Original Research

Reading Psalm 90 in the African (Yoruba) perspective

David T. Adamo
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2029 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2029 | © 2020 David T. Adamo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2019 | Published: 22 September 2020

About the author(s)

David T. Adamo, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, Faculty of Human Science, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Psalm 90 stands at a critical juncture in the overall scheme of the Psalter. It is also the first Psalm of the small collection which constitutes Book IV of the Psalter. Psalm 90 can be regarded as one of the magisterial Psalms. Psalm 90 is unique in four ways: (1) Psalm 90 is the first Psalm of Book IV with new words after the unresolved ending of Book III; (2) it is the only Psalm with a superscription dedicated to Moses; (3) Psalm 90 is the most popular and attested text of the Bible according to archaeological facts; (4) the chapter is the theological heart of the Psalter with its emphasis on God’s time and his reign. Unfortunately, however, many scholars have not paid much attention to how these Psalms are used as amulets, talismans, and medicine as attested by archaeological documents uncovered. The purpose of this article is to examine Psalm 90 in the African (Yoruba) context which has been supported by archaeological documents of Psalm 90 uncovered. Psalm 90 has been considered as a Psalm of protection, healing and success.

Intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary implications: ‘Reading Psalm 90 in the African context’ interprets Psalm 90 in the light of African culture. It deals with biblical studies, exegesis, African traditional religion, and African cultural practices using historical-critical and African biblical hermeneutical methodologies. The Euro-American way is challenged, and African biblical hermeneutics methodology presents a legitimate historical-critical methodology.


Psalms; Old Testament; Yoruba; Africa


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