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Psalm 19: A Sabbath Song1

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image of Vetus Testamentum

AbstractThe author of Psalm 19 consciously reflects on the cosmology in Genesis 1 and associated traditions. This reflection involves how the psalmist conceives of the sun, including the celestial feature’s personal nature, responsibility in the cosmic order in terms of calendrical regulation, and its deliberate obedience in the fulfillment of its cultic task. The sun’s obedience serves as a model for sacerdotal devotion, and, just as importantly, allows for the human priest to fulfill his own obligations vis-à-vis properly-timed observance of cultic activities. Of primary importance in all of this, whether at the celestial level or the human level, is the centrality of septenary Sabbath observance, which the sun is charged to mark and the righteous Yahweh devotee is charged to observe. Its importance is implicitly signaled by the psalmist, as it is in Genesis 1: by seven-fold repetition (of Yahweh’s name), and by cryptic allusion (the אות in שׁגיאות).

Affiliations: 1: Boston


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