"A Song of Ascents"

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Southern Presbyterian

Puritan Board Doctor
What does this heading, found before many of the Psalms, mean?

**I am away from home and my library, so forgive me if this question is too elementary.
 

JonathanHunt

Puritan Board Senior
I am preaching these Psalms at the moment. Opinion is hugely divided, and Spurgeon says there are several viable options and one should take one's pick.

Some say the name is to do with the structure and form of the Psalms. Some theories relate to them being sung on the steps of the temple. After thinking about it long and hard, I decided to go with a position along these lines:

'Although we cannot tell if the Psalms were written as a group, they have been arranged together by inspiration and certainly were used as Pilgrim songs by those travelling up to Jerusalem for the great feasts, whatever their individual origins'
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Bullinger, in his Companion Bible, suggests, along with Lightfoot, that these Psalms were written/compiled by Hezekiah according to Isa 38:20.

The LORD [was ready] to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.
There are 15 Psalms, corresponding to the 15 years God added to Hezekiah's life. As a sign to Hezekiah, God made the sundial go backward 10 'degrees' or 'steps'. The 15 Psalms of 'degrees' are, therefore, a memorial to the 15 extra years God gave Hezekiah and signified by the moving of the sundial backwards 10 'degrees'.

Bullinger goes one step further and suggests the 10 anonymous Psalms of degrees might actually have been written by Hezekiah in memorial to the 10 degrees which God made the sundial go backwards.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Just a quick note to remove any ambiguity -- the above is a work by E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913), not the Reformed theologian and Reformer Heinrich Bullinger.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Just a quick note to remove any ambiguity -- the above is a work by E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913), not the Reformed theologian and Reformer Heinrich Bullinger.
Are you insinuating that the scholarliness and reliability of EW is not on par with H? :lol:
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Changing the direction of this thread, I've always wanted to see a single CD with the Psalms of Ascent recorded as a group. The standard settings would be interesting, and it would also be interesting to elicit some group to try their hand at more contemporary settings. Fifteen tracks would fit quite nicely on a CD.
 
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