Apocrypha Handbook Recommendations?

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Sep 11 2018 5:52 PM

Can anyone recommend a quality but simple "Bible Handbook " for the Apocrypha? 

I am looking for something of a level a step or two above Halley's, but still basic, maybe more like Unger, Holman or MacArthur.  Anything like that for the Apocrypha?   

I do have RH Charles, Oesterley commentaries and some others.

Posts 1609
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 11 2018 8:28 PM

Have you seen deSilva?

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

L8 Orthodox Silver, Lutheran Starter, Academic Essentials

L7 Lutheran Gold, Anglican Bronze

Posts 5262
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 11 2018 9:50 PM

https://www.logos.com/product/20873/invitation-to-the-apocrypha Harrington is very readable and I use it a lot. I do have DeSilva but don’t use it as much.  


Posts 5262
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 11 2018 9:55 PM

Just now reading Psalm 151 treatment in both I will say there is more in D but still feel better served by H. When back to my computer I will try to share both so you can get a feel for yourself to help you decide. 


Posts 5262
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 9:34 AM

Harrington feels closer to Halley's to me but here are the two samples:

Psalm 151: God’s Care for David

Basic Information

In the Greek version of the book of Psalms, it is customary to include what is designated as Psalm 151. This is in fact a poetic summary of material in 1 Samuel 16 and 17, narrated by David in the first person. It recounts how God chose David to be king of Israel (vv. 1–5) and how David killed the Philistine Goliath in battle (vv. 6–7).

The discovery of a fuller and more coherent version of Psalm 151 in column 28 of the Psalms Scroll found in Qumran Cave 11 (11Q5 or 11QPsa) shows that the Greek Psalm 151 is a summary of two longer and distinct Hebrew compositions. The work is a rewriting of, or midrash on, 1 Samuel 16–17. Since the script of the Qumran manuscript can be dated to the first half of the first century c.e., the Hebrew original of Psalm 151 must have been composed before then. There is no indication of Essene sectarian concerns in it. Its inclusion in the Qumran psalms collection neither confirms nor denies that it was regarded as scriptural by the Qumran community. That decision depends on how one assesses the nature of the Psalms Scroll itself: Was it an early version of what came to be the traditional psalter of the Hebrew canon, an alternative psalter accorded scriptural status by the Qumran community, or just a hymnbook?


A. The story of God’s Choice of David (vv. 1–5) is a somewhat clumsy retelling of 1 Samuel 16. David is the speaker. In verse 1 he identifies himself as the youngest among his brothers and as a shepherd (see 1 Sam. 16:10–11). Next in verses 2–3 he speaks about musical work with the harp and lyre in soothing King Saul (see 1 Sam. 16:14–23), only to raise a question about the need for singing since the Lord is the source and goal of his music. Then in verses 4–5 he returns to the story of how Samuel picked him and anointed him, and how God chose him instead of his more handsome and taller brothers (see 1 Sam. 16:4–13). The Hebrew version found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (11Q5 col. 28) provides a fuller and more coherent text.

B. The story of David’s Victory Over Goliath (vv. 6–7) is a brief account or epitome of 1 Samuel 17. Again David is the speaker. He claims that when he went out to meet Goliath for battle, his opponent “cursed me by his idols” (v. 6; see 1 Sam. 17:43). Then David notes that he beheaded Goliath with his own sword (see 1 Sam 17:51) and thus restored the honor of Israel. Again what is preserved of the Hebrew version (in 11Q5 col. 28) suggests that here too it had a fuller and more coherent text, and was originally separate from the first part.


Psalm 151 reflects the main themes of 1 Samuel 16–17: God chose David to be the king of Israel despite his being a young shepherd, and used David and his slingshot to defeat the powerful Philistine warrior Goliath. The theological lesson is that the God of Israel can and does rescue his people from their sufferings in surprising ways. In danger of being conquered by the Philistines, Israel was delivered by a young shepherd with a laughably weak weapon. The mighty and faithful God can and does use such weak means as a way of showing that God (and not the armies of Israel) was responsible for the people’s deliverance. This theological theme runs through both Testaments from start to finish.

Issues. The discovery of Psalm 151 among the Dead Sea Scrolls has both illuminated the Greek version and made study of the text even more complicated. From the Hebrew version in the Qumran Psalms Scroll, we know that Psalm 151 was composed in Hebrew and that the Greek version is a shorter version (the summary of a summary?). The complicating factor is whether we can restore the “original” text by comparing the extant Hebrew, Greek, and other ancient versions. Or do we have to reckon with a certain textual fluidity in the transmission of Psalm 151, as is the case with so many other Jewish texts from the Second Temple period, that renders such efforts guesswork at best?

Influence. As the Greek superscription states, Psalm 151 is “ascribed to David as his own composition” but is “outside the number” of 150 canonical Psalms. It is not regarded as canonical by Jews, Protestants, or Catholics, but is customarily printed in Greek Bibles.

For Further Study

Flint, Peter W. The Dead Sea Psalms Scrolls and the Book of Psalms. Leiden: Brill, 1997.

Sanders, James A. The Dead Sea Psalms Scroll. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1967.

———. The Psalms Scroll of Qumran Cave 11. Oxford: Clarendon, 1965.

 Daniel J. Harrington, Invitation to the Apocrypha (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 170–172.

Psalm 151 15

“He Made Me Shepherd of His Flock”

The titles given to many canonical psalms locate them in the life of David. The preface to Psalm 18 links the song to “the day when the Lord delivered him … from the hand of Saul,” Psalm 34 is linked with the time “when he feigned madness before Abimelech,” and Psalm 51 is said to express David’s response “when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” The psalms themselves, however, do not contain unambiguous references to those events apart from the secondary titles. Ironically, the psalm “of David” that makes unambiguous reference to events known from David’s life is the apocryphal Psalm 151.

This psalm has come down to us in two forms. The Greek form is preserved in the Septuagint codices. Codices Vaticanus and Alexandrinus acknowledge it to be “outside the number,” that is, not part of the canonical collection; Sinaiticus, on the contrary, presents it as canonical, calling the whole collection “The 151 Psalms of David.” The original Hebrew version is now to be found in the Qumran psalms scroll 11QPsa,1 which also necessitates a date of composition prior to 68 c.e. Style alone could suggest a sixth-century date (Pigué 1992: 537), but a number of phrases do not occur in literature until much later, suggesting an intertestamental date. This psalm, along with four others attributed either to David or Hezekiah, is also preserved in the Syriac Peshitta, which follows the Greek version rather than the Hebrew.

The Greek version (the primary text for the nrsv) abridges and conflates two separate Hebrew psalms discovered at Qumran, labeled 151A and 151B. Hebrew Psalm 151A speaks at greater length of David’s election by God as king, providing twenty-seven lines compared to the twelve in the first five verses of the Greek version. Little of substance is lost in the Greek version except an objectionable point in v. 3 of the Hebrew. There the psalmist declares that the mountains and the hills do not speak of God’s glory, so that David took it up as his own duty. This stands at odds with other psalms that celebrate the natural world’s testimony to God’s honor and God’s deeds (see, e.g., Ps. 19:1–4) and might account for the omission in the Greek. Hebrew Psalm 151B is fragmentary (only the title and first verse are preserved in the Qumran psalms scroll), but its content corresponds to v. 6 in the Greek Psalm 151, and it is likely that it went on to develop at greater length David’s triumph over Goliath.2

Psalm 151, written as if by David in the first person, recalls David’s selection by God to be anointed as king over Israel in Saul’s place as well as his first victory for his people in the defeat of Goliath. As such, it is a liturgical retelling and abridgement of 1 Samuel 16–17. In the first five verses, as in the 1 Samuel narrative, a strong emphasis is placed on the stature and fine appearance of David’s brothers (1 Sam. 16:6–10; Ps. 151:5) and on the fact that David was the smallest and youngest of them (1 Sam. 16:7, 11; Ps. 151:1); nevertheless, God chose David (1 Sam. 16:12–13; Ps. 151:4b). The role of Samuel, God’s messenger who came to anoint a king, is also prominent in both texts (1 Sam. 16:1–5; Ps. 151:4a). The central point of this part of the psalm is thus consonant with the core message of 1 Samuel 16: “Mortals look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7) and chooses accordingly.

Verses 2 and 3 speak in a very condensed way (compared with the Hebrew Psalm 151A) of David’s commitment to worshiping God, singing hymns celebrating God’s works and spreading God’s honor out in open fields where he watched over his father’s sheep. The suggestion in both the Greek and Hebrew versions is that his commitment to worship—the heart that delights in honoring God—is what made David stand out in the sight of God, who heard all of the boy’s songs.

The final two verses recall in brief compass the Philistine giant Goliath’s challenge to the Israelites and David’s successful meeting of the challenge. The detail that Goliath “cursed [David] by his idols” recontextualizes a phrase from 1 Sam. 17:43. David’s actual defeat of Goliath is passed over, but presupposed by the detail that David “drew [Goliath’s] own sword” and used it to behead the corpse (v. 7a; cf. 1 Sam. 17:51). The climax of the psalm is the removal of Israel’s disgrace, the very thing that David showed himself to be most concerned about when he first arrived on the scene and heard the Philistine’s taunts (v. 7b; cf. 1 Sam. 17:26).

Why was it important to remember these aspects of David’s life, especially in cultic form? Perhaps it was merely thought strange by a certain Jewish poet that no psalm was preserved celebrating these inaugural episodes in David’s life, when so many other psalms were linked by means of their superscriptions to other events, and so the poet composed two psalms to supply suitable hymnic reflections on 1 Samuel 16 and 1 Samuel 17 (which a later poet abridged and combined into one). On the other hand, it is also possible that this part of the story said something about God that inspired the people in their context of domination by foreign powers. David’s anointing reminded an Israel that no longer stood tall in stature amidst the nations of the world that God was not impressed with appearances and sought rather a worshipful heart. David’s destiny also supplied a historical precedent that a heart that honors God really does make for a grander future than an impressive appearance. The story of Goliath’s defeat stood as an important reminder that Israel’s honor and future depended not on might of arms or vastness of military power but on the God who chose them. David’s defeat of the giant who mocked Israel and their God provided a precedent for the hope that God would again take away the disgrace of Israel and vindicate their faith in God in the sight of the giants around them.

1 The psalms scrolls found at Qumran (about forty psalters, although some are very fragmentary) contain several extracanonical psalms and poems. 11QPsa, the fullest example, contains a “Plea for Deliverance,” part of the poem from Sirach 51, an “Apostrophe to Zion,” a “Hymn to the Creator,” the “Last Words of David,” a catalogue of David’s compositions, and Psalms 151A, 151B, 154, 155. This raises the possibility that the shape of the Book of Psalms was still fluid in the second century b.c.e. and the number of canonical psalms not yet fixed; it is also possible that the Qumran psalms scrolls should be regarded not as specimens of the “Book of Psalms” but of community prayer and hymn books. For translations, see Vermes 1997: 301–18; Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich 1999: 505–89.

nrsv New Revised Standard Version

2 Despite the abrupt beginning of Hebrew Psalm 151B (“Then I saw a Philistine”), it is likely that Hebrew Psalm 151A was a complete composition (that is, the Qumran psalter did not divide up what was originally a single psalm), since the opening and closing exhibit an inclusio between v. 1 and v. 5, the second line of these verses containing the same phraseology: “He made me … for … and ruler of.…” (Hebrew: wysymny … l … wmwšl b.… ).

 David Arthur deSilva, Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 301–303.


PS: Also please note Introducing the Apocrypha, 2nd Edition: Message, Context, and Significance, a significant expansion (almost 100 pages larger) is nearly through PrePub.

Posts 5262
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 9:50 AM

Also I will share The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes which at times in the less used positions of the apocrypha like Psalm 151 you have very little coverage. But it too is an option. 

Psalm 151

1048–1009 bc

1009–970 bc

c 500 bc

165 bc

2 bc

Reign of Saul

Reign of David

Books of Psalms compiled

Maccabean Revolt

Birth of Jesus



Attributed to David


Prior to AD 68; likely intertestamental




David, his brothers, and their father; children of Israel; God’s messenger (Samuel); the Philistine, Goliath


To celebrate God’s choice of and victory through David


David’s humble origins; God’s election of David

Overview of Psalm 151

This short psalm describes the events of 1 Sm 16:1–13; 17:48–52. A first century AD Hebrew text is known from the Qumran Psalms Scroll (abbreviated as 11Q5 or 11QPsa). Psalm 151 is the last psalm included on the scroll. The style of the Hebrew is comparable with psalms from the sixth century BC, though there is no good way to pinpoint an author or date for its composition. The LXX text is slightly different from the Hebrew text. The translation below is based on the LXX.

Gerhard on Psalm 151

Athanasius mentions this psalm in his Synopsis, and it is also found in some Greek Bibles. It is apocryphal, however: (1) Because we do not find it in the Hebrew text, which alone is authentic. (2) The Council of Laodicea, canon 59, and all the ancients expressly place 150 psalms in the canon. (ThC E1 §177)

Challenges for Readers

Superscription. The psalm is attributed to David with the caveat that it does not fall within the usual number of the Book of Psalms. This is an example of how difficult it can be to tell whether the information in a superscription is trustworthy or not.

Liturgical Use. It is difficult to imagine a liturgical context for this short psalm that basically summarizes existing biblical texts, which may explain why the psalm was not appropriated for the canonical psalms.


I. Superscription

II. The Lord Chooses David (vv 1–5)

III. David Fights Goliath (vv 6–7)

bc before Christ

bc before Christ

bc before Christ

bc before Christ

bc before Christ

AD anno Domini (in the year of [our] Lord)

AD anno Domini (in the year of [our] Lord)

BC before Christ

LXX Septuagint. Koine Greek Old Testament.

LXX Septuagint. Koine Greek Old Testament.

ThC E1 Gerhard, Johann. Theological Commonplaces. Exegesis 1, On the Nature of Theology and On Scripture. Edited with annotations by Benjamin T. G. Mayes. Translated by Richard J. Dinda. St. Louis: Concordia, 2009.

vv verses

vv verses

 Edward A. Engelbrecht, ed., The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition: Notes (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2012), 331.

Posts 5262
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 9:59 AM

Finally I wanted to share that while you inquired of a handbook... a small one volume commentary may give great coverage too and while Logos has several I could recommend I thought the closest to an "evangelical treatment" in that vein i could find would be Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible 

Psalm 151

Alison Salvesen


The canonical collection of psalms known to Judaism and Western Christianity numbers only 150. But the Septuagint Psalter includes Psalm 151, and the same work is found among the Syriac apocryphal psalms. Latin, Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Georgian versions also exist, and like the Syriac these were all translated from the Greek (Wigtil 1983: 407). However, two closely related compositions in Hebrew have been discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), in col. 28 of the Psalm Scroll 11Q5 (= 11QPsa). These are two consecutive psalms, each with its own superscription, and together covering more or less the same material as LXX Psalm 151. They are therefore termed Psalms 151A and 151B. However, only the opening lines of 151B have survived.

Psalm 151A

Hallelujah. Of David, son of Jesse.

1. I was smaller than my brothers, and younger than the sons of my father.

He made me shepherd of his flock, and a ruler over his kids.

2. My hands have made a pipe and my fingers a lyre. I have rendered glory to the Lord; I have said so in my soul.

3. The mountains do not testify to him, and the hills do not tell (of him).

The trees praise my words and the flocks my deeds.

4. For who can tell and speak of, and recount the works of the Lord?

God has seen all, he has heard all, and he listens to all.

5. He sent his prophet to anoint me, Samuel to magnify me.

My brothers went out to meet him, beautiful of figure, beautiful of appearance.

6. They were tall of stature with beautiful hair, yet the Lord did not choose them.

7. He sent and took me from behind the flock, and anointed me with holy oil as a prince of his people, and a ruler among the sons of his Covenant.

Psalm 151B

The first display of David’s power after God’s prophet had anointed him.

1. Then I saw the Philistine taunting [from the enemy lines] …

(translation by G. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Allen Lane: Penguin, 1997, 302)

The date of the original composition behind Psalm 151 is very uncertain. The handwriting of the Psalm Scroll 11Q5 is dated to the first half of the first century ad, and so is of little help. Although the language of Qumran Psalm 151A and B is based on biblical models, it also has late features and probably belongs to the Second Temple period (Hurvitz 1967: 82–87). As for the Greek version, though the LXX Psalter is generally dated to approximately the third century bc, we cannot be certain that Psalm 151 was included so early since we have no early citations of it. Furthermore, the superscription suggests that it was added after the main collection of 150 psalms was complete.

It is clear that Greek Psalm 151 must have been based on a Hebrew text resembling that of 11Q5. However, opinion differs as to whether the Greek or the Qumran Hebrew is closer to the lost original. Haran (1988: 171–82) and Smith (1997: 186) argue that the Qumran Psalm compositions represent the development and embellishment of a single shorter Hebrew text. In contrast, Sanders (1965: 59) and Strugnell (1966: 257–72, 278–81) believe that the Greek cannot be understood except by reference to Qumran Psalms 151A and B, which must therefore be very close to the original form.

Many of the ideas and much of the language of the psalm are drawn from 1 Samuel 15–18, and especially from chs. 16–17 (Smith 1997: 195–97). Similar emphases are found in the versions of David’s story found in Sir. 47:2–11 and Ps.-Philo, Bib. Ant., chs. 59–62 (Strugnell 1965: 207–16).



The Greek acknowledges that the psalm is “outside the number,” but defends its inclusion on the ground that it is idiographos, an authentic composition of David. Qumran Psalm 151A is entitled simply, “A Hallelujah of David, the son of Jesse.” For the reference to David’s fight with Goliath (described in v. 7 [Eng.] of the psalm), compare the Hebrew superscriptions of canonical Psalms 3, 18, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 59, 60, 63, 67, and 142, all referring to events in the life of David.

Verse 1

Lit. “small I was … and young”; cf. 1 Sam 16:11; 17:14, though the NRSV renders the Hebrew word “small” as “youngest.” By placing the words “small” and “young” first in each phrase, the writer emphasizes David’s insignificance in worldly terms (Rabinowitz 1964: 199), in preparation for the climactic conclusion of the psalm, which in the Greek version is David’s killing of Goliath and his vindication of the entire people. (In the Hebrew version of 151A, the conclusion of the psalm is different, so the contrast there is with David’s later status as ruler of the nation.)

In the Greek, David tends his father’s sheep, but the Hebrew has David’s father as subject: “he made me shepherd.…” The Hebrew syntax rather implies that David was given this menial task because of his lowly status within the family.

Verse 2

The context suggests that David began his musical activity while out pasturing the flocks. The Hebrew has more material at this point (151A:2–3), but scholars are still far from agreement as to its precise meaning. This is in part because the script of the scroll does not distinguish clearly between the letters waw and yodh, with the result that the forms for “my” and “his” are largely undifferentiated. See Sanders (1967: 100–103; 1984: 169, 176) for various attempts at rendering the text.

Taking one line of interpretation of the Hebrew, then, David complains that “the mountains do not bear witness for me, nor the hills, the trees will not report my words on my behalf, nor the flock my deeds” (Rabinowitz 1964: 193–200), the suggestion being that God alone hears David’s praise of him. Another view is that David contrasts his praise of God with the muteness of nature: see, for example, Skehan (1963: 407–9): “I had said to myself, the mountains cannot witness to Him, nor the hills relate: neither the boughs of trees, my words, nor the flock, my compositions.” But the first part of the stanza would then seem to contradict the common biblical notion that the natural world does praise God (e.g., Pss 96:11–12; 97:1; 145:10; 148:3–10; Isa 44:23; 55:12). Cross’s translation (1978: 69) (“O that the mountains would bear Him witness, O that the hills would tell of Him, the trees [recount] His deeds, and the flock His works!”) is in closer accord with biblical norms, but dependent on what is probably an anachronistic occurrence of a particular word (lwʾ understood as precative, “I wish!” “O that …!” rather than as the negative particle “not”). Dupont Sommer (1964: 37) preferred “Do the mountains not witness to Him …? The trees esteemed my words, and the flock, my poems.” He argued that the entire reference to nature was omitted in the Greek text because of the perceived Orphism of the psalm: the idea of nature responding to David’s music was too close to the Greek myth in which Orpheus’s playing entranced the animals (Dupont-Sommer 1964: 37–39; cf. Sanders 1965: 61–63). However, given the textual difficulties of the Hebrew text, it would be unwise to conclude that it was heterodox ideas that led to the omission of the section in the Greek translation. The many gaps and omissions in Greek may be mechanical, or a deliberate attempt to shorten the text, or simply due to misunderstanding of the Hebrew original.

Verse 3

The meaning of the English translation, based on the Greek, is unclear. Some Greek manuscripts have “(who hears) everything,” which makes more sense. The corresponding Hebrew (151A:4) is much longer. Rabinowitz (1964: 194) and others have pointed out that the Hebrew could also be read as “… O that someone would report my deeds! The Lord of All saw.…” It is very likely that the shorter Greek text is due to haplography: the eye of an early scribe skipped a line.

Verse 4

The “messenger” presumably refers not to an angel (the Greek word angelos can refer to either) but to the prophet Samuel, who comes to David’s town of Bethlehem in 1 Sam 16:4. (151A:5 is much more explicit: “He sent his prophet … Samuel.…”) The subject of the rest of verse 4, “he took me … he anointed me,” could be either Samuel or the Lord. In 1 Sam 16:13 it is Samuel who performs the anointing, though the Lord could be said to be the originator of the action. The first phrase could also refer to Samuel’s request that David be fetched from his duties as shepherd, but it corresponds very closely to 2 Sam 7:8, where the Lord is the subject: “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep.”

In the Hebrew, the narrative order differs, with the brothers being introduced before the anointing. The subject of 151A:4 is clearly the Lord, and there are two more lines to round off Psalm 151A describing the Lord’s removal of David from following the flock shepherding and his anointing as “prince,” nagid, a word used of the leader of the nation. The passage bears a strong resemblance to Ps 78:70–71. Such sentiments form a triumphant parallel to David’s appointment as a lowly shepherd in the Hebrew of v. 2.

Verse 5

Saul is also described as tall and handsome (1 Sam 9:2), and David’s brother Eliab evidently impresses Samuel with his height and looks (1 Sam 16:6–7). The Hebrew (Ps 151A:5b–6) is fuller, and uses expressions found of Rachel in Gen 29:17 and Joseph in Gen 39:6. Implicit in both versions is the belief that the Lord looks on the heart and does not take into account the outward appearance (1 Sam 16:7).

Verses 6–7

The Greek alludes to the events of 1 Sam 17:40–51. As in 1 Sam 17:43, Goliath curses David by his gods, and as in 1 Sam 17:51 David beheads the fallen champion, but there is no reference in Psalm 151 to David using a sling against him. The idea of removing the disgrace of Israel occurs in 1 Sam 17:26, and here marks the climax and end of the psalm in Greek.

The corresponding Hebrew is found in Psalm 151B of the Qumran Psalm Scroll. However, the text is damaged, and the only words that can be deciphered refer to David’s first sight of Goliath: we do not know how the Hebrew treated David’s victory.

Psalm 151 as a Whole

The Qumran psalm has been described as a “poetic midrash” on 1 Sam 16:1–13 (Sanders 1965: 56), and the same is true of the Greek version. Both are examples of inner-biblical interpretation, where a later biblical writer reworks an earlier passage from the angle of the theology and literature of his time; the treatment of material in Kings as reworked by the Chronicler and the view of Israel’s history in Psalm 78 are more familiar examples.

Both versions of Psalm 151 are interested only in the boyhood of David and his anointing as leader of the nation, followed by his triumph over Goliath, but they ignore his later and better-known role as mighty king. The Qumran psalm has one theme from outside 1 Samuel 16–17, David’s psalmody to the Lord (only his skill in playing the lyre being mentioned in ch. 16). The author or editor no doubt understood 1 Sam 16:7 (“the Lord looks on the heart”) in terms of David’s personal piety and linked it to the tradition of his composition of Psalms. His praise of God in humble circumstances is rewarded by divine election to the leadership of the nation. The Greek psalm, in contrast, presents God’s elevation of David as his sovereign choice for the deliverance of Israel. Whatever the origin of the differences between the two versions, their effect on the religious message of each is considerable.

Bibliography. Cross, F. M. 1978, “David, Orpheus, and Psalm 151:3–4,” BASOR 231:69–71 • Dupont-Sommer, A. 1964, “Le Psaume CLI dans 11QPsa et le probléme de son origine essénnienne,” Sem 14:25–62 • Haran, M. 1988, “The Two Text Forms of Ps 151,” JJS 39:171–82 • Hurvitz, A. 1967, “The Language and Date of Psalm 151 from Qumran” (Hebrew), ErIsr 8:82–87 (Eng. summary *70–*71) • Rabinowitz, I. 1964, “The Alleged Orphism of 11QPss 28.3–12,” ZAW n.s. 35:193–200 • Sanders, J. A. 1965, The Psalm Scroll of Qumran Cave 11 (11QPsa), Oxford: Clarendon, 54–64 • Sanders, J. A. 1967, The Dead Sea Psalms Scroll, Ithaca: Cornell University, 100–103 • Sanders, J. A. 1984, “A Multivalent Text: Psalm 151:3–4 Revisited,” HAR 8:167–84 • Sanders, J. A, with J. H. Charlesworth and H. W. L. Rietz. 1997, “Non-Masoretic Psalms,” in J. H. Charlesworth, ed., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, 4A: Pseudepigraphic and Non-Masoretic Psalms and Prayers, Tübingen: Mohr and Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 163–69 • Skehan, P. W. 1963, “The Apocryphal Psalm 151,” CBQ 25:407–9 • Smith, M. S. 1997, “How To Write a Poem: The Case of Psalm 151A (11QPsa 28.3–12),” in T. Muraoka and J. F. Elwolde, eds., The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at Leiden University, 11–14 December 1995, Leiden: Brill, 182–208 • Strugnell, J. 1965, “More Psalms of David,” CBQ 27:207–16 • Strugnell, J. 1966, “Notes on the Text and Transmission of the Apocryphal Psalms 151, 154 (= Syr. II) and 155 (= Syr. III),” HTR 59:257–72, 278–81 • Wigtil, D. N. 1983, “The Sequence of the Translations of the Apocryphal Psalm 151,” RQ 11:401–7.

col. column

11QPs Psalms Scroll from Qumran Cave 11

a Psalms Scroll from Qumran Cave 11

LXX Septuagint

ad anno Domini, in the year of our Lord

LXX Septuagint

bc before Christ

chs. Chapters

Ps.-Philo Pseudo-Philo

Bib. Ant. Biblical Antiquities

chs. Chapters

v. Verse

Lit. literally

cf. confer, compare

NRSV New Revised Standard Version

e.g. exempli gratia, for example

cf. confer, compare

v. Verse

ch. Chapter

BASOR Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research

11QPs Psalms Scroll from Qumran Cave 11

a Psalms Scroll from Qumran Cave 11

Sem Semitica

JJS Journal of Jewish Studies

ErIsr Eretz Israel

ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

HAR Hebrew Annual Review

ed. editor, edition

CBQ Catholic Biblical Quarterly

11QPs Psalms Scroll from Qumran Cave 11

a Psalms Scroll from Qumran Cave 11

CBQ Catholic Biblical Quarterly

HTR Harvard Theological Review

 Alison Salvesen, “Psalm 151,” in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, ed. James D. G. Dunn and John W. Rogerson (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), 862–864.

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 1:20 PM

Thank you Ken and Dan.  You have been very helpful and provided what I needed.

Dan that is really nice to see those examples.  Learning about those resources is exactly what I hoped for.  Thank you very much!  

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Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 6:23 AM

I know Eerdman's single volume Commentary on the Bible also deals with the Apocrypha.  Seeing that it is a single volume I would qualify it has a handbook

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 10:19 AM

Well a handbook tends to be very broad in its overview indeed some touch only on the most key aspects of a Bible book. A commentary like ECB even being just one volume tends to try to address every section (at times every verse). We can see the two handbooks above compared to the study Bible (although not the best example as no notes are directly to the text of this example) and the commentary you mentioned, which I did share the example from. A good way to look at it might be between Strongs dictionary and a good lexicon. One is very succinct, while the other may wax on giving greater detail to flush out the meaning. People should also remember page count can be misleading. the ECB devotes a little over 160 pages to the "apocrypha" but as you see above it is far more in-depth than either handbook mentioned even though one is over 400 pages and the other 230 pages. ECB are larger pages. In a way it may be fair to call one and two volume commentaries handbooks but in general they are taking differing approaches... To be fair some handbooks do contain commentary on the scriptures. But to take a look at say the difference in coverage level of a one volume commentary and a handbook or companion (as more than a few handbooks have been titled) lets look at Psalm 150 (since we are so close to that in theme due to my choice of sampling Psalm 151). Comparing the Eerdmans Companion and Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible:

150 A Hymn of Praise

An Orchestral Finale The song that closes the Psalter calls on every living creature to praise God, who dwells both in an earthly temple (“his sanctuary”) and in the vast heavens (v. 1). His “mighty deeds” and “surpassing greatness” occasion this invocation of a loud, orchestral fanfare to honor the Lord (cf. 1 Chr. 13:8; 15:16, 28; 16:5–6).

 Gordon D. Fee and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., eds., The Eerdmans Companion to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011), 354.

Psalm 150

The Hallel psalms (146–150), Book V of the psalter (Psalms 107–150), and the entire psalter reach a climax in this doxology. Just as the other collections in the psalter end in a doxology (cf. Pss 41:13; 72:18–19; 89:52; 106:48), so Book V ends in a doxology. Psalm 150 forms a doxology in its entirety and builds up to a powerful, exultant final chord which allows the psalter to culminate in a Hallelujah. When the hymnic frame (vv. 1, 6b) is taken into account, it appears that no fewer than twelve imperatives and one jussive (v. 6) are used here to praise the LORD. The contents of the psalm can therefore be summed up in the words of v. 6: “Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!”
The psalm consists of only one strophe since the numerous imperatives give it a uniform character. In 150:1 the psalmist tells us who should be praised, namely, the LORD. The LORD is described here in terms of his dwelling place. Although the words “in his sanctuary” may be a reference to the earthly temple in Jerusalem, the expression “in his mighty firmament,” which balances the first expression, refers to the LORD’s heavenly dwelling. Heaven, in terms of the poet’s worldview, would have been the highest point in the cosmos. The metaphor of the LORD as the heavenly king is used to emphasize his exaltedness and praiseworthiness.
In 150:2 we are told why the LORD should be praised. His “mighty deeds” and “surpassing greatness” are given as reasons for praise. These words are intended to refer not only to the LORD’s deeds of creation but also to his deeds of deliverance throughout history.
The major portion of the psalm (150:3–5) is used to indicate how the LORD should be praised. By listing all the possible musical instruments—stringed, wind, and percussion—the poet emphasizes that the LORD should be praised in every possible manner, with exuberance and abundant joy.
The psalm concludes by saying who should praise the LORD, namely, “everything that breathes.” Everything and everyone created by the LORD, all who received breath and life from him, should recognize that he is the Creator by praising him. To praise the LORD is the first and most important duty of all creatures. This is the conclusion reached by the psalm and the entire psalter. Just as the hymnic framework, “Praise the Lord!” indicates the beginning and end of the psalm, so our lives should be framed and regulated by the praise we owe to our savior and creator.

Willem S. Prinsloo, “The Psalms,” in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, ed. James D. G. Dunn and John W. Rogerson (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), 435.



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