Conflict and Enmity in the Asaph Psalms by David Ray
David Ray examines the extent to which the Asaph Psalms constitute a coherent collection through its ubiquitous motif of conflict. A binary relational model and semantic roles at discourse level are used to uncover underlying power dynamics in the text. Initially presenting a supposedly innocent collective as fixated on the presence of its opponent while God is perceived as absent, the psalmists then focus on the failure of different generations to adhere to covenant obligations, crystallised in divine judgment. The Asaph Psalms closes with a sapiential outcome, wherein the collective expresses dependence on God, anticipating divine intervention against God’s own ingathered heavenly and earthly opponents. Ray configures a pattern of conflicts consistent with Deuteronomistic-informed pastoral teaching, namely, to follow God’s ways, recognise complicity in suffering, and place complete trust in the warrior-judge God.
About the Author: David Ray is an adjunct lecturer at Ridley College Melbourne.