Could David Have Written Psalm 5? -- By: Kevin Smith

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 02:1 (Sep 2006)
Article: Could David Have Written Psalm 5?
Author: Kevin Smith


Could David Have Written Psalm 5?

Kevin Smith1

Abstract

Psalm 5 is one of a number of Davidic Psalms that allude to the Lord’s “house” and “temple.” Since Solomon’s Temple was built after David’s death, critical scholars consider these allusions to the temple as conclusive proof that David could not have authored these psalms. This article demonstrates that, prior to the construction of Solomon’s Temple, the terms “house” (בַּיִת) and “temple” (הֵיכָל) were acceptable terms for alluding to the Tabernacle. Therefore, the conclusion that David could not have written Psalm 5 is unwarranted.

1.Introduction

Is it plausible that David might of have written Psalm 5? Taken at face value, the Hebrew text attributes authorship of Psalm 5 to the pen of David by way of the inscription “of David” (לְדָוִד, hereafter lĕdāwid) in the heading. Nineteenth century critics claimed that David could not have written a psalm that alludes to worshipping in the Lord’s “house” and at His “temple.” In spite of able counters by evangelical scholars (e.g., Keil and Delitzsch 2002), the critics won the day. As a legacy of their influence, almost every major commentary on the Book of Psalms since 1900 has virtually presupposed that David could not have written Psalm 5 (and other lĕdāwid psalms that refer to the temple).2

However, the claim that David could not have written a psalm in which the author vows to worship at the Lord’s “house” and “temple” proves unconvincing when we analyse the usage of those terms prior to the construction of Solomon’s temple. In this article, I hope to show that it remains plausible for a modern student of Scripture to believe in the Davidic authorship of Psalm 5.

2. What does the inscription “of David” mean?

Although they seem to be early in origin, there is little doubt that the psalm headings are editorial additions to the text of certain psalms. As individual psalms were collected for corporate use, the editors of collections added superscriptions to indicate such thing...

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