The Strategic Placement Of The ““Hallelu-Yah”” Psalms Within The Psalter -- By: O. Palmer Robertson

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 58:2 (Jun 2015)
Article: The Strategic Placement Of The ““Hallelu-Yah”” Psalms Within The Psalter
Author: O. Palmer Robertson

The Strategic Placement Of The ““Hallelu-Yah”” Psalms Within The Psalter

O. Palmer Robertson*

* O. Palmer Robertson is director of the African Bible University of Uganda.

I. Introduction

Because of its universal usage across numerous languages, it might be supposed that the exclamation “Hallelu-YAH” appears regularly and in a variety of places throughout the OT and NT. But this expressive term occurs only in one book of the OT and one book of the NT. Only in the book of Revelation after the defeat of all enemies of the LORD’s kingdom of righteousness and peace does this NT book conclude with multitudes shouting “Hallelu-YAH” (Rev 19:1–6). Correspondingly, only in the book of Psalms and only in the concluding three psalms of Book IV along with two climactic groupings and one lone psalm in Book V does this triumphant praise word appear (Book IV: Psalms 104–106; Book V: Psalms 111–117; 135; 146–150).

II. Analysis Of “Hallelu-Yah” In Scripture

Analysis of the occurrences of this word in the Psalter displays strong evidence of deliberate placement by the final editor(s) of the Psalter. This structural arrangement merits further consideration.1

First to be noted is the pattern of the term’s usage in the final three psalms of Book IV (Psalms 104, 105, 106):2

Psalm 104 ends with “Hallelu-YAH”;

Psalm 105 ends with “Hallelu-YAH”;

Psalm 106 begins and ends with “Hallelu-YAH.”

This arrangement would not seem significant if it were not that this pattern finds its echo twice in the initial appearances of the term in Book V. Two united triads of “Hallelu-YAH” psalms reflect the arrangement in the triad of Book IV, though with a distinctive reversal of order in the first case:

Psalm 111 begins with “Hallelu-YAH”;

Psalm 112 begins with “Hallelu-YAH”;

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