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Psalms Master Diagram
Transcript of Psalms Master Diagram
Titles, Structure, Genres and Themes
Structural Elements of Book III that Refer Back to Book II
Structural Elements Internal to Book III
Structural Elements Internal to Book IV
Asaph psalms occupy 73-83, with an antecedent in Psalm 50.
Korah psalms in 84-88 (exc. 86) form a kind of frame for Books II-III with 42-49 (exc. 43).
The sole Davidic psalm of Book III, Psalm 86, harks back to the long suite of Davidic psalms in 51-65, 68-70, 72.
Psalm 89 acts as counterpoint to the strong Davidic tone of Books I-II by challenging God with his apparent abandonment of his self-imposed obligations under the Davidic covenant.
Compare the key word 'reject' (
) in 74:1 (immediately after the intro psalm); 77:7; 88:14; 89:38, with 43:2; 44:10, 24 (the latter psalm incidentally very similar to many in book III).
Psalm 73 sets a meditative wisdom note at the outset, asking why the wicked are allowed to flourish.
Both Heman (Ps. 88) and Ethan (Ps. 89) share Levitic ancestry with the sons of Korah and with Asaph (1 Chron. 6:31-46; 15:16-19), and Heman is listed as a descendant of Levi's great-grandson Korah.
There is a strong relationship to the situation of defeat and exile in many of the Psalms, e.g. 74, 77, 79, 89. Psalms 74 & 89 in particular act as a kind of frame for this theme, though others within this frame are more hopeful.
Structural Elements Common to Books IV-V
Moses and Aaron begin to be mentioned fairly regularly, after only appearing once in Books I-III (77:20):
Moses: 99:6; 103:7; 105:26; 106:16, 23, 32.
Aaron: 99:6 105:26; 106:16; 115:10, 12; 118:3; 133:2; 135:19
Many psalms begin to get 'hallelujah' tops and/or tails from 104:35b on.
Likewise 'give thanks' (hôdû) begins to appear, esp. in 'tops and tails', from 105:1; see also 'bless/praise the LORD' (bārăkû) from 103:1, 22 in similar positions.
Historical reflection psalms bridge the shift between books IV & V (Pss. 105-107).
Ps. 106:47 pleads for gathering from the nations, and Ps. 107:3 thanks God for the experience of gathering.
Features (arguably) of late Biblical Hebrew, suitable to the post-exilic period, begin to appear much more often, e.g. the short version of the relative pronoun (
Following a precedent in Psalm 47, Psalms 93 & 95-99 celebrate the kingship of Yahweh, with 96-99 in particular very tightly woven together.
Wilson, Gerald H. “Shaping the Psalter: A Consideration of Editorial Linkage in the Book of Psalms,” in The Shape and Shaping of the Hebrew Psalter (edited by J. Clinton McCann; JSOTSup 159; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1993), 72–82@76.