Literary Genres of Psalms Hymns of Praise Songs of Thanksgiving
Form of Hymn of Praise • Call to Praise, Wonder, Acclaim • Body (usually introduced by “ki”) • Restatement of Call to Praise
A Hymn of Praise:Psalm 117 • 1a. Praise YHWH, all peoples! • 1b. Praise him, all nations! • 2a. For his goodness is mighty over us, • 2b. And YHWH’s faithfulness endures forever. • 2c. Hallelujah!
1a: Praise! YHWH all-of nations • 1b: Extol-him! All-of the-peoples • 2a: For he-is-great toward-us love-of-him • 2b: And-faithfulness-of YHWH to-forever. • 2c: Praise Yah!
1a: Halelu ‘et-YHWH kal-goyim • 1b: Shavhuhu kal-ha-’ummim • 2a: Ki gavar ‘alenu haseddo • 2b: We’emet YHWH le’olam • 2c: Halelu Yah
Themes of Hymns of Praise • Praise of YHWH Creator (Pss 8, 19A, 33, 104, ) • Hymns of YHWH Melek (Pss 47, 93, 96, 97, 98, 99) • Harvest Songs [?] (Pss 65 ) • Historical Praise (Pss 105, , 114, 135, ) • Entrance Hymns (Pss 24, 95, 100)
Example of a Hymn of Praise to YHWH Creator (Ps 8) • To the choirmaster. • According to The Gittith. • A psalm of David. • 1. O YHWH, our Lord, • how glorious is your name • in all the world!
2. From the mouths of children and infants • you have built up a bulwark • because of your foes, to put an end • to the enemy and the avenger.
3. When I behold your heavens, • the work of your fingers, • the moon and the stars • which you have placed there -- • 4. What is man that you think of him, • and the son of man, that you take care of him?
5. You made him a little lower than heavenly beings • and did crown him with honor and glory. • 6. You appointed him ruler over the works of your hands, • everything you laid at his feet:
7. Sheep and oxen altogether • and also the beasts of the field, • 8. the birds of heaven and the fish of the sea -- • whatever traverses the ways of the waters.
9. O YHWH, our Lord, • how glorious is your name • in all the world!
Example of a Doxology: Psalm 150 • 1a: Praise YHWH! • 1b: Praise God in-sanctuary-of-him • 1c: Praise-him in-heaven-of might-of-him • 2a: Praise-him for-works-of-power-of-him • 2b: Praise-him for-surpassing-of greatness-of-him
3a: Praise-him with-sounding-of trumpet • 3b: Praise-him with-harp and-lyre • 4a: Praise-him with-tambourine and-dance • 4b: Praise-him with-strings and-flute • 5a: Praise-him with-cymbals-of clashing • 5b: Praise-him with-cymbals-of resounding • 6a: All-of the-breath let-her-praise YHWH • 6b: Praise YHWH
Psalm 150 in “Reconstituted” Biblical Chant (Haik-Vantoura) • 1a: Hallelu YH • 1b: Hallelu El beqarsho • 1b: Halleluhu birqia uzzo • 2a: Halleluhu bigburohayu • 2b: Halleluhu kerob gudlo
3a: Halleluhu b-teqa shofar • 3b: Halleluhu b-nevel w-kinnor • 4a: Halleluhu b-tof w-mahol • 4b: Halleluhu b-minnim w-ugav • 5a: Halleluhu b-tsiltsile shama • 5b: Halleluhu b-tsiltsile h-ruah • 6a: Kol hanneshamah t-hallel YH • 6b: Hallelu YH
Form of a Thanksgiving Psalm • Combines hymn-form and supplication-form • Introduction: addressed to God or the community who witnesses the thanksgiving offering • Body: narrative of dangers, attacks, persecution, confession of faults, expressions of weakness or innocence • Conclusion: God’s saving intervention and psalmist’s confidence toward the future
Example of a Thanksgiving Psalm (Ps 30) • A Psalm. • A Song at the dedication of the temple. • Of David. • 1. I will extol you, YHWH, for you have drawn me up, • And did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2: YHWH my God, I cried to you for help, • And you have healed me. • 3: YHWH, you brought up my soul from Sheol, • Restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit / that I should not go down to the Pit
4: Sing praises to YHWH, O you his faithful ones, • And give thanks to his holy name. • 5: For his anger is but for a moment; • His favor is for a lifetime. • Weeping may linger for the night, • But joy comes with the morning.
6: As for me, I said in my prosperity: • “I shall never be moved.” • 7: By your favor, YHWH, • You had established me as a strong mountain; • You hid your face; • I was dismayed.
8: To you, YHWH, I cried, • And to YHWH I made supplication: • 9: “What profit is there in my death, • If I go down to the Pit? • Will the dust praise you? • Will it tell of your faithfulness? • 10: Hear, YHWH, and be gracious to me! • YHWH, be my helper!”
11: You have turned my mourning into dancing; • You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, • 12: So that my soul may praise you and not be silent. • O YHWH my God, I will give thanks to you forever.