Original Research - Special Collection: Foundation subjects - Old and New Testament Studies

The structure and homogeneity of Psalm 32

J. Henk Potgieter
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 1 | a2725 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2725 | © 2014 J. Henk Potgieter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 May 2014 | Published: 10 November 2014

About the author(s)

J. Henk Potgieter, Department of Ancient Languages, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Psalm 32 is widely regarded as a psalm of thanksgiving with elements of wisdom poetry intermingled into it. The wisdom elements are variously explained as having been present from the beginning, or as having been added to a foundational composition. Such views of the Gattung have had a decisive influence on the interpretation of the psalm. This article argues, on the basis of a structural analysis, that Psalm 32 should be understood as a homogeneous wisdom composition. The parallel and inverse structure of its two stanzas demonstrate that the aim of its author was to encourage the upright to foster an open, intimate relationship with Yahweh in which transgressions are confessed and Yahweh’s benevolent guidance on the way of life is wisely accepted.


Psalm 32; structure


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