Lectionary Year B
March 9, 2003
Step III: Composition
A. Immediate Context
(JFC) Post - The following 12 verses concluding Psalm 25 ask more for pardon,
declare more attempts to learn the Lord's way and list the blessings resulting there from. They request further relief from affliction, distress and trouble, asking for enemies to be overcome and enlarging these hopes for all of Israel in the last (22) verse.
(JFC) As has as recently as last week, been stated in these studies, many analysts
refer to the Book of Psalms as "Ancient Israel's Hymnbook", etc . It contains lyrical and liturgical statements of various literary types or classes. They include praises, laments, thanksgivings, historical recollections, inaugurations, recitations of royalties' characters and hope for just reigns and victory in battle/war, etc. These elements arose out of and were used in worship experiences in Temple, synagogues and personal practices of piety through time since their compositions and until now. James L. Mays, in The Lord Reigns, says, "Judged by their literary form, Psalms were composed for the most part for prayer or praise or instruction." Psalm 25's asking for God's teachings, might have been used to inform people how to ask for God's guidance in the midst of misfortunes, instructionally, as catechetical. Of course, Psalm 25 is also quite prayerful. As noted previously, an early tradition divided the Book of Psalms into three divisions, 1-41, 42-89 & 90-150. The different divisions use different names for God. Later, the Book of the Psalms is divided into five sections. Book I goes from Psalm 1 through Psalm 41, Book II runs through Psalm 72, Book III goes through Psalm 89 & the last section goes from Psalm 107 and concludes with the last, Psalm 150. Some groupings of Psalms have ancient titles, or headings, such as "of David", most of Psalms 3-41, 51-65, 68-70, "Songs of Ascents", Psalms 120-134, attributed to the "Sons of Korah", several from Psalms 42-88, & to the "a Song/Psalm of Asaph", Psalms 50 and 73-83.
C. Issues of Authorship
(JFC) We have noted previously how different Psalms were composed by different
authors (some of the superscriptions refer to different authors, different persons honored by different ones named, etc.) in different times, in different places and under different circumstances, we can hardly find many elements common to many Psalms to date their origin(s). "All this leads to a recognition of the many-sided character of a psalm text, as G.W. Anderson writes: 'There can be little doubt that some, perhaps many, psalms have been altered and adapted in successive ages; and in such psalms it may well be a doubtful procedure to assume that there is one and only one consistent meaning in the text'." Most current scholars maintain that, although some Psalms might have been composed before the Exile (587 BC), some even during the captivity in Babylon, the Book was actually compiled in the format in which we receive it well thereafter. Much of the language of the printed texts is late in origin. Mays (Interpretation) notes its skill in written form.
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