I’m a bit late to the game on this one, but I just finished reading Stephen Demspster’s JETS article Canons on the Right and Canons on the Left: Finding a Resolution in the Canon Debate(PDF) and it was a fascinating argument for an early established Old Testament canon (before Jesus’ time), and also gave some theological bases for the Hebrew OT order. For readers of Dominion and Dynasty (my review), some of this is familiar territory – though he does go in more depth here. However, I would like to share some interesting parallels Dempster drew between Psalms 1 and 2 serving as a dual-opening to the Writings collection.

I’ve copied the portion in question below, deleting the Hebrew and the footnotes, and adding some paragraphing and bullet points:

The first two psalms function as introductions to the Psalter stressing the twin themes of Torah and Kingship. These have been bound together both linguistically and conceptually.

  • The first psalm begins with a beatitude (Ps 1:1) and the second ends with one (Ps 2:12)
  • The first stresses the importance of rejecting the counsel of the wicked and meditating on the Torah (Ps 1:3), and the second not to meditate on vanity (Ps 2:1) but to pay attention to the decree of Yahweh (Ps 2:7).
  • The first indicates that the wicked are on a way that will perish because they have rejected the Torah (Ps 1:6), while the second says that those who do not trust in the Israelite king will perish in the way (Ps 2:12).

Torah meditation leads to prophetic meditation.

Check out Dempster’s article here (right-click and save PDF).