Original Research

Psalm 5: A theology of tension and reconciliation

G. T.M. Prinsloo
Verbum et Ecclesia | Skrif en Kerk: Vol 19, No 3 | a2513 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v19i3.2513 | © 2022 G. T.M. Prinsloo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 February 2022 | Published: 30 December 1998

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G. T.M. Prinsloo, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Psalm 5 is one of the less known psalms. Yet, it is an extraordinary poem. The most conspicuous characteristic of Psalm 5 is the tension between Yahweh, the righteous and the wicked. This tension is skilfully expressed in the poetic structure of the psalm, where strophes concerning the relationship between Yahweh and the righteous on the one hand and Yahweh and the wicked on the other hand, appear in juxtaposition. Tension is created between the three role players. The aim of this article is to determine the theological relevance of these tensions. This aim is reached via a detailed analysis of the intratextual relations in the poem. In the process problems concerning the strophic structure, genre and social selling of the psalm receive attention. The conclusion is reached that the tensions are used to clarify the relationship between God, the righteous and the wicked, thus serving as dominant interpretational key to determine the theology of the psalm.


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