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PETERS: RITUAL IN THE PSALMS 143 



RITUAL IN THE PSALMS 
John P. Peters 

NEW YORK CITY 

The Psalms are a collection of ritual hymns, i. e. they are 
intended primarily for ritual use. The general heading, Tehil- 
lim, indicates 1 that the primary ritual use for which they were 
intended was sacrificial. They were the praise songs to be 
sung at the moment of performing the sacrifice. The simplest 
form of sacrificial praise song, or tahlU, to use the old Arabic 
term, was the halleluiah, the antiquity of which as a ritual 
formula is indicated by the preservation of the ancient divine 
name Yah. The halleluiah psalms are developments of this sac- 
rificial formula or praise cry, and indicate by the use of that 
formula their ritual purpose. It is these psalms particularly 
to which belongs the title tehillim. 

It is with a collection of halleluiahs that the entire Psalter 
closes, hence the title Tehillim. The halleluiah collections are, 
it is true, as collections, among the latest of all the collections of 
Psalms. These halleluiahs are, however, in essence old, a simple 
development of the ancient sacrificial ritual formula ; and their 
position in the Psalter and the designation of the Psalter as a 
whole by their title, Tehillim, evinces the primary intention and 
theory of the collection of the Psalms as a whole, namely as 
sacrificial hymns, a ritual hymnody. 

The ritual sacrificial use of a number of Psalms is indicated 
by their headings: 30, 38, 70, 88, 100, 102, 105-107, 118, 136, 
138, 145, and all the tehillahs and halleluiahs; perhaps also 8, 
9, 22, 32, 81, 84. A ritual, if not a sacrificial use is indicated 
further in the case of 45, the marriage hymn, the al-tashheths, 
57-59, 75, and the various tephillahs. 

This does not prove that these Psalms were written for the 
uses indicated in the headings, but it is evidence that they were 
so used, and it is further evidence that they were so used at 
the time the present collection was completed. These headings 
are combined in books 1, 2 and 3, but not in 4 and 5, with other 

1 JBL., vol. XXIX, part I. 



144 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

headings containing musical notes and instructions pertaining to 
ritual use. These ritual and musical directions became obso- 
lete and largely, if not altogether, unintelligible, but with a 
faithfulness familiar in liturgical history, they were preserved 
as a part of the Psalms to which they were attached. This stage 
had been reached some time before the LXX translation was 
made, as the unintelligibility of those notes to the compilers of 
that translation testifies, and apparently even before the com- 
pilation of Chronicles. It had been reached before the collec- 
tions of the 4th and 5th books of Psalms were made, and before 
the Psalter was completed by the combination of those books 
with the earlier collections united in books 1-3, as is testified to 
by the absence of such ritual and musical directions in the 4th 
and 5th books, which are by general consent the most ritualistic, 
and the least occasional part of the Psalter. 

Besides these notes contained in the Hebrew Psalms themselves 
we have also notices and traditions of the liturgical use of cer- 
tain Psalms contained in the LXX and in the Talmud, as for 
instance the proper Psalms for the days of the week in the 
LXX, the Passover and other festival Psalms in the Talmud; 
but these notices and traditions are all much later than the 
former. 

More important is the evidence which some of the Psalms con- 
tain in themselves of the particular purpose for which they 
were used, and this is frequently evidence also of the purpose 
for which they were composed, and that they were composed for 
ritual purposes, so the halleluiahs and tehillahs 2 and the Thank- 
offering Psalms. 3 Psalms 3 and 4 were for the regular morning 
and evening sacrifice; 5 and 6 rituals to be used in connection 
with the sin-offerings (Lv. 4 ff.), and for a similar purpose, or 
for thank-offerings in connection with deliverance from evil, 
7, 12-14, 17, 32, and many more, for this general category is 
numerous. 16 and 30 were more specifically for deliverance 
from sickness ; 18 was a royal sacrificial triumph hymn ; 20 for 
the sacrifice before battle, and 21 for the thank-offering after 

2 111-117, 135, 145-150. 109 is headed as a tehillah, and v. 30 is plainly 
a sacrificial praise cry; but the Psalm is far from being a halleluiah. 

3 100, 105-107, 118, 136, 138. These are indicated as thank-offering hymns 
by their content as by their titles; 106 being indicated as both a tehillah 
and a todah, or thank-offering. 



PETERS: RITUAL IN THE PSALMS 145 

battle. 24 is a liturgy for the return of the Ark after battle; 
and 68 an elaborate ritual of the going forth of the Ark. 61 is 
for the royal vows or free-will offerings (ef. vv. 6 and 9), 65 
for the offering of the first-fruits, and 67 a thank-offering for 
a bountiful harvest. Vows, peace-offerings, freewill and thank- 
offerings of various kinds are indicated in a number of Psalms. 4 

While the title Tehillim suggests primarily a collection of 
hymns for the sacrificial ritual, and while many hymns of the 
Psalter are indicated by their headings or by internal evidence 
as meant for use in the temple ritual, there are others which 
are specifically indicated for use on other occasions. Some 
of these would seem to have been special liturgies for festivals in 
the community life. Such notably is 45, designated in its head- 
ing, as by its contents, a wedding hymn. Of this nature perhaps 
are the gittith hymns, 8, 81, 84, if these are meant to be sung at 
the vintage ; but both 81 and 84 appear intended for use at 
some haj or pilgrim feast, as does also the double psalm 42, 43. 
The al-tashheth, or "destroy not" psalms, 57-59, 75, were con- 
nected in some way with the vintage, and it may not be fan- 
tastical to suppose that the men who plucked or trod the grapes 
were in pretence dealing with their foes, "washing their feet 
in the blood of the wicked," the wine that is red, whose dregs 
their foes shall drain. 78 is for such instruction as is ordered 
in Deut. 11 from a father to his children on an occasion like the 
Passover; and 88 and its ilk for national fasts. 

Apparently also the Synagogue made itself felt in the Psalter, 
and we have a number of Psalms whose use seems to have been 
entirely instructional. Of such is the great Praise of the Law, 
Psalm 119. The alphabetic acrostic form in this and other cases 
was for mnemonic purposes, similar in intent to the beads in 
rosaries used in various religions. The appearance of this 
mnemonic device in Psalms of the earlier books (cf. Ps. 9, 10, 34, 
37) suggests that even at a relatively early period Psalms were 
composed and used for personal and group purposes quite uncon- 
nected with sacrifice. They were liturgies, however, although 
not part of the sacrificial ritual. For that reason they were 
included in the Psalter. 

The Psalter may be described, then, as a collection of liturgical 

4 So, in addition to those already noted, 86. 
10 



146 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

poems or hymns, primarily for the sacrificial ritual, but con- 
taining also hymns for use on other occasions and for other 
purposes. 

A fairly early tradition ascribed the origin of Temple Psalm- 
ody as of heroic lyrics to David, and ultimately the Psalter as 
a whole was ascribed to David, as legislation was ascribed to 
Moses, and gnomic literature to Solomon. There was in due 
time an effort made to assign the composition of the Psalms to 
specific occasions, precisely as in the history of Christian litur- 
gies we find an 'effort to assign the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis 
and the Te Deum to specific occasions. The existence in the 
Book of Samuel of some poems ascribed to David on specific 
occasions suggested the method of doing this, and accordingly 
we find a number of headings of Psalms in the first three books, 
and notably in the collection of the Prayers of David in book II 
(51-72), stating the supposed occasion of the composition of the 
Psalm. These headings are taken from the Book of Samuel, 
and apparently therefore antedate the composition of the Book 
of Chronicles, a conclusion confirmed by the fact that no such 
headings are to be found in the last two books of Psalms. 

Modern scholars with one accord reject these headings as 
unreliable, ex post facto guesses; but while rejecting the indi- 
vidual headings, they have practically accepted the principle on 
which those headings were based and proceeded on that same 
principle to furnish new headings of their own. They have 
treated the Psalms not as hymns composed or used for liturgical 
purposes, but as occasional poems composed to celebrate some 
historical event ; not as hymns composed like Wesley's to be sung 
by choir or congregation, but as a national anthology, the lyrical 
effusions of court poets celebrating the triumphs or bewailing 
the misfortunes of king or people. This mistaken principle of 
identification of the Psalms as occasional lyrics led inevitably to 
a further mistake in identification of their date and occasion by 
their contents, as that penitential Psalms must indicate a period 
of calamity, and joyful and triumphant Psalms a period of 
prosperity. This method of treating the Psalter has largely viti- 
ated modern criticism and commentation on the Psalms, and led 
us into a pathless wilderness of subjective and conflicting va- 
garies. The true key to the method of study of the Psalter is 
to be found in the history of liturgies. The study of the hymns 



PETERS: RITUAL IN THE PSALMS 147 

of the Christian Church, of "Wesley, Luther and their ilk, and of 
the great olden hymns, the Kyrie Eleison, Magnificat, Nunc 
Dimittis, Gloria in Excelsis, and Te Deum, their origin and 
growth and cause and use, their conservation of the ancient, 
their adaptation to new conditions, doctrines and rituals throws 
much light upon the Psalter. Of equal if not greater importance 
is the study of the ancient ritual hymns of India and Persia, 
Egypt and Babylonia, and especially of the last, because of 
their closer affinity to the Hebrew Psalter. 

We possess considerable collections of Babylonian liturgies 
and ritual hymns, covering in all a period of 3,000 years or 
thereabouts, in origin Sumerian, adapted and often translated, 
but still to the last mainly Sumerian, just as Roman hymnody 
is still mainly Latin in thought and form, and largely in lan- 
guage. The first thing we notice about these hymns is their 
persistency. One Sumerian hymn, originating in Nippur pre- 
sumably as early as 3000 b. c, contains a colophon stating that 
it was copied in 97 b. c. It was apparently still in use at that 
period. That it was an act of religious merit to preserve and 
to propagate these hymns is shown by a prayer of Ashurbanipal, 
attached to a series of tablets containing liturgical hymns, in 
which he claims favor from the gods because he has had these 
tablets copied for his library. But while they thus persisted 
as ritual hymns they did undergo changes to adapt them to use 
in new conditions. Hymns originating at Nippur were changed 
by the addition of other verses to make them suitable for use in 
other temples, especially in Babylon. 

A priori, in view of the persistence of ritual and liturgies in 
general, we should expect something of the sort in the case of 
Hebrew ritual and liturgies. This is, roughly speaking, the old- 
est element in religion, and the most persistent. "We have abun- 
dant evidence of the existence before the Exile of Temple 
psalmody in connection with ritual acts, and especially with sac- 
rifice. It would be an astonishing thing if all this were cast 
away, and a new psalmody created at a time when the greatest 
efforts were being made to restore the ancient Temple, and to 
collect and conserve the ancient writings and the ancient tra- 
ditions. In point of fact, as has been already incidentally 
pointed out, the very latest Psalms in the Psalter retain an other- 
wise obsolete name of the divinity, and are in fact extremely 
11 



148 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

primitive in form, mere developments, and iterations of the 
halleluiah. There is, I believe, evidence in the Psalms themselves 
that old Israelite hymns were adapted to a new use in the 
Jerusalem Temple in precisely the same way in which the hymns 
of Nippur were adapted to the use of Babylon. This principle 
has been recognized in the critical analysis of the prophets Amos 
and Hosea, and verses applying the Israelite prophecies to Judah 
and Jerusalem identified as insertions, redactionary glosses on 
old material. But the critics have failed to recognize the same 
process of adaptation in the Psalter, where the hymns of Dan, 
and Shechem, and Bethel have been adapted for use in Judah 
and Jerusalem, and here a comparison of the old Babylonian 
liturgies is most illuminating. So, for instance, in a "Psalm 
on the flute to En-lil" (Langdon, Babylonian and Sumerian 
Psalms, XXXII), Endil is besought to "repent and behold thy 
city." Nippur, and the Temple E-Kur, its parts, gates, store- 
houses, etc., are enumerated, following which come similar lines 
with Ur and Larsa taking the place of Nippur. That is, this 
hymn, originally a Nippur hymn, was later adapted for use in 
the other temples also. This is very common in these hymns. 
To a similar adaptation of a hymn of one temple to use in the 
ritual of another I would ascribe the appearance of Jerusalem 
in Josephite or Danite 5 hymns (cf . Pss. 48 and 79) ; the appear- 
ance of the same psalm in a Yahwistic and an Elohistic recen- 
sion (cf. 14 and 53, 40 and 70), or the occasional appearance 
of Yahweh in an Elohistic Psalm. 

Sometimes these old Sumerian-Babylonian hymns correspond 
singularly in minor matters of ritual with the Hebrew. Com- 
mentators have noted in the case of Psalm 10 that it commences 
with a half verse, which is a sort of caption to the Psalm. 6 But 
this is a customary method in Sumerian So, for instance, a 
hymn is headed : 

"Of the Lord his word, his word." 

This is the theme, and the poem proceeds to tell what his word 
has wrought, in iteration and reiteration: 

5 For discussion of Danite origin of Korah Psalms, cf . Essays in Modern 
Theology and Belated Subjects (Scribner, 1911), V, The Sons of Korah. 

Among other Psalms commencing with a half verse are 16, 23, 25, 66, 
100, 109, 139. 



PETERS: RITUAL IN THE PSALMS 149 

' ' Of the Lord his word afflicts the folds with trouble. 
"The word of Aim his word, etc., 
"The word of Enlil his word, etc." 

Or again: 

"The princess, the princess wails over the city in sorrow." 

After which follow a long series of repetitions in which the 
princess is named, as: "the Queen of Nippur wails over the 
city in sorrow, etc., etc." It reminds me of the songs, and 
especially the war songs, among my Arabs at Nippur. One, a 
chief or leader, would spring forward, stamp, leap in the air, 
brandishing his weapon, and chant a line. All would dance 
about, brandishing their weapons and repeating this, until the 
chief or a leader gave another new motif. Somewhat similar in 
idea are the hymns cited above. 

A marked characteristic of the old Sumerian hymns is the 
series of honorific names with which they frequently commence, 
those of Enlil being regularly seven in number, fairly well con- 
ventionalized and traditionalized. Compare with this the open- 
ing of the 18th Psalm, with its series of honorific names of Yah- 
weh. Honorific names are introduced also at other points in 
Babylonian hymns, or their equivalents in the form of repeti- 
tious phrases containing titles in various form, reciting deeds 
and attributes, or possessions, as temples, walls, etc. The object 
is to appease the deity by these recitals, and so bind him to 
the appeal of the suppliant. Even penitentials often contain 
material of this description to such an extent that at first 
sight they seem like exultations. For a similar use of honor- 
ific titles, deeds, etc., in the body of the hymn compare Psalms 
62, 65, 66, 68, 71, 73, 77, 89, and notably the halleluiah Psalms 
at the close of the Psalter. 

At or near the end of many of these old Babylonian liturgies 
we find a summons to sacrifice : 

"Unto the temple of god upon a lyre let us go with a song 
of petition. 

"The psalmist a chant shall sing. 

"The psalmist a chant of lordly praise shall sing. 

"The psalmist a chant upon the lyre shall sing. 

"Upon a sacred tambourine, a sacred lilissu shall sing. 

"Upon the flute, the manzu, the consecrated lyre shall sing;" 



150 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Or again: 

"Father Enlil, with song majestically we come, the presents 
of the ground are offered to thee as gifts of sacrifice. 

"0 Lord of Sumer, figs to thy house we bring; to give life 
to the ground thou didst exist. 

"Father Enlil, accept the sacred offerings, the many offer- 
ings," 

Or: 

"We with offerings come, let us go up with festivity," 

which resembles most strikingly the Hebrew. 

Many of the Hebrew psalms exhibit a similar composition, 
and a similar purpose. So in Psalm 65, after the purification 
of the worshipper (v. 4), we find him entering God's courts with 
offerings of fruits of the earth (5) ; then follows an outburst of 
praise of God's miraculous bounty, containing a recital of His 
marvelous works and signs, which cause those of distant lands 
to stand in awe (6-9) ; from His heavenly rivers He waters the 
earth, making grain to grow and gladdening the ground (7-14) ; 
and at the very end comes, as so often in the Sumerian, the call 
to shout and sing, or play instruments, as the gifts are actually 
presented in sacrifice. In 66 it is a presentation of vows of 
whole burnt-offerings, bullocks, rams and goats (vv. 13-15). Per- 
haps the actual method of presentation of the sacrifice and the 
relation of the Psalm as a liturgy to that sacrifice are most clearly 
exhibited in Psalm 118. This is a thank-offering ritual. After 
a long processional ceremonial, and responsive chanting con- 
nected therewith, we come finally, near the end of the Psalm, 
as seems to be commonly the case in the Sumerian sacrificial 
liturgies which we possess, to the actual sacrifice, indicated by 
the remains of a rubric directing that the sacrifice be offered 
(v. 27), and followed by the sacrificial praise song which Jere- 
miah tells us was in use in the Temple in his day (33 :11). 7 

Frequently Psalms end merely with an outburst of praise, 

' See Notes on some Bitual Uses of the Psalms, JBL., vol. XXIX, Part 
II, 1910, where I note that Psalm 100 also ends in the same way, also 
136 and 138. 



PETERS: RITUAL IN THE PSALMS 151 

singing and making melody on various instruments to the Lord, 
like the first of the Sumerian psalms cited above. This would 
seem to be the tehillah of the Psalm, to be sung at the actual 
sacrifice. Cf. Psalms 18:50, 33:11, 71:22-24, 73:25-28, 74:21-23. 
In 77 the tehillah or praise cry is apparently the grand hymn 
of the thunder storm with which that psalm closed (w. 17-21). 
At least this follows immediately after the point at which from 
some other analogies we should expect the sacrifice, namely the 
point of favorable answer; here, that God has redeemed Jacob 
and Joseph. Sometimes the sacrifice seems to be indicated at an 
earlier point in the Psalm, however, and sometimes the whole 
psalm constitutes a tehillah, as in the case of the Halleluiahs 
at the close of our collection of Psalms. The following seem to 
me to indicate with a reasonable degree of plainness the point 
at which sacrifice was offered: 21:14, 22:26-30, 27:6, 28:5-6, 
29:9, 30:13, 31:24-25, 32:11, 35:27-28, 44:9, 47:6-9, 48:10-12, 
51 :21, 52 :11, 61 :6-9, 66 :11 ft., 109 :30. 

Certain stock phrases or ritual formulae occur over and over 
again in the Sumerian as in Hebrew Psalms; and occasionally 
we find the same formula in both. The phrase "how long" 
is one of continual use in the Babylonian hymns, and is rec- 
ognized so clearly as a specific ritual phrase that lamentations 
or penitentials are frequently designated as "how longs"; or 
more fully "how long thy heart." The same formula is used 
in Hebrew psalmody, most notably in Psalm 13, where four half 
verses commence with an "how long!" s 

These "how longs" are sometimes connected in the Baby- 
lonian as in the Hebrew by calls to God to show himself, and 
followed by passages which seem to show an answer to the 
prayer. Such is a hymn entitled: "Like the sun arise." All 
is destruction; no libations are offered; the psalmist speaks 
no word; the "how long thy heart" is stilled; in city as 
in temple all is desolation. So it goes on for forty lines, and 
then comes a broken and fragmentary clause, the rest being lost, 
but enough to indicate the nature of the part lost, and to show 
us why the hymn was entitled "like the sun arise," viz. — "Thou 
turnest back, thou causest to abound, thou bringest to an end, ' ' 
etc. This psalm is apparently a liturgy to accompany a sac- 
rifice for deliverance from dangerous sickness. The success of 



152 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

the sacrifice is indicated in the last verse, which assumes a fav- 
orable answer. 9 

Certain divine titles are common to the Babylonian with the 
Hebrew psalms, as steer, bull, hero, shepherd ; and certain activi- 
ties, such as casting down the mighty and exalting the poor or 
the lowly. 10 These have become in both cases stock phrases of the 
ritual ; so also the stretching forth of the arm, the lifting up the 
head or face of the deity, which arrests heaven itself. Some other 
phrases from the Babylonian hymns, such as "from the rising 
of the sun to the setting of the sun," are strikingly similar to 
those used in Hebrew poetic language. 

More important for our purposes is the use of the word or 
spirit. In a number of the Sumerian liturgies, originally from 
Nippur, which Langdon calls er-sem-ma psalms, the word or 
spirit of Enlil seems to be the cause of disaster. (At times it 
is almost hypostatized, as in some of the Hebrew Psalms.) Tem- 
ples and houses are destroyed, and great havoc wrought. Lang- 
don supposes the destruction to be wrought by external foes, 
such as the Elamites, and these psalms to be penitentials after 
or against foreign invasions. In almost all, if not all cases, a 
careful examination fails to reveal outside foes. It is the storm, 
the rain, the thunder and lightning which have wrought the 
destruction. It is Enlil, lord of the storm demons, whose word 
and whose spirit work devastation in the rain floods of winter, 
which wash down walls, and bring disaster on the mud-built 
towns and temples. To me, who have twice wintered in Nippur, 
these er-sem-ma psalms seem very natural and vivid pictures of 

8 For "how long" cf. also JBL., vol. XXIX, part II (1910), p. 118. 

9 Cf. with this Psalm 40, among others. Note the frequent use of noip ; 
so, for instance, 9:20, 10:12, 17:13, T\W\ , and similar words and phrases 
in the Psalms as ritual indications, i. e. as marking a particular point in 
the liturgy to be accompanied by ritual acts. 

10 Cf. also a series of hymns and prayers found in the Theban Necropo- 
lis, from the time of the 19th Egyptian dynasty, 1350-1200 B. c, which 
express the religion of the poor, and which are very illuminating for com- 
parison with some of the Hebrew Psalms. The general spirit of these 
hymns, memorials for deliverance from trouble caused by their own sins, 
from the bondage resulting from those sins, setting forth the sweetness 
of the love and mercy of the gods, with an ardent desire to make this known 
to all men, reminds one much of our Psalms. Journal of Egyptian Archae- 
ology, vol. Ill, Part II (April 1916). 



PETERS : RITUAL IN THE PSALMS 153 

the winter storms and their devastation, terror and misery, 
bringing back many occasions where I could well imagine priests 
and people supplicating in just such lamentations. The follow- 
ing verses taken from one of these liturgies, originally of Enlil 
from Nippur, later adapted to Babylon and Marduk, will, I 
think, establish the correctness of my interpretation : 

"The word which stilleth the heavens on high, 

"The word which causeth the earth beneath to shudder, 

"The word which bringeth woe to the Annunaki, 

"His word is an onrushing storm, which none can oppose, 

"His word stilleth the heavens and causeth the earth to retire, 

"Mother and daughter like a reed mat it rends asunder. 

"The word of the lord prostrateth the marsh in full verdure. 

"The word of the lord is an onrushing deluge, 

' ' His word rendeth asunder the huge sidr trees. ' ' 

The similarity of this passage to the pictures of the storm in 
Psalms 18 and 29, especially the latter, cannot fail to strike any 
reader. In general, I fancy, these er-sem-ma psalms were peni- 
tential liturgies to avert Enid's wrath and the devastation of 
his winter storms, or else to be used in connection with the 
annual repairs and restorations of temple and town at the close 
of the rainy season. And this, I think, throws light on some of 
the Hebrew penitential psalms which have been supposed to indi- 
cate conditions of national disaster, oppression by a foreign 
enemy, and the like. They indicate rather foes of another sort ; 
they are a part of the ritual, the hymns and liturgies accom- 
panying the sacrifices offered for release from calamities due to 
unwitting sins, to overcome the evil spirits of disease and dis- 
aster invoked by the wily imaginations of enemies, to avert 
pestilence, famine, cloud bursts and much more due to the 
wrath of God or to demon powers. They are frequently exag- 
gerated in their representations of calamity and sin after the 
convention of liturgies. 11 They are to be studied first and fore- 

11 Psalm 35 is a good example. The first few verses sound like a battle 
hymn, but what follows shows that it is really a liturgy not against foreign 
warriors, but against machinations of neighbors and consequent calamities. 
It must be remembered to what extent calamities were supposed to be due 
to the workings of evil spirits invoked by secret devices of enemies. A con- 
siderable number of Psalms are, I fancy, liturgies connected with sacrifices 



154 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

most in connection with the calendar of feasts and fasts, the 
sacrificial ritual and the temple services, not in connection with 
the political and military history of Israel. 

This does not mean that there is no national element in the 
Psalms, and that they were utterly divorced from the political 
life of the nation. That undoubtedly played its part, and the 
history and economics of Israel are reflected in the Psalter ; but 
essentially the Psalms are ritual hymns, and their occasion and 
their use are to be determined not so much by the study of the 
political life as by the study of the religious practices of Israel. 
They are to be connected not primarily with military events, and 
the deeds and disasters of great leaders, but with the needs and 
experiences of worshippers and the requirements of the leaders 
and directors of that worship. 

intended to procure deliverance from calamities resulting from such adver- 
saries. Such are 5, 6, 7 (a thank-offering for such deliverance), 12, 19, 
22, 36, 52, 66. 53 and 55 are of this general type, but more exactly, per- 
haps, exorcisms; and the latter has in fact an alternative, supplementary 
form, with a rubric directing that it may be used in case of failure of 
the first form (vv. 21 ff.). In other Psalms the calamity is recognized 
as due to the guilt of the individual himself, as 25 and 32. Sometimes the 
calamity is clearly specified as dangerous sickness, as in 13 and 30. These 
Psalms are often liturgies to be used with the thank-offerings for deliv- 
erance from calamity in sickness or from other causes. 

Note: — The translations of Sumerian hymns in this article are taken 
from Langdon's Sumerian and Babylonian Psalms. While these transla- 
tions perhaps leave much to be desired in the matter of accuracy, they may, 
I believe, be trusted for the general purpose for which they are here used.