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Death of the (sic) in Psalm 82

Trotter, J. (2012) Death of the (sic) in Psalm 82. Journal of Biblical Literature, 131 (2). pp. 221-239.


As has frequently been noted in the substantial literature on Psalm 82, there are few psalms that have raised more interpretive debate, despite the high degree of certainty about the text. (1) Hans-Joachim Kraus highlights the interpretive difficulties with the following statement: "Psalm 82 is of such exceptional character in the Psalter that it could well be impossible to provide interpretations that are in every respect satisfactory." (2) The identity of the [sic] in vv. 1 and 6 is central to these interpretive difficulties. These [sic], who are condemned to die for their failure to maintain justice in the realm of human affairs, have been a contentious issue in the translation and interpretation of this psalm at least since the time of the ancient versions. I will propose here that the identification of these [sic] as divine kings ruling over the nations provides a better explanation for the content of the psalm than previously proposed identifications of these figures as human judges, tyrannical foreign rulers abusing subjugated Israel/Judah, or deities of the pantheon other than Yahweh. There are three issues that are central to any interpretation of this psalm: first, the setting for the event described in the psalm; second, Yahweh's role in the event; and third, the identity of the [sic] mentioned in w. 1 and 6. Although the last of these issues is the primary focus here, the other issues are so integral to the identity of the [sic] that they will also be discussed in some detail.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature
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