Thursday, November 13, 2008

Royal Psalms

My last post was not unambiguous in its attempt to find the Royal psalms blindly. Psalm 119 hardly deserves the title - but wait - when the psalmist says he carries the Lord's testimony before kings (Vav), is he not then acting as the King's ambassador? Psalm 105 uses MLK 4 times in a non-significant, non-structural way, so there are two immediate false positives. We are reduced to finding the Royal psalms by trial and reading - not by selecting from a database.

(Of course Google the Royal psalms may save a bit of time - ... but there are some hits on this from sites that I know have an axe to grind, so I will not even use their list(s) such as they are.)

Here's what looks like a trustworthy article by an unknown author. But the first list in the following quote is obviously missing a psalm.
It was certainly a step forward in our understanding of the Psalms when Hermann Gunkel pointed to the existence of a group of 'royal psalms' (Ps. 2, 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 101, 132, 144.1-11)
The missing 110 must be an oversight because the writer lists it in the next line and writes of 10 Royal psalms - there are only 9 listed above. I think there may be more. So having cast my net the way I did, and now having Gunkel's list third hand I will read them and see if they are royal enough for me. There is no substitute for my own homework. I will not find my understanding in the opinions of others - no matter how learned or famous they are.

This is a large chunk of work - so no immediate conclusions - but there is a little surprise at the end which I will have to substantiate. Direction now - to translate the Royal Psalms and observe their positioning in the overall structure.

Psalm מלך משׁל כסא ClassificationRoyal or not?
Psalm --2 3

Part of the introduction to the PsalterYes - definitely royal in content
Psalm --5 1

Part of a cluster of personal psalmsNo - maybe a prayer of the king, but not royal
Psalm 8
I missed itYes - it's just royal - you give the human rule over the works of your hands
Psalm --9

2 Acrostic, incomplete.
Psalm 9 speaks of the throne
Yes - This pair is a candidate for a Royal psalm
Psalm -10 1

Psalm 10 declares יְהוָה as king

Psalm -11

1 Personal, fire and brimstoneNo
Psalm -18 1

Theophany of deliveranceNo - One mention of king doesn't make the whole royal - but one could make an argument for it especially for the king who needed rescue from trouble
Psalm -19
The rule refers to sin not ruling in meNo - this is a Torah psalm like 1
Psalm -201

A short prayerYes
Psalm -21 2

Success for the kingYes- 21 is centered on the king, as an answer to the prayer of 20, it implies that 20 is also Royal
Psalm -22 1 1
Not king but kingdomNo - not royal
Psalm -24 5

A psalm of entranceYes- This certainly about יְהוָה as king
Psalm -28
Prayer for HelpNo - the hit is a false one
Psalm -29 1

TheophanyYes - יְהוָה as king
Psalm -331

of kindnessNo
Psalm -44 1 1
National LamentNo
Psalm -45 8
1 Royal WeddingYes
Psalm -46 1

Refuge and strengthNo
Psalm -47 4
1 Rule over the nationsYes -יְהוָה as king
Psalm -48 2

Strength of ZionYes - יְהוָה as king
Psalm -49
Cost of redemptionNo
Psalm -59
Miktam re deliveranceNo - only one mention that God rules over Jacob
Psalm -61 1

Prayer concerning refugeNo - though it is a prayer for the king
Psalm -631

of assuranceNo - though it speaks of the king rejoicing
Psalm -66
PraiseNo - one mention of God's rule
Psalm -68 5

There is the procession of my king into the sanctuaryYes - the use in Ephesians and the procession make this a candidate
Psalm -69
This is the work of the kingNo - but it is not a royal psalm
Psalm -72 5

A prayer for the king at the end of the prayers of DavidYes
Psalm -74 1

National lamentNo - one mention of God as king
Psalm -76 1

Psalm -78
Of IsraelNo
Psalm -79 1

Plea for mercyNo
Psalm -84 1

How lovelyNo - one invocation of God as king
Psalm -89 2 1 5 The great lamentYes - throne of David is one of the guiding structural elements of this psalm
Psalm -93 1
1 PraiseYes - of the reign of יְהוָה
Psalm -94

1 VengeanceNo
Psalm -96 1

New songYes - of the reign of יְהוָה
Psalm -97 1
1 The reign of GodYes - of the reign of יְהוָה
Psalm -981

Joyful noiseYes - of the reign of יְהוָה
Psalm -99 2

Mighty KingYes - of the reign of יְהוָה
Psalm 101?

Pledge of integrityNo - According to the list above, this is Royal - but there are no royal words in it
Psalm 102 2

Psalm 103 1 2 1
Psalm 105 4 2

Psalm 110 2

Psalm 114
In exitu IsraelNo - but indirectly in verse 2
Psalm 119-V-Y 1

Psalm 122

2 Thrones for judgmentNo
Psalm 132

Psalm 135 4

History recap - kings are all too human!No
Psalm 136 4 2
Similar to 135No
Psalm 138 1

Psalm 143

Psalm 144 1

No - another disagreement with my Google Gunkel search :(
Psalm 145 5 1

Yes - God as king
Psalm 146 1

Yes - of the reign of יְהוָה
Psalm 147

No - a false hit on M$L
Psalm 148 1

Reference back to Psalm 2 - but the king disappears and is replaced in his function by those under the mercy!No
Psalm 149 1

The King reappears - how to read Psalms 148-149 together as a conclusion to the psalter prior to the final gloriaYes - of the reign of יְהוָה

No comments: