The cryptic theme of Psalm 46 and the theology of the Korahites

Nissim Amzallag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Psalm 46 is generally approached as a song of Zion praising YHWH's fight against the forces of chaos. This view is challenged by the lack of an explicit mention of Jerusalem, and the unambiguous praise of YHWH promoting destructive transformations, but no other theme is apparent. On the basis of affinities with Psalms 47 and 87, it is suggested here that Psalm 46 is a song devoted to the diffusion by the Korahites of the musical worship of YHWH among the nations. This theme emerges when Psalm 46 is set in canonic responsa fashion, a mode of complex antiphony in which the two voices dialog by singing the same text with a deferral of a few verses. This setting yields a coherent composite text praising the ability of musical worship to reveal the god among the nations, to collapse centralized powers and to ruin the spirit of war. This analysis reveals the existence of a musical theology specifically related to the singers, and especially the Korahites, which differs in some points from the "official religion" of Ancient Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-45
Number of pages20
JournalRevue Biblique
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Archaeology


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