Songs of Zion: 46, 48, 76, 84, 87, 122, 137 Use of the term “Zion” • Used 38x in Psalms of 154 in the OT (9 = ‘from’) • Used only 7x in the NT; only Heb 12:22 & Rev 14:1 are not direct OT quotes. Both Jewish! • Used most in 48 (3x), 102 (3x), 87 (2x) Synonyms for “Zion” • Sanctuary • Hill/Mountain, 84:1 • Daughter Zion, 9:14 • City of God • Jerusalem • Salem • It has gates & towers • Tribe of Judah • The entire nation
Songs of Zion Canaanite Background • Pantheon (Elohim) was led by “El” • The Palace of El was on Mt. Zaphon • Cf. Clifford, Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the OT (Cambridge: Harvard, 1972): • Then they set face toward El at the sources of the Two Rivers, in the midst of the pools of the Double-Deep...Come and I will seek it. In the midst of my mountain, divine Zaphon, in the holy place, the mountain of my heritage, in the chosen spot, on the hill of victory.
Songs of Zion Canaanite Background • Pantheon (Elohim) was led by “El” • The Palace of El was on Mt. Zaphon • Zaphon was 25 miles N.E. of Ugarit (Syria), or E. of the Jordan River within Israel, cf. 87:4. • Great is the Lord (Yhwh) and greatly to be praised in the city of our God (Elohim). His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north (in the thigh of Zaphon), the city of the great King. (Psa 48:1-2)
Songs of Zion This site of Zaphon can hardly be considered a high place.
Songs of Zion See A. Robinson, “Zion and saphonin Psalms XLVIII 3,” VetusTestamentum 24 (1974): 118-23.
Songs of Zion Jahweh is Warrior • The idea of God as Israel’s ‘general’ permeates the Zion psalms. • God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble...The Lord of Hosts is with us.... He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God!” Psa 46:1, 7, 9-10a.
Songs of Zion Jahweh is Warrior Within its citadels God has shown himself a sure defense. Then the kings assembled, they came on together. As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic, they took to flight (Ps 48:3-5). • ...his dwelling place in Zion. There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. ... At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both rider and horse lay stunned. (Ps 76:2-3, 6).
Songs of Zion Jahweh is Warrior Though this idea is very ancient, it shows up as late as the exilic Psalm 137. (Read) • Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity. (Ps 122:6-9).