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Background of the Composition of Psalm 144 in Light of its Strategic Arrangement

Jinkyu Kim 1

1백석대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Psalm 144 heavily relies on the earlier psalms such as Pss 8, 33, and especially 18. Because of its mixed form, Ps 144 has puzzled many form-critical commentators. Form-critical approaches have failed to explain its compositional background. But recent development of the compositional approach to the Psalter will shed light on its compositional background if one correctly understands the way Ps 144 is using earlier psalms in its literary context. Up to the present time, however, the compositional approach to Books IV-V has predominantly relied on Wilson’s view of the Davidic covenant and his view of the editorial agenda of the Psalter as trusting in Yahweh in Book IV. Because Wilson views that the Davidic covenant has failed in Ps 89, he is not able to recognize the thematic development of the Davidic covenant and its eschatological implications in Books IV-V. In my doctoral dissertation, I have challenged Wilson’s negative evaluation of the Davidic covenant in Books IV-V and found the strategic arrangement of the royal psalms (Pss 110, 132, 144) in these books, by which I have opened the way to eschatological understanding of the royal psalms in Books IV-V. In particular, there are many literary similarities between Ps 144 and Zech 14 which is one of the prime eschatological texts. In this paper I have demonstrated that the eschatological idea of Zech 14 has significantly influenced the present form of Ps 144 in the way by which Ps 144 reuses Ps 18. Zech 14 contains the imagery of both warfare and eschatological blessings, which may have influenced upon the way by which Ps 144 is composed. Ps 144 is the last royal psalm in the Psalter and was strategically arranged in its present position (near the end of the subgroup of Pss 135-145 followed by a doxology) in order to impart an eschatological message - the Messiah's eschatological warfare, victory, and blessings under the leadership of Yahweh.

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