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Theodicy Apperaring in the Lament of the Poor: Centered on Psalm 10

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2021, 27(4), pp.187-214
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2021.27.4.187
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : October 18, 2021
  • Accepted : November 20, 2021

Lee Il Rye 1

1서울신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This research recreates the lament of the poor in Psalm 10 and makes it possible to analyze the theological significance. The suffering of the poor in Psalm 10 goes beyond the situation of physical poverty. The other suffering is the experience of the hidden God. The poor experience the “hidden God” as confusion, pain and suffering. At the same time, they experience the evil deeds of the wicked as an unbearable suffering. In this way, the poor experience suffering which is intertwined in a multi-layered and multifaceted structure and pleads with God. The poet’s plea (verse 1-3) to the hidden God which begins with a “Why-question” signifies the firm faith toward God and can be understood as a statement of faith. The theological significance which is implied in the statement of faith can also be defined as theodicy. Here, the theodicy implied in the lament of the poor presupposes monotheistic faith. This is because the phenomenon of the poet asking God whether he is condoning the sufferings caused by the wicked, implies that he understands the suffering as a result of YHWH's neglect. Furthermore the accusation against God in the lament means the expectation of salvation from the one God, JHWH. The theodicy in the God-lament which has the function of the outburst of the sufferings, forms a relation with various inner elements of the enemy-lament. This develops the subject of lament. The poet in the enemy-lament (verse 4-13) exposes the understanding of the enemy and understanding of God. The wicked denies God in connection with the suffering of the poor and ridicule the absence of God. Therefore, it can be observed that theodicy cannot be discussed in the understanding of the sufferings caused by the wicked and the understanding of God. At this point, the contradicting understandings of the poet and the wicked about suffering and God can be recognized. The poet asks and entreats God whether God can neglect the persecution and oppression of the poor by the wicked in “denial of God”. The discussed theodicy in here functions together with the subject of revenge. In this way, the poor are persecuted and oppressed by the wicked and the pain of his life being exploited is expressed through the language of lament, the theodicy question. His language of lament makes it possible to lead to the experience of “salvation of God”. The laments of the poor who relies on God, the orphans who have no rights and the lonely are the exit to experience God. “The lonely”, “the orphans” and “the poor who are oppressed” experience a God who does not hide his face if they cry out loud. They experience that God is on their side, the side of his “people”. The lament of the poor in Psalm 10 functions as a theodicy which is discussed on the premise of monotheistic faith. This also functions as the outburst of pain of the sufferer and can be observed as a passage to experience God.

Citation status

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