Psalms of Solomon, Psalms 4-7 – Analysis

Psalm 4 – Discourse of Salomon. Pertaining to the men-pleasers.

It might be better superscribed to the Hellenizers and those Jews who sided with the Romans or maybe even the Herods. The psalm is divided into four sections (1.8; 9-13; 14-22; 23-25) and directed against a single individual, although he is difficult to place. This unknown individual (or representative of a community) is a religious hypocrite. The author notes from the beginning that the individual is one of their own, seemingly, as he sits ‘in the council of the devout.’ King Hyrcanus II was sympathetic to the Pharisees but was a powerless man who eventually was stripped of his authority and given a figurehead position. The Jews would have blamed him for the Roman occupation because it was constant fighting with his brother which brought them in.

Psalm 5 – A Psalm. Pertaining to Salomon

The fifth psalm is close in nature to the canonical psalms in which the author spends the entire psalm singing the praises of God. It is a psalm composed, no doubt, in a melancholy mood, in which the author would settle for a ‘μέτριον’as a blessing. The highlight of the psalm is found in the final verse, which reads,

εὐλογημένη ἡ δόξα κυρίου ὅτι αὐτὸς βασιλεὺς ἡμῶν

The King is not the Lord Himself, but the glory of the Lord, which is echoed by the writer of Titus 2.13,

τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,

It is possible that the personified Glory of the Lord sets the stage for a semi-divine Messiah figure which is introduced later on, only testifying to the unified story telling found in the Psalms.

Psalm 6 – In Hope. Pertaining to Solomon.

Name Theology is prevalent in the sixth psalm. The phrase, or similar phrases, τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου is found several times throughout the short song. It is one familiar to Paul’s writings, and Johannine Christology, as a key to the Christian message, in which the Name of the Lord is transferred to Christ, focusing on Joel 2.28-32. Here, it is treated no differently than that which would be found in the New Testament, where the Name of the Lord freely flows from something to be feared (v5) and a quasi-personification of a divine attribute (v4).

Psalm 7 – Pertaining to Salomon. Of Returning

Psalm seven forms a parallel to the preceding psalm by focusing on where the ὄνομα dwells. Again, we can find a parallel to Deuteronomy where the focus is the dwelling of the Name (chapter 12). Beginning with a plea to God that he ‘ἀποσκηνώσῃς’, the community becomes worried for losing the Name of the Lord. They are worried about exile (v3) in which even their name will be lost. In a reference to Exodus 39.7 found in verse 6, the author must be thinking again (as the author(s) of the first and second psalms was) of Deuteronomy 28, were we find connection through the use of ἰσχύσει πρὸς. We find the same promise of God in Deuteronomy 28.7-25 to reflect the pleas of the community.

Nickelsburg, 244-245

James McGrath, The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 61-64. McGrath notes that the personification of the name was not uncommon during this time, citing the Apocalypse of Abraham.

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