NR. 4 – 2015

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2015.4

Pr. Ioan CHIRILĂ Le Psautier de David – La Torah sous forme lyrique?

Rezumat: Psaltirea lui David – Torah în formă lirică?​

Cartea Legii (Torah) este elementul pivot al întregului corpus vechitestamentar, scrierile și profeții orbitează tematic și ideatic în jurul ei. Cartea Psalmilor, și în general literatura didactico-poetică, ne oferă o nouă paradigmă de interpretare nomosică, din perspectiva largă a istoriei mântuirii neamului omenesc. Cercetarea noastră urmărește cu acribie modul în care Psaltirea davidică, decantează structurile logice și legice ale Pentateuhului lui Moise, insistând pe zona lui Yahwe ḥonneni – deprecații din adâncul inimii, luate drept premisă a rugăciunii inimii în Psalmi.

Spiritualitatea ortodoxă își asumă cultic Psaltirea, considerând-o drept carte de rugăciuni de căpătâi, însăși reeditarea ei constantă, îi transgresează calitatea duhovnicească. Cheia hristologică de interpretare a Psaltirii, ne-a făcut să urmărim lucrarea soteriologică concretă a lui Dumnezeu în istoria poporului ales, atent criptată în Pentateuh, înțelegând astfel că subzistă apodicticitate între Lege și Psaltire. Asocierile, au la bază o structură și un conținut pertinent teologic, realitate epistemică ce i-a determinat pe rabini și Părinți, să intuiască această sintonie ideatică de tip mesianic. Rabinii au încercat să dovedească faptul că fiecare psalm este un construct dezvoltat pe tiparul mozaic inspirat de YHWH, având la bază matricea sidrot-ului, iar Părinții vorbesc despre Psaltire ca fiind «cea de-a doua carte de legi», augmentând un sistem doctrinar hristologic și o genuină expresie lirică a Torei.

Încă din primul psalm se observă o apropiere organică de zona meditativă a Legii, prin utilizarea verbului hagah, inoculând perspectiva credinciosului care încearcă să pătrundă dimensiunea arcană a Torei, ca înțelegând-o, să o poată declina în faptă. Tematica decriptată de psalmist în acest poem sapiențial (doctrina despre cele două căi) își are originea în Deuteronom 30, unde Dumnezeu îi oferă fiecărui israelit posibilitatea de a alege între viață și moarte, între bine și rău sau între binecuvântare și blestem. Apoi se dezvoltă sub formă de litanie pe cuprinsul Psalmului 118, considerat de către Sf. Teodoret, a fi alcătuit de regele David, pentru a se mângâia întru necazul său și a însămânța dragostea față de Torah. Fiind format din 22 de strofe (după numărul consoanelor care alcătuiesc alfabetul ebraic), cu câte opt versuri pentru fiecare, Psalmul 118 este cel mai elocvent exemplu de poezie acrostih din Vechiul Testament. Inspirat din Deuteronom, conținutul psalmului îl învață pe om că fericirea poate să fie dobândită numai prin meditarea și împlinirea legii.

Psalmii ca și componentă cultică, au fost inserați odată cu reforma religioasă a regelui David, iar această manifestare de tip liturgic, a înlesnit trecerea de la sistemul sacrificial mozaic la cel doxologic. Printre factorii ce au contribuit decisiv la schimbarea de paradigmă, au fost și distrugerea Templului alături de robia babiloniană. Iar în acest context nefavorabil, psalmii și cântările levitice au avut un rol considerabil. Însă astfel de manifestări inopinat doxologice, au fost înregistrate chiar înainte de contribuția davidică, și am în minte doar cântarea Anei, mama judecătorului Samuel (1 Rg 2, 1-10). În perioada celui de-al doilea templu, rânduiala de folosire a psalmilor în cult este mult mai clară. Cercetători ca Hermann Gunkel, Sigmund Mowinckel și Arthur Weiser, exegeți care și-au axat o mare parte din activitatea lor științifică pe textele psalmice, au afirmat că majoritatea psalmilor au fost creați pentru a dezvolta cultul doxologic de la templu, prin intermediul căruia, poporului îi era prezentată într-o formă lirică, învățătura despre Dumnezeu și modul în care El interacționează cu omul și natura.

Conotația hristologică a Psalmilor, le-a oferit de asemenea un statut special și în creștinism, spre exemplu, în programul liturgic al comunităților creștine din primele veacuri, textele psalmice erau nelipsite, acestea deținând un primat evident între lecturile din Vechiul Testament. De asemenea, rostirea psalmilor nu a fost încorsetată în rânduielile cultului public sau în cele ale cinului monahal, ci a fost asumată de creștini în viața lor particulară. Literatura patristică face adesea referire la Psalmi (Ioan Casian, Clement Alexandrinul, Vasile cel Mare, Grigorie de Nyssa, Atanasie cel Mare etc.), considerând procesul asumării lor în viața cotidiană și religioasă a omului, eminamente lucrarea Sfântului Duh.

Receptarea Decalogului în Psaltire este de asemenea o altă fațetă a cercetării de față. Prin intermediul dimensiunii cantabile a Psalmilor, Legea își găsește cu ușurință un loc în sufletul credinciosului, adică învățătura desăvârșită despre Dumnezeu, care a fost scrisă chiar de degetul Domnului ( 31, 18). Între granițele acestui nou concept teologic creat, psalmistul inspirându-se din celebra mărturisire de credință Șema Israel! (Dt 6, 4-5), reafirmă tradiția decalogică făcând trimitere la prima poruncă, care de altfel este baza și suportul teologic pentru celelalte nouă: «Ascultă, poporul Meu! Voiesc să-ți dau de veste! O Israel, de mi-ai da ascultare! Să nu se afle la tine nici un dumnezeu străin și să nu te închini unui alt Dumnezeu, căci eu sunt Domnul Dumnezeul tău, care te-a scos din țara Egiptului» (Ps 81, 9-11 – Biblia 1938). Rostirea acestei porunci într-un ambient cultic în care era prăznuită sărbătoarea Paștelui, Anul Nou sau Sărbătoarea Corturilor, conferea acestei mărturisiri o încărcătură sufletească majoră. Spațiul sfânt și timpul liturgic îi îndemna pe israeliți să intre în comuniune cu Dumnezeul cel Viu Care dă viață veșnică, părăsind astfel orice formă iluzorie de idolatrie. A doua și a treia poruncă sunt reluate în Psalmii 113 și 134 care vorbesc despre supremația lui YHWH față de orice idol – aceștia din urmă, rămânând încorsetați în teluric, sub orizontul de plumb al imaginației umane idolatre. Diferența dintre Dumnezeul cel Viu și idolii ciopliți, va fi atât de evidentă încât toate neamurile vor părăsi pe dumnezeii lor și vor veni să se închine înaintea Domnului, Singurul Dumnezeu adevărat, pentru a-I preaslăvi numele pe care l-au luat în deșert prin slujirea lor idolatră (Ps 85, 8). Psalmul 8 de asemenea, este o monstră de corijare a păcatului luării Numelui Domnului în deșert, articulând un eclatant imn de preaslăvire a Numelui Celui Sfânt. Semnificația teologică este evidentă: dacă numele Domnului va fi slăvit așa cum textele psalmice o cer, atunci acesta nu va mai fi luat în deșert.

O vizualizare fugitivă a Psalmilor ne poate inocula ideea că nu mai avem corespondent cu toate celelalte porunci rămase. Însă dacă privim mai cu atenție psalmii 80 sau 92, putem lesne întrezări dimineața șabatică a poruncii a patra. Cu privire la cea de-a cincea, perspectiva rămâne aceeași, de data aceasta psalmiștii arborând o teologie superioară: Dumnezeu este tatăl arhetipal, iar oamenii sunt fiii lui (Ps 102, 13). Considerându-se astfel că accentuarea filiației sau a paternității divine în detrimentul celei trupești, va avea un efect mult mai puternic asupra mentalului colectiv (Ps 88, 26). Următoarele porunci din Decalog, suferă împreună același avatar: sunt intercondiționate de cele care stabilesc raportul dintre Dumnezeu și om. Iubirea lui Dumnezeu determină și iubirea aproapelui.

Dezideratul forte al Psaltirii este de a-l determina pe cititor să împlinească Torah, ca astfel întâlnindu-se liturgic cu Creatorul, persuadat de iubirea nebună a lui Dumnezeu, să devină asemenea Lui. Atributele ontice ale dumnezeirii (dreptatea, sfințenia, milostivirea etc.) contemplate de poporul Său, trebuie prin extensie să devină parte constitutivă a comunității. Cuprinzând într-o manieră rezumativă majoritatea torot-urilor ce-au alcătuit Torah, Cartea Psalmilor de rugăciune (Sefer Tefillim) devine prin excelență toposul comuniunii dintre Dumnezeu și om, iar nu în ultimul rând, o sumă revelatoare a structurilor axiologice ale Logosului lui Dumnezeu.


Pr. Constantin OANCEA Tradiția din Scriptură. Considerații despre lumea conceptuală și geneza Psalmului 2

Summary: Tradition in the Holy Scripture. Considerations on the conceptual framework and the genesis of Psalm 2

In this study, attention is drawn on the importance of the Holy Scripture’s tradition as subject of biblical exegesis. Considering the importance given to tradition as a concept in Orthodox theology, the investigation of the Holy Scripture’s traditions emerges as a justified and necessary exegetical approach in current Orthodox biblical theology. This study looks at the conceptual and spiritual universe within which Ps 2 was created. It discusses the origins of the concepts and the place where these were cultivated and preserved, and whether these representations and motifs are found elsewhere in the Old Testament. Another crucial issue is whether traditions underwent any change when included in Ps 2. The author’s intention in making use of traditions is also discussed in the study. Reference to the Psalms is made in accordance with the numerical system of the Septuagint, except for the places where the Masoretic Text [MT] is mentioned as source. On the whole, Ps 2 is a carefully constructed composition, which includes four scenes: I: vv. 1-3; II: vv. 4-6; III: vv. 7-9; IV: vv. 10-12. The middle scenes (II and III) describe the special relationship between YHWH (the heavenly king) and His anointed (the earthly king). The extreme scenes (I and IV) look at the behaviour of the peoples / kings of the earth: their initial attempt at rebellion, and the final invitation, addressed to them, to obey YHWH.

The siege of the peoples and the rebellion of nations (vv. 1-3). Ps 2 begins by exposing the hostile attitude of the gentiles towards Jerusalem. The siege of the gentiles against Jerusalem is a tradition anchored in the prophetic milieus of ancient Israel. Oracles against foreign nations – usually against individual peoples – are found in the books of the Major and Minor Prophets. The discourse of Ps 2 is not directed against one people or a group of peoples, but against „peoples” in general. Such oracles against peoples are not absent in pre-exilic time (cf. Ps 46, 5-7 and especially 47, 4-7) but are representative of the exile or post-exilic period. Common features with Ps 2 can be identified in: Isa 8, 9-10; Isa 17, 12-14; Mic 4, 11-13; Zech 12, 2-4 and Ps 89, 20-30 [MT]. Ps 2 differs from the tradition of the invasion of the peoples by the fact that here the peoples do not intend to siege Jerusalem, but to free themselves from the dominion of Jerusalem. The text reflects an imaginary scenario in which all peoples are vassals to the king of Judah and rebel against Jerusalem (M. Saur). The idea that the future would bring about the rule of Jerusalem over the whole world became an essential element in the eschatological expectations of the post-exilic period. Thus, Ps 2 presents a resumption of pre-exilic prophetic traditions and of royal court propaganda in a changed historical context.

The Heavenly King (vv. 4-6). YHWH’s worship as Lord of the heavenly court (yhwh ṣeḇāʾôṯ) is attested in Judah and Israel during the pre-exilic period, in prophetic traditions (3 Kings 22, 19). In Jerusalem, this religious representation could have existed along with the belief that the Lord is present in the Temple (cf. Isa 6). The concept of YHWH as a Heavenly King is closely related to the belief that God’s worship and the king are guarantors of righteousness and divine order on earth (Ps 10, 4; 32, 13-14; 96, 2; 98, 1; 102, 19). In the pre-exilic period, these beliefs and representations are affirmed and cultivated at the royal court and its temple. In Ps 2, the tradition of Lord’s governance has sapiential origins. The discourse is didactic, including ironic observations. Thus, the anthropomorphic and satirical features can be explained (YHWH is laughing at the people’s plot, v. 4), since one would not expect to encounter irony in the cultic environment or when discussing the royal ideology (cf. Ps 36, 12-13). «He who sits in the heavens» (v. 4) sounds like a divine name already in use. In the context of vv. 1-6, this name implies a monotheistic conception that was already accepted and used at the time when this psalm was written. Although the idea that YHWH has His throne in the heavens is also encountered during the period of the state, it becomes a general representation in the post-exilic period, as shown by the use of the title «yhwh ʾelōhê haššāmayim (Lord, God of Heaven)» in the Persian era (2 Chr 36, 23; Ezra 1, 2; Neh 1, 5; Jon 1, 9).

The Divine Filiation of the King (v. 7). The king of Ps 2 legitimizes his particular status before the nations by appealing to a divine decision, which states God’s relationship with him: «You are my son; today I have begotten you» (v. 7). When the verb yld is used having a male as subject, the action does not indicate the moment of procreation, but the fatherhood of the one to whom a child was born (cf. Prov 23, 22). This „begetting” was possibly regarded as a kind of adoption (G. von Rad), election (H.-J. Kraus) or acceptance as vassal (O. Keel). The phrase was meant to describe the king’s relationship with YHWH from an official perspective. But it is likely that the father-son relationship had deeper connotations. In Ps 2, the king of Zion is described as the closest representative of the Heavenly King, who is at the same time the king of the world. Ps 2, 7 is influenced by a prophetic tradition on the relationship of the kings of the Davidic dynasty with YHWH: «ʾănî ʾehyeh-lô leʾāḇ wehûʾ yihyeh-lî leḇēn (I will be a father to him and he shall be a son to me)» (2 Sam 7, 12-16). The king is not the son of God as a physical being, but he becomes a son (hyh leḇēn) under the decree of the Lord. The wording is typical of the Old Testament covenant language. In this sense, Ps 2 is close to Ps 89 [MT], where the covenant is reproduced as a decision communicated by YHWH to David, whereby David is promised an everlasting dynasty: «He shall cry to me, „You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation!”. I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth» (vv. 27-28). Both Ps 2 and Ps 89 [MT] resume, in a specific language, a representation of the covenant in which the promise of a universal dominion and the divine filiation of the king are placed together. Both Psalms are a rereading of Nathan’s prophecy (2 Sam 7, 14).

The worldwide dominion of the king of Zion (vv. 8-9). The scenario of Ps 2 is based on the premise that the king of Zion rules the world. The foreign peoples are subject to him. Such a statement appears in the pre-exilic epoch in Psalms of Zion and in Psalms that glorify God as king (Ps 45 and 47; 23, 46 and 92). But the dominion of the king of Zion is depicted in Ps 2 as imposed by force, even by violence. Actions such as «striking peoples with the iron rod» and «crushing them to pieces like a potter’s vessel» recall the official discourse of the Assyrian kings describing how they treated the conquered and subjugated peoples (E. Zenger and L. Hossfeld). It is rather an expression of the propaganda of the great empires and their policy of subjugation, which Israel tragically experienced, starting with the Assyrian and ending with the Roman Empire. If the worldwide dominion of the davidic king is proclaimed here, then it is obviously a wish. This expectation on the part of the psalmist is based on the king’s special relationship with YHWH and is not necessarily based on contemporary events (M. Saur).

The Lord’s Worship by Peoples (vv. 10-12). In the last scene of Ps 2, a prophetic tradition is reiterated. It refers to a time when the peoples will go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship the Lord (Mic 4, 1-4; Isa 2, 2-5; 42, 10-12; 45, 14; 56, 3-8; 60; 66, 18-20). The sapiential influence in Ps 2 is attested by the terminology in vv. 10-12: śḵl hif. („to understand”), ysr nif. („to receive instruction”) – both terms appear in Ps 1, 3 in connection with the acquisition of wisdom – ʾbd dereḵ („to perish on the path”, „to be on the way to perdition”, cf. Ps 1, 6). «Serving the Lord with Fear» (v. 11) is the basic principle of the sapiential tradition (Prov 1, 7). The pilgrimage of nations to Jerusalem to adore the Lord was also a motif in the inter-testamentary sapiential literature (Tob 13, 13-14; Ps Sol 17, 31-34).

In Ps 2, traditions from pre-exilic Israel and Judah are taken over and reinterpreted in a new historical context, during the Ptolemaic domination (F. Diedrich), when the contrast between Judaism and the other peoples’ different ways became more acute as a result of the tendency of globalization and the over-cultural character of Hellenism. For the author of Ps 2, the Messiah is the eschatological king who will be installed by God and to whom all nations will be subjected. The author of the psalm, however, opens a new perspective on the relationship between Israel and nations. The imperfect of rāʿaʿ („to break”) in v. 8 can describe a future fact («you will break them with a rod of iron») or a future possibility («you might break them with a rod of iron»). Messiah’s response in the future is not necessarily related to the idea of dominance imposed by violence. Taking over some traditions from prophecies of salvation and sapiential principles, the author proposes an alternative to violence. Peoples can accept the act of worshipping the Lord (vv. 11-12). It is the only reasonable alternative to escape the Lord’s wrath and destruction.


Diac. Alexandru MIHĂILĂ Păcat și pocăință în Psaltire

Summary: Sin and Repentance in the Book of Psalms

The concept of sin and its healing through repentance are fundamental themes of biblical theology and anthropology, unfortunately neglected of late, in favor of studies centered on the history of the text. The Book of Psalms, in which God is addressed in the second person, offers a good perspective on sin and repentance from many points of view. In the first part, the article discusses those Psalms or psalm parts in which innocence is expressed. For example, in worship, the supplicant says he is righteous and therefore worthy to enter the temple (Ps 15 and 26). It is likely that these Psalms stressing human innocence are based on the dialogue between the priest guarding the entrance to the sanctuary and the believer. The priest asked the believer if he had certain impurities, which would have prevented him from entering the sanctuary, and the orant would answer, asserting his innocence. It should be noted that in the Eastern mentality, more emphasis is placed on the assertion of innocence than on the acknowledgement of sin. In both Egyptian and Mesopotamian literature, prayers appear in which the orant is considered worthy. In the Egyptian book of the dead, when facing judgment after death, the dead claim their innocence. From this particular, cultic aspect, innocence became a permanent state of the believer (Ps 18, 131). The believer wants to permanently connect with God and act outside the sanctuary as if he were before the Lord. These texts should not be understood as self-praise or instances of self-sufficiency, but rather from the perspective of the believer’s desire to always be in contact with God. The same goes for the cases where the believer asks to be judged by God, knowing that he will be deemed righteous, because he is innocent. Declaring his state of purity, the supplicant hopes that the Lord will reward him. Innocence is also expressed by so-called Psalms of enmity. In other words, enemies are a common feature in the Psalter, the supplicant having no other solution than to appeal to God in the face of assault by his enemies. There are Psalms that at first glance represent a dichotomous vision at moral level: the orant is innocent; his enemies, who become the enemies of God, are sinners. In fact, the orant declares himself to be unfairly accused. He does not proclaim his perfection, but only that he is not guilty in a peculiar case (Ps 59).

In the second part, the Psalms centered on the recognition of guilt are discussed. There are oriental precedents too, more often in Mesopotamia, such as the laments intended to pacify a god’s heart, which flourished especially in the first millennium BC. In the Book of Psalms, the recognition of guilt often takes the form of a true confession of sins. Among these, the closest to the preceding point are those in which sin appears to be somewhat of a human nature, as the state of weakness of all men (Ps 143). It is interesting that in some places the two moral feelings, that of innocence and that of guilt, can be found together (Ps 19). There are also Psalms in which the orant recognizes sin directly, without any attenuating circumstance. These are the most interesting cases for Eastern Christian spirituality, which has evolved in this direction. In some Psalms, the recognition of sins is individual, in others it is collective. Sin can be recognized in some of the Psalms as a fallen state in all the humanity who prefers lies to the truth. On the other hand, there are also involuntary sins, hidden, ignored, which also prove the weakness of humankind. The emphasis, however, is on sins committed willfully, which must be acknowledged, in order to obtain forgiveness from God. There is also the question how these seemingly contradictory feelings can be theologically evaluated. The answer would be that by reading the Psalms proclaiming innocence the Christian can find a model of virtues, which he does not know, or, in other words, by reading the Psalms of innocence, the Christian is humbling himself because he hasn’t attained this level of impassibleness. On the other hand, the Psalms in which the guilt is proclaimed can be easily read and assumed, as they maintain the ordinary condition of the believer in the struggle against his passions, asking for help and forgiveness from God. An example from Evergetinos (4, 13) is conclusive. Elder Luke of Jericho confessed to a visitor that he prayed using verses of Psalms in concrete situations of life. At the visitor’s remark that David had written the Psalms for himself, the elder answered that he who does not observe the words spoken before God, that is, does not apply them to himself, as if they were his own words, cannot be saved.

Here are the various aspects of sin. On a gradual scale, the degrees range from sin as outward rebellion to sin as omission or oversight. Although caution is advised in drawing the theological conclusions from the concept in the source language (Hebrew, Greek) (see J. Barr), some aspects can be noted. First, sin can be perceived as failure (het, hattat). This meaning can be inferred from Deut 20, 16, which says that a group of slingers of Benjamin were so skilled that they threw a stone at a hair without miss (Heb. Ḥāṭā’ at Hiphil). The variant ḥaṭṭā’t appears 298 times, being specific to the cultic language of Leviticus, but in Psalms it appears only a few times (13). Then sin can be described as a rebellion in Heb. pesha. The meaning of „rebellion” can be inferred from 2 Kings 12, 19, where the verb pāša’ is used with the preposition „to rebel / rebel against someone”. The connotation is that an authority is overthrown, and the rebel does not want to recognize it and obey it. Of the 134 occurrences (noun and verb forms), there are relatively few in the Psalms (16). Most occurrences in the Psalms belong to the terms āwôn and āwen „iniquity”, „guilt” (especially for āwôn). Regarding āwôn, of the 233 occurrences in the Old Testament, 31 appear in the Psalms. But ‘āwen appears most often in the Psalms (31 times, 80 times). It is a term halfway between mistake and rebellion, emphasizing moral responsibility and excluding omission, neglect. There is no sin on the face, intentionally, or in biblical language, „with the high hand” (as it appears in Num 15), but it is a sin to which the orant falls victim because he has also participated in it.

Regarding the patristic and liturgical reception of Psalms about sin and repentance, the first to be mentioned in the West is Cassiodor, Expositio psalmorum in the 6th century group of Psalms called „Psalms of repentance”: 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129 and 142. In the East, there was such a group, but Matins was a group of six Psalms, Hexapsalmos. It seems to be of Egyptian origin, coming from the night vigil. It is mentioned for the first time in a Greek manuscript dating from late 6th century or early 7th century, about the visit of the abbots John and Sophronius to the abbey of Nilus the Anchorite of Sinai. During the vigil (ἀγρυπνία) on Saturday night the Sinai monks chanted the Hexapsalmos, then, after „Our Father”, the entire psalm divided into three odes. The composition of the Hexapsalmos is not specified, but it is inferred that it was very well known. A similar mention is also found in the rule of St. John Stoudios Monastery in Constantinople in the 9th century. The penitential character of Hexapsalmos is proven by the fact that it was not read during the Bright Week.


Pr. Ilie MELNICIUC-PUICĂ Psalmii în Evanghelia după Ioan

Summary: The Psalms in the Gospel according to John

Biblical intertextuality comprises the research into the sacred text, by which are identified Old Testament quotations, biblical allusions and „echoes” in similar fragments, used in the New Testament. An author can have a precise purpose for his quotation, but it is taken out of a context and forced to form new connections, becoming open to new interpretations. This must be anticipated by the author, making oneself clear for the receptors of his message. St. John the Theologian used the Psalms in his Gospel as the most frequent source (explicitly 9 times), followed by quotations from Isaiah (at least 6 times). Thus, the primary selections of Apostle John from the material of the Old Testament are focused on prophets and quotations from the Psalms. In the «Book of Signs» (Jn 1-12) Apostle John uses the Psalms explicitly on four occasions: the motivation for the Cleansing of the Temple (Jn 2, 17), the episode in Capernaum after feeding the multitudes in the desert (Jn 6, 13), in his talk in Solomon’s Colonnade (Jn 10, 34) and the acclamation for the Savior’s entry into Jerusalem (Jn 12, 13). In the context of the fourth Gospel, the episode of the cleansing of the Temple is placed immediately after the wedding in Cana of Galilee (Jn 2, 1-11), when Jesus visits, unsatisfied, the Temple of Jerusalem. The sequence of events is demanded in Saint John not by chronological reasons, but by theological ones. The inspired writer observes this not only by placing this fragment in the inaugural part of the mission of Christ, but especially by the anamnetic statement in Jn 2, 17 («Then His disciples remembered that it was written, „Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up”»). The verse is connected with the explanatory remarks in Jn 2, 22 and Jn 2, 16 where it is also said, in Johannine terms, that the disciples remembered. The answer given by Jesus Christ in Jn 2, 19 («Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up») evinces similarities with the one in Mk 14, 68, being a composite quotation that uses the message from Isa 56, 7 and Jer 7, 1. The quotation in Ps 69, 9a comprises three linguistic segments: «zeal», «Your house», «has eaten me up».

The zeal of Old Testament persons for God finds an expression in Phinehas (Num 25, 11-13), in Prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19, 10.14) and in Mattathias (1 Macc 2, 23-26). The expression «Your house» may have the meaning of „people of Israel” or even „the Temple of Jerusalem”, and for the phrase «has eaten me up», the meaning may be „consumed me with passion”, „killed me, sacrificed me”. Saint John took the quotation from Ps 69, 9 from the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, but changed the tense of the verb, transforming the text of the psalmist into a prophetic announcement. His intention is to say that Jesus’ disciples saw the prophecy come true. A better explanation for the use of the future «will eat me up» in Jn 2, 17 is that Jesus’ zeal for the house of His Father will cause Him to die crucified. The suffering of the Righteous in Ps 69 is seen as a prefiguration of the passions of Jesus Christ. The Gospel according to John cites only a part of the verse (9a). The second part of the verse is used as an argument by Saint Apostle Paul in Rom 15, 3. The second quote taken from the Psalms of David by the fourth Gospel can be found in Jn 6, 31, pointing to Ps 78, 24-25 (Septuagint). The event of the exodus from Egypt was re-written in many Psalms of the canonical collection of the Old Testament. The crossing of the Red Sea, the manna and the water in the desert were only material events of the liberation for the Israelites. Ps 78, 24-25 qualifies by means of a synonymic parallelism the special type of meal, calling it «bread of heaven» and «angels’ food». The Lord does not quote Ps 105, which implicitly states that God has given them this food, but Ps 78, where he stresses the quality of mediator that Moses has, when God offers this heavenly bread to «those who murmured». The third quotation in the Book of Signs in the Gospel according to John refers to Ps 82, 6 in the controversy between Jesus and «the Jews» in Solomon’s Colonnade.

Ps 82, 6 represents a statement-text through which God communicates His message to «the congregation of the mighty» (Ps 82, 1.7), which does not seem to be immortal, but on the contrary, subject to death and spoil. The interruption of the Psalm before the second section (fragment 6b) raises the problem of authority held by «the congregation of the mighty» (Ps 82, 1.6) which may cover the ancient concept of the „administrator” in the Near East, or that of „counselor”, „adviser”, even the concept of „intimately close, trustworthy man”. Since the divine message is bivalent, the term «sons» could be interpreted both in the sense of the biological filiation and in that of partaker of the divine dignity, by assimilation of the service. From the Johannine quotation and context it seems that Jesus asks: Why are you bothered by the fact that I call Myself God, since God Himself said about you that you are sons of God? Examples from the patristic interpretation of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Theodoret of Cyrus and Augustine confirm the re-reading of the Gospel according to John and of the Psalms in the Christological dimension. The Book of Signs, in chapter 12 includes Ps 118, 26 as the last acclamation of the multitudes, during Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The placement of the historical event in this chapter represents, at the same time, the prologue for the second important section of the Gospel, called the „Book of Glory”, which underscores more strongly the royal-messianic dimension of Jesus Christ. Because Jn 12, 13 adds an interesting theological nuance through the insertion of the phrase «king of Israel» in the original context, the messianic nature of Ps 118 is especially underscored. The acclamation has a sense of „glory in the highest”, an act of thankfulness to God for the peace brought by His servant on earth. The chapters dedicated to the farewell discourse in the fourth Gospel (Jn 13-17) comprise two references to Psalms. Jn 13, 18 quotes from Ps 41, 9 (LXX), a psalm in which the suffering righteous describes the acts of his enemies and then states that his friend, even the closest one, betrayed him. The verb „to eat” from Ps 41, 9 LXX and in Mk 14, 18 is given using the synonym τρώγων, thus emphasizing the Eucharistic dimension, as in Jn 6, 70-71. The one who has his feet washed by Jesus, meaning that he partakes through this sign with the one who raises the man fallen into hell, is now the one who despises the invitation to participate in communion.

The ancient mentality in the Mediterranean area interpreted the insult as a turning away from communion to the egotistic self. The heel is at the back side of the foot, hence it is not only an act of negation, but especially an act of rebellion. The form of the verse from Psalms is closer to that of the Masoretic Text. The identification of the quotation, with the use of the introductory formula πληρόω („fulfil”), the manner in which Christ becomes the Interpreter, as well as the relation between the accommodation of the text to a historical reality without predetermining / predestinating it, are the coordinates for the analysis of this text. Covering five chapters (Jn 13-17) and known as the „Farewell Discourse”, the ample fragment of the Bible is read in the Orthodox Church during the service of the Orthros of the Twelve Gospels, on Thursday evening, on the Great and Holy Week. Jn 15, 25 appears as a text with antinomic character, apparently opposed to the previous message, where Jesus Christ invites His disciples to unconditioned love and to bear fruit faithfully from the Vine. From the perspective of the Hebrew literature, we identify the antinomic parallelism that Saint John the Evangelist „employs” in order to present the contrast between «love» and «hate». This parallelism is achieved by quoting Ps 35, 18 from a different translation of the Septuagint. The Psalm evokes the fate of a righteous man, unfairly persecuted. In the Johannine context it is said that the work and activity of Jesus Christ have not been evaluated correctly. The condition of the «villains», in which great ideals and petty acts come into contrast, is characteristically hateful. This attitude does not refer to the attitude of the «Jews», but to the attitude of the «world», using a text from the Old Testament. There are similarities, based on the same idea, in Ps 69, 5-6 («Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head»). The reading of this text in a Christological key seems to be underlined more by the sacred author than by Jesus Christ, who identifies with the oppressed righteous man. The apologetic purpose of the fourth Gospel would be, from this point of view, a lesson for the Christians that they will be hated by the world only because they assert their quality of followers of Christ.

Of the three explicit quotations of the Psalms of David for the section of the passions of the Lord (especially Jn 19), are analysed the quotations: Ps 22, 19; Ps 69, 22 and Ps 34, 19. The moment when the soldiers divided Christ’s clothes into four shares after they had crucified Him in Jn 19, 24 is in relation with a fragment from Ps 22. Without a doubt, the presentations from the Gospel referring to the distribution of the clothes represent an adaptation of the psalm, with or without a historical applicability, even though the Jewish pre-Christian exegetes understood the psalm as a messianic one in that period of time. Bringing into discussion the stripping of clothes, in the context of the entire gospel according to John, may suggest that Jesus Himself discards all the earthly things before the Cross just as He discarded in another context His clothing to take up the role of a servant. The Roman soldiers acted according to the customs and led by malicious intent, but without knowing that they were fulfilling God’s words. The analysis of the text from the Old Testament is enriched with the exegesis of St. Justin the Martyr, Augustine and Theodoret of Cyrus, as examples of the history of the perception of the Psalms in the undivided Church. Christ’s thirst in Jn 19, 28 reminds us of Ps 69, through an explicit direct quotation. Jesus’ «thirst» is a universal statement for the imminence of His death, emphasizing His humanity as in Jn 4, 6-7 where He asks for something to drink. Now He receives vinegary wine before offering water from His side (as He had promised in Jn 7, 38-39). Only after He fulfilled the last prophecy He dies. In the scene of the crucifixion of Lord Jesus Christ, the text of Jn 19, 36 quotes Ps 34, 19-20, in a special way, presenting the danger of the breaking of the bones of the paschal lamb from Ex 12, 46 but without referring to the sacrifice of the lamb. The fact that His bones were not broken, so that the Scripture was fulfilled, offers the wise reader a theological argument that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1, 29). The exhibition of his body as a public sacrifice, opposed to the Jewish traditional feast of the Pascha which took place inside the house, suggests the universality of His sacrifice, as John the Baptist prophesized at the beginning of Christ’s mission.

The nine explicit quotations analysed in this study confirm the original use of the Psalms in the Gospel according to John. The structuring of David’s Psalms in five books, according to the pattern of Moses’ Pentateuch was not an obstacle for their reading and quoting by the Christians. Four out of five books / fragments of the Psalms are used in the fourth Gospel. Only in the fourth book (which comprises the Psalms from 89 to 106) cannot be found any explicit quotation or inter-testamentary allusion. Numerous allusions to the Psalms are also found in the fourth Gospel, which are not analysed in this study. The source for their separation from Jesus in the past and also at present lies not in the question „What is the Scripture?”, but rather „How can we interpret Scripture?”. From the perspective of the Johannine Christians, the interpretation is connected to the testimony of the Scripture about Jesus Christ. The use of the Old Testament by the witnesses of the Resurrection of the Lord becomes an imperative: «These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures» (Lk 24,44-45). The Old Testament speaks about Christ and is fulfilled in Christ.


Cristinel IATAN Psalmul 151 – Psalmul rătăcit. Singurul psalm davidic autobiorafic. Exegeză și teologie

Summary: Psalm 151 – The Lost Psalm. The Only Davidic Autobiographical Psalm. Exegesis and Theology

The Psalter is the most read and esteemed Old Testament book in the Orthodox Church, being present especially in the liturgical worship and in the personal lectionary of every believer. Also in the theology of Holy Fathers of the Church it had a fundamental role, as they wrote many commentaries to Psalms and referred to it in many instances. In the Orthodox Biblical canon, the number of Psalms is 150, but at the end of the Psalter is inserted Ps 151, called „non-canonical” in modern Romanian Synodal editions (the most recent being printed in 2015). However, it is not placed at the end of the canonical books or other anaginoskomena (good to read) as might be expected, but immediately as an addition after the whole 150 collection of canonical Psalms. It is also present in the Septuagint manuscripts, while in the Masoretic Text it is absent, due to the more restrictive Hebrew canon. So it seems to be a lost Psalm either included or not. This study is intended to be the first Romanian exegetical and theological research conducted on this Davidic psalm, which although called „non-canonical” is the only truly autobiographical psalm judging from its content and the first person point of view. Ps 151 was discovered among the Qumran manuscripts and was early known from the LXX version. Although the psalm is called a «psalm of David», in both Hebrew and Greek, it is not an authentic psalm and was most probably written around the New Testament era. The Psalm recounts a few fragments of David’s youth, his work as a shepherd and his musical skills, how he was chosen by God as king and anointed by Samuel, and his first heroic action when he killed Goliath. Perhaps the most famous episode in King David’s early history, with reverberations over millennia, is the killing of the giant Goliath with a sling and a single stone (1 Kings 17, 49). This great event in Israel’s history, although so well-known, is not even described in any other canonical psalm, either of David’s writing or other biblical authors who wrote Psalms. In other words, the event used to have no liturgical or poetic expression at all. It was precisely this lack the unknown author wanted to compensate by writing Ps 151.

Fortunately, there are many other written traditions preserving this Psalm, mainly Christian traditions (Syrian, Latin, Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopian and Georgian versions), which shows that this Psalm was widespread. The oldest version was considered the Greek version until the middle of the last century when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The Hebrew text found there was called 11Q5 (11QPsa). In fact in this manuscript the events regarding Goliath’s death were presented in more detail in the form of two distinct Psalms: Ps 151A, describing David’s election and his anointing as a king, and Ps 151B, addressing the actual fight between David and Goliath. Unfortunately, due to the precarious conditions in which the scrolls were preserved, Ps 151B retained only the title and v. 1. Another issue concerned the relationship or dependence of the Greek text on the Hebrew or vice versa, but the issue has not yet been fully elucidated by scholars. Three hypotheses have been put forth: a) The Qumran Hebrew text is the original text, and the Greek version is an abbreviated form of the Hebrew text; b) A shorter, lost Hebrew text was the basis of both the extended text of 11Q5 and of the Greek version of LXX, and c) A lost primary Hebrew text would have been the basis of the 11Q5 and LXX texts, but the two variants would not be directly linked to each other.

The central part of the study focuses on the Hebrew and Greek texts, on various interpretations of Hebrew words and the exegesis of main words and short exegetical notes. The following chapter is about the context of the psalm. Was this psalm written by David? Its assigned status as „non-canonical” in the current Orthodox Bible, and especially its Late Hebrew vocabulary, show that it is not an authentic psalm written by David himself or at least in David’s times, although the author strives to introduce some peculiarities specific to the vocabulary of Early Hebrew language: the use of the divine name written in Paleo-Hebrew script (X BC), the archaic conjunction ש, „when” instead of the newer אשר form, or the pronoun form for the third person singular masculine (ו instead of יו). Certainly, as was the custom in Antiquity, to ensure the prestige and circulation of the text in Jewish communities, the unknown author who wrote it ascribed it to David, an overwhelming personality in the history of biblical Israel, a king and elected by God par excellence, but at the same time he wrote in the first person as if he were David himself. Most likely, this tradition of ascribing an unknown writing to a remarkable personality in the history of the Jewish people began with the return of the Israelites to their motherland from the Babylonian exile (VI-V centuries BC).

The final part of this study addresses the Church reception of Ps 151. Although the oldest canonical list of the Old Testament books, written by Bishop Melito of Sardis (cca. 170 AD) lists all „Psalms of David” it doesn’t mention this psalm at all. Neither does Origen (184-254 AD). The first list which mentions Ps 151 is the Apostolic canon 85. It is mentioned also by other Church Fathers – Apollinaris of Laodicea, St. Athanasius the Great, and other writers. The Romanian Orthodox Biblical tradition oscillates in considering Ps 151 both apocryphal, and non-canonical. The first full translations of the Holy Scripture into Romanian language, the Bucharest Bible (1688) and Blaj Bible (1795) call it apocryphal. The latest Synodal Bible (2005) terms it non-canonical. Ps 151 is non-canonical for Jews, Protestants and Catholics, because all of them have as basis for their translations the Masoretic Text (the Hebrew canon) in which the psalm is missing. The text of the psalm, though it is found in the Bible, is not read in any service of the Orthodox Church. Not all Psalms are read in the Orthodox liturgical worship (for instance Ps 1, 7, etc.). However, the Psalm is used in the Coptic, Armenian and Ethiopian Liturgy.


Pr. Victor-Lucian GEORGESCU „«Iahve, numele Tău este în veac! pomenirea Ta din generație în generație!». Psalmul 135 (LXX: 134) – O analiză compozițională a textului ebraic”

Summary: «Yahweh, your name is forever! Yahweh, your remembrance endures from generation to generation!» Psalm 135 (LXX: 134) – A compositional analysis of the Hebrew text

Ps 135 is an hymn of praise that glorifies Yahweh, the God of Israel. According to its current positioning within the Book of Psalms, Ps 135 is part of the fifth book of the canonical colection of the 150 Psalms, and functions as part of a supplement to the collection of the fifteen Psalms of Ascent (i.e. Ps 120-134). However, from a diachronic perspective, Ps 135 is believed to have served as continuation of Ps 111-118, in a period of the redactional evolution of the Psalter, prior to the insertion of Ps 119 and Ps 120-134 in the collection. While the content of Ps 135 reflects a litugical setting, its structure may be presented as follows: the hymn begins with an inaugural exhortation (vv. 1aβ-4; in this first section the author exhorts his Israelite fellows, present at the Temple, to praise Yahweh), continues with a second and central part (vv. 5-18; in this second section the author confesses the supremacy of Yahweh over other gods, in this respect offering as arguments, on the one hand, the omnipotence of God observable in His creation, but also in the salvific acts that He performed for Israel, and on the other, the impotence of idols) and ends with a final exhortation (vv. 19-21bα; in this third section the author exhorts the Israelites to bless God, himself ending the hymn by a solemn blessing that he addresses to Yahweh). Structured by these three sections, Ps 135 is framed by the expression «hallelujah» (vv. 1aα, 21bβ; meaning «Praise Yahweh!»), an exhortation that isn’t part of the Psalms’ actual content (i.e. vv. 1aβ-21bα).

The most remarkable aspect of this psalm is that it reveals an astonishing familiarity with other biblical passages, given by the fact that it is mainly made up of numerous selections from different Old Testament Scriptures. This characteristic of Ps 135 has been recognized by modern and contemporary biblical scholars, who found that, in composing this psalm, its author drew inspiration from many liturgical texts and narrative passages of the Holy Scriptures existing in his time (probably late in the post-exilic period). The current compositional analysis of the Hebrew text of Ps 135 confirms the general academic point of view that, besides the „hallelujah” framework (vv. 1aα, 21bβ), many fragments from other Scriptures are discernible within the body of this psalm (vv. 1aβ-21bα).

The first section (vv. 1aβ-4) is impressive not only by the rhythm of the repeated exortation to praise Jahweh (exhortation addressed by the psalmist to the post-exilic Jewish community gathered at Jerusalem, probably on the occasion of the Passover festival), but also by the transparence of its sources. Ps 135, 1aβb is identical Ps 113, 1aβb, in reverse order (namely 135, 1aβ = 113, 1b; 135, 1b = 113, 1aβ), v. 2a is taken from Ps 134, 1b, while v. 2b mirrors Ps 116, 19a. If the content of vv. 1-2 consists of borrowed material, vv. 3-4 seem to be a more original composition. However, v. 3 echoes Ps 133, 1 and Ps 147, 1, while v. 4 is theologically and terminologically dependent on Deut 7, 6; Ex 19, 3-5.

The second and central section of the psalm (vv. 5-18) is no less transparent with respect to its sources. Ps 135, 5 is strongly reminiscent of Jethro’s confession in Ex 18, 11a, the first part of v. 6 consists of material taken from Ps 115, 3, while the content of Ps 135, 7 is, with very slight modifications, formed by the last three sentences of Jer 10, 13. Ps 135, 8 is based on God’s words in Ex 12, 12 and v. 9 uses expressions from Ps 116, 19 and Neh 9, 10 (Deut 34, 11). The deuteronomic influence on Ps 135, already noted in vv. 4, 9, is discernible also in vv. 10-12: v. 10 borrows material from Deut 7, 1, while v. 12 echoes Moses’ discourse in Deut 4, 38. However, vv. 10-12 are highly reminiscent of Ps 136, 18-22, a source that the psalmist used while composing it under the influence of the mosaic discourse in Deuteronomy. The doxology in v. 13 echoes the one in Ps 102, 13, but is theologically dependent on the words of God in Ex 3, 15. Moses’ words in Deut 32, 36a are verbatim taken in v. 14, while vv. 15-18 contain much of the anti-idolatry polemic material in Ps 115, 4-8, that the psalmist used, not without modifying it in order to suit the requirements of the new literary context.

As far as the last section is concerned (vv. 19-21), its first two verses (vv. 19, 20) show the influence of Ps 115, 9-11 (12-13), verses which the psalmist used, both as literary model and as textual source, in composing the final exhortation of Ps 135. However, if in the source psalm the worshippers are exhorted to trust Yahweh, in the new literary setting they are exhorted to bless the God of Israel, a detail that reveals, once again, the influence of Ps 134 (namely vv. 1a, 2b). Finally, the blessing in the final verse (v. 21abα) echoes both Ps 134, 3 and Jethro’s words in Ex 18, 10a. This multitude of biblical fragments observable throughout the content of Ps 135 makes this liturgical hymn both a compilation of expressions and fragments from the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament and a unique composition within the Book of Psalms. That these fragments are not mere biblical correspondences, but reflect a textual dependence of Ps 135 on the Scriptures of origin, is demonstrated by their presence in a great number, the connotations of the quotation in several cases, the heterogeneous character that their various origins offer to the overall composition, and not least their presence in every verse of the psalm.

The main sources of inspiration that the psalmist used in composing Ps 135 are several Psalms of the fifth book of the Psalter, among which the most influential proved to be Ps 115 (11 out of 18 verses of this psalm served as literary source for Ps 135), followed by Ps 134 (each of the 3 verses of this psalm left a recognizable imprint on Ps 135). Other notable sources are the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, while two isolated fragments came from the books of Jeremiah and Nehemiah. Even though the greatest part of Ps 135 is not literary and theologically original, the manner in which so many biblical expressions and fragments have been harmonised in order to constitute such an impressive hymn of praise that glorifies the true living God, reveals their creative use by the compiler. The modifications made to the fragments taken from other Scriptures demonstrate the literary and theological artistry of the author, who, by the use of simple, but felicitous, adjustment and replacement operations succeeded in providing the final product with coherence and freshness. Moreover, the way in which theological concepts and expressions have been employed in the composition of several verses, lends originality to the overall content. Finally, the semantic transformations applied to several biblical expressions prove the theological ability of the psalmist to dynamically use the Scriptures in an updating approach of the biblical tradition from within.


Stelian PAȘCA-TUȘA Psalmul 3 – Analiză isagogică, exegetică și teologică

Summary: Psalm 3 – An isagogical, exegetical and theological analysis

From the very beginning, the present paper points out that Ps 3 describes antithetically the Psalmist’s inner struggle that oscillates between fear and certainty in the context of an imminent threat from the outside. Even though he is convinced of the fact that God will deliver him from this threat, the psalmist persists in a state of expectation which amplifies his inner struggles. In other words, he belongs to an unpredictable and dangerous present, knows that he has been many times delivered in the past, but does not grasp the close deliverance that is somehow delayed. The third psalm describes antithetically the spiritual tension of the psalmist who oscillates between fear and the assurance of salvation in the context of an imminent exterior threat. The person to whom this psalm refers prophetically is Jesus Christ Himself. Similarly to the previous psalm, it points to the plot of the Jewish leaders (supported by Judas the Iscariot) against the Lord and the victory that He achieves through resurrection. The traditional Jewish interpretation and also that of the Holy Fathers of the Church state that the psalm was written during the fight against King David by Absalom, when he was running away from his son, together with his family and six hundred soldiers that had remained faithful to him, and he was heading towards the Mount of Olives (2 Sam 15, 30).

As states the isagogical part of the paper, this opinion was shared by the Fathers of the Church who unanimously asserted that this unfortunate event inspired David in writing his lamentation. Moreover, among modern and contemporary scholars only few claim that the psalmist refers to another event in the life of David (one of the persecutions from Saul) or to one that took place during Josaphat’s rule (2 Chr 20). However, the vast majority of them claim that the psalmist resonates in the most obvious way with the text from 2 Samuel 15-17, that describes the rebellion of Absalom. The psalm was written by David during his wandering, most probably in a quieter moment when he had time to analyse objectively the situation he was in. The superscription of the third psalm provides clues regarding the lyrical category to which this text belongs, regarding the author and the event that generated the composition of this lamentation. The quarterly division of the psalm is given mostly by the term selah that comes at the end of each section, except the third one. According to the rabbinic view, selah is merely a musical indication and does not have any critical importance, even though some such scholars have tried to decrypt the meaning of this term.

The exegetical analysis commences with a presentation of the scholar’s interpretations on the superscription of the psalm, which are indeed manifold. It is noted that a part of the Psalms were created by Levites of the Temple, and by other authors that wrote after the exile and because of their age, some overwritten words might have been erroneously interpreted or translated, as their true significance was misunderstood. It is also mentioned that a number of rabbis claim that David was consciously rejoicing over Absalom’s betrayal because of Nathan’s prophecy after David’s adultery with Bathseba about a curse that would be carried out either by a slave or an illegitimate son that would have no mercy on him. But they also mention the patristic view according to which Absalom’s betrayal was a part of David’s punishment, emphasizing very seriously the moral and Christological significance of the event described by the third psalm. Noticeably concerned by the magnitude of Absalom’s rebellion, David directed his sight to God, Who according to Middle East beliefs, could decide the outcome of any conflict. The little group of men (200) that followed Absalom to Hebron, was quickly enlarged by a vast crowd of people that gathered from all around (2 Sam 15, 12) so fast that shortly after Absalom’s self-proclamation as king, it was visible that the people’s heart sided with the usurper and he could easily call at least 12,000 warriors ready for war to his aid (2 Sam 16, 23). Moreover, David’s restlessness was significantly enhanced by the fact that Amasa, one of his generals and Achitophel, the adviser whose words David trusted as they were godly (2 Sam 16, 23) betrayed him too and sided with his rebellious son. The fear that seized David at such unexpected news is described by the exclamation the psalm begins with.

This unfortunate event in King David’s life foretells the moment which generated the seizing of our Lord: Judas’ betrayal. The one who was treated with love and consideration by Jesus Christ, and who was placed amongst His disciples, used a ploy against Him and gave Him in the hands of the Jews who crucified Him. Although all these realities converged towards an implacable destiny, Absalom and his followers did not guess correctly on whose part the Lord was. Their superficial manner of relating to the temporary lenience of God (a fact which is obvious from the name they use – Elohim) would be the fatal error that would cause their defeat. In fact, the exegetes consider that it’s not the great number of insurgents that alarmed David, but the fact that they stated that God, the One in whom the king placed his trust, no longer protected him and would not deliver him from their hands. Thus challenged, David prayed asking God to stand against his enemies and to deliver him from their hands as He had done numerous times in the past. Also, exegetic analysis shows the fact that the words David employs in the second section of the psalm are meant to hasten the decisive intervention of God to his aid. Especially, David’s restlessness grows gradually because of the quick and unexpected gathering of his enemies against him and because God does not immediately offer His protection and presence. The king has no doubt that the Lord will deliver him from this great peril too, as He did in other similar situations, but cannot understand why the signs of his deliverance are not yet visible. Although he is aware of the fact that during the rebellion of his son he will have to expiate some of the sins committed against Uriah and his wife, David has no doubts that God will not forsake him in those moments so difficult to bear both as a king and as a parent. That is why, through these words, he does nothing else but state his unwavering faith in the almightiness of God and the trust that at a certain point He will make him victorious over those who now consider him ruined and without redemption.

In order to situate better in the context of the events to which the psalm refers, its author describes the divine protection through a metaphorical expression, characteristic to the military environment: to him God is like a shield. The expression „magen baadi” – a shield around me, suggests the fact that God protects the psalmist from all directions. After he confesses his complete faith in the heavenly aid and not in his own powers, David makes a statement worthy of consideration: although he is a king who has had many victories and has been glorified for his deeds, he says that his glory is God Himself. In other words, the author claims that his glory does not lie in his past achievements, nor in the great power he possesses, but in his relation with Lord whom he praises. Given the fact that the glory of the Israeli king was a gift from God (acc. Ps 21 [20], 5), He Who could restore David’s glory and splendour could only be the source of it. Because his enemies denied the help that God might give to the king in these moments (cf. v. 3), the psalmist confesses that not only his past, but also his present trust in God. The psalmist expresses the grief that upsets him from the bottom of his heart. It was not easy for him as a parent to accept the rebellion of his son after having forgiven him for fratricide not long before. The king was not that upset for the temporary loss of his kingdom, but he was concerned that his beloved son might lose his life in this conflict. The veracity of these affirmations can be observed in David’s reaction at the news of Absalom’s murder in the decisive battle between the two armies (2 Sam 19, 1-7).

According to the patristic view, the author emphasizes the fact that God is always receptive to the prayers that man raises from a heart torn by grief and pain. These intense requests ascend to the Lord as a powerful cry, even though the lips that utter these words do not make a sound. The mention that the Lord answered David from the holy mountain was not at all insignificant, according to the author. The mount David refers to, was the place he was anointed as king and ruler over the whole Israel (acc. Ps 2, 6). This fact was meant to emphasize the bond between the fugitive king and the Lord who rested in Zion and revealed His glory between the cherubim’s wings which rose from the inside of the covenant ark. As a result, it was just a matter of time that king David would be rehabilitated and restored to his true dignity by He Who through His redemptive response confirmed the legitimacy of David’s kingship. Confident in the protective hand of the Lord, David finds rest during his exile and despite his extremely tense situation he finds tranquillity and calm. The escape from the night attack Absalom undertook under Achitophel’s advice, crossing the Jordan river and the establishment of his camp in a safe site, grants David the clear proof of divine protection and help. From now on, fear and uncertainty caused by the unforeseen rebellion of his son and by the Israeli tribes’ revolt quickly fade, and are replaced by the certainty that the Lord protects David under any circumstance. David realizes furthermore that God has not forsaken him and that his oppressors have not considered this truth. When the king learns from Jonathan and Ahimaat that the Lord baffled the wicked counsels of Achitophel who guided Absalom into waging a quick attack against his father with 12,000 warriors in order to avoid a civil war, David understands that this was the hand of Lord who delivered him from an imminent death. Realizing that Lord has protected him from the wicked plans of Ahitophel, his former counsellor whom he feared the most, David confidently states that he will no longer fear those who oppress him regardless of their multitude. If at first the psalmist feared the supporters of his usurper son, now he plainly confesses that he no longer fears any peril from the thousands of men that are ready to wage war against him. Even though he is surrounded by his enemies, the king has no reason to fear because Lord guards him like a shield from all sides (acc v. 4).

This paper emphasizes the fact that the psalmist’s relation with God is one of unique closeness. Moreover, it stresses the kindness of the king who does not ask Lord to eliminate his oppressors, but only to deliver him so that he can prove he is not forsaken by God and the divine protection as the people believe. This request proves that David was profoundly resentful of those who considered he was forsaken by the divine protection and deprived from deliverance from God (acc. v. 3). The frequent invocation of the name Yahweh (v. 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8) underlines the need of the psalmist to feel as soon as possible the protective presence of God. The psalmists saw in the name of the Lord a concrete confession of His fidelity and providence. For them, the name became the redeeming spring, the refuge for those who sought protection and help. The Holy Fathers underscore the fact that God is always receptive to the prayers that people pour from a heart torn up with grief. The righteous man comes to live without fear only when he puts all his trust in God. The hymn also stresses the kindness of the king who doesn’t ask God to destroy his enemies, but to save him in order to prove to them that their insinuations regarding the loss of the divine support were wrong. The Fathers consider that the psalm refers to the events that happened shortly before the passions of the Lord, when many Pharisees and scholars rallied against Him to crucify Him. Moreover, Absalom’s standing against his parent finds a correspondent in those times in the person of Judas who betrayed his Teacher. The calm sleep that King David had at a certain point during his escape was perceived by the Fathers as an allusion to the death of our Saviour and to His laying in the Tomb, and the awakening of the psalmist in the morning was interpreted from the perspective of the Resurrection. Victorious over the multitudes that rebelled against Him, Jesus Christ resurrects from the dead and offers to His Church and to those that will suffer for His sake the certainty that their sufferance is temporary. The troubles and inflictions that they endure will earn them the reward of salvation and eternal life. The contrasting spiritual states of the psalmist can be easily related to, by anyone who finds himself in trouble at a certain point.


Octavian FLORESCU „Tehillim: Profeții (în chip de) poezii pentru fiecare zi. O privire asupra Psalmilor 1, 19, 92, 128, 133, prin «speclaria iudaica»”

Summary: Tehillim – Prophecy [In the Image of] Poetry for Daily Reading. A Look into the Psalms 1, 19, 92, 128, and 133 Through Speclaria Iudaica

This article aims to introduce the reader to the Psalms from a Judaic point of view. It begins with considerations on the Hebrew title of the book „Sepher Tehillim” or „The Book of Lauds” – usually known by its Greek name – the Psalter, from psalmos (Hebr. tehillah), a sacred song of praise or hymn, accompanied by string instruments, used in worship. Then it highlights the place of this book in the Hebrew canon of the Scripture, namely in „Kethuvim (Writings)”, the third section of the Tanakh, while taking into account several hypotheses with regard to its author, whom the Jewish tradition identifies with King David. Special attention is given to the structure of Sepher Tehillim, comprising five books that contain 150 Psalms, as opposed to the 151 of the Greek Psalter or to the Syriac version of 154 Psalms. The taxonomies taken into consideration involve both the order of the Psalms and their superscription or supposed authorship (Psalms of David, sons of Core, Asaph). To the traditional interpretation of the book is added the literary form of criticism investigation on the Psalms, especially the groundbreaking studies of H. Gunkel and S. Mowinckel. Using the famous three criteria in their analysis of Tehillim (Sitz im Leben, Gattung, and content) these biblical scholars aim to reveal the origin of the Psalms by their use in the life of Israel and in their worship of God. This further leads to a new taxonomy of the Psalms in hymns, community laments, songs of the individual, thanksgiving songs, laments of the individual, entrance liturgies, Torah songs, and blessings.

However eclectic are the annotations to the Psalms, they contain some of the most beautiful poetry in the Bible, since it functions as moving liturgy. If there is one primary underlying assumption of the Book of Psalms, it is the potential efficacy of prayer. This is possible because many Psalms are prophecy in the form of poetry, a feature that originates in the very anointing of David, both King and prophet. There are also many places, in the Rabbinic commentaries, were the expression „the spirit of prophecy” is related to the Psalms while prophets like Moses, Samuel, Joel, and Jonah are traditionally deemed as authors of some of them (Ps 68, 118, 107, 23). But the clearest illustration of this prophetical side emerges in the so-called „Hodayot (Thanksgiving Psalms)” found in the Dead Sea scrolls. The members of the Qumran community did believe that they were living the end of times. The main part of the article deals with the poetical analysis of the Psalms, seen as a literary genre meant both to reveal and to conceal the word of God. In the words of S. Gillingham, reading biblical poetry is the first step in truly doing theology. That might explain why one third of the Bible is poetry. To fathom the hidden truth of this poetry is to understand first the literary, semantic and phonetic devices that make it work. Some of these specific poetic features or figures of speech that help the psalmist convey his message with artistry include terseness, parallelismus membrorum, chiasmus, puns, figurative language, and leitmotifs.

Once the hermeneutical approach of the text is expounded, the author proceeds with the exegesis of several Psalms in order to initiate the reader in various methods of interpretation and thus to get a glimpse of the Holy of Holies. The rethorical devices of the psalmist are exemplified in the sapiential Ps 1 and 128, both of them built on the antagonism between the righteous and the sinners. The return from the exile is celebrated in the midrashic exegesis of the Ps 128. The same Psalm, chanted during the divine service for the Orthodox sacrament of marriage, depicts the blessings of the family life. A mystical, Cabalistic reading of Ps 19 introduces the reader into the mysteries of the Torah, with emphasis upon the life-giving power of the divine words and names spoken in the realm of the Sephiroth. The chiastic structure of the Ps 92, centered on v. 9, along with its numerical analysis (gematria), is used to reveal the pivotal role and the recurring utterance of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) in the poem. The joyous Ps 133, the Psalm of peace and communion, concludes the article with its striking artistic imagery and its prophetic blessing. The anointment oil and the mountain dew, the two noteworthy metaphors for the divine charisma bestowed upon those gathered in brotherly love, are compared to the myrrh or the lover’s name in the Song of Songs, which in Christian exegesis becomes the wonderful name of Jesus. The message of the Psalm, aptly summed up by M. Axinciuc, is simple: „the gathering of the brothers in faith resembles the descent of the divine gift, the consecration that brings with it God’s blessing, the everlasting life”.


Serghei CRUDU Repere de anghelologie în Cartea Psalmilor

Summary: Elements of angelology in the Book of Psalms

In the preliminary considerations, the present study makes a presentation of the semantic determinations of the term „Malʾak” / „angelos”, showing the variety of tasks or functions these spiritual beings carry. The term „angel” is a much more fluid and subtle symbol in the Scripture than in patristic and medieval angelology, since traditional angelology is exclusively fixed on the interpretation of the angel as a distinct objective, an independent reality situated between God and humanity. But this is just one of the various shades of meaning in the biblical use of the term. In this sense, the «Angel of the Lord» of the early Old-Testament period appears either as a distinct figure, or as a designation for the grace-filled presence of God for men. Similarly, figures, wings, or cherubs in the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel are explicitly presented as symbolic resemblances for an experience that can not be literally described. These similarities are not actually distinct beings, but rather parts of the «appearance of the God’s glory» (Isa 1, 28). The fact that angels in Scripture are often symbols of the presence of God is also confirmed by the fact that in the Septuagint or the Greek translation of the Old Testament, we often encounter the interjection of „angels”, while the original Hebrew has only „God”, Who acts directly in human relations. In this sense, the idea of angels as inner forces that both express and impress the human spirit is in analogy with God’s self-communication in grace. However, the messenger is of some importance only because of the message he conveys.

A special function of these supernatural messengers is that they, by their very presence, are an aspect of God’s glory (Gen 28, 12-17, cf. the angels of Isa 6; Isa 1 and the cherubs of the Holy of Holies). In addition, they join in the active praise of God (Ps 148, 2; Isa 6). In Christianity, as well as in Jewish and Islamic faith, angels are considered immaterial spirits or pure intelligence created by God before the creation of man, with the aim of regulating the order of the world and, in particular, serving as messengers to human beings regarding the divine plan of salvation. As a sensible personification or manifestation of the divine word or action, the use of the term „angel” maintained God’s transcendent sovereignty while affirming His direct intervention in human affairs. References to angels still appear in the oldest layers of the Old Testament, such as Pentateuch narrations or early poems. Angels serve as messengers of the divine revelation (for example, in the role of the angel interpreted by Zech 1, 14; 2, 3). The appearance of the angel often evokes an acute emotional reaction to the one who is revealed (Dan 10, 7-9). Frequently, the appearance of the angel is described in terms of light, fire, bright metals or precious stones, a tradition based on the description of God’s glory. Although angels are spirits and may be called „gods”, they are nevertheless beings created by God. There is evidence that some Jewish groups believed that angels shared with God in the creation of the world. But rabbinical Judaism found this hypothesis to be dangerous and rejected it. Angels have no role in the act of creation, except to praise the work of God. According to Scripture, the angels were created before the visible world, and in Job 38, 7 their presence in the creation of the universe is mentioned.

After the introductory part, by carrying out a comprehensive exegetical exercise, this study seeks to emphasize the importance and spiritual use of those passages in the Psalms that speak of these spiritual beings. It also seeks to show what is the role of these heavenly beings in the act of man’s salvation, and how the heavenly world must become an example of communion and ministry for the lower or earthly world, a subject which, according to the author, is treated very little in the Romanian literature. The Psalmist testifies to the existence of the angels, referring in particular to the praise that they bring to God. He calls and urges all creatures of God, angels and human beings, to bring praise to God. The Book of Psalms contains verses where the angels are spoken of or referred to, as those who protect the people who trust in the God, or those angels who bring the punishment of God and distress to the wicked; elsewhere, angels are presented as spirits who keep those who put their hope in God, and continually praise God and do His will. The most important places, which the author treats exegetically in this study, are: Ps 33, 7; 34, 5-6; 77, 49; 90, 11; 102, 20; 103, 4 and 148, 2. The angels of God are described in the Jewish doctrine as a protective army around the righteous and communicating the will of their master. The „special and mysterious angel” appearing in Ps 33, 7, called «the Angel of the Lord», may be one of the angels whom God invests with a mission in this respect, the angel of His presence (Isa 63, 9); so the phrase is tantamount to saying that angels protect the friends or the saints of God.

The Angel of God is the divine agent to whom God Himself has commanded to defend His faithful men, as is also stated in Ps 90. Also, angels hear our prayers faster than the saints, because the saints hear people’s supplications only by the revelation that God grants to them because they are not around, while angels are those who dwell around those who fear Him, as says the Prophet, and are ready to hear them. God sends every person a guardian angel who serves them and protects them from dangers. Here is revealed that peculiarity of the Psalmist’s teaching of angels, namely, that they appear as people’s defenders, while in the other Old Testament books they are presented as servants and messengers of God, „temporarily” out for Him, but not as permanent guardians and escorts. Angels are God’s servants (Ps 90, 11; 102, 20-21; 103, 4).

Belief in the existence of angels came late into Hebrew theology. From a literary and historical point of view, the Bible is dependent, regarding the representation of angels, on the views of the Near East. «Angels are the servants who make up the heavenly court and the messengers of God» (cf. Ps 102, 20-21 and 148, 2). Their acceptance in the faith of Israel was only possible in a late epoch when monotheism was consolidated (in the older books, the angel of God is a way of designating God Himself). There is a common understanding of the ancient Orient that admits a lot of subordinate heavenly creatures, but Israel knew how to integrate them harmoniously into monotheism. Frequently, the appearance of the angel is described in terms of light, fire, bright metals or precious stones, a tradition based on the description of God’s glory by Ezekiel. Although angels are spirits and may be called «gods» (ebr. – ‘ëlım, ‘ëlōhım), they are nevertheless considered immaterial spirits or pure intellects created by God before the creation of man. Angels are less the object or contents of divine revelation than its vehicles. In this sense, they can be seen as real and dynamic mediators of the human consciousness of the divine, that is, through the angels people understand the presence, knowledge, and will of God for them concerning the divine promise, and especially the circumstances of their life. The term angels is not found in pre-exilic writings. In Isa 14, 12 the traditional „Lucifer” (הֵילֵל בֶּן־שָׁחַר – helel ben-šaḥar), appears as a bearer of light („Morning star”, „son of the dawn”), and represents an incomplete metaphor for the «Emperor of Babylon» (Isa 14, 4).

Angelic names usually have a theophoric significance: Gabriel = גֶּבֶר אֵל – geber ʾel (man of God), (Dan 8, 15-16; cf. Heb 13, 6, 8). Since Michael is represented in Daniel’s Book as a military figure (שַׂר – śar), Gavriil appears more like a priestly figure (Dan 9, 21-24; 12, 6-7). This distinction is also maintained in the New Testament (Lk 1, 26; Rev 12, 7). Angels are those who have a privileged place in the divine council, being considered standards of knowledge and discernment (2 Kings 14, 17, 29; 19, 28). According to Deut 32, 8, when God organized the political structure of the world, each nation was given one of the angels (minor divinities), with Israel reserved for God. They are called full of power or powerful in strength because they are doing much greater things than humans. They are ready to carry out the divine commandments, because their desire is perfectly in agreement with the divine will, and they have everything they need to do perfectly what God commands them. Angels are distinguished by men in two qualities: they are invested with power and always do God’s will. They have been created with power and through the good use of their faculties, they have come to this state of glory where there is no room for the self, and where the ultimate happiness is to see and fulfill only the will of God. The saints have the same advantage in heaven, but by their nature they are inferior to the angels. Angels have no bodies, and for this reason they are superior to the human creatures and much closer to what is called divine nature. They are burning, swift, fierce, appearing as fire. In Ezekiel’s vision, they move very fast and far and shine like the lightning (Ezek 1, 14). For this he called them seraphim – burners.

The association of angels with the holiness of God is sometimes found in the Old Testament, while the righteous (קְדוֹשִׁים – qedošim) can not be compared to God Himself (Gen 15, 11; Job 15, 15). Israel’s elect are in close communion with these saints (Dan 7, 18, 27). From a theological point of view, angels are also cosmological principles, dynamic and mysterious structures of extra-mental reality that fill and command the universe as an expression of God’s creative knowledge, having its purpose beyond all human problems and realities. In other words, angels can be defined as manifestations of divine wisdom, superhuman, and powers that operate in time and space, but are not limited to historical existence as humans know it. They are not, for example, living beings (bodies), because they are not embodied, and therefore can not die. They are not even subject to disease, fatigue, hunger or illusion. Ultimately, to the extent that angels are without flesh, they differ from each other functionally, rather than materially; each angel being a species or class in itself that expresses a specific relationship between God and the natural and human world. The holy angels, God’s most gracious servants, are always waiting for His commandments and always see the face of the heavenly Father (Mt 18, 10) to understand the signs of divine reason.

They have the constant love and desire to do this ministry: to obey His word and to fulfill His will. Unlike men, angels do not speak of divine commands, but prepare and fulfill them. From them people learn that obedience is better than sacrifice, because they obey Him, but do not sacrifice themselves. Although God created them for Him and gives them tasks, yet He remains autonomous from their ministry, for He is their Master and their God. Everything God has created is His servant, but angels, in particular, are visited by the presence of the glory of His glory. Above men is the world of the holy angels, the worshippers of God, of His hosts of angels. Heaven represents height, and for this people must lift their souls peacefully to God in heaven and think about heights. Those who live above give better praise to the Lord, for this reason the Psalmist urges the angels, because creation is not fit for this ministry. When the earth ceases to praise, it continues in heaven. The man reading these Psalms, is asking the angels to praise God, expressing ardent desire that this doxology is made and interpreted in the most perfect way. Also, through this man expresses desire to have spiritual communion with those who dwell in the House of the God and ceaselessly glorify Him.


Bogdan ȘOPTEREAN „«Fiul lui Dumnezeu» și «Fiul omului» în textele psalmice”

Summary: The „Son of God” and „Son of Man” in the Psalms

Ps 2 is a royal psalm. It is written to celebrate the crowning of a king in Israel. This psalm goes beyond the event of crowning of the king and receives many messianic elements. So, the psalm could be applied to the king of Israel and also to the Messiah. Verse 7 of Ps 2 is representative in this case: «You are my Son, today I have begotten you». This passage could be understood in two ways: 1) the son of God is the king; God has made a covenant with the king and with his family (2 Sam 7, 14) and He could be seen as his Father; 2) in the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten from the Father in eternity. The king is considered the son of God through the covenant that God has made with him. The phrase «I have begotten you» signifies that God is the king’s Father. But this must be related to the divine nature and not misunderstood as father and son relationship in the human sense. It’s an extraordinary birth. In Ps 109, 1-3 we read a similar passage: «The Lord says to my lord, „Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool”. The Lord sends out from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes. Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day you lead your forces on the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning, like dew, your youth will come to you». The king described in this passage sits at the right hand of the Lord and receives protection against his enemies. So, the king is considered the son of God because of the close relationship that he has with the Lord. The term today highlights the fact that the king is receiving this status from the day of his coronation.

Even if Ps 2 records an event that happened in a historical context, it points to an era of expectation of the ideal king, the Messiah. In the New Testament, this expectation comes to an end. Through the Holy Gospel, Ps 2 receives a messianic character. The phrase «You are my Son, today I have begotten you» is understood in a different way. The Son of God is Jesus Christ and the Father affirms this on His baptism: «This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased» (Mt 3, 17). Saint Paul quotes verse 7 of Ps 2 in his epistle to Hebrews (1, 5 and 5, 5). Also, Holy Fathers such as St. Clement of Rome, St. Justin Martyr, St. Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Cyril of Jerusalem or St. Cyril of Alexandria interpreted this verse in a Christological key. In Ps 2, 12a there is another messianic aspect. In the Revised Standard Version of the Bible there is this verse: «kiss His feet, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him». In the Hebrew Bible instead, the first part of the verse reads like this: «Kiss the Son (נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר – nașequ-bar)…». This must be understood as a granting of respect to the king of Israel in the Old Testament, and to Jesus Christ in the New one. In the New Testament, „Kiss the Son” means to recognize His divinity and fulfil His will. So, Ps 2 and 109 could be interpreted in a Christological key. The Son of God is Jesus Christ, the Messiah. After He resurrected from dead He Himself showed to Luke and Cleopas that all the scriptures had spoken about Him (Lk 24, 27).

In this Psalm is highlighted the dignity of the man. If in the first interrogation in verse 4 the psalmist refers to the humanity in general (אֱנוֹשׁ – enoș), into the second one he indicates an individual person (בֶּן־אָדָם – ben-adam) often seen as a supernatural being (Num 23, 19; Job 16, 21; Ezek 2, 1). In the next verse, man is compared with God (in the Hebrew Bible) or with the angels (in the Greek and Latin Bible). In this study is prefered the translation «yet thou hast made him little less than God» (verse 5), because this phrase makes an allusion to the image of God which the man received at the creation (Gen 1, 26-27). In this Psalm, the phrase «son of man» has not any messianic meaning, but, with some parallel verses from the Bible, the broader context of this phrase can becreated, and its messianic message can be identified. In the book of Dan 7, 13-14, the Ancient of Days offers to one like a son of man the dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. Also, the prophet Ezekiel describes that he had seen God sitting on the throne and having a human form (Ezek 1, 26). In these two verses, the phrase «son of man» has an obvious messianic character. In the New Testament, «son of man» is a title which Jesus Christ uses when He talks about Himself. In His conversation with Nicodemus, He mentioned the Son of Man (Jn 3, 13) and in Lk 18, 8 He made an allusion to the prophecy from Daniel. In his epistle to Hebrews, Saint Paul interprets Ps 8, 4-6 in a Christological key. The Holy Fathers of the Church interpreted the words of the psalmist as a prediction about the incarnation of the Son of God. Tertullian, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Basil the Great, Jerome or Augustine of Hippo showed that the Son of Man is nobody else than the Son of God.

In conclusion, looking at the parallel fragments of the Old Testament, at the words uttered by Jesus in the New Testament, at the epistles of Saint Paul and at the writings of the Holy Fathers of the Church, the phrase «son of man» in Ps 8, 4 has a messianic connotation. In the conversation with the high priest during his trial, Jesus Christ used both phrases studied above. The high priest Caiaphas challenged Jesus to assert his identity as the Messiah: «I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God». Jesus said: «You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven». Jesus Christ used these words from the Old Testament to indicate His divinity, but the high priest didn’t understand Him. Through these titles, Jesus Christ confirmed that He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. In the Old Testament, the phrase «son of God» was placed in relationship with the king of Israel. In the New Testament this phrase was applied to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the ideal king. Also, the expression «the son of man» indicates a person with messianic features. This person could be easy identified as Jesus Christ because He named Himself with this apellative. So, these phrases found in the Old Testament foretold the two natures of Jesus Christ: the divine nature and the human nature.

Acest site folosește cookie-uri pentru a îmbunătăți navigarea.