Psalm 18 and the opportunity to study a contemporaneous early draft!!

Discussion in 'OT Wisdom Literature' started by Eoghan, May 9, 2019.

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  1. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    As I work my way through the Psalms I have speculated about the process of writing poetry. When I engage in such activities I usually write in pencil because I change words, swap paragraphs around etc...

    Psalm 9 and 10 started as one poem but as David worked on it he split ito into two (In my humble opinion)
    Psalm 14 and 53 are almost the same. In literacy terms I have suggested it was repurposed. Elton John took his song "Like a Candle in the Wind" and reworked it for Princess Diana's funeral service. When you own the copyright you can do this sort of thing.

    Now coming to Psalm 18 we have a refined version of 2 Samuel 23. A careful study shows how the Psalm has been refined - by David (In my humble opinion).

    Has anyone studies these two side by side? (Preferrably an mp3 or pdf)
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    It's certainly reasonable to suspect that one is a refinement of the other. Have you considered the possibility that it works the other way around: that 2 Samuel 22 (not 23) is the refined version and Psalm 18 the original? That seems plausible to me because 2 Samuel 22 is out of place in the narrative. It's about a time early in David's life (when God gave him victory over Saul) but it is placed at the end of his life. This suggests, possibly, that David refined it at that later time and this is why it shows up there.

    I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. It just seems plausible.
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Another possibility is that the prophet responsible for compiling the notes on the end of David's life selected Ps.18 as a particularly summarizing text for the king; and, like an apostle in the NT not merely quoting but interpreting and applying Scripture, while at the same time creating Scripture, he presented it as the final gloss on David's ministry.

    At the risk of speaking too long on the topic,
    My thought on Pss. 9-10 is that the form we have--two separate Pss.--is David's own work, and not that of some editor long afterward breaking up one Psalm for convenience or any other reason. Ps.9 is titled with a meaningful opening statement (some will not agree with that assessment, OK); and that title does not belong to Ps.10, which is why they are not united in one. Whether they ever were or not is a matter of speculation, that may seem plain based on the acrostic element, and perhaps useful at some level of analysis; but the canonical form is the authoritative structure, from which we get the meaning of the Holy Spirit.

    And on the subject of structure, it may also benefit the reader/student to consider the whole 5-book structure of the Psalter, when contemplating the reasons for why two similar Pss. might appear in two different Books. O Palmer Robertson has some thoughts on that macro-subject in this book:
  4. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    ...shallow enough for an infant to ford, deep enough for an elephant to swim...
  5. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    The ESV Study Bible notes that the 2 Samuel 22 is a personal expostulation of praise where Psalm 18 is a rewrite for the congregation of Israle to sing corporately (paraphrasing a wee bit).

    I am happy to go with that.
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