Psalm 39 (LXX 38): A Retributive Psalm?

  • Johann Cook University of Stellenbosch


This paper is a contribution to the Festschrift for Prof. Phil Botha. As a teacher in Semitic Languages, he specialised in two corpora: poetry (Hebrew) and more specifically the Psalms, and Syriac, a prominent Aramaic dialect. He also demonstrated an interest in the Septuagint. It is an honour to dedicate this contribution to my colleague of many years, who has also had an impact on the international stage. In a recent international contribution, he argues that Ps 39 is effectively a song of retribution. This paper focuses on this Hebrew Psalm from the perspective of the Greek Psalms, as a pilot study, in order to test Botha’s assumption; in his own words the psalm is intended “to serve as a wisdom reflection on how to overcome theological frustration caused by delayed retribution.”