In Psalm 63, David the minstrel king likens himself to Israel, and his sufferings and hope not only take on the form of his nation’s history but also of its sacred architecture.
The Covenant-literary shape of Psalm 8 allows David to make allusions to some surprising parts of the Torah as well as predicting the Temple of Solomon and even a crucial event in the ministry of Jesus.
“Songs of Ascent” is the title given to fifteen of the Psalms (120-134) whose theme is drawing near to God on His holy hill for a tryst between heaven and earth. In liturgical imagery, the worshipers ascend the steps of the mountain-altar of Eden as blameless “living sacrifices” that their praise might rise from there as a “smoky” tower to heaven, an ascension offering which is acceptable to God.1For more discussion, see The First Ascension.
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|1.||↑||For more discussion, see The First Ascension.|
Psalm 110 is one of the two most frequently quoted Psalms in the New Testament, yet its purpose and content remain mysterious unless we take into account its Covenant-literary structure.
Psalm 82 begins with the Lord in his “house of lords,” but He is there because they have been doing what is right in their own eyes. Thus, this prophetic song is as applicable to the authorities of our own day as it was in any previous era in history.
This psalm of David is so well-known that parsing its Covenant-literary structure is like seeing an old friend in a new light.
“Psalms 1 and 2 are chiastically arranged in order to show that the Blessed Man from Psalm 1 is the Son, the King, of Psalm 2.”
The Psalms were all composed with the history, images and patterns of the Torah in mind. So it makes sense if the arrangement of a sacrifice of praise might recapitulate, step-by-step, the process of a sacrifice of flesh.
Psalm 1 and the Revelation
Although the Covenant-literary “matrix” is consistent throughout the Bible, the biblical authors quite often play with it to make a point. Sometimes they leave something out.
Fifteen of the Psalms (120-134) begin with the words, “A song of ascents.” The title may indicate that these were sung by worshipers ascending the road to Jerusalem for the three annual “pilgrim” festivals, Passover, Pentecost and Booths. All of these songs are brief, they employ a degree of repetition, and they focus on the hope of Zion.