Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Timothy Saleska

Scripture References in this Resource

Psalm 72:20; Psalm 86:15; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 98:1ff; Psalm 96:1ff; Psalm 33:1ff; Psalm 72:17; Deuteronomy 9:26; Numbers 6:24-27; Deuteronomy 5:6-21; Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Psalm 106:48; Psalm 149:1ff; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 145:8; Psalm 103:18; Psalm 105:5-10; Psalm 106:45


Hensley, Adam, D. "Covenant Relationships and the Editing of the Hebrew Psalter: An Investigation of the Relationship between the Davidic Covenant and the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants as Reflected in the Editing of the Psalter." Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2015. 386 pp.

This dissertation examines the relationship between the Davidic covenant and Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants as it is reflected in the editorial shape and shaping of the Masoretic Psalter. It hypothesizes that editors understood these covenants as a theological unity, whose common fulfillment centers on the anticipated royal successor of David. The promises and obligations of the covenants would be realized through this "new David," whom editors understood in terms of a Moses-like intercessor and mediator of covenant renewal, and the leader of a "new song" for a "new exodus." The dissertation tests the hypothesis by examining the Psalter's references and allusions to the covenant(s) in light of editorial evidence. After reassessing different kinds of editorial evidence, it engages in extensive survey work on references and allusions to the covenant( s) in the Psalter in light of that evidence. It then investigates the allusion to the Abrahamic covenantal promises in Ps 72: 17 in the context of Book II, and the Psalter's fullest echoes of the "grace formula" in 86: 15, I 03:8, and 145:8 in the contexts of Books III, IV, and V respectively.

The dissertation therefore contributes to the canonical study of the Psalter. It challenges the view espoused by Gerald H. Wilson that editors addressed the crisis of "failed" Davidic covenantal theology with the concerns of Wisdom and pre-monarchic life under Moses and the Sinai covenant. Whereas for Wilson Book IV's emphasis on Moses indicates editors' intention to shift hope away from royal covenantal theology, this investigation finds that Book IV's greater concentration on "Moses" and "Abraham" complements that theology. Book IV instead depicts "David" as instrumental in the realization of Book IV' s vision, as seen especially in Pss 1 O 1- 103. It therefore offers an alternative paradigm for understanding the Davidic covenant in relation to its pre-monarchic counterparts. Rather than reinterpret the Davidic covenant in terms of a postexilic temple theocracy minus Davidic king within a program of "democratization," the Psalter evidences the reverse: a "royalization" of Abrahamic and Mosaic covenantal promises and obligations. Accordingly, the covenants find their theological unity in God's faithful realization of his promises to David (2 Sam 7): the hoped for new "David" through whom the covenant is renewed.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.