Hearing Psalm 102 within the Context of the Hebrew Psalter

By Andrew Witt
View profile for: Dr. Andrew Witt

Along with recent scholarship which is concerned with reading the book of Psalms as a whole, this article analyzes Psalm 102 within its canonical, literary context. It focuses on two main areas. First, the superscription. It identifies the speaker as the “afflicted,” who is a suffering royal Davidic figure associated with Psalms 88-89 and 101, 103. Second, the paper moves throughout the rest of the psalm, making observations concerning thematic and lexical relationships between the psalm and its immediate context. It concludes that Psalm 102, alongside 101, functions as a meditative response of the afflicted Davidic king to the questions posed in Psalm 89. As such, it provides an important literary hinge, without which the lamenting questions of Book III could not turn into affirmations of YHWH’s love and praise throughout Books IV-V.

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This is a peer reviewed Article

Article in Vetus Testamentum
Volume #: 62
Issue #: 4
Pages: 582-606
Year: 2012

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