focus upon the Davidic line of kingship and its failure in the first three books. Yet the final editing of the Psalms occurred years after the fall of the house of David during a period where Israel was now back in the land yet still experiencing disorientation.

This very fact illuminates the possibility that these Davidic psalms were kept not just to lament over the fallen dynasty and seemingly failed covenant, but to also give hope to the eschatological house of David to be restored by the Messiah [63]. Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses and it was in the Mosaic time period when Israel had no earthly monarchy and thus had to trust in the sovereignty of YHWH [68].

Book V then stands to answer the pleas of the exiles to be gathered from the diaspora which they were still experiencing even after the decree of Cyrus that Israel may return to Judea. Much like how the answer to the problem with the Davidic covenant is different than what human logic would expect, so too the answer to the plea for ingathering is different from expectation. David also is portrayed as modeling this attitude of dependence in Psalms and [69]. It is up to Israel to maintain her trust through the trying times of diaspora but her guiding light will be the kingship of YHWH and the promise that His kingdom will soon be established upon the earth in the coming of Messiah.

One final interesting note about the structuring of the Psalms is the usage of acrostics. Certain psalms employ acrostic techniques but it is noted that there are several psalms which have a disruption in the order where between of the acrostic letters are missing and there is an apparent insertion of a non-acrostic line.

Hearing Psalm 102 within the Context of the Hebrew Psalter

Benun has shown that these non-acrostic lines are not scribal transmission errors, but are in fact a literary technique which contributes to the theology of the Psalms! The Psalms have been collected and arranged in a way that brings out more meaning than their individual messages. In order to truly understand the message of the Psalms, we must read it as a book whose individual psalms interact together like an orchestra to bring forth its theology.

There are certainly multiple messages, multiple theologies, and multiple usages for the Psalms, but ultimately the Psalms speaks that YHWH is king over all the earth and that we should trust in Him. This trust bears its fruits in praising Him, thanking Him, obeying Him, crying out to Him, and even at times complaining to Him.

Its message stands as a testimony to the reality of our relationship with our Creator and at times challenges our notions of proper religious attitude. The setting of the final redaction of the Psalms as post-exilic Israel helps us understand the structure of the Psalms. Although they are currently suffering under foreign rule, they must maintain faithfulness to YHWH and trust in His promises. Benun, Ronald. Brennan, Joseph. McNamara ed. Bridge, Edward. Broyles, Craig C.

Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, Brueggemann, Walter. Clinton McCann, vol. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press : Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, Childs, Brevard. Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, De Pinto, Basil. Dumbbell, William J. Gerstenberger, Erhard. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Goldingay, John. Grogan, Geoffrey. Howard Jr, David. Howard Jr.

Primary types

Kline, Meredith. Kraus, Hans J. Theology of the Psalms. Levine, Herbert J. Sing Unto God a New Song. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, Longman, Temper. How to Read the Psalms. Mason Rex. Mays, James. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press McCann, J.


A Theological Introduction to the Book of Psalms. Nashville: Abingdon Press, Milgrom, Jacob. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Miller, Patrick D. Interpreting the Psalms. Mitchell, David. Wilson and the Message of the Psalter. Mowinckel, Sigmund.

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Translated by D. Petersen, Allan.

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    This basic meaning of the term i s taken up i n the prophets although, p r i m a r i l y i n the Isaiah t r a d i t i o n , the word receives i n t e r e s t i n g extensions of meaning. I n the period of the prophets the i s subject t o oppression. I n the l a s t o f these oracles the i s c l e a r l y described as homeless. Yet Yahweh's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h t h i s section o f the population has been developed t o such an extend t h a t he can a c t u a l l y c a l l the poor "my people", over against those who oppress them.

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    The point o f the oracle i s , o f course, t h a t o f shock - t o convince, the prophet's hearers t h a t i t i s the poor who are t r u l y the people of Yahweh. I t i s clear from these verses that outside the psalms s i g n i f i c a n t l y in-the prophet most influenced by psalmody the word i s used of the nation i n the p l u r a l form or of.