Wednesday 18 February 2009

Robert Cole on Psalms 1 and 2

Robert Cole, ‘An Integrated Reading of Psalms 1 and 2’, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 98 (2002), 75-88.

When Psalm 1 is read with Psalm 2, the principal focus – according to Cole – is not Torah or wisdom, but a ‘royal [cf. Deuteronomy 17:18-19] and Joshua-like [cf. Joshua 1:8-10] figure who is given absolute victory in battle’ (75).

The ‘blessed’ figure of Psalm 1 is further identified as Yahweh’s ‘anointed one’ in Psalm 2. The ‘wicked’ opponents of Psalm 1 are identified more specifically as conspiring rulers in Psalm 2. The promise of 1:5-6 elicits the ‘Why?’ of Psalm 2:1. Yahweh and his messiah respond to the earthly scoffing with laughter and derision from heaven, with Psalm 2 then concluding with a reaffirmation of the same judgment promised at the end of Psalm 1.

This eschatological perspective opens the Psalter and ‘sets the tone for all subsequent psalms’ (88).

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