Original Research

The role of David in the composition and redactional grouping of the final davidic Psalter

Carine Botha
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2291 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2291 | © 2021 Carine Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 May 2021 | Published: 19 August 2021

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Carine Botha, Department of Old Testament Studies and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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Superscripts in the Psalter have been disregarded as later editorial additions to the text. However true, superscripts provided insight into the editorial rationale behind the Psalter. Despite almost complete absence in Book IV, David’s presence resurfaced in Book V, through davidic superscripts. The last bearers of the davidic superscript, Psalms 138–145, posed the question: How does the reference to David in the headings aided our interpretation of these psalms? A redaction-historical approach to the interpretation of Psalms 138–145 illustrated how davidic superscripts aided to demonstrate David’s exemplification as priest-king who displayed an attitude of dependence on YHWH’s protection. This article reflects on the final davidic Psalter through considering the redactional rationale of contributing Psalms 138-145 to David. Reflections on David’s theological significance in Book V of the Psalter is suggested. This study resulted in the implication that David as king now submitted to a greater King than himself.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article challenged a form-critical approach to psalms signifying that any study of a psalm must be context-comprehensive. By applying a redactional critical method to the final davidic Psalter, this study emphasised the theological significance of the use of superscripts. This study called for the entire editorial process that resulted in the Psalter (as we have it today) to be considered when studying psalms, also highlighting the need for psalms to be studied in their editorial contexts.


Psalms 138–145; final davidic Psalter; davidic superscripts; Book V; Psalter; Psalms


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