Careful Word Choice and a Possible Message Acrostic in Psalm 8

Many modern commentators deny the presence of an eschatological message in Psa 8 focused on an individual. Rather, the poem is taken as a statement about the status of corporate humanity and often seen as a reflection on the opening chapters of Genesis. Given that ancient readers, for example, the author of Hebrews (Heb 2:5-9) and other New Testament writers applied the psalm to an individual ruler who would reign over an eschatological kingdom, I reexamine whether such a reading is justified on philological grounds and whether such a reading constitutes a great hermeneutical leap. I call attention to the careful choice of lexemes and phrases that point away from Genesis and toward the vision of texts like Isa 11, opening the psalm to the kind of eschatological interpretations we see in the New Testament. Finally, I offer evidence that Psa 8 was designed as a Message Acrostic referring to the death and subsequent “blossoming” of a king. I provide important criteria and controls for determining whether any given poem in the Hebrew Bible constitutes a Message Acrostic.

5 thoughts on “Careful Word Choice and a Possible Message Acrostic in Psalm 8”

  1. Careful analysis of a key text
    This proposal fits the annual conference theme well, as it analyzes Psalm 8 and its use in Hebrews 2. His suggestion of an acrostic is intriguing, and I would be interested in hearing what he has on this.

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