This study aims to theologically interpret the individual lament psalms in the first book of the Psalter (Pss 1–41). Reading the Psalms as Torah for social ethics combines two approaches to interpreting these psalms that have been perceived as dissonant or incompatible. Theological interpretation of the Psalms has focused on the devotional and instructional role of the final form of the Psalms for the community of faith. Sociological approaches to the Psalms highlight the socio-rhetorical effects of the Psalms upon their readers and hearers. Both of these views claim to read the Psalms canonically yet with differing ends. In this article I will compare how these two approaches have interpreted the individual lament psalms, and I will conclude with a proposal to harmonize them.

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