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Literary Genres of Psalms Individual Psalms of Supplication Communal Psalms of Supplication Literary Genres of Psalms Individual Psalms of Supplication Communal Psalms of Supplication

Psalms of Supplication Psalms of Supplication

Structure of Supplication Psalms • Introduction – a) invocation of YHWH in first words Structure of Supplication Psalms • Introduction – a) invocation of YHWH in first words – b) cry for help (imperative) – c) invocation repeated with illustrations and comparisons – d) self-description of petitioner

 • Body – a) declaration to pour out one’s nefesh – b) narrative • Body – a) declaration to pour out one’s nefesh – b) narrative of distress: sickness, indictment, persecution by enemies, being abandoned to forces of destruction, being forsaken by God, guilt – c) questions: “Why? ”, “How long? ”

– d) plea made in immediate connection to the description of distress – e) – d) plea made in immediate connection to the description of distress – e) when the plea involves turning back or overcoming enemies, it may take the form of maledictions or curses – f) inducements presented for YHWH’s intervention: YHWH’s honor, the righteousness of the petitioner (declarations of innocence)

 • Closing Section – Vow – Looking forward to YHWH’s intervention • Closing Section – Vow – Looking forward to YHWH’s intervention

Themes of Supplication Psalms • Prayer Songs of a Sick Person (Pss 38, 41, Themes of Supplication Psalms • Prayer Songs of a Sick Person (Pss 38, 41, 88; 30, 39, 69, 102, 103; 6, 13, [31], 32, [35], [71], 77, 91) • Prayer Songs of the Accused and Persecuted (Pss 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 17, 26, 27, 57, 63) • Prayer Songs of a Sinner (Pss 51, 130)

 • Psalm of Confidence or Trust (todah) • Acrostic Summary of Conventional Supplications • Psalm of Confidence or Trust (todah) • Acrostic Summary of Conventional Supplications (Ps 25)

Example of an Individual Supplication Psalm (Ps 130) • • • A pilgrimage song. Example of an Individual Supplication Psalm (Ps 130) • • • A pilgrimage song. 1. From the depth I cry to you, YHWH! 2. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be inclined to my loud pleading!

 • • 3. If you impute sin, YH, Lord, who could stand? 4. • • 3. If you impute sin, YH, Lord, who could stand? 4. Indeed, with you there is forgiveness that you may be feared.

 • • • 5. I hope, YHWH, my soul hopes; for his word • • • 5. I hope, YHWH, my soul hopes; for his word I wait! 6. My soul is turned to the Lord more than the watchman to the morning, more than the watchman to the morning!

 • • • 7. Let Israel wait for YHWH, for only with YHWH • • • 7. Let Israel wait for YHWH, for only with YHWH is there goodness and much redemption from him! 8. Indeed, he will redeem Israel from all its sins.

Example of a Communal Supplication Psalm (Ps 137) • • • 1. At the Example of a Communal Supplication Psalm (Ps 137) • • • 1. At the streams of Babylon we sat and wept when we thought of Zion. 2. On the poplar trees there we hung up our lyres.

 • • 3. Yes, there we were asked for songs by our guards • • 3. Yes, there we were asked for songs by our guards and for shouts of joy by our oppressors [saying: ] “Sing for us one of the songs of Zion. ” 4. How could we sing a YHWH song on foreign soil?

 • • • 5. If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right • • • 5. If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither away! 6. Let my tongue stick to my gums if I do not remember you! If I do not exalt Jerusalem above the best of my joys!

 • • • 7. Keep in mind, O YHWH, for the sons of • • • 7. Keep in mind, O YHWH, for the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem! Who said: “Tear down! Tear down all the way to the ground!”

 • • 8. O daughter of Babylon, destroyer, blessings to him who pays • • 8. O daughter of Babylon, destroyer, blessings to him who pays you back! 9. Blessings to him who seizes your children and dashes them against a rock!