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Hallel

“Praise YHWH All You Nations”: Psalm 117

Short does not mean simple: Psalm 117 is one of the more difficult psalms. It is only two verses long and exhorts non-Israelites to praise YHWH. Why would such a psalm be written? A look at the worldview of the exilic prophet Deutero-Isaiah provides one answer, while reading this psalm together with the beginning of Psalm 118 provides another.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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Encouraging Babylonian Jews to Return, Psalm 114 Tells a Unique Exodus Story

Psalm 114, a late psalm, is exceptional in its structure and content.  These tightly structured eight verses, which reflect several non-Torah traditions, use Egypt symbolically, to encourage the exiles to return from Babylonia.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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A Women’s Voice in the Psalter: A New Understanding of Psalm 113

The liturgical compilation Hallel (“praise”) opens with Psalm 113. Originally, this psalm was recited by women who gave birth after being barren, reminiscent of the song of Channah in 1 Samuel 2. A close look, however, suggests that its opening verses are a later supplement meant to introduce the larger Hallel collection.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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