Psalm 58: The Failure of the Divine Council

I wrote a commentary on Psalm 58, which is pretty in-depth. If you’re not into technical Hebrew, just skip to the end where I summarize the psalm. Check it out here!

Psalm 58 combines all that makes Hebrew poetry hard: ellipses, rare words,
confusing syntax, vague analogies, and imprecations. Yet, even in this muddle, the
psalmist clearly communicates his desire for justice. It is a prayer that God would move and make justice happen in the earth.

The psalm is particularly relevant for the discussion on the divine council. It opens with an address to the gods, who roughly correspond to angels in Christian theology. These gods are enabling corruption on the earth. The psalmist then pleads that YHWH work out justice. The main contribution of this psalm is that of its viewpoint. It views the divine council, not from the viewpoint of YHWH (like Psalm 82) but from the viewpoint of a human on earth. It records the psalmist’s personal interaction and viewpoint of this council and how YHWH has to bypass it to work out his righteousness.



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