Schreiner on Jewish Expectations

by Nov 3, 2010NTScholarship, Theology

I’ve always heard that the Jewish people of Jesus’ day expected their Messiah to be a political savior and not so much a spiritual one. Jesus will be both one day, of course, but His ministry in the first century certainly emphasized the spiritual. He therefore didn’t live up to Jewish expectations about the Messiah.

I have sometimes wondered how sure we are that the Jews of Jesus’ day really thought this way, and now Thomas Schreiner has offered some proof. Twice so far in his New Testament Theology (e.g., p.45), he cites the passage below as an answer to my question.

The Psalms of Solomon, according to R.H. Charles, “are a collection of eighteen Psalms which were written, according to the theory (see below) now generally accepted, in the middle of the first century B.C.” Charles thinks they were originally written in Hebrew. They even appear to have come into Christian use in the early years of the church.


    171 O Lord, Thou art our King for ever and ever,
      For in Thee, O God, doth our soul glory.
    2 How long are the days of man’s life upon the earth?
      As are his days, so is the hope (set) upon him.
    3 But we hope in God, our deliverer;
    For the might of our God is for ever with mercy,
      4 And the kingdom of our God is for ever over the nations in judgement.

    5(4) Thou, O Lord, didst choose David (to be) king over Israel,
      And swaredst to him touching his seed that never should his kingdom fail before Thee.
    6(5) But, for our sins, sinners rose up against us;
      They assailed us and thrust us out;
      What Thou hadst not promised to them, they took away (from us) with violence.
    7 They in no wise glorified Thy honourable name;
      (6) They set a (worldly) monarchy in place of (that which was) their excellency;
      8 They laid waste the throne of David in tumultuous arrogance.

    (7) But Thou, O God, didst cast them down, and remove their seed from the earth,
      9 In that there rose up against them a man that was alien to our race.
    10(8) According to their sins didst Thou recompense them, O God;
      So that it befell them according to their deeds.
    11(9) God showed them no pity;
      He sought out their seed and let not one of them go free.
    12(10) Faithful is the Lord in all His judgements
      Which He doeth upon the earth.

    13(11) The lawless one laid waste our land so that none inhabited it,
      They destroyed young and old and their children together.
    14(12) In the heat of His anger He sent them away even unto the west,
      And (He exposed) the rulers of the land unsparingly to derision.
    15(13) Being an alien the enemy acted proudly,
      And his heart was alien from our God.
    16(14) And all … Jerusalem,
      As also the nations …
    17(15) And the children of the covenant in the midst of the mingled peoples …
      There was not among them one that wrought in the midst of Jerusalem mercy and truth.
    18(16) They that loved the synagogues of the pious fled from them,
      As sparrows that fly from their nest.
    19(17) They wandered in deserts that their lives might be saved from harm,
      And precious in the eyes of them that lived abroad was any that escaped alive from them.
      20(18) Over the whole earth were they scattered by lawless (men).
    21(19) For the heavens withheld the rain from dropping upon the earth,
      Springs were stopped (that sprang) perennial(ly) out of the deeps, (that ran down) from lofty mountains.
    For there was none among them that wrought righteousness and justice;
      (20) From the chief of them to the least (of them) all were sinful;
      22 The king was a transgressor, and the judge disobedient, and the people sinful.

    23(21) Behold, O Lord, and raise up unto them their king, the son of David,
      At the time in the which Thou seest, O God, that he may reign over Israel Thy servant.
    24(22) And gird him with strength, that he may shatter unrighteous rulers,
      25 And that he may purge Jerusalem from nations that trample (her) down to destruction.
    (23) Wisely, righteously 26 he shall thrust out sinners from (the) inheritance,
      He shall destroy the pride of the sinner as a potter’s vessel.
    (24) With a rod of iron he shall break in pieces all their substance,
      27 He shall destroy the godless nations with the word of his mouth;
    (25) At his rebuke nations shall flee before him,
      And he shall reprove sinners for the thoughts of their heart.

    28(26) And he shall gather together a holy people, whom he shall lead in righteousness,
      And he shall judge the tribes of the people that has been sanctified by the Lord his God.
    29(27) And he shall not suffer unrighteousness to lodge any more in their midst,
      Nor shall there dwell with them any man that knoweth wickedness,
      30 For he shall know them, that they are all sons of their God.
    (28) And he shall divide them according to their tribes upon the land,
      31 And neither sojourner nor alien shall sojourn with them any more.
    (29) He shall judge peoples and nations in the wisdom of his righteousness. Selah.

    32(30) And he shall have the heathen nations to serve him under his yoke;
      And he shall glorify the Lord in a place to be seen of (?) all the earth;
      33 And he shall purge Jerusalem, making it holy as of old:
    34(31) So that nations shall come from the ends of the earth to see his glory,
      Bringing as gifts her sons who had fainted,
      35 And to see the glory of the Lord, wherewith God hath glorified her.
    (32) And he (shall be) a righteous king, taught of God, over them,
    36 And there shall be no unrighteousness in his days in their midst,
      For all shall be holy and their king the anointed of the Lord.
    37(33) For he shall not put his trust in horse and rider and bow,
      Nor shall he multiply for himself gold and silver for war,
      Nor shall he gather confidence from (?) a multitude (?) for the day of battle.
    38(34) The Lord Himself is his king, the hope of him that is mighty through (his) hope in God.

    〈 〉 All nations (shall be) in fear before him,
      39(35) For he will smite the earth with the word of his mouth for ever.
    40 He will bless the people of the Lord with wisdom and gladness,
      41(36) And he himself (will be) pure from sin, so that he may rule a great people.
    He will rebuke rulers, and remove sinners by the might of his word;
      42(37) And (relying) upon his God, throughout his days he will not stumble;
    For God will make him mighty by means of (His) holy spirit,
      And wise by means of the spirit of understanding, with strength and righteousness.
    43(38) And the blessing of the Lord (will be) with him: he will be strong and  stumble not;
      44(39) His hope (will be) in the Lord: who then can prevail against him?
    (40) (He will be) mighty in his works, and strong in the fear of God,
      45 (He will be) shepherding the flock of the Lord faithfully and righteously,
         And will suffer none among them to stumble in their pasture.
      46(41) He will lead them all aright,
         And there will be no pride among them that any among them should be oppressed.
    47(42) This (will be) the majesty of the king of Israel whom God knoweth;
      He will raise him up over the house of Israel to correct him.
    48(43) His words (shall be) more refined than costly gold, the choicest;
      In the assemblies he will judge the peoples, the tribes of the sanctified.
    49 His words (shall be) like the words of the holy ones in the midst of sanctified peoples.
    50 Blessed be they that shall be in those days,
      In that they shall see the good fortune of Israel which God shall bring to pass in the gathering together of the tribes.
    51 May the Lord hasten His mercy upon Israel!
      May He deliver us from the uncleanness of unholy enemies!

    The Lord Himself is our king for ever and ever.


    181 Lord, Thy mercy is over the works of Thy hands for ever;
      Thy goodness is over Israel with a rich gift.
    2 Thine eyes look upon them, so that none of them suffers want;
      3 Thine ears listen to the hopeful prayer of the poor.
    (3) Thy judgements (are executed) upon the whole earth in mercy;
      4 And Thy love (is) toward the seed of Abraham, the children of Israel.
    (4) Thy chastisement is upon us as (upon) a first-born, only-begotten son,
      5 To turn back the obedient soul from folly (that is wrought) in ignorance.
    6(5) May God cleanse Israel against the day of mercy and blessing,
      Against the day of choice when He bringeth back His anointed.

    7(6) Blessed shall they be that shall be in those days,
      In that they shall see the goodness of the Lord which He shall perform for the generation that is to come,
    8(7) Under the rod of chastening of the Lord’s anointed in the fear of his God,
      In the spirit of wisdom and  righteousness and strength;
    9(8) That he may direct (every) man in the works of righteousness by the fear of God,
      That he may establish them all before the Lord,
      10(9) A good generation (living) in the fear of God in the days of mercy. Selah.

    11(10) Great is our God and glorious, dwelling in the highest.
    12 (It is He) who hath established in (their) courses the lights (of heaven) for determining seasons from year to year,
      And they have not turned aside from the way which He appointed them.
    13(11) In the fear of God (they pursue) their path every day,
      From the day God created them and for evermore.
    14(12) And they have erred not since the day He created them.
      Since the generations of old they have not withdrawn from their path,
      Unless God commanded them (so to do) by the command of His servants.

Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, ed. Robert Henry Charles, Ps Sol 17:1–18:14 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004).

Read More 

Review: Abigail Favale on the Genesis of Gender

The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory by Abigail Rine Favale My rating: 4 of 5 stars Really excellent. Fascinating personal story: So-called “Christian feminism” is, too often, secular feminism with a light Jesus glaze on top, a cherry-picked biblical garnish....

A Few Quotes from The Genesis of Gender by Abigail Favale

The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory by Abigail Rine Favale My rating: 4 of 5 stars Well written, provocatively helpful—provocative because she was schooled in evangelicalism (which makes her like me) and in feminist theory (which makes her not like me)—and is...

Review: The Power Broker, by Robert Caro

Review: The Power Broker, by Robert Caro

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro My rating: 5 of 5 stars Robert Caro is fascinated by power. He has given his life to exploring how it is gained and kept. And in Robert Moses, the subject of this epic book, power looks like the...

Review: Finding the Right Hills to Die On by Gavin Ortlund

Review: Finding the Right Hills to Die On by Gavin Ortlund

Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage by Gavin Ortlund My rating: 4 of 5 stars Gracious, clear, accessible. Extremely well done. I nearly docked him a star for being ever-so-slightly in a different place than I am on creationism (though I...

Leave a comment.