Tags: the Psalter, J. P. Peters, the Psalms, Peters, the celebration, Keet, procession, Bibliotheca Sacra, sacrifice, devotional purposes, conception of God, penitentials, C. C. Keet, celebration, penitential psalms, ascending the throne, Sigmund Mowinckel, Temple, private devotions, Hermann Gunkel, Dallas Theological Seminary, large part of the Psalter, John P. Peters, Psalm 13 J. P. Peters, Hebrew psalms, Psalms Peters
Content: BIBLIOTHECA SACRA 105 (Apr. 1948) 154-69. Copyright © 1996 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Cited with permission. Department of Semitics and Old Testament THE USES OF THE PSALTER: Pt. 1 BY CHARLES LEE FEINBERG, TH.D., PH.D. Important as other phases of the interpretation of the Psalter may be, and we should be the last to minimize the significance of any aspect, none is of greater importance than the use for which the Psalter was intended. Upon this field archaeology has shed much light and made notable contributions. The two scholars who have made the most intensive study of the manner in which the Psalter was utilized in the life of the Hebrew people, based upon their researches into the results of archaeological findings, are Hermann Gunkel and Sigmund Mowinckel, the former a German and the latter a Norwegian scholar. The lines of investigation that they suggest are carried out also by the English C. C. Keet and the American John P. Peters. From the conclusions of these scholars it is clear that the Psalter was collected for use in the Temple liturgy and meant to fill the need for every form of worship.1 Welch claims that the Psalter was no private collection of hymns, but an official one. However, though these hymns were intended in large measure for use in the temple worship and its Godappointed rituals, they have been able to separate themselves selves from their original setting- and usage, maintaining their place in the community's religious life after the destruction struction of the Temple and the discontinuance of its services.2 So much has been written upon and argued for the liturgical use and purposes of the Psalter that, it is to be feared, 1 W. O. E. Oesterley, The Psalms, Vol. I, p. 1. 2 A. C. Welch, The Psalter in Life, Worship, and History, pp. 90, 91.
The Uses of the Psalter 155 some have lost sight of the devotional purposes of the Psalms. We shall deal at length with the liturgical purposes of the collection, but it seems logical and fitting to point out the place that the Psalter had in the private devotional life of the Hebrew people. Again we need to be reminded that the Psalms are poetry, and as such emerge from deep feeling and experience. In this manner the individual psalms or poems arose. The godly one in Israel, directed of the Spirit of God, found his heart full to overflowing, and he set forth the stirrings of his heart and soul with the pen of the ready writer. One such poem actually tells this experience: "My heart overfloweth with a goodly matter; I speak the things which I have made regarding the king My tongue is the pen of a ready writer."3 Such expressions of heart experiences served not only the spiritual needs of those who set these thoughts to poetry, but ministered to the requirements of their coreligionists. They were utilized for private devotions. Oesterley asserts that a number of the Psalms cannot have been used in public worship, nor were they written for that end. Such a scholar as Duhm denies that the Psalter was the hymn book of the Second Temple. He understands it to be a manual for devotional reading and meditation for the ordinary man. Oesterley takes a middle position: some of the Psalms were liturgical, while others were not. Some hymns that were not written for liturgical use in the first place, were so adapted later.4 Pfeiffer follows Duhm's position, if not entirely then to a large extent. He does not concur in the popular designation of the Psalter as the hymn book of the Second Temple. For him that title is scarcely appropriate. He views it as a "devotional anthology of religious poems" meant for the spiritual uplift of the general public, 3 Psalm 45:1 (Hebrew 2). 4 W. O. E. Oesterley, A fresh approach to the Psalms, pp. 133, 134.
Bibliotheca Sacra
especially the middle classes. His contention is that even the doxologies liturgies and hymns used in the Temple service were chosen because they were suited to private devotions. With Duhm he finds that a large part of the Psalter was probably never sung in the Temple. The views of Gunkel, Peters, Mowinckel, Gressmann, and Eissfeldt (who find a great variety of liturgical uses for the Psalms), he thinks, are based on inconclusive evidence. For one thing their positions necessitate a pre-exilic date for many psalms, a presupposition which is hardly warranted after his manner of thinking. His final verdict is that the majority of Psalms were not written for public use, but that the final collection was primarily a book for private devotions, not a hymnal. He cites Psalm 51 as an example where a psalm of confession of sin and prayer for forgiveness, peculiarly private in character, was adapted for public and liturgical use by the addition of the last two verses.4 We feel that Pfeiffer, though he takes the position to an extreme, has stressed a phase of the use of the Psalter which is in danger of being overlooked by many, at a time when so much attention is being paid to the liturgical use of the Psalter. The Psalter must have been used for devotional purposes, and that accounts for the fact that, though stripped for so many centuries of its original liturgical setting, it has indeed sustained a tremendous influence upon the spiritual life of the Jewish Synagogue and the Christian church. Welch puts the matter before us concisely when he says, "These hymns, largely framed to serve a local and temporary cult, local because it could only be practised on the soil of Palestine, temporary because it has entirely ceased to be practised anywhere, have succeeded in so penetrating to the permanent relations between the worshipping soul and God that they have survived the purpose for which they came into existence and have continued to be the help of unnumbered souls."5 Devotional use of hymns in the ancient Orient is abundantly 4 R. H. Pfeiffer, Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 619, 620, 632, 633. 5 A. C. Welch, op. cit., p. 92.
The Uses of the Psalter
attested by the findings of archaeological investigation. Such is true because poetry and personal faith have ever gone hand in hand. When we come to a study of the Psalter from its liturgical use, we find archaeological research touching the Psalms at so many points that the entire collection stands before us in an altogether different light.7 There, is no scholarly treatment of the Psalms now that overlooks this phase of the study of the Psalter. Montgomery claims that with few exceptions the Psalter is to be regarded as belonging to the cult, used by the worshippers at the sanctuary individually or congregationally. The Psalms are the liturgies employed when the individual presented himself in the sanctuary to make his offerings to God, to present his vows, to ward off threatened calamities and disasters, and to be cleansed of his sins.8 Barton notes that the Psalms were utilized in the Temple services in connection with the various sacrifices, the festivals, and the holy days. Later they were adapted to the worship of the synagogue. With many of the psalms the setting and background of their use lead the student to a study of the Temple liturgy. We find this nowhere described for us in the Psalter; it must be gathered together from hints here and there. What such reconstruction reveal in the way of Hebrew religion and Religious practice we shall see later.9 They have progressed so far that at the present time the Psalter is considered by some to be largely a collection of worship hymns associated with the ritual and worship of the Temple. Usage shows that both the ritual act and the liturgical form that accompanied it were clearly defined and prescribed in all ancient worship. Its early prevalence in Babylonian and, Egyptian worship suggests, 7 This is not to deny, to be sure, the great and telling differences between the thought, inspiration, and apmosphere of the Biblical Psalms and those of the pagan hymns of the ancient Near East. 8 J. A. Montgomery, "Recent Developments in the Study of the Psalter," Anglican Theological Review, Vol. VI (July, 1934), p. 192. 9 G. A. Barton in E. Grant (ed.), The Haverford Symposium on Archaeology and the Bible, p. 66.
Bibliotheca Sacra
even to the most sceptical, that it was possible for it to be a part of early Hebrew worship and practice.10 Pfeiffer tells us that the liturgical use of psalms in the worship of the sanctuary is well attested since the time of the Chronicler,11 who speaks of the musical portions of the ritual with expert knowledge that seems to point to his participation in one of the Levitical choirs.12 Peters, who has probably done more work on the subject of the liturgical use of the Psalter than any other American Scholar, describes the collection as composed of liturgical poems and hymns, primarily for the ritual that accompanied the sacrifices, but comprising also hymns for other purposes and occasions. When he wrote his work on the Psalms he found fault with modern scholars who saw the impossibility of ascribing hymns to particular events in the life of David, but who went on to commit the same mistake in even worse form. They were satisfied to view the Psalms as occasional poems, and tried to assign them to events in their own reconstructed history in. the same way that the Psalms in Chronicles were given titles. The result was that they departed farther from the date of composition than the first title-makers, and their conclusions were worse. He continues, "They have treated the Psalms not as hymns composed or used for liturgical purposes, but as occasional poems composed to celebrate some historical event; not as hymns composed like Wesley's to be sung by choir or congregation, but as a national anthology, the lyrical effusions of court poets celebrating the triumphs or bewailing the misfortunes of king or people. This mistaken principle of identification of the Psalms as occasional lyrics led inevitably to a further mistake in identification of their date and occasion by their contents, as that penitential Psalms must indicate a period of calamity, and joyful and triumphant Psalms a period of prosperity. This method of treating the Psalter has largely vitiated modern criticism 10 A. C. Welch, op. cit., pp. 76, 78. 11 He dates it about 250 B.C. which, needless to say, is far too late a dating. 12 R. H. Pfeiffer, op. cit., p. 621. 13 J. P. Peters, The Psalms as Liturgies, pp. 14, 15.
The Uses of the Psalter
and commentation on the Psalms, and led into a pathless wilderness of subjective and conflicting vagaries. The true key to the method of study of the Psalter is to be found in the history of the liturgies."13 The quotation just given epitomizes fairly Peter's position on the Psalter, as well as indicates the lines along which he progresses in his interpretation of the book. There is proof from archaeological findings that hymns and songs of ancient Babylonia were used with the ritual. The instances could be multiplied many times over, but we shall choose a few that bear more striking resemblances to the Hebrew Psalms. Near the close of many of the old Babylonian liturgies there is a summons to sacrifice: "Unto the temple of god upon a lyre let us go with a song of petition. The psalmist a chant shall sing. The psalmist a chant of lordly praise shall sing. The psalmist a chant upon the lyre shall sing. Upon a sacred tambourine, a sacred lilissu shall sing. Upon the flute, the manzu, the consecrated lyre shall sing," or again: "Father Enlil, with song majestically we come, the presents of the ground are offered to thee as gifts of sacrifice. 0 lord of Sumer, figs to thy house we bring; to give life to the ground thou didst exist. Father Enlil, accept the sacred offerings, the many offerings, We with offerings come, let us go up with festivity."14 Peters suggests that many of the Hebrew Psalms manifest a similar composition and a similar purpose. He takes Psalm 13 J. P. Peters, The Psalms as Liturgies, pp. 14, 15. 14 J. P. Peters, op. cit., p. 19.
Bibliotheca Sacra
65 as an example.15 In verse 3 the worshipper is seen cleansed of his iniquities and transgressions, whereupon he enters the courts of the Lord with offerings of the produce of the ground (verse 4). He pours forth in the next four verses Praise to God for His unfailing bounty, reciting God's marvelous signs which cause even the inhabitants of the uttermost parts of the earth to stand in awe. From the heavenly rivers of God the earth is watered and the grain is made to grow (verses 9-13a). At the very end (13b) we find, as is the case so often in the Sumerian, the call to shout for joy and sing as the gifts are presented in sacrifice. Another illuminating instance is Psalm 66. Here there is a presentation of vows of burnt offerings, bullocks, rams, and goats (verses 13-15). Peters feels that the actual method of presentation of the sacrifice is perhaps best seen in a liturgy in Psalm 118. In this case we have a thank-offering ritual. The first part of the psalm is concerned with a long processional ceremonial and its responsive singing. Then near the end of the hymn, as appears to be common in the Sumerian sacrificial liturgies, there is mention of the sacrifice, indicated by the rubric with its command that the sacrifice be offered (verse 27), and followed by the song of praise that Jeremiah indicates was used in the Temple services in his day.16 In both the Babylonian and the Hebrew psalms the deity is said to cast down the mighty and exalt the lowly. In a series of hymns and prayers found in the necropolis of Thebes from the Nineteenth Dynasty, about 1350-1200 B.C., there are illuminating parallels to the Psalms. Peters points out that the general atmosphere of the hymns, commemorating as they do, deliverances from trouble brought upon them by their own sins, making mention of the love an,d mercy of the gods and expressing a fervent desire to make known these works of the gods to all men, reminds us (of
15 The notation of the verses will be according to their English text; the Hebrew notation in this psalm, as with many others, will be one nume- ral higher because the superscription is counted as the first verse. 16 J. P. Peters, op. cit., pp. 19, 20. Cf. also Jer. 33:11; 2 Chron. 7:3; 1 Macc. 4:24.
The Uses of the Psalter
course, apart from the pronounced polytheistic elements) of much of our Psalms. An illustration of such a composition is the following: "Amen Ra is spoken of as the god Who comes at the voice of the distressed humble one; Who gives breath to him who is wretched. Amen is he Who comes at the voice of the humble man. I call upon thee when I am in distress: And thou comest that thou mayest save me; That thou mayest give breath to him. that is wretched: That thou mayest save me that am in bondage. Of him it is said: Thou art a Lord to him that calls upon thee. Yet is the Lord disposed to be merciful.
Thou art a Lord to him that calls upon thee.17 Among the different types of psalms in the Psalter there are the well-known penitentials. These compositions reveal a deep sense of the burden of sin, a great longing to God that He may forgive and cleanse, and lastly a new-born joy in the sense of being purged, often accompanied with a summons to others to praise God for His goodness. The first of such penitentials in our Psalter, according to the order in the Hebrew and English texts, is Psalm 6. The suppliant cries out to God that He withhold His rebuke and chastening, but have mercy upon the sorely troubled soul. The Lord is besought to save for His own sake, for in death the afflicted one will not be able to praise God. He dwells upon the agony of heart that has been his because of sin, and closes with the assurance that God has heard the voice of his weeping and his supplication. He is confident, too, that his enemies will not prevail against him, but will be utterly 17 J. P. Peters, op. cit., footnote to p. 21.
Bibliotheca Sacra
put to shame. Peters seeks to show how similar is this penitential psalm in its purpose, tone, and method to the Babylonian penitentials analyzed by Jastrow in his Religion of Babylonia and Assyria. The penitent addressing his goddess: "I, thy servant, full of sighs, call upon thee; The fervent prayer of him who has sinned do thou accept. If thou lookest upon a man, that man lives. O all-powerful mistress of mankind, Merciful one, to whom it is good to turn, who hears sighs!" Then the priest prays to the goddess thus: "His god and goddess being angry with him, he calls upon thee, Turn towards him thy countenance, take hold of his hand." Then the penitent continues: "Besides thee, there is no guiding deity. I implore thee to look upon me and hear my sighs, Proclaim pacification, and may thy soul be appeased. How long, 0 my mistress, till thy countenance be turned towards me. Like doves, I lament, I satiate myself with sighs." Then the priest: "With pain and ache, his soul is full of sighs; Tears he weeps, he pours forth lament."18 Sufficient examples have been set forth to show the manner in which, in the liturgies of other peoples besides the Hebrews, psalms and hymns were employed as a component part of the liturgy. Archaeological study has made available to us a great quantity of such literature, and has definitely influenced the
18 J. P. Peters, op. cit., pp. 100, 101.
The Uses of the Psalter
interpretation of the Psalter. For instance, the Hebrew penitential psalms about which we have just spoken were at one time thought of as indicating conditions of national disaster, oppression by a foreign foe, and the like. They point to foes of another character, because they are now seen as part of a ritual, hymns to accompany the offering of sacrifice for ills due to sins and to avert pestilence and famine. In short, they need to be studied in relation to the feasts and fasts of the Hebrew people, as well as all the Temple ritual and service, instead of being connected with the political fortunes of the people.19 Such a position does not mean to convey the impression that there is no national nor political element in the Psalms. One part of the nation's life could not be divorced from all other phases, but primarily, it is held, the Psalter consists of ritual hymns to be interpreted in the light of the needs and experiences of worshippers and the directors of that worship. In his extended work on the Psalms Peters has put this principle into practice in commenting on the individual psalms. He cites twenty-three sacrifices and occasions of ritual with which the Psalms may be connected. Psalms 3 and 4 are taken to be hymns for royal sacrifices in the morning and evening worship; Psalms 20 and 21 are hymns for Temple uses after battle; Psalms 68 and 24 are songs for taking out and returning the Ark; Psalms 42 and 43 are psalms for the Temple festivals; and so on throughout the entire Psalter. Psalms for individual use are not denied, but are to be understood as primarily for Temple use whether in individual cases or for the whole people.20 19 Cf. J. P. Peters, op. cit., p. 23. 20 In this connection it is interesting to note the following portion in the present-day Prayer Book of the Jews for the New Year's Day (cf. M. Adler, ed., The Service of the Synagogue, Part I, pp. 168, 169): "Mishnah Tamid, Cap. vii. These are the Psalms which the Levites used to say in the Temple: On the first day of the week they said--`The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.' On the second day--`Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.'
164 Bibliotheca Sacra At this point in our discussion of liturgical uses of the Psalter we must turn to the important theory of Sigmund Mowinckel. This scholar has made perhaps the most intensive study of the Psalter, as witnessed by his Psalmenstudien (studies in the Psalter), which consists of six volumes on the Psalms. The first volume deals with sin and the individual lament psalms, published in 1921; the second treats of the enthronement festival of the Lord and the origin of the Psalter's eschatology (1922); the third handles the theme of cult prophecy and the prophetic psalms (1923); the fourth occupies itself with the technical termini in the superscriptions to the Psalms (1923); the fifth deals with benediction and imprecation in Israel's cult and psalm poetry (1924); and the last discusses the psalmists (1924). We are particularly interested in the theory of Mowinckel relative to the Enthronement Festival (das Thronbesteigungsfest). It is considered so significant that Keet in his volume has devoted four chapters (8-11) to a discussion and appraisal of it. From his many investigations Mowinckel has come to the conclusion that there is ample evidence to prove the existence among the Hebrews of a festival of the Lord's accession to the throne, celebrated at the beginning of each year with great ceremony and solemnity. Undoubtedly, it is argued, from very early times the commencement of the civil and agricultural year in the Hebrew month Tishri was marked by ceremonies and celebrations. The important celebration at this time of the year was the Enthronement Festival. It had several distinct features. God was acclaimed as On the third day--`God standeth in the congregation of the mighty: he judgeth among the judges.' On the fourth day--`O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shine forth.' On the fifth day--`Sing aloud unto God our strength; make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.' On the sixth day--`The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strenth, wherewith he hath girded himself; the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.' On the Sabbat--`A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath Day.' It is the psalm and son for eternity, for the day that shall be wholly a Sabbath, even repose for life everlasting." The references are to Psalms 24, 48, 82, 94, 81, 93, and 92.
The Uses of the Psalter
King, Creator, and Judge. Agricultural aspects were also prominent, for in the minds of the Hebrews these features formed part of the Divine kingship. A type of liturgical drama was an essential part of the celebration of the festival. There is no evidence to lead us to suppose that any actual representation of God ascending the throne was made, although it is conjectured that symbols of some sort were employed.21 The climax of the festival may have been the several liturgical processions of the worshippers about the Temple, the altar, and the city itself. It is assumed that in the processions the people thought of God as ascending His throne and assuming royal power. The concept of the Lord's ascent to His throne was coupled with the implication that all the surrounding nations had been made subservient to Him. Certain ancient myths, it is claimed, that related to the Lord's conquest of the peoples were given prominence at this celebration. Since God has subdued the nations He is prepared to distribute His favors to all the worshippers, granting them prosperity, fertility, and numerous benefits. The new year was seen also as the completion of the year just past. Thus there was gratitude for the harvest from the Lord's bounty. A social feast was partaken of to celebrate the harvest of the field, and this festive meal became very popular. Mowinckel feels that the royal procession is described in 2 Samuel 6 and its parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 15, where we have the accounts of David's bringing the Ark to Mount Zion. The mention of the blowing of thE Trumpet in 2 Samuel 6:15 is important, for Keet points out rightly that the blowing of the ram's horn has always been a distinctive feature of the new year celebration among the Jewish people. The distribution of gifts has its place in the celebration today, and the record of 2 Samuel notes that gifts were distributed to all who came to Jerusalem for the feast. Other passages of a historical character that are said to be pertinent to this theme are 1 Kings 8 and its parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 5, where the Ark is brought to its 21 C. C. Keet, A Liturgical Study of the Psalter, p. 83.
Bibliotheca Sacra
resting place in the sanctuary of the Temple built by Solomon, and Nehemiah 8, with its mention of the distribution of gifts in verse 10. The passages in the Psalter which refer to the kingship of the Lord can be divided into three groups: (1) those that apply the title of "King" to the Lord; (2) those that have references to the throne of the Lord; and (3) those in which the phrase "the Lord is become King" is found.22 Oesterley catalogues all the passages in the Psalms under these divisions. In the first category are 5:2; 10:16; 24:7-10; 29:10; 48:2; 74:12; 84:3; 95:3; 98:6 and 149:2. The references in the second group are 9:4; 9:7; 11:4; 47:8; 89:14; 93:2; 97:2 and 103:19. The passages for the last division are 47:7, 8 ; 93:1; 96:10; 97:1 and 99:1. Mowinckel assigns the following psalms to the Enthronement Festival: Psalms 95 and 98 (in which the Lord is acclaimed as a King who has ascended the throne), 96 (where the people are commanded to sing a new song to the new King), 47 (a picture of the King's procession going up in triumph), 149 (with its new song and its conception of God as Creator, Judge, and Savior, although Keet questions whether so early a date is allowable for this psalm), 33 (with its reference to creation, the judgment of God, and the deliverance of Israel; again, Keet denies the applicability of this psalm to the Enthronement Festival because there is no mention of the Kingship of the Lord), 29 (an accession hymn and used liturgically by the Jews at Sukkoth, the Feast of Tabernacles), and 34 (which is said to have been written for the ceremony of illuminating the Temple at the Feast of Tabernacles, although Keet finds the evidence unconvincing because of but one very indirect reference to the concept of light). Since the Feast of Accession was also an agricultural festival, hymns which express gratitude for the blessings of the harvest are appropriate. Mowinckel suggests Psalms 65, 67, 85, and 126 as appropriate for such an occa-
22 W. O. E. Oesterley, The Psalms, Vol. I, p. 45.
The Uses of the Psalter
sion, along with certain songs of joyful expectation of the coming One as Psalms 81, 85, and 132. The idea of judgment was also prominent in the concept of this festival,23 and according to Mowinckel this is found in Psalms 50 and 82. The setting forth of these passages and psalms will serve to show how large a place in the Psalter Mowinckel finds for his theory.24 He does not base it upon one obscure passage or two, but finds it, according to his view, in many hitherto unthought of places.25 Before we undertake a critical evaluation of the theory, one feature of the Feast of Accession should be given some elaboration; we refer to the liturgical procession in which the Lord's ascent to the throne was set forth in a dramatic manner. There is a question as to the place of this procession in the ceremonies of the festival, whether it came at the beginning of the celebration or at the end. The argument from analogy with the Egyptian ceremonies related to the worship of Osiris, in which the procession concluded the festival, is admitted by Keet to be precarious. The Talmudic tractate Sukkah speaks of a procession about the altar in the Temple on the seventh day of Sukkoth. It is by no means out of the question that a daily procession was part of the festival ceremonies (so Keet). Mowinckel favors the last day of the feast as that upon which the royal procession was made; at one time it did not pass around the altar, but in later days this addition was made. The procession about the altar has been considered as an independent act that became an important feature in the celebration after the loss of the Ark. Box, Keet, and others challenge Mowinckel's use of psalms of ascents for a pre-exilic ceremony such as this, but they do not thereby feel that his theory is disproved.26 23 It appears in the later synagogue liturgy for the new year and in the ancient Babylonian celebrations of the new year when Marduk was thought of as passing judgment on his subjects as he sat in state. 24 C. C. Keet, op. cit., pp. 88-92 25 We might add to the number already given, Psalms 48, 118, 24. 26 C. C. Keet, op. cit., pp. 93-96.
Bibliotheca Sacra
In seeking to evaluate the theory we must inquire whether there is extra-Biblical confirmation of Mowinckel's views. The evidence from Jewish sources will be considered first. As for the theory of Mowinckel (in which he was anticipated in some of his views by Staerk and Gunkel), if it be correct, then some of the elements associated with the Feast of Divine Accession should be, found in the synagogue liturgies for the New Year Feast. Among the Jews the Feast is pre-eminently the Feast of Trumpets. But why is the ram's horn blown? The Jews claim it is to call all to repentance before the Day of Atonement. The idea of judgment is also present. God is said to open the books of judgment on the New Year's Feast and to seal them on the Day of Atonement. Both the blowing of the trumpet and the idea of judgment are noteworthy features of the Feast of Divine Accession. The Jewish prayer book for the New Year's Festival gives all these features in a striking prayer which is called Un'saneh Tokef, after the first two words of the prayer which we now quote. We render the prayer in full because it affords seemingly such remarkable proof for the theory of Mowinckel. "We will celebrate the mighty holiness of this day, for it is one of awe and terror. Thereon is thy kingdom exalted and thy throne is established in mercy, and thou sittest thereon in truth. Verily it is thou alone who art judge and arbiter, who knowest and art witness; thou writest down and settest the seal, thou recordest and tellest; yea, thou rememberest the things forgotten. Thou unfoldest the records, and the deeds therein inscribed proclaim themselves; for lo! the seal of every man's hand is set thereto. The great trumpet is sounded; the still small voice is heard; the angels are dismayed; fear and trembling seize hold of them as they proclaim, Behold the Day of Judgment! The host of heaven is to be arraigned in judgment. For in thine eyes they are not pure; and all who enter the world dost thou cause to pass before thee as a flock of sheep. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock and causeth them to pass beneath his crook, so
The Uses of the Psalter
dost thou cause to pass, and number, tell and visit every living soul, appointing the measure of every creature's life and decreeing their destiny. "On the first day of the year it is inscribed, and on the Day of Atonement the decree is sealed, how many shall pass away and how many shall be born, who shall live and who shall die, who at the measure of man's days and who before it; who shall perish by fire and who by water, who by the sword, who by wild beasts, who by hunger and who by thirst; who by earthquake and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning; who shall have rest and who shall go wandering, who shall be tranquil and who shall be harassed, who shall be at ease and who shall be afflicted; who shall become poor and who shall wax rich; who shall be brought low and who shall be upraised."27 The Jewish New Year's Feast makes much of remembering God's past mercies, especially the creation, the Exodus, and God's salvation, and this concept is part of Mowinckel's argument. In the Feast of Divine Accession much is made of the Kingship of God. This is seen to be paralleled in the special conclusion affixed to the Amidah prayer during the days of penitence.28 This appendix consists of forty-four prayers, each beginning with the words Our Father, Our King. The three ideas of trumpet blowing, remembrances, and kingdom are found in the benedictions in the Amidah prayer. The Jews call them Shofaroth, Zikronoth, and Malkiyyoth, respectively. All these items serve to confirm the theory of Mowinckel from Jewish sources. A concluding article will summon the remaining evidence before a final adjudication can be made.
(To be concluded in the July-September Number, 1948) 27 M. Adler, ed., op. cit., Part I, pp. 146, 147. 28 The ten days between the New Year's Festival and the Day of Atone- ment are called "ten days of penitence." For the time element compare Leviticus 23:24 and 23:27.
This material is cited with gracious permission from: Dallas Theological Seminary 3909 Swiss Ave. Dallas, TX 75204 Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at: [email protected] Thanks to Carolyn Gibney for help with proofing.


File: the-uses-of-the-psalter-pt.pdf
Title: The Uses of the Psalter
Author: Charles Lee Feinberg
Subject: Psalms, Uses of Psalter, Bible, Old Testament, Charles Feinberg, Bibliotheca Sacra, Hildebrandt
Keywords: Psalms, Uses of Psalter, Bible, Old Testament, Charles Feinberg, Bibliotheca Sacra, Hildebrandt
Published: Tue Jan 1 20:44:16 2002
Pages: 16
File size: 0.06 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb

3.< plokta. con> Read Me, 10 pages, 1.97 Mb

A history of Christianity, 352 pages, 1.41 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb
Copyright © 2018