W. Dennis Tucker, «Psalm 95: Text, Context, and Intertext», Vol. 81 (2000) 533-541
In a previous issue of Biblica (76  540-550)
W.H. Schniedewind argued that Ps 100 had a major influence on the psalmist who
wrote Ps 95. In this study, I argue for a diachronic approach to
intertextuality, which examines both the literary and the social environment. I
contend that the two together actually create an intertextual hermeneutic which
allows the psalmist to incorporate previous traditions and texts in such a way
as to address changing social and religious demands.
Based on citation, allusion and reversal, I contend that the psalmist of Ps 95 did in fact incorporate element of Ps 100, but in addition, the psalmist added the Massah-Meribah tradition, while adding a deuteronomic slant to the psalms. The use of the Massah-Meribah tradition along the deuteronomic influences, created a psalm that would have been particularly appropriate for a community still reeling from the devastation of exile.
Those who read the Psalter are often struck by the power of its pietistic language: the agony of the psalmist as he utters a complaint; the sheer joy of another psalmist as he proclaims praise. The theological themes and their poetic expression have drawn readers to the Psalter. Yet equally impressive is the artistic and literary sophistication of the various psalmists. Interspersed throughout many psalms are implicit and explicit references to earlier texts and traditions. These references suggest that the psalms were far more than simple prayers uttered by petitioners, but rather composite texts in which the psalmist attempted to employ older texts and traditions in an effort to speak to the present situation.
In a previous issue of Biblica, W.M. Schniedewind suggested that Ps 100 had a significant influence on certain later biblical texts, namely Ps 79, Ps 95, and Ezek 341. In his article, Schniedewind outlined some of the possible arguments that demonstrate the relationship between Ps 100 and the other texts. Regarding the influence of Ps 100 on Ps 95, Schniedewind contends that ‘the final form of Psalm 95 is shaped by its dialogue with Psalm 100’2. There are two pieces of evidence that seem to lead him to his conclusion. First he notes the similarity between 100,3 and 95,7. Although the language is ‘only loosely parallel’, there is an obvious relationship between the texts. Secondly, Schniedewind suggests that in Ps 95 the psalmist declares that the nation will be ‘his people ... if they will obey his voice and not harden their hearts’. The use of the conditional in Ps 95 challenges the affirmations made in Ps 100. This leads Schniedewind to suggest that such an interpretation of Israel’s identity ‘accords well with the Deuteronomic school’3.
The purpose of this study is to develop more fully the argument first posed by Schniedewind, particularly as it relates to Ps 95. The suggestion posed by Schniedewind that the psalmist in Ps 95 incorporated elements of Psalm 100 will be explored further. While not mentioned in the article by Schniedewind, the use of the Massah / Meribah tradition in the psalm and the accompanying deuteronomic devices will be addressed.
I. Inner-biblical Exegesis
Prior to addressing the issues related to Ps 95, the issue of methodology should be considered briefly. How does one read and understand texts that appear in some form of a relationship with other texts? In his seminal work, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, M. Fishbane has noted the complex nature of literary relationships that exist within the Hebrew Bible4. Drawing