Book of Psalms вЂњIsraelвЂ™s HymnbookвЂќ Nature of Hebrew Poetry 1. Poetry is found throughout Hebrew Bible. a. b. 2. 3. Hebrew poetry does not rhyme but employs parallelism (defining characteristic), meter, and figurative language. Parallelism вЂ“ second line of a pair repeats, echoes, or balances the thought of the first. (dominant feature of Hebrew poetry) a. b. c. 4. 5. 3 books are purely poetic: Psalms, Song of Songs, Lamentations. Mostly poetic: prophetic books, Job, Proverbs. Synonymous вЂ“ 2nd line restates 1st in different words (Psalm 24:1-2). Antithetic вЂ“ 2nd line states the opposite of 1st (Prov. 10:1, 4). Synthetic (formal) вЂ“ 2nd line balances the form but not the idea. Meter/rhythm вЂ“ certain number of accented syllables per line (3+3, 2+2, 3+2) вЂ“ does not translate well. Figurative language: simile, metaphor, allegory, personification (Psalm 96:12 вЂ“ trees sing for joy). Book of Psalms вЂњFavorite book of all the saintsвЂќ вЂ“ Martin Luther 1. Collection of 150 individual psalms вЂ“ not chapters. (DonвЂ™t say вЂњPsalms 23:1вЂќ вЂ“ say вЂњPsalm 23:1вЂќ) 2. 3. 4. 5. Some go back to 1st Temple period, others are postexilic. Collected in postexilic period: hymnbook of 2nd Temple (and later of the synagogues). Divided into 5 вЂњbooksвЂќ вЂ“ probably in imitation of Pentateuch. Superscriptions at beginning of many psalms provide: musical directions, names of tunes, and names of collections. a. b. 6. 7. DavidвЂ™s name in many does not necessarily attribute authorship to him. Other names appear as well: Solomon, Moses, Asaph, sons of Korah. Liturgical material, intended for use in worship (liturgy = worship practices). Many different types of psalms вЂ“ express range of emotions. Types of Psalms 1. Hymns вЂ“ songs of praise a. Praise God as Creator of world, Redeemer of Israel, etc. b. Two main parts: 1) Summons to praise God. 2) Rehearsal of reasons for praising God вЂ“ often introduced by вЂњforвЂќ or вЂњbecause.вЂќ c. Examples: 1) Psalm 33 2) Psalm 100 Types of Psalms 2. Laments вЂ“ cries for help in times of distress a. Often subdivided into individual and communal laments. b. Three main parts: 1) Complaint вЂ“ graphic description of distress/crisis (illness, suffering, enemies, guilt of sin, etc.) вЂ“ often blaming God for it. 2) Petition вЂ“ urgent plea for God to remedy the situation. 3) Assurance вЂ“ always close with assurance of deliverance; conviction that God has heard plea and will answer. c. Examples: 1) Psalm 6 вЂ“ individual lament in time of illness 2) Psalm 13 вЂ“ prayer for deliverance from enemies 3) Psalm 79 вЂ“ communal lament over destruction of Temple (cf. Lamentations) 4) Psalm 51 вЂ“ prayer for forgiveness 5) Psalm 23 вЂ“ song of trust, focused entirely on assurance. d. More laments than any other type вЂ“ give permission for honesty with God in prayer. Types of Psalms 3. Thanksgivings a. Thanking God for a specific deliverance. b. May recall an earlier time of lament that has now been resolved. c. Examples: 1) Psalm 30 вЂ“ thanksgiving for a healing a) V. 2, 8-10 recall earlier situation of lament similar to Psalm 6. b) Sheol (v. 3) вЂ“ abode of the dead; depicted as under the earth. 2) Psalm 92 вЂ“ thanksgiving for deliverance from enemies Types of Psalms 4. Royal Psalms a. Accompany ceremonies involving king: coronation, battle, wedding, etc. b. Examples: 1) 2) 3) 4) Psalm 20 вЂ“ prayer for a kingвЂ™s victory Psalm 21 вЂ“ thanksgiving for a kingвЂ™s victory Psalm 45 вЂ“ royal wedding song Psalm 72 вЂ“ prayer for a kingвЂ™s coronation Types of Psalms 5. Songs of Zion a. Hymns celebrating the Temple and Jerusalem (вЂњZionвЂќ was the temple mount in Jerusalem). b. Jerusalem is GodвЂ™s chosen city, where he dwells enthroned in Temple; protects and defends Jerusalem; Zion becomes symbol of refuge and security. c. Examples: 1) Psalm 46 вЂ“ inspired Martin LutherвЂ™s hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." 2) Psalms 48, 76, 87, etc. 3) Psalm 122 вЂ“ pilgrimage psalm: вЂњI was glad when they said to me, вЂ�Let us go to the house of the LORD!вЂ™...вЂќ Types of Psalms 6. Wisdom Psalms a. вЂњTeaching PsalmsвЂќ employing wisdom themes, such as advice to pursue virtue and avoid wickedness or instruction in GodвЂ™s law. b. Examples: 1) Psalm 1 вЂ“ вЂњHappy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night...The wicked are not so...вЂќ 2) Psalms 37, 73, 112, 119, 128, etc.