Archaeology, Assyrian Reliefs and the Psalms of the Sons of Korah -- By: Gordon Franz

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 20:1 (Winter 2007)
Article: Archaeology, Assyrian Reliefs and the Psalms of the Sons of Korah
Author: Gordon Franz


Archaeology, Assyrian Reliefs and the Psalms of the Sons of Korah

Gordon Franz

Introduction1

The Psalms of the Sons of Korah, like the other psalms, express the inner-most feelings of the psalmists as they experience real-life events. The Korahites were the descendants of Kohath, son of Levi, and were responsible for guarding the Temple (1 Chr 9:19). They also led in Temple singing (2 Chr 20:19). Psalms 42–49 and 84, 85, 87 and 88 reflect the end of the eighth century BC when the Assyrians afflicted the Kingdom of Judah. This article will briefly look at these psalms from a literary perspective and then place them in their historical context at the end of the eighth century BC. Some archaeological material that has been excavated in the land of Judah, as well as Assyrian reliefs, will be employed to illustrate portions of these psalms.

The year 701 BC was a traumatic, bittersweet one for Judah. A large portion of the Judean population was deported to Assyria, yet the Lord delivered Jerusalem from the hands of the Assyrian army that encircled the city.

The Psalms of the Sons of Korah as a Literary Unit

Michael Goulder, in his book entitled The Psalms of the Sons of Korah (1982), suggests that these psalms are in sequential order and were employed as liturgical psalms for the fall festival or pilgrimage that was conducted to the Israelite cultic shrine, or high place, at Dan (1 Kgs 12:26–33).

Michael Luddeni

High Place at Dan. King Jeroboam I built this high place as an alternative place of worship so the Israelites did not have to go to the Biblically ordained place to meet God, Jerusalem (I Kings 12:25–33). Michael Goulder unsuccessfully argues that the Psalms of the Sons of Korah were used as liturgical psalms at this high place.

Michael Luddeni

Sennacherib on his throne before Lachish. Relief from Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh. (British Museum, London)

He points out that these psalms are a literary unit and should be looked at from that perspective. ...

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