Le Psautier. Premier livre (Ps 1–41), RBSem 16

Roland Meynet, Le Psautier. Premier livre (Ps 1–41), RBSem 16, Peeters, Leuven 2018 (637 p.)

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Like the fifth book, the first book is not content to juxtapose isolated prayers; the forty-one psalms which constitute it form a highly elaborate architecture, according to the principle of self-similarity of fractals, or following the process of mise en abyme.
The book is organized like its second section and even more like the third. The first side of each of these sections features the king’s enemies whose sin consists in persecuting him “without reason”, the psalmist protesting his innocence and his fidelity to the Law. Then the center of these sections reverses to the second side where the psalmist becomes aware of his own sin and inability to keep the Law; he must therefore be “instructed” in the “ways” of God who will forgive him his faults and inscribe his Law “in his heart”. It is therefore a question of the passage from the first covenant, the Mosaic covenant of Sinai, to the new covenant, the one announced by the prophets of the exile, which is based on the forgiveness of sins, on the gift of the inner knowledge of the law and on the universality of salvation which will reach all nations.
This same movement is verified throughout the book. Its first section (Ps 1-18) is entirely occupied by the threat posed to the psalmist by his enemies, while the next two sections (19-25 and 26-41) effect the transition from the old covenant to the new. A similar shift was already taking place in the central sub-section of the second section (20-24) and that of the third section (32-37), always in the same direction.