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Original Research

The “book of life” (Psalm 69:29) - a question of life or death?

A Groenewald

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 24, No 1 (2003), 93-103. doi: 10.4102/ve.v24i1.313

Submitted: 15 October 2003
Published:  15 October 2003


The image “book of life” is mentioned expressis verbis in Psalm 69:29a. The supplicant appeals to God to erase his enemies  from  the “book of life”. The aim of  this paper  is to elaborate on this image. Quite varied notions can be distinguished in this regard: firstly, the idea of the lists of the citizenry and secondly, the image of the heavenly book. Furthermore, three types of “heavenly books” can be distinguished, namely (1) the book  of  fate; (2)  the  book of works; and (3) the book of life. The conclusion is drawn that “life” here implies “life” under the protection of God which is sustained by his righteousness (69:28). The supplicant’s enemies will be excluded from this privilege when God erases them from the “book of life”. This reference to  life is primarily a reference to ordinary earthly life.

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Author affiliations

A Groenewald, University of Pretoria, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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