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Themes in the Psalter

Theology from the Psalms
The Story of God’s Steadfast Love

By C. Hassell Bullock
Baker Academic, 208 pages, $24.99

Many books about the Psalms provide commentary in their canonical order. Here is something different: a series of brief essays on aspects of the Psalter, 17 chapters in all, arranged under the sections of God, Humanity, and Redemption. This diverse collection calls for familiarity with the Psalms, but it is not a demanding work of technical scholarship. Here are only a few of the insights that Theology from the Psalms contains:

“Thus the humbled Yahweh in the Psalter is the theological equivalent of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (Isa. 52:13-53:12) and the precursor of the suffering Savior in the New Testament.”

“The polemic against idolatry in Psalms 115:4-8 and 135:15-18 is very broad, involving both the makers and the worshipers of idols, the whole gamut, and the end product is the same: both the worshipers and the makers ‘become like them.’”

“One of the beautiful observations about ‘waiting’ and ‘hoping’ in the Psalms is that they are essentially synonymous, sometimes engaging the same Hebrew verbs. … The idea of ‘expectant waiting’ or ‘waiting in faith’ becomes equivalent to hope.”

C. Hassell Bullock is professor of Hebrew Bible emeritus at Wheaton College. He has produced many studies of the Psalms and of other Old Testament books.

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