Barry Craig Davis



                                 B.A., University of Hawaii, 1968

                  M.Div., Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, 1971

                     Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1976

                            Th.M., Talbot School of Theology, 1989





                                            A DISSERTATION


                                         Submitted to the Faculty

                            in partial fulfillment of the requirements

                                              for the degree of

                                      DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

                             at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School




                                             Deerfield, Illinois

                                                  June 1996









            Psalms research has undergone many changes in recent years.

One method of analysis that has been on the ascendency is the

literary method, especially as it applies to the structure and

context of groups of psalms. This dissertation fits into that


            Specifically, this study seeks to demonstrate that there

are intentional--and not just accidental or random--lexical and

thematic links among the psalms of the Psalms 107-118 corpus and

that the corpus as a whole exhibits a coherent and unified

structure. This dissertation compares the lexemes of each psalm

with those of the other 11 psalms, in order to differentiate

among key-lexeme links, thematic-lexeme links, and incidental-

lexeme links. This study also traces the 3 primary thematic

threads that run throughout the corpus--the need for God's

people to honor Him, God's ability to deliver His people from

distress, and God's dominion over the created order.

            This dissertation reveals that, within the Psalms 107-118









            1. Psalms that are closer to each other tend to share a

greater number of key- and thematic-lexeme links than do psalms

that are farther apart;

            2. Key- and thematic-lexeme links occur primarily in 3

areas: praise, distress and deliverance, and God's character;

            3. Two of the major themes--God deserves praise and God

delivers His people from distress--appear in at least 10 psalms;

the third--God dominates over the created order--appears in a

minimum of 6 psalms; and

            4. The structure of the corpus is tightly knit, with

Psalms 107 and 118 forming an inclusio of thanksgiving around

the corpus, with Psalms 108-110 being linked by Davidic

superscriptions, with Psalm 114 linking the hallelujah (hy vllh)

rubric psalms (Psalms 111-113) to the hallelujah (hy-vllh)

colophon psalms (Psalms 115-117), and with Psalms 113-118

comprising a sequence of psalms known as the Egyptian Hallel

used in Israel's worship.

            In conclusion, this dissertation demonstrates that the

literary approach is a valid method by which to study a series

of psalms in order to assess the significance of lexical,

thematic, and structural linkages.










                               TABLE OF CONTENTS


ABSTRACT                                                                                                    iii

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                                                             xi

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                                             xii


            1. INTRODUCTION                                                                         1

                        Importance of the Study                                                       1

                        Problem of the Study                                                            6

                        Scope of the Study                                                                7

                        Text of the Study                                                                   11

                        Assumptions of the Study                                                     13

                        Overview of the History of Psalm-Sequence                    

                            Analysis                                                                              16

                        Methodology of the Study                                                    22

                                    General Analyses                                                      23

                                    Structural Analysis                                                    37

                        Plan of the Study                                                                   28

2. THE TEXTS IN CONTEXT                                                                      29

            Psalm 107 in Context                                                                       31

                        Introduction to Psalm 107                                                   31

                        Psalms 107 and 108                                                             33

                        Psalms 107 and 109                                                             40

                        Psalms 107 and 110                                                             45

                        Psalms 107 and 111                                                             47

                        Psalms 107 and 112                                                             50

                        Psalms 107 and 113                                                             53



                        Psalms 107 and 114                                                             55

                        Psalms 107 and 115                                                             57

                        Psalms 107 and 116                                                             59

                        Psalms 107 and 117                                                             62

                        Psalms 107 and 118                                                             63

                        Psalm 107--A Retrospective                                               67

            Psalm 108 in Context                                                                       76

                        Introduction to Psalm 108                                                   76

                        Psalms 108 and 109                                                             78

                        Psalms 108 and 110                                                             83

                        Psalms 108 and 111                                                             85

                        Psalms 108 and 112                                                             87

                        Psalms 108 and 113                                                             90

                        Psalms 108 and 114                                                             91

                        Psalms 108 and 115                                                             93

                        Psalms 108 and 116                                                             95

                        Psalms 108 and 117                                                             97

                        Psalms 108 and 118                                                             99

                        Psalm 108--A Retrospective                                               102

            Psalm 109 in Context                                                                       109

                        Introduction to Psalm 109                                                   119

                        Psalms 109 and 110                                                             110

                        Psalms 109 and 111                                                             113

                        Psalms 109 and 112                                                             115

                        Psalms 109 and 113                                                             119

                        Psalms 109 and 114                                                             121



                        Psalms 109 and 115                                                             123

                        Psalms 109 and 116                                                             126

                        Psalms 109 and 117                                                             129

                        Psalms 109 and 118                                                             131

                        Psalm 109--A Retrospective                                               136

            Psalm 110 in Context                                                                       143

                        Introduction to Psalm 110                                                   143

                        Psalms 110 and 111                                                             148

                        Psalms 110 and 112                                                             150

                        Psalms 110 and 113                                                             152

                        Psalms 110 and 114                                                             155

                        Psalms 110 and 115                                                             156

                        Psalms 110 and 116                                                             158

                        Psalms 110 and 117                                                             159

                        Psalms 110 and 118                                                             160

                        Psalm 110--A Retrospective                                               162

            Psalm 111 in Context                                                                       169

                        Introduction to Psalm 111                                                   169

                        Psalms 111 and 112                                                             170

                        Psalms 111 and 113                                                             177

                        Psalms 111 and 114                                                             179

                        Psalms 111 and 115                                                             181

                        Psalms 111 and 116                                                             185

                        Psalms 111 and 117                                                             187

                        Psalms 111 and 118                                                             189

                        Psalm 111--A Retrospective                                               192




            Psalm 112 in Context                                                                       198

                        Introduction to Psalm 112                                                   198

                        Psalms 112 and 113                                                             199

                        Psalms 112 and 114                                                             201

                        Psalms 112 and 115                                                             203

                        Psalms 112 and 116                                                             207

                        Psalms 112 and 117                                                             209

                        Psalms 112 and 118                                                             210

                        Psalm 112--A Retrospective                                               216

            Psalm 113 in Context                                                                       223

                        Introduction to Psalm 113                                                   223

                        Psalms 113 and 114                                                             224

                        Psalms 113 and 115                                                              226    

                        Psalms 113 and 116                                                             230

                        Psalms 113 and 117                                                             234

                        Psalms 113 and 118                                                             236

                        Psalm 113--A Retrospective                                               237

            Psalm 114 in Context                                                                       244

                        Introduction to Psalm 114                                                   244

                        Psalms 114 and 115                                                             245

                        Psalms 114 and 116                                                             248

                        Psalms 114 and 117                                                             250

                        Psalms 114 and 118                                                             251

                        Psalm 114--A Retrospective                                               253

            Psalm 115 in Context                                                                       259

                        Introduction to Psalm 115                                                   259




                        Psalms 115 and 116                                                             260

                        Psalms 115 and 117                                                             266

                        Psalms 115 and 118                                                             268

                        Psalm 115--A Retrospective                                               273

            Psalm 116 in Context                                                                       281

                        Introduction to Psalm 116                                                   281

                        Psalms 116 and 117                                                             282

                        Psalms 116 and 118                                                             283

                        Psalm 116--A Retrospective                                               286

            Psalm 117 in Context                                                                       291

                        Introduction to Psalm 117                                                   291

                        Psalms 117 and 118                                                             291

                        Psalm 117--A Retrospective                                               293

            Psalm 118 in Context                                                                       297

                        Introduction to Psalm 118                                                   297

                        Psalm 118--A Retrospective                                               298


3. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS                        306

            Summary                                                                                            306

            Conclusions                                                                                       308

                        General Findings                                                                   308

                        Lexical Findings                                                                    309

                        Thematic Findings                                                                 311

                        Structural Findings                                                                314

                        Structural and Thematic Development                                320

                        Overall Conclusion                                                               335



            Implications                                                                                       336

                        Doctrine of Inspiration                                                         336

                        Psalms Research                                                                   344




                        LEXEMES FOUND IN PSALMS 107-118                        354

            B. PSALMS 107-118: LEXEME FREQUENCY TABLES           356

                        Psalm 107                                                                              357

                        Psalm 108                                                                              395

                        Psalm 109                                                                              408

                        Psalm 110                                                                              436

                        Psalm 111                                                                              444

                        Psalm 112                                                                              455

                        Psalm 113                                                                              465

                        Psalm 114                                                                              475

                        Psalm 115                                                                              482

                        Psalm 116                                                                              504

                        Psalm 117                                                                              525

                        Psalm 118                                                                              529

            C. PSALMS 107-118: SUMMARY OF LEXEME

                        FREQUENCY DATA BY PSALM                           565


                        A GIVEN PSALM REPLICATED IN AT LEAST

                        ONE OTHER PSALM OF THE PSALMS 107-118

                        CORPUS                                                                               568

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                                                          569




                            LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


Figure                                                                                                             Page

1. Identification of psalms containing one or

            more of the primary themes of the

            Psalms 107-118 corpus                                                                   312

2. Overall structure of the Psalms 107-118 corpus                                  315

3. Internal connections between the hallelujah

            (hy vllh) rubric psalms and the hallelujah

            (hy-vllh) colophon psalms                                                            316

4. Psalm 110 as a thematic unifier of Psalms 107-113                            319

































            God is gracious. He brings into our lives all that is

required to meet our needs--and then He blesses us still more.

In regard to this dissertation, He has more than met my needs.

He has given me the opportunity to study His Word and He has

brought alongside of me many people who have been gracious like

their heavenly Father in helping me to complete this work. The

following is but a meager way to acknowledge the contribution

that those chosen servants of God have made.

            No dissertation would be complete without a first reader--

someone willing to take the brunt of faulty thinking and poor

writing, while managing to maintain sanity in his own life and

to give structure to the dissertation itself. In the case of

this dissertation, Dr. David M. Howard, Jr., made that

sacrifice. Fortunately, Dr. Howard not only understands the

rigors of dissertation work, but also has the compassion to

offer encouragement and much needed help--a rare combination, to

be sure. Dr. Howard, moreover, went beyond the call of duty,

returning draft copies of the dissertation with amazing speed

and yet, at the same time, with insightful comments regarding

content, organization, style, and grammar. Without his






guidance, this dissertation would have been a far poorer


            Dissertations also require second readers. Dr. Dennis R

Magary graciously volunteered for that role. His support and

encouragement have also helped to move this dissertation along

to its conclusion.

            Within the Ph.D. office of Trinity Evangelical Divinity

School, three people also deserve to be recognized: Dr. Douglas

J. Moo, Director, Ph.D. in Theological Studies, who gave

guidance to the overall dissertation process and who presided at

the dissertation defense; Dr. James Moore, who oversaw the

scheduling and formatting of the dissertation; and Mr. (soon-to-

be Dr.) Gunther H. Juncker, who read through the dissertation to

ensure that it complied with the Ph.D. office guidelines.

            Finally, there are my family and my friends. These have

helped me in ways--in good ways--that are beyond words to


            My sincerest thanks go out to all of these wonderful



                              To the one who declared:

                   ytxrb hylf Mdxv Crx ytyWf yknx

                    :ytyvc Mxbc-lkv Mymw vFn ydy ynx

                                         (Isa 45:12)

                  and yet who has shown an interest in my life

                       --to Him be all glory, praise, and honor.










                                   CHAPTER 1





                            Importance of the Study


            Throughout the years, interest in the study of the Hebrew

Psalter has risen and waned as new theories and methods for

analysis are proposed, applied, and then set aside when newer

approaches are developed and tried. According to Stek, this

lack of consistent commitment to the study of the Psalms may be

due “on the one hand, to overriding devotional, homiletical,

theological and religious (history of religions, comparative

religions) interests in this literature; and, on the other hand,

to the fact that professional students of the OT texts, while

receiving (more or less adequate) training in languages,

history, theology, and religion, have not been trained in the

aesthetic aspect of OT literature--or any literature, for that



            1John H. Stek, "The Stylistics of Hebrew Poetry: A

(Re)New(ed) Focus of Study," Calvin Theological Journal 9 (April

1974): 15. Stek's lament is made as a general reference to the

field of Hebrew (OT) poetry--"its prosody, rhetoric (including

rhetorical conventions), and architectonic forms"--but may,

quite logically, be applied to the study of the Hebrew Psalter,

the most extensive gathering of Hebrew poetry in the Old

Testament. Broadribb concurs that, generally speaking, there

has been a fragmented approach to the study of Hebrew poetry

with few significant discoveries and "little attempt at a

systematic analysis of Hebrew poetry as a whole, such as



            Yet, despite the inconsistent appreciation that scholars

have exhibited toward the Psalms, the value of interacting with

the words of the ancient Hebrew poets cannot be denied. Wilson

makes that point abundantly clear when, in regard to Psalm 1

(which many agree functions as an introductory psalm to set the

tenor for the reading of the entire Psalter),2 he declares

that "[t]he whole chiastic and antithetical structure of Psalm 1

points up the absolute seriousness with which one should

approach the Psalter. It is a matter of life and death, not

casual acquaintance. It calls for a lifetime of study, not

casual acquaintance."3

            Despite the importance of the Psalter as a guide for living

and even simply as an ancient literary work worthy of study,

there is a dearth of materials of a critical nature that address

certain significant segments of the Psalter. For example, few

technical works of an extensive nature exist on the various


characterized the work of Lowth." He continues: "In

consequence, it can be said that general agreement on the

structure of Hebrew poetry is little more advanced than it was

two or three centuries ago." Donald Broadribb, "A Historical

Review of Studies of Hebrew Poetry," Abr-Nahrain 13 (1972-73):

84. Fortunately, however, subsequent to Broadribb's review,

numerous book-length works--both technical and popular--on the

Psalter have found their way into print, as the bibliography to

this treatise reveals.

            2Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as 

Scripture (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), 512-13; Hans-

Joachim Kraus, Psalms 1-59: A Commentary, trans. Hilton C.

Oswald (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1988), 113-14.

            3Gerald H. Wilson, "The Shape of the Book of Psalms,"

Interpretation 46 (April 1992): 137.



psalms of Book V (i.e., Psalms 107-150); and of those that do

exist, very few expound the psalms that form the basis of this

study (i.e., Psalms 107-118).

            A current search for works on psalms and psalms-related

topics reveals little interest in the content, much less on the

structure, of any of the psalms in the Psalms 107-118 corpus,

apart from a focus on the Messianic issue associated with Psalm

110 and a general concern with the contents of Psalm 118.

Furthermore, although certain studies assess the structure of

individual psalms throughout the Psalter,4 few have sought to

discover whether or not literary or thematic structures reveal

any evidence of editorial activity between 2 juxtaposed

psalms.5 Recently, however, a ground-breaking effort by


            4See for example Robert L. Alden, "Chiastic Psalms (III):

A Study in the Mechanics of Semitic Poetry in Psalms 101-150,"

Journal of the Evanaelical Theological Society 21 (1978): 199-

210; Pierre Auffret, The Literary Structure of Psalm 2, trans.

David J. A. Clines, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament:

Supplement Series 3 (Sheffield: JSOT, 1977); numerous articles

in Pierre Auffret, La Sagesse a Bâti sa Maison: Études de  

Structures Littéraires dans l'Ancien Testament et Spécialement 

dans les Psaumes (Fribourg: Éditions Universitaries, 1982);

David Noel Freedman, Pottery, Poetry, and Prophecy (Winona Lake,

Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1980); David Noel Freedman and C. Franke

Hyland, "Psalm 29: A Structural Analysis," Harvard Theological 

Review 66 (1973): 237-56; Walter Vogels, "A Structural Analysis

of Ps 1," Biblica 60 (1979): 410-16; Dennis Pardee, "Structure

and Meaning in Hebrew Poetry: The Example of Psalms 23," in

Sopher Mahir: Northwest Semitic Studies Presented to Stanislav 

Segert, ed. Edward M. Cook (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns,

1990), 239-80.

            5There is a growing (though not yet extensive) body of

literature that addresses the question of editorial impact on

the Psalter. See David M. Howard, Jr., "Editorial Activity in

the Psalter: A State-of-the-Field Survey," in The Shape and


Howard on Psalms 93-100 offers an in-depth structural analysis

of a group of psalms larger than a dyad.6 His work in Book IV

of the Psalter has been the impetus for a dissertation by Suhany

on the psalms of Book III (i.e., Psalms 73-89), as well as for

this current study.7

            Only 1 published work to date attempts an in-depth,

comparative analysis the literary structure of 1 psalm in Psalms

107-118 with that of another psalm in the same corpus. That

work, by Pierre Auffret, which is an analysis of Psalms 111-112

(the 2 acrostic psalms of the corpus), emphasizes the


Shaping of the Psalter, ed. J. Clinton McCann, Journal for the

Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, 159 (Sheffield:

JSOT, 1993), 52-70. Brennan's work on Book V of the Psalter

(Psalms 107-150) provides an overview of the basic thematic

interrelationships among the various psalms. Joseph P. Brennan,

"Some Hidden. Harmonies in the Fifth Book of Psalms," in Essays 

in Honor of Joseph P. Brennan, ed. Robert F. McNamara

(Rochester, N.Y.: Saint Bernard's Seminary, 1976), 126-58.

            6David Morris Howard, Jr., "The Structure of Psalms 93-

100" (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1986), forthcoming as

The Structure of Psalms 93-100, University of California at San

Diego Biblical and Judaic Series 5 (Winona Lake, Ind.:

Eisenbrauns). Subsequent to his dissertation, Howard has

completed additional work on Psalms 90-94. David M. Howard,

Jr., "A Contextual Reading of Psalms 90-94," in The Shape and 

Shaping of the Psalter, ed. J. Clinton McCann (Sheffield: JSOT,

1993), 108-23.

            The term "dyad" (here and passim in this dissertation) is

used simply to reference any set of 2 psalms, whether or not

those psalms occur sequentially in the text. The term does not

convey any further meaning, as might be the case in various of

the other sciences.

            7Alan Michael Suhany, "Unity and Theme in the Third Book

of the Psalter" (Ph.D. diss., Trinity Evangelical Divinity

School, in progress).


interconnections between the 2 psalms based on an assessment of

the significant words that are repeated within and across those

2 psalms.8 Auffret draws the following conclusion: "Ainsi les

deux psaumes manifestent-ils leur complémentarité en attribuant

aux mots récurrents qui à chacun appartiennent en propre des

fonctions très comparables comme indices de leurs structures

littéraires respectives."9

            This study, therefore, seeks to provide an additional piece

of information to the recently begun effort to close the

knowledge gap that exists relative to a structural and an

exegetical understanding of Psalms 107-118.



            8Pierre Auffret, "Essai sur la Structure Littéraire des

Psaumes CXI et CXII," Vetus Testamentum 30 (July 1980): 257-79.

To date, not even Auffret, who has executed extensive structural

analyses of numerous psalms in the Psalter, has focused any

attention on Psalms 107-118 (apart from the work just cited).

See Pierre Auffret, La Saaesse a Bâti sa Maison. Lohfink,

however, does provide a brief comparison between Psalm 114 and

Psalm 115 as the 2 psalms are presented by the MT and the LXX

and then discusses the lexical and semantic connections between

the 2 psalms. Norbert Lohfink, "Ps 114/115 (M und G) und die

deuteronomische Sprachwelt," in Freude an der Weisuna des Herrn: 

Beiträge zur Theologie der Psalmen: Festgabe zum 70. Geburststag 

von Heinrich Groß, eds. Ernst Haag and Frank-Lothar Hossfeld

(Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk GmbH, 1986), 199-205.

            9"Thus the 2 psalms manifest their complementarity while

attributing to the recurring words which belong to each in its

own right the very comparable functions as indices of their

respective literary structures." Auffret, "Essai sur la

Structure Littéraire des Psaumes CXI et CXII," 279.

            This translation and all others within this dissertation

are mine unless otherwise specified.


                                 Problem of the Study

            The primary purpose of this study is to demonstrate that

there are intentional--and not just accidental or random--

lexical and thematic links among the psalms of the Psalms 107-

118 corpus and that the corpus as a whole exhibits a coherent

and unified structure. In doing so, this dissertation traces

the 3 primary thematic threads that run throughout the corpus--

the need for God's people to offer Him praise and thanksgiving

for who He is and for what He has done, God's ability to deliver

His people from their distress, and God's dominance over the

created order. This study identifies those themes by means of

lexical, structural, and contextual analyses. As a

consequence, this study generates several important results:

            1. An identification of the textual context of the various

psalms severally and jointly;

            2. A picture of the lexical and thematic contours across

the face of the Psalms 107-118 corpus;

            3. Data regarding structural, content, and thematic

relationships among the psalms under study; and

            4. Information regarding possible editorial activity in

the arrangement of the psalms in question.

            The findings of such a study should be beneficial in

understanding both the meaning of the individual psalms of the

Psalms 107-118 corpus and the function of each psalm within the

first segment of Book V of the Psalter. Furthermore, the



determination of the presence of editorial activity would

suggest an underlying intent that guided the development of the

final product, i.e., the canonical text. The recognition of the

existence of such an intent would have far-reaching implications

on the exegesis of Psalms 107-118. Even greater than the impact

that the compilation of the psalms into their present order has

on how these psalms are to be understood, the imprint of an

editorial hand would signify that the canonical psalms need to

be understood in their literary context rather than as a product

of some historical event. The psalms then should be read

sequentially as chapters in a book, their contextual meaning

being derived from their association with the Psalter as a whole

and, in particular, with the remaining psalms in the corpus of

which they are a part.

                                Scone of the Study

            The present study focuses specifically on the first 12

psalms of Book V of the Psalms, i.e., Psalms 107-118. The

grouping of these psalms together, however, runs counter to

Wilson's position that Psalm 118 belongs with the subsequent

corpus that ranges from Psalm 118 to Psalm 135.10 Wilson bases

his argument on the presence of  vdvh (give thanks) at the

beginning of Psalm 118, which he maintains functions within Book


            10Whether the Psalms 118-135 (or even Psalms 119-135)

grouping is correct is a matter of debate which goes beyond the

scope of this paper.



V as an editorial marker to identify the first psalm of a


            In contrast to Wilson's strong argument for the exclusion

of Psalm 118 from the corpus under study, the following 4

arguments are posited. Taken together, these arguments outweigh

Wilson's view:

            1. Psalm 118:29 forms an inclusio with Ps 107:1 to

delimit the boundaries of the corpus.12 Both verses contain


            11Wilson maintains that Psalm 118 does not belong to the

Psalms 107-118 corpus but rather is the first psalm in the

following corpus, which he understands to run from Psalm 118 to

Psalm 135. Wilson, summarizes the thrust of his reasoning in the

following statement:

            A single qualification needs to be made apropos the

   evidence of MT. Taking Pss 104-105-106-107 as the point of

   departure, it becomes clear that MT makes a slightly

   different use of hllwyh and hwdw pss at the conclusion of a

   segment of MT Psalter. With the addition of Ps 107, however,

   the picture changes considerably.

            104                                                     hllwyh

            105                                                     hllwyh

            106                 hllwyh-hwdw  doxology-hllwyh

            107                 hwdw  

            Here we have the addition of another ps beginning with

   the characteristic hwdw phrases. One would expect this ps to

   form part of the conclusion to the preceding segment. But

   the doxology at the end of Ps 106, marking the end of Book

   Four, clearly makes this impossible. Does this supply the

   key to understand the position of Pss 118 and 136 as well?

   Both immediately follow hllwyh groupings. The situation with

   Ps 107 would seem to indicate that these pss (118 and 136) do

   not form part of the conclusion, but introduce the segment

   which follows.

            Gerald Henry Wilson, The Editing of the Hebrew Psalter 

(Chico, Calif.: Scholars, 1985), 129.

            12Psalm 118:29 forms an obvious inclusio with Ps 118:1.

This fact does not negate the possibility of Ps 118:29 having

double-duty responsibility as the concluding component of an


exactly the same words: nom vdsH Mlvfl yk bvF-Yk hvhyl vdh13

(Give thanks to the LORD because He is good--because His

lovingkindness is forever!).

            2. Psalm 118 has a history of being combined (though not

exclusively) with psalms that precede rather than follow it--in

the so-called "Egyptian Hallel" (Psalms 113-118)14 and in

connection with what are termed the hallelujah (hy vllh) psalms

(Psalms 111-118).15


inclusio with Ps 107:1. If anything, the existence of 2 verses

in Psalm 118 that parallel Ps 107:1 should arrest the attention

of astute readers of the Psalter, drawing their thoughts back to

that earlier verse.

            13There is, however, a spelling variation that occurs

between the first word of each of the 2 verses. Psalm 107:1

reads vdh (using the simple holem) whereas Ps 118:29 follows

the plene (or full) reading of holem waw, i.e., vdvh.  Such a

variation, however, in no way affects the present argument.

            14Psalms 113-118 are traditionally read in connection with

the Festival of Passover. Craigie accords to them an equal

status as a collection of psalms as he does to those psalms that

are grouped together by author as a consequence of their

superscriptions, e.g., the Psalms of David, of Asaph, and of the

Sons of Korah. Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50, Word Biblical

Commentary 19, ed. David A. Hubbard and Glen W. Barker

(Aylesbury, UK: Word [UK] Ltd., 1986), 28-29.

            15Wilson acknowledges the existence of both of these

groupings. Yet, he observes from various Qumran Codices that

Psalm 118 is at times paired with Psalm 117 and at times with

Psalm 119. Wilson, The Editing of the Hebrew Psalter, 134, 135,

179, 220. In this regard, Skehan finds a Qumran manuscript, 4Q

Psb, to contain in canonical order portions of psalms beginning

at 91:5 and ending with 118:26 (with a space indicator

suggesting that the psalm originally contained the now missing

verses, 27-29), but giving no indication that Psalm 119 had also

been attached (note, however, that from this manuscript, Psalms



            3. Although Psalms 107, 118, and 119 make extensive use of

the term dsH (lovingkindness), Psalms 107 and 118 utilize the

term differently than does Psalm 119.16 The 2 psalms of the

present corpus recognize God's dsH (lovingkindness) as a reason

for giving praise and thanks to God. Psalm 119, however,

presents God's dsH (lovingkindness) as the way in which the

individual speaker in the psalm desires to be dealt with by God,

rather than as a grounds for his praising God.

            4. The subject matter of Psalms 107-118 is significantly

different from that of Psalm 119. The corpus under study

focuses on God's ability to deliver His people from distress and

on the importance of God receiving honor from the individual,

the community, and the world. By contrast, Psalm 119 emphasizes


104-111 are also missing). Patrick W. Skehan, "A Psalm

Manuscript from Qumran (4Q Psb)," The Catholic Biblical 

Quarterly 26 (July 1964): 313-22. Furthermore, BHS notes that

many manuscripts combine Psalms 117 and 118 into 1 psalm, but

makes no similar reference for the combination of Psalms 118 and 119.

            Westermann, however, argues (without manuscript support)

that the Psalms 120-134 collection "was later added to the

collection framed by Pss. 1 and 119." Claus Westermann, Praise 

and Lament in the Psalms, trans. Keith R. Crim and Richard N.

Soulen (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1981), 255.

            Interestingly, Zunz notes that the Midrash Tehillim was

edited in its present form through Psalm 118 during the second

half of the 9th century, C.E., and that the rabbinic

incorporation of the remaining psalms (i.e., Psalms 119-150)

into that work occurred at a much later date. Zunz-Albeck, Die

gottesdienstliche Vorträge der Juden, 2d ed. (Frankfurt: n.p.,

1982), 375. See also the Introduction to The Midrash on Psalms,

2 vols., trans. William G. Braude, Yale Judaica Series 13, ed.

Leon Nemoy (New Haven: Yale University, 1959), xxvii-xxviii.

            16Psalms 107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31; 118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29; 119:41,

64, 76, 88, 124, 149, 159.


the importance of the Word of God. In order to convey its basic

theme, Psalm 119 makes extensive use of such terms as hrvt

(law), hdf (testimony), Mydvqp (precepts), qH (statute), hvcm

(commandment), Fpwm (ordinance), and tmx-rbd (word of truth).

For the most part, these lexemes or phrases are missing from the

Psalms 107-118 corpus.17


                               Text of the Study

            The current study is a literary analysis of Psalms 107-118,

from the perspective of the Masoretic Text (MT) itself. As

such, the study does not attempt to reconstruct either the

actual historical events described in the psalms themselves

(except as those events may be portrayed within the texts) or

the factors that may have motivated the authors, editors, or

compilers of the various psalms to proceed with the shaping of

these literary compositions.18


            17The frequency of occurrence of the terms used in Psalm

119 as descriptive of the Word of God is as follows--the first

number being the total of instances in the Psalms 107-118 corpus

(which consists of 200 verses), the second number being the

total number of incidences in Psalm 119 (which consists of 176

verses): hrvt--0, 25; hdf--0, 14; Mydvqp--1, 21; qH--0, 21;

hvcm-1, 22; Fpwm--2, 23; and tmx-rbd--0, 1 (see also Ps

119:160 in which God's word is called tmx [truth]).

            18Only 3 of the psalms in the corpus under study (Psalms

108, 109, and 110) contain superscriptions that provide any

information regarding the development of the psalms. None of

those superscriptions, however, reveals much regarding the

generation of those psalms, other than that all 3 were written

by David (dvdl) and that Psalm 109 was written for the


            Being restricted to the canonical Masoretic Text, moreover,

this study does not concern itself with any texts that may or

may not have been used in the development of individual psalms,

nor does it focus any extended attention on the materials from

Qumran.19 This study, therefore, derives its findings from an

analysis of the MT which is, as Howard points out, "at the very

least . . . a legitimate and old canonical tradition, one which

certainly reflects the official Pharisaic . . . canon of the

turn of the Christian era."20 Childs accords to the MT still

further importance, stating that the MT is "the vehicle both

for recovering and for understanding the canonical text of the

Old Testament."21 The MT, moreover, is the text tradition that

has exerted the greatest influence over the community of





choir director (Hcnml). There is, therefore, no indication

whatsoever for any of the psalms in the corpus under study as to

what event or events formed the contextual backdrop for the

writing of those psalms.

            19Wilson notes a lack of standardized sequential

arrangement of the individual psalms in the Qumran materials,

particularly in Book V of the Psalter. Gerald H. Wilson, "The

Qumran Psalms Manuscripts and the Consecutive Arrangement of

Psalms in the Hebrew Psalter," The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 

45 (1983): 377, 378, 387.

            20Howard, "The Structure of Psalms 93-100," 31.

            21Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture,



            This study, however, does not accept the Masoretic Text

uncritically. When appropriate, as required by textual

analysis, textual variations are adopted that reflect a

tradition more closely approximating the original Hebrew

manuscripts than does the Masoretic Text. Yet, only 1 of those

accepted emendations has an impact on the results of this study.

That emendation is the addition of the construct noun tyb (house

of) immediately prior to the noun lxrWy (Israel) in Ps 115:9.

This emendation increases the frequency total of the lexeme tyb

(house) by 1.

                         Assumptions of the Study

            Contemporary exegesis has been influenced by at least 3

major movements: historicism, existentialism, and

structuralism.22 As methods of understanding the Scripture,

historicism (including form criticism, tradition criticism, and

redaction criticism) and existentialism have tended to ignore

the canonical text itself, preferring to be preoccupied either

with historical and developmental trends (in the case of

historicism) or with anthropocentric concerns (in the case of




            22François Bovon, "French Structuralism and Biblical

Exegesis," in Structural Analysis and Biblical Exegesis: 

Interpretational Essays, R. Barthes and others, trans. Alfred M.

Johnson, Jr. (Pittsburgh: Pickwick, 1974), 7.


            By contrast, structuralism (together with its allied

disciplines of canon criticism and rhetorical criticism) focuses

its exegetical attention on the text itself. As Armerding

indicates, structuralism eschews historical and diachronic

research and finds "in the writing itself, in the relationship

of words and themes, the key to interpretation."23 Thus the

structural critic looks at synchronic truth, locating the

meaning of Scripture in the text itself, not in the pre- or

post-history of the text.24 Because of its very nature as a

structural analysis and because (as noted above) there is a lack

of historical information provided by the psalms under study

regarding their origins, this study de-emphasizes the analysis

of the history of the development and transmission of the text.

This study therefore presents a literary analysis of the various

psalms in the Psalms 107-118 corpus.25



            23Carl Armerding, "Structural Analysis," Themelios 4

(April 1979): 96.

            24Robert Martin-Achard, "An Exegete Confronting Genesis

32:23-33," in Structural Analysis and Biblical Exegesis: 

Interpretational Essays, R. Barthes and others, trans. Alfred M.

Johnson, Jr. (Pittsburgh: Pickwick, 1974), 35.

            25Wilson comments that the shaping of the Psalter into its

final canonical form resulted in "a collection of psalms

loosened from their 'historical moorings' and allowed to

continue to speak with power in an almost unlimited series of

circumstances in the lives of the reader." Wilson, "The Shape

of the Book of Psalms," 138. Separating the text from its

historical origins, however, does not imply that meaning is to

be sought in the horizon of the reader. Meaning (in this study)

is found in the text itself which provides sufficient clues for

understanding authorial intent.


            Although the present study identifies itself, in part, as a

structural analysis of Psalms 107-118, it does not place itself

in the stream of contemporary French structuralism which (under

the leadership of de Saussure, Levi-Strauss, and Barthes),

emphasizes the psychological, ethnological, or mythological

understanding of the text.26 Instead, the approach which this

study follows is more in the line of the rhetorical or literary

criticism advanced by such individuals as Freedman, Howard, and


            In essence, the nature of this contextual study is part

structural, part literary. The study seeks to find in the text

of Psalms 107-118 those relationships of lexemes and themes that

are key to the interpretation of each individual psalm and to

the understanding of the interconnections of each psalm to every

other psalm in the corpus.



            26Bovon, "French Structuralism and Biblical Exegesis," 9-

19; Roland Barthes, "The Struggle with the Angel: Textual

Analysis of Genesis 32:23-33," in Structural Analysis and

Biblical Exegesis: Interpretational Essays, R. Barthes and

others, trans. Alfred M. Johnson, Jr. (Pittsburgh: Pickwick,

1974), 21-33.

            27David Noel Freedman, Pottery, Poetry, and Prophecy;

Howard, "The Structure of Psalms 93-100" and "A Contextual

Reading of Psalms 90-94," 108-23; Auffret, "Essai sur la

Structure Littéraire des Psaumes CXI et CXII," 257-79; and La

Sagesse a Bâti sa Maison.



               Overview of the History of Psalm-Sequence


            Throughout history, many scholars have treated the Psalter

as a compilation of individual psalms that are to be exegeted

independently of each other. Typically, that exegesis centered

its efforts either in a given psalm's historical context or in

an allegorical conceptualization of the interpreter. In more

recent years, other students of Scripture have analyzed the

various psalms of the Psalter based on an assumed liturgical

function of a psalm.28 Generally, these 3 approaches exhibited

minimal concern for the order in which individual psalms

appeared in the canonical text, that order being understood to

be entirely random or at best to reflect a random compilation of

smaller ordered collections with few or no interrelationships

between the individual psalms themselves.

            History also records a less well-known yet significant

tradition of scholarship dating back to the time of the Church


            28Hermann Gunkel, Einleitung in die Psalmen: die Gattungen

der religiösen Lyrik Israels, 2d ed. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck &

Ruprecht, 1966); Sigmund Mowinckel, The Psalms in Israel's 

Worship, 2 vols. (New York: Abingdon, 1962). Tur-Sinai argues

against the traditional liturgical position, stating "this view

and the interpretation based on it can be shown to be

fundamentally wrong." N. H. Tur-Sinai, "The Literary Character

of the Book of Psalms," vol. 8, Oudtestamentische Studien, P. A.

H. De Boer (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1950), 264. Tur-Sinai

concludes that the psalms are primarily songs drawn from

historical books (in which they originally functioned as

poetical insertions) to meet the cultural and cultic needs of

Israel in its post-exilic rebirth. Tur-Sinai, "The Literary

Character of the Book of Psalms," 265, 280-81.


Fathers that acknowledges a purposeful ordering to the contents

of the Psalter. Exegesis based on this perspective tends to

identify interconnections between the various psalms and often

places a greater emphasis on the literary context than on either

the historical or the functional context of a given psalm.

            In the earlier centuries of the Common Era, there was

disagreement as to whether each of the psalms stood alone as

independent entities or whether the sequence of the individual

psalms held some importance relative to the understanding of the

Psalter. On the one hand, Jerome (347-419 C.E.) declared:

"Psalterium ita est quasi magna domus, quae unam quidem habet

exteriorem clavem in porta, in diversis vero intrinsecus

cubiculis proprias claues habet. . . . [S]ic singuli paslmi

quasi singulae cellulae sunt, habentes proprie claves suas."29

Cassiodorus Senator (ca. 487-ca. 580 C.E.), viewing the

individual psalms as prophecies regarding the coming Christ,

maintained a similar position of the independence of individual

psalms. Doing so, allowed him the freedom to apply a different

hermeneutic to given psalms. As P. G. Walsh comments,

Cassiodorus Senator saw "no need to maintain consistency between



            29"The Psalter is like a spacious mansion which in fact

has one exterior key for the entrance, by contrast, however,

each separate room has its own key. Similarly, an individual

psalm is like an individual room having its own personal key."

Jerome, S. Hieronvmi Presbvteri Opera: Part II: Opera 

Homiletica,  S. Hieronvmi Presbvteri Tractatus siue Homiliae in 

Psalmos, in Marci, Euanaelium Aliaque Uaria Argumenta, ed. D.

Germanus Morin (Turnholti: Typographi Brepols Editores

Pontificii, 1958), 3.


a concept or image recurring in different passages; in one

context 'arrows' may represent apostles or evangelists, but in

another, diabolical powers."30

            On the other hand, Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome (170-236

C.E.), recognizing that the psalms do not occur in a regular

historical order, suggested that the reason for such a

discrepancy "is to be found in the numbers according to which

the psalms are arranged."31 Augustine (354-430 C.E.) also

perceived the order of the psalms to be significant, although he

was unable to determine what that significance was.32


            30P. G. Walsh, "Introduction to Cassiodorus, Flavius

Magnus Aurelius," Cassiodorus: Explanation of the Psalms, trans.

and annotated by P. G. Walsh, vol. 1, Psalms 1-50 (Psalms 1-

51(50)1. Ancient Christian Writers: The Works of the Fathers in

Translation, ed. Walter Burghardt and Thomas Comerford Lawler,

51 (New York: Paulist Press, 1990), 10.

            31Hippolytus, The Extant Works and Fragments of

Hippolytus, trans. S. D. F. Salmond, in vol. 5 of The Ante-

Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down

to A.D. 325, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (reprint,

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925), 200. Hippolytus

concluded that the numbering of the psalms held spiritual

significance. He was not specifically concerned, however, with

making an exegetical interface between various psalms.

            32Augustine writes: "Quamvis ordo Psalmorum, qui mihi

magni sacramenti videtur continere secretum nondum mihi fuerit

revelatus; tamen quia omnes centum quinquaginta numerantur,

etiam nobis qui totius ordinis eorum altitudinem adhuc acie

mentis non penetravimus, insinuant aliquid, unde non impudenter,

quantum Dominus adiuvat, disputare possimus." Which is

translated: "Although the order of the Psalms, which to me

contains the secret of a great mystery, has not yet to me been

revealed, nevertheless, because they number one hundred fifty,

they suggest even to us who thus far have not penetrated with

the eye of the mind the depth of their entire order, whereon we


            During medieval times, various rabbis carried on heated

debates regarding the nature of the relationship that exists

between individual psalms. Abraham Ibn Ezra argued that there

are no consistent chronological or thematic connections between

psalms, thus each psalm stood alone. Simon summarizes Ibn

Ezra's view, noting that "he [Ibn Ezra] does not see the Book of

Psalms as a single unified work like the Pentateuch, but as five

collections of psalms, which were gathered, assembled, and

written down by the Men of the Great Assembly many years after

their composition."33

            In direct contrast to the view espoused by Ibn Ezra, rabbis

such as Saadiah Gaon, Salmon ben Yeruham, Yefet ben 'Ali Halevi,

and David Kimhi (RaDaK) defended the view that there are

interconnections (primarily at the thematic level) between the

various psalms, most particularly between adjacent psalms.34



may, without being impudent, as far as God assists, be able to

speak." Augustine, Sancti Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis 

Episcopi Opera Omnia. Enarrationes in Psalmos: Contenta in 

Ouato Tomo: Lars Altera, vol. 37, Patriologiae Cursus Completus,

ed. J. P. Migne (Paris: n.p., 1845), 1960.

                  33Uriel Simon, Four Approaches to the Book of Psalms: From

Saadiah Gaon to Abraham Ibn Ezra, trans. Lenn J. Schramm

(Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York, 1991), 218.

                  34Ibid., 29, 71, 96. See also David Kimhi, The Longer 

Commentary of R. David Kimhi on the First Book of Psalms (I-X, 

XV-XVII, XIX, XXII, XXIV), trans. R. G. Finch, Introduction by

G. H. Box (London: SPCK, 1919), 12, 21.


            The Reformers, by contrast to the medieval rabbis,

generally speaking, left the issue of psalm-interrelationship


            Unlike for the Reformation Era, the 19th and 20th centuries

have brought forth numerous scholars committed to the belief

that the Psalter is a unified literary work, whose

interpretation must be derived partly or solely from a literary

perspective.36 Most of the work has been done either at the

thematic level (cf. Brennan, Brueggemann, Mays, McCann,

Wilson)37 or at the level of adjacent psalms (cf. Alexander,


            35Calvin, however, noted the introductory function of

Psalm 1 in the present collection of the Psalter: "He who

collected the Psalms into one volume . . . appears to have

placed this Psalm at the beginning, by way of preface, in which

he inculcates upon all the godly the duty of meditating upon the

law of God." John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms,

vol. 1 [Psalms i.-xxxv.], trans James Anderson (Edinburgh: The

Calvin Translation Society, 1845), 1. Calvin does not suggest

how the psalms were to be understood, whether in their literary

context or otherwise. Furthermore, he makes no attempt, at

least in his analysis of Psalms 107-118, to relate those psalms

to each other or to suggest a specific purpose behind their


            36For a comprehensive presentation of the history of

literary and structural approaches to the Psalter see Howard,

"Editorial Activity in the Psalter: A State-of-the-Field

Survey," 52-70.

            37In his introductory comments on the various psalms in

rabbinic commentary on the psalms, Tehillim: A New Translation 

with a Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and

Rabbinic Sources, Avrohom Chaim Feuer frequently makes thematic

connections from the present psalm to a previous psalm. The

commentators themselves, however, do not regularly do so. See

also Howard, "Editorial Activity in the Psalter: A State-of-the-

Field Survey," 52-70.


Auffret, Delitzsch, Freedman). As noted above, Howard's

dissertation on Psalms 93-100 and his article on Psalms 90-94

are the most extensive technical works to date dealing with the

interrelationships among a group of psalms.38 Howard, in his

dissertation, analyzing the psalms from the syllabic through

lexical and thematic levels, concludes that "Psalms 93-100 form

a logically coherent unit within Book IV of the Psalter. . .

[and even though] [t]hey did not likely exist as a separate

collection after the fashion of Psalms 120-134, . . . a clear



            38In the late 1800's, John Forbes completed a commentary

on the Psalter which highlights throughout various

interconnections among the psalms. In the following he

summarizes his central thesis for the understanding of the


            we must not regard the Psalms merely as isolated productions,

            but that in the order in which we now possess them they have

            been arranged and connected together with very great care, so

            as to bring out and enforce certain truths with a clearness

            and distinctiveness not to be mistaken. So long as each

            Psalm is viewed as a separated and unconnected composition,

            it is easy to explain away its meaning, and to put upon its

            language very diverse and conflicting interpretations,

            according to the author, the occasion, and the age to which

            each critic may refer it. But when the Psalms are seen, in

            the form in which we now possess them, to have been grouped

            together as parts of a connected series, in order to bring

            out and give expression to some definite idea or important

            truth, we gain a certainty, not otherwise to be attained, of

            the meaning to be put upon the whole series, as well as upon

            individual expressions in each Psalm, which might otherwise

            be ambiguous.

                        John Forbes, Studies on the Book of Psalms: The Structural 

Connection of the Book of Psalms. both in Single Psalms and in 

the Psalter as an Organic Whole, ed. James Forrest (Edinburgh:

T. & T. Clark, 1888), 2-3.


structure for the section is visible."39 Regarding Psalms 90-

94, Howard notes that "[s]ignificant links can be seen between

every consecutive psalm in Psalms 90-94, and between many non-

adjacent psalms as well."40


                           Methodology of the Study

            The purpose of this study is to analyze each of the psalms

in the Psalms 107-118 corpus in order to observe how each

functions within the context of the other psalms of the corpus.

To accomplish this end, this study focuses its attention

primarily on the lexical and thematic interconnections that

exist within the 66 psalm dyads that comprise the corpus.

Specifically, this study does the following:

            1. Identifies for each psalm dyad the key-lexeme links,

the thematic-lexeme links, and the incidental-lexeme links;

            2. Uncovers the thematic flow among the various psalms of

the corpus; and



            39H oward, "The Structure of Psalms 93-100," 216-17.

            40Howard, "A Contextual Reading of Psalms 90-94," 123.

Howard concludes (p. 123), pondering the wider significance of

his findings for the understanding of Book IV of the Psalter:

"It may well be, then, that the structure of Book IV is

dependent upon the series of three groups mentioned above--90-

94, 95-100, and 101-106--each with a relative internal coherence

and significant subgroupings within it, and each also relating

in significant ways to the others."


            3. Assesses the sequential role that each psalm plays

relative to the overall structure of the Psalms 107-118 corpus.


                               General Analyses

            The findings from the following 2 methodological

approaches--lexeme frequency analysis and thematic analysis--

provide the core content for the dissertation. They are used to

compare each psalm with every other psalm in the Psalms 107-118

corpus and to determine whether or not valid connections can be

made between any 2 given psalms. Furthermore, they supply data

that offer insight into the extent to which the corpus as a

whole is homogeneous.


Lexeme Frequency Analysis

            The function of lexeme frequency analysis is to identify

the presence of significant lexical word-group units.41 In

this study, lexeme units are deemed to be important if (1) they

contribute to the development of the theme or the motifs of a


            41For the purposes of the lexeme frequency analysis

performed in this dissertation, the following word forms are

excluded from analysis: conjunctions (attached or detached),

prepositions (attached or detached), particles, negative

adverbs, and personal pronouns. The fact that such linguistic

units are not assessed does not imply that they do not

contribute to the meaning of a given psalm, rather that they

typically do not function either as major determinants of the

theme of a specific psalm or as vital links that interconnect 2

or more psalms. The remaining terms are by definition declared

to be significant, i.e., they are the terms that are to undergo

investigation within this dissertation.


given psalm and are repeated within that psalm at a higher

frequency rate than normally would be expected for a psalm of

its size or (2) they are repeated in adjacent or in non-adjacent

psalms within the corpus in greater numbers than the size of the

corpus (relative to the size of the Psalter) anticipates.

            A computer scan of the Psalter reveals that the 150 Psalms

of the Psalter contain 29,783 words.42 Based on that same

computer search, the 12 psalms of the Psalms 107-118 corpus

house 2131 words, i.e., the present corpus has 8.0% of the total

number of psalms of the Psalter and approximately 7.0% of its


            Certain lexemes occur within the Psalms 107-118 corpus at a

frequency rate higher than might be expected for a corpus of

this size.43 There are 5 lexemes in the 12 psalms under study



            42The word count data in this paragraph only (unless

otherwise indicated) is taken from acCordance: Software for

Biblical Studies, Version 1.1, Oak Tree Software Specialists,

Altamonte Springs, Fla. These figures are to be used for their

relative value because of the different manner in which

acCordance and this dissertation define the term "word."

acCordance is a tagged software program which includes as part

of its understanding of "word" the attached conjunctions,

articles, prepositions, and pronouns. By contrast, this thesis

(see above) does not separate out those attached morphemes in

its determination of what is to be identified as a word. The

assumption being made here, therefore, is that the relative

number of attached morphemes does not generally vary from psalm

to psalm and that over the 150 psalms of the Psalter, any minor

variations would be cancelled out. Thus the percentages of

"words" in this thesis (even though being drawn from a different

measurement system) should closely approximate those percentages

shown here for the acCordance data.

            43See Appendix A


that surface 10 times or more in the corpus and total 15% or

more of all the occurrences of those lexemes within the Psalter:

hdy (to thank), tyb (house), hyh (to be), jrb (to bless), and

llh (to praise). This clustering of terms (in their context

within the corpus) suggests that a theme of the corpus may

relate to the expression of gratitude to God either for who He

is or for what He has done.44 In addition, there are 11

lexemes in the corpus that encompass a minimum of 25% of all the

occurrences of those lexemes in the book of the Psalms. Several

of these lexemes seem to be linked directly or by their context

in some way to the concept of suffering, either that of the

people of God or of their enemies.45 The combination of these

2 groupings of lexemes lends support for a view that one focus

of the Psalms 107-118 corpus is on the praise of God who



            44Curiously, of the 3 most frequently used terms in this

corpus that express gratitude to God (i.e., hdy--to thank, jrb-

-to bless, and llh--to praise), none occurs in either Psalms

110 or 114. Those 2 psalms, however, are themselves, in

essence, declarations of God's greatness and power. As such,

those psalms may be classified as encomia themselves, thereby

supporting the overall theme of gratitude to God as found in

this corpus.

            45Those terms are as follows: lvm (to cut off), hqvcm

(distress), NFW (accuser), fvn (to shake, waver), bfr (hungry),

bbs (to turn about, surround), Nvybx (affliction), and Ffm (few,

to be little). Note that not all of these terms are always used

within a context of suffering, but all of them at one time or

another within this corpus relate in some way to the issue of



is needed in the midst of distress or who is in some manner

connected to the affliction of those who do not follow Him.

            This dissertation, moreover, categorizes all of the lexemes

that overlap between 2 or more psalms into 3 types: key-lexeme

links, thematic-lexeme links, and incidental-lexeme links. Key-

lexeme links are defined as either rarely used words or words

used in unique ways that may have led an editor or a compiler of

the Psalter to place the psalms (in which the terms occur) in

the positions within the corpus in which the psalms are found.

Thematic-lexeme interconnections are classified as those terms

(other than key-lexeme links) that directly advance the

development of a theme that appears within the psalms of which

those terms are a part. Incidental-lexeme linkages, by default,

are identified as all other significant lexeme family groups

that do not function either as key-lexeme links or as thematic-

lexeme links. The primary focus the lexeme frequency analysis

portion of Chapter 2 presents an assessment of the function of

these 3 groups (mainly of key-lexeme links and thematic-lexeme

links) as they reveal the interrelationships among the psalms of

the corpus.


Thematic Analysis

            This dissertation also performs a thematic analysis of each

of the psalms of the Psalms 107-118 corpus. The dissertation

then traces the various themes across the boundaries of a given


psalm in order to discover whether or not those themes function

as linkages among the psalms of the corpus.

            Determination of the theme of a psalm depends, among other

considerations, on understanding the poet's use of (1) lexical

units (presence and frequency of word groups as well as

deployment of terms that fall within a given semantic range),

(2) grammatical and structural techniques to convey emphasis

(e.g., refrains, chiasm, inclusio, pattern shifts, doubling of

words, and "redundant" terminology), and (3) content flow.

"Theme," as herein understood, is the essential content or

subject-matter of a psalm.46


                             Structural Analysis

            In order to determine the overall composition of the

corpus, this study compares each psalm to every other psalm as

they are related sequentially within the Psalms 107-118 corpus.

This study does so, in part, by assessing the impact that the

above-mentioned lexical, thematic, and structural patterns have

on the corpus as a whole. This study also seeks to discover

transitional techniques that may have been used to ensure a flow

of thought between adjacent psalms.47


            46Watson, Classical Hebrew Poetry: A Guide to its 

Techniques, 81.

            47H. Van Dyke Parunak, "Transitional Techniques in the

Bible," Journal of Biblical Literature 102 (1983): 525-48.



                                 Plan of the Study

            Chapter 2, the heart of this study, compares each psalm to

every other psalm in the corpus at the level of the lexical and

thematic interconnections that exist among those psalms.

Chapter 2, moreover, describes each psalm in its textual context

within the Psalms 107-118 corpus.

            Chapter 3 presents the summary, conclusions, and

implications of the study.




                                      CHAPTER 2

                         THE TEXTS IN CONTEXT


            Chapter 2 describes the significant interconnections that

exist between the various psalms of the Psalms 107-118 corpus.

To do so, this chapter compares each psalm with every other

psalm of the corpus, resulting in a total of 66 separate

assessments.1 The chapter analyzes those inter-psalm

relationships according to the 2 primary research methods

described in Chapter 1 above, i.e., according to lexeme

frequency analysis and thematic analysis.2




            1In other words, Chapter 2 first analyzes Psalm 107 in

relation to Psalm 108, then it assesses Psalm 107 in comparison

to Psalm 109, after which it compares Psalm 107 with Psalm 110,

and so on through Psalm 118. Next, the chapter compares Psalm

108 in relation to each individual psalm from Psalm 109 through

Psalm 118. The chapter applies a similar procedure to each of

the remaining psalms of the corpus (through Psalm 117) as each

psalm relates to each of the psalms subsequent to it. Since

there are no psalms within the corpus subsequent to Psalm 118,

the chapter does not include a similar assessment for Psalm 118.

The inter-psalm relationships for Psalm 118, however, are

included within the assessments for each of the psalms previous 

to it. Furthermore, this chapter presents for each of the 12

psalms of the corpus a summary analysis of the various


            2The data from which the inter-psalm lexeme connections

are drawn are recorded in Appendix B.




            A given lexeme or theme, however, does not necessarily

elicit a connection between every pair of psalms being compared.

Due to space considerations, therefore, this presentation

focuses only on those lexical or thematic components that

suggest the possibility of the existence of an interconnection

between any 2 given psalms.3

            By taking the above-cited approach to the analysis of

inter-psalm relationships, this dissertation seeks to provide a

comprehensive analysis of 2 important literary components which

the authors or editors of the psalms of the Psalter appear to

have taken into consideration as they implemented their craft.

The systematic approach of this dissertation, therefore, is

designed to be thorough in its search for lexical and thematic

connections between psalms that previously may have been




            3See "Lexeme Frequency Analysis" in Chapter 1 for a

discussion of the lexeme search parameters within this


            4Few studies have provided a comprehensive assessment of

an extended sequence of psalms beyond that of a dyad. Howard's

dissertation on Psalms 93-100, however, provides a notable

exception to this general rule. David Morris Howard, Jr., "The

Structure of Psalms 93-100" (Ph.D. diss., University of

Michigan, 1986), forthcoming as The Structure of Psalms 93-100,

University of California at San Diego Biblical and Judaic Series

5 (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns).


                                Psalm 107 in Context


                             Introduction to Psalm 107

            Psalm 106 concludes Book IV of the Psalter on less than a

joyous note, having just surveyed Israel's history of rebellion;

by contrast, Psalm 107, as it introduces Book V, offers hope for

those who turn to God.5 Psalm 107, furthermore, presents

God's response to the desperate cry of His people in Ps 106:47--

vnyhlx hvhy vnfywvh ("deliver us, O LORD our God") --for Psalm 107

describes God's compassion toward His people in delivering them

from their distress.








            5Hengstenberg understands Psalm 107 to have been composed

after the exile "when the whole of Israel were assembled at

Jerusalem, and sacrifices were offered to the Lord upon the

newly-erected altar" but before the rebuilding of the temple was

begun. The psalm was then appended to Psalms 101-106 "and thus

completed the number seven, the first and last word of which

is the mercy of the Lord." E. W. Hengstenberg, Commentary on,

the Psalms, vol. 3, trans. John Thomson and Patrick Fairbairn,

Clark's Foreign Theological Library, vol. 12 (Edinburgh: T. & T.

Clark, 1848), 286-87. Technically, dsH (lovingkindness),

translated by Hengstenberg as "mercy," is not the last Hebrew

word of Ps 107:43 (hvhy—the LORD--is the last word) and is only

the first Hebrew word of Ps 101:1 after the superscription

(rvmzm dvdl--a psalm of David) is removed from consideration.


            Psalm 107 divides into 2 main sections.6 First, vv. 1-32

picture God's positive response to His people's plea for

deliverance primarily in 4 different situations (each of which

is concluded with a refrain that issues a challenge to God's

people to give Him thanks for His lovingkindness and for His

great works on their behalf). Second, vv. 33-42 present God's

control over creation and how He exercises that power to bless

those who are downtrodden. This final section concludes,

moreover, with an echo (in reverse order to the challenges found

in the refrains of vv. 8, 15, 21, 31) for all who would be wise

to consider God's great works and His lovingkindness.

            Section one (vv. 1-32) begins with 3 verses of general

praise for redemption from exile followed by 4 segments in which

a different special circumstances of rescue are described. In

vv. 4-9, God delivers people from a wilderness journey in which

they had been wandering aimlessly; in vv. 10-16, from a time of

bondage and imprisonment; in vv. 17-22, from the face of death





            6Regarding these 2 sections, Anderson labels the first

section (vv. 1-32) "a Thanksgiving" and the second section (vv.

33-42) either "a Praise to Yahweh" or a "Wisdom Hymn". A. A.

Anderson, The Book of Psalms: Vol. II: Psalms 73-150, New

Century Bible Commentary, ed. Ronald E. Clements and Matthew

Black (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1972), 749.


(due to illness?), and in vv. 23-32, from the "natural"

disasters experienced by those who do business on the seas.7

            Section two (vv. 33-42) divides into 2 subsections. The

first (vv. 33-38) describes God's ability to alter climatic and

geological conditions in order to judge wickedness and to help

those who are in need. The second subsection (vv. 39-42)

focuses on God's ability to turn upside down the power

structures established by humans in order to bring down from

positions of power those who oppress others and to lift up those

who previously had been helpless.


                                   Psalms 107 and 108


Lexical Interconnections

            A comparison of the lexemes studied in Psalms 107 and 108

produces the following frequency-of-occurrence data, separated

into key-lexeme links, thematic-lexeme links, and incidental-

lexeme links:8


            7The storm that impacts the sailors and tradesmen on the

sea in vv. 25-27 is, in fact, a supernatural disaster, brought

about by God Himself.

            8See Chapter 2 above for a definition of what qualifies

here and passim in this chapter as a significant lexeme, a

"key-lexeme link," a "thematic-lexeme link," and an "incidental-

lexeme link."


Key-Lexeme Links

            rrc9 (107:2, 6, 13, 19, 28--108:13, 14)--adversary, distress


Thematic-Lexeme Links

            hdy10 (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 22, 31--108:4)--give thanks,


            hvhy11(107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--108:4)--LORD

            dsH (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43--108:5)--lovingkindness

            Myhlx12 (107:11--108:2, 6, 8, 12[2x], 14)--God

            rzf13 (107:12--108:13)—help




            9The rrc lexical family includes rc (adversary,

distress), hrc (terror, distress), and rcm (distress) here and

passim in this chapter.

            10The hdy lexical family includes hdy (give thanks) and

hdvt (thanksgiving) here and passim in this chapter.

            11The hvhy lexical family includes hy (LORD) and hvhy,

(LORD) here and passim in this chapter. Although according to

Brown, Driver, and Briggs, both hy and hvhy are subsets of hvh

(be), for the purposes of this dissertation the 2 divine names

are subsumed under the title "hvhy lexeme family." The lexeme

family of hyh (be), therefore, is treated as a separate unit.

BDB, 217-19.

            12The Myhlx lexical family includes lx (God), hvlx (God),

and Myhlx (God) here and passim in this chapter.

            13The rzf, lexical family includes both the noun (hrzf) and

verb (rzf) forms of the term translated "help" here and passim

in this chapter.


            fwy14 (107:13, 19--108:7, 13)--save, deliver15

            Mvr (107:25, 32--108:6)--exalt, lift up

            hHn: (107:30--108:11)--lead, guide


Incidental-Lexeme Links

            Crx (107:3, 34, 35--108:6)--earth, land

            ryf (107:4, 7, 36--108:11)--city

            Mdx (107:8, 15, 21, 31--108:13)--man

            bl (107:12--108:2)--heart

            xcy(107:14, 28--108:12)--go forth

            lk (107:18, 27, 42--108:6)--all

            rbd (107:20--108:8)--word, speak

            hWf16(107:22, 23, 24, 37--108:14)--work, do, make

            Mymw (107:26--108:5, 6)--heavens

            Mf (107:32--108:4)--people

            Nvk (107:36--108:2)--establish

The 20 lexeme families cited above represent 13% (20 of 153) of

the separate lexemes of Psalm 107 and 30% (20 of 67) of the

lexemes of Psalm 108.17


            14The fwy lexical family includes fwy (save, deliver),

hfvwy (salvation), and hfvwt (deliverance) here and passim in

this chapter.

            15The fwy lexeme thematically links not only Psalms 107

and 108 but also Psalms 106 and 109 in a quadruple grouping of

psalms that crosses the boundary between Books IV and V of the


            16The hWf lexical family includes hWf (do, make) and

hWfm (work) here and passim in this chapter.

            17For the percentage data related to the lexical frequency

analysis of psalm dyads, here and passim in this chapter, see

Appendix C which summarizes (both as raw data and as percentage


            The key connecting lexeme family identified above--rrc

(adversary, distress)--occurs 7 times within these 2 psalms.

That figure is approximately 9% of the 82 occurrences of the

lexeme family in the Psalter, i.e., a frequency that is nearly 4

times greater than is to be expected for any 2 psalms whose

verse totals equal those of Psalms 107 and 108.18 Furthermore,

the usage of rrc in Pss 107:2 and 108:13, 14 functions as an

inclusio emphasizing the fact that God gives victory over the

rc, the adversary.

            The 8 thematic lexical connections noted above center

around 2 primary themes: the praise of the LORD and the LORD's

deliverance or guidance of His people. These 2 themes play

important roles in both Psalms 107 and 108.19


data) the lexeme frequency data for the various psalms of the


            18These statistics are especially instructive in light of

the frequency of the lexeme family rrc in the 4 sequential

psalms of 105-108. Those 4 psalms together contain 10 of the 82

occurrences in the Psalter (i.e., 12%). In addition, 50% (11 of

22) of all the occurrences of the rrc lexeme family in Book V

of the Psalter are found in the Psalms 107-118 corpus. The 7

instances found here in Psalms 107-108, therefore, account for

nearly 1/3 (32%) of those Book V occurrences.

            19 Mays identifies these 2 themes in Psalm 107: "Two

patterns unite the psalm. The first is that of the imperative

hymn in verse 1 with its summons to thankful praise supported by

a statement of the basis and content of the praise (God's

goodness, loyal love). . . .

            "The second pattern is that of the narrative of deliverance

from the prayer of thanksgiving . . . James Luther Mays,

Psalms, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and


            Both psalms point out that thanks (hdy) is to be given to

the LORD (hvhy)20 because of His lovingkindness (dsH). He is,

moreover, to be exalted (Mvr).

            Furthermore, if God (Myhlx) is not to be found, either

because His people have rebelled against Him or because He has

rejected them (as a consequence of their sin?), then there is no

true help (rzf) for His people. Yet, if they turn to Him, He


Preaching, ed. James Luther Mays (Louisville: John Knox, 1994),


            Hengstenberg finds parallel themes in Psalm 108: "The

Psalmist . . . expresses . . . confidence in . . . God, and

praises him because of the fulness of his mercy and truth, ver.

2-6; entreats him to impart his salvation [i.e., deliverance],

and founds this prayer upon the firm ground of the word and

promise of God by which Israel is assured of perpetual possession

of his land, and victory over the neighboring nations, ver. 7-10."

Hengstenberg, Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 3, 299.

            20Assuming that Psalm 108 is in fact a compilation of Pss

57:8-12 and 60:7-14, then the presence of the lexeme hvhy (LORD)

in Ps 108:4 is instructive. The original rendering of that

verse (Ps 57:10) included yndx (Lord) rather than hvhy (LORD).

In Psalms 107-118, the lexeme yndx (Lord) occurs in only 4

verses (Pss 109:21; 110:1, 5; 114:7) but never once in the

context of being the recipient of thanks. That context within

the corpus under study is reserved all but once for the lexeme

hvhy (LORD--Pss 107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31; 108:4; 109:30; 111:1;

[116:17]; 118:1, 19, 29). The only other verse in the corpus

that refers to deity as being the recipient of thanks is Ps

118:28 where the lexeme Myhlx (God) occurs. The fact that the

lexeme yndx (Lord) in Ps 57:10 is altered to read hvhy (LORD) in

Ps 108:4 suggests the hand of an editor that worked to revise an

earlier psalm to fit into a later context where the preferred

appelation for deity is the lexeme hvhy (LORD). Including its

use in Ps 108:4, the lexeme family hvhy (LORD) occurs 99 times

in the corpus.


delivers (fwy) them from their distress and guides (hHn) them to



Thematic Interconnections

            Psalms 107 and 108 hold numerous thematic concepts in

common. For example, both psalms emphasize (either by means of

direct commands or by indirect suggestions) the need to praise

hvhy (the LORD) or to give Him thanks (Pss 107:1, 8, 15, 21;

108:2, 3,21 422).  The 2 psalms also highlight the fact that

the LORD is able to deliver from distress or from adversaries

those who call upon Him (Pss 107:2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 16, 19,

20, 30; 108:7, 13, 14).23

            Furthermore, according to Brennan, Ps 108:4-5 "respond to

the invitation expressed so insistently in 107, 1-3, 8-9, 15-16,

21-22, 31-32, but the thanksgiving of 108 is tempered by the

realization that the danger is not yet over, nor is redemption


            21Compare Ps 150:3 regarding instruments used in praise of


            22Delitzsch points out that "[t]he j~r;Ox in ver. 4 and the

whole contents of the Psalm [108] is the echo to UdOh of the

preceding Psalm [107]." Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on

The Psalms, trans. Francis Bolton, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, Mich.:

Eerdmans, 1968), 173.

            23In Psalm 107, the nation itself or different groups of

people who are in distress cry out for help (Ps 107:6, 13, 19,

28), whereas in Psalm 108, the speaker in that psalm cries out

for deliverance, sometimes speaking for himself (Ps 108:7) and

sometimes for the nation (Ps 108:13, 14).


yet fully achieved."24 Thus, as Brennan concludes, "it is not

surprising that 108, 13-14 prays for deliverance from

oppression, as 107, 2. 6. 13. 19 had given thanks for it."25

            Allen also observes this interconnection between the 2

psalms when, in reference to Psalm 108, he states: "Its position

after Ps 107 reflects not only the shared divine attribute of

dsH 'loyal love' (v. 5), but also its historical and

theological setting: after return to the land, the hope of total

repossession and of vindication of God's sovereignty by means of

Edom's conquest remains as the goal of his people."26

            In addition, both Psalms 107 and 108 present the case

against the enemies of God and of His people by alternating

between singular and plural grammatical forms. Psalm 107 begins

its discussion with the singular rc (adversary--v. 2), shifts to

the plural Mybydn (princes--v. 40), and returns to the singular

hlvf (unrighteousness--v. 42).27 Psalm 108 utilizes the


            24Joseph P. Brennan, "Some Hidden Harmonies in the Fifth

Book of Psalms," in Essays in Honor of Joseph P. Brennan, ed.

Robert F. McNamara (Rochester, N.Y.: Saint Bernard's Seminary,

1976), 130.

            25Brennan, "Some Hidden Harmonies in the Fifth Book of

Psalms," 130.

            26Leslie C. Allen, Psalms 101-150, Word Biblical

Commentary 21 (Milton Keynes, England: Word [UK], 1983), 66.

            27The singular forms, rc and hlvf, however, undoubtedly

represent plural concepts, i.e., generic groups.


reverse order: plural, singular, and plural. Ps 108:8-10 cite a

group of nations as the enemies of God, Ps 108:13 an individual

adversary (rc), and Ps 108:14 multiple adversaries (Myrc).


                               Psalms 107 and 109

Lexical Interconnections

            An analysis of the lexemes studied in both Psalms 107 and

109 generates the following results:

            Key-Lexeme Links

                        dsH (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43--109:12, 16, 21, 26)--


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hdy (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 22, 31--109:30)--give thanks,


                        hvhy (107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--

                                    109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30)--LORD

                        bvF (107:1, 9--109:5,21)--good

                        wpn (107:5, 9[2x], 18, 26--109:20, 31)--soul

                        lcn (107:6--109:21)--deliver

                        ynf28 (107:10, 17, 41--109:16, 22)--affliction

                        lwk (107:12--109:24)--stumble

                        rzf (107:12--109:26)--help

                        fwy (107:13, 19--109:26,31)--save, deliver

                        Nvf (107:17--109:14)--iniquity

                        hfr (107:26, 34, 39--109:5)--evil, misery


            28The lexeme ynf (affliction) is used (here and passim in

this chapter) in place of the root lexeme hnf, (be afflicted) to

represent the lexical family that includes hnf (be afflicted)

and ynf (affliction) and to distinguish that group of lexemes

from the lexical family that is represented elsewhere in the

corpus (Pss 108:7; 118:5, 21) by the root lexeme hnf (answer).


                        fvn (107:27--109:10, 25[2x])--stagger

                        HmW (107:30, 42--109:28)--joyful, rejoice, be glad

                        llh (107:32--109:30)--praise29

                        jrb (107:38--109:28)--bless, knee

                        Nvybx (107:41--109:16, 22, 31)--needy

                        hp (107:42--109:2[2x], 30)--mouth


            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        dy (107:2--109:27)--hand

                        Crx (107:3, 34, 35--109:15)--earth, land

                        jlh (107:7--109:23)--go, walk

                        Nb (107:8, 15, 21, 31--109:9, 10)--son, (pl.) children

                        Myhlx (107:11--109:1, 26)--God

                        bl (107:12--109:22)--heart

                        xcy (107:14, 28--109:7)--go forth

                        lk (107:18, 27, 42--109:11)--all

                        tvm (107:18--109:16)--death, die

                        rbd (107:20--109:2, 3, 20)--word, speak

                        hWf (107:22, 23, 24, 37--109:16, 21, 27)--work, do, make

                        Mym (107:23, 33, 35[2x]--109:18)--water

                        br (107:23--109:30)--many

                        hxr (107:24, 42--109:25)--see

                        dmf (107:25--109:6, 31)--stand

                        Mvq (107:29--109:28)--rise

                        CpH (107:30--109:17)--delight, desire

                        MyW (107:33, 35, 41--109:5)--set

                        dxm (107:38--109:30)--greatly

                        Ffm (107:38,39--109:8)--decrease

These 38 lexemes equal 25% (38 of 153) of the total lexeme

population of Psalm 107. The 38 lexemes, moreover, represent

30% (38 of 126) of the lexical families of Psalm 109.


            29Praise in both psalms is to occur in public--in the presence

of the elders in Ps 107:32 and in the midst of many in Ps 109:30.


            The key-lexeme link identified above for Psalms 107 and

109--dsH (lovingkindness)--occurs a total of 10 times in the 2

psalms. That number is approximately 8% of the 130 occurrences

of the term dsH in the Psalter, i.e., nearly 4 times as often

as would normally be expected to be found in any given pair of

psalms containing the same verse total as that found in Psalms

107 and 109. In Psalm 107, God's dsH is presented as a reason

for giving praise and thanksgiving to God. That dsH

(lovingkindness), moreover, is understood in relation to God's

deliverance of those in need. To a lesser extent, dsH in Psalm

109 also occurs in relation to God's act of deliverance.

Furthermore, in both psalms (Pss 107:1; 109:21), dsH is brought

into close proximity with the concept of "good" (bvF).30

            The multitude of thematic lexical connections between

Psalms 107 and 109 center around 3 foci.31 First, God is to be

thanked or praised (hdy--give thanks, thanksgiving; hvhy--LORD;


            30Although the term dsH (lovingkindness) at times occurs

in the context of bvF (good), the term dsH, in Ps 109:16,

provides a contrast to that which is good when the failure of

the wicked to show dsH to others is deemed to be a grounds for


            31Note that the same lexeme may be used to convey more

than 1 thematic concept.


bvF--good; HmW--joyful, rejoice, be glad; llh--praise, and


            Second, God delivers those who are in distress (who have

placed their trust in Him) and provides for them (hvhy—LORD,

wpn--soul; lcn--deliver; rzf--help; fwy--save, deliver; jrb--

bless, knee; and Nvybx--needy).

            Third, those who are out of God's will are seen to exhibit

an ungodly character or are pictured as facing serious problems

(hvhy--LORD; wpn--soul; ynf--affliction; lwk--stumble; Nvf--

iniquity; hfr--evil, misery; fvn stagger; and hp—mouth).


Thematic Interconnections

            Both Psalms 107 and 109 address the need for the LORD to

rescue those in distress who cry out to Him for help. Psalm 107

cites 4 examples (vv. 4-5, 10-12, 17-18, 23-27) of those who are

in desperate need of deliverance from extremely difficult

situations (sometimes as a result of their own actions,

sometimes not). Psalm 109, in its entirety, essentially is a

plea for deliverance from an oppressive situation. Similar


            32The lexeme hp (mouth) links in a dual sense across the

2 psalms. In Ps 107:42, the ungodly person is so overwhelmed at

what God does that he cannot even open his mouth to say

anything. Yet, in Ps 109:2, when wicked people do not see God

at work, when He is seemingly silent (Ps 109:1), they boldly

open their mouths (described as wicked and deceitful) to attack

God's servant (cf. Ps 109:3-4). By contrast, the righteous

person (in this case, the speaker in this psalm), after he has

observed God's actions on his behalf, will use his mouth to

offer thanks and praise to God (Ps 109:30).


terminology and expressions of thought arise in both psalms to

describe the person in need and the desperate situation that

that individual faces: affliction or suffering (Pss 107:17, 41;

109:22); a desperate need (Pss 107:41; 109:16, 22, 31); a sense

of impending death (Pss 107:10, 14, 18; 109:23); a feeling of

reeling, staggering, tottering, or faltering (Pss 107:27;

109:24); and a sense of hungering, thirsting, or fainting (Pss

107:5; 109:24).

            The 2 psalms, moreover, proclaim that true deliverance

(salvation) from distress comes from the LORD. The LORD's

willingness to rescue those in need is couched in His

lovingkindness (Pss 107:1-2, 6-8, 13-15, 19-21, 28-31; 109:21,

26). Furthermore, those who are delivered from such a distress

need to offer thanksgiving and praise to the LORD (Pss 107:2, 8,

15, 21, 31; 109:30-31).

            Psalm 107 concludes with the wicked being unable to say

anything because God has done such a wonderful work for His

people (v. 42). Psalm 109 may be keying off that reality when

the psalm records a plea for God, once again, to do His great

work on behalf of the one who trusts God, because the wicked are

no longer silent, but are speaking out boldly against that

righteous individual (v. 2).

            Psalm 107 also ends with the thought that God provides for

the needy, setting him in a secure place away from affliction


(v. 41). This thought reverberates in the ending of Psalm 109

when the psalm declares that God once more protects the needy,

keeping him safe from the attacks of the enemy (v. 31).

            Both Psalms 107 and 109, furthermore, alternate between

singular and plural grammatical forms to present the case

against the enemies of God and of His people. Psalm 107

exhibits the following order: singular rc (adversary--v. 2),

plural Mybydn (princes--v. 40), and singular hlvf

(unrighteousness--v. 42).33 Psalm 109, however, utilizes the

opposite order--plural (vv. 2-5), followed by singular (vv. 6-

19), followed by plural (vv. 20, 25, 27-29, 31).


                                      Psalms 107 and 110

Lexical Interconnections

            Psalms 107 and 110 only rarely exhibit lexical duplication,

as the following reveals:

            Key-Lexeme Links 


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hvhy (107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--110:1, 2, 4)--


            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Mlvf (107:1--110:4)--forever

                        Crx (107:3, 34, 35--110:6)--earth, land


            33The singular forms, rc and hlvf, however, undoubtedly

represent plural concepts, i.e., generic groups.



                        jrd (107:4, 7[2x], 17, 40--110:7)--way

                        xlm (107:9--110:6)--fill

                        bwy (107:10, 34, 36--110:1)--sit, dwell

                        Hlw (107:20--110:2)--send

                        Mvr (107:25, 32--110:7)--exalt, lift up

                        Mf (107:32--110:3)--people

                        hbr (107:38--110:6)--broad, increase

The 10 lexemes held in common by Psalms 107 and 110 account for

7% (10 of 153) of the total number of lexemes in Psalm 107 and

21% (10 of 47) of the lexical families of Psalm 110.

            There are no key-lexeme interconnections between the 2

psalms under consideration.

            The primary thematic-lexical linkage between Psalms 107 and

110 is the divine name hvhy (LORD). In both psalms, hvhy is

understood to be the one who is in charge of that which is

taking place. This lexeme, moreover, is the most frequently

occurring lexeme in each of the 2 psalms.


Thematic Interconnections

            The primary theme that extends across both Psalms 107 and

110 is that the God is more than capable of securing victory in

the face of any difficulty, whether a distressing situation or a

powerful enemy (Pss 107:6-7, 13-14, 19-20, 28-30, 33-38, 39-41;


            To express this theme, both psalms make extensive use of a

disinterested narrational style of presentation as opposed to a

first-person account of events. Psalm 110 utilizes the


narrational style exclusively. Psalm 107, however, intersperses

personal commentary throughout its narration by means of the

jussive form (Ps 107:2, 8, 15, 21-22, 31-32, 43).


                               Psalms 107 and 111


Lexical Interconnections

            Lexical replication between Psalms 107 and 111 occurs, as


            Key-Lexeme Links

                        hWf (107:22, 23, 24, 37--111:2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10)--work, do, make


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hdy (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 22, 31--111:1)--give thanks,


                        hvhy (107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--111:1[2x],

                                    2, 4, 10)--LORD

                        Mlvf (107:1--111:5, 8, 9)--forever

                        xlp (107:8, 15, 21, 24, 31--111:4)--wonderful work

                        llh (107:32--111:1)--praise34


            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        bvF (107:1, 9--111:10)--good

                        dy (107:2--111:7)--hand

                        rwy (107:7, 42--111:1,8)--straight, upright

                        lk (107:18, 27, 42--111:1,2,7,10)--all

                        Hlw (107:20--111:9)--send

                        dmf (107:25--111:3, 10)--stand

                        hmkH (107:27--111:10)--wisdom


            34Praise, according to both psalms, is offered in public,

in the midst of God's people--specifically at the seat of the

elders in Ps 107:32 and in the company of the upright and in the

assembly in Ps 111:1.


                        CpH (107:30--111:2)--delight, desire

                        Mf (107:32--111:6, 9)--people

As the above list indicates, there are 15 lexemes of Psalm 107

(10% of the 153 lexemes of the psalm) that are also extant in

Psalm 111. Those 15 terms represent 31% (i.e., 15 of 48) of the

lexeme families of Psalm 111.

            A key-lexical link between the 2 psalms is a subset of the

general category hWf (work, do, make), namely, the term hWfm

(work--Pss 107:22, 24; 111:2, 6, 7).35 What makes this seemingly

common36 term a significant link between the psalms in question

is the fact that all 5 usages are identified as being the action

the LORD (e.g., His work, the work of the LORD) as opposed to

those of man.37 Such is not the case for the 2 immediately

antecedent usages of hWfm (work) in the Psalter (Ps 106:35, 39)

and for the immediately subsequent occurrence (Ps 115:4)--all 3


            35The remaining uses of hWf itself, however, are deemed

to be incidental-lexeme links.

            36The lexeme hWfm (work), a subset of the lexeme family

of hWf (work, do, make), occurs 234 times in the Hebrew

Scriptures, but only 39 times in the Psalter, 15 of which are

found in Book V. Of those 15 instances, 7 are located in the

Psalms 107-118 corpus, with 5 being present in these 2 psalms

(i.e., approximately 6 times the number of instances to be

expected within the Psalter for 2 psalms the size of Psalms 107

and 111).

            37All 5 instances of hWfm in Psalms 107 and 111 are

plural forms. The next occurrence of the term (Ps 115:4), by

contrast, is singular.


of which refer to the activity of man. The hWfm (work) of

the LORD (as it is presented in these 2 psalms), moreover, is

viewed in a positive light by those who experience it.

            There are 2 primary themes captured by the thematic-lexical

interconnections between Psalms 107 and 111: (1) the LORD is

great and performs marvelous works on behalf of His people and

(2) the LORD is worthy of honor. The LORD (hvhy) is the prime

mover in both psalms; He is understood to be a doer of wonderful

works (xlp) that remain forever (Mlvf). He is therefore to be

thanked (hdy) and praised (llh).


Thematic Interconnections

            Written for the most part from the perspective of a

narrator--as opposed to being a first-person expression of

personal thoughts and feelings--Psalms 107 and 111 present the

wondrous works of the LORD as an important theme.38 The

wonders and works of the LORD in Psalm 107 center around His

control over the elements that allows Him to deliver those who

turn to Him in the midst of their distress (Ps 107:6-9, 13-16,

19-22, 28-31, 33-36, 38-41). Those wonders and works, moreover,

are a cause for joyful thanksgiving by God's people (Ps 107:8,

15, 21, 22, 24, 31). Likewise in Psalm 111, God's works are


            38As noted above, Psalm 107 makes use of the jussive form

in vv. 2, 8, 15, 21-22, 31-32, and 43. Psalm 111, by contrast,

begins with ,a first-person account (v. 1) and then develops and

concludes its contents by means of a narrational style of

presentation (vv. 2-10).


viewed in a positive light by His people--among other things,

they are great, desired, delighted in, splendid, majestic, and

powerful (Ps 111:2, 3, 4, 6, 7).

            Both psalms begin with a declaration of thanksgiving to the

LORD (Pss 107:1; 111:1). Both psalms end, moreover, with a

wisdom motif (Pss 107:43; 111:10).


                                 Psalms 107 and 112

Lexical Interconnections

            Psalms 107 and 112 exhibit the following key-lexeme,

thematic-lexeme, and incidental-lexeme links:

            Key-Lexeme Links 


            Thematic-Lexeme Link

                        hvhy (107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--112:1[2x], 7)


                        rrc (107:2, 6, 13, 19, 28--112:8)--adversary, distress

                        jwH (107:10, 14--112:4)--darkness

                        hfr (107:26, 34, 39--112:7)--evil, misery

                        jrb (107:38--112:2)--bless, knee

                        Nvybx (107:41--112:9)--needy

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        bvF (107:1, 9--112:5)--good

                        Mlvf (107:1--112:6[2x])--forever

                        Crx (107:3, 34, 35--112:2)--earth, land

                        rwy (107:7, 42--112:2,4)--straight, upright

                        bl (107:12--112:7, 8)--heart

                        rbd (107:20--112:5)--word, speak

                        hxr (107:24, 42--112:8,10)--see


                        rmf (107:25--112:3, 9)--stand

                        Mvr (107:25, 32--112:9)--exalt, lift up

                        CpH (107:30--112:1)--delight, desire

                        llh (107:32--112:1)--praise

                        Nvk (107:36--112:7)--establish

                        frz (107:37--112:2)--sow, seed

                        dxm (107:38--112:1)--greatly

This list of 20 lexemes recorded in both Psalms 107 and 112

amounts to 13% (20 of 153) of the lexeme families of Psalm 107

and 36% (20 of 55) of the lexemes of Psalm 112 included within

the present analysis.

            Although there are no key-lexeme interconnections between

Psalms 107 and 112, there are 6 thematic-lexeme linkages—hvhy

(LORD), rrc (adversary, distress), jw (darkness), hfr (evil,

misery), jrb (bless, knee), and Nvybx (needy). These thematic-

lexeme links highlight 3 important themes in the 2 psalms: (1)

the LORD is the controller of life, (2) those who are out of

God's will face serious problems, and (3) God blesses those who

are in need.


Thematic Interconnections

            Both psalms make extensive use of a narrational style (in

contrast to a first-person account of matters) to present their

respective concerns.39


            39As noted previously, Psalm 107 intersperses the jussive

form (vv. 2, 8, 15, 21-22, 31-32, 43) throughout what otherwise

is a narrative account of events. Psalm 112, by contrast,

begins with an imperative (v. la) and then completes its


            In Psalm 107, God establishes the righteous on secure

ground and blesses them greatly (Ps 107:33-42). In Psalm 112,

that security and blessing is presented in some detail (Ps

112:1-9). At the same time, and at the end of both psalms, the

unrighteous find themselves unable to take effective action

against those who have been so honored by the LORD (Pss 107:42;


            Both psalms, moreover, make use of the picture of darkness

as being that which is descriptive of disaster or distress--a

situation out of which the repentant are brought or out of which

light arises for the upright (Pss 107:10, 14; 112:4). Defeat,

therefore, is not the end for those who serve God.

            Both Psalms 107 and 112 alternate between singular and

plural grammatical forms to record their respective cases

against the enemies of God and of His people. The psalms,

however, follow a different sequence. Psalm 107 follows a

singular-plural-singular pattern: rc (adversary--v. 2), Mybydn

(princes--v. 40), hlvf (unrighteousness--v. 42).41 By


contents by means of a narrational style of presentation (vv.


            40Interestingly, the imagery used in both of these verses

regarding the wicked makes reference to the mouth area. In

107:42, the unrighteous shuts his mouth; in 112:10, he gnashes

his teeth.

            41The singular forms, rc and hlvf, however, undoubtedly

represent plural concepts, i.e., generic groups.


contrast, Palm 112 adheres to the opposite pattern: plural

(Myrc--adversaries—v. 8); singular (fwr--wicked--v. 10a-b);

plural (Myfwr--wicked--v. 10c).

                                Psalms 107 and 113

Lexical Interconnections

            Numerous inter-psalm lexeme connections exist between

Psalms 107 and 113, as the following indicates:

            Key-Lexeme Links 


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hvhy (107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--113:1[3x],

                                    2, 3, 4, 5, 9)--LORD

                        Mlvf (107:1--113:2)--forever

                        Myhlx (107:11--113:5)--God

                        HmW (107:30, 42--113:9)--joyful, rejoice, be glad

                        llh (107:32--113:1[3x],3,9)--praise

                        jrb (107:38--113:2)--bless, knee

                        Nvybx (107:41--113:7)--needy

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Crx (107:3, 34, 35--113:6)--earth, land

                        Hrzm (107:3--113:3)--east

                        Nb (107:8, 15, 21, 31--113:9)--son, (pl.) children

                        bwy (107:10, 34, 36--113:5, 8, 9)--sit, dwell

                        lk (107:18, 27, 42--113:4)--all

                        hxr (107:24, 42--113:6)--see

                        Mvr (107:25, 32--113:4,7)--exalt, lift up

                        Mymw (107:26--113:4, 6)--heavens


                        Mf (107:32--113:8)--people

                        bydn (107:40--113:8[2x])--prince


These 18 lexemes equal 12% (18 of 153) of the lexical families

of Psalm 107. These replicated lexemes also comprise just more

than half (18 of 35, i.e., 51%) of the lexemes of Psalm 113.

            The lack of key-lexeme interconnections is made up for by

the presence of the 7 thematic-lexeme linkages noted above.

These thematic-lexemes emphasize the ideas that the

characteristics of God (hvhy--LORD; Myhlx--God) are eternal

(Mlvf), that God is to be praised (llh) for what He has done

(i.e., for bringing the joy (HmW) of release and deliverance

into people's lives), and that He is a God who blesses (jrb)

those who are unable to help themselves (i.e., the needy--



Thematic Interconnections

            Both psalms stress the fact that God is a God to be honored

for who He is and for what He has done (Pss 107:1, 8, 15, 21-22,

31-32; 113:1-3, 9). Both psalms, moreover, declare that God

blesses those who are in distress, especially those who turn to

Him for help, (Pss 107:2-3, 6-7, 9, 13-14, 16, 19-20, 28-30, 36-

42; 113:7-9). In particular, God takes care of those in


desperate need,42 and He does so in the context of the rich,

i.e., the princes (Pss 107:40-41; 113:7-8).


                             Psalms 107 and 114

Lexical Interconnections

            Although there are no key-lexeme links between Psalms 107

and 114, there are 3 thematic-lexeme links and 7 incidental-

lexeme links, as the following reveals:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematc-Lexeme Links

                        xcy (107:14, 28--114:1)--go forth

                        Mym (107:23, 33, 35[2x]--114:8[2x])--water

                        Mgx (107:35--114:8)--reedy pool

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Crx (107:3, 34, 35--114:7)--earth, land

                        My (107:3--114:3, 5)--sea

                        Nb (107:8, 15, 21, 31--114:4, 6)--son, (pl.) children

                        Myhlx (107:11--114:7)--God

                        hxr (107:24, 42--114:3)--see

                        Mf (107:32--114:1)--people

                        Nxc (107:41--114:4, 6)--flock


            42Allen argues that God's actions here are examples of His

"providential_ intervention in the lives of individuals." Allen,

Psalms 101-150, 101. They may also be examples of God's direct




These 10 lexical interconnections which Psalm 107 holds jointly

with Psalm 114 represent 7% (10 of 153) of the lexemes of Psalm

107 and 29% (10 of 34) of the lexemes of Psalm 114.

            The first thematic-lexical link of both psalms (xcy--go

forth--Pss 107:14, 28; 114:1) highlights the fact that God

causes His people who are in trouble to go forth out of their

distress. The second and third thematic-lexical links (Mym--

water--Pss 107:23, 33, 35[2x]; 114:8[2x]; Mgx--reedy pool--Pss

107:35; 114:8) focus on God's control over the elements of the

earth. They emphasize the fact that He is able to do with them

as He sees fit.


Thematic Interconnections

            Both Psalms 107 and 114 also proclaim thematically the

power God has over creation that allows Him to do whatever He

pleases to accomplish His will. In the 2 psalms, God is seen to

change water in to dry ground and dry ground into water (Pss

107:33-35; 114:3, 8). Psalms 107 and 114, moreover, in their

quests to convey the truth about God's power, utilize

extensively geological motifs43 and, to a lesser degree,


            43The term "geological" is used here in the broad sense to

include not only the physical components of the earth but also

those of the universe and the heavens.

            Of the 12 psalms of the Psalms 107-118 corpus, Psalms 107

and 114 make far more use of geological references than do any

of the remaining psalms in the corpus. The geological

references convey, moreover, at times a literal sense and at

times a metaphorical sense.


zoological Motifs.44  Of the 43 verses of Psalm 107, 13 (vv. 3-

4, 23-26, 29, 32-35, 37, 40) include at least 1 geological

reference while 2 (vv. 38, 41) present their contents with the

help of a reference to animals. Of the 8 verses of Psalm 114, 6

(vv. 3-8) contain a reference to some geological formation while

2 (vv. 4, 6) make mention of some form of animal life.


                              Psalms 107 and 115


Lexical Interconnections

            Psalms 107 and 115 share numerous lexemes in common, as the

following details:

            Key-Lexeme Links 


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hvhy (107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--

                                    115:1, 9, 10, 11[2x], 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18[2x])--LORD

                        dsH (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43--115:1)--lovingkindness

                        Mdx (107:8, 15, 21, 31--115:4,16)--man

                        Myhlx (107:11--115:2, 3)--God

                        rzf (107:12--115:9, 10, 11)--help

                        llh (107:32--115:17, 18)--praise

                        jrb (107:38--115:12[3x],13, 15, 18)--bless, knee

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Mlvf (107:1--115:18)--forever

                        rmx (107:2, 11, 25--115:2)--say


            44Although neither Psalm 107 nor Psalm 114 makes extensive

use of references to animals, they are the only 2 psalms in the

Psalms 107-118 corpus which make any use of a zoological



                        dy (107:2--115:4, 7)--hand

                        Crx (107:3, 34, 35--115:15, 16)--earth, land

                        jlh (107:7--115:7)--go, walk

                        Nb (107:8, 15, 21, 31--115:14, 16)--son, (pl.) children

                        lk (107:18, 27, 42--115:3, 8, 17)--all

                        tvm (107:18--115:17)--death, die

                        rbd (107:20--115:5)--word, speak

                        hWf (107:22, 23, 24, 37--115:3, 4, 8, 15)--work, do, make

                        dry(107:23, 26--115:17)--go down

                        hxr (107:24, 42--115:5)--see

                        Mymw (107:26--115:3, 15, 16[2x])--heavens

                        CpH (107:30--115:3)--delight, desire


This group of interconnecting lexemes adds up to 14% (22 of 153)

of the lexemes of Psalm 107 and 42% (i.e, 22 of 52) of the

primary lexical families of Psalm 115.

            There are no key-lexeme links that join Psalms 107 and 115


            The thematic-lexeme interconnections between the 2 psalms

identify the LORD (hvhy) as being the central thrust of both

psalms. He is, moreover, worthy of praise (llh) because of His

lovingkindness (dsH) and because of the help (rzf) He gives to

the sons of man (Mdx) whom He blesses (jrb).


                45Interestingly, in Psalm 107, the unrighteous person

finds his mouth (hp) useless; in Psalm 115 the idol made by the

unrighteous person possesses a useless mouth (hp).


Thematic Interconnections

            Both Psalms 107 and 115 point to the fact that God is to

receive honor, an honor that is based in part on God's

lovingkindness (Pss 107:1, 8-9, 15-16, 21-22, 31-31; 115:1, 18).

Both psalms moreover, present the fact that God helps those who

turn to Him (Pss 107:2-3, 6-7, 13-14, 19-20, 28-30; 115:9-11).

In addition, these 2 psalms indicate that God is a God who

blesses His people (Pss 107:36-41; 115:12-15).


                           Psalms 107 and 116

Lexical interconnections

            The lexical interconnections indicated below are those

which exist between Psalms 107 and 116:

            Key-Lexeme Links

                         hvhy(107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--116:1,

                                    4[2x],5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19[2x])--


                        rrc (107:2, 6, 13, 19, 28--116:3[2x])--adversary, distress

                        fwy (107:13, 19--116:6, 13)--save, deliver

                        tvm (107:18--116:3, 8, 15)--death, die

                        Flm (107:20--116:4)--deliver




            46Note that the basic clause--to offer a sacrifice of

thanksgiving (which incorporates both this lexeme and the

following)--occurs in similar forms in Ps 107:22 ("let them

offer sacrifices of thanksgiving" and in Ps 116:17 ("I will

offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving").


                        hdy (107:22--116:17)--thanksgiving

                        llh47 (107:32--116:19)—praise

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        rmx (107:2, 11, 25--116:11)--say

                        Crx (107:3, 34, 35--116:9)--earth, land

                        xcm (107:4--116:3)--find

                        wpn (107:5, 9[2x],18, 26--116:4, 7, 8)--soul

                        jlh (107:7--116:9)--go, walk

                        Nb (107:8, 15, 21, 31--116:16)--son, (pl.) children

                        Mdx (107:8, 15, 21, 31--116:11)--man

                        ynf (107:10, 17, 41--116:10)--affliction

                        Myhlx (107:11--116:5)--God

                        lk (107:18, 27, 42--116:11, 12, 14, 18)--all

                        rbd (107:20--116:10)--word, speak

                        Mf (107:32--116:14, 18)--people

                        dxm (107:38--116:10)--greatly

                        Nvgy (107:39--116:3)--sorrow

                        rmw (107:43--116:6)--keep

As the above reveals, 23 lexemes of Psalm 107 (i.e., 15% of the

153 lexemes of the psalm) are replicated in Psalm 116. Those 23

interconnections represent 34% (23 of 68) of the lexical

families of Psalm 116.

            There are no key-lexeme linkages between Psalm 107 and

Psalm 116.

            The thematic-lexical interconnections between the 2 psalms

express 2 basic thoughts: (1) the LORD rescues those who are in

need and who turn to Him and (2) He is to be rightly honored.


            47Psalm 107:32 notes that praise is to occur openly before

the elder council.  Psalm 116:19 confirms the necessity of

praising God in the open, formal assembly of God's people.


Specifically, the LORD (hvhy), who is a primary figure in both

psalms, delvers (fWy and Flm) His people from situations of

extreme distress (rrc), even from death (tvm). They, in turn,

are to offer (Hbz) Him a sacrifice (Hbz) of thanksgiving (hdvt)

and to praise (llh) Him.


Thematic Interconnections

            The thematic interconnections between the 2 psalms are

essentially the same as those themes which are revealed by an

analysis of the thematic-lexeme links above. Both Psalms 107

and 116 contain as an important theme the fact that God is able

to deliver from the terrors of distress, even from the face of

death, those who in total desperation call out to (xrq), cry

out to (qfc or qfz), or beseech (xnx) Him (Pss 107:2-3, 6-7,

13-14, 19-20, 28-30; 116:1-4, 6-9, 16). These psalms,

furthermore emphasize the need for God's people whom He

delivers to give thanks (hdy) to Him, to offer a sacrifice of

thanksgiving (hdvt Hbz Hbz)  to Him, to declare His works with

joyful singing (hnrb vyWfm rps) , to extol (Mvr) Him, to praise

(llh) Him, to lift up the cup of salvation (tvfvwy-svk xWn) to

Him, to call upon the name of the LORD (hvhy Mwb xrq) , or to pay

vows (rdn Mlw) to Him (Pss 107:1, 8, 15, 21-22, 31-32; 116:13-

14, 17-19).


                               Psalms 107 and 117

Lexical Interconnections

            The key-lexeme, thematic-lexeme, and incidental-lexeme

links between Psalms 107 and 117 are cited below:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hvhy (107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--117:1, 2[2x])


                        Mlvf (107:1--117:2)--forever

                        dsH (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43--117:2)--lovingkindness

                        llh (107:32--117:1, 2)--praise

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        lk (107:18, 27, 42--117:1[2x])--all

The 5 lexemes of the longest psalm of the corpus (Psalm 107)

that are replicated in the shortest psalm of the corpus (Psalm

117) total only 3% (5 of 153) of the lexemes of Psalm 107 but

represent 5 % (5 of 10) of Psalm 117.

            Although there are no key-lexeme links between Psalms 107

and 117, there are 4 terms that function as thematic-lexeme

interconnections between the 2 psalms. Those thematic-lexical

links suggest that (1) the LORD (hvhy) is the center of both

psalms; (2) He demonstrates great care (dsH) for His people;

(3) His characteristics, moreover, are eternal (Mlvf); and (4)

He, in turn, is deserving of praise (llh).


Thematic Interconnections

            The 2 psalms present as an important component of their

respective contents the concept that God is to be honored. This

honoring is much deserved, to a great extent, because of the

lovingkindness which He extends to His people (Pss 107:1, 8, 15,

22, 31; 117:1-2).


                             Psalms 107 and 118

Lexical Interconnections

            Analysis of the lexical interconnections between Psalms 107

and 118 generates the following findings:

            Key-Lexeme Links

                         hdy (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 22, 31--118:1, 19, 21, 28, 29)--give

                                    thanks, thanksgiving

                        hvhy (107:1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 31, 43--118:1, 4,

                                    5[2x], 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16[2x], 17, 18, 19, 20,

                                    23, 24, 25[2x], 26[2x], 27, 29)--LORD

                        bvF (107:1, 9--118:1, 8, 9, 29)--good

                        Mlvf (107:1--118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29)--forever

                        dsH (107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43--118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29)--


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        rmx (107:2, 11, 25--118:2, 3, 4)--say

                        rrc (107:2, 6, 13, 19, 28--118:5)--adversary, distress

                        xlp (107:8, 15, 21, 24, 31--118:23)--wonderful work

                        rzf (107:12--118:7,13)--help

                        fwy (107:13, 19--118:14, 15, 21, 25)--save, deliver

                        rps (107:22--118:17)--tell

                        hWf (107:22, 23, 24, 37--118:6, 15, 16, 17, 24)--work, do,



                        hnr (107:22--118:15)--joyful singing

                        Mvr (107:25, 32--118:16, 28)--exalt, lift up

                        HmW (107:30, 42--118:24)--joyful, rejoice, be glad

                        jrb (107:38--118:26[2x])--bless, knee

                        bydn (107:40--118:9)--prince

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Mdx (107:8, 15, 21, 31--118:6, 8)--man

                        Myhlx (107:11--118:27, 28[2x])--God

                        lk (107:18, 27, 42--118:10)--all

                        rfw (107:18--118:19, 20)--gate

                        tvm (107:18--118:17, 18)--death, die

                        hxr (107:24, 42--118:7)--see


The 23 lexemes of Psalm 107 that find a match in Psalm 118

account for 15% (23 of 153) of the total searched lexeme

population of Psalm 107 and represent 32% (23 of 72) of the

lexemes of Psalm 118.

            Psalm 107:1 is repeated in Ps 118:1, 29, thereby giving

rise to the list of key-lexical links48 noted above.49 The

repetition of 107:1 in 118:1 arrests the reader's attention,

suggesting that the psalms are interconnected in some fashion.


            48The key-lexeme links--hdy (give thanks), hvhy (LORD),

bvF (good), Mlvf (forever), and dsH (lovingkindness)--also

function as thematic-lexeme links.

            49The verses read: :ODs;Ha MlAOfl; yKi bOF-yKi hvAhyla UdHo-- "Give

thanks to the LORD for He is good, for His lovingkindness is

everlasting." The only variation among the 3 verses is the

spelling of the word "give thanks" which reads Udho in 107:1 but

UdOh in 118:1, 29. This variation has no impact on the

significance of these interconnections.


The repetition of 107:1 in 118:29, furthermore, functions as an

inclusio to surround and define the scope of the entire corpus

under study.50

            The thematic-lexical links between Psalms 107 and 118

identify 2 important themes:  (1) God’s great work of rescuing

those who realize the need to rely upon Him rather than upon

humans and who, in fact, turn to Him in their need and (2) the

importance of praising God for who He is and for the marvelous

work that He has done. First, when God's people realize that

human (bydn-- prince) help (rzf) is inadequate and they turn to

the LORD (hvhy) for help (rzf). He delivers (fwy) them from

their distress (rrc) and performs wonderful works (xlp) on

their behalf.  Second, God's people, as a consequence, are to

speak out about (rmx), to tell of (rps), to sing joyfully about

(hnr), to extol (Mvr), to rejoice in (Hmw), and to bless (jrb)

God for His goodness (bvF), His kindness (dsH), or His great

acts (hWf).

Thematic Interconnections

            A primary theme presented by both Psalms 107 and 118 is the

importance giving thanks to the LORD for His character, His

goodness, His eternal lovingkindness, and His acts of

deliverance (Pss 107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31; 118:1-4, 19, 21, 28-29).


            50For further discussion regarding the importance of the

thanksgiving inclusio as a defining component in the decision

to extend the corpus from Psalm 107 through Psalm 118, see in

Chapter 1 the section titled "Scope of the Study."


An additional theme common to the 2 psalms is that God is able

to deliver from distress or even from death those who turn to

Him (Pss 107:6-7, 13-14, 19-20, 28-30; 118:5-14, 17-18).

            Both psalms also suggest that God severely disciplines His

people (Pss 107:10-12, 17; 118:18) but that He also rescues them

when they call upon Him for help (Pss 107:13-14, 19-20; 118:5,

17-18, 21).

            In addition, the 2 psalms speak about the inadequacy of

trusting in human resources, whether one's own or those of

someone else (Pss 107:4-5, 10-12, 18, 26-27; 118:8-9).

            Both Psalms 107 and 118 use the jussive to make a

pronouncement relative to God's lovingkindness--either to offer

thanks to God for that lovingkindness (Ps 107:8, 15, 21, 31), to

consider that lovingkindness (Ps 107:43), or to declare the

eternality of that lovingkindness (Ps 118:2-4).

            Furthermore, Psalms 107 and 108 present the arguments

against the enemies of God and of His people by means of

switching back and forth between singular and plural grammatical

forms. Psalm 107 shifts twice; Psalm 118 3 times. Psalm begins

with the singular rc (adversary--v. 2), follows up with the

plural Mybydn (princes--v. 40), and then returns to the singular

hlvf (unrighteousness--v. 42).51 Psalm 118 also begins with a


            51The singular forms, rc and hlvf, however, undoubtedly

representaral concepts, i.e., generic groups.



singular form (Mdx--man--v. 6), changes to the use of plural

forms (MyxnW--those who hate and Myvg)--nations—vv. 7, 10-12),

reverts to singular form (hHd--you[sg.] pushed--v. 13), and

then concludes with a plural form (Mynvb--v. 2252).


                          Psalm 107--A Retrospective

Location within the Psalms 107-118 Corpus

            As the initial psalm of Book V of the Psalter, Psalm 107 is

the initial psalm of the corpus under study. As such, it sets

the thematic stage for the psalms which follow. In addition,

due in part to its thematic content--various components of which

run through remaining 11 psalms of the corpus--and due in

part to its size,53 Psalm 107 exhibits in straight numerical

data a great number of lexemes that are duplicated in the

other psalms of the corpus than do any of the remaining psalms

of the Psalms 107-118 corpus.54


            52The assumption is being made here and passim in this

chapter that the builders (Mynvbh) of Ps 118:22 are those who

are opposed to God's will--they reject that which God chooses.

As such, they are functioning as the enemies of God.

            53By any physical measure, Psalm 107 is the largest psalm

in the Psalm 107-118 corpus.

            54Psa1m 107 ranks in first place (of all the psalms in the

corpus) in the number of lexeme interconnections that it has

with 6 of the remaining 11 psalms in the corpus. Psalm 107 also

ranks in a tie for first place in the number of lexemes it holds

in common with 3 additional psalms of the Psalms 107-118 corpus.

Only in reference to Psalms 111 and 117 does Psalm 107 rank


            Furthermore, Psalm 107 functions together with Psalm 118 to

form an inclusio around the rest of the psalms of the corpus.

This inclusio, which is specifically observed in Pss 107:1 and

118:29, emphasizes 3 points which are similar to the 3 primary

themes which pervade the corpus. First, people (in particular,

God's people) are to give thanks (hdy) to the LORD (hvhy).

Second, a significant reason for people to honor God is because

of what He is, in this case, good (bvF). Third, people are to

demonstrate gratitude to God for how He has treated them,

namely, with lovingkindness (dsH). This lovingkindness,

moreover, is portrayed in both Psalms 107 and 118 as being

observed in God's protection and deliverance of His people.

            Although historically recognized as the first psalm of Book

V of the Psalter and therefore regarded to be in a separate

grouping of psalms from that in which Psalm 106 is found, Psalm

107 displays definite points of interconnection with Psalm 106.

For example, the beginning 3 verses of Psalm 107 echo lexically

and respond thematically to the terminology and issues presented

in the concluding 5 verses of Psalm 106 (i.e., vv. 44-48). Of

the 15 lexeme families of Ps 107:1-3, 7 (47%) are replicated in

Ps 106:44-48; hdy, (give thanks--Pss 107:1; 106:47), hvhy (LORD--

Pss 107:1, 2; 106:47, 48[2x]), Mlvf (forever--Pss 107:1;

106:48[2x]), dsH (lovingkindness--Pss 107:1; 106:45), rmx


lower than first or tied for first of all the psalms of the

corpus that exhibit lexeme links with those 2 psalms.


(say--Pss 107:2; 106:48), rrc (adversary, distress--Pss 107:2;

106:44), and Cbq (gather--Pss 107:3; 106:47). Furthermore, 3

additional lexemes of Ps 107:1-3 are paralleled by similar terms

in those concluding 5 verses of Psalm 106: bvF (good--Ps 107:1)

by br (greatness--Ps 106:45), lxg (redeem--Ps 107:2[2x]) by fwy

(save, deliver--Ps 106:47), and Crx (earth, land--Ps 107:3) by

yvg (nation- Ps 106:47).

            The fist verse of Psalm 107, moreover, repeats all but the

hallelujah (hyvllh) rubric of Ps 106:1.55 In doing so, Ps

107:1 also reflects the command to give thanks (hdy) of Ps

106:47 and, at the same time, initiates a series of thanksgiving

commands in Psalm 107 (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31).

            The beginning of Psalm 107 also provides a thematic

response to the plea recorded in Ps 106:47 for the LORD to

deliver (fwy) His people from distress (rrc—cf. Ps 106:44) and

to gather (Cbq) them from exile from among the nations (yvg).

Psalm 107:2 reports that the people of God have been redeemed

(lxg) out of their disastrous situation (i.e., from the hand of


            55The lack of the repetition of the hallelujah (hy vllh)

rubric in Ps 107:1 may be due to the presence of a hallelujah

(hy-vllh) colophon at the end of the final verse of Psalm 106

(i.e., v. 48). The Septuagint, in fact, places the hallelujah

colophon of Psalm 106 (105 LXX) at the beginning of Psalm 107

(106 LXX). There is, however, no other manuscript support for

such an emendation. The location of the clause in the LXX is

not to be accepted since it is not a necessary emendation.


the adversary--rrc) and gathered (Cbq56) from the lands (Crx)

to which they had been dispersed.

            The concluding verses of Psalm 107, furthermore, show both

lexical and thematic concatenation with the early verses of

Psalm 108. Psalm 107:43 issues a challenge for those who claim

to be wise to consider the hvhy dSH (lovingkindness of the

LORD); Ps 108:5 contains a declaration of an individual who has

considered greatness of that dsH.

            The thematic linkage between the conclusion of Psalm 107

and the beginning of Psalm 108 is seen most clearly through a

comparison of Pss 107:42-43 and 108:1-5. First, Ps 107:42

portrays the righteous as being glad and the unrighteous as

closing their mouths when both groups observe the wonderful work

of the LORD Psalm 108:2-4 follows immediately with a picture

of a righteous person exhibiting gladness through the singing of

praises to God and through the offering of thanksgiving to Him--

2 activities that are performed with an open mouth. Second, the

theme of lovingkindness--as noted above in reference to the

mutual use of the lexeme dsH (lovingkindness) by both psalms--

also bridge the border between the Psalms 107 and 108.


            56The lexeme Cbq (gather) occurs in only 4 passages

within the Psalter: Pss 41:6; 102:22; 106:47; 107:3. The fact

that the term is utilized as it is in Pss 106:47 and 107:3 is,

at the very least, interesting, and more probably suggestive of

an intentional linking of the 2 psalms that contain the word

Cbq or of the editing of 1 or the other of the 2 psalms to

include that term.


Lexical Interconnections

            Psalm 107 contains 153 lexical families that fit the search

parameters of this dissertation. Of those 153 lexemes, 48% (73

of 153) are replicated at least on 1 other occasion within the

Psalms 107-118 corpus.57 The remaining 52% (80 of 153),

therefore, categorized as being hapax legomena within the


            Based a straight numerical tabulation, Psalm 107

exhibits a greater number of lexeme family interconnections with

the following psalms (in descending order of frequency) in the

Psalms 107-118 corpus than with those not listed: Psalms 109

(38), 116 (23), 118 (23), 115 (22), 108 (20), and 112 (20).

When the tabulations are converted to percentage data (i.e.,

percentage of a given psalm's total lexeme family population

that is replicated by the Psalm 107 lexemes), the sequence of

interconnection takes the following shape (in descending

order): Psa 113 (51%), 117 (50%), 115 (42%), 112 (36%), 116



            57The figures for the percentage of replication of the

lexemes for each psalm of the Psalms 107-118 corpus that are

cited separately in the individual retrospective sections for

each psalm, here and passim in this chapter, are gathered

together, in Appendix D, for comparative purposes.

            58There are 13 lexemes in Psalm 107 that are hapax

legomena within the Psalter, 1 of which (zvHm—shipyard, haven,

city--Ps 107:30) is also a hapax legomenon within the Hebrew



(34%), 118 (32%), 111 (31%), 109 (30%), and 108 (30%).59 No

percentage figure for any of the remaining psalms of the corpus,

moreover, drops below 20%. This high percentage of replication

of other psalms within the corpus by the lexical families of

Psalm 107 is that Psalm 107 functions as an introductory

psalm to the Psalms 107-118 corpus to spearhead the lexical and

thematic development of the entire corpus.60

            There are, moreover, 15 lexeme families of Psalm 107 that

are duplicated in a minimum of 5 of the other psalms of the

corpus under study.61  Those lexemes are as follows: hdy (give


            59The percentage data, here and passim in the various

retrospective sections of this chapter, account for the

potential influence that the lexemes of a given psalm may exert

on the other psalms of the corpus. The data for a given psalm

intentionally do not show the reverse percentages, i.e., the

extent to which the lexemes of other psalms link to the given

psalm under study. That information may be drawn from the

retrospective sections for each of the remaining psalms. For a

complete listing of both sets of percentage figures, see

Appendix C.

            60The declaration of Psalm 107 as a well-placed

introductory psalm to the corpus is confirmed in the analyses of

the various other psalms below. At least 1, if not both, of the

primary lexical groupings of Psalm 107 related to distress and

the need for help or to thanksgiving and praise permeate the

remaining psalms of the corpus as well. So too, the 3 major

themes of Psalm 107--God's ability to deliver His people, the

greatness of God, and the gratitude that is to be offered to

Him--are developed to varying degrees, individually or

severally, in the remaining 11 psalms of the Psalms 107-118


            61The arbitrary minimum number of 5 has been selected here

and passim throughout this chapter because that number of

psalms, together with the individual psalm under study at any


thank, thanksgiving), hvhy (LORD), Mlvf (forever), dsH

(lovingkindness), Crx (earth, land), Nb (son, [pl.] children),

Myhlx (God), lk (all), rbd (speak), hWf (work, do, make), hxr

(see), Mvr (exalt, lift up), Mf (people), llh (praise), and jrb

(bless, knee). More significantly, of the 74 lexemes that are

duplicated elsewhere in the corpus, there are 12 lexemes that

function as either key-lexeme or thematic-lexeme links between

Psalm 107 and 3 or more other psalms in the corpus: rrc

(adversary, distress), hdy (give thanks, thanksgiving), hvhy

(LORD) dsH (lovingkindness), Myhlx (God), rzf (help), fwy

(save, deliver), HmW (joyful, rejoice, be glad), llh (praise),

jrb (bless), Nvybx (needy), and Mlvf (forever). These 12

lexemes depict God as a God who cares about His people and who

acts mightily to deliver them from desperate situations which

they face. He is, therefore, as these lexemes reveal, to

receive honor from His people who themselves rejoice at having

been rescued from their distress.


Thematic Interconnections

            There are 3 important themes that Psalm 107 holds in common

with the majority of the other psalms in the Psalms 107-118

corpus. The first is that God is able to deliver from distress


given time, adds up to a minimum of 1/2 of the psalms of the

entire corpus which suggests that the psalm being studied

potentially may exert a strong lexical influence throughout the



(even from death) those who turn to Him. This theme, or a

variation on it, is found not only in Psalm 107 but also in

Psalms 108-109, [110], 111, [112], [113], 114-116, and 118. The

second jointly held theme is that those to whom God extends His

care, lovingkindness, or deliverance are to praise, honor, or

give thanks to Him. This theme of the need to show gratitude to

God which appears in Psalm 107 also occurs in Psalms 108-109,

[110], 111-113, and 115-118. The third theme that Psalm 107 and

essentially every other psalm of the corpus declares is that God

is a great God and a God of wondrous works. Psalm 107, as well

as Psalms 198-109, 111-113, 115-116, and 118, moreover, portrays

a confident belief that God blesses those who place their trust

in Him.


Strongest Linkages within the Corpus62

            Quite understandably, being the introductory and defining

psalm of corpus, Psalm 107 exhibits strong lexical and

thematic ties to the remaining psalms of the Psalms 107-118

corpus. In fact, with every other psalm of the corpus, Psalm

107 displays either important lexical or thematic links.


            62As noted above (earlier in this section, i.e., within

"Psalm 107--A Retrospective"), external to the corpus, Psalm 107

also displays important linkages to Psalm 106--the concluding

psalm of Book IV of the Psalter. Psalm 107:1 is repeated in its

entirety (with 1 minor orthographic variant) in Ps 106:1. Psalm

107:2-3, moreover, reveals that God responded favorably to the

plea in Ps 106:47 for deliverance from exile.


            Specifically, as noted above, Psalm 107 begins with a

command to give thanks to God because of His goodness and

lovingkindness (vdsH Mlvfl yk bvF-yk hvhyl vdh). That verse is

repeated, with 1 minor orthographic change, in Ps 118:1 and in

Ps 118:29. The interconnection between Pss 107:1 and 118:29, in

particular, forms an inclusio around the corpus. This

inclusio no only helps to establish the physical parameters of

the corpus, but it also functions in such a way as to establish

the general thematic boundaries of the corpus. Based on this

inclusio, the corpus focuses on (1) the need for God's people

to praise Him, (2) the recognition that God is a great God, and

(3) the realization that God demonstrates a compassion for His


            Apart from the just-mentioned connection based on the

thanksgiving inclusio, Psalm 107 shares its greatest lexical

linkages with Psalm 109--a psalm in many ways just like Psalm

107 because of the strong emphasis that both psalms place on

deliverance from distress. Psalms 107 and 109 make 38 lexical

connections with each other, i.e., 25% (38 of 154) and 30% (38

of 126) of the total number of each psalm, respectively. Those

38 lexeme links, moreover, occur primarily along 3 thematic

lines: praise of God, deliverance from distress, and disaster

for those outside of God's will.


            From a strictly thematic standpoint, Psalm 107 shows its

strongest ties with its neighbor psalm, Psalm 108. Both psalms

depict God's deliverance of His people and His sovereignty over

the created world. Both psalms also speak of the praise that

God's people are to give (Psalm 107) or actually give (Psalm

108) to Him.63


                               Psalm 108 in Context

                           Introduction to Psalm 108

            Psalm 108--a psalm which most scholars64 agree is a

compilation of Ps 57:8-12 (Ps 108:2-6) and Ps 60:7-14 (Ps 108:7-

14)--stands as an important psalm in its own right, and should

be treated as such.65 Psalm 108, moreover, fits appropriately


            63To a lesser degree, Psalm 107 makes all 3 of these

thematic interconnections with Psalm 115.

            64Dahood's view of the origins of Psalm 108 runs contrary

to the generally accepted position of most scholars. In

reference to Psalm 108, Dahood writes: "This psalm was probably

compiled for liturgical purposes from ancient religious poems

that are also used in Pss lvii 8-11 and lx 7-14. To describe

the psalm as a compilation from the two other psalms . . . goes

beyond the available evidence." Dahood, Psalms III (101-150),


            65Unfortunately, many commentators do not recognize the

uniqueness of this "compiled" psalm in its context and say

little or nothing about it in their commentaries other than to

refer the reader back to their descriptions regarding Psalms 57

and 60. For example, see Charles Augustus Briggs and Emilie

Grace Brigg , A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book 

of Psalms (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1907; reprint, 1960), 364;


and meaningfully into the Psalms 107-118 corpus, making an

significant contribution to structure and flow of this


            Following immediately after a psalm that both openly

demonstrate, God's ability to deliver those who call upon Him

and urges people to contemplate those works as well as God's

lovingkindness, Psalm 108 begins (vv. 2-7)67 with a declaration

of praise to God, a proclamation that God's lovingkindness is

great, and plea to the LORD for a mighty deliverance. The psalm

continues (Vv. 8-10) with God responding by declaring His

intention to defeat and rule over the nations. Psalm 108 then

concludes (vv 11-14) with a renewed cry to God for help and

with an expression of confidence that God, in fact, will bring

victory over the adversaries of His people.

            Psalm 108 is the first of 3 sequential psalms (including

Psalms 109 and 110) that are linked into a sub-unit of the


Hans Schmidi, Die Psalmen (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul

Siebeck], 1934), 199. Even Kraus, who writes very briefly

regarding Psalm 108, comments that "[i]t is difficult to

understand that the significance is of the combination in Psalm

108 of two completely different pieces." Hans-Joachim Kraus,

Psalms 60-150: A Commentary, trans. Hilton C. Oswald

(Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1989), 333.

            66See   108--A Retrospective," below.

            67 Psalm 108:1 is a superscription that indicates that this

psalm is "A Song, a Psalm of David" (rvdl rvmzm ryw).


corpus by presence of superscriptions identifying each as

being Davidic in origin.


                                Psalms 108 and 109

The lexical Interconnections

            The lexical linkages between Psalms 108 and 109 appear, as


            Key-Lexeme Links

                        rvmzm (108:1--109:1)--psalm

                        rvd (108:1--109:1)--David

                        Myhlx (108:2, 6, 8, 12[2x], 14--109:1, 26)--God

            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hdy (108:4--109:30)--give thanks, thanksgiving

                        hvhy (108:4--109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30)--LORD

                        dsH (108:5--109:12, 16, 21, 26)--lovingkindness

                        fwy (108:7, 13--109:26, 31)--save, deliver

                        Nymy (108:7--109:6, 31)--right hand"

                        rzf (108:13--109:26)—help

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        bl (108:2--109:22)--heart

                        lk (108:6--109:11)--all

                        Crx (108:6--109:15)--earth, land

                        rbd (108:8--109:2, 3, 20)--word, speak

                        wxr (108:9--109:25)--head


            68There are 42 examples of Nymy in the Psalter--17 of

which occur in Book V and 8 of which appear in the Psalms 107-

118 corpus. Of the 8 incidences located in Psalms 107-118, 5

occur in the 3 Davidic psalms of the corpus (Pss 108:6; 109:6,

31; 110:1, 5). The remaining 3 occur in Psalm 118 (vv. 15,



                        xcy (108:12--109:7)--go forth

                        hWf (108:14--109:16, 21, 27)--work, do, make

            These 16 matching lexemes represent 24% (16 of 67) of the

lexemes of Psalm 108 and 13% (16 of 126) of those found in Psalm


            The first 2 key-lexeme links (rvmzm--psalm and dvd--David)

which are located in the superscriptions of the 2 psalms69

reveal a logical and perhaps intentional linkage between the 2

psalms. Prior to the presence to these 2 psalms in the Psalter,

David is identified as the author of a given psalm on 58

occasions, 55 of which occur in Books I and II. Moreover, in

Books III and IV, there are only 3 psalms identified as Davidic

in origin (Psalms 86, 101, and 103). Thus the psalms currently

under analysis (i.e., Psalms 108 and 109) are the first dyad of

Davidic psalms since Psalms 69-70.70 The next grouping of

Davidic psalms outside of the corpus under study occurs in

Psalms 138- 45.71


            69The order of the 2 terms is reversed in the 2

superscriptions. The order in Ps 108:1 is dvdl rvmzm, whereas

in Ps 109:1 it is rvmzm dvdl.

            70The significance of the Davidic interconnection in

Psalm 108 and 109 is strengthened by the fact that the next

psalm in sequential order, i.e., Psalm 110, is also a Davidic


            71In addition to Psalms 108-110 and 138-145, 4 other

psalms within Book V of the Psalter are identified by their


            The third key-lexeme link--the Myhlx (God) lexeme family--

occurs with a high degree of frequency throughout the Hebrew

Scriptures and 445 times within the Psalter. The term, however,

appears on only 43 occasions within Book V of the Psalter,

whereas 124 instances would be anticipated for a grouping of

psalms the size of Book V.72 Of the number of actual

occurrences of the word Myhlx in Book V (43), nearly 19% (8)

occur in the 45 verses of Psalms 108-109. This is the largest

grouping of the term Myhlx for any 2 consecutive psalms within

Book V of Psalter.

            The interconnecting thematic lexemes align themselves among

3 related categories: (1) the greatness of the LORD (hvhy)--His

lovingkindness (dsH) is great, good, and a basis on which an

individual can be saved; (2) the work of the LORD--His strong

right hand (Nymy) is able to deliver (fwy) those who seek His

help (rzf); and (3) the public declaration of thanksgiving to

the LORD—the thanks (hdy) offered to God will be both verbal

and boldly claimed in the midst of many people.


superscriptions as being Davidic in origin: Psalms 122, 124,

131, and 133.

            72Based on a verse-count analysis, the Psalter has 2527

verses of which 704 (27.9%) are found in Book V and 200 (7.9%)

in the Psalms 107-118 corpus.


Thematic Interconnections  

            Both Psalms 108 and 109 present a strong entreaty to God to

rescue His people from their adversaries (Ps 108:7: fwy--save,

hnf--answer hrzf bhy--give help; Ps 109:21, 26: lcn--deliver,

rzf--help, fwy--save).73

            The adversary motif, moreover, links the 2 psalms together.

Psalm 108 (v. 12) concludes with a declaration of confidence

that God will overcome the adversaries of His people; Psalm 109

(vv. 2-5) begins with a description of who those adversaries are

and what they (one adversary in particular has) have done to

deserve God’s wrath.

            The 2 psalms also execute number shifts from plural to

singular and back again to plural to present the adversarial

motif--whether those enemies are viewed primarily in conjunction

with God or with God's people. Psalm 108 begins its discussion

of the adversary by listing a group of nations which God

overcomes (vv. 8-10). The psalm continues by recording a plea

to God for help for His people against the rc (adversary--

singular--v. 13); the psalm then concludes by declaring that God

will strike down the the Myrc (adversaries--plural--v. 14) of


            73Brennan points out that "[v]erses 22 and 31 make it

clear that it is still the same ‘poor and needy' post-exilic

community [as in Psalm 108] which prays this lament [i.e., Psalm

109], although now their heart is no longer 'steadfast' (as in

108,2), but 'pierced' and broken (109,22)." Brennan, "Some

Hidden Harmonies in the Fifth Book of Psalms," 130.



His people. Likewise, Psalm 109 begins by recording a

multiplicity of enemies (vv. 2-5), shifts thereafter to an

extended passage about an individual foe (vv. 6-19), and then

concludes by referencing a plurality of adversaries (vv. 20, 25,

27-29, 31).

            In addition, both psalms reveal the intent to give full

praise to God (Pss 108:1-6; 109:30) in a public setting (Ps

108:3--among the peoples and among the nations; Ps 109:30--in

the midst of many).74

            Furthermore, the 2 psalms have a propensity to utilize

terminology related to vocal declaration: Ps 108:2--ryw (sing),

rmz (sing paises); Ps 108:4--hdy (give thanks, thanksgiving),

rmz (sing praises); Ps 108:7--Nnf (answer); Ps 108:8--rbd

(spoken); Ps 108:10--fvr (shout aloud); Ps 109:1--wdH lx (do

not be silent); Ps 109:2--Htp... yp (have opened the mouth), rbd


            74Some commentators interpret ytlht yhlx (God of my

praise) in Ps 109:1 to indicate that God is the object (not the

subject) of the praise. If this view is correct, then both

Psalms 108 and 109 begin with a statement that expresses a

reverence toward Myhlx (God). In light of the second half of Ps

109:1 (wrHt-lx--do not be silent) and the context of the entire

psalm (the speaker in this psalm is under attack and in need of

a defender of his cause), however, this interpretation does not

appear to be as strong as the position which understands the

speaker in the psalm to be the one who is honored by God. John

Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. 4 [Psalms xciii.-

cxix.], trans. James Anderson [Psalms c., ci., cvi.-cxix., 61st

verse, of this volume, trans. John Hunter] (Edinburgh: The

Calvin Translation Society, 1847), 269-70; Delitzsch, Biblical

Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 3, 176; Kraus, Psalms 60-150: A

Commentary, 339; Hengstenberg, Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 3,



(spoken), Nvwl (with a tongue); Ps 109:3--tbd (with words); Ps

109:4--NFW (accusers); Ps 109:4--hlpt (prayer); Ps 109:6--NFW

(accuser); Ps 109:17--hllq (cursing), hkrb (blessing); Ps

109:18--hllq (cursing); Ps 109:20—NFW (accusers); Ps 109:20--

Myrbdh (those who speak); Ps 109:25--hprH (reproach); Ps

109:28--llq (curse), jrb (bless); Ps 109:29--NFW (accusers);

and Ps 109:30—hdy (give thanks, thanksgiving), ypb (with my

mouth), and llh (praise).


                              Psalms 108 and 110

Lexical Interconnections

            The lexical linkages between Psalms 108 and 110 appear, as

is indicated below:

            Key-Lexeme Links

                        rvmzm (108:1--110:1)--psalm

                        dvd (108:1--110:1)--David

            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        Nymy (108:7--110:1, 5)--right hand75

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Mf (108:4--110:3)--people

                        hvhy (108:4--110:1, 2, 4)--LORD

                        Mvr (108:6--110:7)--exalt, lift up

                        Crx (108:6--110:6)--earth, land


            75Note that Nymy (right hand) functions as a lexical link

to tie together Psalms 108-110, the 3 Davidic psalms of the

Psalms 107-118 corpus.



                        wdq (108:8--110:3)--holy, holiness, sanctuary

                        wxr (108:9--110:6, 7)--head

                        lyH (108:14--110:3)--power, valiantly

Although there are few lexical interconnections between Psalms

108 and 110, those that do exist equal 15% (10 of 67) of the

lexical families of Psalm 108 and slightly more than 1 out of

every 5 of the lexemes of Psalm 110 (21%, i.e., 10 of 47).

            The 2 key-lexical linkages occur in the superscriptions of

both psalms. Those interconnections identify the 2 psalms as

being Davidic in origin.76 These 2 psalms thus surround Psalm

109 to form a 3-psalm sub-unit of the larger corpus.

            The primary thematic-lexical interconnection between Psalms

108 and 110 is the term Nymy (right hand). This term is used to

suggest the power of the LORD as that power is exercised against

the enemies of God.


Thematic Interconnections

            A primary theme which both Psalms 108 and 110 hold jointly

is that of defeat of the enemies of God. Psalm 108 records

God declaration of His intent to secure victory over those

nations who surround Israel (vv. 7-9). The psalm then echoes

that thought by affirming that God truly will destroy the

adversaries of His people (v. 13) and that, as a consequence,


            76 The order of presentation of the duplicated terms,

however, is reversed with Ps 108:1 reading rvdl rvmzm and Ps

110:1 reading rvmzm rvdl. Psalm 110 completes the trilogy of

Davidic psalms that encompasses Psalms 108, 109, and 110.


His praises will be sung amid the nations (presumably, among

those whom God has defeated--v. 3). Likewise, throughout Psalm

110, God is seen to secure victory over enemies (vv. 1-2), kings

(v. 5), nations (v. 6), and a broad country (v. 6). Both

psalms, moreover, exude a confidence that God's victory over His

enemies is sure; the possibility of defeat is nowhere even


            In addition, within both psalms, God Himself is seen to

speak, and speech that He gives relates to His commitment to

exercise control over His adversaries (Pss 108:8-10; 110:1-3).

These are the only 2 psalms within Book V77 of the Psalter that

make reference to God speaking or to a speech given by Him.


                              Psalms 108 and 111

Lexical Interconnections

            There are relatively few lexical connections between Psalms

108 and 111. Those that exist are listed below:

            Key-Lexeme Links



            77Base on a cross-matching of the following terms--rmx

(say); rdb (speak); Mxn (declare); hnf (answer); hvhy (LORD); hy

(LORD) Nvdx (Lord); Myhlx (God); lx (God); and ynx (I--when used

in reference to God)--Psalms 108 and 110 are, in fact, the only

2 psalms in the Psalter after Psalm 85:9 that make even a

general reference to God speaking.


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hdy (108:4--111:1)--give thanks, thanksgiving

                        hvhy (108:4-111:1[2x], 2, 4, 10)--LoRD

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Mf (108:4--111:6, 9)--people

                        lvdg (108:5--111:2)--great

                        tmx (108:5--111:7, 8)--truth

                        lk (108:6--111:1, 2, 7, 10)--all

                        hWf (108:14--111:2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10)--work, do, make

The 7 lexemes of Psalm 108 (i.e., 10% of the 67 lexemes of the

psalm) that are replicated in Psalm 111 represent 15% (7 of 48)

of the lexemes of that latter psalm.

            None of the lexemes mutually held by Psalms 108 and 111 are

sufficiently unique to be called key-lexeme interconnections.

            By means of thematic-lexeme replication, both psalms (in

Pss 108:4; 111:1) express a wholehearted determination for

thanks (hdy) to be offered to the LORD in a public arena. In

Psalm 108, that thanks is to take place among the peoples

(Mymfb); in Psalm 111, among the upright (Mywry rvsb) and in the

assembly (hdf).

            Furthermore, through the mutual use of the term hvhy

(LORD), the LORD is pictured as the central figure of the both

psalms. The term hvhy, moreover, occurs--solely in Psalm 108

and frequently in Psalm 111--in the context of a discussion of

the attributes of the LORD.


Thematic Interconnections

            A mutually held theme of both Psalms 108 and 111 is that of

the surpassing excellence of God which is a source of

wonderment. Psalm 108 depicts an awe of God's lovingkindness,

of His truth, of God Himself, and of His glory--all of which

cannot be contained by this earth (Ps 108:4-5). Psalm 111,

likewise, portrays an amazement with God in relation to time--

past (Ps 111:9), present or non-temporal (Ps 111:2; cf. Ps

108:5), and future (Ps 111:3-4, 8; cf. Ps 108:4). God's works

are great, delightful to behold, and beautiful (Ps 111:2-3); His

very essence, furthermore, is holy and awesome (Ps 111:9).


                           Psalms 108 and 112

Lexical Interconnections

            The fo1lowing list identifies those lexemes that Psalms 108

and 112 hold in common:

            Key-lexeme Links

                        Nvk (108:2--112:7)--steadfast, establish

                        bl (108:2--112:7, 8)--heart

            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        rrc (108:13,14--112:8)--adversary, distress

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        dvbk (108:2,6--112:9)--glory

                        hvhy (108:4--112:1[2x], 7)--LORD

                        Mvr (108:6--112:9)--exalt, lift up


                        Crx (108:6--112:2)--earth, land

                        rbd (108:8--112:5)--word, speak

There are a total of 8 interconnecting lexemes between the 2

psalms under study. Those 8 lexemes comprise 12% (8 of 67) of

the lexemes of Psalm 108 and 15% (8 of 55) of the lexeme groups

of Psalm 112.

            The speaker in Psalm 108 is presented as being a righteous

individual. As such, and by using the 2 key lexical terms noted

above, he delares: ybl Nvkn (my heart is steadfast--v. 2).

According to the context of the psalm, his steadfastness is a

result of his confidence in the LORD. In a similar manner, the

speaker in Psalm 112 utilizes the key-lexical links between the

2 psalms to indicate that the individual who fears the LORD

(i.e., the righteous person) is an individual who possesses a

heart that is steadfast (vbl Nvkn) due to his relationship to the


            The 1 thematic-lexical interconnection between Psalms 108

and 112 is the rrc (adversary, distress) lexical family. This

term appears in Ps 108:12, 13 to reveal that the adversaries of


            78The clause bl Nvk (heart is steadfast--or--to establish

a heart) appears only 8 times in the entirety of the Hebrew

Scriptures: Pss 10:17; 57:8(2x); 78:8; 108:2; 112:7; Job 11:13;

2 Chr 12:14. The rarity of the clause, the close proximity in

which the clause appears within these 2 psalms (i.e., Psalms 108

and 112), and the similarity of semantic usage of the clause by

which it is used to describe the internal condition of the

righteous individual makes this clause an important linkage

between Psalms 108 and 112.


God's people are dangerous but, despite that fact, God tramples

down those foes in order to give success to His people. In Ps

112:8, the individual who serves God is able to look down with

confidence in a powerless rc (adversary)--powerless in the

presence of the one who trusts in the LORD.


Thematic Interconnections

            The person who is rightly related to God finds a sense of

security in the midst of present and future troubles. Psalm 108

describes such an individual as having a steadfast heart (v. 2)

and being successful (v. 14). Similarly, Psalm 112 declares

that the righteous individual will never be shaken (v. 6), will

not be afraid of difficult times (vv. 7-8), has a steadfast

heart (v. 7), and has a heart which is upheld (v. 8).

            The 2 psalms, moreover, present the enemies of God or of

His people as being both singular and plural in number. Psalm

108 identifies as adversaries, first of all, a group of nations

(vv. 8-10). The psalm next puts the spotlight on an individual

enemy (v. 13) and then concludes by showing that God will defeat

the adversaries (plural) of His people (v. 14). In a similar

fashion, Psalm 112 introduces the theme of the adversary by a

reference to a group of people (v. 8). The psalm continues its

discussion in v. 10a-b by highlighting a singular foe (fwr—the

wicked--followed by 3 singular verbs) and then finishes its


treatment of the subject by reverting to a plural form (Myfwr--

the wicked ones) in v. 10c.


                            Psalms 108 and 113

Lexical Interconnections

            Despite the fact that there are no key-lexeme

interconnections between Psalms 108 and 113, there are both

thematic-lexeme links and incidental-lexeme links, as seen


            Key-Lexeme Links

                        dvbk (108:2,6--113:4)--glory

                        Myhlx (108:2, 6, 8, 12[2x], 14--113:5)--God

                        hvhy (108:4--113:1[3x], 2, 3, 4, 5, 9)--LORD

                        Mymw (108 : 5, 6--113 : 4, 6) --heavens

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Mf (108:4--113:8)--people

                        Mvr (108:6--113:4, 7)--exalt, lift up

                        lk (108:6--113:4)--all

                        Crx (108:6--113:6)--earth, land

The 8 lexemes of Psalm 108 that are also identified as occurring

in Psalm 11 total 12% (8 of 67) of the lexemes of Psalm 108 and

23% (8 of 3 ) of the major lexeme families of Psalm 113

            The thematic-lexemes tie the 2 psalms together in relation

to the them of God's greatness--He Himself is superior to His


creation; His glory also is far more important than any element

of that creation (i.e., it is above the earth [108:6] and the

heavens [113:4]).


Thematic Interconnections

            Psalm 108:2-7 parallel in thought much of Psalm 113. Both

psalms declare that God is worthy of praise. His greatness

reaches beyond the creation (Ps 108:5-6--heavens, skies,

heavens, earth; Ps 113:4-6--heavens, on high, heaven, earth).

In both psalms, moreover, the praise that is to be offered to

God is to be lifted up early in the morning (Ps 108:3--at dawn;

Ps 113:3--at the rising of the sun).

            In addition, both psalms conclude their respective praise

sections by statements concerning God's relationship to those in

need. Psalm 108:7 notes that an individual--God's beloved--is

the one who is in need--in need of deliverance (from his

adversaries) by the hand of God. Psalm 113:7-9, however,

presents groups of individuals as being those who require God's

help. Those groups are the poor, the needy, and the barren

woman--people whose needs God more than sufficiently meets.


                                    Psalms 108 and 114

Lexical Interconnections

            As is the case with the relationship of many of the psalms

in the Psalms 107-118 corpus to Psalm 114,79 there are


            79See the section titled "Psalm 114--A Retrospective,"



relatively few lexical ties between Psalms 108 and 114.

Analysis of the 2 psalms uncovers the following 5 mutually

utilized lexemes:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (108:2, 6, 8, 12[2x], 14--114:7)--God

                        Crx (108:6--114:7)--earth, land

                        hdvhy (108:9--114:2)—Judah

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Mf (108:4--114:1)--people

                        wdq (108:8--114:2)--holy, holiness, sanctuary

                        xcy (108:12--114:1)--go forth

These 6 lexemes represent 9% (6 of 67) of the lexeme families of

 Psalm 108 and 18% (6 of 34) of those of Psalm 114.

            There no key-lexeme interconnections between Psalms 108

and 114.

            The 3 thematic-lexeme links (Myhlx--God; Crx--earth, land;

hdvhy--Judah) between the 2 psalms under consideration are used

in the development of themes related to God's dominance over the

creation and to His relationship to His people.


Thematic Interconnections

            Psalms 108 and 114 coincide thematically in 2 significant

arenas. First, both psalms acknowledge God's control over the

nations and over His chosen people (Pss 108:7-9; 114:1-2).

Second, the 2 psalms denote that God secures victory for His

people--a victory which His people were incapable of effecting

on their own and a victory which required supernatural

intervention to ensure its reality (Pss 108:12-13; 114:1-8).


                               Psalms 108 and 115

Lexical Interconnections

            As the following displays, although there are no key-lexeme

links between Psalms 108 and 115, there are a number of strong

thematic-lexeme interconnections between the 2 psalms:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (108:2, 6, 8, 12[2x], 14--115:2, 3)--God

                        hvhy (108:4--115:1, 9, 10, 11[2x], 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,


                        Mymw (108:5,6--115:3, 15, 16[2x])--heavens

                        Crx (108:6--115:15, 16)--earth, land

                        rzf (108:13--115:9, 10, 11)--help

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        dvbk (108:2,6--115:1)--glory

                        lvdg (108:5--115:13)--great

                        dsH (108:5--115:1)--lovingkindness


                        tmx (108:5--115:1)--truth

                        lk (108:6--115:3, 8, 17)--all

                        rbd (108:8--115:5)--word, speak

                        Mdx (108:13--115:4, 16)--man

                        hWf (108:14--115:3, 4, 8, 15)--work, do, make

The 13 lexemes identified above comprise 19% (13 of 67) of the

lexemes of Psalm 108. They also reflect 25% (13 of 52) of the

lexeme families of Psalm 115.

            The thematic-linking terms identify God (Myhlx) the LORD

(hvhy) as being the one who is capable of controlling the

affairs of humanity. Those interconnecting words, moreover,

recognize Him as being superior to the greatest elements of the

creation, i.e., the heavens (=Mymw) and the earth (Crx).

Furthermore, His help (rzf) is needed by man and is far superior

to that which is offered by man.


Thematic Interconnections

            The primary themes projected by Psalms 108 and 115 are

similar to each other in 2 important ways. (1) Both psalms

evidence a concern for God to receive the honor that is due to

Him--thanks, praise, and glory belong to God (Pss 108:2-5;

115:1, 18). (2) Both psalms also acknowledge the inadequacy of

the work of man to control his own ends. Deliverance that comes

by the hands of man is useless (Ps 108:12). So too the so-

called gods which are created by man are useless (Ps 115:4-7).


The true God of Israel alone is the one who is able to bring

about the success or victory desired by His people.


                               Psalms 108 and 116

Lexical Interconnections

            The lexeme families of Psalms 108 and 116 exhibit linkages

 to each other on 11 occasions with 6 of those incidences being

at the level of thematic interconnection, as the following

listing reveals:

            Key-Lexeme Links:


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (108:2, 6, 8, 12[2x], 14--116:5)--God

                        hdy (108:4--116:17)--give thanks, thanksgiving

                        Mf (108:4--116:14, 18)--people

                        hvhy (108:4--116:1, 4[2x], 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18,


                        ClH (108:7--116:8)—rescue80

                        fwy (108:7, 13--116:6, 13)--save, deliver

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        lk (108:6--116:11, 12, 14, 18)--all

                        Crx (108:6--116:9)--earth, land

                        rbd (108:8--116:10)--word, speak

                        rrc (108:13,14--116:3[2x])--adversary, distress

                        Mdx (108:13--116:11)--man


            80These 2 references are the only examples of the use of

ClH (rescue) in the Psalms 107-118 corpus. There are only 4

cases of the term found in Book V, 12 in the Psalter, and 49 in

the Hebrew Scriptures.


The 11 lexemes identified above represent approximately 16% of

the lexemes of each of the psalms under consideration--11 of 67

for Psalm 108 and 11 of 68 for Psalm 116.

            None of the interconnecting lexemes in Psalms 108 and 111

is deemed be a key-lexeme link between those 2 psalms.

            The 6 thematic-lexical interconnections between the 2

psalms draw attention to 2 different but interrelated themes.

The first concerns the desire that God would be honored in the

public forum either by the rendering of thanks (hdy) to the LORD

(hvhy) among the peoples (Mf--Ps 108:4) or by the paying of vows

to the LORD (hvhy) in the presence of all His people (Mf--Ps

116:14, 18)    The second lexically-identified theme of the 2

psalms centers around the realization that God (Myhlx)--the LORD

(hvhy)--is capable of rescuing (ClH) or delivering (fwy) His

people who are in distress (Pss 108:7, 13; 116:6, 8, 13).


Thematic Interconnections

            In both Psalms 108 and 116 the thematic interconnections

supplement thematic-lexical links just made. The public

nature of declaration of honor to God occurs not only in

relation to Mf (the people--Ps 108:4; His people--Ps 116:14, 18)

but also among the nations (Mymx-lb--Ps 108:4), in the courts of


the house of the LORD (hvhy tyb tvrcHb--Ps 116:19), and in the

midst of Jerusalem (Mlwvry ykkvtb--Ps 116:19).

            The public honoring of God, moreover, includes many related

elements. In Psalm 108 it involves singing (v. 2--hrywx),

singing praises (vv. 2, 4--hrmzx), awaking harp and lyre (v. 3--

rvnkv lbnh hrvf), awaking the dawn (v. 3—rHw hryfx), giving

thanks (v. 4—hvhy... jrvx), and exalting God (v. 6--

Myhlx... hmvr).  In Psalm 116 the honoring of God encompasses the

lifting up of the cup of salvation (v. 13—xWx tvfvwy-svk), the

calling upon the name of the LORD (vv. 13, 17—xrqx hvhy Mwb),

the paying of vows (vv. 14, 18—yrdn Mlwx hvhyl), and the

offering of a sacrifice of thanksgiving (v. 17—hdvt Hbz Hbzx).


                               Psalms 108 and 117

Lexical Interconnections

            Psalms 108 and 117 share 4 lexemes in common with each

other. The following listing identifies 3 of those mutually

held lexemes as exhibiting commonality on the thematic level

with the remaining lexeme functioning across the 2 psalms only

as an incidental connector:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hvhy (108:4-117:1, 2[2x])--LORD

                        dsH (108:5--117:2)--lovingkindness

                        tmx (108:5--117:2)--truth

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        lk (108:6--117:1[2x])--all

These 4 lexemes add up to only 6% (4 of 67) of the total number

of lexical groups of Psalm 108. Those lexemes, however,

represent 40% (4 of 10) of the lexemes of Psalm 117.

            There are no key-lexeme links between these 2 psalms.

            The thematic-lexeme links between Psalms 108 and 117

highlight the fact that the LORD (hvhy) is the one who is to be

honored (thanked in 108:4; praised and lauded in 117:1). That

worship, moreover, is due to Him (Pss 108:5; 117:2) because of

His lovingkindness (dsH) and His truth (tmx).


Thematic Interconnections

            The primary thematic interconnection between the 2 psalms

is that of the international scope of the praise that is to be

offered by God.  Psalm 108:4 records an intent to give thanks to

the LORD among the peoples (hvhy Mymfb jdvx) and to sing His

praises among the nations (Mymx-lb jrmzx) . In addition, Psalm

117:1 declares that the nations themselves are to praise the

LORD (Myvg-lk hvhy-tx vllh) and that all peoples are to extol Him

(Mymxh-lk vhvHbw).


                             Psalms 108 and 118

Lexical Interconnections

            There are strong thematic-lexeme ties between Psalms 108

and the final psalm of the Psalms 107-118 corpus as the

following presentation of key-lexeme links, thematic-lexeme

links, and incidental-lexeme links indicates:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (108:2, 6, 8, 12[2x], 14--118:27, 28[2x])--God

                        hdy (108:4--118:1, 19, 21, 28, 29)--give thanks,


                        hvhy (108:4-118:1, 4, 5[2x], 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15,

                             16[2x], 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25[2x], 26[2x], 27, 29)--LORD

                        dsH (108:5--118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29)--lovingkindness

                        Mvr  (108:6--118:16, 28)--exalt, lift up

                        fwy (108:7,13--118:14, 15, 21, 25)--save, deliver

                        Nymy (108:7--118:15, 16[2x])--right hand

                        hnf (108:7--118:5, 21)--answer

                        rzf (108:13--118:7, 13)--help

                        Mdx (108:13--118:6, 8)--man

                        hWf (108:14--118:6, 15, 16, 17, 24)--work, do, make

                        lyH (108:14--118:15, 16)--power, valiantly

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        lk (108:6--118:10)--all

                        wxr (108:9--118:22)--head

                        rrc (108:13, 14--118:5)--adversary, distress


The 12 thematic-lexeme links together with the 3 incidental-

thematic links are responsible for 22% (15 of 67) of the lexical

groups of Psalms 108 and 21% (15 of 72) of those of Psalms 118.

            The lack of key-lexeme linkages between Psalms 108 and 118

does not impact negatively the interrelationship between the 2

psalms since there are 12 vital thematic-lexeme interconnections

that unite the psalms.

            Those thematic-lexeme linkages point to several themes held

in common by Psalms 108 and 118. The focus of both psalms is

God (Myhlx) the LORD (hvhy). He is the one to whom thanks (hdy)

are to be offered, in particular for His surpassing

lovingkindness (dsH). He is also deserving of exaltation

(Mvr). He is, moreover, a God of power (Nymy--right hand, lyH--

power, valiantly) who does (hWf) what He sets out to do, in

particular, the deliverance (fwy) of His people. The LORD

answers (hnf) His people's cry from the midst of their

situations of distress--His help (rzf) being far more effective

than any that man (Mdx) can offer.


Thematic Interconnections

            Numerous themes interwoven throughout both Psalms 108 and

118 are held in common by the 2 psalms. (1) God is to be the

object of exultation and praise (Pss 108:2-4; 118:1-4, 19, 21,

28-29). (2) Righteous individuals project a joyful relationship

to the LORD, recognizing their knowledge or relationship to God


to be a reason for singing (Pss 108:2; 118:14-15). (3) The

defeat of the nations is accomplished through the LORD (Pss

108:8-10; 118:10-12). (4) Dependence on God is far better than

dependence upon man (Pss 108:13; 118:8-9). (5) When God is

defending the cause of His people, they have full confidence of

success (Ps 108:14; 118:6).

            An additional connection between the 2 psalms arises from

the use of singular and plural descriptions of the enemy. In

Psalm 108, the identification of the adversary begins with a

list of nations (vv. 8-10), followed by the notation of a single

foe (v. 13), and concluded by a reference to a group of enemies

(v. 14). Psalm 118 varies this pattern slightly. The psalm

begins with word Mdx (man--v. 6) which, although it is in

the singular form, references a plural concept and might

logically be translated "men." Psalm 118 then utilizes plural

forms--nouns, verbs, and suffixed pronouns--in vv. 7, 10-12.

Next, the psalm alternates back to the singular form in v. 13 by

means of a singular verb (hHd81--push). Finally, the psalm

shifts once again to the plural form (utilizing metaphoric

language) in v. 22.


            81The LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate understand this verb to be

a first person singular passive form. That emendation does not

appear to be necessary in light of the fact that various psalms

exhibit a comfort in shifting back and forth between plural and

singular forms to describe the enemies of God and of His people

(cf. Psalms 108, 109, 112).


                         Psalm 108--A Retrospective82

Location within the Psalms 107-118 Corpus

            Psalm 108 is the first of 3 sequential Davidic psalms

(Psalms 108-110) which are linked together by means of their

superscriptions. All 3 psalms are designated rvmzm (a psalm)

and all 3 are identified as being Davidic (dvd) in origin.

Furthermore, Psalm 108 relates to these 2 other psalms (and to

Psalm 118) by means of various references to Nymy (right hand), a

term that is found nowhere else within the Psalter in such a

concentrate frequency across 3 sequential psalms.

            Whereas Psalm 107 sets forth the distress that God's people

face in generic is terms (i.e., without a specific reference to

human enemies), Psalm 108 begins a trilogy of psalms that

identify certain nations, an individual, or groups of

individuals as being the enemies of God's people or of God (Pss

108:8-10; 109:2-29; 110:5-6).83

            The contents of Psalm 108 flow naturally after those of

Psalm 107. Psalm 108:2-7 not only respond to the concluding


            82This retrospective compares Psalm 108 not only to the

subsequent 10 psalms of the Psalms 107-118 corpus but also to

the preceding psalm, i.e., Psalm 107.

            83Psalm 111 reverts back to a generic reference to the

enemy of God's people and, in fact, only makes an indirect

reference to the nations as being the problem faced by God's

people (v. 6).


remarks of psalm 107 but also parallel the 4 cries-for-

deliverance refrains (vv. 6, 13, 19, 28) and the 4 call-to-

thanks refrains (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31) of that psalm.

            First, as noted in "Psalm 107--A Retrospective" above, the

final 2 verses of Psalm 107 (vv. 42-43) indicate that God's

people rejoice at the work of the LORD whereas the ungodly are

struck dumb and that person who desires to be wise needs to

contemplate God's lovingkindness. Psalm 108:2-6 present a

picture of righteous individual declaring his intention to

praise God and then actually offering that praise to God.

Furthermore, these verses (in particular, vv. 2-4) delineate

what the joy of the righteous person looks like--singing,

singing praises, playing musical instruments, giving thanks, and

praising God. Psalm 108:5, moreover, highlights God's great

lovingkindness as a reason why He is worthy of praise.

            Second, there is perhaps a subtle interconnection that may

be made between Pss 107:41 and 108:2. The former verse states

that God sets the needy person securely on high (bgw). The

latter verse declares that the beloved of God himself is

securely established, his heart is steadfast (Nvk). Whether

these 2 verses are meant to complement one another in this way

is difficult at best to determine. The 2 main lexemes do not

appear elsewhere in combination as a word pair, and only rarely

within the same chapter of the text of the Hebrew Scriptures


(cf. Isa 2:2, 11, 17; 9:7, 11; 30:13, 33; Pss 59:1, 4; 107:36,

41; Prov 29:14, 25).

            Third, Psalm 108, in reverse order to that which exists

between the need-for-help refrains and the thanksgiving refrains

of Ps 107 (vv. 6, 8, 13, 15, 19, 21, 28, 31), expresses

gratitude to God (Ps 108:2-6) and then pleads for God's

deliverance (Ps 108:7).84

            The concluding 2 verses of Psalm 108 link together

thematically with the initial verses of Psalm 109; they also

become a springboard for most of the contents of Psalm 109. In

Ps 108:13, God's help is sought against the adversary

(adversaries in v. 14) of His people. Psalm 109:2-5 then

describes what the adversaries have done. The psalm continues

by detailing what the servant of God hopes that God would do to

one particular adversary in order to punish that individual's

wrongdoings (vv. 6-20) and then what the servant of God desires

God to do his accusers as a group (vv. 26-29). The conclusion

of Psalm 108 and the beginning of Psalm 109, moreover, express a


            84The order may be reversed between the 2 psalms to

emphasize the difference between the way people who are not

fully serving God respond to a desperate situation and the way a

righteous person does. Whether all 4 situations of Psalm 107

refer to non-righteous people, however, is debatable. Definite

statements are made to characterize the second and third groups

(vv. 10-16 and 17-22, respectively) as being rebellious (vv. 11,

17). Yet nothing is specifically stated regarding as to whether

or not the first and fourth groups (vv. 4-9 and 23-32,

respectively ) are also ungodly. Neither of these last 2 groups,

however, is declared to be righteous.


realization that God's intervention is needed on behalf of God's

servant who appears unable by himself to thwart the efforts of

his oppressor(s).

            Of the 67 lexemes of Psalm 108, 32 (48%) are replicated

elsewhere in the Psalms 107-118 corpus. There are, therefore,

25 (52%) lexemes that are hapax legomena for the corpus.85

            The following psalms have a greater frequency of lexical

interconnection to Psalm 118 than do the remaining psalms of the

Psalms 107-118 corpus: Psalms 107 (20), 109 (16), 118 (15), 115

(13), 116 (11), and 110 (10). The strongest numerical ties that

Psalm 108 has with any of the other 11 psalms is with its 2

neighbor psalms, i.e., Psalms 107 and 109. When the numerical

data are transformed into percentage data (i.e., percentage of

the total number of lexeme families of a given psalm), however,

the order changes significantly: Psalms 117 (40%), 115 (25%),

113 (23%), 10 (21%), and 118 (21%). Based on a percentage

analysis, Psalms 107 and 109 which have the greatest frequency

of lexical interconnections with Psalm 108 have, in fact, the

lowest percentage of lexical linkage with that psalm--just under

13% each.


            85There are no lexical families that are hapax legomena

for either the Psalter or the Hebrew Scriptures.


            Within Psalm 108, there are 10 lexeme families that also

occur in 5 or more other psalms in the Psalms 107-118 corpus:

Myhlx (God), hdy (give thanks, thanksgiving), Mf (people), hvhy

(LORD), dsH  (lovingkindness), Mvr (exalt, lift up), lk (all),

Crx (earth, land), rbd (speak), and hWf (work, do, make).

These terms in general convey the idea that the LORD God is

committed to the well being of His people and that they, as a

consequence, are to glorify Him with the words of their mouths.

            Perhaps even more important that the list of lexemes just

presented is the delineation of those terms that function as

either key-lexeme links or thematic-lexeme links between Psalm

108 and a minimum of 3 other psalms in the corpus. That group

of 7 terms is as follows: hdy (give thanks, thanksgiving), hvhy

(LORD), dsH (lovingkindness), Myhlx (God), rzf (help), fwy

(save, deliver), and Nymy (right hand). An analysis of these

terms reveals that they are used primarily to depict God as

being the one who cares about His people so much so that He

protects and rescues them from their trouble, offering them help

that is unmatched by any other source.


Thematic Interconnections

            The most significant lexical and thematic interconnection

that Psalm 108 makes with the other psalms in the Psalms 107-118

corpus relates to the nature and work of God. Together with

various of the other psalms of the corpus, Psalm 108 proclaims


that LORD is wonderful in His ways and far greater than His

creation. His lovingkindness, for example, is everlasting,

worthy of contemplation and praise, beyond the heavens in

greatness, and the basis for the deliverance of His people (cf.

Psalms 107, 109, 115, 118). God Himself is exalted above the

heavens and the earth (cf. Psalms 113-115); He is, moreover,

capable of redeeming His people from their adversaries, even if

those adversaries are powerful nations (cf. Psalms 107, 109-112,

114-116, 118).

            A second level linkage from Psalm 108 to a number of other

psalms in the corpus is that of the need or desire for God's

people who are the recipients of God's benefits to praise or

thank Him for who He is and for what He has done. Psalm 108

specifically declares the determination of the beloved of God to

honor God with joyful expressions in the public arena--offering

that praise often in the midst of the enemies of God's people

(cf. Psalms 107, 109, 111-113, 115-118).


Strongest Linkages within the Corpus

            The most direct linkage that Psalm 108 makes to other

psalms within the Psalms 107-118 corpus is that which arises as

a consequence of its superscription. Psalm 108 is identified as

a psalm (rvmzm) of David (dvdl). So too are Psalms 109 and 110.

These 3 psalms are the only psalms within the corpus that are so

identified. These 3 psalms, moreover, are linked together by


the thematic thread that speaks of God's ability to overcome the

enemies of His people. In addition, these 3 psalms are linked

through the use of the lexeme Nymy (right hand)--a term used in

all 3 psalm as a reference to God's power86--a term that also

occurs with this same meaning in Psalm 118, thereby linking that

psalm to these 3 psalms.87

            The most significant lexical linkage (apart from those

associated with the superscription) that Psalm 108 makes with

any of the other psalms of the corpus is the interconnection it

has with Psalm 109 based on the lexeme Myhlx (God). The mutual

use of the term Myhlx (God) is, as noted above, the largest

grouping of the lexeme for any 2 consecutive psalms within Book

V of the Psalter. The second most important lexical

interconnection that Psalm 108 makes with any of the remaining

11 psalms of the corpus is that which it makes with Psalm 112 by

means of the clause bl Nvk (heart is steadfast). Both psalms

Pss 108:2; 112:7) use that clause to portray the settled

internal state of the person who honors God.


            86Psa1 109:6 also uses this term to indicate a place of

power at which an accuser stands to judge the wicked.

            87There are only 42 examples of the use of (right hand)

within the Psalter, 8 of which are captured in this corpus.

Those 8 citations account for more than twice as many

occurrences as are expected for a psalms corpus the size of the

present corpus under study.


            Thematically, Psalm 108 links most closely to Psalm 107

with both psalms addressing the issues of God's ability to

deliver His people, God's dominance over creation, and the

praise which God is to receive. There is concatenation between

these 2 psalms, moreover, as Ps 108:4 contemplates the dsH

(lovingkindness) of hvhy (LORD) as Ps 107:43 directs those who

are MkH (wise) to do.


                                Psalm 109 in Context


                              Introduction to Psalm 109


            Psalm 109 divides easily into 4 major sections. In vv. 1-

5, the God's servant pleads to God for Him to speak on his

behalf since his adversaries have unleashed a furious verbal

attack on him without cause. The servant of God then (vv. 6-20)

implores the LORD to enact the full force of His judgment

against one specific unnamed adversary. Following that strong

imprecation, the servant of God, who declares himself to be

afflicted and needy (v. 21), asks the LORD (vv. 21-29) to show

special kindness toward him in order to counteract the work of

 his many adversaries (plural, once again). Finally (vv. 30-31),

he states that he will open his mouth to give thanks and praise

to the LORD for His willingness to protect and deliver those who

are in desperate straits.


                                Psalms 109 and 110

Lexical Interconnections

            The frequency of lexical interconnections between Psalms

109 and 110 may be few, but those that do exist suggest

important connections between the 2 psalms. The following list

identifies those mutually held lexemes:

            Key-Lexeme Links

                        dvd (109 :1--110: 1) --David

                        rvmzm (109 :1--110: 1) --psalm

                        Nymy (109 : 6, 31--110 : 1, 5 ) --right hand

            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        hvhy (109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30--110:1, 2, 4)--LORD

                        Crx (109:15--110:6)--earth, land

                        Nvdx88 (109:21--110:1, 5)--Lord

                        wxr (109:25--110:6, 7)—head

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Mvy (109:8--110:3, 5)--day

                        brq (109:18, 22--110:2)--inward part, body, midst

The 9 lexemes that cross between the boundaries of Psalms 109

and 110 represent 7% (9 of 126) of the lexemes of Psalm 109 and

19% (9 of 47) of the lexeme families of Psalm 110.

            As is true for Psalms 108 and 109, so too the same 3

lexemes--dvd (David), rvmzm (psalm), and Nymy (right hand)--

function as key-lexical links between Psalms 109 and 110. The


            88The Nvdx lexical family includes Nvdx and yndx—both of

which are translated "Lord"--here and passim in this chapter.


superscriptions of both Psalms 109 and 110 include in the same

order a declaration that the writings are Davidic in origin and

psalmic in nature (rvmzm dvdl). The third lexeme--Nymy (right

hand)--unites these latter 2 psalms with 2 citations in each.

There is, however, a difference in the usage of the lexeme in

the 2 psalms. In Psalm 109 Nymy is used in relation to

humankind, whereas in Psalm 110 in relation to deity.89

            Several terms also extend thematic considerations across

the 2 psalms. The first lexeme, hvhy (LORD), is utilized in

both psalms to reveal God's greatness and His power over the

adversary. The second term, Crx (earth, land), occurs in the

context of the destruction of the enemy. The memory of the

adversary is to be removed from the earth in Ps 109:15 and

leader of the wicked is to be scattered across the earth in

defeat in Ps110:6. The third lexical family group, Nvdx

(Lord), also arises in the context of the enemy, either focusing

on the deliverance of the righteous out of the hand of the

adversary on the humiliation of the wicked. The final

thematic-lexeme link between the 2 psalms is wxr (head)--the


            89In commenting on Ps 109:31, Delitzsch appears to suggest

that Nymy (right hand) in Ps 110:5 is used to refer to the needy

when he states: "Jahve comes forward at the right hand of the

poor, contending for him (cf. cx.5), to save (him) from those

who judge (xxxvii.33), i.e. condemn, his soul." Delitzsch,

Biblical Commentary on The Psalms, vol. III, 182. This

interpretation, however, does not fit the context of that



last thing the adversaries do in Ps 109:25 before the man of God

is delivered is to shake their wxr (head) in reproach regarding

the God's servant; the last thing God does in after defeating

the wxr (head or chief) of His enemies (Ps 110:6) is to lift

His wxr (head) in victory (Ps 110:7).


Thematic Interconnections

            The most prominent theme mutually advanced by both of the

psalms study is that of the defeat of the enemy. The

servant of hopes for the downfall of the adversary in Psalm

109; in Psalm 110, God shows what the reality of that downfall

looks like. Among other components of that destruction,

judgment (Fpw90) is desired in Ps 109:7; judgment (Nyd is

promised in Ps 110:6. Furthermore, the thorough degradation of

the enemy which is hoped for in Ps 109:6-20 is presented in

Psalm 110 by the declaration that the enemy will be made into a

footstool (v. 1), shattered (vv. 5, 6), and filled with corpses

(v. 6).

            In addition, contrasting but related concepts unite Psalms

109 and 110. First, Ps 109:8 depicts an office (17b) or

responsibility being taken away from the wicked; Ps 110:1-2, 4

show the offices of King and Priest being given to the Righteous

One, i.e., the Lord. Second, whereas Ps 109:8, 13 record the

temporary nature of the wicked, Ps 110:4 reveals the eternality


            90The Fpw lexical family includes Fpw (judge) and Fpwm

(judgment) here and passim in this chapter.


of God. Third, the imagery of water (Mym) defines a contrast.

Psalm 109:18 proclaims that cursing flows through the body of

the adversary like water, whereas Ps 110:7 declares that water

drunk from a brook after a battle refreshes the one who defeats

the adversary.


                                    Psalms 109 and 111

Lexical Interconnections

            Although there are no key-lexeme links between Psalms 109

and 111, there are 6 thematic-lexeme links and 10 incidental-

lexeme link, as the following reveals:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        rkz (109:14, 15, 16--111:4, 5)--remember

                        hvhy (109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30--111:1[2x], 2, 4, 10)--LORD

                        hWf (109:16, 21, 27--111:2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10)--work, do, make

                        dy (109:27--111:7)--hand

                        hdy (109:30--111:1)--give thanks, thanksgiving

                        llh (109:30--111:1)--praise

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        hlht (109:1--111:10)--praise

                        bvF (109:5, 21--111:10)--good

                        Fpw (109:7, 31--111:7)--judgment, judge

                        dmf (109:6, 31--111:3, 10)--stand

                        wrd (109:10--111:2)--seek

                        lk  (109:11--111:1, 2, 7, 10)--all

                        NnH  (109:12--111:4)--gracious


                        Mw (109:13, 21--111:9)--name

                        bbl (109:16--111:1)--heart

                        CpH (109:17--111:2)--delight, desire

The 16 lexemes identified above represent 13% of the 126 lexemes

of Psalm 109 and 33% of the 48 lexical families of the shorter

Psalm 111.

            There is a sense of remembrance (rkz) conveyed by a

thematic-lexeme linkage between the 2 psalms, albeit a

significantly different elements are to be remembered. In Psalm

109, there is a call to remember the enemy's iniquity to the

LORD (v. 14), a hope that the memory (remembrance) of the wicked

would be eradicated (v. 15), and a declaration of the failure of

the wicked to remember to do good (v. 16). In Psalm 111, God's

works are to be remembered (v. 4) and God remembers His works

(v. 5).

            In both Psalms 109 and 111, the lexeme LORD (hvhy) is used

to indicate the one who is at work (hWf) for His people. This

work is understood to be performed by the hand (dy--Pss 109:27;

111:7) of the LORD. As a consequence for all that the LORD has

done, He is to be openly honored--thanked (hdy) and praised

(llh)--by those who receive His benefits (Pss 109:30; 111:1).


Thematic Interconnections

            In the earlier of the 2 psalms, the LORD is called upon to

deliver His people (Ps 109:26); in the latter, He is noted as

having provided that deliverance for them (Ps 111:9).


                                 Psalms 109 and 112

Lexical Interconnections

            The following list presents the lexical interconnections

that exist between Psalms 109 and 112

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        rkz  (109:14, 15, 16--112:6)--remember

                        Crx  (109:15--112:2)--earth, land

                        Nvybx (109:16, 22, 31--112:9)--needy

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        fwr (109:2, 6, 7--112:10[2x])--wicked, guilty

                        rbd (109:2, 3, 20--112:5)--word, speak

                        hfr (109:5--112:7)--evil, wickedness, misery

                        bvF (109:5, 21--112:5)--good

                        dmf (109:6, 31--112:3,9)--stand

                        Fpw (109:7, 31--112:5)--judgment, judge

                        hyh (109:7, 8, 9, 12[2x], 13, 15, 19, 25--112:2, 6)--be

                        NnH (109:12--112:4, 5)--gracious

                        rvd (109:13--112:2)--generation

                        hvhy (109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30--112:1[2x], 7)--LORD

                        wyx (109:16--112:1, 5)--man

                        CpH (109:17--112:1)--delight, desire

                        bl (109:22--112:7, 8)--heart

                        jrb (109:24, 28--112:2)--bless, knee

                        hxr (109:25--112:8, 10)--see

                        dxm (109:30--112:1)--greatly

                        llh (109:30--112:1)--praise


There are 20 lexemes that occur in both Psalms 109 and 112.

These 20 lexemes represent 16% of the 126 lexemes of Psalm 109.

The 20 lexemes also comprise more than 1 out of every 3 words of

Psalm 112 (20 of 55, i.e., 36%).

            There are no key-lexeme linkages between Psalm 109 and

Psalm 112.

            Memory (rkz) in Psalm 109 is viewed in a negative context,

as it is used to describe the wicked--sin is to be remembered by

God for the purposes of judgment (v. 14); because of their

iniquity, the things the wicked do are not to be remembered

positively through time (v. 15); and the wicked person does not

remember to show lovingkindness to those in need (v. 16). In

Psalm 112, however, rkz is used to present the contrasting

picture of the righteous who are to be remembered (rkz) always

(v. 7).

            A second linking lexeme between Psalms 109 and 112 also

highlights the contrast between the wicked (Psalm 109) and the

righteous (Psalm 112). That term is Crx (earth, land). The

memory of the wicked is to be cut off from the earth (Crx--Ps

109:15), whereas the descendants of the righteous will be

powerful on the earth (Crx--Ps 112:2).

            Still one further contrast appears in the thematic-lexical

interconnections between the 2 psalms. This contrast is

observed in relation to the difference between the way the



wicked and the righteous treat those who are Nvybx (needy).

Both halves of the contrast are presented initially within Psalm

109 itself; the second half of the contrast is then continued in

Psalm 112. In Ps 109:16, the needy individual (Nvybx) is

persecuted by the wicked. In Ps 109:22, the servant of God

identifies himself as one of those needy (Nvybx) who is

undergoing persecution. Psalm 109 concludes (v. 31), however,

with a declaration that the LORD protects the needy (Nvybx) from

the persecution of the wicked. Psalm 112 carries forward that

contrasting attitude toward the needy by showing, in v. 9, that

the righteous gives freely to those who are in need (Nvybx).

Interestingly, another contrast appears in this same context of

the difference between the work of the wicked (Ps 109:16) and

that of the righteous (Ps 112:9) toward the needy. The outcomes

of the lives of those 2 diametrically opposite groups are

different. On the one hand, the memory of the wicked who

persecutes the needy is to be cut off (Ps 109:15-16). On the

other hand, the righteousness of the individual who helps the

needy endures forever (Ps 112:9).


Thematic Interconnections

            Expanding on the contrasting lexical linkages described

above, the 2 psalms contain contrasting thematic

interconnections--a description of the nature and acts of the

wicked (Psalm 109) and a description of the nature and acts of


the righteous (Psalm 112). In Psalm 109, the wicked91 are

self-absorbed, seeking the harm and destruction of those who are

downtrodden (Ps 109:2-5, 16-18, 25, 28). The evil of the wicked

ultimately results in judgment and in the cutting off of that

which is dear to them (Ps 109:6-15, 19-20, 29). By contrast, in

Psalm 112, the righteous individual trusts in the LORD and is

committed to the well-being of others, especially those who are

downtrodden (Ps 112:1, 4, 7, 9). The outcome of the righteous

life is security, prosperity, and an eternal continuance of the

good which the righteous individual has done (Ps 112:2-3, 5-6,


            What brings these contrasting pictures together in the 2

psalms is that each psalm provides its own sub-contrast, i.e.,

an undercurrent of what characterizes the opposing individual

(i.e., the righteous in Psalm 109 and the wicked in Psalm 112).

In the former psalm, the righteous person is an individual who

trusts in LORD, exhibits confidence despite adverse

circumstances, and honors God openly (Ps 109:4, 28, 30). In the

latter psalm, the wicked abhor the well-being of the righteous;

ultimately the hopes of the wicked are shattered (Ps 112:10).

            These 2 psalms, moreover, are linked together by a

stylistic device that both use to describe the enemy. Both


            91The plural form of the term "wicked" is used here, but

the singular form could be used just as well to present the

content of Psalm 109. See below for an explanation of the shift

back and forth between the plural and the singular forms within

the text itself.


Psalms 109-112 introduce the enemy by means of plural

grammatical forms (Pss 109:2-5; 112:8). The 2 psalms then

change the form to the singular (Pss 109:6-19; 112:10a-b) and

finally conclude, once again, with plural forms (Pss 109:20, 25,

27-29, 31; 12:10c).


                                Psalms 109 and 113

Lexical Interconnections

            The key-lexeme, thematic-lexeme, and incidental-lexeme

links between Psalms 109 and 113 appear below:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        Nb (109:9, 10--113:9)--son, (pl.) children

                        hvhy (109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30--113:1[3x], 2, 3, 4, 5, 9)--


                        Mmx92(109:14--113:9)--mother, people

                        Nvybx (109:16, 22, 31--113:7)--needy

                        llh (109:30--113:1[3x], 3, 9)--praise

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (109:1, 26--113:5)--God

                        hyh (109:7, 8, 9, 12[2x], 13, 15, 19, 25--113:2)--be

                        lk (109:11--113:4)--all

                        Mw (109:13, 21--113:1, 2, 3)--name

                        Crx (109:15--113:6)--earth, land


            92The Mmx lexical family includes Mx (mother) and hmx

(people [but not handmaid--found within the corpus only in Ps

116:16]) here and passim in this chapter.


                        jrb (109:24, 28--113:2)--bless, knee

                        hxr (109:25--113:6)--see

                        Mvq (109:28--113:7)--rise

                        dbf (109:28--113:1)--servant

                        HmW (109:28--113:9)--joyful, rejoice, be glad

The 5 thematic-lexeme links coupled with the 10 incidental-

lexeme links between the 2 psalms account for 12% (15 of 126) of

the lexemes of Psalm 109. They account, however, for 43% (15 of

35) of the lexemes of Psalm 113.

            Although there are no key-lexeme links between Psalms 109

and 113, there are 5 thematic-lexeme interconnections which

Psalms 109 and 113 use to express a number of ideas that are

held in common by the 2 psalms.

            Those psalms make use of 2 of those terms to present

different views of the family situations of the wicked (Ps

109:9, 10, 14) and of the righteous (Ps 113:9). In Psalm 109

the Nb (son, [pl.] children) of the wicked is to become

fatherless and a nomadic beggar (Ps 109:9, 10); the sins of the

Mmx93 (mother, people) of the wicked are to brought before the

LORD for judgment (Ps 109:14).

            The lexeme hvhy (LORD) occurs frequently in both psalms--7

times in Psalm 109 and 8 times in Psalm 113. The LORD is the

one who oversees the lives and destinies of both the wicked and

the righteous (Pss 109:14, 15, 20, 21; 113:5). He is the one,


            93The lexical family of Mmx (mother, people) is

relatively rare within the Psalter, occurring only 13 times.



moreover, who, in particular, demonstrates a care for those who

do not typically have a human advocate to defend their cause

(Pss 109:31; 113:7-9).

            Both psalms exhibit a concern for the Nvybx (needy--Pss

109:16, 22, 31; 113:7). Both psalms, moreover, specifically

reveal the LORD's concern for the needy (Pss 109:31; 113:7).

            The final significant thematic-lexical interconnection

between the 2 psalms is the term llh (praise). Psalms 109 and

113 use this term to express a desire that the LORD receive

honor from the lips of humans (Pss 109:30; 113:1[3x], 3, 9).


Thematic Interconnections

            Both Psalms 109 and 113 teach that God is able to provide

much-needed help to those who are unable to control their own

situations. In Psalm 109, God is close at hand to the needy and

the afflicted (vv. 21-22, 31). In Psalm 113, God elevates those

who are in desperate straits--He raises them to a level equal to

that of the leaders of their people (vv. 7-8). He also brings

blessed joy to the barren woman, giving her children (v. 9).


                               Psalms 109 and 114


Lexical Interconnections

            There are few lexical links between Psalms 109 and 114.

Those lexical interconnections that do exist are only


incidental-lexeme links. There are no key-lexeme or thematic-

lexeme links between the 2 psalms, as the following list


            Key-Lexeme Links 


            Thematic-Lexeme Links


            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (109:1, 26--114:7)--God

                        bbs (109:3--114:3, 5)--turn around, surround

                        xcy (109:7--114:1)--go forth

                        hyh (109:7, 8, 9, 12[2x], 13, 15, 19, 25--114:2)--be

                        Nb (109:9,10--114:4, 6)--son, (pl.) children

                        Crx (109:15--114:7)--earth, land

                        Mym (109:18--114:8[2x])--water

                        Nvdx (109:21--114:7)--Lord

                        hxr (109:25--114:3)--see

The relatively few interconnecting lexemes between the 2 psalms

represent 7% (9 of 126) of the lexical families of Psalm 109.

They also comprise more then 1 out of every 4 lexemes of Psalm

114 (9 of 34, i.e., 26%).


Thematic Interconnections

            The primary thematic linkage between Psalms 109 and 114

concerns the matter of the response that people should exhibit

when they recognize the demonstration of God's power. In Psalm

109, that response--on the part of the wicked--is one of


dishonor and shame (vv. 27-29). In Psalm 114, that response is

one of trembling on the part of the whole earth (v. 7).


                              Psalms 109 and 115

Lexical Interconnections

            There are numerous lexeme linkages between Psalms 109 and

115, as the list below reveals:

            Key-Lexeme Links 


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (109:1, 26--115:2, 3)--God

                        hvhy (109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30--115:1, 9, 10, 11[2x], 12, 13,

                                    14, 15, 16, 17, 18[2x])--LORD

                        jrb (109:24, 28--115:12[3x], 13, 15, 18)--bless, knee

                        rzf (109:26--115:9, 10, 11)--help

                        dy (109:27--115:4, 7)--hand

                        llh (109:30--115:17, 18)--praise

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        hp (109:2[2x], 30--115:5)--mouth

                        rbd (109:2, 3, 20--115:5)--word, speak

                        hyh (109:7, 8, 9, 12[2x], 13, 15, 19, 25--115:8)--be

                        Nb (109:9,10--115:14, 16)--son, (pl.) children

                        lk (109:11--115:3, 8, 17)--all

                        dsH (109:12, 16, 21, 26--115:1)--lovingkindness

                        Mw (109:13, 21--115:1)--name

                        rkz (109:14, 15, 16--115:12)--remember

                        Crx (109:15--115:15, 16)--earth, land

                        hWf (109:16, 21, 27--115:3, 4, 8, 15)--work, do, make

                        tvm (109:16--115:17)--death, die

                        CpH (109:17--115:3)--delight, desire



                        jlh (109:23--115:7)--go, walk

                        hxr (109:25--115:5)--see

There are 20 lexical interconnections between Psalms 109 and

115. Those interconnections comprise 16% (20 of 126) of the

lexemes of Psalm 109. They also represent 38% (20 of 52) of the

lexical families of Psalm 115.

            There are no key-lexeme links between Psalm 109 and Psalm


            A component of the thematic-lexical interconnections is the

use of Myhlx (God) relates to His hiddenness. In Ps 109:1, the

servant of God pleads to God that He not remain silent. The

enemy has been speaking against God's servant, but God has not

yet taken up that individual's defense. Seemingly, Myhlx (God)

is nowhere to be found. In Ps 115:2, the adversary also

questions the existence or presence of God. Where is He? Once

again, and this time from the perspective of the adversary,

Myhlx (God) is nowhere to be found.

            When the hvhy (LORD) does make His presence known, however,

He is more than capable of providing rzf (help) to those in

trouble (Pss 109:21, 26; 115:9-11).

            This God, both psalms note, is the one who blesses (jrb)

His people, whether they are as few in number as an individual

servant of the LORD (Ps 109:28) or they are as great in number

as the entirety of His people (Ps 115:12-13).


            The final thematic-lexical interconnection focuses on the

fact that God is to be praised. In Ps 109:30, the afflicted

servant of the LORD declares that he will praise the LORD. In

addition, Ps 115:18 commands its readers (i.e., Israel, the

house of Aaron, and those who fear the LORD--vv. 9-11) to offer

praise to the LORD. Thus, the combination of the contexts of

the previous thematic-lexical linkage (jrb--bless) and the

current interconnection (llh--praise) suggest that whomever the

LORD blesses should be the one(s) who break(s) forth in praise

to the Him.


Thematic Interconnections

            Both Psalms 109 and 115 state that the LORD is the one to

whom to turn for help and protection (Pss 109:21, 26; 115:9-11).

The 2 psalms, moreover, pronounce the LORD as the one from whom

blessing comes (Pss 109:28; 115:12-15).

            Both psalms also express a confidence that the true God is

able to defeat the works of the hands of the enemies of His

people (Pss 109:6-20, 26-29; 115:3-8).

            The 2 psalms, furthermore, each conclude with a declaration

of a commitment to honor God (Ps 109:30--hdy [give thanks] and

llh (praise]; Ps 115:18--jrb [bless] and llh [praise]) openly

in the public arena.



                               Psalms 109 and 116


Lexical Interconnections

            There are numerous lexemes that are used jointly by Psalms

109 and 116. Those lexemes are cited below:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (109:1, 26--116:5)--God

                        hvhy (109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30--116:1, 4[2x], 5, 6, 7, 9, 12,

                                    13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19[2x])--LORD

                        tvm (109:16--116:3, 8, 15)--death, die

                        wpn (109:20, 31--116:4, 7, 8)--soul

                        fwy (109:26, 31--116:6)--save, deliver

                        hdy (109:30--116:17)--give thanks, thanksgiving

                        jvt (109:30--116:19)--midst

                        llh (109:30--116:19)--praise

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Htp (109:2--116:16)--open

                        rbd (109:2, 3, 20--116:10)--word, speak

                        Mvy (109:8--116:2)--day

                        Nb (109:9, 10--116:16)--son, (pl.) children

                        lk (109:11--116:11, 12, 14, 18)--all

                        NnH (109:12--116:5)--gracious

                        Mw (109:13, 21--116:4, 13, 17)--name

                        Crx (109:15--116:9)--earth, land

                        ynf (109:16, 22--116:10)--be afflicted,

                        bhx (109:17--116:1)--love

                        hFn (109:23--116:2)--stretch out, bend,

                        jlh (109:23--116:9)--go, walk

                        dbf (109:28--116:16[2x])--servant

                        dxm (109:30--116:10)--greatly


The 22 co-utilized lexeme groups just mentioned total 17% (22 of

126) of the lexemes of Psalm 109. They also add up to 32% of

the 68 lexical families of Psalm 116.

            There are no key-lexeme interconnections between Psalms 109

and 116, but there are 8 thematic-lexeme links that are

described in the next several paragraphs.

            God (Myhlx) is a God, according to both psalms, who

exhibits a caring nature--lovingkindness (dsH) in Ps 109:26,

compassion (MHr) in Ps 116:5.

            Both psalms use the term hvhy (LORD) in similar ways.

First, they use the lexeme as a vocative of address to make a

declarative statement regarding the LORD (Pss 109:27; 116:16) or

to seek the LORD's help (Pss 109:21, 26; 116:4). Second, the 2

psalms also record the word hvhy (LORD) to indicate the one who

is to be honored (Pss 109:30; 116:14, 18, 19).

            Another thematic lexeme occurring in both psalms is the

term bvm (death, die). Psalm 116 declares that the servant of

the LORD came close to death (v. 3) but that God delivered him

from that death (v. 8). The psalm does not depict that near

death experience as coming to the servant of the LORD naturally,

but rather at the hands of those who afflicted him greatly (vv.

10-11). Psalm 109 sets a similar backdrop for a death-related

encounter that parallels the event described in Psalm 116. The

servant of God in Psalm 109 states that his adversary persecuted


an afflicted and needy man--a despondent man--to put him to

death (Ps 109:16).

            Likewise, the use of the term wpn (soul) in Psalm 109 sets

a springboard for its use in Psalm 116. In Ps 109:20 the

accusers speak evil against the wpn (soul) of the servant of

God. In Ps 109:31, the LORD stands beside the needy to rescue

him from those who judge his wpn. In Ps 116:4 the servant of

God calls upon the LORD to save his wpn (soul)--which the LORD

does with the result that his  wpn (soul) can rest in confidence

in the blessing of the LORD (Ps 116:7-8).

            Closely tied to this use of the term wpn (soul) is the

contextual development of the lexeme fwy (save, deliver). In Ps

109:26, the servant of the LORD pleads to Him to fwy (save,

deliver) him. He then acknowledges that fact that the LORD does

fwy (save, deliver) those who are in trouble but does not

indicate that the LORD had saved him. In Ps 116:6, the servant

of the LORD in that psalm proclaims that the LORD, in fact, did

fwy (save, deliver) him from seemingly hopeless position in

which he found himself.

            The final 2 thematic-lexeme links between Psalms 109 and

116--jvt (midst) and llh (praise) --occur near the end of each

psalm. Both terms are present in the same verses (Pss 109:30;

116:19).  The servant of the LORD in both psalms desires to make

his expression of gratitude to the LORD in the public forum, in


the midst (jvt) of many. He also desires that the LORD would

receive praise (llh).

Thematic Interconnections

            Two primary themes extend across the 2 psalms under study.

Both psalms declare that God is a deliverer of those who are

facing life-threatening situations (Pss 109:1, 26-27, 31; 116:3-

7, 8-11). Both psalms also reveal the desire that God be

honored (Pss 109:30; 116:2, 13-14, 17-19)--and that that honor

be expressed openly before many people (Pss 109:30; 116:14, 18-



                                 Psalms 109 and 117

Lexical Interconnections

            Although Psalm 117 is the smallest psalm in the Psalms 107-

118 corpus, it registers 3 thematic-lexeme links and 2

incidental-lexeme link with Psalm 109, as the following reveals:

            Key-Lexeme Links 


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        dsH (109:12, 16, 21, 26--117:2)--lovingkindness

                        hvhy (109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30--117:1, 2[2x])--LORD

                        llh (109:30--117:1, 2)--praise

            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        lk (109:11--117:1[2x])--all

                        Mmx (109:14--117:1)--mother, people



The 5 lexemes that occur in both Psalms 109 and 117 account for

only 4% of the 126 lexemes of Psalm 109 but 50% of the 10 lexeme

families of Psalm 117.

            There are no key-lexeme links between Psalms 109 and 117.

            The first mutually held thematic lexeme is dsH

(lovingkindness). This term is used in both psalms in relation

to the LORD to show that the LORD is good to His people (Pss

109:21, 26; 117:2).

            The final 2 jointly utilized lexemes--hvhy (LORD) and llh

(praise)--are tied together in both psalms. The LORD is the one

to be praised because of His actions toward His people (Pss

109:30-31; 117:1-2).


Thematic Interconnections

            The conclusion of Psalm 109 (vv. 30-31) and the entirety of

Psalm 117 (vv. 1-2) focus on essentially the same issue--the

praise of the LORD. Psalm 109 indicates that LORD is to be

thanked (hdy—Ps 109:30) and praised (llh—Ps 109:30); Psalm

117, that He is to be praised (llh--Ps 117:1-2) and extolled

(Hbw--Ps 117:1). Both psalms, moreover, declare all (Psalm

109) or part (Psalm 117) of the reason that God is to be honored

is His work in relation to humans.


                                 Psalms 109 and 118

Lexical Interconnections

            There are numerous thematic-lexeme and incidental-lexeme

interconnections between Psalms 109 and 118, as is recorded in

the list below:

            Key-Lexeme Links


            Thematic-Lexeme Links

                        bbs (109:3--118:10, 11[2x], 12)--turn around, surround

                        bvF (109:5, 21--118:1, 8, 9, 29)--good

                        dsH (109:12, 16, 21, 26--118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29)--lovingkindness

                        Mw (109:13, 21--118:10, 11, 12, 26)--name

                        hvhy (109:14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27, 30--118:1, 4, 5[2x], 6, 7, 8, 9,

                                    10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16[2x], 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25[2x],

                                    26[2x], 27, 29)--LORD

                        hz94 (109:20, 27--118:20, 23, 24)--this

                        hxr (109:25--118:7)--see

                        rzf (109:26--118:7,13)--help

                        fwy (109:26, 31--118:25)--save, deliver

                        hdy (109:30--118:1, 19, 21, 28, 29)--give thanks,


            Incidental-Lexeme Links

                        Myhlx (109:1, 26--118:27, 28[2x])--God

                        Htp (109:2--118:19)--open

                        Nymy (109:6, 31--118:15, 16[2x])--right hand

                        hyh (109:7, 8, 9, 12[2x], 13, 15, 19, 25--118:14, 21, 22, 23)--be

                        Mvy (109:8--118:24)--day

                        lk (109:11--118:10)--all


            94The hz lexical family includes hz (this [m.]) and txz

(this [f.]) here and passim in this chapter.


                        hWf (109:16, 21, 27--118:6, 15, 16, 17, 24)--work, do, make

                        tvm (109:16--118:17, 18)--death, die

                        xvb (109:17, 18--118:19, 20, 26)--come, enter

                        wxr (109:25--118:22)--head

                        jrb (109:24, 28--118:26[2x])--bless, knee

                        HmW (109:28--118:24)--joyful, rejoice, be glad

These 22 jointly utilized lexemes represent 17% (22 or 126) of

the lexical families of Psalm 109 and 31% (22 of 72) of the

lexemes of Psalm 118.

            No key-lexeme links exist between Psalms 109 and 118.

There are, however, numerous thematic-lexeme links which are

discussed in the following paragraphs.

            Both psalms express the feelings of an individual being

closed in, i.e., bbs (surrounded), by his enemies. In Ps

109:3, the adversaries' words of hatred that overwhelmed that

individual, even though he was innocent of their charges. In Ps

118:10-12, the speaker in that psalm bemoans the fact the

nations had swarmed around him (to do him harm).

            The thematic-lexemes of bvF (good) and dsH

(lovingkindness) are used once in Psalm 109 and twice in Psalm

118 (vv. 1, 29) within the same general thematic context of

God's greatness. In Ps 109:21, God's dsH (lovingkindness) is

bvF (good); in Ps 118:1, 29, God Himself is bvF (good) and His

dsH (lovingkindness) is everlasting.

            In addition, both psalms present God's Mw (name) as being

important in the context of deliverance. In Ps 109:21, the


servant of the LORD seeks God's help to extricate him from an

oppressive situation for the sake of God's Mw (name).

Likewise, the speaker in Ps 118:10-12 declares that the Mw

(name) of the LORD is the basis on which he defeats the enemies

who surround him.

            The lexeme hvhy (LORD) permeates both psalms. It occurs 8

times (in 8 verses) in Psalm 109 and 28 times (in 24 verses) in

Psalm 118. In both psalms this lexeme occurs in at least 3

mutually shared contexts--in the deliverance of the distressed

individual (Pss 109:21, 26; 118:5-12, 14, in the demonstration

of God's power (Pss 109:27 ; 118:15-17), and in the honoring of

the LORD by those who recognize God's character or good work

(Pss 109:30; 118:1, 19, 29).

            Although normally one does not expect the term hz (this) to

be a significant contributor to the thematic development of a

portion of Scripture, yet the lexeme occurs only 21 times within

the Psalter and only 8 times within Book V. The relative rarity

of the term within poetic settings suggests, then, that, when

the term does appear in poetry (such as in Psalms 109 and 118),

its function within the poem should be considered closely. Both

Psalms 109 and 118 use the term hz in the context of the LORD's

work on behalf of His people in order to emphasize that the LORD

has accomplished a special work despite the opposition of the

enemy (Pss 109:27; 118:23).


            The verb hxr (see) is used in both Psalms 109 and 118 in

the context of one person looking down on another person--in a

way that disparages the person in the lower position. In Ps

109:25, the adversary looks down on the servant of God with an

attitude of disgust and reproach; in Ps 118:7, the speaker looks

down upon his enemies in triumph (gloating?) over them.

            In addition, both psalms take notice of the fact that help

(rzf)--Pss 109:26; 118:7,13) in the face of the enemy comes from

the LORD and that the LORD is the one who provides deliverance

(fwy--Pss 109:26, 31; 118:25) in such desperate situations. As a

consequence, both psalms convey an understanding that there is a

need to give thanks (hdy--Pss 109:30; 118:1, 19, 21, 28, 29) to a

God who is so gracious.


Thematic Interconnections

            Both Psalms 109 and 118 are concerned with a righteous

individual's deliverance from a difficult situation--a

deliverance that can be effected only by the LORD. In Psalm

109, the servant of God invokes an imprecation against his

adversaries, and in particular against one person who oppressed

not only the servant of God, but others as well (Ps 109:2-20,

29). He, therefore, seeks God's help to extricate him from an

otherwise hopeless situation (Ps 109:26-28). The speaker in

Psalm 118 declares that, in the past, after he had called upon

God, God delivered him from his distress (Ps 118:5). He now


anticipates that, once more, with the LORD's help, he would

succeed---this time, in the face of other enemies (Ps 118:7, 10-

14, 25).

            The righteous individuals of both Psalms 109 and 118,

moreover, proclaim their commitment to honoring their Deliverer

openly (Pss 109:30; 118:17, 19, 21, 28).

            In addition, both psalms recognize the importance of God's

character as being an underlying component in His actions on

behalf of His people. In particular, both psalms point to the

dsH (lovingkindness) of the LORD (Pss 109:21, 26; 118:1-4, 29).

Both psalms also focus on the LORD's ability to protect His

people and to accomplish His ends (Pss 109:21, 26-28, 31; 118:5-

9, 13-16).

            In addition, Psalms 109 and 118 utilize linguistic shifts,

back and forth, from plural to singular or from singular to

plural, to describe the enemies of God or of His people. Psalm

109 begins with the plural (vv. 2-5), continues with the

singular (vv. 6-19), and concludes with the plural (vv. 20, 25,

27-29, 31). By contrast, Psalm 118 varies that pattern

slightly, beginning with the singular form (v. 6--a form which

in context may be understood as descriptive of a generic group),

shifting to plural forms (vv. 7, 10-12), alternating back to the

singular (v. 13), and then concluding with a plural (v. 22).


                        Psalm 109--A Retrospective95


Location within the Psalms 107-118 Corpus

            Psalm 109 is the middle of 3 sequential Davidic psalms.

Together Psalms 108, 109, and 110 present a chiastic structure

to their organization, with Psalm 109 functioning as the central

point. Both Psalms 108 and 110 focus primarily on God's work

against the enemies of His people on a national level (Pss

108:8-10; 110:5-6). Psalm 109, however, also presents God's

action in relation to the His servant's personal adversary or

adversaries (Ps 109:2-29).

            This chiastic structure, moreover, is strengthened by the

use of the lexeme Nymy (right hand) in these 3 psalms. In Psalms

108 and 110, Nymy (right hand) occurs within the sphere of deity

(Pss 108:6; 110:1, 5). Here, in Psalm 109, the middle psalm,

Nymy (right hand) is used to focus on the realm of humanity--

first on the wicked and then on the righteous, i.e., the needy

(Ps 109:6, 31).

            The beginning of Psalm 109 looks backward to the concluding

verses of Psalm 108 in 2 ways--through the continuance of the

theme of the adversary and through the use of the lexeme family

of Myhlx (God). First, in Ps 109:2-5, oppressors have acted


            95This retrospective compares Psalm 109 not only to the

subsequent 9 psalms of the Psalms 107-118 corpus but also to the

preceding 2 psalms.


aggressively against the servant of the LORD and he appears to

be powerless to stop them. Yet, he knows that God is able to

speak on His behalf, if He chooses to do so (Ps 109:1). This

thought reflects that which is projected in Ps 108:13-14, in

which the speaker in that psalm acknowledges the hopeless

condition he faces against his enemies--hopeless, that is, apart

from God's help.

            Second, both Psalms 108 and 109 use the term Myhlx (God)

in a syntactic function that is unique to these 2 psalms within

the Psalms 107-118 corpus. In both psalms, Myhlx (God) is used

as a vocative of address.96 This form occurs at the conclusion

of Psalm 108--twice in v. 12--and at the beginning of Psalm 109-

-once in v. 1. Interestingly, this syntactical use also occurs

near the beginning of Psalm 108 (vv. 2, 6) and near the

conclusion of Psalm 109 (v. 26).

            The concluding verses of Psalms 109 (i.e., vv. 26-31),

moreover, make numerous connections with the first 3 verses of

Psalm 110. Lexically, both hold in common 2 terms: hvhy (LORD--

Pss 109:26, 27, 30; 110:1, 2) and Nymy (right hand--Pss 109:31;

110:1). In both sections, hvhy (LORD) is seen as the central


            96Psalm 109 uses the term Myhlx (God) exclusively as a

vocative of address. By contrast, although Psalm 108 makes

extensive use of the term Myhlx (God) as a vocative of address,

this psalm does not use Myhlx (God) solely as a vocative of

address. Psalm 108:8 records the term as the subject of its

sentence, whereas Ps 108:14 utilizes this word as an object of a



figure who either is urged to take action (Ps 109:26-29) or who

declares His intent to take action (Ps 110:1-2). Furthermore,

the positional idea of Nymy (right hand) comes into consideration

in the last verse of Psalm 109 and in the first verse of Psalm

110. In both cases, the LORD operates for the benefit of the

one in relation to whom the lexeme Nymy (right hand) is

mentioned. In Ps 109:31, the LORD Himself is at the right hand

of the needy and from that vantage point He ensures the

deliverance of that downtrodden individual from those who

oppress him. In Ps 110:1-2, the LORD (hvhy) has the Lord (Nvdx)

sit at His (hvhy's) Nymy (right hand) until the time when He

(hvhy) subdues His (Nvdx' s) enemies.

            In addition, both Pss 109:26-31 and 110:1-3 link together

thematically around 2 issues. First, both sets of verses make

reference to the abasing of enemies--an abasing which is the

work of the LORD. Second, both passages present a picture of

the godly person as one who turns to the LORD to honor Him (with

words in Ps 109:30-31 and with deeds in Ps 110:3).


Lexical Interconnections

            Psalm 109, the second largest psalm in the Psalms 107-118

corpus (based on the number of lexical families each psalm

contains), contains 126 lexemes, of which 51% (64 of 126) are


oberved to occur also in at least 1 other psalm in the corpus

and 49% (62 of 126) are hapax legomena to the corpus.97

            The 64 duplicated lexemes appear in varying numbers among

each of the other 11 psalms of the corpus. The psalms which

contain the larger number jointly held lexemes are as follows:

Psalms 107 (38), 118 (22), 116 (21), 112 (20), and 115 (20).

When all of the figures are recalculated to show a percentage of

the total lexeme population of each of the psalms, the order of

the degree of coincidence (for those containing 30% or more

duplication) then becomes Psalms 117 (50%), 113 (43%), 115

(38%), 112 (36%), 111 (33%), 116 (31%), and 118 (31%). Thus the

lexemes of Psalm 109 exhibit a high degree of interconnection

with the lexemes of most of the remaining 11 psalms of the


            There are 11 lexeme families in Psalm 109 that also appear