Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/555

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539
PSALMS, BOOK OF


and of this last passage it may be said that all the translatable 1 portions of it can be naturally explained, if it refers to the time when the resistance of the Hasidim, whom the Sadducees had despised and shunned, had won freedom for Israel as a whole, and at no other known period; the fragment, Ps. xxiv. 7-IO, is most easily understood of the time when the Lord who had shown Himself strong and mighty by His victories over the heathen returned in triumph to His Temple in 164 B.C.-in the days of Zerubbabel or of Nehemiah jehovah had not recently shown Himself “ mighty in battle.” In the light of these circumstances-and space here forbids more than the scantiest reference-we may reasonably suppose that the first book, with the exception of Ps. i., ii. and possibly xxxiii., is a collection of psalms in the shape which it assumed in a judaean synagogue in the earlier days of the Maccabaean victories. We have already noticed the difficulty of supposing that the Elohistic Psalter was compiled in a place where a jehovistic Psalter was already in use. It is therefore probable that the second collection of psalms (books II. and III.), containing as it does an Elohistic recension of a psalm occurring in book I. in a jehovistic form, must have been compiled for use in some other district. Since the last collection (books IV. and V.) which may reasonably be assigned to the Temple at Jerusalem uses freely the name mfr, it may be inferred that the district where an objection was felt to wriling the Tetragrammaton was some distance from Jerusalem, and probably not in such close touch with it as most of the country districts of judaea would be. Such a district we may find in southern Galilee, “ the land of Zcbulon and the land of Naphtali, " apparently the only portion of Palestine north of Samaria where the worshippers of jehovah existed in any considerable numbers. It is at least remarkable that the names Zebulon and Naphtali in Isaiah ix. I (a passage which, as has been already noted, is probably Maccabaean) denote the region which had felt the brunt of the persecution of the heathen, while in Ps. lxviii. 27 (a poem of which every translatable verse is explicable if it refers to the great procession at the re dedication of the Temple in 164 B.C.) the same two tribes are joined with judah and Benjamin (sc. judaea) as celebrating the Lord's victory. The dissenting inhabitants of Samaria are naturally absent from such a festival. It is not improbable that the Elohistic redaction of the second collection of psalms is due not so much to any Jewish scruples about 'writing the Tetragrammaton as to the fear that it might fall into the hands of the heathen who were trying to destroy the Hgbrew Scriptures, and might thus be desecrated (cf. I Macc. 1. 56» S7 -

We may thus suppose that about the time of jonathan the Maccabaean High Priest (if our explanation of Ps. xlv. is correct), at all events not earlier than 150 B.C., a south Galilaean synagogue made a collection of the various religious poems current among its members. Perhaps those which were to be sung according to the old Davidic mode formed the nucleus of the collection, and to these were added other poems to be sung according to the more intricate Korahite and Asaphic modes. The appendix to this collection (Ps. lxxxiv.-licxxix.) being non-Elohistic presumably was collected elsewhere. It is possible that these last-mentioned psalms were originally an appendix to the judaean collection and have been rermoved from their original place to after the other Levitical psa ms.

In books IV. and V. we have a collection probably made originally for use in the Temple, consisting in the main of recent hymns, but embodying, at least to some extent, older traditional hymns of the Temple. On this hypothesis we are able to explain the presence of certain poetical pieces both in the book of Chronicles and in the Psalter. We need not suppose that the Chronicler quotes from the Psalter or vice versa, the matter which they have in common being probably derived from certain traditional songs current among the Levitical singers. Since this last collection includes a psalm (cx.) which can scarcely refer to any one earlier than Simon the Maccabee, and cannot well be later than his time, we are justified in assigning the compilation of this collection to about the ear 140 B.C. But by this time a great change had taken place in the aims and aspirations of the Jews. The earlier Maccabaean policy of concentration had given place to one of expansion. The Jews in Jerusalem could not ignore the Jews of Galilee or even of the Dispersion. The hymns which had brought comfort to the faithful in the time of their distress had become an integral part of their religion which could not be given up. Jerusalem was now the religious metropolis of a great nation, and accordingly it was felt desirable that the hymn-books of the several parts of the nation should be combined into a hymn-book for the whole. The synagogue collections, since they contained psalms which at this time were probably considered to be the work of David, were placed first, and the Temple collection added to them. There was then prefixed to the whole collection a hymn (Ps. ii.) describing the hoped-for greatness of Simon's kingdom, and finally Pharisaic sentiment prefaced the whole by a psalm in praise of the law. In the final compilation, or perhaps in a subsequent redaction, some alterations were made in the original order, some notes were added describing the circumstances in which various psalms had been composed, and lastly, in order to assimilate the outward form of the Psalter to that of the Pentateuch, the three collections were divided into five books. The final redaction is probably to be dated between the years I4O and 130 B.C.

Musical Execution and Place of the Psalms in the Temple Service.-The musical notes found in the titles of the psalms and occasionally also in the text (Selah,1 Higgaion) are so obscure that it seems unnecessary to enter here upon the various conjectures that have been made about them. The clearest point is that a number of the psalms were originally at least set to melodies named after songs, ” and that one of these songs beginning 1'11'1Wh'5R (Al-tashith in E. V., Ps. lvii. seq.), may be probably identified with the vintage song, Isa. lxv. 8. The original music of the psalms was therefore apparently based on popular melodies. A good deal is said about the musical services of the Levites in Chronicles, both in the account given of David's ordinances and in the descriptions of particular festival occasions. But unfortunately it has not been found possible to get from these accounts any clear picture of the ritual of any certainty as to the technical terms used. In Egypt by the translators of the Septuagint these terms were not understood. The music of the temple attracted the attention of Theophrastus (ap. Porph. De absl. ii. 26), who was perhaps the first of the Greeks to make observations on the Jews. His description of the Temple ritual is not strictly accurate, but he speaks of the worshippers as passing the night in gazing at the stars and calling on God in prayer; his words, if they do not exactly fit anything in the later ritual, are well fitted to illustrate the original liturgical use of Ps. viii., cxxxiv. Some of the Jewish traditions as to the use of particular psalms have been already cited; it may be added that the Mishna (Tarnid) assigns to the service of the continual burnt-offerings the following weekly cycle of psalms.-(1) xxiv., (2) xlviii., (3) lxxxii., (4) xciv., (5) lxxxi., (6) xciii., (Sabbath) xcii., as in the title. Many other details are given in the treatise Soférim, but these for the most part refer primarily to the synagogue service after the destruction of the Temple. For details on the liturgical use of the Psalter in Christendom the reader may refer to Smith's Dicl. Chr. Ant., s.'v. “ Psalmody.”

Ancient Versions.-(A) The oldest version, the LXX., follows a text generally closely corresponding to the Massoretic Hebrew, the main variations being in the titles and in the addition (lacking in some MSS.) of an apocryphal psalm ascribed to David when he fought with Goliath. Ps. ix. and x. are rightly taken as one psalm, but conversely Ps. cxlvii. is divided into two. The LXX. text has many “ daughters, ” of which may be noticed (a) the Memphitic (ed. Lagarde, 1875); (b) the old Latin, which as revised by Jerome in 383 after the current Greek text forms the Psallerium romanum, long read in the Roman Church and still used in St Peter's; (c) various Arabic versions, including that printed in the polyglots of Le jay and Walton, and two others of the four exhibited together in Lagarde's Psalterinm, fob, Proverbia, arabice, 1876; on the relations and history of these versions see G. Hoffmann, in Jenaer Lileraturz., 1876, art. 539; the fourth of Lagarde's versions is from the Peshito. The Hexaplar text of the LXX., as reduced by Origen into greater conformity with the Hebrew by the aid of subsequent Greek versions, was further the mother (d) of the Psalterium gallicanum -that is, of Jerome's second revision of the Psalter (385) by the aid of the Hexaplar text; this edition became current in Gaul and ultimately was taken into the Vulgate; (e) of the Syro-Hexaplar version (published by Bugati, 1820, and in facsimile from the famous Ambrosian MS. by Ceriani, Milan, 1874). (B) The Christian Aramaic version or Peshito (P'shitta) is largely influenced by the LXX., compare Baethgen, Untersuchungen aber die Psalmen nach der Peschita, Kiel, 1878 (unfinished). 1 Of the various explanations that have been given of Selah the only one which possesses any probability is that given independently by Baethgen and others, viz. that it is a mispronunciation of an original r1§ D=//d)>e. The word, which was probably derived from some Greek bandmaster, was presumably an instruction for a musical interlude. The LXX. translators who render it by 6:.d¢a.);4a th¢§ 1glIiIn<I¥ recognizing the derivation of the word, knew its meaning. Conipai'e the similar way of citing melodies with the prep. al or 'a kala, &c., in Syriac (Land, Anecd. xv.; Ephr. syr. hymm, ed. Lamy).