Psalm 90: An Exposition -- By: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 04:2 (Apr 1998)
Article: Psalm 90: An Exposition
Author: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum


Psalm 90: An Exposition

Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum*

Chafer Theological Seminary

[*Editor’s note: Arnold Fruchtenbaum received a B.A. degree from Cedarville College, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from New York University. Arnold is the founder of Ariel Ministries, Tustin, CA, a ministry to Jewish people around the world, and also an adjunct professor at Chafer Theological Seminary. Dr. Fruchtenbaum holds Bible conferences around the globe and CTS accepts his bi-annual, five-week study tour of Israel for two semesters of elective credit.]

Let me begin this Psalm by noting the superscription that introduces Psalm 90. It reads (beneath the Psalm number), A Prayer of Moses the man of God.

Psalm 90 is a unique Psalm. For example, Moses takes no statement in this Psalm from other Psalms. As a study of the Book of Psalms will show, the Psalms repeat themselves; we find certain thoughts in one Psalm almost word for word in other Psalms. However, in the case of Psalm 90, Moses takes no statement from any other Psalm. Furthermore, it has no affinity with any of the other Psalms, meaning that it does not cover any similar circumstances. It does have, however, similarity and affinity with one chapter that Moses wrote elsewhere, Deuteronomy 33. If you compare Deuteronomy 33 with Psalm 90, you will find several elements of comparison, similarity, and affinity. For example, Deuteronomy 33:1, which is another poetic song, starts out with the phrase, Moses the man of God. This is the same as the beginning of the superscription in Psalm 90. Moses is the author of this one Psalm, as well as the five Books of Moses. Because he is the writer of this Psalm, we know that this is the oldest of the 150 Psalms. Men who lived much later than Moses wrote the others.

Moses wrote this Psalm, as the context shows, at the end of the 40 years of Wilderness Wanderings. By the time he writes—after 40 years in the wilderness—the Exodus generation had passed away, the judgment of the sin at Kadesh Barnea had run its course, and the Wilderness Generation is soon to enter the Land. Therefore, he writes this Psalm from the background of the sin of Kadesh Barnea.

What was the sin at Kadesh Barnea? The Book of Numbers gives the details. In chapters 13–14 of that book, the Jewish peopl...

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