One of the major shifts in OT studies over the past half of a century has been the move away from studies dominated by diachronic matters toward more text-immanent, synchronic approaches. In Psalter studies, one can see such a shift on two levels. First, on the level of the individual psalm, there has been a general trend to focus on the literary and linguistic features as the proper means for discerning the meaning of the poem. Second, on the level of the Psalter as a whole, scholars have devoted significant attention to its canonical shape and the role of adjacent psalms in the interpretation of each individual psalm. In Remember, O Yahweh, Todd approaches Psalms 135–137 on both of these levels. After a detailed poetic analysis of each psalm, he proposes that Psalms 135–137 serve as a bridge between the Songs of Ascents (Pss 120–134) and the Last Davidic Psalter (Pss 138–145). As such, this group highlights Yahweh’s past acts of deliverance as the basis for the post-exilic community's prayer for Yahweh to remember his people's lowly condition.
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This is a fine and thorough study of three consecutive psalms that brings to light many features of these individual psalms, highlights important connections among the three, and shows how, collectively, they function as a bridge between two major collections: the Psalms of Ascents (120-134) and the final Davidic collection (138-145). The work makes an important contribution that future works on the shape and shaping of the Psalter will need to give attention to.
—David M. Howard, Jr, Professor of Old Testament, Bethel University
Through a close reading of Psalms 135, 136, and 137, Todd sheds light on the literary and theological character of Book V of the Psalter, and indeed on the meaning of the entire book. This is a helpful contribution to the editorial shape of the Psalter and a model for doing careful analysis of psalms in their literary contexts.
—Jerome F. D. Creach Robert C. Holland Professor of Old Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Todd takes the best of Adele Berlin’s insights (phonological analysis) and marries it with the canonical shaping interests of Gerald Wilson. What emerges is a stimulating investigation of how psalm groups relate to each other—Psalms 135-137 in reverberation with the Psalms of Ascent, for example. This synchronic reading of psalm units in Book V models how contextual methods can build on prior approaches.
—Andrew J. Schmutzer, Professor of Biblical Studies, Moody Bible Institute
Jay Todd is Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO.