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Old Testament Essays

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

Old testam. essays vol.21 n.1 Pretoria  2008

 

'Killing them softly with this song the literary structure of Psalm 3 and its Psalmic and Davidic contexts1. Part I: An intratextual interpretation of Psalm 3

 

 

Phil J. Botha; Beat Weber

University of Pretoria

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

This is the first article in a series of two which investigate the meaning of Psalm 3. In this contribution, the syntax of the verbs and the aspects of time in Psalm 3 are analysed. This is correlated with a poetic analysis of the psalm. A division of three stanzas (2-4\\5-7\ \8-9) is proposed in which each of the three sections is seen to describe a movement from prayer to a confession of trust. The first and the last stanza seem to be two parts of a prayer in the present tense, spoken by a suppliant who is under attack from a large number of enemies. The central stanza seems to contain a description of a prayer by the same person in the past, as well as the nocturnal answer of YHWH to this prayer, something that gave the suppliant the courage in his present situation of distress to react with confidence to the fear instilled by the enemies and their words.


 

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Correspondence:
Beat Weber
Theologisches Seminar Bienenberg, Liestal, CH
University of Wales, Lampeter, UK (Associate Lecturer)
Department of Ancient Languages
University of Pretoria
Pretoria 0002, RSA. Birrmoosstr. 5, CH-3673 Linden BE (Switzerland)
E-mail: weber-lehnherr@freesurf.ch

Phil J. Botha
Department of Ancient Languages
University of Pretoria
Pretoria 0002, South Africa
E-mail: phil.botha@up.ac.za

 

 

1 This article and a forthcoming one by the same authors have grown out of investigations and discussions during 2005 and again during 2008 at the Department of Ancient Languages at the University of Pretoria. Phil J. Botha is professor of Semitic Languages at this institution and Dr. Beat Weber is a visiting research associate of this department. The title of the article is a play on the song 'Killing me softly with his song', composed by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. It was inspired by a poem by Lori Lieberman, 'Killing me softly with his blues', which she wrote after seeing a then-unknown Don McLean perform the song 'Empty Chairs' live. The title was chosen because this psalm, in its present setting, tells about the life of David and how he overcame his enemies.