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Psalms and Proverbs

Psalms and Proverbs

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Published by Chris Stewart
A discussion on the books of Psalms and Proverbs
A discussion on the books of Psalms and Proverbs

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Chris Stewart on May 05, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Thematic Elements in the Books of Proverbs and Psalms:A Comparative View- Chris Stewart
The Wisdom Literature of ancient Israel held great depth, intelligence, andinsight. In the Wisdom Literature two of the major themes to be found were templeworship and righteous living, as well as how to live life abundantly. These themes arefound profusely throughout the proverbs and psalms written during the pre-exilic periodof Israel and proliferate throughout the entire accepted canon. Incorporated into the poetic and wisdom texts are Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Job, and the Song of Solomon. However there are a number of prophetic historical books which are written in poetic form as well, both before, during, and after the Diaspora; these books are Isaiah,Daniel, Ezekiel, and Obadiah, to name a few.Both the Books of Psalms and of Proverbs were written primarily during the period of the Unified Monarchy. Much of the Book of Psalms was written by David
; while Proverbs was written largely by Solomon (though there are some who disputethis
).The Book of Psalms deals largely with Messianic theology. Consisting of severalthematic elements which Merrill (2008) describes thus: Penitential psalms, Imprecatory psalms, and Messianic psalms
; all three of these themes contributing to and coalescing inone arterial union leading to the heart of the Covenant - that of the purpose of temple
A John A. Tvedtnes states that Ps. 1-41 are largely Davidic and Ps. 42-89 contain some other Davidicwritings. (John A. Tvedtnes; “Ancient Israelite Psalters;” 30
Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium; pg.241; 2001
worship and its ordinances, or Christ.The Penitential psalms were psalms of remorse and repentance; written prayerssupplicating God’s forgiveness for wrongdoing and sin. These psalms have their connection to the temple mainly in the ordinances of the outer court such as thesacrifices, washings, and purification rituals. Angels, Jesus tells us, rejoice when a sinner repents (Luke 15:7). When we are baptized, taking His name upon us, we covenant dothose things which He would do if He were here to do them.
When we take of theEucharist we are, according to LDS doxology, witnessing our willingness to take upon usHis name and to remember Him always (Moroni 4-5). All of these denoting repentance, prayer, and supplication for forgiveness.
All of these denoting our coming in unto Christand making our way back into the presence of God who resides in the Holy of Holies - acommon theme throughout the Bible.
The Imprecatory psalms are hymns of pathos for the wicked; calling upon God toview the wicked with His all-seeing eye and to remove them from His presence. Merrill(2008) states thus, “It is important to remember about [the Imprecatory psalms] that the poet desires God’s punishment not to satisfy his own feelings but because he recognizesthat the wicked have offended the honor of God.” The psalmist, as with the writer of Proverbs, does not want the wicked to perish but would rather that they come again untothe Lord to be redeemed (see Ezek. 18; Prov. 15:28-32; Ps. 7). However, the psalmist alsoknows that “all unrepentant sinners must be dealt with according to their impiety towardGod.”
These psalms hearken forward to the Day of Atonement and the High Priestly
B In Mosiah 4, King Benjamin is continuing his discourse to the people about repentance and their unworthiness before God, as the chapter opens the people have fallen to the ground “for the fear of theLord had come upon them.” (vs. 1). In vs. 2 the people “cry aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy,and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness for our sins […].” The people are praying aloud and in accordance to what Margaret Barker discusses in The Great High Priest (see ftnt 10).See Mosiah 2-5 for a great discussion on repentance and our unworthiness before God.
ritual of entering the Holy of Holies, scattering the blood of the sacrifice on the veil, altar,and elders of the people - cleansing those of the covenant while the wicked are foundnaked and destroyed (Matt 22:11-13 (2-14).Finally, the Messianic psalms are prophecies of the coming Lord and Savior of Israel. In a common practice of prophetic utterance, the prophecy was not intended to bea one time deal. In fact one of the tests of a prophetic pronouncement is its continuitythroughout all time
- for what God speaks once, He will speak again (1 Ne. 10:19).Theodoret in his supernal work “Discourses” uses Psalms as a justification for believingin Christ. Showing how that, though David’s throne on earth had been dissolved, yetthrough Christ the throne has been established forever.
The Messianic psalms were in prophetic declaration concerning the Lord coming out of the Holy of Holies clothed uponwith the “visible creation”
Kim M. Peterson (2001) states that the “Psalms are praises” and, further, “Hymns please [the Lord] if they are hymns of the heart. Hymns of the heart are hymns sungsincerely.” If we do not sing the hymns of praise sincerely we are profiting ourselvesnothing and, as K. Peterson points out, have the song, as with an insincere prayer,counted unto us for wickedness.
Margaret Barker (2006), likewise, instructs usconcerning this when she says, “[…] the song of the angels had to be in harmony, andany defect was punished. They had to sing ‘with one voice, with one speech, with oneknowledge and with one sound.. …As there can be no earlier or later, no lower or higher for them, when they sang the hymn of sanctification before the king of the kings of kings.’ […] The song of the angels was the harmony of the creation, and there was onlyone theme - Holy Holy Holy.
 It was sung in response to the praises of Israel 

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