Psalm 98: A Divine Warrior Victory Song -- By: Tremper Longman, III

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 27:3 (Sep 1984)
Article: Psalm 98: A Divine Warrior Victory Song
Author: Tremper Longman, III

Psalm 98: A Divine Warrior Victory Song

Tremper Longman, III*

Since S. Mowinckel,1 Psalm 98 has frequently been categorized as one of a number of psalms that were at the core of a reconstructed enthronement festival.2 Psalms 47, 93, 95–98 were entitled enthronement psalms since they celebrated Yahweh’s annually renewed kingship. While many scholars have demonstrated the dubiousness of such a hypothetical festival3 in ancient Israel and have attempted modified genre identifications,4 new insight into the function of these psalms illuminates many points of interpretation. Psalm 98 will be examined here with the view of identifying its genre and function in the cult5 of ancient Israel. Analysis of the psalm will be generalized to apply to generically-related psalms. The main thesis of this article is that Psalm 98 is a Divine Warrior victory song celebrating the return of Yahweh the commander of the heavenly

*Tremper Longman is associate professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

hosts who is leading the Israelite army back home after waging victorious holy war.6

I. Translation

Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done wonderful acts;
his right hand and his holy arm have saved them.
The Lord has made known his salvation—
in the presence of the nations7
he has revealed his righteousness.
He remembered his covenant love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord of all the earth.
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praise.
Sing praise to the Lord with a lyre,
with a lyre8 and the sound of playing,
with trumpet and the sound of the horn,
shout for joy before the King, Yahweh.

Let the sea storm and all its fullness,
the world and all who dwell therein.
Let the rivers clap (their) hands,
Let the mountains together sing for joy ...

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