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Davidic Kingship in Psalm 144 and Its Theological Implications

Kim, Hee Suk 1

1총신대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This essay attempts to demonstrate that Psalm 144 pictures the Davidic kingship as subordinate to YHWH's kingship. For this purpose, it employs a compositional approach to the Psalter initiated by G. H. Wilson. The main focus of the essay lies in the examination of the intertextual relationships between Psalm 144 of Book V of the Psalter and Psalms 8 and 18 of Book I. First, Psalm 144 borrows an image of Davidic kingship of Psalm 18 which represents YHWH's kingship, yet transforms it into an image of a normal person who becomes subordinated to YHWH's kingship. In Psalm 18, David is described as a warrior that mirrors YHWH the Divine warrior, which well explains David's ability to make the nations submit to him. In Psalm 144, though David is pictured as a warrior, the connection between him and the Divine Warrior is not present, which accordingly allows for depicting David as being afflicted by the nations. Psalm 144 also borrows a question in Psalm 8 that asks about the humanity's role in creation, yet it purposefully twists Psalm 8's answer to the question into another direction. Contrary to Psalm 8's declaration of humanity's dominion over the created world, Psalm 144 expresses the meaninglessness of life. Accordingly, it seems that Psalm 144 interconnects the previous points in order to re-evaluate the theological importance of Davidic kingship. In Book I, Davidic kingship is elevated into the representation of YHWH's kingship. In Book III, Davidic covenant is seriously questioned as if it had become a failed one. Davidic kingship is seen as having failed, since it has been regarded as an essential element of the Davidic covenant. This connectedness of Dadivic kingship and Davidic covenant is understood from a totally different perspective in Book V, which attempts to provide expectations for the restoration of Davidic covenant not with the restoration of Davidic kingship per se but with the subordination of it to YHWH's kingship. As a conclusion to the Psalter, Book V postulates that the restoration of Davidic covenant should be done in a way of democratizing the covenant participants, all those who fear YHWH by obeying to the Torah, not of re-establishing the royal position of Davidic descendants.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.