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E. W. Bullinger on the Psalms

June 15, 2008

E. W. Bullinger provided a number of appendices that were related to the Psalms in his Companion Bible. They can be found at the following links:

Appendix 63 The Book of Psalms. Miscellaneous Phenomena
Appendix 64 “To the Chief Musician”
Appendix 65 The Psalm Titles, and the Words employed in them
Appendix 66 Hebrew Words in the Text of the Psalms. I. Higgaion. II. Selah
Appendix 67 The Songs of the Degrees

A condensed version of his comments on the Psalms can be found here.

Bullinger is interesting for at least two reasons. 1stly, he defends the work of Dr. J.W. Thirtle arguing that the word lamenazzeah translated as “To the chief Musician” is a subscription and not a superscription hence it should appear at the end of the Psalm. 2ndly, with regards to the Songs of Ascent he argues that they were related to Hezekiah and that the “degrees” refer to the degrees on the sundial of Ahaz as we read of in 2 Kings 20:8-11.

He argues,

The number of these Psalms (fifteen) adds to its testimony to the certainty of this interpretation. It corresponds with the number of the years (fifteen), which were added to Hezekiah’s life: while the number written by himself (ten) corresponds with the number of “the degrees” by which “the shadow of the sun went backward”.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2008 5:41 pm

    What do you think about the way Bullinger sees the five books of the Psalms as corresponding to the five books of the Pentateuch? I think it’s rather forced, myself.

  2. June 16, 2008 4:24 am

    I agree with Mr. Pate’s observation. Isn’t Bullinger (unlike his illustrious ancestor) considered a little wobbly, theologically, and somewhat obsessed with the alleged signicance of numbers in the Bible?

  3. June 16, 2008 7:47 am

    James & Richard,

    I would agree that the way Bullinger sees the five books of the Psalms as corresponding to the five books of the Pentateuch is forced however this view was not invented by him. The Jews held that as Moses gave them the five books of the Pentateuch so David gave them the five books of the Psalms.

    His application of this was, and is, tainted by his ultradispensationalism however there are some interesting structural details that he draws out and which I shall be posting on in the future.

    I find his comments on the Songs of Ascent quite interesting.

    As for the man himself; he was a recognised scholar in the field of biblical languages and in 1881 the Archbishop of Canterbury granted him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his biblical scholarship. He was also Secretary of the Trinitarian Bible Society.

  4. Peter permalink
    July 21, 2008 3:43 pm

    >What do you think about the way Bullinger sees the five books of the Psalms as corresponding to the five books of the Pentateuch?

    Ray Stedman takes this same view, as elaborates it in his article PSALMS: THE WORSHIP OF AN HONEST HEART by Ray C. Stedman — see http://www.pbc.org/files/messages/3062/0219.html
    which gives an overview of the argument. I find it quite a neat framework.

    Peter

  5. February 16, 2010 2:44 am

    EW Bullinger, certainly eccentric.. but every pastor-teacher should have at least these two works of his:

    Figures of Speech Used In The Bible,

    A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament.

    Simply a profound Christian soul!

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