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Judith Gärtner

The Historical Psalms

A Study of Psalms 78; 105; 106; 135, and 136 as Key Hermeneutical Texts in the Psalter

In the late theology of the psalms, the main lines of Old Testament theology are focused like light through a magnifying glass. The “historical psalms” (Psalms 78; 105; 106; 135; and 136) emphasize the reflection of their own history. In its own way, each of the historical psalms creates memories of a “salvific primordial time,” which includes the exodus and the conquest, in order to reinterpret the present through prayer. This paper approaches the identity-forming function of history through the

lens of “collective memory,” a notion from the field of cultural studies. From this inter-

disciplinary angle, the historical psalms are shown to be key hermeneutic texts in the

composition and redaction of the Psalter.

In the late theology of the psalms, the main lines of Old Testament theol-

ogy are focused like light through a magnifying glass. A critical perspective

is

This question is the subject of the research into those psalms classified as “historical psalms,” Psalms 78; 105; 106; 135; and 136. These psalms rely sig-

nificantly on memories of the “salvific primordial times” of the exodus and the conquest of the land as found in the context of the great narratives of the Hebrew Bible. Here, the founding history of salvation has to do with the abil- ity to newly interpret one’s own presence in the light of the psalms, so that

a relecture of the Torah arises in poetic form. 1 Thus, the historical psalms

represent far more than a mere retelling of the Torah. They are each based on a separate historical hermeneutic, according to which different events are selected from the narrative context of the Pentateuch and reinterpreted, such as the feeding in the desert in Psalm 78, the covenant of the patriarchs

the question of history and its significance for those praying the psalms.

1 See also F. Hartenstein, “Zur Bedeutung der Schöpfung in den Geschichtspsalmen,” in “Gerechtigkeit und Recht zu üben” (Gen 18,19). Studien zur altorientalischen und bib­ lischen Rechtsgeschichte, zur Religionsgeschichte Israels und zur Religionssoziologie. Fest­ schrift für Eckart Otto zum 65. Geburtstag (BZAR 13; ed. R. Achenbach and M. Arneth; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2009), 335–349, esp. 335.

HeBAI 4 (2015), 373–399 ISSN 2192-2276

DOI 10.1628/219222715X14604539713303 © 2015 Mohr Siebeck

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in Psalm 105, or the salvation at the Sea of Reeds in Psalm 106. The events significant for the respective construction of history have a paradigmatic character for the psalms’ construction of history. 2 The historical psalms are concerned with interpreted history for the immediate situation of the petitioners. Therefore, these constructions of history as well as their significance for the theology of the psalms form the first investigative horizon for the following remarks. In order to describe how the psalms understand interpreted history, it is helpful to distinguish between memory and history – an issue intensively discussed in cultural studies. 3 This allows one to focus on the reception and interpretation process that also characterizes the construction of history in the historical psalms. Therefore, it must first be emphasized with W. Kansteiner that the recep- tion of events from the past is accompanied by a selection from the abun- dance of standardized representations of the past. 4 This reception process of selected and interpreted events aims at the formation of collective memo- ries. These representations of the past are then defined as narrative systems, which interpret and present the events of the past in an identity-forming and

2 Here the distinction between pragmatic history in the sense of history and paradig- matic history in the sense of story stands in the background. This was introduced by E. Voegelin, Israel und die Offenbarung – Die Geburt der Geschichte (vol. 2 of Ordnung und Geschichte ; ed. F. Hartenstein, et al.; Paderborn: Fink, 2005), 37–39.

3 For example cf. A. Erll, “Kollektives Gedächtnis und Erinnerungskulturen,” in Kon­ zepte der Kulturwissenschaften. Theoretische Grundlagen – Ansätze – Perspektiven (ed. A. Nünning and V. Nünning; Stuttgart: Metzler, 2003), 156–185; W. Kansteiner, “Postmoderner Historismus. Das kollektive Gedächtnis als neues Paradigma der Kul- turwissenschaften,” in Paradigmen und Disziplinen, Vol. 2 of Handbuch der Kulturwis­ senschaften (ed. F. Jaeger and J. Straub; Stuttgart: Metzler, 2004), 119–139; G. Lottes, “Erinnerungskulturen zwischen Psychologie und Kulturwissenschaft,” in Erinne­ rung, Gedächtnis, Wissen: Studien zur kulturwissenschaftlichen Gedächtnisforschung (ed. G. Oesterle; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005), 163–184; H. Welzer, “Gedächtnis und Erinnerung,” in Themen und Tendenzen, Vol. 3 of Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften (ed. F. Jaeger and J. Straub; Stuttgart: Metzler, 2004), 155–174; M. Erdheim, “Das Unbewusste in der Kultur. Erinnern und Verdrängen als Themen der Kulturwissenschaften,” in Themen und Tendenzen, Vol. 3 of Handbuch der Kul­ turwissenschaften (ed. F. Jaeger and J. Straub; Stuttgart: Metzler, 2004), 92–108.

4 On the process of consciously designed reduction, cf. P. Ricœur, “Gedächtnis – Verges- sen – Geschichte,” in Historische Sinnbildung. Problemstellungen, Zeitkonzepte, Wah­ rnehmungshorizonte, Darstellungsstrategien (ed. K. Müller and J. Rüsen; Hamburg:

Rowohlt, 1997), 433–454. In addition, Kansteiner, “Historismus” (see note above), 136, based on A. Assmann distinguishes between the potential collective memory, in which the representations of the past are collected, and the current collective memory. Cf. here further A. Assmann, Erinnerungsräume: Formen und Wandlungen des kulturellen Gedächtnisses (München: C. H. Beck, 2006), 130–142.

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identity-reassuring way. 5 They thus form the basis for the collective identity by which the recipients draw from the past in order to interpret their pre- sent in light of the past. This creates an interweaving of the layers of time. As such, the narrative of the past depends on the realized situation of the group and also serves to ensure their identity in the future. The reception process of paradigmatic events thus depends on the respective realized situ- ations of the individual and the social group. As such it is subject to ongo- ing modification. In sum, the following three aspects open up a horizon in which the ques- tion of remembered history in the psalms must be asked anew: firstly, the reception and interpretation process that leads to the emergence of collective memories; secondly, the basic narrative structure of these identity-creating memories; and thirdly, the awareness of differentiated layers of time. The starting point for pursuing this question is the fact that the terminol- ogy of remembering (רכז) itself is used in the psalms 6 and is always quali- fied with regard to the relationship with God. A reciprocal process is described by which human remembrance always presupposes divine

remembrance and is to be understood as a response to it. 7 Accordingly, the

objects of remembrance involve the miracles of God which form the basis of

the community handling the tradition. 8 These miracles are realized in the

process of remembrance, so that the petitioners align themselves with the

community of the people of God.

5

Regarding the techniques for the production of narrative contexts, cf. D. E. Polking- horne, “Narrative Psychologie und Geschichtsbewusstsein. Beziehungen und Per-

spektiven,” in Erzählung, Identität und historisches Bewusstsein: Die psychologische Kon­ struktion von Zeit und Geschichte (ed. J. Straub; Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1998), 12–45;

D. Carr, Time, Narrative and History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986);

Lottes, “Erinnerungskulturen” (see n. 3), 183.

6

On remembrance in the Old Testament, cf. mainly W. Schottroff, Gedenken im Alten Orient und im Alten Testament (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1964);

W.

Schottroff, “רכז zkr gedenken,” THAT I (2004): 507–518; H. Eising, “רכז” in ThWAT

II

(1977): 571–593; A. Grund, “‘Des Gerechten gedenkt man zum Segen’ (Prov 10,7):

Motive der Erinnerungsarbeit in Israel vom sozialen bis zum kulturellen Gedächtnis,”

in

Die Macht der Erinnerung (JBTh 22; ed. B. Janowski and O. Fuchs; Neukirchen-

Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2008), 41–62, as well as the secondary versions with

regard to the psalms from B. Janowski, “Schöpferische Erinnerung. Zum Gedenken

Gottes in der biblischen Fluterzählung,” in Die Welt als Schöpfung (BThAT 4; ed.

B.

Janowski; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2008), 172–198.

7

Cf.

here especially Ps 111:4, according to which YHWH is seen as the one who creates

the remembrance for his miracles himself. However, this means that YHWH is under- stood not only as a subject of the miracles, but also as the one who enables their visu- alization. Cf. here further Grund “Motive” (see n. 6), 52.

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This means that the source language of the psalms with the terminology of remembering (רכז) is analogous to the reception process of paradigmatic history as discussed in the cultural sciences. This analogy with respect to the psalms and their terminology of remembrance receives substantial specification in the historical psalms, because here the remembrance (רכז) of paradigmatic events is itself the issue. This process of reception is not only implied in these and other psalms, but also is explicitly reflected upon. That is how the call to commemorate the miracles of YHWH (cf. Pss 78:4; 105:2, 5; 136:4), including the subsequent representations of paradigmatic history (cf. Pss 78:12–72; 105:12–45; 136:5–22), illustrates the development of collective memories in the psalms with the cultural scientific description of Kansteiner. As the following discussion will show, the three aspects noted above – development process, narrative ordering scheme, and clustered, differentiated time horizons – are implemented in psalmic language in the historical psalms. In this respect, the historical psalms depict the develop- ment process of collective memories. The second investigative horizon concerns the importance of the histori- cal psalms in view of the composition and redaction of the Psalter. Some- thing they share in common is their development at a late point in the Psalter’s growth. 9 It is obvious that each of the historical psalms has been

9 Cf. for questions on the redaction and composition of the Psalter especially the exten- sive work of E. Zenger, “Psalmenexegese und Psalterexegese: Eine Forschungsskizze,” in The Composition of the Book of Psalms (ed. E. Zenger; Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 2010), 17–65, which, in a programmatic article, sets out the need for a dual perspective of indi- vidual psalm exegesis and Psalter composition. Cf. further F. L. Hossfeld and E. Zenger, “Psalmenauslegung im Psalter”, in Schriftauslegung in der Schrift: Festschrift für Odil Hannes Steck zu seinem 65. Geburtstag (ed. R. G. Kratz, T. Krüger, and K. Schmid; Ber- lin: de Gruyter, 2000), 237–257; E. Zenger, “Die Psalmen im Psalter: Neue Perspektiven der Forschung,” ThRev 95 (1999): 443–456; E. Zenger, “Der Psalter als Buch,” in Der Psalter im Judentum und Christentum (ed. E. Zenger; Freiburg: Herder, 1998), 1–57; M. Leuenberger, Konzeptionen des Königtums Gottes im Psalter. Untersuchungen zu Komposition und Redaktion der theokratischen Bücher IV–V im Psalter (AThANT 83; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2004), 4 f., 22–24; and F. Hartenstein, “‘Schaffe mir Recht, JHWH!’ (Psalm 7,9). Zum theologischen und anthropologischen Profil der Teilkomposition Psalm 3–14,” in The Composition of the Book of Psalms (ed. E. Zenger; Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 2010), 229–258, 231. With respect to Books Four and Five of the Psalms, which include four of the five historical psalms, the following works on the redaction of the Psalter are to be mentioned: J. M. Auwers, La composition littéraire du Psautier: Un état de la question (Cahiers de la Revue Biblique 46; Paris: J. Gabalda, 2000), 67–89; E. Ballhorn, Zum Telos des Psalters: der Textzusammenhang des Vierten und Fünften Psalmenbuches (Ps 90150) (Berlin: Philo, 2004); M. D. Goulder, The Psalms of the Return (Book V, Psalms 107–150): Studies in the Psalter, IV (JSOTSS 258; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998); K. Koenen, Jahwe wird kommen, zu herrschen über die Erde. Psalm 90–110 als Komposition (BBB 101; Weinheim: Beltz

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placed in a redactionally critical place for the literary formation of the book of Psalms’ literary formation. Indeed, Psalm 78 forms the compositional center of the Asaph collection (Psalms 73–83), where it stands out through its comprehensive account of history in two reflective passages (Ps 78:12– 39, 40–72) and through its very length. Psalms 105 and 106, which seem to have originated as a pair in relation to each other, form the ending of the fourth book of Psalms, and Psalms 135 and 136 are at the transition to the last David collection (Psalms 138–146) that leads into the final great Hallel (Pss 147–150). Therefore, the literary-historical positioning of the histori- cal psalms will be of considerable importance in carrying forward recent research on the controversial question of the Psalter’s origin. Therefore, the historical psalms will be shown to be key hermeneutical texts in a twofold sense – as a paradigm of collective memories and as a para- digm for the Psalter´s late, complex redaction.

1. The dark sayings of old – creation and history in Psalm 78

1.1 The construction of history in Psalm 78

The extensive historical Psalm 78 is to be understood as a deliberately

designed composition, 10 which is divisible into three major sections: the

Athenäum, 1995); R. G. Kratz, “Die Tora Davids. Psalm 1 und die doxologische Fünf- teilung des Psalters,” ZThK 93 (1996): 1–34; and R. G. Kratz, “Das Sch e ma c des Psalters. Die Botschaft vom Reich Gottes nach Ps 145,” in Gott und Mensch im Dialog: Festschrift für Otto Kaiser zum 80. Geburtstag (BZAW 345; ed. M. Witte; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013, 623–638); Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see note above), 2004; C. Levin, “Die Entste- hung der Büchereinteilung des Psalters,” VT 54 (2004): 83–90; C. Levin, “Psalm 136

als zweiteilige Schlußdoxologie des Psalters,” SJOT 14 (2000: 17–27; J. C. McCann, The Shape and Shaping of the Psalter (JSOT.S 159; Sheffield: JSOT Press 1993); K. Schmid, “Innerbiblische Schriftauslegung. Aspekte der Forschungsgeschichte,” in Schriftaus­ legung in der Schrift: Festschrift für Odil Hannes Steck zu seinem 65. Geburtstag (ed.

R. G. Kratz, T. Krüger, and K. Schmid; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2000), 1–22. Cf. in addition

the comprehensive collection of the literature from Zenger, Psalmenexegese und Psalte­

rexegese (see note above), 24 f. n. 19 and Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see note above), 31 n. 104.

10 For an overview of the different positions cf. Hartenstein, “Bedeutung” (see n. 1), 340

n. 22 f. Cf. further the literary-critical analysis of H. Spieckermann, Heilsgegenwart:

Eine Theologie der Psalmen (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1989), 133–139;

F.

L. Hossfeld and E. Zenger, Psalmen 51–100 (HThKAT; Freiburg: Herder, 2007), 425;

F.

L. Hossfeld and E. Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (HThKAT; Freiburg: Herder, 2008);

and A. Klein, Geschichte und Gebet (FAT 94; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014), 101–110. By contrast, N. Füglister, “Psalm LXXXVIII: Der Rätsel Lösung?,” in Congress Vol­ ume Leuven 1989 (VT.S 43; ed. J. A. Emerton; Leiden: Brill, 1991), 264–297, 270–276;

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proem (vv. 1–11) as well as the two rounds through the salvation history of Israel (vv. 12–39, 40–72). These two rounds 11 through history are designed with a structural and conceptual analogy, and they are closely interlinked linguistically through “hinge” verses (vv. 17, 32, 40–42, 56), each of which introduces a new section. 12 Both rounds through history begin by reflecting the miracles of YHWH:

vv. 12–16 reflect YHWH´s care for his people and his protection as creator, while vv. 40–55 reflect his protective leadership as world ruler. In each case a negative response by the ancestors follows the miracles, which results in divine wrath and the punitive action of YHWH (vv. 17–31 / 56–64). In the last section of the two historical rounds, the mercy of YHWH is set in rela- tionship to his anger (vv. 38 f. / 67–72). A similar point is made in the first round (vv. 12–39) through a creation- theological reflection about the fallibility of humans that precedes the divine mercy of the creator. In this way, the psalm functions as a historical- theological reflection on the mercy of God the creator and the guilt of the ancestors from the beginning of their relationship. Accordingly, the guilt of the ancestors’ generation from the poem is taken up in vv. 8–11 in such a way that the individual subsections (vv. 17, 32, 40–42, 56) begin with it and thereby stress the historical continuity of the guilt of the ancestors. The main historical-theological interpretative categories are the following: “sin” (אטח) in vv. 17, 32; “revolt / be rebellious” (הרמ) in vv. 8, 17, 40, 56; “tempt” (הסנ) in vv. 18, 41; as well as “forget” or “remember” in vv. 8, 11, 35, 39, 42. This creates an interpretive horizon running through the psalm as a central theme. This emphasis on guilt is correlated with the mercy of God the crea- tor, which unfolds programmatically 13 in Ps 78:38 f. The remembrance of

D. Mathias, Die Geschichtstheologie der Geschichtssummarien in den Psalmen (BEATAJ 35, Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1993), 48–69; also B. Weber, “Psalm 78: Geschichte mit Geschichte deuten,” TZ 56 (2000): 193–214, 194–198, who stresses specifically the com- positional and thus literary coherence of the psalms.

11 Differently Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 110–126, reconstructs a linear course of the history of Egypt up to the situation in the country due to their literary-critical acceptance.

12 Cf. “sinning” (אטח) in vv. 17, 32, “revolt / be rebellious” (הרמ) in vv. 8, 17, 40, 56, “attempt” (הסנ) in vv. 18, 41 as well as “forget” or “remember” in vv. 8, 11, 35, 39, 42. For a compositional analysis of the Psalm cf. the overview in J. Gärtner, Die Geschichts­ psalmen. Eine Studie zu den Psalmen 78, 105, 106, 135 und 136 als hermeneutische Schlüsseltexte im Psalter (FAT 84; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), 46–49.

13 In this sense, Hartenstein also emphasizes the central meaning of v. 38 f. for the his- torical theology of Psalm 78 (Hartenstein, “Bedeutung” [see n. 1], 132 f. and especially n. 27). Also similar, S. Kreuzer, Die Frühgeschichte Israels in Bekenntnis und Verkündi­ gung des Alten Testaments (BZAW 178; Berlin: De Gruyter, 1988), 237 and M. Witte, “From Exodus to David: History and Historiography in Psalm 78,” DCLY (2006): 21–42, 32. Witte sees the theological crux in v. 35, but understands this verse in the narrow

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God the creator is highlighted in Ps 78:38 f., which refers to the fallibility of humankind, which is designated as “flesh” and transient “breath” or “wind.” But precisely in this creaturely status to which the fallibility of man is bound – as made clear by Israel’s actions in history (Ps 78:17–27) – God remembers his people. Thus, the fallibility of man, anchored on the level of creation theology, is encompassed by mercy. In the second round (vv. 40–72), the divine mercy, in which the divine wrath has its place, unfolds again via the historical action of the world’s ruler based on the categories of election and reprobation. Here, YHWH’s three-part election of Judah, Zion, and ultimately David (vv. 68–72) go back before the rejection of Ephraim, which, considering the election of David

as a divine representative, 14 stands for the entire people (vv. 70–72). 15 So in reflecting on their history, the petitioners can retrospectively recognize the downfall of the northern kingdom as a limitation of the divine wrath, which was preceded by election. In this sense, the Psalm ultimately implies the history of YHWH with his people as a story of divine mercy. To recognize this and respond with lauda -

tory retelling (רפס Pi.; vv. 3, 4, 6) 16 of YHWH’s miracles in history, a histor-

ical-hermeneutical reflection on the tradition’s mediation from generation

to generation (vv. 1–11; proem) precedes the two rounds. It picks up the

pattern of realization and proclamation of the saving acts (רפס Piel) of

YHWH, characterized primarily in the toda of individuals, and transforms

it into the perspective of storytelling concerning collective saving acts. 17 In

this way, the saving actions, realized as part of the liturgical thanksgiving,

conceptual context with v. 38 f.: “If the theological perspective secures the knowledge and acknowledgement of God as the cornerstone of life and one’s own survival (v. 35), then the anthropological perspective secures the acknowledgement of one’s own sta- tus of creature (v. 39). The two perspectives are based on a common conception: that human beings are historically related to God” (Witte, “Exodus” [see note above], 32). Differently Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 128–131, who understands the section as having been taken from the so-called Deuteronomistic judgmental scheme.

14 For the sapiential background of the domination in Ps 78:72, cf. especially the promise of YHWH to Solomon after the completion of the temple in 1 Kgs 9:1–9. Cf. in addition to this wisdom influenced ideal Job 1:8; 2:3 and Ps 101:2 and on the representation of David as an ideal ruler, Witte, “Exodus” (see n. 13), 36.

15 Cf. Weber, “Psalm 78” (see n. 10), 207; and further M. E. Tate, Psalms 51–100 (WBC 20; Dallas: Word Books, 1990), 294 f.

16 For example cf. Pss 9:2, 15; 22:23; 26:7; 107:22 and on the further documents see also J. Conrad, “רפסThWAT V (1986): 910–921, and Füglister, “Rätsel” (see n. 10), 286.

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380 Judith Gärtner

receive a paradigmatic character and become the identity-foundation of the community handling the tradition.

1.2 The mercy of the creator – Psalm 78 as center of the Asaph collection

In the context of the Asaph collection, the position and the macro-structural features of Psalm 78 with respect to the composition and redaction of the

Psalter shows that Psalm 78 was designed as a reflective text, both in terms of its neighboring Psalms 77 and 79 and of the Masoretic sequence from Psalm

74

to Psalm 79. This will be outlined below. Firstly, when one considers the conceptual relationships between Psalm

78

and the neighboring Psalms 77 and 79, a common thread between the

three texts is YHWH’s mercy (formulated in 78:38 f.), which places limits upon YHWH’s anger. Specifically between Psalms 77 and 78, the relation of divine grace and wrath from Psalm 77 is taken up and continued in Psalm 78, thereby creating a compositional connection The lamenting question in Ps 77:10 makes this point clear: “Has God forgotten to be gracious or has he closed his mercy in anger – Sela?” The question is aimed at YHWH to remind him of his anger- limiting mercy. By contrast, in Ps 78:39 f. the relationship between anger and mercy is part of the historical and creation-theological foundation of the psalm. There, the guilt is anthropologically anchored as a component of the creaturely, historical status of humankind (Ps 78:38 f.) that is fundamen- tal for the constantly renewed salvific commemoration of the creator. The reflection on history in Psalm 78 thus raises individual remembrance of the days of old from Ps 77:6, 12 to a higher level of reflection. For this reason, the commemoration is itself first rooted in the historical-hermeneutical reflec- tion in Ps 78:1–11. Second, the issue of guilt is shifted to the days of old and reflected with relation to creation theology. With regard to these two aspects and in comparison to Psalm 77, Psalm 78 already proves to be a reflective text, in which crucial aspects from Psalm 77 are taken up and continued. 18 A similar result can be stated with regard to the conceptual link between Psalms 78 and 79. In Ps 79:8–9, the issue of guilt unfolds in the context of petitions for forgiveness, where the petitioners turn to YHWH as a just judge and ask for him to cover up the debt (תאטח רפכ). This “covering” of the guilt is taken up again in Ps 78:38 f. at the level of creation theology. This means that petitioners who pray Psalm 79 in light of Psalm 78 are aware not

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only of their guilt as anthropologically anchored, but also of the mercy of the creator. On this basis, they can ask in Psalm 79 for forgiveness of the guilt. In this respect, with Ps 78:38–39, a fundamental statement of the con- ditio humana coram Deo is presented. These verses not only represent a hermeneutical key for the petitioners’ own conception of history, but also give the request for forgiveness in Psalm 79 a theological dimension beyond what would have been possible had Psalm 79 been on its own. In this sense, this connecting line can be described as being both deliberately designed and a “profiled conception” 19 that links Psalm 78 to Psalm 79. 20 Secondly, two compositional arches are discernible in a sequential reading of Psalm 74 to 79. Involving Psalms 74; 75; and 76, the first compositional arch takes up the collective lament from Psalm 74 on God’s current distance and answers it in Psalm 75 with the certainty of God’s future intervention as a just judge, as well as in Psalm 76 with God’s renewed, Zion-based rule over all peoples of the earth. The second compositional arch involves Psalms 74, 77, and 79. 21 With Psalm 77, a paradigmatic individual interrupts the collective perspective in

Psalm 74. Here in Psalm 77, however, the lamented situation from Psalm 74

continues. For this purpose, the salvation history perspective from 74:1–3 is

taken up and maintained in Ps 77:17–21 with the hope of a renewed coming

of YHWH. Psalm 79:13 likewise addresses the issue with a certainty about

the restored foundational situation.

In redactional terms, then, one should assume that the arch of compo-

sition from Psalms 74; 77; and 79 has been interrupted by the insertion of

Psalms 75 and 76. 22 This observation is mainly supported by the fact that the

19 Hartenstein, “Profil” (see n. 9), 234.

20 In addition, Psalm 78 and Psalm 79 are related to one another via more diverse lexemic connecting lines. Cf. the inclusion of the shepherd image sheep of his pasture (ןאצ ךתיערמ ) in Ps 79:13 and Ps 78:52 f., 70–72; the laudatory retelling (רפס Piel) in Ps 79:13 and in Ps 78:1–11 as well as the linguistically similar anger terminology of both psalms:

“fierce anger” (המח) in Ps 79:6; 78:38; “the fire of wrath” (שׁא) in Ps 79:5; 78:21, 63; “zeal of wrath” (אנק) in Ps 79:5; 78:58.

21 On the compositional arch of Psalm 74; 77; and 78, cf. also B. Weber, “Der Asaph- Psalter – eine Skizze,” in Prophetie und Psalmen. Festschrift für Klaus Seybold zum 65. Geburtstag (AOAT 280; ed. B. Huwyler, H. P. Mathys, and B. Weber; Münster:

Ugarit-Verlag, 2001), 130; and further Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 51–100 (see n. 10), 400, 431, 440–442, 465 f. On Psalms 80–83 and their redactional placement in the Asaph collection, see Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 155–172, 181.

22 A crucial aspect of the Psalter-compositional connection between Psalms 74; 75 and 76 is their name theology. Cf. B. Weber, “‘In Salem wurde sein Versteck …’. Psalm 76 im Lichte literarischer und historischer Kontexte neu gelesen,” BN 97 (1999): 85–103, 100; and Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 51–100 (see n. 10), 400. Differently Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 138 f., 176–181, takes up a first redactional context from Psalm 74 and Psalm 76,

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already executed judgment on the poor in Ps 76:9–10 assumes the hope in Ps 75:3–4, 8 that YHWH will intervene as a judge, simultaneously connect- ing this hope with the addition of the petition for the poor in Ps 74:19, 21. 23 Thus, the redactional additions in Ps 76:9–10 and Ps 74:18–21 probably go back to the same hand that inserted Psalms 75 and Ps 76 in the context of the Asaph collection and, in this way, designed the compositional arch from Psalms 74–76. 24 Consequently, the history of salvation structure connect- ing the lament psalms (Psalms 74; 77; and 79) is not based on the redac- tional addition of Ps 74:18–21, but rather links to the basic layer of Psalm 74, namely 74:1–17, 22 f. As the last psalm, Psalm 78 was inserted into the context of Psalms 74–79. This psalm takes up the collective, salvation-historical and creation- theological perspective begun in Psalm 74, embedding them in a compre- hensive context of historical and creation theology. In this way, Psalm 78 represents a reflection text, both for the arch of composition in Psalms 74; 77, and 79 and for the literary context of the neighboring Psalms 77 and 79. This point gives the collection Psalms 74–79 as a whole a reflexive profile that goes beyond the separate psalms and the existing arches of composi- tion. In the collection of Psalms 74–79, Psalm 78 is thus a focal point that collects and theologically refines the formative themes. Therefore, having been created deliberately for this literary context as a reflective text, it stands out among the current text sequence. 25 Due to the exilic date of Psalm 74 and the background of Psalm 79 in written prophecy, one can reasonably assume that the beginning of the compilation of the collection was in the post-exilic period.

and in Psalm 77 assumes further literary-historical development. In the background is their acceptance of two compositional arches – namely, Psalms 74–75 f.–77 and Psalms 79 f.–81 f.–83.

23 Also M. Emmendörffer, Der ferne Gott. Eine Untersuchung der alttestamentlichen Volks­ klagelieder vor dem Hintergrund der mesopotamischen Literatur (FAT 21; Tübingen:

Mohr Siebeck, 1998), 98; F. Hartenstein, Die Unzugänglichkeit Gottes im Heiligtum. Jesaja 6 und der Wohnort JHWHs in der Jerusalemer Kulttradition (WMANT 75; Neu- kirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1997), 229 n. 20; Hossfeld and Zenger, “Psalmen- auslegung im Psalter,” 239–241, only vv.19–21 count as supplement. K. Seybold, Die Psalmen (HAT 15; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1996), 287; 421 f., sees vv.19–22 as a sup- plement.

24 Cf. Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 51–100 (see n. 10), 390; 400; and Weber, “Psalm 76,”

99–101.

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2. The parallelismus membrorum of the history of salvation in Psalm 105 and Psalm 106

Psalms 105 and 106 each present from different perspectives an overall con- ception of the history of the salvation of Israel, which extends from the time of the patriarchs and matriarchs to the exile. Here, the two aspects of the issue in Psalm 78 – the relationship between creation and history, on the one hand, and the relationship between divine mercy and wrath, on the other – are further differentiated.

2.1 The covenant faithfulness of YHWH in the history with his people

Psalm 105 starts in vv. 1–6 with an extensive call to praise YHWH 26 and ends with praise in v. 45, so that a hymnic frame is placed around the main body (vv. 7–45). This main body consists of three sections: the reason for the praise (vv. 7–11); the unfolding salvation history (vv. 12–41); and a final reflection on the historical round (vv. 42–45). 27

Due to the fact that the petitioners contemplate the miracles of YHWH

in history (Ps 105:2), the events of early history become accessible for the

readers in light of the covenant faithfulness of YHWH. 28 This is especially

true for times of hardship and danger, which retrospectively prove to be

part of the larger history of salvation of YHWH with his people. These

times of hardship and danger result in the covenant promise, i. e. the giving

of the land (Ps 105:45). For this reason, covenantal ideas from Deut 7:7–11;

26 With respect to genus, Psalm 105 is commonly associated with the hymns. Cf. here F. Crüsemann, Studien zur Formgeschichte von Hymnus und Danklied in Israel (WMANT 32; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1969), 76–78; R. J. Clifford, “Style and Purpose in Psalm 105,” Biblica 60 (1979): 420–427; E. Haglund, Historical Motifs in the Psalms (CB.OT 23; Uppsala: CWK Gleerup, 1984), 22–29; J. Kühlewein, Geschichte in den Psalmen (CThM.BW 2; Stuttgart: Calwer, 1973), 77–81; Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 97. It is striking, however, that the typical genus unfolding is included with “yes / then” (yk) in 11 Q a fragm. EIII (=Ps 105,1–10). Cf. for this J. A. Sanders, The Dead Sea Psalms Scroll (New York: Cornell University Press, 1967), 164.

27 For a discussion of the structure and organization of the psalms, cf. Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 98; Seybold, Psalmen (see n. 23), 414 f. Cf. further the listing of the different classifications in P. Auffret, Essai sur la structure litteraire du psaume 105 (BN.B 3; München: Manfred Görg, 1985), 10. For a detailed discussion of literary options in detail and their refutation cf. the summary from Mathias, Geschichts­ theologie (see n. 10), 114–120.

28 Cf. here also Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 219 f.; 224; 238, who likewise highlights the cov- enant faithfulness of YHWH as a fundamental salvific event in Psalm 105.

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Gen 15:18; Gen 26:2–5, and Genesis 17 are taken up in Ps 105:8–11. Here, the eternal covenant (םלוע תירב, Gen 17:7) conceived in the Priestly source receives a prominent place in v. 8 and v. 10 as that which frames the other ideas of the covenant. 29 This means that the promise of the covenant for eternity in v. 8 and v. 10 includes all the covenants with the ancestors, along with the petitioners. This paradigmatic significance of the covenant prom- ise for the conception of history is further reflected in the fact that the cov- enantal remembrance of YHWH from v. 8 is resumed in the final reflection on the history of salvation in v. 42. In this way, the walk through history in vv. 12–41 is framed by the covenant remembrance of YHWH and is to be understood from the view of the covenant promise. The psalm’s own presentation of the narrative context from the Penta- teuch follows in vv. 12–41. The design of these verses involves assembling events from the early history of Israel into a chain of events (the time of the patriarchs and matriarchs vv. 12–15; the time of Joseph vv. 16–23; the time in Egypt vv. 24 and 38; the time in the desert vv. 39–41) in which the covenant promise of the land has not yet been fulfilled, so that Israel lives among foreign nations, but with YHWH leading his people to the fulfillment of these promises. The petitioners recognize that YHWH has preserved their forefathers and mothers in times of need and danger and has always remained faithful to his covenant promise. 30 The Psalm uses the Leitwort “send” (חלשׁ) as a historical-hermeneutic category, through which each of the turning points of the times of need are introduced. In this sense, Joseph is sent ahead of his people to Egypt in order to pave the way for them (vv. 17, 20); Aaron and Moses are sent to

29 For priest-scripture covenant theology cf. M. Köckert, Leben in Gottes Gegenwart. Studien zum Verständnis des Gesetzes im Alten Testament (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004), 77–88; W. Groß, Zukunft für Israel. Alttestamentliche Bundeskonzepte und die aktuelle Debatte um den Neuen Bund (SBS 176, Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibel- werk, 1998), 52 f.; 56 f.; 60; 63; Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 220–221. Furthermore Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 223 f.; 270 f., sees the covenant concept of Psalm 105 as closely related to the Davidic covenant in Psalm 89, which is the final psalm of Book Three. Although they may show no convincing lexemic connections for this compositional reference, this assumption is the starting point for her redaction-critical reflections on the psalm group 100–107.

30 Cf. here also Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 238. “Die Ereignisse der Frühzeit werden dabei in ihrer Spannung zwischen der Gültigkeit der Landverheißung und den situativen Fremdheitserfahrungen des Volkes dargestellt. In diesem heilsgeschichtlichen hiatus liegt das Identifikationspotential für die Juden der nachexilischen Diaspora, die sich in der Fremde vorfinden und sich im Lobpreis von Ps 105 der Bundestreue Jhwhs und der Gültigkeit seiner Landverheißung vergewissern können.”

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lead Israel out of Egypt (v.26); and finally YHWH sends darkness in order to initiate the Exodus from Egypt (v.28). Through the petitioners’ reflecting on the miracles of YHWH, the caring actions of the creator in the desert become accessible for them. They can be seen in the provision of manna and quail, as well as in protection through the cloud, which is referred to here with the temple-related terminology of the “cover” (ךסמ). 31 Thus, the interpretation of the exodus events is ulti- mately aimed towards the care of the creator, who makes the hostile place of the desert into a place of abundant life and nearness to God (Ps 105:39–41). This knowledge of YHWH as Lord of the cosmos is connected to a univer- sal perspective that includes the nations of the world (vv. 1, 7). 32 Finally, in rethinking the salvation history, the petitioners recognize that the covenant promise is connected to the Torot, the instructions of YHWH. The petitioners’ response can only be to follow a way of life according to these teachings of YHWH (v. 45). 33

2.2 The mercy of YHWH and the forgetfulness of the people: constructing

the history of guilt in Psalm 106

In Psalm 106, the petitioners look back on their history from the perspective

of the exile by identifying with their ancestors’ guilt, on which the exile itself

is based (v.6). The Psalm is composed of an introduction to the reflection

on history (vv. 1–5); 34 a confession of guilt (v. 6); a reflection on history as

a history of guilt (vv. 7–42); a concluding reflection on YHWH’s actions in

31 In the vast majority of documents ךסמ represents the entrance to the inner sanctum (Exod 26:36 f.; 35:15; 36:37; 39:38; 40:5, 28) or the entrance to the atrium (Exod 27:16; 35:17; 38:18; 39:40; 40:8, 32). Added to this is the use in connection with the sheathing of the ark (Exod 35:12; 38:24; 40:21). Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 236, stresses in this con- text that the use of the roof is aimed at the visible expression of the divine care.

32 Cf. here Ps 96:2 f., 10 and the conclusion from J. Jeremias, Das Königtum Gottes in den Psalmen. Israels Begegnung mit dem kanaanäischen Mythos in den Jahwe­König­Psalmen (FRLANT 141; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1987), 131, “Indem Israel von Jahwes Wundern vor den Völkern erzählt (v.2 f.), proklamiert es sein Königtum über die Welt vor ihnen (v.10), dessen volle Realisation im Ausschalten allen Unrechts unter der Völkerwelt mit Jahwes Kommen schon begonnen hat (v.13).”

33 Cf. also Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 202 f.

34 An introduction to historical reflection stands out because of its form-historical dis- parity, since it combines a call for praise in v. 1, questions in v. 2, a beatitude in v. 3, and requests in v. 5. Because of this, the beginning of the psalm is often described as a redactional addition to the reflection on history. Cf. Seybold, Psalmen (see n. 23), 421 f.; B. Duhm, Die Psalmen (Freiburg: Mohr, 1899), 382 f., and C. A. Briggs, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1906),

342.

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history (vv. 43, 44–46); and a final petition (v. 47) as well as a final doxol- ogy (v. 48). 35 Focal points of the historical reflection through which the people’s his- tory with YHWH is interpreted include the saving act of YHWH at the Sea of Reeds (Ps 106:7–12) as well as the Israelites unfaithfulness at Horeb (Ps 106:19–23). Structurally, these focal points are clear due to the section on the saving act at the Sea of Reeds (vv.7–12) and, the Leitworte that are vital for the Psalm converge. The overarching Leitwort structure has to do with YHWH’s remembrance (v.45), which is juxtaposed with the godless- ness of the people (vv.4, 7, 13, 21), as well as the divine mercy that guides the actions of YHWH (vv.4, 7, 45). The saving action of YHWH (save [עשׁי Hiphil]) that the Israelites experience at the Sea of Reeds becomes paradig- matic for YHWH’s saving action in history in general. By taking up Exod 13:27–15:21, the rescue from enemies is reflected in a very basic manner. Remembering this saving act is the measure for how the petitioners under- stand YHWH’s relationship to his people up to the present day (106:10, 21, 47). Thus, the Israelites’ turning away from YHWH at Horeb by worship- ping the calf (vv. 19–23) is interpreted paradigmatically as forgetfulness of the saving act at the Sea of Reeds (Ps 106:21). 36 Hence, YHWH’s decision about the destruction follows the preparation of the image. This destruction can only be stopped by the intervention of Moses as YHWH’s chosen one (Ps 106:23). Moses must step into the breach to heal the rift that has arisen between the people and God, and to avert the divine wrath. 37 This is possi- ble for Moses through his election which, in turn, implies the possibility of averting divine wrath. In this way, the limitation of God’s wrath is already implied in the election of Moses. 38 Yet this election is not limited to Moses alone, but rather includes Israel as the chosen people of YHWH (Ps 106:5). Therefore, the people’s guilt, to which YHWH responds with renewed

35 On the literary classification of the final doxologies, cf. the discussion in M. Leuen- berger, “Die Psalterdoxologien. Entstehung und Theologie,” in idem, Gott in Bewegung. Religions­ und theologiegeschichtliche Beiträge zu Gottesvorstellungen im alten Israel (FAT 76; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 166–193; Levin, “Büchereinteilung” (see n. 9), 89; Kratz, “Tora” (see n. 9), 28–31.

36 Even Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 253, indicates the falling away at Horeb as “the first expression of the Exodus forgetfulness.”

37 On the background of Moses’ intercession in Ps 106:23; Exod 13:5; and Exod 22:23–30, cf. C. Schroeder, “‘Standing in the breach’: Turning Away the Wrath of God,” Interpreta­ tion 52 (1998): 16–23, here 17–20.

38 Differently Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 253 f., who does not see the link between the elec- tion of Moses and the turning away of the divine wrath, but limits the avoidance of destruction to Moses’ acceptance of the office of the prophetic intercession.

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mercy, is integrated into the historical-theological paradigm of divine mercy and does not lead to the full force of divine wrath. In the time of the monarchy, the people’s transgressions increase to the level of complete contamination of the people and desecration of the land (Ps 106:34–42). The final turning point of the Psalm draws on the saving act at the Sea of Reeds through the concluding petition (עשׁי Hiphil) in v. 47. The petition asks for a further intervention by YHWH as the one whom they had encountered and who would gather his people from the diaspora, so that, just as after the rescue in v. 12, they can join again in praising God. Indeed, the petition hopes for a reversal of the distress indicated in the pre- ceding reflection upon YHWH’s action in history (vv. 43, 44–46). Verses 44–46 represent a hermeneutical key for understanding the con- ception of history in Psalm 106, as historically experienced divine actions are contrasted with the divine attribute formula. YHWH’s acts in history in v. 45 are thus guided by his mercy (דסח) in spite of the deep guilt of God’s people. YHWH’s mercy shows itself in renewed remembrance of the cove- nant and causes YHWH to tire of his anger, turn away from it, and show

mercy to his people again. In the background here is the attribute formula

from late prophecy, with the regret of YHWH added to it. With the words

“tire of ” (םחנ), “grace- / mercy- abundance” (דסח בר), as well as “show

mercy” (םחר), Ps 106:45b–46 adopts theological terms from Joel 2:13 and

Jonah 4:2. 39 However, in contrast to both Joel 2:13 and Jonah 4:2, the termi-

nology is not expressed in nominal sentences, but rather in verbal sen-

tences, according to the narrative structure of the conception of history. In

addition, it is crucial that Ps 106:45b only takes up the part of the attribute formula that deals with the mercy of YHWH. The “slowness to anger” (ךרא םיפא) as well as the “evil” (הער) as an object of “being tired of ” (םחנ) 40 are left out, in contrast to Joel 2:13 and Jonah 4:2. Three aspects for interpreting the attribute formula in Psalm 106 become evident at this point:

1. In the historical reflection, YHWH’s slowness to anger is narratively specified:

39 On the grace formula, cf. the overview in R. Scoralick, Gottes Güte und Gottes Zorn. Die Gottesprädikationen in Exodus 34,6f und ihre intertextuellen Beziehungen zum Zwölfpro­ phetenbuch (HBS 33; Freiburg: Herder, 2002), 218; for an expanded discussion on this formula cf. J. Jeremias, Die Reue Gottes. Aspekte alttestamentlicher Gottesvorstellungen (Neukirchen-Vluyn : Neukirchener Verlag, 2002), 87 f., 94–97.

40 Cf. Joel 2:13; A. K. Müller, Gottes Zukunft. Die Möglichkeit der Rettung am Tag JHWHs nach dem Joelbuch (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2008), 122–125; and M. Franz, Der barmherzige und gnädige Gott. Die Gnadenrede vom Sinai (Ex 34,6–7) und ihre Parallelen im Alten Testament und seiner Umwelt (BWANT 160; Stuttgart:

Kohlhammer, 2003), 257 f.

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2. The relationship between the guilt of the people and the regret or com-

passion of YHWH is displayed paradigmatically in his actions at the Sea of Reeds and Horeb.

3. YHWH’s mercy, which encompasses his wrath, is reflected in sum-

mary at the end of the historical retrospective in v.45 f., so that the petition- ers, in looking back from these verses’ presentation of history, can recognize YHWH’s mercy as a decisive motivation of divine action in history. Even with their involvement in guilt, then, the petitioners may hope for YHWH’s regret and renewed mercy. This is formulated in the final petition of Ps 106:47, taking up again the historical-theological paradigm from the Sea of Reeds. In this sense, the reflection on history in Psalm 106 narratively

develops the attribute formula from late prophecy. The reflection thus makes the relationship between divine mercy and divine anger into its subject.

2.3 The salvation-historical parallel in Psalm 105 and Psalm 106 at the end of Book Four

The importance of these two historical psalms for the composition and redaction of the Psalter will be outlined in two steps. First, the lexemic relat- edness of both psalms should be recognized, 41 on the basis of which one can speak of the psalms as parallel. 42 Second, considerations of the Psalter’s wider composition and redaction become relevant here, warranting a dis- cussion of the literary-historical importance of Psalms 104–105 as texts at the end of Book Four. If one takes into account the terminological connections between the two psalms, the most significant point of contact is the integration of the cove- nant theology from Psalm 105 at Ps 106:45, since, at this point in Ps 106:45, the covenant theology central to Ps 105:8–11, 42 is linked to YHWH’s mercy as a core concern in Psalm 106. Indeed, the keyword “covenant” (תירב), which is found only here in Psalm 106, is used in parallel with “divine mercy” (דסח) in Ps 106:1, 7, 45. Therefore, “covenant” (תירב) in Psalm 106 refers back to Psalm 105. We thus read in Ps 106:45, “And he

41 Moreover, it is striking that both have an almost parallel designed structure consist- ing of an introduction (Ps 105:1–6; Ps 106:1–5), a confession (Ps 105:7; Ps 106:6), a salvation-historical foundation (Ps 105:8–11; Ps 106:7–12), a passage through history (Ps 105:12–41; Ps 106:7–42), as well as a final reflection (Ps 105:42–45; Ps 106:43–46,

47).

42 Cf. also W. Zimmerli, “Zwillingspsalmen,” in Wort, Lied und Gottesspruch. Beiträge zu Psalmen und Propheten: Festschrift für Joseph Ziegler (ed. J. Schreiner and J. Ziegler; Würzburg: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1972), 105–113, who designates Psalms 105 and 106 as twin psalms.

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remembered his covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of his abundance-mercy.” Still other conceptual relationships between both psalms point back from the final reflection in Ps 106:43–46, 47 to the reflection on history in Psalm 105. Examples are the term “com- memorate/forget” (חכשׁ /רכז) (Pss 105:5, 8, 42; 106:4, 7, 13, 21, 45), the “wonderful works” (Pss 105:2, 5; 106:7, 22), and the name theology (Ps 105:1, 3; Ps 106:47) with which Psalm 105 begins and Psalm 106 ends. 43 In addition, a salvation-historical continuity between the two psalms is the topic of election, which in Ps 105:6.8–11 includes the sons of Jacob via the covenant promise to the ancestors, and which in Ps 106:5, 23 includes the Israelites via the election of Moses. Taken together, these lexemic links situ- ate the historically unbreakable covenant faithfulness of YHWH (Psalm 105) before the guilt narrative (Psalm 106). At the same time, YHWH’s mercy and wrath in Ps 106:1, 7, 45 are already appeased by the covenant faithfulness of YHWH, which manifests itself in divine compassion (Ps 106:45). 44 Through these two conceptually interwoven psalms, different conceptions of history come together as a common “historical credo” 45 at

the end of Book Four, effectively pointing petitioners from salvation history

to guilt history and then back to salvation history. Regarding the redaction

of the Psalter, these close conceptual references between both psalms sug-

gest that they were created in relation to each other and were redactionally

inserted into their present context. 46

On the use of the name theology in Psalm 105 and Psalm 106, see also Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 111. The use of holy (שׁדק) is still shown in Ps 105:42 and Ps 106:16.

44 Beyond these connecting conceptual lines, there are the following lexemic relation- ships between the psalms: the “word-theology” (רבד) in Ps 105:8, 19, 27, 28, 42, which is also present in Ps 106:12, 24; the keyword evil (הער) in Ps 105:15 and in Ps 106:32; the term הנר in Ps 105:43 and in Ps 106:44; the rare expression of Egypt as a country or as tents of Chams (Ps 105:23, 27; 106:22); and the use of the root hate (אנשׂ), with which both the Egyptians in Ps 105:25 and the enemies of Israel in Ps 106:10, 41 are desig- nated. Furthermore, the keyword preserve (רמשׁ) in terms of law and directives is found in Ps 105:45, while in the beatitude in Ps 106:3, those who do what is right (רמשׁ) are praised as happy. In addition, in Ps 106:5, 40 the people of God are called inherit- ance (הלחנ) and in Psalm 105:11, the term is found in connection with the promise of the land. The verb oppose (הרמ) is to be found in Ps 105:28 and in Ps 106:7, 33, 43. On the terminological links between Psalm 105 and Psalm 106, see Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 111; Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 201.

45 Cf. G. von Rad, Das formgeschichtliche Problem des Hexateuch (BWANT 78; Stuttgart:

43

Kohlhammer, 1938), 11–20.

46 Differently Zimmerli, “Zwillingspsalmen” (see n. 42), 111, who emphasizes the linguis- tic and conceptual difference and assumes two originally separate psalms. In contrast, Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 110–114; 135; 138; Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 220 f.; 245–248; and Ballhorn, Telos (see n. 9), 144–146, assume

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On the basis of these psalms’ shared lexemes and concepts, we will now consider their redaction-historical integration into the collection of Psalms 103–107. The argument involves five steps: 47 1. Through the notion of divine mercy characterizing the construction of history in Psalm 105 f., a conceptual bridge is created to the basic layer of Psalm 103 – namely, 103:1–18. 48 Its central theme is the interpretation of the attribute formula, which is quoted in v.8. 49 This formula is the theological center of the psalm. 50 The relationship between divine mercy and wrath is here modified to the effect that the punitive actions of YHWH are implied, but not specifically addressed. 51 The focus is entirely on the compassion of YHWH, which is expected against the background of divine wrath that the people have experienced. His compassion includes the forgiveness of guilt, leading to a comprehensive salvific renewal of the petitioners’ life (Ps 103:3–5). In this respect, the attribute formula in Psalm 103 is modified in its anthropological significance and justified by the mercy of the crea- tor towards his creation (Ps 103:14–16). This anthropological foundation is taken up in Psalms 105–106 and implemented with respect to historical the- ology. Accordingly, the references to the mercy of YHWH in the basic layer of Ps 103 (103:1–18) and the double Psalm 105 f. indicate a joint redaction,

that the close relatedness of both psalms must be evaluated such that one of the two

psalms was already present in its context and the other was added to it. Klein, Gebet (see

n. 10), 215–218; 269, shares this position. She assumes that a later redactor deliberately

added Psalm 106 to account for the loss of the land with the guilt history of the people.

47 For elaboration of the redaction-historical significance of Psalm 105 f., cf. Gärtner, Geschichtspsalmen (see n. 12), 259–290.

48 With the majority of exegetes, a supplement is to be assumed in Ps 103:19–22, by which the basic psalm is extended through the theme of the kingdom of YHWH. For example,

cf. Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 56 f.; Leuenberger, Konzeptionen

(see n. 9), 85 f.

49 On the structure of Psalm 103, see M. Metzger, “Lobpreis der Gnade. Erwägungen zu Struktur und Inhalt von Psalm 103,” in Meilenstein : Festgabe für Herbert Donner zum 16. Februar 1995 (ed. M. Weippert and S. Timm; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1995), 121–

133; H. Spieckermann, „Barmherzig und gnädig ist der Herr …“, in idem, Gottes Liebe zu Israel. Studien zur Theologie des Alten Testaments (FAT 33; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2001), 3–19; = ZAW 102/1 (1990), 1–18.; Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see

n. 10), 55–57.

50 For an interpretation of the grace formula in Psalm 103, see Franz, Gott (see n. 40), 232 f.; and Spieckermann, “Barmherzig” (see n. 49), 11.

51 Also according to E. Zenger, Ich will die Morgenröte wecken. Psalmenauslegungen 2 (Freiburg: Herder, 1994), 198. In Psalm 103 the focus is on the forgiveness of guilt, namely with respect to Exod 34:6 f., all guilt set aside. This is reinforced by the fact “that in Ex 34:6 f. only the aspect of the goodness and mercy of YHWH is cited and the aspect of the punishing God is withdrawn after denials four times (!)” (Zenger, Morgenröte [see note above], 198). Similarly, see T. M. Willis, “‘So Great is His Steadfast Love’. A Rhetori - cal Analysis of Psalm 103,” Bib 72 (1991): 525–537.

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which creates a composition consisting of Psalm 103*+105 f. 52 The composi- tion addresses the mercy of YHWH in its anthropological (Psalm 103*) and historical-theological (Psalm 105 f.) dimensions, which are issues that these psalms present as overlapping. 2. To this composition of 103*+105 f., the creation text Psalm 104 is added, being redactionally linked at each of its ends with Psalm 103 (Ps 103:1, 22; Ps 104:1, 35). 53 Thematically this is done via ideas relating to kingship: Ps 103:19–22 is added and the kingdom of YHWH described therein is resumed in Ps 104:1, 4. The outcome is a composition that starts with the mercy of YHWH in relation to human beings (Psalm 103) and ends with his mercy explained historically (Psalm 106). 54 In the resulting literary framework of Psalms 103 and 106, the creative action of YHWH is inserted in connection with his works of creation (Psalm 104) and his works in his- tory (Psalm 105). Thus, the mercy of YHWH becomes the crucial interpre-

Similarly, Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 109–115, describe the final composition of Psalms 101–106, which assume a paired arrangement of the composi- tion (Pss 101 f.; 103 f. and 105 f.) that is overlaid with the redactionally later headings. Differently Kratz, “Sch e ma c ” (see n. 9), 630, who stresses that Psalms 101–106 were not a fixed group.

On Psalm 104, cf. K. Koch, “Redemption and Creation in Psalms 103–105. A Study in Redaction History within the Book of Psalms,” in For the Sake of the Gospel, Festschrift for S. A. Amirtham (ed. G. Robinson; Madurai: TTS, 1980), 64–69; K. Seybold, “Psalm 104 im Spiegel seiner Unterschrift,” in Studien zur Psalmenauslegung (ed. K. Sey- bold; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1998), 161–172; Spieckermann, Heilsgegenwart, 24–27; M. Köckert, “Literargeschichtliche und religionsgeschichtliche Beobachtungen zu Ps 104,” in Schriftauslegung in der Schrift: Festschrift für Odil Hannes Steck zu seinem 65. Geburtstag (ed. R. G. Kratz, T. Krüger, and K. Schmid; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2000), 259– 274; R. Müller, Jahwe als Wettergott. Studien zur althebräischen Kultlyrik anhand aus­ gewählter Psalmen (BZAW 387; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008), 213–235; O. H. Steck, “Der Wein unter den Schöpfungsgaben,” in Wahrnehmungen Gottes im Alten Testament (TBü 70; ed. O. H. Steck; München: Kaiser, 1982), 240–261; T. Krüger, “‘Kosmos-theologie’ zwischen Mythos und Erfahrung. Psalm 104 im Horizont alttestamentlicher und alt- orientalischer ‚Schöpfungs‘-Konzepte,” in Kritische Weisheit: Studien zur weisheitlichen Traditionskritik im Alten Testament (ed. T. Krüger; Zürich: Pano Verlag, 1997), 49–74. For a discussion of the Egyptian parallels from the Amarna period and Amun hymns, see the discussion in Steck, “Wein” (see note above), 244 f. n. 9; and Köckert, “Beobach- tungen” (see note above), 272–274.

54 On linguistic connections between Psalm 103; 104, and 105 f., as well as on implica- tions for the Psalter’s redaction, see F. L. Hossfeld, “Eine poetische Universalgeschichte:

Ps 105 im Kontext der Psalmentrias 104–106,” in Das Manna fällt auch heute noch:

53

52

Beiträge zur Geschichte und Theologie des Alten, Ersten Testaments: Festschrift für Erich Zenger (HBS 44; ed. F. L. Hossfeld and L. Schwienhorst-Schönberger; Freiburg: Herder, 2004), 304; Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 189–196. 246 f. n. 374; Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 62 f., 88 f.; Ballhorn, Telos (see n. 9), 124 f.; and Köckert, “Beobachtungen” (see n. 53), 272–279.

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tative category through which the action of YHWH in both creation and history is to be understood. 55

3. As the overarching concept in Psalms 103–106, the mercy of YHWH

connects this Psalm group further with Psalm 107, which in 107:1 is con- nected through the hodu formula to Ps 106:1. Also the following invitation to praise and thank YHWH in Ps 107:2 f. is closely related to Psalm 106. 56

Thus, the petition to be gathered from the nations in Ps 106:47 is – as already fulfilled – included in Ps 107:2 f. and represents the occasion for praise and thanks. 57

4. The composition of Psalms 103–106 is further accentuated by the

opening and closing hallelujahs, which were added at a later time. While Ps 104:35 and Ps 105:45 contain hallelujahs and Ps 106:1, 48 has a hallelujah

framing, Psalm 103 has neither an opening nor a closing with this language. In this way, Psalm 103 is decoupled from the composition, with the upshot

being a “small universal history” 58 that ranges from the creation to the exile and that addresses the actions of the God-King YHWH.

5. Only when the final doxology was later added in Ps 106:48 was this rela-

tionship interrupted. Additionally, there is a linguistic link between Ps 106:48

and Ps 107:2, so that the boundary in the Psalter between Book Four and

55 Cf. also G. J. Wenham, “Rejoice the Lord is King: Psalm 90–106 (Book 4),” in Praying by the Book: Reading the Psalms (ed. C. Bartholomew, A. West; Carlisle: Paternoster, 2001), 95; and L. Wilson, “On Psalm 103–106 as a Closure of the Psalter,” in The Composition of the Psalter (ed. E. Zenger; Leuven: Peeters, 2010), 758–766.

56 On the linguistic links between Psalm 106 and Psalm 107, see Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 145.

57 Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 286 sees the close connection to Psalm 106 and understands at least Ps 107:1–32 as a continuation text. But Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 297 f., describes the literary relationship the other way around. This has the conse- quence that the individualization of the exile experience in Psalm 107 is supplemented by the people’s narrative in Psalm 105 f., that the people`s narrative results in the request for collections (Ps 106:47) that is already assumed in Ps 107:2 f. Thus, according to Klein, Psalm 107 represents the end of the composition rather than the beginning of another. She argues furthermore that the origins of the composition Psalm 100–107 are present, such that initially Psalm 103* with the praise of God’s grace responds to the individual salvation perspective of Psalm 102*. Then Psalm 102 f. will be continued both with a creation theological reflection to the preservation of the human in Psalm 104* as well as with the experience of individual salvation in Psalm 107*. This indi- vidual perspective is then made collective through the historical psalms in two steps (first Psalm 105 and then Psalm 106) and raised to the level of the history of the people’s faith. Only after the final doxology in Ps 106:48, which was supplemented later, does the caesura between Psalm 106 and Psalm 107 become manifest.

58 Hossfeld, “Universalgeschichte” (see n. 54), 308–310; Kratz, “Tora” (see n. 9), 31 also emphasizes the restructuring of the psalm group 104–106 by the hallelujah framing.

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Book Five remains permeable. 59 At the same time, through the final doxology in Ps 106:48, Psalms 104–106 are clearly designated as a group, and the Psal- ter as a whole receives its five-part division that is reminiscent of the Torah. 60 Due to their conceptual content and their relevance for the Psalter’s com- position, Psalms 105–106 prove to be key interpretive texts in the Psalter. At the redactionally notable transition from Book Four to Book Five, these psalms highlight YHWH’s mercy as a crucial factor behind his action in creation and history.

3. Psalms 135 and 136: History as commitment to the one God in creation, the past, and the present

3.1 Psalm 136 and the praise of YHWH’s mercy in creation and history

Psalm 136 represents a hymn of praise to the one God in creation, who pre- sides over the past and the present alike. 61 The monotheistic commitment

to YHWH, formulated in the hymnic introduction (vv. 1–3), is explained

on the basis of his miracles in vv. 4–25. Psalm 136:4 functions as the psalm’s

“motto” verse: “Who alone (for himself) does great wonders.” 62 In the mira-

cles of YHWH, his actions manifest mercy (דסח) in creation (Ps 136:5–9),

the past (Ps 136:10–22), and the present (Ps 136:23–24, 25). Particularly

significant is YHWH’s activity as creator, which this psalm makes clear by

beginning the list of miracles with YHWH’s initial creative act (136:5–9)

and ending it with his provision of food for all flesh (136:25). The mercy of YHWH is evident in his giving food to creatures in the present, just as he

did in the exodus and conquest. 63 To emphasize this relationship, Ps 136:25

59 Cf. here also Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 299–304.

60 For the redactional placement classification of the final doxology in Ps 106:48 cf. Leuen- berger, Psalterdoxologien (see n. 35), 166–193; Levin, “Büchereinteilung” (see n. 9), 83–90; and Kratz, “Tora” (see n. 9), 1–34.

61 On Psalm 136, cf. C. Macholz, “Psalm 136. Exegetische Beobachtungen mit method- ologischen Seitenblicken,” in Mincha: Festgabe für Rolf Rendtorff zum 75 (ed. E. Blum; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2000), 177–186; V. Pröbstl, Nehemia 9, Psalm 106 und Psalm 136 und die Rezeption des Pentateuchs (Göttingen: Cuvillier, 1997), 179– 219; Goulder, Psalms (see n. 9), 220–223.

62 On the position of v.4, see also Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 316; and Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 319.

63 On the issue of the creator and divine King’s constant care for the creation, see M. Metzger, “Keruben und Palmetten als Dekoration im Jerusalemer Heiligtum und Jahwe, ‚der Nahrung gibt allem Fleisch,‘ ” in Zion: Ort der Begegnung: Festschrift für Laurentius Klein zur Vollendung des 65 Lebensjahres (BBB 90; ed. F. Hahn and F. L. Hoss - feld; Frankfurt: Hanstein, 1993), 108–111.

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refers to YHWH’s final miracle with the participle, “to give” (ןתנ) (Ps 136:21, 25). In this way, YHWH’s initial creative acts lead to his demonstration of mercy in the world (Ps 136:5–9) and are placed before his action in history (Ps 136:10–22). 64 Structured by a series of participles, this portrayal of YHWH’s miracles in creation and history (vv. 5–22) is oriented toward the Pentateuch’s narrative:

Ps 136:5–9 begins by referencing the creation account in Genesis 1 and then proceeding to mention the bondage in Egypt (v. 10), the exodus (v. 11 f.), the deliverance at the Sea of Reeds (vv.13–15), the guidance in the wilderness (v.16), and the conquest of the land (vv.17–22). 65 This sequence of events from the Pentateuch is what structures the hymn, where narrative portions of the Pentateuch become a concentrated, creedal commitment. The refrain “Yes, his mercy is forever! (ודסח םלועל יכ),” which completes each verse, illustrates this point. Each action described here appears as an expression of God’s mercy. In Psalm 136, then, one finds a historical, creed-like hermeneutic that emphasizes YHWH’s merciful acts (תואלפנ) toward his people and presents in the hymn’s frame (vv. 1–3, 26) a monotheistic confession to highlight the same theme of mercy (דסח).

3.2 The commitment to YHWH as the one God in creation, the past, and the present – Psalm 135 as a variation of Psalm 136

Like Psalm 136, Psalm 135 highlights the exclusivity of YHWH, but without the same emphasis on his mercy. Instead, the psalm focuses on the spheres of YHWH’s dominion – namely, creation (Ps 135:6–7), history (Ps 135:8–12),

64

On the literary coherence of Psalm 136, see Hartenstein, “Bedeutung” (see n. 1), 148; Macholz, “Psalm 136” (see n. 61), 177–186, who sees only v. 25 as not associated with

the Psalm. In particular, vv. 23–25 have often given rise to literary considerations, as they interrupt the structured verses through the participle series. Cf. here Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 676 f.; Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 324, who assumes

base Psalm in vv. 1–7, 10–17, 21–26, which was first extended by v. 8 f. and later by v. 18–20.

a

65

It

is noteworthy that the historical acts of YHWH are divided into two parts, which are

both introduced by the participle of הכנ in v.10 and v.17. The first part (vv. 10–16) relates to the Exodus, the salvation from the enemies at the Sea of Reeds and the divine care in the desert, while the second part (vv. 17–22) describes the time of land acquisi-

tion and land administration. The presentation of history reflects the dichotomy of the rescuing actions of YHWH, which are described in Exod 15:6–18, the deliverance at the Sea of Reeds (Exod 15: 1–12) and the establishment of Israel as a worshiping con- gregation (Exod 15:13–18). On the dichotomy of the historical action of YHWH, cf. also Pröbstl, Rezeption (see n. 61), 194; as well as Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101– 150 (see n. 10), 676.

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and other gods or their cultic representation (Ps 135:15–18). 66 Prefacing this attention to YHWH’s dominion is a call to praise him as the one God (Ps 135:1–3) to whom praise is warranted because of his election of Israel (Ps 135:4). 67 First, the creation is named as subject to YHWH’s dominion (Ps 135:6– 7). In Psalm 135, YHWH’s creative activity resembles that of weather dei- ties with a militant and a warlike aspect. 68 This similarity is apparent by the fact that, in addition to heaven, earth, and seas, the primeval ocean is also mentioned, and YHWH is described in v. 7 as lord of the weather. 69 Overall, the psalm emphasizes his continuous activity in creation for preserving the order of the world. Second, the inclusion of Ps 136:10, 17–22 (Ps 135:8–12) identifies his- tory as under YHWH’s dominion. Here, military aspects connected to the weather god are highlighted. YHWH is described as lord of all earthly lords (v.5), having struck Pharaoh with the killing of the firstborn (Ps 135:8–9) the same way he struck the kings during the conquest of the land (Ps 135:10– 12). With these two blows, the salvation history of Israel is reduced to its

starting and ending points, which in turn are paradigmatic for the whole.

Third, YHWH’s singularity in both creation and history entails the

impotence of other gods or their cultic representations (Ps 135:15–18; cf.

Ps 115:4–7). As human products, the cult images are reduced to their mate-

rial composition, and are thereby powerless against the unrivaled, powerful

actions of YHWH. 70 In this respect, the commitment to YHWH as having

66 On Psalm 135, cf. Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 661–668; L. Voss- berg, Studien zum Reden vom Schöpfer in den Psalmen (BEvTh 69; München: Kaiser, 1975), 68–73; Ballhorn, Telos (see n. 9), 252–263, Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 312–315; Levin, “Psalm 136” (see n. 9), 24 f.

67 In the background here is Dtn 7:6. This is interesting because in Deuteronomy 7, the election of Israel as the chosen people of YHWH is, as in Psalm 135, made in connec- tion with the rejection of other gods.

68 For religious-historical background of weather deities cf. F. Hartenstein, “Wettergott – Schöpfergott – Einziger. Kosmologie und Monotheismus in den Psalmen,” in JHWH und die Götter der Völker. Symposium zum 80. Geburtstag von K. Koch (ed. F. Harten - stein and M. Rösel; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2009), 77–97.

69 This statement is based on Jer 10:12 f. Regarding the demonstration of YHWH´s power over the weather cf. the context of Jer 10:1–16, in which YHWH’s universal dominion and incomparability in relation to the impotence of idols or images of gods is empha- sized. Cf. especially the explanations from H. Weippert, Schöpfer des Himmels und der Erde: Ein Beitrag zur Theologie des Jeremiabuches (SBS 102; Stuttgart: Verlag Katholis- ches Bibelwerk, 1981), 28–37.

70 On the meaning of the images cf. F. Hartenstein, “Die unvergleichliche ‘Gestalt’ JHWHs. Israels Geschichte mit den Bildern im Licht von Dtn 4,1–40,” in Die Sichtbar­ keit des Unsichtbaren. Zur Korrelation von Text und Bild im Wirkungskreis der Bibel

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the status expressed in Ps 135:5, “Yes, I know that YHWH (is) great, and our lord more than all gods,” is a hermeneutically key for understanding this psalm. 71 Theologically, the psalm expresses YHWH’s exclusive, universal mastery over creation and history. 72 Notably, Psalm 135 is largely a redactional compilation. It not only quotes Ps 115:4–8 73 (= Ps 135:15–18) and Ps 136:10, 17–22 (= Ps 135:8–12), but also in 135:1 f. integrates the beginning of the Egyptian Hallel (Pss 113–118) and the ending of the so-called Pilgrimage Psalter (the Songs of Ascent) by incorporating terminology from Ps 113:1 and Ps 134:1, 3. 74 The call to praise directed at the house of Aaron, the house of Israel, and those who fear YHWH, is further elaborated in Ps 118:2–4 and Ps 115:9–11, 12, and is integrated in Ps 135:19–20, where it is supplemented by the house of Levi. 75 Thus, unlike the other historical psalms, Psalm 135 is closely linked to its current literary context. Indeed, it is a carefully thought out compilation. In the following section, this specific feature will be evaluated redaction- critically.

(AGWB 3; ed. B. Janowski and N. Zchomelidse; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2003), 70 f. Even with the chosen name for the cult images (םיבצע) the process of prep-

aration is highlighted. For more on this issue, cf. E. Zenger, “Götter- und Götterbildpo- lemik in Ps 113–115 MT = Ps 112–113 G,” in Der Septuaginta­Psalter (HBS 32; ed.

E. Zenger; Freiburg: Herder, 2001), 241 esp. n. 28. On the symbol system of the cult

images standing behind Psalm 135, cf. Hartenstein, “Die unvergleichliche ‘Gestalt’

JHWHs,” Religionsgeschichte Israels. Formale und materiale Aspekte (VWGTh 15; ed.

B. Janowski and M. Köckert; Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1999), 49–54; and

A. Berlejung, “Ikonophobie oder Ikonolatrie? Zur Auseinandersetzung um die Bilder

im Alten Testament,” in Religionsgeschichte Israels. Formale und materiale Aspekte (VWGTh 15; ed. B. Janowski and M. Köckert; Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus,

1999), 208–210, 228–234.

71 In the background is the confession of Jethro from Exod 18:10 f. Thus, the universal validity of the ruling power through such inclusion is already hinted at, as well as the inclusion of the world of nations. On the meaning of Exod 18:10 f. for Ps 135:5, see especially Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 666 f.

72 The relationship between the creative action of YHWH and his action in history, each of which is formed in Ps 135:6–12, is, conceptually, already laid out in the presumably older Psalm 65.

73 On Psalm 115, cf. W. Beyerlin, Im Licht der Traditionen. Psalm LXVII und CXV. Ein Ent­ wicklungszusammenhang (VT.S 45; Leiden: Brill, 1992), 57–81; Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 277–291; Zenger, “Götter- und Götterbildpolemik” (see

n. 70), 229–255.

74 Cf. here also M. Millard, Die Komposition des Psalters. Ein formgeschichtlicher Ansatz (FAT 9; Tübingen: Mohr, 1994), 78; Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 663 f.; Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 314; Ballhorn, Telos (see n. 9), 252 f.

75 Cf. on the question of the Levites and their cultic function see the summary in A. Mein- hold, Maleachi (BKAT XIV/8; Neukirchen-Vluyn : Neukirchener Verlag, 2006), 146–

150.

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3.3 Psalm 135 as redactional bridge text in Book Five of the Psalms

With respect to the Psalter’s composition at large, this article can only briefly address the classification and redactional function of Psalm 135. 76 As I see it, five aspects are crucial for grasping the redactional importance of Psalms 135 f. in Books Four and Five:

1. The hodu formula “Praise YHWH, yes / because he is merciful, yes / for his mercy is forever (ודסח םלועל יכ בוט־יכ הוהיל ודוה),” found in Ps 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29 and 136 (as refrain), points to a structural function. 77 That is, a composition arch that runs from Psalm 106 to Psalm 136. Structurally and conceptually it is characterized by an emphasis on the mercy of YHWH, which this formula expresses and serves to develop in Psalms 106 and 136. 78 2. As a redactional text, Psalm 135 shows features of compilation through which the even later inserted Pilgrimage Psalter (Pss 120–134) interlinks with its context. 79 Yet the connection between Psalms 106; 107–118, and Psalm 136, which was designed primarily by the hodu for-

mula, is again restored. Accordingly, Ps 135:8–12 cites the reflection on

history from Ps 136:10, 17–22; the powerlessness of idols from Ps 115:4–8;

the call directed at the house of Israel, Aaron, and those who fear YHWH

76

77

For a detailed presentation of the redactional processes in Books Four and Five, see especially Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 260–264, 379–390; Ballhorn, Telos (see n. 9), 361–382; Gärtner, Geschichtspsalmen (see n. 12), 344–372; Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 342–356.

Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 345 takes out this Psalm from the line of composition due to the assumption of a subsequent inscription of Psalm 106.

78 On the function of the hodu formula in the Psalter’s composition, see especially Leuen- berger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 276–282, 369–372; Ballhorn, Telos (see n. 9), 262 f.; Zenger, Psalmenexegese (see n. 9), 60–64; Kratz, “Sch e ma c ” (see n. 9), 631 f.

79 Klein, Gebet (see n. 10), 345 f., sees the pilgrimage Psalter as an integral part of Psalm 118–136* as a collection, though the links between Psalm 134 and Psalm 136 are less convincing than the obvious link between Psalm 134 and Psalm 135. Also, the different order of the psalms at Qumran could indicate a late insertion of the Pilgrimage Psalter. In 11QPs a , one finds the following sequence: Psalms 120–132; 119; 135–136 (+ the so- called catena Psalm 118:1, 15; 16; 8; 9; 29). In 11QPs a , Psalm 133 appears between Psalm 141 and Psalm 144; Psalm 134 appears between Psalm 140 and Psalm 151 as the second to last psalm. U. Dahmen, Psalmen­ und Psalter­Rezeption im Frühjudentum. Rekon­ struktion, Textbestand, Struktur und Pragmatik der Psalmenrolle 11 QPs a aus Qum­ ran (STDJ 49; Leiden: Brill, 2003), 315, assumes that the independent composition of Psalms 120–132–119 was developed from a proto-Masoretic composition to highlight the pilgrimage’s destination not as the liturgy in the Jerusalem temple like in MT, but as the study of the Torah like in Psalm 119. So also Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 120 subsequent to Dahmen. On the deviating sequence of pilgrimage psalms in Qumran, cf. further the presentations by Millard, Komposition, 219f; Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 12 f.

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from Ps 115:9–11, 12; 118:2–4; and the beginning of the Egyptian Hallel (Ps 113:1) as well as the ending of the Pilgrimage Psalter (Ps 134:1). There- fore, it is likely that Psalm 135 and the Pilgrimage Psalter belong to the same redactional layer. It follows that Psalms 2–136* would have existed as a col- lection without the Pilgrimage Psalter (Psalms 120–134) and Psalm 135. 80 By the same token, this observation means that the Pilgrimage Psalter was inserted at a fairly late stage. 81

3. However, Psalm 135 does not adopt the given structuring of Psalm 118

and Psalm 136 from the hodu formula, but rather sets a hallelujah frame-

work (Ps 135:1–3, 21) in its place.

4. In the Psalter’s composition, then, a connection is created between

the psalm group 111 f.; 113–117, and the closing Hallel (Psalms 146–150). Hence, Psalm 136 lost its position as the final psalm. At the same time, through the redactional inclusion of Psalms 120–134 and the redactional “hinge” of Psalm 135, Books Four and Five were restructured. Psalms 135 and 136 turn out to be key hermeneutical texts in the Psalter, since through them the commitment to YHWH as the one God in creation and history is placed in a significant pivotal point for the formation of the Psalter.

4. Conclusion

As a group, the historical psalms (Psalms 78; 105; 106; 135; and 136) are separate, theological conceptions of Israel’s history in miniature. Through various historical-hermeneutical categories, they construct portrayals of his- tory by selecting events from Israel’s (early) history and interpreting these events paradigmatically for the present. The result is a relecture of the Torah, which for the petitioners has an identity-formative and identity reassuring function. This process of the reception of history, which raises history itself to a topic, provides insight into the emergence of collective memory. This is clear especially in the poetic form of the psalm prayer. Here, the historical psalms draw mainly on hymnic categories. By means of these hymnic cat- egories the reflection and reception process of the historical psalms becomes transparent. Against this background, these psalms’ understanding of his-

80 Cf. Levin, “Psalm 136” (see n. 9), 23–25.

81 By contrast, see Hossfeld and Zenger, Psalmen 101–150 (see n. 10), 664, who assume that Psalm 135 together with Psalm 136 and the Egyptian Hallel (113–118) were added. The resultant collection of the “Zion Psalter” (Psalms 2–136) is completed by Psalm 136, which redactors deliberately placed in this literary context. See further Leuenberger, Konzeptionen (see n. 9), 314–320, 369–372; Kratz, “Sch e ma c ” (see n. 9), 632.

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tory and their reception process alike prove to be significant in their ability to display the emergence of collective memory. Moreover, it was pointed out that the historical psalms take on herme- neutic relevance for the theology of later psalms, not only in terms of their construction of history, but also in their importance for the Psalter’s com- position and redaction. Indeed, each of the historical psalms is singled out compositionally and redactionally by macro-structural features from the text sequence, functioning as hermeneutically key texts in their literary con- text. This key function may be summarized in the following points:

1. They exhibit a paradigmatic conception of history.

2. Their reception of history is relevant to the emergence of collective

memory.

3. The historical psalms are clearly relevant to broader questions of the

Psalter’s redaction and composition.

Judith Gärtner

Universität Rostock

Department of Old Testament Studies

Prof. Judith Gärtner, Universitätsplatz 1, 18055 Rostock, Germany

judith.gaertner@uni-rostock.de