The Identity Of “Horn” In Psalm 148:14a: An Exegetical Investigation In The MT And LXX Versions -- By: Andrew J. Schmutzer
BBR 19:2 (2009) p. 161
The Identity Of “Horn” In Psalm 148:14a: An Exegetical Investigation In The MT And LXX Versions
Moody Bible Institute
Randall X. Gauthier
University Of Stellenbosch
Authors’ note: We wish to thank Jon Laansma and Karen Jobes for reading and commenting on earlier drafts of this article. Laansma’s guidance, in particular, helped shape key points in our analysis. Of course, all errors remain strictly our own.
This article compares the MT and LXX versions of Ps 148:14a to understand better the identity of “horn” within the set phrase “to raise a horn.” The commentators are largely divided between literary-metaphorical and historical-literal interpretations, leaving the English translations with a confusing array of options. Analysis suggests that “to raise a horn” conveys elements common to both “metaphorical” and “literal-historical” usage with military significance. Particular attention is given to the syntactical significance of vv. 13–14 of Ps 148. Analysis concludes with the Final Doxology (FD) of the Psalter (MT: Pss 146–50; LXX 145–50), where it is argued that the sociopolitical reality of exile and Diaspora returnees complements the militaristic theme of 148:14a, evidenced from the surrounding FD. The identity of “horn” in this set phrase describes the judgment of Israel’s enemies while simultaneously proclaiming Israel’s restored reputation on an international scale.
Key Words: MT, LXX, Final Doxology, collocation, horn, translation, judgment, deliverance, Diaspora, קֶרֶן, רוֹּם, κέρας, ὑψόω
If there is a crux interpretum in Ps 148, it is the nature of “horn” (MT = קֶרֶן, LXX = κέρας) in v. 14a. Its identity is perplexing enough for H.-J. Kraus to conclude: “There is hardly an answer to the question as to what specifically, is being referred to.”1 A fresh analysis is needed for at least two reasons. First, the dominance of “genre-analysis” in psalms scholarship has given way to “shape-analysis,” with its focus on intertextual relationships and canonical contour.2 In this way, approaches that search out particular
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