75% of Psalms are 1 of three main types: lament, thanksgiving or praise. Here is the general form for Thanksgiving psalms.
The essential feature of this type of Psalm is that the psalmist will tell others what God has done for him. The vow of praise may be made in private, but the payment of the vow must be in public.
Proclamation to Praise God
- Normally with a voluntative: “I will praise…”
- The psalmist announces his intention to give thanks to God.
- The address may be short or omitted altogether.
- The address is usually made to YHWH in the 2nd person (e.g. Psalm 30).
Introductory summary of praise
- Frequently expressed in one sentence.
Reflection on past need and report of deliverance
- Portrayal of distress
- His cry for help (“I cried”)
- His deliverance (“He heard… he delivered”)
- The psalmist now pays his vows and testifies that YHWH is gracious.
- May include a prayer for some future help or some other formulation of renewed praise.
Example: Jonah 2
- Introduction – Jonah 2:2
- Portrayal of affliction: Jonah 2:3-6
- Petition for help: Jonah 2:6-7
- Deliverance: Jonah 2:6-7
- Conclusion: Jonah 2:8-9
Examples: Psalm 18; Psalm 20; Psalm 32; Psalm 34; Psalm 40; Psalm 106; Psalm 116; Psalm 138.
For more: Claus Westermann, The Praises of God in the Psalms (1965). You’ll probably have to track it down in a library.
Psalms of Lament: Their Form
Psalms of Praise: Their Form
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