Bridge over Troubled Waters: Psalm 147

Sarah Schwartz

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1 Scopus citations


This article discusses the meaning of Psalm 147 in light of its literary structure, which is created by the repetition of similar elements in an identical order in each of the three stanzas. While this structure contributes to the literary cohesion of the psalm, it also emphasizes the differences between the stanzas, highlighting the divergent nature of the second stanza, and the nuanced thematic differences between the first and third stanzas. The literary analysis of each of the stanzas and the relationship between them leads to the conclusion that Psalm 147 expresses a balance between the conditional and the unconditional perceptions of redemption, and between nationalism and universalism. These perceptions are generally viewed as contradictory, and the balance suggested in Psalm 147 reflects a unique voice in Second Temple literature, as a conceptual bridge over troubled waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-339
Number of pages23
JournalJournal for the Study of the Old Testament
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 SAGE Publications.


  • Psalm 147
  • Second Temple literature
  • literary analysis
  • literary structure
  • nationalism
  • redemption
  • universalism


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