Old Testament Essays (Sep 2019)

The canonical shape of Psalms 1-14

  • Philip Sumpter

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 32, no. 2
pp. 514 – 543


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This article seeks to demonstrate the logic of the arrangement of Psalms 1-14. It does so inductively by working through each psalm in sequence in order to identify semantic patterns indicating intentional canonical shaping. It will be argued that Pss 1-2 establish the primary concern of the editors, namely the shape of the divine economy of salvation. The following psalms function to elucidate, develop, and further contextualise the reader’s understanding of that economy. A herme-neutical key is provided by the surprising transition from Ps 2 to 3.