Jewish Studies

Arnon Atzmon

»Let the Nations be Judged in Your Presence« (Ps 9:20): A Lost Proem from Midrash Tehillim

Section: Articles
Jewish Studies Quarterly (JSQ)

Volume 30 () / Issue 1, pp. 48-67 (20)
Published 18.01.2023

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This article focuses on one of the proems found in the opening section of Midrash Tehillim whose text as presented in both printed versions and in the majority of the textual witnesses is probably corrupt. It reflects the hybridization of two proems, the second of which was largely omitted from nearly all textual witnesses. Based on a unique textual witness preserved in a Jerusalem manuscript, this article reconstructs these two original proems to allow for a fuller understanding of their content. The two proems present opposing views concerning the nature and recipient of the blessing alluded to in the first line of Psalm 1, »Blessed is the man.« According to the first proem, the blessing's distinctiveness derives from the fact that it is bestowed on every individual and is not limited to a specific biblical figure. In contrast, the second proem emphasizes the denial of blessing and tranquility to the wicked.

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