Psalms & Civic Responsibilities Perennial Advice from the Wisdom Literature IV

Authorship: Scholarship varies widely over with postmodern interpretations dismissing David as author. However, the pendulum is swinging back and some scholars are willing to attribute some of the psalms to David. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who is the author and the Church who determines canonicity.

Audience: psalms, songs or prayers almost always used in context of worship. Psalter another term for psalms, Greek work psalterion, stringed instrument. Intended to be sung with stringed instruments, lyre. Recall David playing soothing music on his lyre for Saul.

Time: Given the widely disputed authorship, correspondingly dates vary widely too. No reason to doubt many of the psalms were written preexilic given optimism displayed. However, there Ps 126 does show some aspect of postexilic restoration.

Other Books within Bible help to interpret Psalms: 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 Kings 1-11 historical, narrative

Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon written by Solomon, as a son, king, and heir gifted with wisdom (at first) these books give insights to Psalms

  1. Sacred Scripture to be read with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Difference between theology and religious studies is Faith which gives rise to a relationship with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide all thoughts and aspirations to His Love. Ex/ Jordan Peterson. Respect and sorrow. Does not have gift of Faith.

Read with practicality mindset and miss without gift of Faith. Faith offers a landing place fall back on it. Faith is trust, trust in the lord. Trust even if reading seems to disagree. Allow to mediate on it. Allowing lack of understanding falls back on trust of God and His goodness.

  1. One example of implementing the above suggestion. I enter the library of God’s love (SS) with a field of view of ‘what are my civic responsibilities’. I want to focus on Psalms as my primary source with other books used as supplemental inspiration. I think looking at civic responsibilities of people under a leadership not chosen by the people and at times is both good and bad is applicable to our current times.
  2. Wisdom= Hebrew hokhmah, prudence necessary to live life well. Not only abstract but practical and moral. How to make sound judgements that led to flourishing for the individual, family and community.[1] Civics.
  3. Some of the Psalms teach hokhmah in a straightforward manner, didactic. Others are indirect. Regardless of presentation, the careful reader (why random peaks is not as profitable) becomes accustomed to a person (David) who is in direct relationship and dialogue with God. We see what it is to be a man or woman after God’s own heart. 1 Sam 13:14

[1] Bergsma & Pitre 585