n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - The ethics of retribution in Psalm 37

Volume 92, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-9556



Contrasting viewpoints exist concerning the voice of Psalm 37. It can either be understood as a voice of protest against the system, or as an unrealistic voice with uncritical confidence in the system. Psalm 37 is therefore analysed to ascertain what the ethical claims of the poet are. It will be seen that the psalm articulates an extremely close and very predictable relationship between deed and consequence. This psalm claims that the righteous deeds of the faithful will result in success whereas the evil deeds of the wicked will result in destruction. The psalm therefore reflects a worldview that conceptualizes life in terms of the two ways: either living wisely in an ethically and morally correct way through obedience to God's commandments, or living foolishly by following the way of the wicked. This leads to the conclusion that the ethical stance of Psalm 37 is very unrealistic, naïve and one-sided.

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