SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.21 número3ForewordAnnotated history - The implications of reading Psalm 34 in conjunction with 1 Samuel 21-26 and vice versa índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
Home Pagelista alfabética de periódicos  

Serviços Personalizados



Links relacionados

  • Em processo de indexaçãoCitado por Google
  • Em processo de indexaçãoSimilares em Google


Old Testament Essays

versão On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versão impressa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.21 no.3 Pretoria  2008


Reading psalm 109 in african christianity



David Adamo

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Kogi State University, Nigeria





Psalm 109 is one of the most problematic psalms in the Old Testament. The majority of scholars are not comfortable as far as the interpretation of the contents is concerned. It is one of the psalms that is classified as an imprecatory psalm dealing with vengeance against enemies instead of forgiveness. It has been given various names among some Western scholars, who link the psalm to hate, vengeance, cursing, and violence. However, when approached from an Africentric point of view in African Christianity, this psalm can be is considered as one of the prayers of appeal to God for justice. The purpose of this article is to discuss how this psalm is interpreted differently in African Christianity, for example as a psalm of protection, success, healing and, mostly, as a prayer to God to get up and fight for the righteous and the poor instead of leaving the fight to the sufferer visiting witch doctors, herbalists, or evil ones.



Full text available only in PDF format.




Adamo, D. T. 2001. Reading and Interpreting the Bible in African Indigenous Churches. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers.         [ Links ]

_____ 2003. The historical development of Old Testament interpretation in Africa, Old Testament Essays 16/1, 9-33.         [ Links ]

_____ 2004. Decolonizing African Biblical Studies. 7th Inaugural Lecture of Delta State University, Abraka, June 10.         [ Links ]

_____ 2005. Explorations in African Biblical Studies. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers.         [ Links ]

Ademiluka, O. 1991. The use of the Psalms in African context. Unpublished MA Thesis, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.         [ Links ]

Agoro, T. 1996. Interview. Department of Works, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. September 12.         [ Links ]

St. Augustine, 1853. Expositions on the Book of Psalms [transl.         [ Links ] H M Wilkins]. London: Oxford.

Biezeveld, K. 2008. The role of 'The Other' in reading Bible: Towards a new roadmap for the Bible reading in the Western world, in: De Wit H. & West, G. O. (eds.), African and European Readers of the Bible in Dialogue: In Quest of a Shared Meaning. Leiden: Brill, 123-139. (Studies of Religion in Africa 32).         [ Links ]

Bolarinwa, J. A. nd. Potency and Efficacy of Psalms. Ibadan: Oluseyi Press.         [ Links ]

Brueggemann, W. 1984. The Message of the Psalms. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House.         [ Links ]

Brug, F. N. 2005. Imprecatory Psalms.         [ Links ]

Cherian, C. M. 1982. Attitude to enemies in the Psalms, Biblebhashyam 8, 115.         [ Links ]

Craigie, P. C. 1983. Psalms 1-50. World Bible Commentary: Waco.         [ Links ]

Davis, R. F. 2001-2005. African-American interpretation of Scripture, Journal of Religious Thought 57/2, - 58/2, 93-105.         [ Links ]

Day, J. N. 2002. Imprecatory Psalms and Christian ethics, Bibliotheca Sacra 159, 166-186.         [ Links ]

Dietrich, W. & Luz, U. 2002. The Bible in a World Context: An Experiment in Contextual Hermeneutics. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans.         [ Links ]

Dopamu, P. A. 1983. Epe, The magic of curse among the Yoruba, Religions 8, 1-11.         [ Links ]

_____ 1987. The reality of isaasi, apeta, ironsi, and efun as forces of evil among the Yoruba, Journal of Arabic and Religious Studies, 4, 50-61.         [ Links ]

_____ 1986. Esu The Invisible Foe of Man. Ijebu Ode: Shebotimo Press.         [ Links ]

Egwim, S. 2004. Determining the place of vv. 6-19 in Ps 109: A case presentation analysis, Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 80/1, 112-130.         [ Links ]

Holladay, W. L. 1995. Long Ago God Spoke: How Christians May Hear the Old Testament Today. Minneapolis: Augsburg.         [ Links ]

Holter, K. 1998. It's not only a question of money. African Old Testament scholarship between the myths and meanings of the south and the money and methods of the north, Old Testament Essays 11/2, 240-254.         [ Links ]

_____ 2005. The first generation of African Old Testament scholars: African concerns and Western influence, in: Koschorke, K. & Schjorring, J. H. (eds.), African Identities and World Christianity in the Twentieth Century: Proceedings of the Third International Munich-Freising Conference on the History of Christianity in the Non-Western World (Sept. 15-17, 2004), 149-163. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.         [ Links ]

_____ 2008a. A Negro, naturally a slave: An aspect of the portrayal of Africans in colonial Old Testament Interpretation, Old Testament Essays 21/2, 373-382.         [ Links ]

_____ 2008b. Does a dialogue between Africa and Europe make sense?, in: De Wit, H. & West, G. O. (eds.), African and European Readers of the Bible in Dialogue: In Quest of a Shared Meaning, 69-80. Leiden: Brill. (Studies of Religion in Africa: 32).         [ Links ]

Holter, K., Getui, M. & Zinkuratire, V. 2001. Interpreting the Old Testament in Africa. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.         [ Links ]

Kraus, H-J. 1989. Psalms 60-150 [transl.         [ Links ] H C Oswald]. Minneapolis: Augsburg.

Laney, C. J. 1981. A fresh look at the imprecatory Psalms, Bibliotheca Sacra, 138, 35-45.         [ Links ]

Leslie C. A. 1983. Psalm 101-150. World Bible Commentary: Waco.         [ Links ]

Lewis, C. S. 1958. Reflections on the Psalms. London: Geoffrey Bles.         [ Links ]

Lockyer, H. (Jr) 1993. Psalms: A Devotional Commentary. Grand Rapids: Kregel.         [ Links ]

Luc, A. 1999. Interpreting the curses in the Psalms, Journal of Evangelical Theological Society 42 /3, 395-410.         [ Links ]

Martin, C. 1972. Imprecations in the Psalms, in: Walter, C. K. Jr. (ed.), Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation, 113-132. Grand Rapids: Baker.         [ Links ]

McCann, C. Jr. 1993. A theological Introduction to the Book of Psalms. Nashville: Abingdon Press.         [ Links ]

McKeating, H. 1963. Vengeance is mine: A study of the pursuit of vengeance in the Old Testament, Expository Times 74, 243-45.         [ Links ]

Mulrain, G. 1999. Hermeneutics within a Caribbean context, in: Sugirtharajah, R. S. (ed.), Vernacular Hermeneutics, 116 - 132. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.         [ Links ]

Ogunkunle, C. 2000. Imprecatory Psalms: Their forms and uses in Ancient Israel and some selected churches in Nigeria. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.         [ Links ]

Olarewaju, I. 1998. The Efficacious Power of Psalms in Daily Devotion. Suleja, Abuja: Awosanmi Press.         [ Links ]

Oshitelu, J. O. nd. The Secret of Meditation with God with the Uses of Psalms. Ogere, Shagamu: Publication Department, the Church of the Lord Aladura Worldwide.         [ Links ]

Priest, J. 1843. Slavery as it Relates to the Negro or African Race. New York: Arno Press.         [ Links ]

Scroggie, W. C. 1950. The Psalms. London: Pickering & Inglis.         [ Links ]

Simeon, U. 1991. Four Approaches to the Book of Psalms: From Saadiah Gaon to Abraham Ibn Ezra [transl.         [ Links ] L J Schramm]. Albany: State University of New York.

Spurgeon, C. H. 1983. The Treasury of David. Pasadena: Pilgrim.         [ Links ]

Sugirtharajah, R. S. 1999. Vernacular ressurrections: An introduction in: Sugirtharajah, R. S. (ed.), Vernacular Hermeneutics, 11-19. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.         [ Links ]

Ukpong, J. S. 2000. Developments in Biblical interpretation in Africa: Historical and hermeneutical directions. In: West, G.O. & Dube, M. (eds.), The Bible in Africa. Transactions, Trajectories and trends. 11-28. Leiden: Brill.         [ Links ]

_____ 2002. Inculturation hermeneutics: An African approach to Biblical interpretation, in: Dietrich, W. & Luz, U. (eds.), The Bible in a World Context: An Experiment in Contextual Hermeneutics, 17-32. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans.         [ Links ]

Weiser, A. 1962. The Psalms,         [ Links ] [transl. by Herbert Hartwell]. Philadelphia: The Westminister Press.

Wenham, J. W. 1974. The Goodness of God. Downers Grove: IVP.         [ Links ]

West, G. O. 2000. Mapping African biblical interpretation: A tentative sketch, in West, G. O. & Dube, M. (eds.), The Bible in Africa: Transactions, Trajectories and Trends, 29-53. Leiden: E J Brill,         [ Links ].

_____ 1999. The Academy of the Poor. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.         [ Links ]

_____ 1994. Difference and dialogue: Reading the Joseph story with poor and marginalized communities in South Africa, Biblical Interpretation. 2, 152-170.         [ Links ]

Yorke, G. L. O. R. 1997. The Bible and the black Diaspora, in: Kinoti, H. W. & Waliggi, J. M. (eds.), The Bible in African Christianity, 145-164. Nairobi: Acton Publishers.         [ Links ]

_____ 1995. Biblical Hermeneutics: an Afrocentric perspective, Journal of Religion and Theology, 2/2, 145 - 158.         [ Links ]

Zenger, E. 1994. A God of Vengeance? Understanding the Psalms of Divine Wrath [transl.         [ Links ] L M Malaoney]. Louisville: Westminster John Knox.



David Adamo
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Kogi State University, Anyigba, Kogi State, Nigeria

Creative Commons License Todo o conteúdo deste periódico, exceto onde está identificado, está licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons