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Products>Anthems for a Dying Lamb: How Six Psalms (113-118) Became a Songbook for the Last Supper and the Age to Come

Anthems for a Dying Lamb: How Six Psalms (113-118) Became a Songbook for the Last Supper and the Age to Come

ISBN: 9781527100879

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Anthems for a Dying Lamb offers an in-depth exposition of Psalms 113-118. Often called the Hallel, these psalms were part of the Passover seder, which directed proceedings during the Passover meal. That’s one reason the Hallel became known as the ‘hymn’ that Jesus sang with his disciples at the Last Supper, and why it is often part of communion services when the church celebrates the Lord’s Supper. Philip Ross explains Psalms 113-118 in their Old Testament context and shows how the ‘trouble and sorrow’ of Psalm 116, or the ‘cornerstone’ of Psalm 118, give us insight into Jesus’ ministry and mindset in the hours before his crucifixion.

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Key Features

  • Contains expositions of the last psalms sung by Jesus
  • Encourages Christians to sing the psalms
  • Explores how these psalms can be used in today’s church


  • Introduction: Scaffold Psalmody
  • Passover Praise?
  • Songs for a Later Age
  • Praise the Lord!
  • Tremble, O Earth!
  • Trust in the Lord
  • Interlude: ‘I Will Declare Your Name to My Brethren’
  • Return, O My Soul, to Your Rest
  • Follow the Conductor
  • Save Now
  • O Lord, Open Our Lips

Top Highlights

“Psalms 113–115 call us to praise the Lord together, united in worship and thankfulness for his love. Psalms 116–118 become more personal, although not exclusively. While in 113–115, the psalmist never says, ‘I’, ‘me’, or ‘my’, in 116–118 he says ‘I’, ‘me’, or ‘my’, 72 times. This is not a slide into pietistic narcissism; when God saves his people, his salvation becomes personal. Both sets of outer Psalms (113 and 115; 116 and 118) are songs of praise and thanksgiving, while the centre Psalms (114 and 117) call on the nations to worship. Repeated words and phrases, many ‘Hallelujahs’, stitch the two parts into one theme of praise and expectation—a unanimous exhortation to people of all nations to exit bondage and embrace the Lord’s redeeming reign.” (Page 11)

“Their problem with Rabec went beyond his choral capabilities to matters more spiritual, specifically his Huguenot convictions, for which he would shortly burn at the stake. This might make his total glossectomy seem a pointless procedure, but the bishops judged it a critical intervention because when Protestant martyrs went to the stake singing, spectators would turn into a congregation, united with the dying Christian in his final doxology.” (Page 1)

“Despite such debate, however, the Seder as Judaism practices it today took its final form at the beginning of the second century, and some of its content stretches back to 200 bc.12 In addition, the Haggadah is not the only source to associate the Hallel with Passover; the Mishnah does likewise. This second century ‘crown jewel of Rabbinic Judaism,’” (Page 8)

Praise for the Print Edition

Don’t rush through this book; it should be savored bit by bit; here is exposition one can chew on. You can bask in its fresh insights (Why didn’t I think of it that way?), treasure its obvious sympathy (for faith in its bleakness and despair), squirm under its searching exposure (Do we really recognize our idolatry?)—and all the while Dr Ross keeps you firmly tethered to Jesus. Here is a mind-filling, soul-nourishing, Christ-focused feast!

Dale Ralph Davis, Minister in Residence, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina

Those who are acquainted with Philip Ross’ fine doctoral work, From the Finger of God, already know what a careful scholar, student and expositor he is. The same values are evident in the present book. Whether he is tackling the often ticklish questions of the relation of the ‘Egyptian Hallel’ to early Jewish Passover liturgies or the (plainly more congenial) task of exposition of the Psalms we meet with the same painstaking care, attention to detail, mastery of facts and subject, and, above all, devout recognition of Holy Scripture as the Word of God. The whole book is equally illuminating and heart-warming.

Alec Motyer (1924–2016) Commentator & Old Testament Scholar

Jewish scholars long ago realised that Psalms 113–118 form a significant grouping within the Psalter. Because these psalms were part of the Passover liturgy has suggested to Christian scholars that they formed the content of what Jesus and his disciples sang after the first Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:30). Philip Ross expounds these psalms with particular reference to the Messiah’s probable use of them. In many respects his presentation resembles that of Dr Klaas Schilder in the first volume of his famous trilogy, Christ in His Suffering, in which he entitles his discussion on them, ‘The Author Sings His Own Psalms’. One doesn’t have to agree with all of the exegesis in this book to enjoy and benefit from its lively, challenging, and deeply spiritual presentation. Read and ponder the implications of the Dying Lamb facing Calvary in the light of these songs that extol God’s power to save.

Allan M. Harman, Research Professor of Old Testament, Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne, Australia

Product Details

  • Title: Anthems for a Dying Lamb: How Six Psalms (113-118) Became a Songbook for the Last Supper and the Age to Come
  • Author: Philip S. Ross
  • Publisher: Christian Focus
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Pages: 160
  • Resource Type: Sermons
  • Topic: Psalms

Philip S. Ross is a theological editor who studied in Wales. He worked extensively on the well-received Christian Heritage editions of The Marrow of Modern Divinity and subtitled seven John Owen works. Philip lives near Loch Lomond in Scotland with his wife and three children.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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    Digital list price: $13.99
    Save $3.00 (21%)