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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.24 no.3 Pretoria  2011


"Peace" (שלום)-its prerequisite and promise: A poetic analysis and an application of Psalm 85 to Africa



Ernst Wendland

University of Stellenbosch





Psalm 85 gives utterance to a communal appeal to Yahweh for restoration and blessing ("peace/well-being"). It is a passionate prayer that is based on both the Lord's past gracious dealings with his people and also their own present commitment to remain "faithful" to Yahweh's covenant principles as expressed in their "righteous" behavior. Thus, the blessed promise of "peace" carries with it a divinely established prerequisite, namely, a life-style that is truly in keeping with what the Lord desires for his saints. The admirable manner in which this psalm has been composed in terms of its style and structure serves to highlight the main themes and purpose of its powerful lyric message. As we examine the text of Ps 85 more carefully in this study, it will become readily apparent that the "psalm of/for the sons of Korah" (לבני־קךח מזמך-: v. 1, Heb.) has much of importance to say also to the members of God's contemporary Church, no matter where they may live in the world. However, the notion of "peace" strikes an especially resonant chord in the hearts of all those who live in the continent of Africa. The sense and significance of this psalm is such that it encourages us to seek more dynamic ways of communicating its message of peace via diverse modes and media of transmission today.



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Dr. Ernst Wendland
Lutheran Seminary
P. O. Box 310091, Lusaka 15301

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