Original Research - Special Collection: A.G.van Aarde Festschrift

‘Praise beyond Words’: Psalm 150 as grand finale of the crescendo in the Psalter

Dirk J. Human
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 1 | a917 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i1.917 | © 2011 Dirk J. Human | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 July 2010 | Published: 13 April 2011

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Dirk J. Human, Department Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Without doubt the final hymn of the Psalter can be described as the climax, or grand finale, of the Israelite faith’s most known hymnbook. In this psalm, sound and action are blended into a picture of ecstatic joy. The whole universe is called upon to magnify Yah(weh), the God of Israel. The text poses various exegetical challenges. In the past, Psalm 150 was traditionally analysed as a single text; but with the advent of the canonical and redactionhistorical approaches to the interpretation of the Book of Psalms, Psalm 150 can be interpreted as part of the final Hallel (Pss 146–150), or Book V (Pss 107–150) of the Psalter. This view opens up new possibilities for reading the psalm in broader contexts and its broader literary context(s) illuminate its theological significance. This article is an attempt at reflecting on the psalm’s context(s), structure, Gattung and dates of origin, tradition-historical relations to the Pentateuch, Psalms and other Old Testament texts. Ultimately some reflections on the psalm’s theological significance will be suggested.


Music; musical instruments; communication; contact with divine; final Hallel


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