Thijs Booij, «Psalms 120–136: Songs for a Great Festival.», Vol. 91 (2010) 241-255
Psalms 120–134, the 'Songs of Ascents', are a functional unity. In early rabbinical tradition concerning the Great Hallel, they seem to be linked with Psalms 135 and 136; in the texts themselves this connection is quite clear. The Songs, as a collection, and the two psalms of praise apparently stem from the later post-exilic period, when they were used during the festival of Sukkoth. The Songs were recited in processions to the sanctuary; the psalms of praise were part of the liturgy proper.
See more by the same author
PSALMS 120â€“136 : SONGS GREAT FESTIVAL
(â€œ then â€) in Ps 124,3-5 44 ; tmdq instead of Î¼rf (â€œ before â€) in
Ps 129,6 45. In Ps 123,1 ybvyh (â€œ who is sittingâ€), with the article
and hireq compaginis, as forma mixta, is a late archaism 46. The
formË™ indicating genitival relationship in Ps 123,4b are not in
agreement with Classical Hebrew syntax. In Ps 124,4 the final
element h; in hljn (â€œ torrent â€) seems to be a quasi-archaic addition
on behalf of the verse rhythm 47.
A relatively late date is also suggested by some wordings and
modes of expression. Outside the Songs of Ascents, the formula
â‰ˆraw Î¼ymv hc[ (â€œ maker of heaven and earthâ€, Ps 121,2 ; 124,8;
134,3) is only found in post-exilic Psalms 115 (v. 15) and 146 (v. 6
â€” there the participle in absolute state: â€œwho made...â€). In Psalm
130, verse 2ba (â€œ let your ears be attentive...â€) is characteristic of
the later post-exilic time (see Neh 1,6; 2 Chr 6,40; 7,15). Verse 3
recalls Ezra 9,15 (see also e.g. Isa 59,12; Ezra 9,6-7). In its
statements on forgiveness (v. 4) and benevolence (v. 7) the psalm
is related to a text like Neh 9,17.
Lastly, the historical perspective seems to be late. In Psalm
126 48 the restoration of Zionâ€™s fortunes is remembered as a
marvellous event causing great excitement. In fact, this turnabout
was a series of events, divided over a long period and hardly
spectacular for the most part: Cyrusâ€™s decree regarding the
Jerusalem temple, issued in 538 BC; a return of exiles, possibly
under Cambyses; the building of the temple in 520-515; the
return of those led by Ezra; the restoration of the walls of
Jerusalem about 444 49. The psalmâ€™s retrospect seems to draw on
For yza cf. previous note. In ancient Aramaic za and yza both occur; see
KAI 214 :7 ; 215:9; 233:6.14. Cf. H. BAUER â€“ P. LEANDER, Historische
Grammatik der hebrÃ¤ischen Sprache des Alten Testaments (Halle 1922) 631a.
See HALAT, 1772, s.v. hmdq.
See A. HURVITZ, â€œOriginals and Imitations in Biblical Poetry: a
Comparative Examination of 1 Sam 2:1-10 and Ps 113 :5-9 â€, Biblical and
Related Studies Presented to Samuel Iwry (eds. A. KORT â€“ S. MORSCHAUSER)
(Winona Lake, IN 1985) 119-121. The occurrence of the ending yA in the I
construct state of primal words like ba, â€œfatherâ€, and ja, â€œbrotherâ€, seems to
testify the antiquity of this form.
See GESENIUS â€“ KAUTZSCH, Â§ 90f ; JOÃœON â€“ MURAOKA, Â§ 93i.
Cf. R. MOSIS, â€œâ€˜Mit Jauchzen werden sie erntenâ€™. Beobachtungen zu
Psalm 126â€, Die alttestamentliche Botschaft als Wegweisung. Festschrift fÃ¼r
Hans Reinelt (Hrsg. J. ZMIJEWSKI) (Stuttgart 1990) 183.
See Zech 4,9; 7-8; Ezra 2; 5,2.13-16; 6,3-5.14-15; 7-8; Neh 1-4; 6. For