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Theodicy and Monotheism Appearing in Individual Lament Psalms: Centered on Psalm 4

Lee Il Rye 1

1서울신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The „Sitz im Leben“ of the individual lament psalm 4 is the situation of the dispute of the israel community over the understanding of god. The enemies appearing in the text are the „sons of men“ and „many men“. These men are associated with the suffering and are disputing with the poet over their different understandings of god. These men have an authenticity of establishing interrelationships and simultaneously are using their understanding of god as a power of confusion on the poet. The enemies and the poets understanding of god are related to each other and thus result in existential crisis. However, in the desperately dangerous situation the poet finds a new understanding of god beyond the traditional one through the entreaty of the enemies. This is the faith in monotheism with the poets ‘past-god-experience’ as a basic foundation. In psalm chapter 4 the poets ‘past-god-experience’ is the protection of god when the poet was in the middle of menace. The experience of god in psalm chapter 4 is the overall summery part as well as the key point part. The poet doesn’t look for a different god everytime he encounters trouble in the process of life, but he is constantly lead to his only god who he experienced in the past. When the poets faith in monotheism is in its peak of suffering, he not only keeps his faith but also extends the understanding of god. In addition, through the poets entreaty he gets to understand monotheism, which is the basis of the understanding of theodicy. He has an answer to the problem of the theodicy which appeared in the dispute with his enemies. Like god has saved him in the past from his crisis and showed him his presence, he now confesses the presence of god. The god who redeems the sufferer is a god of justice.

Citation status

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

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.