oa Old Testament Essays - Psalm 39 and its place in the development of a doctrine of retribution in the Hebrew Bible

Volume 30 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1010-9919



Psalm 39 is a peculiar, late post-exilic wisdom composition which reflects the style of a supplication of a sick person, but actually rather constitutes a meditation on the transitoriness of human life. It has been neatly integrated into the conclusion of Book I of the Psalter by a late post-exilic redaction, but displays antithetic views with regard to expectations about retribution expressed in other psalms ostensibly from the same post-exilic era. This article explores its possible purpose in view of its form, its integration into Book I of the Psalter, and particularly its seeming contrastive stance towards Pss 34 and 37. Its apparent criticism of the perspective on retribution expressed in other wisdom psalms renders it very similar to Ps 73 as well as to notions expressed in the Book of Job, and the psalm is therefore compared to these texts as well.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error