The Psalter. Book Five (Ps 107-150), RBSem 39

R. Meynet, The Psalter. Book Five (Ps 107-150), RBSem 39, Peeters, Leuven 2022 (747 p.)

This is the English translation to the fifth volume of the Commentary on the Psalms, published in 2017:

R. MeynetLe Psautier. Cinquième livre (Ps 107-150), RBSem 12, Peeters, Lueven 2017 (747 p.)

Classical commentaries study each psalm in isolation. However, there is a growing movement to see if the Psalter is composed. The present commentary on the fifth and last “book” of psalms (Ps 107-150) conducts a systematic analysis of the composition of this set of forty-four psalms, at all levels of its organization: first each psalm in itself, then each subsequence made up of several psalms, then each sequence, then each of the five subsections that make up the fifth book, and finally the whole section, i.e., the book. The last five psalms (146-150) are, so to speak, outside the system, for they constitute the doxology which concludes not only the fifth book but also the entire Psalter.

The composition is extremely elaborate. At the center of the construction, Ps 119 is a long meditation on the Law. It is preceded by the “Egyptian Hallel” which celebrates the exodus from the land of slavery (Ps 113-118) and followed by the “Psalms of the Ascents” which sing and hope for the return from exile in Babylon (Ps 120-134). Finally, at the ends, two subsections that correspond to each other: in the psalmist’s own words, “From the mouth of deceit to the thanksgiving of the righteous” (Ps 107-112), “From the venom of the serpent to the praise of the righteous” (Ps 135-145).

The interpretation of each group of psalms makes it possible to reach a greater meaning, which obviously exceeds the sum of the interpretations of each of the units that make it up.