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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


BOTHA, Phil J.. Answers disguised as questions: Rhetoric and reasoning in Psalm 24. Old testam. essays [online]. 2009, vol.22, n.3, pp.535-553. ISSN 2312-3621.

Psalm 24 seems to consist mainly of a hymnic introduction (vv. 1-2), a so-called "entrance torah" (vv. 3-5), and a liturgical piece once used at the temple gates (vv. 7-10), to which a post-exilic identification of the true Israel was added (v. 6). It contains four questions which are almost universally interpreted as dialectical or antiphonal questions formulated for the purpose of regulating entrance to the temple within some or other liturgy. This paper consists of a poetic and rhetorical analysis of the psalm in which it is argued that the questions rather serve a rhetorical function in the present form of Ps 24. The purpose of the questions is to highlight the profile of a true worshipper of YHWH on the one hand, and to highlight the military might and splendour of YHWH on the other. It probably sought to outline the religious profile of the worshipping community in the post-exilic period more clearly, and to reconfirm the consensus that they would be vindicated as the true Israel when YHWH would reveal his true power and glory. The psalm is also contextualised as part of the post-exilic composition Pss 15-24.

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