In the past few decades Psalms scholarship has begun to consider the Psalter as an intentionally arranged collection even with a overarching message or structure. Doing so has highlighted that the Davidic covenant takes pride of place, particularly in Psalm 89 which questions the state of this covenant. The role of David and the Davidic covenant is interpreted differently among scholars, so an in-depth study of the covenants in the Psalter is welcome. Thankfully, Adam Hensley’s published PhD dissertation at Concordia seminary—Covenant Relationships and the Editing of the Hebrew Psalter—addresses this very topic. Adam Hensley seeks to defend and articulate “… the largely unexplored idea that the Psalter presents David as [sic] Moses-like agent of covenant renewal between YHWH as the community” (p. 211).
Context is king; so too for the Psalter. How is Jesus’ Bible different to our Old Testaments today, and what does this mean for the Psalter?
The Psalter is not simply Israel’s greatest hits on shuffle, it’s more like the first concept album. Here are 10 evidences of its intelligent design.
Sometimes we miss what is right in front of us. Sometimes we are distracted by the abstract that we miss the obvious. Sadly this easily happens when we read Scripture. Jerome Creach, in his The Destiny of the Righteous in the Psalms, has drawn us back to see what’s in front of us, “it might well be concluded that the destiny of the righteous is the primary subject of the Psalms” (p1). When thinking about the Psalms, we often lose sight of the obvious: that it’s a collection of songs about the righteous, their struggles, their hopes, and ultimately, their destiny. This is seen in the introductory Psalm 1. The righteous will stand in the judgment, but the wicked will be like chaff in the wind.
The Psalms are rightfully beloved, but many are unaware of its clear and intentional structure. Or if they are, they have not considered the purpose for its structure. Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford’s Introduction to the Psalms: A Song from Ancient Israel, “seeks to provide the reader with a solid introduction to the Hebrew Psalter, one that is informed by an interest in its shape and shaping” (vii). There are many introductions to the Psalms, but a unique feature to this is that it reads the Psalter as a unified, interconnected work.