Psalter of Solomon

Psalter of Solomon Under this title is extant in a Greek translation a collection of eighteen psalms or hymns, evidently modelled on the canonical psalms, breathing Messianic hopes, and forming a favorable specimen of the later popular Jewish literature. It was first edited by De la Cerda, according to an Augsburg manuscript, now no more extant, in his Adversuaria Sacra (Lugd. 1626), and then again by Fabricius in his Codex Pseudepitrauphus Vet. Test. (1722, 2d ed.), i, 914 sq. An English version is given by Whiston, Authentic Records (Lond. 1827). vol. i. Of late it has been edited by Hilgenfeld, who collated for this purpose a Vienna codex in his Zeitschrift (1868), p. 134-168. and in his Messias Judoeorum, who was followed by Geiger and Fritzsche. Later transcribers have made Solomon the author of these psalms, but the psalms themselves are against this assumption; on the contrary, they are the best proof of their later origin.

Some — as Ewald, Grimm, Oehler, Dillmann, Weiffenbach — assign these psalms to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (q.v.); others — as Movers, Delitzsch, and Keim — to the time of Herod; but neither of these dates is correct. It is now generally held by critics like Langen, Hilgenfeld, Nedleke, Hausrath, Geiger, Fritzsche, Wittichen, that they originated soon after the taking of Jerusalem by Pompey, and this opinion is corroborated by the tenor of especially the 2d, 8th, and 17th psalms. Looking at the circumstances of the time which is presupposed in these psalms, we find the following: A generation to which the rule over Israel had not been promised took possession of it by force (οις οὐκ ἐπηγγείλω μετὰ βίας ἀφείλοντο, Ps 17:6). They did not give God the honor, but put on the royal crown and took possession of David's throne (Ps 17:7-8). In their time Israel sinned. The king was in transgression of the law (ἐν παρανομίᾷ), the judge was not in truth (οὐκ ἐν ἀληθείᾷ), and the people were in sin (καὶ ὁ λαὸς ἐν ἁμαρτίᾷ, Ps 17:15,15). But God put these princes down by raising against them a foreign man who did not belong to the tribe of Israel (Ps 17:8-9). From the ends of the world God brought a strong man, who made war with Jerusalem and the country. The princes of the land, in their infatuation, met him with joy, and said, "You are welcome; come hither; enter in peace." The doors were opened to him, and he entered like a father in the house of his sons (Ps 8:9). Once in the city, he also took the castles and broke the walls of Jerusalem with the battering-rams (Ps 8:9; Ps 2:1). Jerusalem was trodden down by the heathen (Ps 2:12); even the altar of God was ascended by foreign people (Ps 2:2). The most prominent men and sages of the council were killed, and the blood of the inhabitants of Jerusalem was shed like the water of impurity (Ps 8:9). The inhabitants of the country were carried away as captives into the West, and the princes for a derision (Ps 17:13-14; Ps 2:6; Ps 8:9). At last, the dragon who took Jerusalem was killed at the mountain of Egypt on the sea (Ps 2:12). It hardly needs any further explanation that all these events fully agree with the history of Pompey. The princes who arrogated to themselves the throne of David are the Asmonleans (q.v.), who, since the time of Aristobulus I, called themselves kings. The last princes of this house, Alexander Jannaeus and Aristobulus II, favored the Sadducees, and in the eyes of the Pharisaic author they are sinners and unlawful. The "foreign and strong man" whom God brings from the ends of the earth is Pompey. The princes who meet him are Aristobulus II and Hyrcanus II; the adherents of the latter admit Pompey into the city, and he soon takes the other part with force (ἐν κρίῳ, ii, 1), which was held by Aristobulus's party. All the other circumstances fully agree with what we know of Pompey's campaign in Palestine; and the fact that the 2d psalm speaks of the manner in which Pompey died, in B.C. 48, fully proves the assumption that it was written soon after this event, while the 8th and 17th psalms, as well as the greater part of the others, may have been written between 63 and 48.

The spirit which runs through these psalms is that of Pharisaic Judaism. Thev breathe an earnest moral tone and true piety; but the righteousness which they preach, and the absence of which they deplore, is the one which can only be attained by keeping the Pharisaic ordinances, the δικαιοσύνη προσταγμάτων (Ps 14:1). After death man is judged according to his works. He is at liberty to choose between righteousness or unrighteousness (comp. especially Ps 9:7). By doing the former he will rise to eternal life (Ps 3:8); by doing the latter, eternal damnation is his destiny (13, 9 sq.; Ps 14:2 sq.; 15). In opposition to the unlawfully arrogated reign of the Asmonaeans, which is already overthrown by Pompey, the author looks for the Messianic king of the house of David who will bring Israel to the promised glory (Ps 17:1,5,15; Ps 18:6-10; comp. 7:9; 11).

The hypothesis of Gratz (Gesch. d. Juden [2d ed.], iii, 439) that these psalms were written by a Christian author deserves no refutation. Nor are we justified in assuming Christian interpolations; for the sinlessness and holiness which the author ascribes to his expected Messiah (Ps 17:15,15) is not the sinlessness in the sense of Christian dogmatics, but merely the strict legality in the sense of Pharisaism. As to the original language of the psalms, it is now generally held against Hilgenfeld that it was Hebrew, because it is very Hebraizing, which would not be the case if Hilgenfeld were correct. Hence we are justified in the assumption that the psalms were not written at Alexandria, but in Palestine.

Literature. — Hilgenfeld, Zeitschrif fur wissenschaftl. Theologie (1868), p. 134-168; (1871), p. 383-418; Messias Judoruun Libris eorum paulo ante et paulo post Chr. nat. conscriptis illustratus (Lips. 1869), p. 1-33; Geiger, Der Psalter Salomo's (Augs. 1871), and review of it in Gottinger gel. Anzeigen (1871), p. 841-850, and in Hauck, Theol. Jahresbericht, 6:421 sq.; Fritzsche, Libri Apocryphi Veteris Testamenti Greece (Lips. 1871), p. 569-589; Wittichen, Die Idee des Reiches Gottes, p. 155-160;

Ewald, Gesch. des Volkes Israel, 4:392 sq.; Grimm, Zu 1. Makkab. p. xxvii; Oehler, art. "Messias" in Herzog, Real - Encyklop. ix. 426 sq.; Dillmann, art. "Pseudepigraphen," ibid. 12:305 sq.; Weiffenbach, Que Jesu in Regno Colesti Dignitas sit Synopticorum Sententia exponitur (Gissae, 1868), p. 49 sq.; Movers, in Wetzer u. Welte's Kirchen-Lexicon, i, 340; Delitzsch, Psalmen (lst ed.), ii, 381 sq.; Keim, Geschichte Jesu von Nazara, i, 243 (Engl. transl. [Lond. 1873], p. 313 sq.); Langen, Das Judenthum in Palestina zur Zeit Christi (1866), p. 64-70; NIldeke, Alttestament. Literatur (1868), p. 141 sq.; Hausrath, Zeitgeschichte, i, 164 sq., 176; Carriere, De Psalterio Salomonis (Argentorati, 1870), p. 8, and Ewald's notice of it in Gottinger gel. Anzeigen (1873), p. 237-240; Anger, Vorlesunyen iiber die Geschichte der messianischen Idee (1873), p. 81 sq.; Schirer, Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte (Leips. 1874), p. 140 sq., 569 sq.; Stanley, Hist. of the Jewish Church (N.Y. 1877), 3, 335. (B. P.)

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