Psalm 118 And The Eschatological Son Of David -- By: Ian J. Vaillancourt

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 62:4 (Dec 2019)
Article: Psalm 118 And The Eschatological Son Of David
Author: Ian J. Vaillancourt


Psalm 118 And The Eschatological Son Of David

Ian J. Vaillancourt*

* Ian J. Vaillancourt is Associate Professor of OT and Hebrew at Heritage Theological Seminary, 175 Holiday Inn Dr., Cambridge, ON, Canada, N3C 3T2. He may be contacted at [email protected]

Abstract: While the prevalence of Psalm 118 in the New Testament has been well documented, the rationale for the frequent recourse to this text has not been adequately explained. Perhaps by default, interpreters often gravitate toward historical-critical or form-critical discussions of the psalm’s historical or sociological origins, with little consensus. This article employs Matthew 21–26 as a focused test case and models the value of the canonical and wirkungsgeschichtliche approaches as two helpful means of inquiry. A canonical approach to the broader book of Psalms sets Psalm 118 in an eschatological context, and its placement in the smaller “Egyptian Hallel” cluster (Psalms 113–118) sets it in royal, exodus, and new exodus contexts. A wirkungsgeschichtliche study of the psalm reveals its eschatological and Davidic associations in later Jewish writings, along with its popular use at all of the major Jewish festivals. These considerations will all set the stage for a fresh reading of the relevant passages in Matthew 21–26, and will ultimately help explain why the New Testament authors recognized Jesus as the “coming one,” “the rejected stone,” and “the royal deliverer,” set forth in this popular psalm.

Key words: Psalm 118, Matthew 21–26, canonical, wirkungsgeschichtliche, Wirkungsgeschichte, eschatological, festivals, one who comes, coming one.

Psalm 118 is a prominent passage in both Jewish and Christian exegesis. For Jews, it is the climax of Psalms 113–118, a cluster often referred to as the Egyptian Hallel because of its exodus themes, and because these psalms were sung at various Jewish festivals.1 From a Christian perspective, Psalm 118 ultimately finds its climax in the eschatological son of David, Jesus Christ. In fact, this is the most referenced psalm in the NT writings, with allusions or quotations of up to eighteen of its verses in twenty to sixty NT texts.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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