Word Biblical Commentaries

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Posts 3349
Sascha John | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Dec 13 2016 10:53 PM

If you just could buy 3 witch one you would buy?

Jus the one on best Commentaries Top 1?

Posts 163
Reimar Vetne | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 13 2016 11:07 PM
My personal favorite Word commentaries (speaking only about the NT volumes, since I have read a lot less of the OT ones) are Hagner on Matthew, Evans on Mark, Longenecker on Galatians, Lane on Hebrews and Aune on Revelation. Lane and Aune especially are must-haves in any good collection.
Posts 3349
Sascha John | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 13 2016 11:10 PM

thanks

Posts 1028
Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 13 2016 11:53 PM

ive enjoyed the whole set...bestcommentaries is a good place to reference. I guess it depends on your library 

Shalom, in Christ, Keith. Check out my music www.soundcloud.com/therealkpang

Posts 3349
Sascha John | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 12:01 AM

it deppends on my Budget to ;-) I just have the Pastoral Epistels

Posts 1028
Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 12:12 AM

Of course Smile

Shalom, in Christ, Keith. Check out my music www.soundcloud.com/therealkpang

Posts 4399
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 6:34 AM

Reimar Vetne:
My personal favorite Word commentaries (speaking only about the NT volumes, since I have read a lot less of the OT ones) are Hagner on Matthew, Evans on Mark, Longenecker on Galatians, Lane on Hebrews and Aune on Revelation. Lane and Aune especially are must-haves in any good collection.

Where does AUNE come in with his eschatology?  PreMillenial, Post, etc

Posts 32
William Palmer | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 7:16 AM

I'll throw in Wenham on Genesis. I spend an inordinate amount of time studying Genesis Smile

Posts 32
William Palmer | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 7:56 AM

Wenham has a great quote with regard to the literal-ness of the days in Genesis 1:

"...it is perilous to try to correlate scientific theory and biblical revelation...Rather, it is necessary to inquire more closely into the literary nature of Gen 1 and whether chronological sequence and scientific explanation are the narrator’s concern."

Posts 163
Reimar Vetne | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 8:32 AM

Mattillo:
Where does Aune come in with his eschatology?  PreMillenial, Post, etc

David Aune's basic approach to Revelation is preterist, i.e. he sees most of the themes in the book as reflecting conflict with the Roman government at the end of the first century. About the premillenial/postmillenial/amillenial, he lists the various possibilities and the history of interpretation, but I am not sure what his own position is.

The strength of this commentary is in the vast discussions of references to Greco-Roman background of the text. Aune's 3 volumes are worth getting just for that.

This is what D.A.Carson said about Aune's commentary in his New Testament Commentary Survey: "The handling of the Greek text, at the level of grammar, is often superb. The prose is accessible, the arguments often elegant. Aune frequently insists that more attention be paid to the Greco-Roman parallels than is done by those who fasten on to Jewish parallels and sources, and sometimes he makes a convincing case. He is very good at locating this book within the political and cultural matrix of its day, yet he is not as good as Beale at coming to terms with the book’s message with categories and priorities that the author himself would have recognized. Rather astonishingly, he opts for a complex source-critical approach to the Apocalypse. Surrounding questions are given such weight that the space devoted to thought-provoking exegesis of the document itself, on its own terms, is much less than the bulk of the commentary might lead one to expect."

Posts 5317
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 9:24 AM

Just three Volumes.... It is a very hard decision but I think I would go with Psalms. Cragie, Tate, and Allen did great jobs.

Here is a sample from each of shorter Psalms:

An Introductory Psalm of Wisdom (1:1–6)

Bibliography

Auffret, P. “Essai sur la structure littéraire du Psaume 1.” BZ 22 (1978) 27–45. Anderson, G. W. “A Note on Psalm 1:1.” VT 24 (1974) 231–3. Beaucamp, E. “La salutation inaugurale du livre des Psaumes.” Église et Thélogie 1 (1970) 135–46. Bergmeier, R.Zum Ausdruck רשׁעים in Ps. 1:1, Hi. 10:3, 21:16 und 22:18.” ZAW 79 (1967) 229–32. Brownlee, W. H. “Psalms 1–2 as a Coronation Liturgy.” Bib 52 (1971) 321–36. Bullough, S. “The Question of Metre in Psalm 1.” VT 17 (1967) 42–49. Lack, R. “Le psaume 1-Une analyse structurale.” Bib 57 (1976) 154–67. Merendino, R. P. “Sprachkunst in Ps. 1:1.” VT 29 (1979) 45–60. Rinaldi, G.Môšāb nell’ultima frase del Sal. 1:1.” BeO 17 (1975) 120. Schedl, C. “Psalm 2 und die altjüdische Weisheitsmystik.” In XVII Deutscher Orientalistentag vom 21. bis. 27. Juli 1965 in Würzburg, ed. W. Voigt. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1969. Soggin, J. A. “Zum ersten Psalm.” TZ 23 (1967) 81–96.

Translation

Blessed the man who has not walked by the counsela of the wicked,

and has not stood in the wayb of the sinful,

and has not sat in the gatheringc of scoffers.d

But in the Lord’s Torah is his delight

and in his Torah will he musea by day and night.

So shall he be like a tree,

transplanted by running waters,a

which shall yield its fruit in its season,

and its foliage shall not wither.

So, in all that he shall do, he shall prosper.b

Not so the wicked!

But they are like the chaff that wind tosses.a

Therefore, the wicked shall not rise up in judgment,a

nor sinners in an assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord protectsa the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked shall perish.

Notes

1.a. עצת, “counsel,” in S, is transposed with דרךְ “way” in v 1c; though such a change might be viewed as an improvement in the sequence of thought, it is unnecessary. The word עצה can mean either “counsel” or “council”; Dahood translates “council” in this context (Psalms I, 1–2). A similar alternative is the translation “fellowship” (of wicked men), on the basis of the use of the term in the Qumran literature, as proposed by Bergmeier, ZAW 79 (1967) 229–32. Both alternatives are possible, though it is a question of judgment rather than semantics and depends upon the translation of the rest of v 1; see notes b and c below

1.b. דָרךְway.” Dahood (Psalms I, 2) translates דרךְ by “assembly,” basing his translation upon a supposed usage of the cognate term in the Ugaritic texts. The word is used again (in v 6, twice) and thus is critical to the meaning of the psalm as a whole. According to, Dahood, the Ugaritic word drkt, which means “dominion, power,” and hence “throne” (see Aistleitner, WUS #792), undergoes a semantic shift from “dominion” to the place where dominion is exercised, namely the “assembly.” But the argument is weak. Within Ugaritic, there is precisely such a semantic shift, but it is from “dominion” to “throne” (namely, the seat of dominion). The use of the term in Ugaritic may designate the dominion of the deities; Anat, for example, is called bʿlt.drkt, “mistress of dominion” (RS 24.252.7). No doubt the Ugaritic nuance of drkt (“dominion, power”) does occur in the OT in the Hebrew usage of the root דרךְ (see Judg 5:21 and P. C. Craigie, JBL 88 [1969] 257). In the present context, however, the argument for the meaning “assembly,” insofar as it is based on Ugaritic, is without firm foundation. “Throne” would be a possible translation, though it would not fit the poetic context well. Furthermore, the contrasting of two ways (1:6) is a common theme in both biblical literature (Deut 30:19; Jer 21:8; Prov 1:1–7; Matt 7:13–14) and in Near Eastern texts: e.g. in Gilgamesh X.vi (ANET, 93) and the “Hymn to Aten” (ANET, 371). In summary, it is better to retain the translation “way” for Heb. דרךְ, both here and in v 6.

1.c. “Gathering” (מושׁב) or “seat”; on the meaning of the term, see Rinaldi in BeO 17 (1075) 120. The sense of this word could admittedly add to the strength of Dahood’s argument (note b), in that it would provide synonymous parallelism for the first three lines as follows: “council//assembly//gathering (session).” Nevertheless, the more conventional rendering shows a progression within the parallelism. Just as the verbs demonstrate a kind of progression (or regression): “walked//stood//sat,” so too do the nouns: “counsel//way//gathering.”

1.d. The verb ליץ has the basic sense “to talk loosely,” and the noun לץ has the sense “babbler”; but the context here suggests the nuance “scoffers.” cf. H. N. Richardson, “Some Notes on ליץ and Its Derivatives.” VT 5 (1955) 163–79.

2.a. The root הגה, which may be onomatopoeic, implies more than just “meditating”; some kind of utterance is indicated, such as “murmuring” or “whispering.”

3.a. “Running waters”; viz. “irrigation channels,” fed with a constant supply of water.

3.b. The syntax is ambivalent, and the line could refer to the tree. But the line is best taken as referring to the righteous man and as concluding the first section (vv 1–3); it is thus unnecessary to delete the line as a gloss (as suggested in BHS).

4.a. G adds ἀπὸ προσώπου τῆς γῆς (“… from the face of the earth”). The words may have been added simply for stylistic reasons, to avoid the abruptness of MT, which is nevertheless the best text.

5.a. “In judgment” implies the place of judgment (cf. Deut 25:1); i.e. the wicked will have no place, or no respect, in the courts of law, where justice and righteousness are the modus operandi. Such a meaning is strongly implied by the second line of the synonymous parallelism (v 5b). If this interpretation is correct, then there is not any eschatological implication of a final judgment here.

6.a. “Protects”: the normal sense of the verb ידע is “to know”; on the sense “protect, guard,” see Dahood, Psalms I, 5.

Form/Structure/Setting

Psalm 1, by virtue of its language and content, must be classified with the wisdom psalms (cf. Pss 32, 34, and 49 in this volume). Its terminology and teaching reflect the thought of the Wisdom Literature in general and the Book of Proverbs in particular (cf. Prov 2:12–15, 20–22). The psalm was probably not composed in the first instance for use in formal worship; rather, it must be viewed as a literary and poetic composition, expressing with remarkable clarity the polarity of persons and their destinies.

There are certain basic problems pertaining to the analysis of the psalm in terms of poetry, particularly with respect to meter. While the analysis of meter is always difficult in the study of Hebrew poetry (see the critical remarks in the Introduction), there is even less regularity than usual in Ps 1. The interpretation of most scholars has proceeded on the basis of a provisional metrical analysis (e.g. Gunkel, Die Psalmen, 1–4), but it has been claimed by Bullough that the psalm is not metrical at all, but is “plain rhythmic prose” (VT 17 [1967] 42–49). For a critical analysis of the problem of meter, see O. Loretz, UF 3 (1971) 101–3. The translation above has not included a metrical notation (as is done for other psalms in this commentary). Bullough is probably correct in his view that the psalm is not metrical in the normal sense; the only approximate indicator of balance is the division of lines, which are very uneven in length. But although there is not a normal metrical structure to Ps 1, it is still dearly and distinctively poetry. Parallelism is used in vv 1, 2, 3c–d, 5, and 6. And the psalm as a whole is a finely crafted piece of poetic literature, as various recent studies have shown. Merendino has shown that the psalm is a work of art (Kunstwerk), and Lack’s structural analysis has shown the closely knit structure of the whole—the text is a “tissue of interdependencies” (Bib 57 [1976] 167).

The structure of the psalm may be set forth as follows: (1) the solid foundation of the righteous (1:1–3); (2) the impermanence of the wicked (1:4–5); (3) a contrast of the righteous and the wicked (1:6). Within this overall structure the poet has made careful use of chiasmus in the first two sections:

vv 1–2

A

v 3

B

v 4

v 5

On this chiastic structure, see further N. H. Ridderbos, Die Psalmen, 120 and R. L. Alden, JETS 17 (1974) 11–28. The inner chiasmus between the first two parts of the psalm is then united in the contrast of the antithetical parallelism in v 6, which also has an internal chiastic structure.

Psalm 1, as a didactic poem, does not in the first instance have a cultic or social setting; its primary setting is literary, for it forms an introduction to the Psalter as a whole and has been placed in its present position by the editor or compiler of the Psalter for that purpose. But although the psalm is a distinct and independent literary composition, there is some evidence, in both the early Jewish and Christian traditions, to suggest that it was joined to Ps 2, and the two psalms together were considered to be the first psalm of the Psalter. In the Jewish tradition, Rabbi Johanan is credited with the following words in the Babylonian Talmud: “Every chapter that was particularly dear to David he commenced with ‘Happy’ and terminated with ‘Happy.’ He began with ‘Happy,’ as it is written, ‘Happy is the man,’ and he terminated with ‘Happy,’ as it is written, ‘Happy are all they that take refuge in him’.” (Ber. 9b). The reference here to the first verse of Ps 1 and the last verse of Ps 2 indicates that the two psalms together were considered to be a literary unit.

The evidence from the early Christian tradition is found in Acts 13:33. The writer, Luke, gives a quotation from Ps 2:7, but introduces it as coming from the first psalm; the corrections, both in the early Greek text and in modern English versions, to read “the second psalm,” are appropriate given the change in the conventional system of numbering the Psalms. Nevertheless, the oldest Greek text of Acts provides evidence for the early Christian view that the first two psalms were considered to be a single unit. If the two psalms were first joined in the Psalter (despite being independent compositions prior to their incorporation in the Book of Psalms), it may be that they were intended to provide a double perspective in introduction; Ps 1 provides an introduction from the perspective of wisdom, whereas Ps 2 provides a prophetic approach to the book. It has also been suggested that the two psalms were joined together to form a coronation liturgy, perhaps for one of the last kings of Judah; the king, at his coronation, pledged himself to fulfill the Deuteronomic law of kings (W. H. Brownlee, Bib 52 [1971] 321–36).

Comment

The solid foundation of the righteous (1:1–3). The righteous are introduced as the “blessed” or “happy” (see further H. Cazelles, TDOT I, 445–48). Their happy estate is not something given automatically by God, but is a direct result of their activity. A person can be happy, from a negative perspective, by avoiding the advice, the life style and the assembly of wicked persons (v 1). The three parallel lines of v 1 are poetically synonymous and thus all describe in slightly different ways the evil company which should be avoided by the righteous. Though the three lines, taken together, provide a full picture of what is to be avoided, it would be stretching the text beyond its natural meaning to see in these lines three distinct phases in the deterioration of a person’s conduct and character (see further G. W. Anderson, VT 24 [1974] 231–33). The righteous person avoids all the dimensions of the way of the wicked; therein lies the source of blessedness or happiness.

But a person who is to be happy must also engage in a positive task, which is identified in v 2 as being related to the Torah. Although the term Torah can be used of the law, or of the Pentateuch, or even (at a later date) of the whole OT, its significance here is the most fundamental one. Basically, the word Torah means “instruction”; specifically, it is the instruction which God gives to mankind as a guide for life. Thus it may include that which is technically law, but it also includes other more general parts of God’s revelation. The Torah is to be a source of “delight” (see further the Explanation, below), a delight which is discovered by means of constant meditation on its meaning. Just as the king would learn to live a life of humility and righteousness through constant reflection on the meaning of Torah (Deut 17:18–20), so too could all mankind. And an understanding of Torah contributed to long life, peace and prosperity (Prov 3:1–2), for in its words God has set down the nature of a life which would reach the true fulfillment for which it was created.

The happy estate of the righteous is illuminated in v 3 by the simile of the tree. A tree may flourish or fade, depending upon its location and access to water. A tree transplanted from some dry spot (e.g. a wadi, where the water runs only sporadically in the rainy season) to a location beside an irrigation channel, where water never ceases to flow, would inevitably flourish. It would become a green and fruitful tree. The simile not only illustrates colorfully the prosperity of the righteous, but also make a theological point. The state of blessedness or happiness is not a reward; rather, it is the result of a particular type of life. Just as a tree with a constant water supply naturally flourishes, so too the person who avoids evil and delights in Torah naturally prospers, for such a person is living within the guidelines set down by the Creator. Thus the prosperity of the righteous reflects the wisdom of a life lived according to the plan of the Giver of all life.

The wicked (1:4–5). “Not so the wicked” (v 4); that is, they shall not prosper as the righteous (v 3). The life of the wicked is summarized succinctly in the brief simile of v 4b. They are like chaff. The language reflects the practice of winnowing grain at harvest time. The grain would be tossed into the air with a pitchfork at the village threshing floor; the wind would separate the light chaff and husks and blow them away, while the more substantial grain fell back to the floor. Chaff is something light and useless, part of the crop, but a part to be disposed of by the farmer. The wicked are thus depicted in the simile as lightweights, persons without real substance or worth.

The “lightness” of the wicked is then elaborated in v 5. The two lines of v 5, in synonymous parallelism, reflect essentially the same thought, namely that the wicked hold no weight or influence in the important areas of human society. Where the righteous meet for the pursuit of justice and government, the wicked have no place and are not recognized. They live for themselves and cannot participate in the affairs of those who live for others and for righteousness.

The contrast (1:6). And so, in the last resort, human beings are of two kinds. They may be righteous; if so, God protects their way. But they may be wicked, and for the wicked, the final destiny is doom. The doom of the wicked, as it is expressed in this psalm, is not primarily a punishment, any more than the happiness of the righteous is a reward. Each is presented as the natural outcome of a way of life which has been chosen.

Explanation

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov 1:7); these words are often taken to be an expression of the fundamental principle of the Wisdom Literature, of which this psalm is a part. Psalm 1 elaborates upon this principle with respect to human behavior. The righteous person is the one whose “fear” (or reverence) of God affects his daily living; he avoids evil and learns how to live from God’s Torah, and therein lies his wisdom. The wisdom, as expressed in this psalm, is essentially related to the present life; the psalm does not clearly evince any doctrine of future life (as proposed, for example, by Dahood in Psalms I, 3–5). The anticipated prosperity is in the present life, just as the failure of the wicked is to be a present reality.

The contrast between the two ways (1:6) is illuminated further in the words of Jesus in the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt 7:13–14). Jesus speaks of two gates, a broad gate giving entrance to the “way that leads to destruction” and a narrow gate giving entrance to “the way that leads to life.” (Alternatively, the text could be interpreted to mean that there are two ways, one leading to a broad gate, the other leading to a narrow gate). The principles of Jesus’ teaching are essentially those of the psalm, yet there is an eschatological element in the words of Jesus (see also Luke 13:24), for the kingdom of God, represented by the way of life associated with the narrow gate, has both a present and a future dimension of reality.

There is a further aspect of this psalm which is relevant to its application. In the last resort, the principal wisdom of the psalm can be reduced to v 2; the prosperity and happiness of the righteous depends upon their finding “delight” in the Lord’s Torah. But how is such delight to be found? In practical terms, it is achieved by constant meditation upon the Torah (v 2b), which is God’s instruction. As instruction, it contains guidance from the Creator as to the meaning of creation. Life is lived in futility if its fundamental purpose is never discovered. It is the meaning of human existence which is enshrined in the Torah, and it is the discovery of that meaning which flows from meditation upon Torah.

BZ Biblische Zeitschrift

VT Vetus Testamentum

ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

Bib Biblica

VT Vetus Testamentum

Bib Biblica

VT Vetus Testamentum

BeO Bibbia e oriente

TZ Theologische Zeitschrift

a עצת, “counsel,” in S, is transposed with דרךְ “way” in v 1c; though such a change might be viewed as an improvement in the sequence of thought, it is unnecessary. The word עצה can mean either “counsel” or “council”; Dahood translates “council” in this context (Psalms I, 1–2). A similar alternative is the translation “fellowship” (of wicked men), on the basis of the use of the term in the Qumran literature, as proposed by Bergmeier, ZAW 79 (1967) 229–32. Both alternatives are possible, though it is a question of judgment rather than semantics and depends upon the translation of the rest of v 1; see notes b and c below

b דָרךְway.” Dahood (Psalms I, 2) translates דרךְ by “assembly,” basing his translation upon a supposed usage of the cognate term in the Ugaritic texts. The word is used again (in v 6, twice) and thus is critical to the meaning of the psalm as a whole. According to, Dahood, the Ugaritic word drkt, which means “dominion, power,” and hence “throne” (see Aistleitner, WUS #792), undergoes a semantic shift from “dominion” to the place where dominion is exercised, namely the “assembly.” But the argument is weak. Within Ugaritic, there is precisely such a semantic shift, but it is from “dominion” to “throne” (namely, the seat of dominion). The use of the term in Ugaritic may designate the dominion of the deities; Anat, for example, is called bʿlt.drkt, “mistress of dominion” (RS 24.252.7). No doubt the Ugaritic nuance of drkt (“dominion, power”) does occur in the OT in the Hebrew usage of the root דרךְ (see Judg 5:21 and P. C. Craigie, JBL 88 [1969] 257). In the present context, however, the argument for the meaning “assembly,” insofar as it is based on Ugaritic, is without firm foundation. “Throne” would be a possible translation, though it would not fit the poetic context well. Furthermore, the contrasting of two ways (1:6) is a common theme in both biblical literature (Deut 30:19; Jer 21:8; Prov 1:1–7; Matt 7:13–14) and in Near Eastern texts: e.g. in Gilgamesh X.vi (ANET, 93) and the “Hymn to Aten” (ANET, 371). In summary, it is better to retain the translation “way” for Heb. דרךְ, both here and in v 6.

c “Gathering” (מושׁב) or “seat”; on the meaning of the term, see Rinaldi in BeO 17 (1075) 120. The sense of this word could admittedly add to the strength of Dahood’s argument (note b), in that it would provide synonymous parallelism for the first three lines as follows: “council//assembly//gathering (session).” Nevertheless, the more conventional rendering shows a progression within the parallelism. Just as the verbs demonstrate a kind of progression (or regression): “walked//stood//sat,” so too do the nouns: “counsel//way//gathering.”

d The verb ליץ has the basic sense “to talk loosely,” and the noun לץ has the sense “babbler”; but the context here suggests the nuance “scoffers.” cf. H. N. Richardson, “Some Notes on ליץ and Its Derivatives.” VT 5 (1055) 163–79.

a The root הגה, which may be onomatopoeic, implies more than just “meditating”; some kind of utterance is indicated, such as “murmuring” or “whispering.”

a “Running waters”; viz. “irrigation channels,” fed with a constant supply of water.

b The syntax is ambivalent, and the line could refer to the tree. But the line is best taken as referring to the righteous man and as concluding the first section (vv 1–3); it is thus unnecessary to delete the line as a gloss (as suggested in BHS).

a G adds ἀπὸ προσώπου τῆς γῆς (“… from the face of the earth”). The words may have been added simply for stylistic reasons, to avoid the abruptness of MT, which is nevertheless the best text.

a עצת, “counsel,” in S, is transposed with דרךְ “way” in v 1c; though such a change might be viewed as an improvement in the sequence of thought, it is unnecessary. The word עצה can mean either “counsel” or “council”; Dahood translates “council” in this context (Psalms I, 1–2). A similar alternative is the translation “fellowship” (of wicked men), on the basis of the use of the term in the Qumran literature, as proposed by Bergmeier, ZAW 79 (1967) 229–32. Both alternatives are possible, though it is a question of judgment rather than semantics and depends upon the translation of the rest of v 1; see notes b and c below

a “Protects”: the normal sense of the verb ידע is “to know”; on the sense “protect, guard,” see Dahood, Psalms I, 5.

S Syriac Old Testament

ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

b דָרךְway.” Dahood (Psalms I, 2) translates דרךְ by “assembly,” basing his translation upon a supposed usage of the cognate term in the Ugaritic texts. The word is used again (in v 6, twice) and thus is critical to the meaning of the psalm as a whole. According to, Dahood, the Ugaritic word drkt, which means “dominion, power,” and hence “throne” (see Aistleitner, WUS #792), undergoes a semantic shift from “dominion” to the place where dominion is exercised, namely the “assembly.” But the argument is weak. Within Ugaritic, there is precisely such a semantic shift, but it is from “dominion” to “throne” (namely, the seat of dominion). The use of the term in Ugaritic may designate the dominion of the deities; Anat, for example, is called bʿlt.drkt, “mistress of dominion” (RS 24.252.7). No doubt the Ugaritic nuance of drkt (“dominion, power”) does occur in the OT in the Hebrew usage of the root דרךְ (see Judg 5:21 and P. C. Craigie, JBL 88 [1969] 257). In the present context, however, the argument for the meaning “assembly,” insofar as it is based on Ugaritic, is without firm foundation. “Throne” would be a possible translation, though it would not fit the poetic context well. Furthermore, the contrasting of two ways (1:6) is a common theme in both biblical literature (Deut 30:19; Jer 21:8; Prov 1:1–7; Matt 7:13–14) and in Near Eastern texts: e.g. in Gilgamesh X.vi (ANET, 93) and the “Hymn to Aten” (ANET, 371). In summary, it is better to retain the translation “way” for Heb. דרךְ, both here and in v 6.

c “Gathering” (מושׁב) or “seat”; on the meaning of the term, see Rinaldi in BeO 17 (1075) 120. The sense of this word could admittedly add to the strength of Dahood’s argument (note b), in that it would provide synonymous parallelism for the first three lines as follows: “council//assembly//gathering (session).” Nevertheless, the more conventional rendering shows a progression within the parallelism. Just as the verbs demonstrate a kind of progression (or regression): “walked//stood//sat,” so too do the nouns: “counsel//way//gathering.”

WUS Aistleitner, J. Die Wörterbuch der ugaritischen Sprache. Ed. O. Eissfeldt. 3d ed. Berlin, 1967.

RS Ras Shamra

JBL Journal of Biblical Literature

ANET The Ancient Near East: Supplementary Texts and Pictures. Ed. J. B. Pritchard. Princeton, 1969.

ANET The Ancient Near East: Supplementary Texts and Pictures. Ed. J. B. Pritchard. Princeton, 1969.

BeO Bibbia e oriente

VT Vetus Testamentum

BHS Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Ed. K. Elliger and W. Rudolph. Stuttgart, 1983.

G Greek Old Testament

MT Masoretic Text

VT Vetus Testamentum

UF Ugarit-Forschungen

Bib Biblica

JETS Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Ber. Berakot

Bib Biblica

TDOT Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament

VT Vetus Testamentum

 Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1–50, 2nd ed., vol. 19, Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, TN: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2004), 57–62.

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Serve the Lord with Gladness (100:1–5)

Bibliography

Crüsemann, F. Studien zur Formgeschichte. 67–69. Howard, D. M., Jr. The Structure of Psalms 93–100. 129–39, 213–15. Koch, K. “ ‘Denn seine Gute wahret ewiglich.’ ” EvT 21 (1961), 531–44. Lewis, J. O. “An Asseverative לא in Psalm 100:3?” JBL 86 (1967) 216. Mayes, J. L. “Worship, World, and Power: An Interpretation of Psalm 100.” Int 23 (1969) 315–30. Whitley, C. F. “Some Remarks on lu and lo.” ZAW 87 (1975) 202–4.

Translation

1 A psalm for thanksgiving.a

Raise a shout to Yahweh, all the earth!

(3+3+3)

2 Serve Yahweh with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs,a

3 Acknowledgea that Yahweh, he is God.

He made us, and we are indeedb

his peoplec and the flock he shepherds,d

(4+4+3)

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

his courts with praise;

give thanks to him, and blessa his name!

(3+2+3)

5 Fora Yahweh is good; his loyal-love is forever,

and to generation after generation is his faithfulness.

(4+3)

Notes

1.a. The word תודה (also in v 4) can mean either “thanksgiving praise” or “confession” (Josh 7:19; Ezra 10:11). The root meaning of the verb ידה in hiphil is “to confess/declare/praise”: a point strongly emphasized by C. Westermann (Praise and Lament, 25–35), who notes that there is no word in Hebrew which properly means “to thank,” praise being either declarative, referring to what God has done, or descriptive, referring to what he characteristically does. The word תודה can also mean a “thank offering” or “thank sacrifice” (see the summary in Crüsemann, Studien zur Formgeschichte, 282–84). The תודה probably originally was a sacrifice offered in a thanksgiving ceremony and then became a “song of praise” to accompany the sacrifice (Gerstenberger, Psalms, 14). I have retained the traditional “thanksgiving,” but the double meaning of the word should be remembered. Fortunately, the English “for thanksgiving” has a double nuance of “praise” and the “act of giving thanks” which could involve a worship service and is appropriate for the title (cf. Howard, Structure, 130). תודה appears in no other title of a psalm.

2.a. The long form רננה (“joyful songs” or “jubilation”) appears here (as in Ps 63:6, in the plural) rather than the usual רנה, perhaps to give the colon a better balance.

3.a. Traditional, “Know that Yahweh is God” (lit., “know that Yahweh, he [indeed] is God”) is used in the sense of a summons (1) to learn that Yahweh is God in terms of the “self-involvement in all the demands and responsibilities which the Lordship of Yahweh implies” (Anderson, II, 699), or (2) to be assured, to have no doubt, that Yahweh is God (Barnes, II, 472). However, the context seems to favor the idea of “acknowledge/recognize/confess” (as, e.g., Kraus, II, 855; njv; reb). V 3. seems to be a form of a “recognition formula,” which W. Zimmerli has delineated in the Book of Ezekiel, taking his case from the repeated use of the statement “And you (or “you” plural, or “they”) shall know that I am Yahweh” (in “Knowledge of God according to the Book of Ezekiel,” in I Am Yahweh, tr. D. W. Stott [Atlanta:John Knox, (1954) 1982] 30; a full list of the passages in Ezekiel is found on 143, n. 5). The formulaic saying also appears in other contexts (e.g., 1 Kgs 20:13, 28; Exod 6:6–9; 8:20; 16:12; 29:43–46). The freer formulation “know that Yahweh is God” (דעו כי יהוה הוא אלהים) appears to be Deuteronomic (Zimmerli, 51–52; cf. Deut 4:35, 39; 1 Kgs 8:60; 2 Kgs 19:19) and includes Ps 100:3 (Zimmerli, 53). The formula appears in varied forms in other contexts as well (Zimmerli, 53–63). The recognition of Yahweh is an acknowledgment of his identity in terms of his actions.

The pronoun הוא (“he”) is added for emphasis (see GKC 141gh; cf. Deut 4:35; 7:9; Josh 4:18; 1 Kgs 18:39): “know that Yahweh, he is God,” or even, “Yahweh alone is God” (Rogerson and McKay, II, 230, with special emphasis on 1 Kgs 18:39).

3b. This statement poses a famous question in interpretation. The ketiv of MT reads ולא אנחנו, “and not we (ourselves),” but the qere reads ולו אחנו, “and we are his.” LXX, Symm., and Syr. suggest the “and not we ourselves” reading, but the “and we are his” has good support with some mss, Aquila, Jerome, and Targum (and cf. Ps 95:7; esp. note the variant in BHS: cf. Ps 79:13). Also, the Masoretic tradition reckons some fifteen passages in which לא (“not”) is written but which should be read as is לו (“to him”; BDB, 520).

The modern translations vary, of course, according to the judgment of the translators. Lewis (JBL 86 [1967] 216) argues for an original asseverative ל־ (of the type found in Ugaritic, and vocalized as lu in Akkadian), which was either misunderstood or forgotten by the later scribes who wrote the negative לא: “He has made us, and indeed, we are his people.” Whitley (ZAW 87 [1975] 203) also argues for an emphatic particle concealed behind the MT’s לֹא, possibly לו (normally “would that” but now and then “indeed/verily” as in Gen 23:13; 30:34; probably Deut 17:18), and that in some passages the MT לא should be vocalized as לֻא (note 2 Sam 18:12; 19:7; Judg 21; Job 9:33; 1 Sam 20:14). Whitley’s point is that the לא, however vocalized, can have the meaning of “surely/indeed” or a causal “accordingly”: “He made us, and accordingly we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” For לא as emphatic, Whitley cites such passages as 2 Kgs 5:26; Hos 2:4 (Heb.); Job 13:15 (he does not, but should, list Isa 9:3); for interrogative-affirmative meanings of לא he cites such references as Obad 5; Jer 49:9; Job 2:10; Ezek 16:43. Of course, in some cases, the לא may be an abbreviated form of אם־לא (“certainly”).

Despite its support, the traditional reading of the ketiv (“he made us and not we ourselves”) is improbable. If adopted, its main appeal is to Ezek 29:3, where the Egyptian Pharaoh claims “I have made myself” (MT). As Howard (Structure, 131–32) points out, there is no suggestion of self-creation in the context of Ps 100; the reading “not we ourselves” answers a question that “no one was asking or even thought to ask”—a judgment which is probably too strong, because the scribal tradition knew both readings and neither would have been foreign to their mind-set (cf. Loretz, II, 78). Nevertheless the main issue in Ps 100 is not between Yahweh’s creation and Israel’s self-creation. The emphasis is on Yahweh as the one who creates, rather than any other god (note the emphatic twofold use of הוא, “he” in the verse). The reading of the qere “and we are his” is acceptable, of course, but it is somewhat tautological in view of the following clause (“his people, his flock, his shepherding”; Whitley, 203).

It seems to me that it is more likely that the לא in v 3 is emphatic (or was originally, at least) in the sense of “surely/indeed,” and that the colons in 3b and 3c are related by enjambment, which avoids the problems of colon structure which Howard (134) discusses in connection with Lewis’ proposal: “Know that Yahweh he is God he made us and indeed we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” The statements in v 3bc are similar to those in Ps 79:13 and 95:7, but the emphatic לא is missing in them.

3.c. Howard (Structure, 136), influenced by Codex Alexandrinus (which has “And we are his people), suggests the possibility of adding ואנחנו (“and we”) or אנחנו (“we”) at the beginning of the last colon: “It is he who has made us and we are his! / (We are) his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” This balances the colons neatly, but is unnecessary because (as Howard notes) the “we are” is present implicitly in any case and MT is to be preferred.

3.d. The Heb. מרעיתו is a fem. sing. noun with a 3rd masc. sing. suffix, which means “his pasturage” or “his grazing place” (as in Jer 25:36). It usually seems, however, to convey the verbal idea of “shepherding” or “pasturing” (so BDB, 945; cf. Jer 23:1; Ezek 34:31; Pss 74:1; 79:13; 95:7). neb and reb have “the flock which he shepherds”; nab and njv, “the flock he tends.”

4.a. To “bless God” means to praise him for his deeds and gifts (cf. Pss 16:7, 34:2; 66:8; 68:26; 96:2; 103:1–2; 104:1). The piel forms of the verb “bless” (ברך) are used “to express solemn words that show the appreciation, gratitude, respect, joint relationship, or good will of the speaker, thus promoting … respect for the one blessed” (Sharbert, TDOT, II, 293). Further, “When God is the object, brk in the piel should always be rendered ‘praise,’ etc.” cf. Tob 12:6.

5.a. Crüsemann (Studien, 67) translates 5a as: “Yes, Yahweh is good, his commitment holds good forever,” treating the כי as emphatic, in keeping with his argument for the force of כי in hymns (32–35) as having an emphatic or performance function; i.e., the statements are not primarily motivation or the basis for the praise but the content of the praise. Thus, v 5 could be translated: “How good is Yahweh! His loyal-love is forever, / and to generation after generation is his faithfulness!”

This understanding of the כי -statements may be correct in some cases (e.g., Exod 15:19; Pss 118:1b, 3b, 4b), and the translation “for” often appears in some contexts where logical linking to the preceding clause is lacking. However, Crüsemann has not made a very strong case for general application (for a rebuttal of his argument, see A. Aejmelaeus, The Traditional Prayer in the Psalms, 78–79). In the case of Ps 100:5, the flow of thought poses no difficulty for the causal force; whereas the causal does not fit in such contexts as Ps 118:2, 3 (though the כי there may have the force of introducing a “that” clause; as in the kjv of 118:2, 3, and 4).

Form/Structure/Setting

Ps 100 is almost universally classified as a hymn. In the categories of Crüsemann (adopted by Kraus, Psalms 1–59, 43), it is an imperative hymn, a judgment which is sustained by the seven imperative verbs used in vv 1b–4 (eight, if the doubleduty verb in 4a is repeated for 4b: “Enter his gates … [enter] his courts … give thanks … bless his name”). The further classification of it as an entry hymn is rather popular (e.g., Gunkel, Oesterley, Kraus, Anderson, Weiser, Dahood). The setting is assumed to be that of a company of worshipers in front of the gates to the sanctuary summoned to enter the courts of the sanctuary with shouts and songs of praise. A thanksgiving service, with a thanksgiving sacrifice, would follow the entry (cf. Lev 7:12–15). A part of the service would be a meal, with the worshipers sharing together in eating part of the meat from the sacrifice. cf. Ps 107:21–22: “Let them give thanks to Yahweh for his loyal-love, and for his wondrous works for human beings. Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, and proclaim his deeds with joyful shouting!”

The language of Ps 100 suggests a setting similar to Ps 95. The relatedness of the two psalms in language is apparent in 95:7 and 100:3. Both psalms open with a cry for shouts of joy (95:1b, 2b; 100:1b), using the verb רוע. Both call for תודה (“thanksgiving”) to be given to Yahweh in his presence (95:2; 100:1–4), and Howard (Structure, 175) notes that the noun תודה appears only in these two psalms 95:2a; 100:1; 4a) out of all the psalms in Book IV (though the verbal form appears). The liturgical באו (“come/enter”) occurs in 95:6a and 100:2a, 4a. Both psalms contain statements which emphasize the close relationship of Yahweh with his people (95:6a–7; 100:3). Of course, Ps 100 is a very short psalm; possibly only a fragment of a longer psalm, which served as an opening hymn “followed by an order of worship including other psalms and acts of worship” (Durham, 372).

The comments above assume a cultic setting for the psalm, which is appropriate. However, it was most probably used apart from occasions of public worship for family and individual use. The language may have been cult-specific in its original formulation, but in the present psalm it is generalized and not restricted to particular specific services of worship. In this regard, it seems wise to consider its placement in the Psalter and in Book IV specifically. Ps 100 is not directly a kingship-of-Yahweh psalm, but its sevenfold summons to give homage and praise to Yahweh forms a suitable sequel to Pss 96–99. The content of vv 1b–4 is that of royal language adapted to the Divine King, Yahweh. The multifold summons is addressed to “all the earth” (100:1b), which accords well with the universal sweep of the perspective in Pss 96–99.

Beyond its suitability as a sequel, the relatedness of the psalm to Ps 95 permits it to form one end of the frame around Pss 96–99 (a point recognized by Howard, 176). Older commentators were not unaware of the suitability of Ps 100 as a sequel to Pss 96–99 or even to 91–99, as, for example, Alexander (II, 349), “these psalms are not thrown together at random,” and Perowne (210), who says that Ps 100 “may be regarded as the Doxology which closes the strain” of the “Jehovah is King” psalms in Pss 93–99: “It breathes the same gladness: it is filled with the same hope, that all nations shall bow down before Jehovah, and confess that He is God.” Note also, P. Auffret, “Essai sur la structure littéraire du Psaume 94,” BN 24 (1984) 71–72, who pairs Pss 95 and 100 and arranges Pss 93–101 in the following schema:

94

95

93

96+97

98+99

100

101

Thus Ps 100 is both an appropriate sequel for Pss 96–99, for 93–99, and even for 90–99.

All of Pss 90–100 (and probably all of Book IV: Pss 90–106) respond to the seeming lack of faithfulness on the part of Yahweh in the demise of the Davidic monarchy and the lapse of the great promises which accompanied it as set forth in Ps 89. The last word in Ps 100 (אמונתו) affirms the enduring faithfulness of Yahweh (note the occurrence of אמונה in Ps 89:2, 3, 6, 9, 25, 34, and 50–it is probably of no special significance, but it is interesting to note the sevenfold use of “faithfulness” in Ps 89 and the sevenfold summons to praise Yahweh for his enduring “faithfulness” in Ps 100). Westermann (Praise and Lament, 255) says that Ps 100 has been added as a concluding doxology for Pss 93–99, and Stuhmueller, (Psalms II, 95) thinks it may conclude Pss 91–99.

The date of Ps 100 is a matter of guesswork. Its general nature and traditional language does not help much. Howard (Structure, 137) notes that the psalm is too short (and too lacking in distinctive lexical features) for much help in dating on the basis of lexical criteria, but he considers a pre-exilic date to be “a reasonable guess.” V 4 may be used to indicate that it was written while a temple was standing-but which temple? The one before 587 b.c.e. or the one after 515 b.c.e.? I cannot share the confidence of Oesterley (430) who says, “The date is certainly post-exilic” (Kraus too thinks it is post-exilic, although he is more restrained), but the present form of the psalm and its position in the Psalter probably represent the post-exilic period. Its original composition may have been much earlier, or it may be a part of a longer psalm from an earlier date (as is perhaps Ps 93), or it may be a free composition drawn from traditional language and composed for some liturgical purpose in the post-exilic period (possibly for the celebration of Yahweh’s kingship in the Festival of Tabernacles).

Comment

Ps 100 requires little comment beyond the discussion above. The language is familiar and the psalm has no difficult structural problems. V 1b–4 constitute an extended call to worship, with the use of seven imperative verbs. As noted above, there is a universal aspect to the call: the summons is given to “all the earth” (1b). Yahweh is assumed to be the lord of all the world and all lands and peoples should come before him with homage and praise (cf. Pss 47:3, 8; 66:1; 96:4–10; 98:2–4; 99:2; also 24:1; 50:12; 74:16; 89:11; 97:5; 115:16). “This is no choir calling only to Israelites within the sound of its voice; the sequence of imperatives reaches out to mankind” (Mays, Int 23 [1969] 320). Yahweh is the Great King over all the earth, although this psalm does not say so directly.

The addressees in Ps 100 are urged to “serve (עבד) Yahweh” (v 2). The verb עבד conveys a range of meaning. On one side it means to function as a servant or as a slave; to work for someone: e.g., in military service, Ezek 29:18, or to function as the subjects or agents of rulers, as, e.g., Judg 9:28, 38; 1 Kgs 5:1; Jer 27:7; 28:14. On the other side, the verb is used for worship: “serve a god, worship a god (properly: perform his cult),” (KB, 671). It is frequently used in Deuteronomy for worship of other gods than Yahweh (e.g., Deut 7:4; 8:19; 11:16; 28:36, 64; 30:17) as well as of commitment to and worship of Yahweh (e.g., Deut 6:13; 10:12; 11:13). It is also used of the service in a place of worship of priests and attendants (e.g., Num 3:7, 8; 4:23, 24, 30, 47; 7:5; 16:9; 18:6; Josh 22:27). Beyond the functions of priests and ministers, “you shall serve Yahweh your God” (as in Exod 23:25) is a basic requirement for all Israelites.

Mays (Int 23 [1969] 321–22) insists that such “service” of Yahweh has a political dimension, and that the language in Ps 100 has a monarchical frame of reference. “Come before him” in v 2b refers to the entry into a sanctuary and the presence of God (cf. Ps 95:6; Isa 1:12; Exod 34:24), but it is taken from the language for an audience before a human king (as in 2 Sam 14:3, 15; 15:2; Esth 4:11, 16; 8:1). The acclamations of praise called for in Ps 100:1b have their counterpart in the shouts of recognition and acclaim given to a king when he appears in public (cf. 1 Kgs 1:28, 32). The political aspects of “serving” Yahweh are apparent in Ps 2:11, where the kings and judges of the earth are bid to “serve [עבדו] Yahweh with fear” and to give up their rebellion against his divine rule and his anointed king. (“Serve Yahweh,” עבדו את־יהוה, appears in Psalms only in 2:11; 100:2, and 106:36; cf. 102:23).

Mays (322) calls attention to the repeated requests of Moses in the exodus traditions for the Israelites to be allowed to leave the domain of the Egyptian Pharaoh to go into the wilderness to “serve Yahweh” (Exod 3:12; 4:23; 7:16; 8:1, 20; 10:26). Pharaoh recognizes that this is a political act as well as a religious one, and offers under duress to allow the Israelites to sacrifice to their God in the land of Egypt (Exod 8:25), or else not far away (Exod 8:28). Thus the summons to serve Yahweh is a call to worship Yahweh, “but its rubrics and movements and responses come from the political life of human society, because it is the recognition by men [sic] of the divine locus of power” (Mays, 322). The psalm incorporates a call to opt for the decisive, divine “power structure” in human affairs against the claims of conventional human power structures.

“Acknowledge that Yahweh, he is God” is a “recognition formula” (see note 3.a. above): “The knowledge involved is less cognition than recognition” (Mays, 323). The primary content of the acknowledgment is that “Yahweh is God,” a Deuteronomic expression (Kraus, II, 856; Deut 4:35, 39; cf. Josh 24:7; 1 Kgs 18:39). There is a confessional quality to the recognition, because the statement is not a prayer to Yahweh but a statement to others about him. The recognition also involves Yahweh’s creative work in the formation of Israel (v 3bc: “He made us”). The verb עשׂה (“made”) is related to Israel’s history of redemption (see 1 Sam 12:6; and Israel is the “making/work” of Yahweh (Isa 29:23; 43:7; 44:2; Deut 32:6, 15; Ps 95:6–7). Likewise, the New Israel of the future is to be the work of Yahweh’s hands (Isa 60:21; also Isa 64:7). Zimmerli (“Knowledge of God,” 64) concludes that the statements of recognition always assume the actions of Yahweh, actions which “precede the recognition, prompt it, and provide it with a basis.” He adds: “There is no room here for knowledge emerging darkly from interior human meditation, ‘from an existential analysis of human beings and the world, or from speculation.’ ” His emphasis on the action basis seems well taken, but there is no need to exclude all “human meditation,” which seems to be encouraged in vv 3 and 5. Acknowledgment of Yahweh as God stems from an understanding of his deeds, but the understanding involves reflection and meditation.

The shepherd motif in v 3d is a monarchical one, applied to kings and leaders (see Nah 3:17–18; Cyrus in Isa 44:28; David in Ps 78:70–72; also Jer 10:21; 22:22; 23:1–4; 25:34–38; Ezek 34:1–10; Zech 10:3; 11:4–17). For the use of the term “shepherd” for ancient Near Eastern kings, see W. Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2, tr. J. D. Martin (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983) 213–14; Ezekiel 1, 242). Hammurabi refers to himself as “the shepherd who brings salvation and whose staff is righteous.” Gods also are designated as shepherds; including such deities as Enlil, Marduk, and Tammuz (cf. Gen 49:24). Yahweh is the shepherd of Israel (Ps 80:1; Ezek 34:11–15; see also 23:1; 28:9; 74:1; 77:21; 78:52–53; 95:7; Isa 40:11; 49:9–10; 31:9; 49:19–20; 50:7–9; Mic 4:6–8; 7:14). The term “flock of his shepherding/pasture” (צאן מרעיתו) is found elsewhere as “the flock of my shepherding” in Jer 23:1 and Ezek 34:31; as “flock of your shepherding” in Ps 44:1; 79:13. The “people of his shepherding and the flock of his hand” is found in Ps 95:7. The image of the divine shepherd is linked to the exodus theme (note Pss 77:20–21; 78:52–62; Isa 60:11–14) which serves to relate this psalm to the Moses-Exodus-Wilderness features in Pss 90–99 (note 95:7–11).

The calls for praise and homage are intensified by v 4 (Mays, 325). Both the noun תודה (“thanksgiving”) and the verb הודה (from ידה, “praise/give thanks”) appear. As already noted, the תודה may refer to a thanksgiving sacrifice or offering as well as to the praise which constitutes thanksgiving. In the OT generally, praise and thanksgiving are parts of the same whole (P. D. Miller, Jr., “ ‘Enthroned on the Praises of Israel’: The Praise of God in Old Testament Theology,” Int 39 [1985] 10–11). The aim in both praise and thanksgiving is “to exalt and glorify God,” and the two belong together. Thanksgiving is more directly focused on what God has done and the experience of the one giving the thanksgiving, but praise also almost always arises from an awareness of what God has done, though it is more generalized and expresses what he does (for the mixing of the hymn and thanksgiving in the OT, see H. H. Guthrie, Jr., Theology as Thanksgiving [New York: Seabury, 1981] 1–30).

V 5 provides the climactic basis for the repeated calls to praise in vv 1b–4. The threefold qualities of Yahweh set forth in v 5 constitute the primary motivation for his praise: goodness, loyal-love, and faithfulness. V 5 is a variant of a formulaic expression which repeatedly appears in contexts of praising Yahweh (see Pss 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; 29; 131:1 and passim; 1 Chr 16:34; 2 Chr 5:13; 7:3, 6; 20–21; Ezra 3:10–11; Jer 33:11; cf. Pss 25:8; 34:9; 73:1; 86:5; 119:68; 135:3; 145:9). The definitive hymn formulation: “O give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good; / his loyal-love is forever!” may be “the Old Testament paradigm of the song of praise,” expressing what the community of the faithful considers to be “its fundamental understanding of God” (Miller, 12). Indeed, the faith of Israel is set forth in this pregnant formulative saying (Koch, EvT 21 [1961] 540). Ps 100:5 contains the only form of this expression in the OT which brings together the three aspects of goodness, loyal-love, and faithfulness (for “good,” see Explanation below; for “loyal-love” (חסד), see note 51:3.a.; for “faithfulness” (אמונה), see Comment on Ps 89:6–15).

Explanation

One of the striking features of this psalm is the affirmation that Yahweh is good (v 5). Mays (327) calls attention to the fact that “good” (216) functions in polarity with “evil/bad” (רע). The “good” is that which is not “evil” and the “evil” is that which is not “good.” Both are experienced in life, but the satisfactory, happy, and successful life must be dominated by “good.” Thus: “To speak of God as good is to affirm that the Lord of Israel is the source of all that makes life possible and worthwhile. It is an all encompassing attribute that catches up everything positive that human beings receive in life and often is experienced specifically in God’s deliverance of persons from distress” (Miller, 12). The concept is an active one, of course. Yahweh is “good” because he does good things; acts which give life, which deliver from evil, and which empower the recipient with power.

The goodness of Yahweh is manifest in creation (note the repeated “it is good” in Gen 1). The description of the works of creation as “good” also conveys the sense of their beauty and the joy they evoke. God’s works of creation brought forth shouts of joy (the verb is רוע, as in Ps 100:1) from the “sons of God,” according to Job 38:7; cf. the exultation of wisdom over the inhabited earth in Prov 8:30–31, and the wish for God to rejoice in his own works in Ps 104:31. C. Westermann (Creation, tr. J. J. Scullion [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974] 60–64) argues that beauty is part of the meaning in Gen 1: “see, it was very beautiful,” though he contends that beauty in the OT is not primarily something inherent but is found in the experience with something or someone which brings pleasure and satisfaction. Thus the primary meaning of goodness is that something is good for the purpose for which it was prepared: “Creation is good for that for which God intends it” (61). The created order is intended as a living place for humanity and all of God’s creatures, great and small. The goodness of creation lies in its ecological “beauty” and in its potential for life.

The goodness of Yahweh is also demonstrated in the formation and care of his people, which is affirmed in v 3. According to Deuteronomy, he sets before them “life and good” versus “death and evil” (30:15) and urges them to choose life, which is found in obedience to the ways of Yahweh (Deut 30:19–20; “For he is your life and the length of your days”).

Good and upright is the Lord,

therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

He guides the humble in what is right

and teaches them his way.

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful

for those who keep the demands of his covenant.

(Ps 25:8–10, niv)

Further, the goodness of Yahweh is manifest in his loyal-love and faithfulness to his people and to his purposes in creation and history. Ezra’s successful journey to Jerusalem “because the good hand of Yahweh was upon him” (Ezra 7:9) can serve as a paradigm for Yahweh’s good guidance and protection of his people: “The hand of our God is for good upon all that seek him” (Ezra 8:22); see also Ezra 8:18; Nah 2:8, 10; cf. Ezra 7:28; 8:31: “Truly, God is good to Israel” (Ps 73:1). The shepherd of Israel tends his flock so that “goodness and love” (טוב וחסד) pursue his people all the days of their life (Ps 23:6). And Yahweh requires goodness of his people:

Learn to do good;

seek justice, correct oppression;

defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.…

If you are willing and obedient,

you shall eat the good of the land.

(Isa 1:17, 19, rsv)

See also Amos 5:14–15; Mic 3:2; 6:8; Prov 11:27; 12:2. Yahweh expects goodness from all his people, indeed from every human being (Mic 6:8), for he is good and his loyal-love and faithfulness last forever. The goodness of Yahweh is the “unshakable foundation” (Weiser, 647) on which all faith and hope rest. “Bless the Lord, O my soul,/And forget not all his benefits” (Ps 103:2). Yahweh is good, and we can serve him with gladness. He reigns as the Divine King, the Great King above all gods, and he is coming to judge the world. While we wait, we can serve him with gladness and praise his name. We are his family of people and the flock he shepherds. For the “people of Yahweh” as the “family of Yahweh,” see N. Lohfink, “The People of God,” in Great Themes from the Old Testament, tr. R. Walls (Edinburgh: Clark, 1982) 117–33.

EvT Evangelische Theologie

JBL Journal of Biblical Literature

Int Interpretation

ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

a The word תודה (also in v 4) can mean either “thanksgiving praise” or “confession” (Josh 7:19; Ezra 10:11). The root meaning of the verb ידה in hiphil is “to confess/declare/praise”: a point strongly emphasized by C. Westermann (Praise and Lament, 25–35), who notes that there is no word in Hebrew which properly means “to thank,” praise being either declarative, referring to what God has done, or descriptive, referring to what he characteristically does. The word תודה can also mean a “thank offering” or “thank sacrifice” (see the summary in Crüsemann, Studien zur Formgeschichte, 282–84). The תודה probably originally was a sacrifice offered in a thanksgiving ceremony and then became a “song of praise” to accompany the sacrifice (Gerstenberger, Psalms, 14). I have retained the traditional “thanksgiving,” but the double meaning of the word should be remembered. Fortunately, the English “for thanksgiving” has a double nuance of “praise” and the “act of giving thanks” which could involve a worship service and is appropriate for the title (cf. Howard, Structure, 130). תודה appears in no other title of a psalm.

a The long form רננה (“joyful songs” or “jubilation”) appears here (as in Ps 63:6, in the plural) rather than the usual רנה, perhaps to give the colon a better balance.

a Traditional, “Know that Yahweh is God” (lit., “know that Yahweh, he [indeed] is God”) is used in the sense of a summons (1) to learn that Yahweh is God in terms of the “self-involvement in all the demands and responsibilities which the Lordship of Yahweh implies” (Anderson, II, 699), or (2) to be assured, to have no doubt, that Yahweh is God (Barnes, II, 472). However, the context seems to favor the idea of “acknowledge/recognize/confess” (as, e.g., Kraus, II, 855; njv; reb). V 3. seems to be a form of a “recognition formula,” which W. Zimmerli has delineated in the Book of Ezekiel, taking his case from the repeated use of the statement “And you (or “you” plural, or “they”) shall know that I am Yahweh” (in “Knowledge of God according to the Book of Ezekiel,” in I Am Yahweh, tr. D. W. Stott [Atlanta:John Knox, (1954) 1982] 30; a full list of the passages in Ezekiel is found on 143, n. 5). The formulaic saying also appears in other contexts (e.g., 1 Kgs 20:13, 28; Exod 6:6–9; 8:20; 16:12; 29:43–46). The freer formulation “know that Yahweh is God” (דעו כי יהוה הוא אלהים) appears to be Deuteronomic (Zimmerli, 51–52; cf. Deut 4:35, 39; 1 Kgs 8:60; 2 Kgs 19:19) and includes Ps 100:3 (Zimmerli, 53). The formula appears in varied forms in other contexts as well (Zimmerli, 53–63). The recognition of Yahweh is an acknowledgment of his identity in terms of his actions.

The pronoun הוא (“he”) is added for emphasis (see GKC 141gh; cf. Deut 4:35; 7:9; Josh 4:18; 1 Kgs 18:39): “know that Yahweh, he is God,” or even, “Yahweh alone is God” (Rogerson and McKay, II, 230, with special emphasis on 1 Kgs 18:39).

b This statement poses a famous question in interpretation. The ketiv of MT reads ולא אנחנו, “and not we (ourselves),” but the qere reads ולו אחנו, “and we are his.” LXX, Symm., and Syr. suggest the “and not we ourselves” reading, but the “and we are his” has good support with some mss, Aquila, Jerome, and Targum (and cf. Ps 95:7; esp. note the variant in BHS: cf. Ps 79:13). Also, the Masoretic tradition reckons some fifteen passages in which לא (“not”) is written but which should be read as is לו (“to him”; BDB, 520).

The modern translations vary, of course, according to the judgment of the translators. Lewis (JBL 86 [1967] 216) argues for an original asseverative ל־ (of the type found in Ugaritic, and vocalized as lu in Akkadian), which was either misunderstood or forgotten by the later scribes who wrote the negative לא: “He has made us, and indeed, we are his people.” Whitley (ZAW 87 [1975] 203) also argues for an emphatic particle concealed behind the MT’s לֹא, possibly לו (normally “would that” but now and then “indeed/verily” as in Gen 23:13; 30:34; probably Deut 17:18), and that in some passages the MT לא should be vocalized as לֻא (note 2 Sam 18:12; 19:7; Judg 21; Job 9:33; 1 Sam 20:14). Whitley’s point is that the לא, however vocalized, can have the meaning of “surely/indeed” or a causal “accordingly”: “He made us, and accordingly we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” For לא as emphatic, Whitley cites such passages as 2 Kgs 5:26; Hos 2:4 (Heb.); Job 13:15 (he does not, but should, list Isa 9:3); for interrogative-affirmative meanings of לא he cites such references as Obad 5; Jer 49:9; Job 2:10; Ezek 16:43. Of course, in some cases, the לא may be an abbreviated form of אם־לא (“certainly”).

Despite its support, the traditional reading of the ketiv (“he made us and not we ourselves”) is improbable. If adopted, its main appeal is to Ezek 29:3, where the Egyptian Pharaoh claims “I have made myself” (MT). As Howard (Structure, 131–32) points out, there is no suggestion of self-creation in the context of Ps 100; the reading “not we ourselves” answers a question that “no one was asking or even thought to ask”—a judgment which is probably too strong, because the scribal tradition knew both readings and neither would have been foreign to their mind-set (cf. Loretz, II, 78). Nevertheless the main issue in Ps 100 is not between Yahweh’s creation and Israel’s self-creation. The emphasis is on Yahweh as the one who creates, rather than any other god (note the emphatic twofold use of הוא, “he” in the verse). The reading of the qere “and we are his” is acceptable, of course, but it is somewhat tautological in view of the following clause (“his people, his flock, his shepherding”; Whitley, 203).

It seems to me that it is more likely that the לא in v 3 is emphatic (or was originally, at least) in the sense of “surely/indeed,” and that the colons in 3b and 3c are related by enjambment, which avoids the problems of colon structure which Howard (134) discusses in connection with Lewis’ proposal: “Know that Yahweh he is God he made us and indeed we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” The statements in v 3bc are similar to those in Ps 79:13 and 95:7, but the emphatic לא is missing in them.

c Howard (Structure, 136), influenced by Codex Alexandrinus (which has “And we are his people), suggests the possibility of adding ואנחנו (“and we”) or אנחנו (“we”) at the beginning of the last colon: “It is he who has made us and we are his! / (We are) his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” This balances the colons neatly, but is unnecessary because (as Howard notes) the “we are” is present implicitly in any case and MT is to be preferred.

d The Heb. מרעיתו is a fem. sing. noun with a 3rd masc. sing. suffix, which means “his pasturage” or “his grazing place” (as in Jer 25:36). It usually seems, however, to convey the verbal idea of “shepherding” or “pasturing” (so BDB, 945; cf. Jer 23:1; Ezek 34:31; Pss 74:1; 79:13; 95:7). neb and reb have “the flock which he shepherds”; nab and njv, “the flock he tends.”

a To “bless God” means to praise him for his deeds and gifts (cf. Pss 16:7, 34:2; 66:8; 68:26; 96:2; 103:1–2; 104:1). The piel forms of the verb “bless” (ברך) are used “to express solemn words that show the appreciation, gratitude, respect, joint relationship, or good will of the speaker, thus promoting … respect for the one blessed” (Sharbert, TDOT, II, 293). Further, “When God is the object, brk in the piel should always be rendered ‘praise,’ etc.” cf. Tob 12:6.

a Crüsemann (Studien, 67) translates 5a as: “Yes, Yahweh is good, his commitment holds good forever,” treating the כי as emphatic, in keeping with his argument for the force of כי in hymns (32–35) as having an emphatic or performance function; i.e., the statements are not primarily motivation or the basis for the praise but the content of the praise. Thus, v 5 could be translated: “How good is Yahweh! His loyal-love is forever, / and to generation after generation is his faithfulness!”

This understanding of the כי -statements may be correct in some cases (e.g., Exod 15:19; Pss 118:1b, 3b, 4b), and the translation “for” often appears in some contexts where logical linking to the preceding clause is lacking. However, Crüsemann has not made a very strong case for general application (for a rebuttal of his argument, see A. Aejmelaeus, The Traditional Prayer in the Psalms, 78–79). In the case of Ps 100:5, the flow of thought poses no difficulty for the causal force; whereas the causal does not fit in such contexts as Ps 118:2, 3 (though the כי there may have the force of introducing a “that” clause; as in the kjv of 118:2, 3, and 4).

lit. literally

njv New Jewish Version

reb Revised English Bible

n. note

GKC Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar ed. E. Kautsch, trans. A. E. Cowley (London/New York: OUP, 1910; repr. 1966)

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

LXX The Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT

Symm. Symmachus

Syr. Syriac language or text version of the OT, (as published in the Peshitta Insitute edition, 1980)

BHS Biblia hebraica stuttgartensia, ed. K. Elliger and W. Rudolph (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1977)

BDB F. Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs (eds.), Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford/New York: Clarendon/OUP, 1907; reprints with corrections, 1955; corrected ed., 1962)

JBL Journal of Biblical Literature

ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

fem. feminine

sing. singular

masc. masculine

sing. singular

BDB F. Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs (eds.), Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford/New York: Clarendon/OUP, 1907; reprints with corrections, 1955; corrected ed., 1962)

neb The New English Bible

reb Revised English Bible

nab The New American Bible

njv New Jewish Version

TDOT Theological Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testament, ed. E. Jenni and C. Westermann or G. Botterweck adn H. Ringgren (eds.), Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974.)

kjv King James Version (1611) = AV

BN Biblische Notizen

Int Interpretation

KB L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner, Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti libros (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1951–53)

Int Interpretation

3.a Traditional, “Know that Yahweh is God” (lit., “know that Yahweh, he [indeed] is God”) is used in the sense of a summons (1) to learn that Yahweh is God in terms of the “self-involvement in all the demands and responsibilities which the Lordship of Yahweh implies” (Anderson, II, 699), or (2) to be assured, to have no doubt, that Yahweh is God (Barnes, II, 472). However, the context seems to favor the idea of “acknowledge/recognize/confess” (as, e.g., Kraus, II, 855; njv; reb). V 3. seems to be a form of a “recognition formula,” which W. Zimmerli has delineated in the Book of Ezekiel, taking his case from the repeated use of the statement “And you (or “you” plural, or “they”) shall know that I am Yahweh” (in “Knowledge of God according to the Book of Ezekiel,” in I Am Yahweh, tr. D. W. Stott [Atlanta:John Knox, (1954) 1982] 30; a full list of the passages in Ezekiel is found on 143, n. 5). The formulaic saying also appears in other contexts (e.g., 1 Kgs 20:13, 28; Exod 6:6–9; 8:20; 16:12; 29:43–46). The freer formulation “know that Yahweh is God” (דעו כי יהוה הוא אלהים) appears to be Deuteronomic (Zimmerli, 51–52; cf. Deut 4:35, 39; 1 Kgs 8:60; 2 Kgs 19:19) and includes Ps 100:3 (Zimmerli, 53). The formula appears in varied forms in other contexts as well (Zimmerli, 53–63). The recognition of Yahweh is an acknowledgment of his identity in terms of his actions.

The pronoun הוא (“he”) is added for emphasis (see GKC 141gh; cf. Deut 4:35; 7:9; Josh 4:18; 1 Kgs 18:39): “know that Yahweh, he is God,” or even, “Yahweh alone is God” (Rogerson and McKay, II, 230, with special emphasis on 1 Kgs 18:39).

Int Interpretation

EvT Evangelische Theologie

51:3.a The slight ms evidence for the plural of חסד (see BHS) can be disregarded, though the plural forms a better parallel with רחמיך (“your mercies”). LXX indicates that הַגָּדוֹל is supposed: “according to your great mercy.” For the translation of חסד as “loyal-love,” see Comment below.

niv The New International Version (1978)

rsv Revised Standard Version (NT 1946, OT 1952, Apoc 1957)

 Marvin E. Tate, Psalms 51–100, vol. 20, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 532–540.

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Childlikeness (131:1–3)

Bibliography

Auffret, P. La sagesse. 504–5. Beyerlin, W. Wider die Hybris des Geistes: Studien zum 131. Psalm. SBS 108. Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1982. Boer, P. A. H. de. “Psalm 131:2.” VT 16 (1966) 287–92. Budde, K. “Das hebräische Klageleid.” ZAW 2 (1882) 1–52. Quell, G. “Struktur und Sinn des Psalms 131.” In Das ferne und nahe Wort. FS L. Rost, ed. F. Maass. BZAW 105. Berlin: Töpelmann, 1967. 173–85. Robinson, B. P. “Form and Meaning in Psalm 131.” Bib 79 (1998) 180–97. Shoemaker, H. S. “Psalm 131.” RevExp 85 (1988) 89–94. Skehan, P. W. “Some Short Psalms.” AER 124 (1951) 104–9 (= Studies in Israelite Poetry and Wisdom. CBQMS 1. Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1971. 59–63). Van Gemeren, W. A. “Psalm 131:2—kegamul: The Problems of Meaning and Metaphor.” HS 23 (1982) 51–57.

Translation

One of the processional songs. Davidic.

Yahweh, my heart is not haughty

(3+3)

nor are my eyes supercilious,

nor have I gotten involved a in matters too big

(3+2)

or too difficult for me.

No,a I have composed b

(2+2)

and quieted my soul.

Like a weaned child carried by c his mother,d

(3+3)

like the weaned child I carry,e is my soul.

Put your hope, Israel, in Yahweh

(3+3)

from now on and forevermore.

Notes

1.a. Lit. “walk, move” (הלכתי).

2.a. W. Beyerlin (Wider die Hybris, 35–36) and njb so render. Heb. אם־לא, “if not,” serves to introduce an asseveration after an implied oath. G. R Driver (JTS 44 [1943] 21) suggested an adversative sense “but” on the analogy of Aram. אלא (cf. HALOT, 61a).

2.b. “Composed” renders שׁוה, which is used of leveling ground in Isa 28:25 (cf. HALOT, 1437b).

2.c. Lit. “upon” (עלי). See Comment.

2.d. The division of poetic lines (cf. BHS) suggests that, unlike MT, v 2aγ goes with v 2b, as niv renders.

2.e. Lit. “upon” (עלי), here with a 1 suf. in MT. In accord with the accentuation of MT, it is often taken with נפשׁי, “my soul,” and rendered “within me” or the like (cf. BDB, 753b, and most modern versions), but G. Quell (“Struktur und Sinn,” 178–79) has argued that the parallel phrase in the preceding clause points to an identical rendering here (thus nrsv). This final clause is sometimes deleted as a scribal error, e.g., by K. Budde, ZAW 2 (1882) 42, and reb. P. W. Skehan (“Some Short Psalms,” 61) deleted עלי נפשׁי, “upon me my soul.” An emendation of כגמול, “like a weaned child,” to תִּגָּמֵל, “(my soul) is weaned,” i.e., “quieted,” suggested by Mowinckel (Psalmenstudien, 1:165 n. 3), was adopted by Gunkel (564), Weiser (776), Kraus ([1989] 469), et al. The emendation has been encouraged by the indicative verb (ἕως) ἀντιποδώσεις, “(until) you requite,” in LXXS (-δόσεις LXXAB; cf. σ‌), but despite BHK it is merely an inner-Greek corruption of ὡς ἀνταπόδοσις, “like requital” (Rahlfs, Psalmi cum Odis, 10:312). LXX interpreted as כִּגְמוּל עֲלֵי, “like requital upon.” P. A. H. de Boer (VT 16 [1966] 291–92) compared כגמול על, “according to the treatment given to,” in 2 Chr 32:25 and interpreted the repeated כ as “as … so.” The relation of his own translation to MT is not clear, but he appears to take it as “As one deals with his mother, so (have I) dealt with my soul”; i.e., the psalmist has made himself content, whatever his lot may be. W. A. Van Gemeren (HS 23 [1982] 52, 56) has rejected the meaning “weaned child” for גמול and taken it as “a contented/satisfied child.” B. P. Robinson (Bib 79 [1998] 190) has emended to תִּגְמֹל עָפלי, rendering the clause “surely you have dealt kindly with me.” Quell’s interpretation, adopted by Seybold (495; id., Wallfahrtspsalmen, 37), appears to do most justice to MT.

Form/Structure/Setting

This psalm, which Croft (Identity of the Individual, 149) has rightly called “one of the most beautiful psalms in the psalter,” has an enigmatic quality about it, due in part to its brevity. It is generally taken as an individual psalm of confidence or trust in Yahweh, like Pss 16, 23, 62 (e.g., Gunkel, 564; Kraus [1989] 470; Weiser, 776; Anderson, 878; Dahood, 238). Michel (Tempora, 119) regarded vv 1–2 as a spiritualized form of a Beichtspiegel or confessional list related to the entrance liturgy of Pss 15 and 24. Quell (“Struktur und Sinn,” 181–85) took over this designation for vv 1–2a, also detecting implicit thanksgiving, but he regarded v 2b as a separate piece sung by a woman. For the origin of the two passages he referred to Mowinckel’s suggestion (Psalmenstudien, 6:65–68) that in certain cases poems were written and deposited in the sanctuary at the thank-offering service; in this case they were found in the archives and reused in the collection of Pss 120–34 by the addition of v 3. Seybold (495; id., Wallfahrtspsalmen, 34, 37–38, 54) has largely adopted Quell’s viewpoint, except that he regards vv 1–2 and perhaps v 3 as a personal expression of piety made at the gates of the temple by a woman pilgrim carrying her child.

The relation of v 3 to the preceding verses, with its switch from a prayer style to addressing the community, is problematic, though Beyerlin (Wider die Hybris, 40–46) has advocated its primary nature. The communal reinterpretations of Pss 129 and 130 suggest that the compiler of the collection added v 3a from Ps 130:7 and, supplying the liturgical formulation of v 3b (cf. Pss 113:2; 115:18), thereby gave vv 1–2 a new, communal significance (Mowinckel, Psalmenstudien, 1:164–65). Then the expressions of faith of vv 1–2 are associated with patient waiting, just as in Ps 37:7 and Lam 3:26 the root דמם, “be silent, still,” used here in v 2, is linked with the verbs of hope, יחל, used in v 3, and התחולל (cf. Ps 62:2, 6 [1, 5])

Structurally vv 1–2 divide into two pairs of bicola, the first characterized by a triple negative and the second by the repetition of נפשׁי, “my soul,” and the wordplay אמו/אם, “if/his mother.” The addition of a final bicolon, v 3, supplied a framing element recalling the divine name of v 1.

The psalm may be analyzed as follows:

131:1aα

Heading

131:1aβ–b

Vanquishing a proud spirit

131:2

Fostering a quiet faith

131:3

Calling to hope

Comment

Heading (131:1aα). See the Comment on 120:1. The redactional call of v 3 facilitated incorporation into the collection. Along with the new, communal interpretation, doubtless there was still room for individual pilgrims to have their hearts moved. Was the Davidic reference displaced from the heading to Ps 132 where it might appear to be more relevant? The Lucianic recension of the LXX and the Targum omit the reference here, while לדוד, “to David,” in Ps 132:17 refers to the Davidic king. Dahood (238) opined that the psalm might be a royal one. The psalm is usually regarded as postexilic, but there is no compelling linguistic evidence for this dating. If Ps 62 is a royal psalm, as also Eaton (Kingship, 49–50) took it, the similarity of v 2aβ to Ps 62:2, 6 (1, 5) might be taken as supporting evidence. Significant too may be the references to pride in royal psalms: עינים רמות, “haughty eyes,” in Ps 18:28 (27) and גבה עינים ורחב לבב, “arrogant eyes and big ideas,” in Ps 101:5. Robinson (Bib 79 [1998] 192–93) regards the psalm as royal. At least the heading may intend to pose a homiletic contrast with the reprehensible behavior of two Davidic kings, Uzziah and Hezekiah (2 Chr 26:16; 32:25: גבה לבו, “his heart was arrogant”).

Vanquishing a proud spirit (131:1aβ–b). Tantalizingly brief though this psalm is, it evidently originated in an individual’s profession of an active trust in Yahweh. He has come to realize both the value of submitting to God and the folly of pretentious pride that tries to defy the divine will. Not for him a spirit of self-sufficiency, he tells Yahweh. He understands his own limitations and does not, beyond these, “seek great things” (Jer 45:5) for himself or “think too highly” of himself (Rom 12:3). For a “high heart” (גבה לבי) one may compare Prov 18:12, and for “raised eyes” (רמו עיני) Prov 6:17; 30:13; Ps 18:28 (27). Heart—or mind—and eyes as vehicles of pride are combined in Ps 101:5; Prov 21:4. This portion of the psalm has drawn on wisdom motifs (Beyerlin, Wider die Hybris, 72–73). Beyerlin has speculated that the psalmist was a wisdom teacher confessing that earlier he had drawn wrong conclusions from his suffering (Wider die Hybris, 86; cf. Job 42:3; Ps 73).

Fostering a quiet faith (131:2). This state of spirituality has been attained only by struggling with his headstrong self. Many an outburst of self-will has had to be quelled. Here the psalm draws on motifs found in laments and psalms of confidence (cf. Pss 42:6 [5]; 62:6 [5]; Beyerlin, Wider die Hybris, 73–75). Eventually the speaker has learned the lesson of dependence on God. His metaphor for such dependence, that of the parent carrying a child, is well attested in the OT to describe the supportive care that Yahweh had ever given the covenant people since the wilderness period (Deut 1:31; Isa 46:3–4; Hos 11:3, as generally emended). The psalmist individualizes this communal caring (cf. Ps 23:1), whether glancing at the child he was even now carrying or—which would make the psalm more usable by others—merely thinking of the welcome burden that was at other times his own or his wife’s (“it is not necessary to see a woman as the speaker” [Crow, Songs of Ascents, 98]). Such was his relationship to God, the mother and father of his soul (cf. 27:10), and he would not have it otherwise.

Weaning from breast-feeding took place around the age of three (cf. 2 Macc 7:27, 1 Sam 1:23–24). H. W. Wolff (Hosea, tr. G. Stansell [Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974] 21) cited an Egyptian text: “Her breast was in thy mouth for three years” (“The Instruction of Ani,” ANET, 420). Quell (“Struktur und Sinn,” 178–79) suggested the interpretation “carried by (lit. ‘upon’) his mother,” referring to a scene of Syrian prisoners depicted in the Eighteenth-Dynasty Egyptian grave of Hor-em-heb, which includes a Semitic woman carrying a child on her shoulders and a baby in a sling behind its brother (ANEP, no. 49; cf. Isa 49:22). For later Jewish evidence for the carrying of a child to a festival on its father’s shoulders or by its mother, see b. Ḥag. 5b–6a; m. Ḥag. 1:1.

Calling to hope (131:3). The communal associations of the metaphor must have encouraged the compiler of Pss 120–34 to put the psalm to new use. Now vv 1–2 become the concerted voice of the worshiping community, expressing humble submission as a family to the will of their heavenly Father. The quietness of their souls is to be demonstrated in a steady waiting for Yahweh’s self-revelation in climactic grace and power. To this constant hope the community is called by the priestly summons of v 3.

Explanation

The OT is not alone in making a child the model of humble trust in God: Jesus himself added his memorable amen (Matt 18:1–4). Yet for both the psalmist and for the disciples who needed Jesus’s challenge, what was enjoined is not a first naiveté but a second naiveté that chooses childlikeness as an expression of mature faith. The psalm “pictures the simplicity on the yonder side of complexity, not on this side of complexity” (H. S. Shoemaker, RevExp 85 [1988] 91). In terms of the season of orientation, what is represented here is not an early level that has not yet been tested by life’s trials but a new and higher level that has managed with difficulty to learn a simple lesson. Like toddlers who soon run out of their own limited resources and gladly submit to being carried, we find God to be one on whom we can depend to bring us to our destined goal, and one who already in Christ gives us rest for our souls (Matt 11:29).

SBS Stuttgarter Bibelstudien (Stuttgart/Wurzburg: Echter/KBW)

VT Vetus Testamentum

ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

FS Festschrift, volume written in honor of

BZAW Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

Bib Biblica

RevExp Review and Expositor

AER American Ecclesiastical Review

CBQMS Catholic Bible Quarterly—Monograph Series

HS R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 2d ed. (Toronto/Buffalo/London: University of Toronto, 1976)

a Lit. “walk, move” (הלכתי).

a W. Beyerlin (Wider die Hybris, 35–36) and njb so render. Heb. אם־לא, “if not,” serves to introduce an asseveration after an implied oath. G. R Driver (JTS 44 [1943] 21) suggested an adversative sense “but” on the analogy of Aram. אלא (cf. HALOT, 61a).

b “Composed” renders שׁוה, which is used of leveling ground in Isa 28:25 (cf. HALOT, 1437b).

c Lit. “upon” (עלי). See Comment.

d The division of poetic lines (cf. BHS) suggests that, unlike MT, v 2aγ goes with v 2b, as niv renders.

e Lit. “upon” (עלי), here with a 1 suf. in MT. In accord with the accentuation of MT, it is often taken with נפשׁי, “my soul,” and rendered “within me” or the like (cf. BDB, 753b, and most modern versions), but G. Quell (“Struktur und Sinn,” 178–79) has argued that the parallel phrase in the preceding clause points to an identical rendering here (thus nrsv). This final clause is sometimes deleted as a scribal error, e.g., by K. Budde, ZAW 2 (1882) 42, and reb. P. W. Skehan (“Some Short Psalms,” 61) deleted עלי נפשׁי, “upon me my soul.” An emendation of כגמול, “like a weaned child,” to תִּגָּמֵל, “(my soul) is weaned,” i.e., “quieted,” suggested by Mowinckel (Psalmenstudien, 1:165 n. 3), was adopted by Gunkel (564), Weiser (776), Kraus ([1989] 469), et al. The emendation has been encouraged by the indicative verb (ἕως) ἀντιποδώσεις, “(until) you requite,” in LXXS (-δόσεις LXXAB; cf. σ‌), but despite BHK it is merely an inner-Greek corruption of ὡς ἀνταπόδοσις, “like requital” (Rahlfs, Psalmi cum Odis, 10:312). LXX interpreted as כִּגְמוּל עֲלֵי, “like requital upon.” P. A. H. de Boer (VT 16 [1966] 291–92) compared כגמול על, “according to the treatment given to,” in 2 Chr 32:25 and interpreted the repeated כ as “as … so.” The relation of his own translation to MT is not clear, but he appears to take it as “As one deals with his mother, so (have I) dealt with my soul”; i.e., the psalmist has made himself content, whatever his lot may be. W. A. Van Gemeren (HS 23 [1982] 52, 56) has rejected the meaning “weaned child” for גמול and taken it as “a contented/satisfied child.” B. P. Robinson (Bib 79 [1998] 190) has emended to תִּגְמֹל עָפלי, rendering the clause “surely you have dealt kindly with me.” Quell’s interpretation, adopted by Seybold (495; id., Wallfahrtspsalmen, 37), appears to do most justice to MT.

njb New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

JTS Journal of Theological Studies

HALOT The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Eng. tr. of L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner, Hebräisches und Aramäisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament

HALOT The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Eng. tr. of L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner, Hebräisches und Aramäisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament

BHS Biblia hebraica stuttgartensia, ed. K. Elliger and W. Rudolph (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1977)

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

niv The New International Version (1978)

suf suffix(es)

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

BDB F. Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs (eds.), Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford/New York: Clarendon/OUP, 1907; reprints with corrections, 1955; corrected ed., 1962)

nrsv New Revised Standard Version (1989)

ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft

reb Revised English Bible

LXX The Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT

LXX LXX ms, Alexandrian Codex of the Septuagint

A LXX ms, Alexandrian Codex of the Septuagint

B LXX ms, Vatican Codex

BHK R. Kittel, ed., Biblia hebraica 3rd ed. (Stuttgart: Württembergische, 1937)

LXX The Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT

VT Vetus Testamentum

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

HS R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 2d ed. (Toronto/Buffalo/London: University of Toronto, 1976)

Bib Biblica

id. idem, the same author

MT The Masoretic Text [of the Old Testament] (as published in BHS)

id. idem, the same author

LXX The Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT

Bib Biblica

tr. translated by, translated

ANET J. B. Pritchard (ed.), Ancient Near Eastern Texts (3rd ed. with supplement. Princeton: Princeton UP, rev. 1969)

lit. literally

ANEP J. B. Pritchard (ed.), The Ancient Near East in Pictures (2nd ed. with supplement. Princeton: Princeton UP, rev. 1969)

b. Babylonian Talmud.

Ḥag. Ḥagigah

m. Mishnah

Ḥag. Ḥagigah

RevExp Review and Expositor

 Leslie C. Allen, Psalms 101–150 (Revised), vol. 21, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 258–261.

-Dan

Posts 3349
Sascha John | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 9:56 AM

Yes

Posts 58
James | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 11:08 AM

Keith Pang:

ive enjoyed the whole set...bestcommentaries is a good place to reference. I guess it depends on your library 

Be careful with Best Commentaries. While I agree with a number of their ratings, it is completely arbitrary. Their scoring method works by comparing everything to the Pillar NT Commentary on John by D.A Carson. This scores 100 and then everything is scaled relative to it. Do some research and check other sites too so you can make an informed decision on what is the best commentary for each book of the Bible for you. Challies is a good site to check up on good commentaries too.

Logos 6 Gold, Logos 7 Reformed Diamond 

Alienware R2 17  i7-4720HQ 3.6GHz 16GB RAM 1TB HDD 256GB SSD GTX970 3GB DDR5

Posts 114
Gerald | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 1:50 PM

Are the Isaiah and Numbers WBC commentaries as poor as Best Commentary rates them? These are the only OT WBC titles I don't have.

I also lack the WBC commentaries on each of the gospels. My cost to purchase these remaining is 163 and change, or I can get the NT volumes for around $119.

What would you recommend? Funds are tight, but can be arranged.

Posts 1028
Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 2:04 PM

I would finish off the whole set honestly, the sale on WBC don't come around to often. As mentioned above best commentaries is a good reference but it is their own opinion, so there are other sites you can check out. I like having a reputable series and comparing it with others that I have. There may be good things to glean out of them. You will never agree with everything in a commentary or series. 

Shalom, in Christ, Keith. Check out my music www.soundcloud.com/therealkpang

Posts 5317
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 2:18 PM

Gerald:

Are the Isaiah and Numbers WBC commentaries as poor as Best Commentary rates them? These are the only OT WBC titles I don't have.

I also lack the WBC commentaries on each of the gospels. My cost to purchase these remaining is 163 and change, or I can get the NT volumes for around $119.

What would you recommend? Funds are tight, but can be arranged.

I don't have strong feelings towards Numbers, it have never struck me as a strong volume. But I have almost always found the 2 Isaiah volumes to be insightful and useful. These things can be very personal so please take it with a grain of salt. But I personally would not want to be without the Isaiah volumes myself.

-Dan

Posts 1028
Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 2:34 PM

Also, remember the regular price for a lot of these volumes are in the $40 range. These sales again are not very often 

Shalom, in Christ, Keith. Check out my music www.soundcloud.com/therealkpang

Posts 114
Gerald | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 8:05 PM

Dan and Keith,

Thanks for the help.

Posts 81
Kevin Wang | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Dec 14 2016 10:44 PM

I mentioned this in another thread earlier, but I would recommend people use Longman III's Old Testament Commentary Survey and Carson's New Testament Commentary Survey as a reference for what to buy. Beware that the Logos version of the NTCS is the 6th edition, and the newer 7th edition is unfortunately bundled and therefore prohibitively expensive. 

I don't like the best bible commentaries website because the idea of a "best" commentary is arbitrary. At the very least Longman and Carson explain how they feel about the commentaries they cover. I have found them to be generally helpful.

I've found the WBC volume for Numbers to be fine. Longman doesn't seem to be the biggest fan of the Numbers series, but I've found it useful. I can't comment on Isaiah.

Gospels wise, I also think that the WBC volumes are fine. They're not must-buys, but I like the WBC format and am always willing to read another person's interpretation of the text. If there is one I would recommend, it would probably be the Luke volume. 

Posts 704
ChelseaFC | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 15 2016 12:14 AM

Sascha John:

If you just could buy 3 witch one you would buy?

Jus the one on best Commentaries Top 1?

Genesis is very good!! That would be my recommendation. 

ChelseaFC

Chelsea FC- Today is a good day!

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