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Genre disputes and communal accusatory laments: reflections on the genre of psalm lxxxix

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Psalm lxxxix has been the subject of numerous debates. Scholars have variously described it as a royal psalm, a lament, a prophetic complaint, or some combination of these genres. Genre designation is further complicated by the harsh tone of verses 39-52, traditionally explained as a redactional addition. This paper argues that Psalm lxxxix displays a marked unity through its use of covenantal, Davidic and symbolic language, and finds further clues to the psalm's genre in a Qûmran fragment (4Q236). Psalm lxxxix can still be defined as a "lament," but as fragment 4Q236 shows, it is an angry lament in which accusatory language serves as a unifying element rather than a redactional "seam".


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