Praying the language of enmity in the Psalter : a study of Psalms 110, 119, 129, 137, 139 and 149
Persaud, Aran Jeremy
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Psalms using the language of enmity present a challenge for Christians who wish to use these psalms as prayer. This study investigates the language of enmity in Psalms 110, 119, 129, 137, 139 and 149 as Christian prayer and beyond the normal form category of lament or complaint of the individual. An argument is proposed to understand Book V of the Psalter as an integral unit, which editors have arranged to represent the post-exilic early restoration period. The study begins with an exegesis of each psalm and seeks to determine the perceived suffering of the psalmist(s) at the hands of enemies and the meaning of the responses to these adversaries. It then moves to a limited historical survey of how commentators through Church history have perceived the suffering and responses in these psalms which use language of enmity. This historical survey is used to correct or clarify the findings in the exegesis. In the third movement of this thesis, the results of the individual exegesis and historical survey of Psalms 110, 119, 129, 137, 139 and 149 are compared in order to elucidate the meaning of the language of enmity. The findings suggest that the language of enmity represents images of judgment on a recalcitrant adversary. The psalms are also investigated as prayers and as normative scripture. The use of the language of enmity in these psalms suggests a use of language that differs from normal use. In this regard the rhetorical device of synecdoche is most helpful in explaining how the texts function. The basis for the language of enmity seems to be the unchanging nature of moral evil. The study then investigates the psalms as canonical, normative prayer in order to move towards developing a theology of God’s just dealing with people and his people in particular. In this regard the psalms are approached as prayer, regardless of the voice in which they were composed. It is suggested that the text as normative prayer allows the psalmist, God, and the pray-er to inhabit and celebrate the same sacred time and space. Of particular concern is how each psalm speaks to the issue of how God engages with moral evil and the question of what can be known about moral evil. The findings suggest that these psalms are an invaluable spiritual resource for the church and should remain unaltered in their use as Christian private and public prayer.
- Theology 
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