Psalms of Solomon, Psalm 8-10 – Analysis

Psalm 8- Pertaining to Salomon. Regarding Victory

This Psalm is parallel with the second Psalm, in which we do not see an eschatological destruction, but a recounting of a recent event set against the backdrop of a perceived judgment of God. It is tells the story of Pompey’s entrance into the city, invited in by the Hyrcanus (v16-18), who would then proceed to profane the altar of the Lord. This, according to the author of the psalm, was not a free will choice, but directed by God (14-15) as an act of righteous judgment[1]. It does not mention the death of Pompey, which leads Nickelsburg to postulate that this was written before the second psalm[2].

In verse 23, God is pictured as being made ἐδικαιώθη. VanLandingham argues that this term means ‘make righteous’ rather than acquit[3]. If this is so, then it holds that God must accomplish the destruction of Jerusalem through Pompey, allowing even the profaning of his alter, in order that he would be considered righteous for upholding the covenant. Finally, it is worth noting the allusion to Isaiah 53.7 found in verse 23. The devout are seen as innocent lambs in the midst of all the troubles. It was not their sins that caused the destruction of Jerusalem under Rome’s boot, but it is the community who ‘justifies’ the name of God even in the midst of the correction.

Psalm 9 – Pertaining to Salomon. Regarding Rebuke

The psalm opens with a recount of the recent exile into Babylon, picturing it s a necessity for God to remain righteous. In the fourth verse we find a thought which seems to counter post-Reformation era thinking. Here, the only ἔργα which concerns the community are those of free will. For the author, ἔργα are found in the individual’s ability to choose to do what is right or what is wrong, forcing God to react. Those that do what is righteous θησαυρίζει for himself a life with the Lord while those who ‘practice[4]’ injustice will find only destruction[5].

The phrase, ἔθου τὸ ὄνομά σου ἐφ᾽, found in the ninth verse is reminiscent of the Hebrew found in 2nd Chronicles 7.14, נִֽקְרָא־שְׁמִ֣י , possible serving to calling attention to covenant (v10) made between God and Solomon concerning the Temple. While this psalm concerns the covenant, and thus election, made by the Name of God, the author sees the possibility of even the sinner repenting of his or her sins, although it is arguable that the confessor in verse 6 is one inside the community.

Psalm 10  – Among Hymns. Pertaining to Salomon

The Community has appealed to self-humiliation, accepting their punishment as a due reward, seen their Temple defiled, and their sovereignty gone. Now they are appealing to God’s covenant and the testimony therein (v4) that any wrath would be short lived, serving as a correcting measure. The entire Psalm is centered on the fourth verse, with it acting as a zenith of the song. It is worth noting that the phrase διαθήκης αἰωνίου (v4) is found also in Hebrews 13.20, a book heavily influenced by Deuterocanonical material. It ends with an expectation for the salvation of the Lord (v8).


[1] Dunn calls attention to the rhetorical parallels between Pss Sol 8-14, which lists the sins of the people, and Psalm 50.16-21, Philo Conf 163, TLevi 14.4-8 and CD 6.16-17 which is similarly found in Romans 2.17-24). Dunn, 167

[2] Nickelsburg, 240

[3] Chris VanLandingham, Judgment & Justification In Early Judaism And The Apostle Paul, Peabody: Hendrickson Press 2006, 246, 252.

[4] 9.5 NETS

[5] A similar parallel is found in Matthew 6.19-20

Post By Joel Watts (10,048 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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