The Old Testament Study
A brief summary reported by John-Peter Gernaat
In this report only the concluding study of King David is included that looked at him as the writer of the Psalms.
There are one hundred and fifty Psalms of which King David is considered to have written seventy five. The Psalms are poems or songs of praise and may have been accompanied by an instrument when proclaimed. Some of the Psalms were written after the return from the exile in Babylon in which the influence of the Zarathustran religion of Babylon is clearly discernible: “bear me up on Eagle’s wings” and the idea of Sun and Moon.
Possibly the most significant of the Psalms written by David is Psalm 8. It reflects on an important existential and theological question: “what is Man?” We spent some time reflecting on the meaning and significance of the Greek word ‘Anthropos’. The word may be a compound that means ‘man’ and ‘face’ or ‘countenance’, while the prefix ‘an’ suggests ‘up’. Therefore, Man is a being with a countenance and a primary gaze that is upward. This gives rise to the idea that the human being looks up to the heavens and the heavens look down on the human being.
In this Psalm David mentions only stars and moon suggesting that his upward gaze is at night looking at the Divine script of the starry cosmos. David does not write the name of the Divine, using only the reference ‘Lord’. The human being can name everything over which we have been given dominion: all that lives on the earth, in the air above and in the waters below. But the human being does not have dominion over the Divine, and therefore cannot name the Divine.
The Lord to whom David refers is the Elohim YHWH (Yahweh) who represents El (the one true God). When we refer to ‘Lord’ we refer to Christ. Furthermore, the Lordship of Christ has taken up abode in us and is no longer above us.
In Psalm 23 David refers to the Lord as his Shepherd. He understood the practical relationship to sheep. He also understood the transition in the relationship to the constellation from ram to lamb and from the Hired Man to the Shepherd. See the talk given on: “From the rising serpent to the restful lamb”. When we walk the paths of righteousness, we “make straight the way of the Lord” because righteousness belongs to God.
In Psalm 29 David speaks of the seven Great Thunders of God. In Revelation, John hears the Seven Thunders and the voice tells him to make what he hears his own (place the seal of ownership upon the words, do not write them down as if they belong to another). We looked further at the significance of the Thunders and also at the meaning of ‘dominion’ and what our role is.
The main themes in the Psalms of David are:
Who is Lord and how do we relate to the Divine.
Our lordship over the creatures of the earth.
The relationship of Man to Lord.
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